The Week



New: Citizens to Save the Berkeley Post Office Will Withdraw from Berkeley Post Office on Sunday to Move Forward in Their Fight

From Margot Smith, Citizens to Save the Berkeley Post Office
Monday August 19, 2013 - 12:21:00 PM

Citizens to Save the Berkeley Post Office worked for the last year to prevent the sale of our historic Civic Center Berkeley Post Office building. They count among their successes the local and national press coverage of the issue, broad public support and continued pressure on the U.S. Postal Service.

To build on these successes, Citizens to Save the Berkeley Post Office are now concentrating on the lawsuit challenging the Post Office sale, legislative action by our State and Federal representatives, and a city of Berkeley effort to rezone the downtown as a governmental, cultural and educational district. The group is also working with other communities across the nation who are threatened with the sales of their post offices. From the Bronx to Santa Monica, the USPS is selling the historic post offices that were entrusted to it.

Because of the need to focus on legal, legislative and community matters, Citizens to Save the Berkeley Post Office finds that it is time to withdraw from participation in the camp at the Main Post Office as of noon, Sunday, August 18. 2013. We deeply appreciate the commitment of those in the encampment, but need to withdraw to work on other priorities. The encampment or In-Tents Defense of our Post Office is self-governed by Berkeley Post Office Defense which shares our goals of public ownership of our historic post office and a United States Postal Service that serves the common good. -more-

New: CHP Shooting Closes Tunnel

By Bay City News Service
Friday August 16, 2013 - 10:43:00 PM

A California Highway Patrol officer shot a suspect in a hit-and-run collision this afternoon on state Highway 24 in Oakland, in an incident that closed the eastbound Caldecott Tunnel at the height of rush hour, law enforcement officials said. -more-

Nuking-under-the-Influence: Booze, Drugs and Atomic Power

By Gar Smith
Thursday August 15, 2013 - 03:30:00 PM

On June 9, 1985, Ohio's Davis-Besse nuclear facility suffered a loss of feedwater coolant. The situation quickly grew desperate. As the water boiled away, the reactor core came within 41 minutes of becoming completely exposed and experiencing a meltdown. Although the coolant flow was reestablished after a tense, 12-minute lapse, the resulting damage was serious enough to shut the troubled reactor for a year.

The incident — dubbed "the worst accident since Three Mile Island" — drew the attention of the US House Subcommittee on Energy Conservation and Power. The subcommittee filed a report revealing that Davis-Besse had recorded 48 feedwater problems since July 1979 and 40 accidental reactor shutdowns between 1980 and 1985 owing to equipment failures and human error.

In an attempt to improve discipline at the plant, Davis-Besse's owners reached out to the military: they hired a former nuclear navy commander to serve as plant manager. This plan ran aground in dramatic fashion when the new manager showed up drunk during a Christmas holiday, began cursing his employees, and started throwing punches. Plant security had to be called in to drag him from the building.

For years, this singular incident has served as a salutary example of a seemingly self-evident truth: nuclear technology and alcohol are not a good mix. So it may come as a surprise to discover that, more than two decades on, alcoholism and drug abuse continue to haunt the nuclear power industry. -more-

Augustus Bart Berger, Jr.
1924 - 2013

Wednesday August 21, 2013 - 02:00:00 PM
Augustus Bart Berger: 1924 - 2013

Augustus Bart Berger, Jr., passed away on August 7th, 2013, in Berkeley, California, at the age of 89. He was known throughout his church parish as extremely kind, generous, and caring. He was active and alert and continued his charity work until the end. -more-

Michael Ricardo Melton
December 25, 1954 - August 13, 2013

Wednesday August 21, 2013 - 01:16:00 PM
Michael Ricardo Melton <br> December 25, 1954 - August 13, 2013

Michael Ricardo Melton passed over the early morning of August 13, 2013 in Sacramento, CA after succumbing to illness. He was 58 years old. -more-

Prominent Activist, Chef and La Peña Founder, Hugo Brenni, Passes Away

By Fernando Andres Torres. LatinOPen
Wednesday August 21, 2013 - 01:14:00 PM
Hugo Brenni

Noted Bay Area Chef and one of the original funders of La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, Hugo Brenni del Canto passed away in arms of his wife Wanda in the remote Chilean island of Chiloe on August 18, 2013. -more-


The Editor's Back Fence


Odd Bodkins: Carl (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Wednesday August 21, 2013 - 02:14:00 PM

Public Comment

New: Why Can't Berkeley's Derby Street Baseball Field Serve Local Residents?

By Jane Stillwater
Wednesday August 21, 2013 - 01:42:00 PM

I walked past the brand new Derby Street baseball field yesterday and immediately realized that it was completely fenced off and vacant. And the basketball court next to it was fenced off and vacant too. -more-

Reporters Leaving the US

By Jagjit Singh
Wednesday August 21, 2013 - 01:38:00 PM

The heavy handed actions of the US master spy agency, the NSA, have struck a piercing blow at the heart of democracy and freedom of the press. Acutely embarrassed by the revelations of Edward Snowden via the London Guardian and reporter Greg Greenwald, the British government held David Mirandra, Greenwald’s partner, for nine long hours at London’s Heathrow Airport. Jacob Appelbaum, computer security specialist has experienced similar harassment by US and other officials and lamented that “what is at stake is the ability for a human being to have dignity and for journalists to have integrity with their sources, threatening the whole concept of a free democracy," -more-

New: Impaired and Addicted

By Carol Denney
Monday August 12, 2013 - 01:45:00 PM

Written in appalled recognition of the Berkeley Rent Board’s interference with efforts to protect low income renters from secondhand smoke.

impaired and addicted
the Rent Board agrees
is how renters must live
by the Rent Board’s decree
we live in apartments
so what can we do
if our neighbors are smokers
then we’re smokers too

Chorus: what’s wrong with the rent board
the science is in
did they all miss the memo
can’t public health win
we may live in apartments
but we matter too
we can’t hold our breath
without all turning blue -more-


SENIOR POWER: Women’s Equality Day

By Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Thursday August 15, 2013 - 03:40:00 PM

In 1971, Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY) introduced in Congress legislation designating August 26 each year as Women's Equality Day in the United States of America. Women had finally been provided the right to vote when, on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was signed. Sixteen other nations had already guaranteed women this right. The amendment had been introduced in 1878. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Components of a Disability plus "The Revolving Door"

By Jack Bragen
Thursday August 15, 2013 - 03:37:00 PM

What are the factors that sometimes make a person with mental illness disabled? -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Studies Show Assisted Outpatient Treatment Programs Save States Money

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday August 15, 2013 - 03:21:00 PM

Forty-five states permit the use of assisted outpatient treatment (AOT), court-ordered treatment (including medication) for individuals who have a history of medication noncompliance, as a condition of their remaining in the community. Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Tennessee do not have AOT. -more-

Arts & Events

EYE FROM THE AISLE: “Camelot” at SF Playhouse great summer fare with all-pro cast.

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday August 15, 2013 - 03:17:00 PM
Fpreground: Wilson Jermaine Heredia*, Johnny Moreno* and Monique Hafen* with cast of Camelot.

For the second summer running, the SF Playhouse has mounted a Lerner & Lowe musical in the beautiful theatre at the Kensington Hotel on Post Street. Last year it was “My Fair Lady” with Johnny Moreno, Monique Hafen, and Charles Dean with set by Nina Ball, and it swept the Critics Circle awards. This year, it’s “Camelot” with Johnny Moreno as Arthur, Monique Hafen as Guinevere, and Charles Dean as Merlin/Pellinore. -more-

EYE FROM THE AISLE: Berkeley Playhouse “The Wiz” dazzles with singing, dancing

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday August 15, 2013 - 03:11:00 PM
Lion (Benjamin Pither), Scarecrow (Aejay Mitchell), Dorothy (Taylor Jones), and Tin Man (Reggie D. White)

If you are looking for something to do this weekend or next, go see “The Wiz” at Berkeley Playhouse at the Julia Morgan Theatre on College Avenue. It closes Sunday August 25, and you don’t want to miss this extraordinary array of talent. -more-