Berkeley's Minimum Wage is Now $10/hour

Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday October 01, 2014 - 06:27:00 PM

Minimum wage in the city of Berkeley was raised to $10 per hour today, the first in a gradual rise to more than $12 an hour in two years, city officials said. -more-

New: Berkeley Begins Enforcing Ban on Feeding Wildlife in Parks

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday October 01, 2014 - 05:41:00 PM

City of Berkeley officials today began enforcing a new ordinance that prohibits the feeding of wildlife in city parks and other public spaces.

People caught feeding wildlife will face $100 fines after an initial warning period and fines of up to $500 for multiple infractions within a one-year period.

The ordinance applies to the feeding of all wildlife but was drawn up by city officials in response to widespread objections to a plan earlier this year to kill ground squirrels who were believed to be harming water quality by burrowing into the ground at Cesar Chavez Park, a former landfill near the Berkeley Marina. -more-

Page One

Interview with City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan

Toni Mester
Friday September 26, 2014 - 11:05:00 AM
Ann-Marie Hogan Selfie

What exactly is the job of City Auditor?

I manage a team of professional performance auditors who collectively have expertise in public policy analysis, accounting, economics, business, and computer systems. Through our performance audits, we provide guidance to Council and management about how to fix problems and deliver better service. We follow up to make sure the City implements our recommendations. I also manage the Payroll Audit division.

How do you decide on what to audit?

We look for audits that can result in streamlined services, improved service delivery, cost savings, or the avoidance of risks. We ask the public, the commissions, Council, the City Manager and City staff for ideas and we use our knowledge of the City’s priorities and risks, as well as reports from other cities, to put together an audit plan every spring. -more-

Politicians Target Eucalyptus in Berkeley Hills

Scott Morris (BCN)
Friday September 26, 2014 - 11:01:00 AM

Shady eucalyptus trees growing in the East Bay hills could pose a serious fire danger and 12 area elected officials are advocating for federal funding to remove them. -more-

Public Comment

Do Republicans Represent Our True Interests?

Bruce Joffe
Friday September 26, 2014 - 11:49:00 AM

Republicans shut down government services just to stir up ideological drama. They lobbied to weaken real reform of our broken health insurance system, then, after it passed, they've been working to prevent many people benefitting from even those modest improvements. Republican leadership in the House won't even consider closing the most egregious tax loopholes through which billions of dollars are squirreled into off-shore bank accounts. The rest of us are left with more taxes, unrepaired roads, and higher college tuition costs for our children. -more-

Israeli’s Elite Refuse to Kill

Jagjit Singh
Friday September 26, 2014 - 12:27:00 PM

It is gratifying that more and more courageous Israelis are stepping forward and publicly denouncing the appalling treatment of Palestinians under the crippling, suffocating occupation. The latest refuseniks are veterans from an elite secretive intelligence unit that have publicly declared they will no longer “take part in the state’s immoral actions against Palestinians because of what they call “our moral duty to act.” -more-

Who are the War profiteers?

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday September 26, 2014 - 12:13:00 PM

A new report finds many talking heads who have been fanning the flames of war in the news media have close ties to Pentagon contractors. Lee Fang, a reporter of the Nation, describes how television analysts including retired generals Jack Keane and Anthony Zinni and former Department of Homeland Security official, Frances Townsend, make regular appearances on television but fail to disclose the huge fees they collect as paid directors and advisors to some of the largest military contractors in the world. -more-

A Test for UC Berkeley's Free Speech Policy

Carol Denney
Friday September 26, 2014 - 01:49:00 PM

Your comments about the response you received to the free speech issue miss the pertinent point. -more-


Vote Yes on Berkeley Measure R for a Truly Green Downtown

Becky O'Malley
Friday September 26, 2014 - 10:46:00 AM

Anyone who doubts for a minute that we need to vote Yes on Berkeley Measure R should check out the brouhaha in San Francisco over the funding for the under-construction Transbay Terminal and associated transit improvements. As described in an article in the generally developer-friendly San Francisco Chronicle:

“The dispute has its roots in a series of agreements between City Hall and developers that sought to allow the construction of much taller buildings than the area was initially zoned for, in exchange for developers’ taxing themselves through a Mello-Roos district.”

Except that since the deal went down a couple of years ago, now that property tax assessments in San Francisco are on the rise in sync with rising property values there, the developers are trying to weasel their way out of paying their bills. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Planet Endorsements (Mail Ballots After Oct. 6)

Friday September 26, 2014 - 12:11:00 PM

After the previous election some readers complained that they couldn't locate the Planet's endorsements when they went to vote. To make it as easy as possible, between now and the election we're going to maintain this corner of the front page where you can always find our endorsements along with links to editorial material with more detail about specific candidates and issues.

New in this issue: Yes on Berkeley Measure R.

Then, click here for the candidates: Which Berkeley City Council Candidates Should You Support?

Short Answers: District 1, Alejandro Soto-Vigil; District 4, Jesse Arreguin (unopposed); District 7, Kriss Worthington; District 8, Jacquelyn McCormick (rank her first, followed by George Beier, second, and Lori Droste, third. Skip fourth place. )

Finally , check out this May editorial with a self-explanatory title: Tony Thurmond is the Best Choice for California Assembly ...

We're pleased to see that Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin has added his endorsement to Tony's long list of fans.

In this video you can see Tony explain his campaign in person at a Berkeley house party: -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: What Do Democrats Want?

Bob Burnett
Friday September 26, 2014 - 11:43:00 AM

During the 2014 midterm elections Republicans have waged a negative “slash and burn” campaign, attacking President Obama and Democrats in general. The GOP strategy is to fire up their base, bamboozle a few independents, turn off Dems or prevent them from voting. In this hostile environment, most Democrats have been defensive and their message has been muted. Democrats must go on offense and tell voters what they stand for. -more-

COUNTERPOINTS: What Does AB&I Want from Oakland City Government?

J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 25, 2014 - 09:37:00 AM

People in Oakland learned this month what a Texas-based garbage disposal company wanted out of our city. But a question nobody is asking is, what does an Alabama-owned cast iron foundry want from Oakland city government? While I can't figure out the answer to that question but I know it's something, because AB&I Foundry regularly pours money into Oakland city government elections, lots of money, the kind of money folks give when they expect something in return. -more-


Jack Bragen
Thursday September 25, 2014 - 09:35:00 AM

Some people in the general public do not have much understanding of mental illness. Certain people may have negative opinions about mentally ill persons which are based on ignorance, and other people may be open-minded but lack much information. -more-

Arts & Events

Around & About the Performing Arts: Berkeley Symphony Opening on Thursday; Enda Walsh's 'New Electric Ballroom' at Shotgun

Ken Bullock
Friday September 26, 2014 - 11:39:00 AM

Berkeley Symphony opens at 7--not 8!--this Thursday evening with a program conducted by Joana Carneiro that features Jennifer Koh in the Sibelius Violin Concerto; the world premiere of a commissioned piece by Oscar Bettison, Sea Shaped, and Elgar's Enigma Variations. Koh performed a formidible double-header of violin concerti with the Symphony a few years back, a stellar performance. The Sibelius concerto

The Shotgun Players production of Enda Walsh's 'New Electric Ballroom,' ongoing at Ashby Stage, brings to mind the Druid Theatre's production of 'The Walworth Farce,' an earlier play in Walsh's same series, which Cal Performances produced here in November, 2009, one of the memorable shows in the Bay Area of the past decade. shotgunplayers.org -more-