The Week



Flash: Berkeley Streets Closed after Shooting Tonight

By Bay City News
Saturday May 11, 2013 - 12:25:00 AM

Police are responding to a shooting in South Berkeley tonight. -more-

New: Protest Planned for Attorney General's Berkeley Commencement Speech on Saturday

By Bay City News
Friday May 10, 2013 - 02:06:00 PM

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is speaking at University of California at Berkeley on Saturday and will be greeted by protestors targeting the Obama Administration's continuing detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. -more-

New: Former Berkeley High Student Killed in Sunday Night Oakland Shooting

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) and Planet
Wednesday May 08, 2013 - 09:34:00 PM

A teenager who was fatally shot in East Oakland on Sunday night was identified by an Oakland Unified School District spokesman today as 17-year-old Castlemont High School senior Olajuwon Clayborn. -more-

New: Berkeley Dispensary Leaders Vow to Fight Federal Forfeiture Lawsuit

By Julia Cheever (BCN)
Wednesday May 08, 2013 - 09:27:00 PM

Representatives of a Berkeley medical marijuana dispensary vowed today to fight a property forfeiture lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors last week. -more-

New: Berkeley Pedestrian in Critical Condition After Being Hit by Car

By Hannah Albarazi (BCN)
Wednesday May 08, 2013 - 09:29:00 PM

A pedestrian was critically injured when he was struck by a car in Berkeley on Tuesday night, a Berkeley police spokeswoman said. -more-

New: Two Women Robbed Near UC Berkeley Campus

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Wednesday May 08, 2013 - 10:07:00 AM

Two robberies occurred near the University of California at Berkeley campus Sunday.

Just before 2 a.m. a 20-year-old woman was walking in the 2500 block of Hillegass Avenue near Dwight Way when someone behind her told her, "Don't move," UC Berkeley police said.

The victim turned around and a woman grabbed her by the neck. Two other suspects, both men, took the victim's laptop and iPhone, police said. -more-

New: Berkeley Police Say Transgender Woman's Death Was an Accident

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Monday May 06, 2013 - 11:01:00 PM

The death of a mentally ill transgender woman who died in a struggle with officers three months ago was an accident, a Berkeley police sergeant has ruled in a lengthy report.

Sgt. Peter Hong also said he believes the physical force used by officers trying to restrain Xavier Moore, 41, who identified as Kayla Moore, at the Gaia Building in the 2100 block of Allston Way shortly before midnight on Feb. 12 was "reasonable."

Members of Berkeley Copwatch and the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley have raised concerns about the way police handled the incident with Moore, alleging that they may have used excessive force.

But the Alameda County coroner's bureau ruled that Moore died from acute combined drug intoxication from toxic levels of methamphetamine and codeine. -more-

Press Release: Board of Education Selects Julie Sinai to Fill Board Vacancy

From Mark Copland, BUSD PIO
Friday May 03, 2013 - 04:09:00 PM

At a Special Meeting on May 1, 2013, the Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint Julie Sinai, U.C. Berkeley’s Director of Local Government and Community Relations, to fill an 18 month vacancy on the Board. -more-

New: Berkeley Rallies to Protest Post Office Sale

By Margot Smith
Friday May 03, 2013 - 03:44:00 PM

While Berkeley continues its protests, the United States Postal Service goes ahead with plans to sell Berkeley’s landmarked Downtown Post Office. The USPS deadline for appealing the decision is Tuesday, May 7th, a day when Berkeley will rally on the steps of the Berkeley Post Office at ‪2000 Allston Way--music & protest 12:00 to 5 pm, with speakers and music beginning at 3 PM. All are invited to demonstrate and protest the sale of our historic Post Office building. -more-

Berkeley Council Vows to Save Post Office

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday May 03, 2013 - 03:24:00 PM

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, city councilmembers and two state legislators vowed today to do everything they can to stop the U.S. Postal Service from closing down the historic main post office in downtown Berkeley. -more-

Graffitirazzi Live Oak Park Pt. 2

By Gar Smith
Friday May 03, 2013 - 09:17:00 AM

                From street level, there's no hint of the hidden bridge or the artwork that has sprung up to decorate it.

In addition to the colorful gallery of graffiti beneath Walnut Street near the Berkeley Arts Center, there is another flamboyant display on the cement bridgework supporting Oxford Street where it curves past the western edge of Congregation Beth El. On the west wall of the Cordonices Creek bridge, mysterious trolls armed with bandanas and spray cans have installed huge panels of wall art that extend over both sides of the tunnel below. -more-



Democrats in Sacramento are Still Trying to Gut CEQA—Even Berkeley's Senator Hancock

By Becky O'Malley
Friday May 03, 2013 - 08:50:00 AM

When I lived in Michigan, I was a hold-your-nose-and-pull-the-Democratic-lever kinda gal, but in the long time I’ve been in the East Bay it’s gotten harder and harder to do. No, I never thought anyone would know or care if I voted for Ralph Nader, and the one time I met him he was quite surly, so voting for him instead of Gore or Obama was never a temptation.

Some people hold the sacramental view of voting—you should vote for the candidate you believe in, regardless of consequences—but I’m a pragmatist. The firm grip that the usually-liberal machine has on the Democratic party in the East Bay makes participation in elections here just about pointless—and besides, the machine picks usually perform pretty well, all things considered.

Lately, however, some of the people I’ve voted for have been annoying me. Actually, on the national level, annoying isn’t even the word for President Obama’s seeming inability or unwillingness to deal with the continuing situation of the prisoners at Guantanamo. No one, regardless of what they may or may not have done, should be treated the way these guys are being treated, and they haven’t even been convicted of anything. Appalling. Candidate Obama promised change, but he hasn’t delivered.

Then, moving to California, we have Governor Jerry Brown’s, yes, more than annoying, though not surprising, attack on the California Environmental Quality Act. He’s opposed by both labor unions and environmentalists, two groups which don’t always agree, though both usually endorse Democrats. It’s not clear why the governor in his second incarnation wants to gut one of the earliest and probably the best state environmental laws in the country—he’s called CEQA a "vampire" that needs "a silver stake through it"—but you can be sure money has a lot to do with it. Traditionally, developer cash has been the biggest part of campaign contributions to both Democrats and Republicans. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New Issue Will Be Late

Friday May 10, 2013 - 11:15:00 AM

It's a busy weekend, and there's not much new news, so this week's new issue will be delayed until we get around to posting it. In the meantime we'll just add to the current issue. Thanks for your indulgence. -more-


Odd Bodkins: 50,000 Parking Places (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday May 03, 2013 - 01:05:00 PM

Bounce: Georgie Jr's Lieberry (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Friday May 03, 2013 - 01:13:00 PM

Public Comment

New: Erroneous Information About Me on This Site

By Ken Caldeira
Tuesday May 07, 2013 - 09:15:00 AM

Vivian Warkentin's fantasies seem to have outrun reality. As a result, she posted some text on your web site that is misleading, at best. She implies that I have "plans to mitigate global warming by blocking sunlight from the earth with chemical jet aerosols, such as sulphur dioxide and aluminum oxide dust." I can assure her that I have no such plans. -more-

New: Hack the Sky?

Vivian Warkentin
Sunday May 05, 2013 - 05:54:00 PM

On May 9th, 7:00PM at the Brower Center, 2150 Allston way in Berkeley, corporate, billionaire- backed geoengineer, Ken Caldiera will be laying out the scientists' plans to mitigate global warming by blocking sunlight from the earth with chemical jet aerosols, such as sulphur dioxide and aluminum oxide dust. Earth Island Institute, the sponsor of this debate, is calling the event, "Hack the Sky?" -more-

All Indoor Smoking in Shared Housing Should Be Banned in Berkeley

By Carol Denney
Friday May 03, 2013 - 03:27:00 PM

Dear Editor, Berkeley City Councilmembers, Rent Board Commissioners, and the Berkeley public,

You’re about to get a smokefree housing proposal, possibly more than one competing proposal, in a nearly ten year effort to protect more people in apartments and condominiums from secondhand smoke.

Many well-intentioned and hard working people have put effort into trying to please competing points of view about this issue, and I don’t wish to disparage any particular group or person. But the goal of ensuring clean, healthy air for everyone, even low-income people, in their own homes is getting shipwrecked for the second time in two years by the same dubious concern.

The rent board, perhaps out of concern about looking unfriendly to landlords, is pressuring for a resolution which is absurdly weak. I do not have access to the final wording at this point, but it is looking as though the proposal’s language allows people who currently smoke in their apartments to continue doing so, avoids designating secondhand smoke as a nuisance, and offers little if any protection to people whose health and whose family’s health is being ruined by secondhand smoke exposure. -more-

Sugared Beverages Should Not Be Taxed

By Juan Pablo Chung
Friday May 03, 2013 - 04:18:00 PM

As a college student with increasing debt in my tuition, it is already difficult to find foods that are financially apt for my situation. The increase of tax in sugar sweetened beverages will affect all college students that face a similar situation. Further, drinking sweetened beverages is to the discretion to the buyer. He or she understands the consequences of the conscious choice. -more-

May Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday May 03, 2013 - 09:33:00 AM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Dubya’s Legacy: 10 Suggestions

By Bob Burnett
Friday May 03, 2013 - 07:34:00 AM

Just when most Americans had forgotten the traumatic Bush era, along came the George W. Bush library to reopen old wounds. After the April 25th library dedication, the MSM began to speculate about Dubya’s legacy. A few suggestions: -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Syria and Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday May 02, 2013 - 08:45:00 PM

On July 23, 2012, Syria admitted possessing a stockpile of chemical weapons, which it claimed are reserved for national defense against foreign countries. One of Syria’s main facilities for producing chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including sarin, a lethal nerve gas, is located in the town of al-Safira, near Aleppo. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Seventeen Years, No Relapse

By Jack Bragen
Thursday May 02, 2013 - 08:30:00 PM

As of this spring, I have gone seventeen years since my last admission to an inpatient psychiatry ward. (I was hospitalized on April Fool's Day, 1996.) I'm not bragging when I say this is a significant accomplishment given my diagnosis of Paranoid-type Schizophrenia, and the severity of my case of this illness. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Three cents for Mom Day

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday May 02, 2013 - 08:32:00 PM

May is designated Older Americans Month in the United States. The 2013 theme is Unleash the Power of Age. Unleash me by emailing suggestions to me, , for a title for this column that’s better than Senor Power!

Annually since 1963, Older Americans Month has, says the Administration on Aging, been a time “to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions to our communities… Older Americans are productive, active, and influential members of society, sharing essential talents, wisdom, and life experience with their families, friends, and neighbors.” Sounds like a one-way street with a difficult corner-crossing. And there’s that incessant assumption that senior citizens have families, whereas many are orphaned by age. -more-

Arts & Events

AROUND & ABOUT FILM: Raul Ruiz's 'Night Across the Street' & Bahram Beyzaie's 'Downpour'—San Francisco Film Festival at the PFA; Film & Video at the East Bay Media Center

By Ken Bullock
Friday May 03, 2013 - 07:37:00 AM

—Raul Ruiz's films, such as 'Three Crowns of the Sailor,' 'On Top of the Whale,' 'Time Regained' (from Proust's last novel) made big splashes during the 80s & 90s at the San Francisco International Film Festival & the Pacific Film Archive. The filmmaker himself appeared at the PFA & at the 1997 SF Film Festival. -more-

FILM REVIEW: At Any Price: Modern Agribiz Is a Field of Schemes
Opens May 3 in San Francisco; Opens May 17 at the UA in Berkeley

Reviewed by Gar Smith
Thursday May 02, 2013 - 08:47:00 PM
The Whipples Uber Alles

Before shooting his new crops-and-robbers film, At Any Price, Director Ramin Bahrani (a good ol' boy born and raised in North Carolina) spent six months living with farm families in the Midwest Corn Belt. As Bahrani will readily tell you, the two catch-phrases he heard most often from America's farmers were: "Expand or Die" and "Get Big or Get Out." -more-

Don't Miss This

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Friday May 03, 2013 - 03:39:00 PM

If you've had it up to here with the overblown description of the Boston Marathon Attack, cheer up. Fortunately for those of us living in the bay area, there are some fabulous events and activities running now through summer and fall -- ballet, concerts, art exhibits, comedians, all designed to wipe out grim memories of that Attack.

Let's start with our own Oakland East Bay Symphony, with Michael Morgan, Music Director. On May 3, at 8 p.m. there will be a program of Beethoven and Cesar Franck at the Paramount Theatre (510)444-0801. Then on Saturday, June 1, 8 p.m., a program celebrating the music of Dave Brubeck will liven things up. 1-800-745-3000. -more-

THEATER REVIEW: 'Time Sensitive'—Ragged Wing Ensemble at the Sanctuary for the Arts

By Ken Bullock
Thursday May 02, 2013 - 08:55:00 PM

"You build up & up till you scrape the sky with your cutting edge ..."

("A view of the edge, the outer limits, the place where the city stops ... ")

"He just wanted to see the ground."

(A mogul, afraid of heights, in the penthouse of the tallest building, riding the fastest elevator down, while a daredevil elevator engineer skydives instead ... An aging watchmaker & his collection of clocks tended by The Kid, a mechanical man ... Shiny monks hefting blocks of ice, chanting a liturgy about Time ... The scams of a street couple ... An up-&-coming manager, hoping to pre-plan her family down to the nanosecond of her daily schedule ... )

All of the above, in their own separate vignettes, tableaux, finally converge when The Crack opens up to reveal the Dark Heart of the World ...

Ragged Wing Ensemble's new original, 'Time Sensitive,' written & directed by co-founder & artistic director Amy Sass, folds together the ingredients into a theatrical souffle that rises & rises ... Building on movement theater styles—& the ensemble movements are among the best this plucky little outfit has ever performed—the show seems to be a watershed for both the company—who'll move into their new home, Flight Deck, this Fall, at Telegraph & Broadway, the edge of Uptown. (Oakland, the only city without a Midtown!) —Not, as erroneously mentioned here before, the location of this show, an old Pentecostal church on the corner of Telegraph & 38th, fit stage for 'Time Sensitive,' literally in the sanctuary. -more-