The Week



Congresswoman Lee's Statement on President Obama's Strategy to Undermine ISIS

Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Wednesday September 10, 2014 - 07:51:00 AM

Today, the President laid out his comprehensive strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS and his case for the expansion of military action in Iraq and Syria.

The Constitution requires Congress to vote on the use of military force. This is not about this President. This is about any President and any Congress.

We must re-establish the checks and balances laid out by the Constitution.

The facts are clear. We are no longer talking about limited strikes to prevent genocide and protect U.S. personnel. We are talking about sustained bombing and the use of military force.

The threat from ISIS is serious. But before we take any further military action, Congress must debate the threats to our national security, the risks to American servicemen and women and the financial costs of waging another war in the Middle East.

As the President said “we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together,” that is why I believe the President’s plan requires a thoughtful debate and vote by Congress. -more-

Bus Hits Hydrant in Downtown Berkeley Causing Major Leak

Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday September 10, 2014 - 11:47:00 PM

An AC Transit bus hit and sheared off a fire hydrant this afternoon in downtown Berkeley, causing a geyser of water to erupt, a deputy fire chief said. -more-

Berkeley Police Say No Signs of Foul Play in Death Downtown

Bay City News
Wednesday September 10, 2014 - 03:46:00 PM

There are no signs that foul play was involved in the death of a man whose body was found in a parking lot in Berkeley on Tuesday afternoon, a police spokeswoman said today. -more-

Man Arrested for Second Strong-Arm Robbery Near U.C. Berkeley Campus

Andrew Dickey (BCN)
Wednesday September 10, 2014 - 10:49:00 AM

Berkeley police arrested a 22-year-old man for a robbery near the University of California at Berkeley campus last weekend. -more-

Three Arrested in Berkeley Strong-Arm Robbery

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday September 10, 2014 - 08:41:00 AM

Berkeley police have arrested three 18-year-old suspects for the strong-arm robbery of a 19-year-old woman near the University of California at Berkeley campus early Saturday morning. -more-

Body Found in Berkeley Parking Lot at Shattuck and Blake

Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Tuesday September 09, 2014 - 07:03:00 PM

A body was found in a parking lot in Berkeley this afternoon, a police spokeswoman said. -more-

Press Release: Starbucks Opens at Ashby and Telegraph and Immediately Violates City Codes

From Andrew Johnson
Tuesday September 09, 2014 - 11:17:00 AM


In March 2013, Sacramento architect Adam Orozco, Arktgraf Inc. was granted an Administrative Use Permit (AUP) for a quick-serve coffee shop at 3001A Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley. The AUP waived 3 City Code requirements: 1) it permitted a 2063 sq. ft. use, larger than the 1500 sq. ft. maximum, 2) it waived the required number of off-street parking spaces for such a large space (7 spaces, 1 per 300 sq. ft.), and 3) it allowed operating hours to start at 5:30 a.m. (rather than the required 7:00 a.m. hour).

The Bateman Neighborhood Association (BNA) and Bateman resident James Smith appealed the AUP to the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) March 29, 2013. At the public hearing of that appeal, Starbucks sent a representative to oppose the appeal. ZAB denied the Bateman appeal 5-4 on June 29, 2013.

Then BNA and Smith appealed the ZAB ruling to the City Council. At two public hearings Starbucks again sent representatives to argue against the appeal. On March 11, 2014, the City Council unanimously upheld the BNA appeal and denied the AUP for the 3 waived Code requirements: Starbucks was not allowed to operate a coffee shop larger than 1500 sq. ft. at 3001 Telegraph, or to evade required off-street parking spaces, or to open before 7:00 a.m.

Immediately thereafter, Starbucks submitted new plans for a 1333 sq. ft. space (see Berkeleyside link noted below), just small enough that no additional off-street parking was needed, accomplished by erecting a wall separating the 3001A space into two distinct spaces, 3001A and 3001B. To comply with City Code restrictions on overall square footage and off-street parking provisions, Starbucks had to occupy only 3001A, not make any use of 3001B, and open no earlier than 7:00 a.m.

Current Situation

Starbucks began serving customers at 3001A Telegraph in early August, 2014. Neighbors immediately noticed that the coffee shop opened at 5:00 a.m. weekdays, 6:00 a.m. weekends, as advertised on Starbucks website (see link below, with stated hours of operation at 3001A as 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. weekends), in violation of Berkeley Municipal Code 23E.36.060 Use Limitations:

A. No commercial use shall operate except between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight, except as authorized by an Administrative Use Permit, and in accordance with Section 23E.16.010. -more-

Debate at Noon Today on Berkeley's Green Downtown Initiative

Monday September 08, 2014 - 10:34:00 AM

The Berkeley Chamber in cooperation with the League of Women Voters and the Berkeley NAACP will host a non partisan Government Affairs meeting on the "Downtown Initiative" on the November ballot. -more-

Report on Town Hall Meeting on Tasers in Berkeley

Steve Martinot
Friday September 05, 2014 - 03:08:00 PM

There was a Town Hall meeting on Tasers last night (Sept. 4) here in Berkeley (at 1939 Addison St.) The meeting was called to provide information and discussion on this weapon. The Berkeley Police Department has asked the city for permission to obtain them. They had made this request a year ago, and been turned down by the city council. They are asking again. -more-

Berkeley’s Parks in Peril

Toni Mester
Friday September 05, 2014 - 03:29:00 PM

The Parks and Waterfront Commission meets on Wednesday September 10 at 7 PM at the Frances Albrier Community Center at 2800 Park Street in San Pablo Park to discuss the state of the parks, many of which are in desperate need of repair, as well as the related state of the Parks Department budget, which is currently running a deficit. -more-

Berkeley Friends Hope to Re-Build Tuolomne Camp

Dennis Culver
Friday September 05, 2014 - 12:00:00 PM

It's been a year since a fire destroyed the Berkeley Tuolomne Camp, but that hasn't stopped friends and supporters of the historic camp from working to get the area restored.

On Aug. 25, 2013, the California Rim Fire ripped through the area, destroying 92 of the camp's 111 structures including all of the main buildings onsite.

Scott Gelfand, with the Friends of Berkeley Tuolomne Camp, said community members are still working to bring the camp back.

"It's a vital part of Berkeley and the city's history," Gelfand said. "The community is excited to help out the camp and get it rebuilt."

The camp opened in 1922 and is just seven miles from the entrance to Yosemite National Park.

The fire was the third largest wildfire in California's history and burned 257,314 acres.

Friends of Berkeley Tuolomne Camp is a nonprofit organization that has organized events to help raise money for the camp's restoration. The organization is not associated with the city. -more-

The Drought Song (to the tune of Yankee Doodle)

C. Denney
Friday September 05, 2014 - 03:30:00 PM

California's got the drought
Texas is no better
it's hard on lawns and tough on trout
especially in hot weather
but grapes up north are doing fine
something we can turn to
California's got good wine
coming to the rescue

fill the fishtank with merlot
the dog drinks bloody mary
wash the car with chenin blanc
change the oil with sherry
wash your hair in pinot noir
zinfandel is nifty
water lawns with chardonnay and
wash your socks with whiskey

why not fill the swimming pool
with some refreshing riesling
not the rum or they may have to
peel you off the ceiling
people will admire your
modus operandi
wash your clothes with zinfandel
brush your teeth with brandy

California leads the way
in brilliant innovation
plant your vines ahead of time
before it sweeps the nation
wine will get us through the drought
dry or sweet as honey
disruptive, green without a doubt
and boy will it make money -more-



Target? In Berkeley? Wow?

Becky O'Malley
Friday September 05, 2014 - 02:58:00 PM

Well, whoop-de-do. Target Berkeley! A flurry of press releases in my inbox, plus an article in the trade press and another in a Berkeley local online outlet reveal that the city’s downtown will be honored with some sort of a brand-new mini-Target incarnation: same iconic bulls-eye logo, the whole megillah, just downsized a bit.

The commentariat is wowed. The most prolific local email annunciator, someone whose name seems to be “guest”, was the first up to the plate online: “Great news. Well done, Mr. Caplan. And thanks to the DBA for its efforts to make the downtown a more desirable place to eat, shop and play. More work to do, for certain, but this is a good step in the right direction.”

I guess I’d be wowed too, if I wasn’t cursed with remembering a whole string of similar first steps that never made it to step two. When we were incubating our software company in the early 80s, upstairs in the charming Telegraph Avenue building which is now Rasputin’s, the landlord and downstairs neighbor was Miller’s Outpost, a Southern California clothing chain (do they still exist?) and up the street was The Gap—both now gone.

And downtown: I was part of a big (losing) fight by preservationists to stop the hideous remodel of the building that housed beloved Edy’s ice cream parlor in order to attract the Eddie Bauer chain. Uh-huh. Came and went in jig time. Now we have, what, a cellphone store, in that plug-ugly building? I can’t even remember, because I never shop in downtown Berkeley any more. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Beer Garden Gathering to Benefit "Yes on Berkeley Measure D"

Department of Oh Sure
Tuesday September 09, 2014 - 10:38:00 PM

We're not taking a position at the moment on Berkeley Measure D, a proposed tax on soda pop and some other sugary drinks, but it seems odd to us that some Yes on D sponsors (the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, no less) are throwing a party in a beer garden to support their cause. The stated goals of the ballot measure, it's said, are to combat obesity and diabetes--maybe we've missed something, but doesn't beer contribute to both of these as least as much as soda pop? Moderation, moderation, sure, sure, but really....could it be that the real purpose of the tax is to raise money to pay public employees, like, say, teachers? Check out this link: -more-


Odd Bodkins: Winslow (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday September 05, 2014 - 03:29:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Global Warming (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday September 05, 2014 - 03:24:00 PM

Public Comment

Ukraine should stay neutral

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday September 05, 2014 - 03:36:00 PM

It is time for the US, the European Union, Ukraine and Russia to dial back the harsh rhetoric lest more and more people die in this senseless conflict. Already close to 3,000 have already been killed. A Human Rights Watch report accuse the rebels of arbitrarily detaining civilians and subjecting them to torture, degrading treatment, including forced labor. Satellite images show Russian artillery, vehicles and troops in and around eastern Ukraine. In a major display of unity, 28 NATO countries and Ukraine are holding an emergency meeting. Both sides accuse each of escalating the conflict. There is little doubt that national pride will triumph concerns for human life. -more-

September Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday September 05, 2014 - 03:14:00 PM

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-


New: THE PUBLIC EYE; What’s Wrong With US Foreign Policy?

Bob Burnett
Monday September 08, 2014 - 03:43:00 PM

Obama bashing has been one of the characteristics of the 2014 midterm election. For the last few months the President was accused of lacking foreign policy leadership. Republicans blamed Obama for deteriorating conditions in Iraq and Syria, implying the President is solely responsible for the bad news. What’s wrong with US foreign policy? -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Ray McDonald Case May Test NFL’s New Domestic Violence Policy

Ralph E. Stone
Friday September 05, 2014 - 08:56:00 AM

I have seen the terrible toll on victims of domestic violence as a volunteer at the Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic (CROC), helping victims of domestic violence obtain restraining orders against their abusers. -more-

SENIOR POWER: House call medicine

Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Friday September 05, 2014 - 08:47:00 AM

Does anyone recall House Calls, the 1978 “comedy drama romance” motion picture? Walter Matthau played a middle aged lech-surgeon-widower. The talents of Glenda Jackson, Art Carney and Richard Benjamin were also wasted. It actually went on to one TV season. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Therapeutic Techniques that Aren't as Helpful

Jack Bragen
Friday September 05, 2014 - 01:45:00 PM

Most psychotherapists are probably not aware of this; however, many of the techniques that are used to diffuse anger can create a lot of anguish and dis-empowerment for the consumer. Many of the techniques that are used to get us to behave in a manner which is more convenient or more manageable are harmful for our internal thought structures. This is one reason that some consumers resent mental health practitioners. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Carlisle Floyd’s SUSANNAH: A Folksy American Tragedy at San Francisco Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday September 08, 2014 - 03:51:00 PM

Back in 1952, Carlisle Floyd was a 24-year-old pianist and assistant professor of music at Florida State University, when in conversation with a graduate student he was reintroduced to the Apocryphal story of “Susannah and the Elders.” Floyd recalls im-mediately recognizing the operatic potential of this Biblical tale: “the innocent and virtuous Susannah’s being spied upon while bathing by the lustful Elders, who, when she refuses their advances, falsely accuse her of being an adulteress.” The young composer immediately began writing his own libretto. Carlisle Floyd completed the score in March, 1954, and obtained permission from FSU to stage his opera there with professional singers. The world premiere of Floyd’s SUSANNAH took place at FSU on February 24, 1955, and was an immediate success. The very next year Erich Leinsdorf brought SUSANNAH to New York City Opera, where it won a New York Music Critics’ Circle Award and ran for five consecutive seasons. -more-

Press Release: Piedmont Oakland Repertory Theatre September Entertainment

John McMullen
Friday September 05, 2014 - 03:34:00 PM
John Hale, Heidi Wolff, Alison Whismore

“The Vibrator Play” and “Love Letters” are the September entertainment at Piedmont Oakland Repertory Theatre starting September 6th. -more-

Theater Review: 'Penthesilea'--Actors Ensemble & Inferno Theatre at Hinkel Park--Free

Friday September 05, 2014 - 08:28:00 AM

"Till now I thought force and counterforce were all that Nature knows, that no third power existed besides. What puts fire out will not bring water to a boil and vice-versa. Yet here's a deadly foe of each, and when it comes, fire won't know whether to flow with the deluge, nor water to leap up to heaven with the flames." -more-