The Week



Election 2014 Wrap Up: Droste Wins District 8 Council Seat By 16 Votes; Record Low Turnout in Berkeley

Rob Wrenn
Wednesday November 12, 2014 - 07:18:00 PM

With all the absentee and provisional ballots now counted in Alameda County, Lori Droste finished ahead of George Beier by just 16 votes, 2072 votes to 2056 votes, or 50.19% to 49.81%.16 votes is a large enough margin that there is little chance that a recount would change the outcome.
Since she fell short of 50%, ranked choice voting determined the outcome. Beier was more popular than Droste among those who gave their first choice vote to Alvarez Cohen, but not by enough to overcome her lead in first choice votes.

Alameda County has until December 2 to certify the results of the election.


Turnout in Berkeley was the lowest of the last 35 years. Only 39,092 ballots were cast this year, compared to 60,559 in 2012 and 49,099 in 2010. The previous low was 41,363 in 2002, and the voting age population has certainly grown in the last dozen years. -more-

Flash: Droste 2072, Beier 2056 in Berkeley's District 8 Race

Wednesday November 12, 2014 - 06:49:00 PM

At 6:36 tonight Lori Droste is ahead, 2072 to 2056 for George Beier in Berkeley Council District 8. An analysis will follow. -more-

Kaiser Nurses on Strike

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Tuesday November 11, 2014 - 06:29:00 PM

Nurses working at Kaiser Permanente medical centers in the Bay Area walked off of the job today to protest what they say are eroding standards of patient care. -more-

Election 2014: Lori Droste Leads in District 8 City Council Race by Only Four Votes- Count Not Complete Yet (News Analysis)

Rob Wrenn
Tuesday November 11, 2014 - 09:42:00 AM

The Registrar of Voters has almost finished the count of absentee and provisional ballots and Lori Droste is still ahead of George Beier, but only by four votes, 2058 to 2054, or 50.05% to 49.95%, for the Council seat currently held by Gordon Wozniak. -more-

Flash: Droste Ahead by Four Votes in Berkeley's District 8 Cliffhanger

Tuesday November 11, 2014 - 07:01:00 AM

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters issued a new report of votes in Berkeley's Council District 8 election at 1:34 a.m. which showed Lori Droste now leading by only four votes at 2058 votes (50.05%) to George Beier's 2054 votes (49.95%) after allocation of second and third choice votes using the ranked choice method. The Registrar's office is closed for Veterans' Day, but the count is not yet complete, it appears. Analysis will follow. -more-

Updated: Alameda County Vote Results Delayed but Imminent

from Tim Dupuis, Registrar
Monday November 10, 2014 - 06:08:00 PM

UPDATE: The Registrar's Office has informed the Planet in an email that they don't expect to be finished counting before 12:30 or 1 a.m. -more-

New: How the GOP Bought, Rigged, Stole and Lynched the 2014 Election (News Analysis)

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
Monday November 10, 2014 - 08:22:00 PM

Since the Bush-Cheney-Rove theft of the 2000 election in Florida, the right of millions of American citizens to vote and have that vote counted has been under constant assault.

In 2014, that systematic disenfranchisement may well have delivered the US Senate to the Republican Party. If nothing significant is done about it by 2016, we can expect the GOP to take the White House and much more.

The primary victims of this GOP-led purge have been young, elderly, poor and citizens of color who tend to vote Democratic. The denial of their votes has changed the face of our government, and is deepening corporate control of our lives and planet. -more-

Dead Man at Berkeley Fraternity Identified as Lafayette Resident

By Bay City News
Monday November 10, 2014 - 12:53:00 PM

Berkeley police today identified a man found dead at a fraternity house near the University of California at Berkeley campus early Sunday morning as 20-year-old Vaibhev Loomba of Antioch. -more-

Flash: Election 2014: Droste takes slim 12 vote lead in District 8 Council Race

Rob Wrenn
Sunday November 09, 2014 - 06:49:00 PM

Lori Droste took a slim 12 vote lead in the District 8 City Council race after an additional 3762 vote-by-mail votes and about 6400 provisional votes were counted countywide.

The Registrar had previously estimated that there were 24,000 provisional ballots. The remaining provisional ballots will determine the outcome of this race and a recount can be expected if the margin remains as small as it has been since the counting began.

In Round 4 of ranked choice voting, Droste now leads Beier 1995 to 1983 or 50.15% to 49.85%. -more-

Updated: Non-student, 20, Found Dead in UC Berkeley Frat House

Erin Baldassari (BCN)
Sunday November 09, 2014 - 06:48:00 PM

UPDATE: The Planet has received this email from Ofc. J. Coats of the Berkeley Police Department:

On Sunday, November 9, 2014 at approximately 12:09 p.m. BPD responded to 2728 Bancroft Way, (Zeta Psi Fraternity) for a welfare check on an unresponsive male. BPD and Berkeley Fire personnel arrived within minutes and discovered a 20 year old male, identified as Vaibhev Loomba, deceased. The Homicide Detail was contacted and this incident is still under investigation. The victim was not a resident of the fraternity or a UC Berkeley student.

We are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Berkeley Police Department’s Homicide Detail at 510-981-5741.

Police are investigating the death of a 20-year-old man at a fraternity house near the University of California at Berkeley campus early this morning. -more-

New: Election 2014 Update:
Beier's District 8 Margin Now Only 2 Votes in Low Turnout Berkeley Election

Rob Wrenn
Sunday November 09, 2014 - 12:35:00 AM

George Beier has only a two vote lead over Lori Droste in the District 8 City Council race after the Registrar counted an additional 47,045 vote-by-mail ballots. Droste continues to lead with first choice votes, but would lose to Beier in the fourth round of ranked choice voting by just two votes, 1910 to 1908, or 50.03 % to 49.97%. Provisionals may determine the outcome and a recount is possible if this razor thin margin is the final margin when all votes are counted. -more-

Election 2014: Worthington, Beier, Hemphill still ahead after second day of counting absentee ballots.

Rob Wrenn
Friday November 07, 2014 - 05:04:00 PM

In the District 7 City Council race, incumbent Kriss Worthington increased his lead over challenger Sean Barry. While the initial vote-by-mail ballots counted on election night favored Barry, he is so far not winning the ballots dropped at the polls on election day.

In District 8, the race tightened a bit. While George Beier is running third with first choice ballots, he leads Lori Droste by just 19 votes in the ranked choice vote by 1692-1673; at the end of yesterday's count, he had a 28 vote lead. Lori Droste still leads with first choice votes and widened her lead in today's count. Neither McCormick or Alvarez Cohen have any real chance of winning.

In the School Board race for third place, Karen Hemphill pulled further ahead of Julie Sinai, and now has a 300 vote lead, up from a 244 lead yesterday. -more-

BART Stopped at Berkeley Station to Search for Robbery Suspect

Dennis Culver (BCN)
Friday November 07, 2014 - 05:03:00 PM

BART officials this afternoon are reporting delays due to police activity at the downtown Berkeley station. -more-

Election Update: City Council Districts 7 and 8 and School Board (News Analysis)

Rob Wrenn
Thursday November 06, 2014 - 05:00:00 PM

With 89 more votes counted in the District 7 City Council race, Kriss Worthington's lead widened from 81 to 100 votes. In District 8, 399 more votes were counted, and Mike Alvarez Cohen inched closer to frontrunner Lori Droste, but the ranked choice vote continues to give a narrow lead to George Beier, 1449-1421.

As of 4:52 p.m. today (numbers in parentheses are votes as of 12:44 a.m.yesteday)

District 7:

Kriss Worthington 475 (421) +54

Sean Barry 375 (340) +35

Kriss' margin before latest update: +81

Kriss' margin after latest update: + 100

District 8: Lori Droste 883 (775) +108

Mike Alvarez Cohen 866 (741) +125

George Beier 817 (711) +106

Jacqueline McCormick 579 (519) + 60 -more-



Despite the Best Efforts of the Democratic Party, Some Good Candidates Won in Berkeley and Richmond

Becky O'Malley
Friday November 07, 2014 - 08:44:00 AM

Well, the election’s over, and I’ve already spent the better part of two days on mutual condolence calls with friends who are bent out of shape over the many losses suffered by the Democratic Party around the country. I feel their pain, don’t think otherwise.

From what I read in the mass and left-leaning media, it looks like the Dems once again have managed to shoot themselves in the foot on the national level by being too timid in claiming Obama's real achievements. During this election I’ve learned more about the Democratic Party, nationally and especially right here in Alameda County, than I ever wanted to know.

Basically, I come from the Molly Ivins tradition: you hold your nose and pull the Democratic lever most of the time. I’ve participated in my share of insurrections against the party, notably in dumping a pro-Vietnam-war Democratic congressman in Ann Arbor in the sixties, but I’ve never seen a probability-based viable alternative to the Democrats which lasted for the long haul.

I’m not talking about an ideological alternative here. Various manifestation of SDS, the Greens, the Democratic Socialists, and dinner table conversations with my own friends have offered inspiring ideas that I’d love to see adopted in an ideal universe. But when it came to voting in elections, it has most always seemed prudent to try to get people elected to office as a prerequisite to change, though I’ve tried other paths from time to time. And mostly, that’s meant voting for Democrats, some of them real stinkers.

The Green Party in Richmond is currently a shining counter-example to this theory. They’ve now managed to win control of their city council in multiple elections, and they’ve also cooperated with an independent but politically congenial mayoral candidate to counter 3+ millions of Chevron dollars which were hurled at them. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New: The Berkeley Student Vote: Analyzing Why the District 7 Numbers Turned Out That Way

Monday November 10, 2014 - 08:35:00 PM

My correspondents have forwarded to me links to two cogent analyses of the District 7 vote:

Citizens Speak


Students on Camera

Isn't it great that the council majority finally gave students their very own district? -more-

Public Comment

New: Pressure on Israel Grows

Jagjit Singh
Sunday November 09, 2014 - 01:58:00 PM

The British House of Commons vote to endorse diplomatic recognition of a Palestinian state is a vitally important gesture. Israel and the US should not ignore the message which is a sign of the growing frustration and anger over Israel’s settlement expansion. Ignoring stated US policy, Israel announced it plans to build 1,000 new housing units in areas of Jerusalem which the Palestinians claim encroaches on their independent state. Richard Ottaway, a Conservative lawmaker and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee voiced the frustration of many of Britain’s lawmakers when he stated “such is my anger over Israel’s behavior in recent months that I will not oppose the motion. I have to say to the government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.” Sweden’s new left-of-center government recently announced that it would become the first major Western European nation to recognize Palestine. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has urged the United Nations Security Council to set a specific deadline for Israel to end the occupation. -more-

American Red Cross

Jagjit Singh
Friday November 07, 2014 - 01:48:00 PM

The second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which pummeled the New York City region, comes on the heels of a joint investigation by ProPublica and NPR who contend the American Red Cross diverted critical resources away from those in need and instead launched a massive PR campaign to buttress its image. -more-

Dangerous Sidewalk in Berkeley

Romila Khanna
Friday November 07, 2014 - 01:52:00 PM

I wanted to bring to your attention the condition of the sidewalk at the corner of Hopkins and Sutter. Part of the sidewalk is covered with pebbles dumped there from the corner house. I have seen elderly people slip as they picked their way through the uneven pebbles strewn over the sidewalk. Can the City of Berkeley oversee clearing of the pebbles before some pedestrian suffers a dangerous fall on the sidewalk at Hopkins and Sutter? -more-


ECLECTIC RANT: Global Warming Deniers in Congressional Driver's Seat

Ralph E. Stone
Friday November 07, 2014 - 02:36:00 PM

Following the midterm elections, Republicans remain firmly in control of the U.S. House of Representatives and now enjoy a majority in the U.S. Senate. Senator James Inhofe (R-Ok) is expected to become Chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee (EPW). -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: None Dare Call It Treason: Why Republicans Won

Bob Burnett
Friday November 07, 2014 - 09:03:00 AM

Democrats have offered many excuses for their devastating losses in the 2014-midterm election, but they failed to include the most obvious: they were weak. Starting with President Obama and extending through most of the Party leadership, Democrats didn’t fight back. Democrats routinely let Republicans get away with actions that, were the roles reversed, Republicans wouldn’t stand for. -more-

SENIOR POWER In behalf of old, disabled, and old disabled library patrons

By Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Friday November 07, 2014 - 09:29:00 AM

Welcome, Jeff Scott! Jeff Scott is the new Director of Berkeley’s Library Services. He commences his new role this month, November 2014. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Power of Written, Spoken, and Thought Words

Jack Bragen
Friday November 07, 2014 - 09:02:00 AM

Words are more than mere vibrations of the vocal cords. The words we speak change us and affect those around us, and the words we think may determine who we will become. Words can heal, or they can be used as weapons. -more-

Arts & Events

THEATER REVIEW: 'Redwolf'--Ragged Wing at the Flight Deck

Ken Bullock
Friday November 07, 2014 - 02:17:00 PM

A classroom of students chanting the lesson as the Teacher points to a right triangle—and in the corner, wearing an intense frown, is Red, "bored," as the Teacher later puts it, though her malaise—or wish—is more intense than any boredom ... -more-

THEATER REVIEW: A. R. Gurney's 'What I Did Last Summer' by Piedmont-Oakland Repertory Theatre (PORT)

Ken Bullock
Friday November 07, 2014 - 02:15:00 PM

A middle-aged writer (Brett Mermer) introduces himself to tell us what he did last summer: he wrote a play about what he, as a 14 year old, did one summer years before,July, 1945, in fact, a war year—a summer that changed his life. This is the slender framing device for A. R. Gurney's coming of age play, which demonstrates both charm and pith in this production by Piedmont-Oakland Repertory Theatre (PORT). -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT MUSIC: Countertenor Andreas Scholl with Philharmonia Baroque

Ken Bullock
Friday November 07, 2014 - 02:13:00 PM

—Renowned countertenor Andreas Scholl will sing arias from Handel and selections from Bach with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, led by Julian Wachner—who just made his San Francisco Opera debut, brilliantly conducting Handel's 'Partenope'—this Saturday night at 8, Sunday afternoon at 4 at the First Congregational Church, Dana between Durant & Channing. Bach: Sinfonia to Cantata No. 42, Cantata No. 170, Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major; Handel operatic arias; Teleman: Concerto in F major for violin, oboe & two horns. $25-$100. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER AND FILM: East Bay Media Center Film Festival; Golden Thread Presents 'Dear Armen' from Toronto; Indra's Net Premieres 'Delicate Particle Logic'

Ken Bullock
Friday November 07, 2014 - 02:11:00 PM

—The excellent folks at the East Bay Media Center are once again hosting the Berkeley Video & Film festival in its 23rd edition, already underway with the Student Film Marathon, featuring in part work by the outstanding students of the famed USC Cinematic Arts program, several documentaries on Tibetan Buddhism & Bön, often shot in situ; Peter Yost's documentary on Mt. Tamalpais, narrated by Peter Coyote; a doc on poetry—and short comedies, drama, all kinds of new film and video, shown in the Center's well-refurbished Performance Space. 7 pm Hallowe'en through November 8, various times. $10; students/elders $5; Berkeley High students free with id—& wear a Hallowe'en costume or mask for 50% off. 1939 Addison, between Milvia & MLK. http:/ or 843-3099 -more-

THEATER REVIEW: 'Delicate Particle Logic'--Indra's Net at Osher Studio

Ken Bullock
Friday November 07, 2014 - 02:04:00 PM

In the late 1930s, Lise Meitner, an emigre German Jewish physicist in Sweden received a letter from her longtime collaborator, chemist Otto Hahn in Berlin, detaailing a problem: an experiment involving unranuim the two had been pursuing with their collaborators before Meitner's escape from Nazi Germany, was not, as expected, given the knowledge and theorizing of the cutting edge of then-contemporary physics, producing heavier elements ... on a walk with her nephew, Robert Frisch, a scientist living in Copenhagen, Meitner hit on the answer: without knowing it, they had split the atom. Hahn would receive the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the discovery. Meitner was mentioned, but did not share the prize. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT CABARET AND VAUDEVILLE: Subterranean Variété Lounge Show at the Marsh

Ken Bullock
Friday November 07, 2014 - 01:47:00 PM

A new designation for a novel set of acts, coming to the Marsh's Cabaret Room next week for one night only, under the mighty aegis of Subterranean Shakespeare—but The Bard it ain't, exactly ... -more-