Protests in San Francisco, Oakland after Garner verdict

Sara Gaiser/Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday December 03, 2014 - 10:54:00 PM

Market Street in San Francisco has cleared and traffic resumed following a protest in response to a New York City grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died while in a police chokehold restraint. -more-

New: UC Berkeley police seek information re campus vandalism, theft suspects

Andrew Dickey (BCN)
Wednesday December 03, 2014 - 11:01:00 PM

Officers are seeking the identities of two suspects who vandalized and stole from a University of California at Berkeley building last month, university police officials said. -more-

New: Two suspects in Grizzly Peak robbery arrested for Oakland crimes

Jeff Shuttleworth
Wednesday December 03, 2014 - 10:56:00 PM

Two of three suspects in the armed robbery and kidnapping of a couple sitting in a car at an overlook in the Berkeley hills on Thanksgiving have been arrested for similar crimes in Oakland, University of California at Berkeley police said today. -more-

New: Man Found Dead in Berkeley Park Identified

Bay City News
Tuesday December 02, 2014 - 11:20:00 PM

A man who was found dead at Aquatic Park in Berkeley on Sunday afternoon was identified by an Alameda County coroner spokeswoman today as 51-year-old Gary Baker. -more-

Press Release: Open University at UC Berkeley Hosts Sproul Rally Tuesday at noon

From: The Open University at UC Berkeley
Monday December 01, 2014 - 11:07:00 PM

On the 50th anniversary of Mario Savio’s famous speech on Sproul steps during the height of the Free Speech Movement, The Open University will be hosting a Speak Out and Rally on Sproul on Dec. 2 at noon. -more-

Page One

Berkeley police investigating suspicious death at Aquatic Park

Bay City News
Sunday November 30, 2014 - 09:18:00 PM

Police are investigating the death of a man in his 50's in Berkeley this afternoon as a homicide, police said. -more-

Election 2014: How Berkeley Voted (News Analysis)
Sharp dropoff in student voting results in record low turnout

Rob Wrenn
Sunday November 30, 2014 - 08:57:00 AM

Only 40,301 ballot were cast in Berkeley in the November 4 election. This is the smallest number in any November election going back to 1980.

Only 50.4% of those registered to vote in Berkeley cast ballots, also below previous lows of 55% in 1980 and 58.9% in 2002. Turnout in Berkeley in gubernatorial elections has typically been 60% or higher since 1980. In presidential election years turnout has been even higher, with a peak turnout of 77.5% in 2008. In that year, 66,703 ballots were cast in Berkeley, 66% more than the number cast this year.

While turnout was down citywide compared to the last gubernatorial election in 2010, when 49,640 votes were cast, a sharp drop off in student voting is responsible for this year's vote falling below the previous citywide low of 41,363 votes in 2002.

Countywide, turnout was only 45.0%, and the Chronicle reported on Monday that turnout statewide was 42%, well below the previous statewide low of 50.5% in 2002.

The drop-off in votes in Berkeley is even more remarkable when you consider that between 1980 and 2010, the local population grew 9%, from 103,328 to 112,580. It has continued to grow since 2010 according the Census Bureau. So the number of people voting was down despite an increase in the number of those eligible to vote. -more-

U.C. Berkeley Police Investigate Robbery and Kidnapping on Grizzly Peak

Dennis Culver (BCN)
Sunday November 30, 2014 - 09:33:00 AM

Police in Berkeley are investigating a Thursday armed robbery and kidnapping that occurred along Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

University of California police officers responded around 2 a.m. to a dirt turn-out along the boulevard after receiving the report of the robbery and kidnapping.

Police said the two victims, a 26-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man, were sitting in their vehicle looking out toward the bay when three men approached them and demanded money.

Police said two of the suspects were armed with handguns, and the third was armed with a baseball bat.

The victims didn't have any money, so one of the suspects entered their car and demanded to be driven to an ATM while the other suspects followed. -more-

Public Comment

Clear & Present Danger to Israel

Jagjit Singh
Sunday November 30, 2014 - 09:26:00 PM

A seismic shift is occurring in European capitals increasingly frustrated by Israeli’s intransigence towards Palestinian sovereignty, – building more and more settlements on Palestinian land - and its home demolitions. The European Union has urged Israel to immediately halt its expansionist policies, end its illegal occupation and lift the siege of Gaza. Current Israel policy, driven by right wing ideologues, is fueling much of the intensifying Palestinian rage and the cycle of unending violence. -more-

Pattern of Abuse

Tejinder Uberoi
Sunday November 30, 2014 - 12:19:00 PM

Predictably the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Wilson triggered outrage in Ferguson and communities across the country who see Brown’s killing as part of a wide-scale pattern of police abuse of people of color. Law enforcement has offered little credible explanation why Brown’s body was allowed to remain on the street for 4.5 hours. There is little doubt that if the teenager had a lighter skin, the outcome would have been different. In an obvious effort to justify the shooting, Officer Wilson described Michael Brown as a raging “Hulk Hogan”. The prosecutor seems to have actively tried for a grand jury result absolving the officer’s actions. This was a show trial aimed at pacifying an angry black community who saw through the charade. -more-


Romila Khanna
Sunday November 30, 2014 - 09:28:00 PM

Today's immigration problem will linger on for a long period of time. Even with deportation attempts to return undocumented people to their native countries, many will stay back with their families or friends. I think we may have to spend thousands of dollars to locate them and deport them. -more-


Whither the Berkeley Planet? and Why?

Becky O'Malley
Friday November 21, 2014 - 09:31:00 AM

Yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of “why are we all gathered here together?” Today it seems to me that it’s time to add a new tagline to what is commonly called the masthead, though I believe the real pros call it the flag. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Better Late Than Never

Sunday November 30, 2014 - 08:55:00 AM

Having slacked off over Thanksgiving, we now think it's time to start over with a new issue, since the old one got so long. We have already gotten a couple of outstanding new contributions. One, more of Rob Wrenn's outstanding election analysis, is here, and the rest will be posted as soon as I have a chance. Keep on checking. A new editorial is unlikely, however. -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Wrongful Deaths

Jack Bragen
Sunday November 30, 2014 - 12:17:00 PM

We are dealing with a nationwide crisis in the misuse of power by police officers and by a corrupt court system. I can in no way belittle the crime that was perpetrated upon Michael Brown. It was one of a series of wrongful deaths in which non-Caucasian people have been killed by police and in which there has been little or no retribution by the courts. My sympathy goes to Michael Brown's family, and I believe that any reasonable person should be outraged by this corruption and by this tragedy.

However, for me this brings up the wrongful deaths that have been perpetrated upon persons with mental illness, as well. -more-

ECLETIC RANT: Thoughts on the Ferguson Matter

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday November 30, 2014 - 09:20:00 PM

Everyone now knows that on August 9 Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown, an African-American teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. On November 24, a St. Louis grand jury announced that it was not indicting Mr. Wilson. -more-

Expanding medicare to cover all Americans, but not any time soon

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday November 30, 2014 - 12:22:00 PM

Everyone has the right to health, including health care, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Health care is a public good, not a commodity and the U.S. government has a responsibility to ensure that care comes first.

Yet prior to the passage of the Patient Protection Act and the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), 48 million Americans were uninsured. Health insurance has been the main mechanism for most Americans to afford health care. Without health insurance a sudden serious illness like cancer or a traumatic even like a car accident could leave the uninsured with immense medical bills, which is a common reason people file for bankruptcy and can ruin your credit history. Health insurers are required to cover annual checkups and preventive care without a co-pay, which means you are more likely to stay healthy and catch health problems early, when they're easier and less expensive to treat.

ObamaCare seems to be working. Admittedly, this is not a universal view. But as of September 18, 2014, 7.3 million are now enrolled. While the percentage of Americans without health coverage has dropped markedly from 22 percent to 15 percent, that still means 15 percent of Americans are still not covered. Among the uninsured, 44 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34, and 33 percent are Latino. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Finnish Conductor Excels with San Francisco Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday December 02, 2014 - 10:42:00 AM

Susanna Mälkki, who was recently appointed Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, returned to San Francisco Symphony to lead the orchestra in two performances, Saturday and Sunday, November 29-30. Featured on the program were Béla Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto with pianist Jeremy Denk, Johannes Brahms’s Second Symphony, and a short piece, The White Peacock, by early 20th century American composer Charles Tomlinson Griffes. -more-