The Week



Flash: Water Main Break Shuts Down Mabel Street in South Berkeley

Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Wednesday June 18, 2014 - 10:52:00 AM

A water main break this morning has shut down a street in Berkeley and is affecting service for about 30 East Bay Municipal Utility District customers, a utility spokeswoman said. -more-

New: Berkeley Police Seeking Sexual Battery Suspect

Hannah Albarazi (BCN)
Monday June 16, 2014 - 10:16:00 PM

A a man on a bicycle groped a 20-year-old woman while she was walking through a parking lot at the University of California at Berkeley on Sunday night, campus police said. -more-

New: Seven-year-old Boy Struck by SUV at Bancroft and Acton in Berkeley

Hannah Albarazi (BCN)
Monday June 16, 2014 - 08:11:00 PM

A 7-year-old boy riding his bicycle in Berkeley was struck and injured by an SUV this afternoon, a police spokeswoman said. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Environmental Commission Backs Warning Labels on Gas Pumps

From Jamie Brooks, 350 Bay Area
Monday June 16, 2014 - 08:13:00 PM

Proposed Ordinance Opposed by Petroleum Lobby as “Political Opinion”

The Berkeley Community Environmental Advisory Commission voted 6 to 1 to recommend to the City Council that they direct the City Manager to draft an enforceable ordinance to require a climate change information label on all fuel dispensing facilities (gas stations). -more-

Man Arrested for Berkeley Shooting Wednesday that Injured Two

Scott Morris (BCN)
Friday June 13, 2014 - 10:15:00 AM

A 21-year-old man was arrested Wednesday in connection with a shooting that afternoon in a South Berkeley neighborhood that injured two men, a police spokeswoman said. -more-

Oakland: Study Says Minimum Wage Increase Would Help City's Economy

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday June 13, 2014 - 11:49:00 PM

Raising Oakland's minimum wage to $12.25 an hour would help the city's economy in addition to boosting the income of more than one-fourth of its workers, economists at the University of California at Berkeley said today.

Speaking at a briefing at Oakland City Hall, Ken Jacobs, chair of the university's Center for Labor Research and Education, said 48,000 people would receive a wage increase either directly or indirectly if a minimum wage measure that's expected to appear on the ballot in November passes.

Jacobs, who helped write a report on the measure, also said 56,700 workers in Oakland who currently don't get paid sick days would start getting them if voters approve the measure. -more-

Press Release: Report Outlines Benefits of Proposed Minimum Wage Hike in Oakland

By Kathleen Maclay, UC Berkeley Media Relations
Friday June 13, 2014 - 12:37:00 PM

A boost in Oakland’s minimum wage to $12.25 an hour that voters will decide on in November would mean a pay raise for 25 to 30 percent of workers in the city and would boost their yearly earnings by about $2,700, according to a new study by the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. -more-



Summertime--But Don't Take It Easy

Becky O'Malley
Friday June 13, 2014 - 03:17:00 PM

Now that the dust has settled from the June primaries, it’s possible to get a clear look at the political landscape. For those of us who still believe that participation in electing our representatives is a meaningful way to affect the future, there are some lessons we can learn. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New: Blue Shield Spokesperson Reportedly Running in Berkeley's District 7

Monday June 16, 2014 - 08:50:00 PM

The Daily Cal reports: UC Berkeley alumnus to run for City Council District 7 . The candidate in question, seeking the seat now held by Councilmember Kriss Worthington, seems to be 27-year-old Sean Barry, once an assistant editor at the Daily Cal and Mayor Tom Bates' appointee to the Waterfront Commission. He looks like the council majority's candidate, chosen to appeal to the younger voter while not actually being a student: "Councilmember Laurie Capitelli, an early endorser of Barry, said he also thought having a younger member on the council could bring a valuable perspective." Presumably Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, who was 24 when he was elected, didn't bring the correct perspective, so the majority is trying again. The article doesn't mention Barry's current job, but googling him seems to indicate that he's now a PR guy for Blue Shield of California who acted as the company's spokesperson in response to a recent consumer lawsuit. -more-

Intercepted Letter
from Un Petit Cochon
to the Berkeley City Council
on the Minimum Wage Law

From Todd Kniess,Chef Owner, Bistro Liaison, Le Petit Cochon
Saturday June 14, 2014 - 09:39:00 AM

Forwarded to the Planet by a reader:

From: Todd Kniess [] Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 03:11 PM To: Wozniak, Gordon; Worthington, Kriss; Wengraf, Susan; Capitelli, Laurie; Arreguin, Jesse L.; Anderson, Maxwell; Moore, Darryl; Maio, Linda;

Subject: Layoffs

Hello Everyone, I just wanted to let you know I just laid off 6 employees. Your recent decisions will eliminate many more jobs and put a great deal of small business out of business. Berkeley is not San Francisco. We do not have the convention business, the tourist dollars or the tech industry to sustain the approved increases. You are chasing business out of Berkeley and your actions will lead to a weaker economy.

I understand the unions get people to vote and that is what all of you need to stay in your positions. Maybe you should think more about the people than your self interests. These increases will ultimately hurt the people you are claiming to help.

None of you are welcome in our restaurants. I trust you will respect our decision not to serve you.

Kind Regards

Todd Kniess , Chef Owner, Bistro Liaison, Le Petit Cochon -more-

Public Comment

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Responds to President Obama's Remarks on Iraq

Friday June 13, 2014 - 06:24:00 PM

(Washington, DC)- Today, Following President Obama's remarks concerning the crisis in Iraq, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement:

"After more than a decade of war, thousands of America lives and billions of dollars, the American people are looking to Congress to promote security and diplomacy," said Congresswoman Lee. "The ongoing crisis in Iraq is the tragic product of President George W. Bush's unnecessary and unjust 2003 invasion. The response must not be more military action, but a political process led by the Iraqis and representative of all Iraqis. -more-

World Soccer Games

Jagjit Singh
Friday June 13, 2014 - 11:25:00 AM

The billions being spent on building gleaming stadiums and supporting infrastructure amidst grinding poverty in many countries like Brazil is insane and demonstrates the gross insensitivity of the corporate ruling elite such as the FIFA, more aptly called the FI$FA. The London Sunday Times recently blew the lid on the FIFA’s shading practices in its bidding process to nominate oil rich Qatar to host the 2022 World Soccer Cup - a most inappropriate location because of its sweltering heat.

FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, boasts of a “shared sporting culture” which rakes in billions in lucrative advertising deals leaving the host country a mountain of debt, unused stadiums and other facilities, following the games. The FIFA promised the Brazilian people they would not be asked to carry the financial burden but instead the tournament would be financed using private funds. In a stark betrayal, outraged Brazilians soon discovered they will be saddled with a staggering $11- 20 billion debt – funds critically needed to upgrade their education, transportation and crumbling health care system. Despite the rivalry of the countries participating in the world cup, they all share their intense distrust and hostility of the FIFA. The FIFA has been engulfed in scandals during its long history and have been awarded numerous yellow cards; it is now time to issue a red card and abolish this redundant corporate albatross. -more-

Great Battalions of Jewish Doves Languishing in Voicelessness

Joanna Graham
Friday June 13, 2014 - 06:51:00 PM

On the weekend of June 7-8, J Street—“the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans”—held a “summit” in San Francisco, attended by about 600 people.

J Street, a lobbying organization dedicated to the two-state solution in order “to preserve the Jewish and democratic nature of the state of Israel,” was founded in 2008 by Jeremy Ben-Ami with start-up funds from George Soros. Ben-Ami’s biography includes both Israeli and American elements. His family goes back 130 years in Palestine; his grandparents helped found Tel Aviv; his father fought with the Irgun, a pre-state right-wing militia. Ben-Ami, who is in his early fifties, was educated in the U.S., served in the Clinton administration (domestic policy), and has since had a Democratic Party-aligned kind of inside-the-beltway career, mostly doing consulting for political campaigns and NGOs. In the late 1990s, he lived three years in Israel and started a consulting company there. No bio I have found makes clear whether he is Israeli- or American-born, how—since his family is so deeply rooted in Israel—they (or he) came to live in the U.S., and what citizenship(s) he currently holds.

One question about J Street that I and others have is this: since the West Bank settlement project began in 1967, the moment the territory was conquered, and since, if one definitive statement can be made about it, it’s that the more time passes the less likely it can be stopped, then why, if Ben-Ami cares so much to preserve “the Jewish and democratic nature of the State of Israel,” did he wait until 2008 to found his organization?

The answer provided by a suspicious and cynical left is that J Street is a response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which was founded in 2005 and has been gaining ground ever since with rather astounding rapidity. In other words, the left sees J Street as the kinder gentler face of AIPAC, designed to keep liberal American Jews within the fold; to make them feel like they’re doing something without doing anything really; and to keep them from bolting into truly threatening organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace or, on college campuses, Students for Justice in Palestine, both of which support the BDS campaign. -more-

World Cup for Whom?

Artur Salles Lisboa de Oliveira.
Friday June 13, 2014 - 10:32:00 AM

The World is likely to get surprised by the attitude of Brazilians toward the World Cup, especially when the games will be held in Brazilian soil. Given the fact that we have five world championships on our belt, soccer is perceived as a stronger driver of feelings such as pride and happiness. However, it is time to think over the importance of soccer in Brazil and no better time to do it than now. -more-


New: ECLETIC RANT: More Mass Killings Can be Expected in Our Gun Crazy Nation

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday June 14, 2014 - 09:14:00 AM

As has been reported, Elliot Rodger killed six students, injured 13 others, and then killed himself at the University of Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, California. And how quickly the killings moved off the front pages. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Europe: The Sky’s Not Falling

Conn Hallinan
Friday June 13, 2014 - 11:23:00 PM

Now that the dust has settled from the recent elections for the European Parliament it is time to take a deep breath and see what really happened. No, Britain is not about to toss its immigrant population into the sea. No, France’s Marine Le Pen is not about to march on the Elysee Palace. And, as repulsive as the thugs of Hungary’s Jobbik Party and Greece’s New Dawn are, it was the continent’s left to whom the laurels went in last month’s poll. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Clinton vs. Warren: Problem or Opportunity?

Bob Burnett
Friday June 13, 2014 - 10:57:00 AM

Many who saw the remarkable conversation between Senator Elizabeth Warren and economist Thomas Piketty on economic inequality, got the impression that Warren was preparing to run for President. Warren’s candidacy alarms some Democrats because it raises the specter of a battle for the Democratic nomination that might divide the Party. But there’s a substantial upside. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT:Prisoner Swap is an Opportunity to Again Debate the Closing of Guantánamo

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday June 13, 2014 - 10:29:00 AM

It is unfortunate that the debate about the prisoner swap -- U.S. Army Sgt. Bergdahl for 5 Taliban officials -- disregards or at least minimizes the fact that prior to the swap, there were 149 still imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp, of which 78 are still imprisoned after being cleared for release and 38 the U.S. has said it lacks evidence to prosecute but claims they are too dangerous to release. Guantánamo has a reputation as a place of torture and indefinite detention, and is a continued international embarrassment. It is time for President Obama and Congress to agree on a plan to quickly release these prisoners or bring them to a speedy trial, and then close Guantánamo. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: My Thoughts on the Violence

Jack Bragen
Friday June 13, 2014 - 10:28:00 AM

To begin with, the Isla Vista shooting seemingly was premeditated and was done out of malicious motives as much as it arose from mental illness. The perpetrator of that shooting suffered from sociopathy, a different and sinister form of mental illness. Apparently, he wasn't out of touch with reality and instead wanted to get even. -more-

Arts & Events

AROUND AND ABOUT THE PERFORMING ARTS: Ethnic Dance Festival to Honor the Kunhiramans of Berkeley's Kalanjali, Dances of India; Notes on Theatre of Yugen's 'This Lingering Life;' Opera Updates

Ken Bullock
Friday June 13, 2014 - 06:56:00 PM

—The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival announced at the end of February a unique series of performances for Saturday June 14 at 7 p. m. at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to mark the occasion of a rare and well-deserved celebration of artistic purpose—and endurance—in both performance and education: all eight Indian classical dance styles (Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri, Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, Sattiriya) performed for the first time together on an American stage, celebrating the award of the Malonga Casquelourd Award to K. P. and Katherine Kunhiraman, who since 1975 have performed and taught Bharatanatyam and Kathakali, as well as other dances, through their Kalanjali, Dances of India troupe and school in Berkeley. -more-

Berkeley Early Music Festival:
Part Two

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday June 13, 2014 - 10:13:00 AM

The second half of Berkeley’s Early Music Festival got off to a glorious start with the West Coast debut of internationally renowned keyboard artist Kristian Bezuidenhout. In the first of his two scheduled appearances here, the 35 year-old Bezuidenhout, a native of South Africa, played a recital at 5:00 pm on Thursday, June 5, at St. Mark’s Church. For this performance, Bezuidenhout played on a pianoforte built by Thomas and Barbara Wolf in 1990 on designs from around 1800 by Johann Schantz of Vienna. Opening the program was a Rondo in C minor by Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach. featuring dynamic contrasts. -more-