The Week

Attempted murder suspect's car after crash during police chase
Berkeley Police
Attempted murder suspect's car after crash during police chase


Texas Man Arrested for Allegedly Beating Man in Berkeley

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Wednesday October 23, 2013 - 09:24:00 PM

A Texas man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in Berkeley this morning after viciously beating a man and then fleeing from police, hitting a patrol car and finally crashing into a tree, according to Berkeley police. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Police Arrest Attempted Murder Suspect After Crash

From the Berkeley Police Department
Wednesday October 23, 2013 - 08:35:00 PM

Berkeley police officers arrested a suspect in an apparent attempt murder case early this morning, following a pursuit in which the suspect struck a police car, and later crashed into a tree in north Berkeley, destroying his vehicle. -more-

New: Hearing Tonight on Death of Mentally Ill Transgender Berkeley Woman

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday October 23, 2013 - 05:36:00 PM

Several community groups tonight will present the findings of a "people's investigation" into the death of a mentally ill transgender woman after a struggle with Berkeley police officers in February. -more-

New: Wrongful Death Lawsuit by Berkeley Family Settled

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday October 22, 2013 - 04:01:00 PM

The wife and two sons of a man who was killed outside his home in the Berkeley Hills last year have reached a resolution of their wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Berkeley.

Attorney R. Lewis Van Blois, who represents the family of 67-year-old Peter Cukor, said the family won't receive any money from the city. Instead, the city, without admitting any fault, has agreed to change the police communications center's policies in order to improve public safety, he said. -more-

New: BART's Off to a Slow Start as Accidents Clog Highways

By Bay City News
Tuesday October 22, 2013 - 10:05:00 AM

BART service is slowly getting back to normal but many commuters still opted to drive to work this morning, and a series of crashes has slowed traffic to a crawl on many Bay Area roadways. -more-

BART Strike Over: Full Report

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Monday October 21, 2013 - 10:50:00 PM

BART management and two of its unions announced a tentative agreement tonight, ending a four-day strike with partial train service expected to resume Tuesday morning.

Contract negotiations resumed this afternoon after service was suspended when workers walked off the job Friday. The walkout was the second this year, after contentious negotiations resulted in a four-day strike in July.

Partial train service is expected to resume starting as early as 6 a.m., with full restoration expected in time for the afternoon commute, BART general manager Grace Crunican said.

Management and union leaders from Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 worked with a federal mediator to reach the tentative agreement, which still must be approved by BART's Board of Directors and put up for a vote by the two unions.

The unions submitted a new contract offer Sunday night that included concessions related to work rules governing the use of technology but in the proposal union members "insisted on retaining work rules" that protect safety.

Flanked by politicians in Oakland tonight, union leaders and BART management announced the end of the strike that snarled Bay Area traffic and flooded alternative public transportation. -more-

Press Release: BART Announces Tentative Agreement with Unions, Confirms that Service Will Resume at 4 am Tuesday (Oct. 22)

From the BART press office
Monday October 21, 2013 - 10:39:00 PM

BART General Manager Grace Crunican issued the following statement after BART and its two largest unions reached a tentative agreement on labor contracts, which will now be presented to employees for a ratification vote: -more-

Flash: BART STRIKE OVER! Service Starts Tomorrow Morning??

Monday October 21, 2013 - 10:19:00 PM

A notice on the BART website says that service will resume at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, following a tentative contract agreement. Since Tuesday is Oct. 22, we're not yet sure what they mean, but the 21st is almost over. Stay tuned. Here's the report in the Bay Area News Group papers: -more-

New: Berkeley Judge Gets Probation for Reduced Charge of Stealing from Elderly Neighbor

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Monday October 21, 2013 - 09:18:00 PM

A former Alameda County judge was sentenced today to five years' probation for stealing funds from his elderly neighbor in the Berkeley hills. -more-

New: Fund Established to Help Homeless Victim of Train Collision

By Sonja Fitz
Monday October 21, 2013 - 09:13:00 PM

On Monday October 7th, Shelly Jones, age 27, and her boyfriend Sean Stallmayer, age 29, were in a car in West Berkeley waiting for a train to go by when they witnessed the unthinkable—a man on the tracks.

As they and other witnesses watched, the man was hit by the oncoming train. He survived, but was covered in blood and horribly injured, including a severed leg. Shelly and Sean were quick to act.

“Another girl called 911 but nobody went towards the guy, so we went and Sean put a tourniquet on him,” said Shelley.

The victim, Mark Schwartz, a homeless man and local modern day beat poet who ran for Mayor of Berkeley in 2012, was taken to surgery and is currently still at the hospital recovering.

But on-the-spot assistance was not enough for the young couple.

“We started contacting organizations because we just want to make sure he gets what he needs,” says Shelley. “After seeing what we saw, we feel connected to him.” -more-

BART Strike Jams Freeways on Friday

By Sara Gaiser (BCN)
Friday October 18, 2013 - 09:42:00 AM

Bay Area freeways, especially those leading to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, saw an increase in traffic today on the first day of a BART strike, the California Department of Transportation reported today.

Bay Area traffic delays increased around 30 percent above normal between 5 and 10 a.m. today, according to Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus.

The largest increase was seen on Interstate Highway 80 in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, Haus said.

Interstate highways 580 and 880 saw delays around twice as high as normal around 7 a.m., and the carpool lane on Interstate Highway 80 leading up to the Bay Bridge saw around 50 to 100 percent more traffic than a typical Friday, Haus said.

The backup is being felt in San Francisco, where city streets were heavily congested heading into the evening commute, especially at freeway entrances, according to a city transit official.

The Van Ness Avenue corridor is moving, but many other key intersections around the city are backed up congested, especially at freeway entrances, said Paul Rose, a spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

"The only thing you can do is be patient at this point," Rose said.

Rose said Muni has not been heavily affected by the traffic backup because it has transit-only lanes in the most affected areas.

One driver reported that the Fifth Street and Second Street on-ramps to eastbound Highway 80 in San Francisco were already severely backed up by 4 p.m., with waits of more than 45 minutes.

Many cars were giving up and turning around, presumably in search of alternate routes, the driver said.

The California Highway Patrol is reporting heavy traffic on the Bay Bridge this evening, although other areas so far look relatively normal, a CHP officer said. -more-

Press Release: New Center for Jewish Studies launched

By Gretchen Kell | UCB Media Relations
Saturday October 19, 2013 - 09:45:00 AM

A new Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, announced on Wednesday by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer, will bring together faculty, students and visiting scholars for research and debate across Jewish studies’ wide academic landscape.

The vibrant new hub on campus will coordinate both a new “designated emphasis” that allows Ph.D. students to specialize in Jewish studies while earning a degree from a range of disciplines, and a Jewish studies undergraduate minor.

Breslauer said the new center “builds upon UC Berkeley’s long tradition of leadership in the study of Jewish literature, history and rabbinics, providing institutional capacity to deepen these strengths programmatically and to greatly expand our offerings.”

UC Berkeley has pledged $1 million to the center, which will report to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. In addition, the campus already has more than $8 million in endowed funds for Jewish studies that provides for three endowed chairs, a postdoctoral fellowship, graduate fellowships and two annual lectures.



Obamacare: Sooner or Later, It Will Work. Just Chill.

By Becky O'Malley
Saturday October 19, 2013 - 09:05:00 AM

This morning my esteemed Berkeley neighbor Brad Delong drew my attention to a Wall Street Journal article headlined: Health Website Woes Widen as Insurers Get Wrong Data: New Errors Indicate Technological Problems Extend Issues Already Identified. Because of my reluctance to swell Rupert Murdoch’s coffers, I haven’t bought my way through the WSJ pay wall, and therefore didn’t read any more of the article than the lead sentence Brad quoted on his blog, but the headline was enough to set me off.

The deafening chorus of OMGs being generated by the newsies over problems with the first generation of enrollment software for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) makes me wonder where they’ve been all these years. Sometimes I think business writers in particular should be required to take a real-world internship before they’re allowed to opine on things they just don’t understand. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Public Comment

Press Censorship

By Tejinder Uberoi
Saturday October 19, 2013 - 09:49:00 AM

The Committee to Protect Journalists has just issued its first report warning President Obama has ushered in a paralyzing climate of fear for both reporters and their government sources. The author, Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post, was informed by dozens of journalists that officials are "reluctant to discuss even unclassified information … because they fear that leak investigations and government surveillance make it more difficult for reporters to protect their sources."

Glenn Greenwald, of the London Independent, warned that the Obama administration has declared a war against journalists and seriously undermined the freedom of the press. No longer can we accuse China, Iran and Russia of waging an assault on press freedom; such criticisms only expose us to charges of hypocrisy. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: The New Civil War: Who is to Blame?

By Bob Burnett
Friday October 18, 2013 - 11:04:00 AM

America’s continuing budget and debt-limit crises represent more than misguided political tactics. This is a conflict between two different views of who we are, what’s important, and where the US is headed. It’s a repeat of the ideological clash that resulted in the America’s first Civil War. Who started this fight? -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Letter From Sofia: Old Tanks & Modern Mayhem

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday October 17, 2013 - 08:56:00 PM

Sofia, Bulgaria—The military museum in this sprawling capitol city consists of a tiny building and a huge outdoor display of weapons that look as if they had been wheeled in fresh from the battlefields and parked, higgledy piggledy: mountain howitzers that shelled Turks in 1912 rub hubs with Cold War era Russian artillery. MIGs, dusty and weather beaten, crowd a sinister looking Luna-M “Frog” tactical nuclear missile. Two old enemies, a sleek German Mark IV Panzer and its dumpy, but more lethal adversary, a Russian T-34, squat shoulder to shoulder. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: A Few Ramblings on Paranoia

By Jack Bragen
Thursday October 17, 2013 - 09:02:00 PM

My wife quoted a nurse she had met at an inpatient ward. Many years ago the nurse told her that if there is a pill that helps you feel better, you should take it and you should not try to be a martyr. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Senior Sexuality.

By Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Saturday October 19, 2013 - 09:31:00 AM

“Of all the passions, the old man should avoid a foolish passion for women.”

Dr. John Hill (1716-1775)

According to The Old Man’s Guide to Health and Longer Life in 1764 England, Dr. Hill decreed that to marry was everyone’s duty except for the aged. Note that Samuel Johnson considered Hill "an ingenious man, but had no veracity."

There is still a certain amount of taboo attached to sex among older people. Another doctor, this one contemporary, when asked whether it is possible to maintain a sexual life responded with chapter 13 “Maintain your sexual life” in his new book, Winning Strategies for Successful Aging. Sex retards aging, if for no other reason than that it is also good exercise. Seventy-eight year old Eric Pfeiffer, M.D. writes that men continue to be interested in sex into their 70s. (Men, that is!). Sex in the nursing home? Yes… sez he, you are still a sexual being at any age. But he also provides “a cautionary note” regarding sexually transmitted diseases. -more-

Arts & Events

Barbara’s Living Room – A Staged Reading in Memory of Barbara Oliver, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley

Saturday October 19, 2013 - 11:54:00 AM

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Berkeley will present a staged reading of Barbara’s Living Room – A Celebration in Eight Scenes and One Poem in remembrance of Barbara Oliver, on Sunday October 27th at 4:00 p.m., in the church’s upstairs Parish Hall at 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. Attendance is free and a festive reception will follow. The performance will serve as a benefit for St. Mark’s new sound system, a passionate cause of Barbara’s. Donations will be accepted. -more-