The Week

Dennis Culver


Police action in Berkeley on Saturday night: a video

Wednesday December 10, 2014 - 09:54:00 PM

Below is a video of the Berkeley Police beating and teargassing protesters on Telegraph on Saturday night. Following is the BPD's account of what they've been doing. -more-

Press Release: Media Update, Berkeley Demonstrations

Officer Jennifer Coats, Public Information Officer, Berkeley Police Department
Wednesday December 10, 2014 - 09:32:00 PM
Photographs of injuries officers received from items thrown at them during the recent demonstrations

Over the past few days, a series of demonstrations have happened in the City of Berkeley in response to recent incidents in Missouri and New York. With its rich history in the Free Speech movement, the City of Berkeley is and remains committed to ensuring the public’s right to peacefully assemble and protest. -more-

Updated: Protesters continue marching around Berkeley

Bay City News and Planet
Wednesday December 10, 2014 - 06:19:00 PM

The Ashby BART station has been closed due to a protest march in Berkeley tonight, according to BART officials. -more-

Flash: Schools closed tomorrow in Berkeley, most of Northern California for expected storm

Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday December 10, 2014 - 05:54:00 PM

Numerous Bay Area schools are closing Thursday because of a potentially dangerous wind and rainstorm moving into the area. -more-

March in Berkeley leads to confrontation on Oakland highway, looting in Emeryville

Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday December 10, 2014 - 06:02:00 PM

A protest march through three East Bay cities devolved into a burglary and robbery spree in Emeryville Tuesday night after Berkeley police arrested six people and the California Highway Patrol arrested 13 people blocking a highway in Oakland, law enforcement officials said today. -more-

Insurance Review Urged in Storm Alert

Erin Baldassari (BCN)
Wednesday December 10, 2014 - 06:00:00 PM

With heavy rains and strong winds expected to hit the Bay Area Thursday and Friday, the Department of Insurance is urging residents to review their insurance policies today. -more-

Updated: Protesters reach Oakland City Hall after starting in Berkeley

Jamey Padojino (BCN)
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 11:00:00 PM

Hundreds of people have made their way into Oakland after walking through city streets in downtown Berkeley tonight to protest decisions to not indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men. -more-

Flash: Schools closed tomorrow in Berkeley, most of Northern California for expected storm

Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday December 10, 2014 - 05:54:00 PM

Numerous Bay Area schools are closing Thursday because of a potentially dangerous wind and rainstorm moving into the area. -more-

New: Richmond police join demonstration against brutality

Laura Dixon (BCN)
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 09:55:00 PM

Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus and other police department brass stood shoulder to shoulder with other community members during a peaceful protest against police brutality in the East Bay city today. -more-

New: Councilmembers Arreguin and Worthington will meet the public tonight at 7 on the steps of the Old Berkeley City Hall despite cancellation of council meeting; Arreguin's statement

Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 03:47:00 PM

Thank you all for reaching out to me regarding the recent protests of the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and police brutality in general.

I am personally outraged over these killings and strongly support overall goal of these protests which is to raise awareness of the inequities in our criminal justice system and to make it clear that black lives matter. I have participated in these protests over the last two days to show my solidarity for this movement. However, as the Councilmember for the Downtown, I am concerned over incidents of vandalism and violence by a small fringe segment of these protests whose goal is confrontation and damage not advancing the broader movement.

I understand that these protests have elicited a wide range of feelings on all sides, which is why even though the Mayor has cancelled tonight’s City Council meeting, Councilmember Kriss Worthington and I will be on the steps of Old City Hall (2134 MLK) tonight at 7 pm to hear from the protestors and from residents about their views. -more-

Press Release: Mayor Bates' office's statement about why he cancelled tonight's Berkeley City Council meeting

From Charles Burress
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 02:00:00 PM

The Mayor’s office has just released this statement:

Dear members of the news media,

The regular Berkeley City Council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight, December 9, has been postponed, as well as the special Work Session scheduled for 5:30 p.m. this evening. The Council Chambers can hold about 125 people, and we understand substantially more people are interested in attending the meeting due to recent events in Berkeley. We want to ensure that the community has as much access as possible to public meetings. The Agenda for the December 9 meeting will be rescheduled for a future date and public notice will be given prior to that meeting. A notice of meeting cancellation will be issued by the City Clerk and publicly posted. We apologize for any inconvenience. -more-

Bates' Office Officially Announces Cancellation of Berkeley City Council

Scott Morris (BCN)
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 01:05:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council has postponed its scheduled meeting for this evening because of planned disruptions by protesters, Mayor Tom Bates' office announced this afternoon. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Mayor Cancels Tonight's Council Meeting: Afraid Protesters Will Attend.

Becky O'Malley
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 11:35:00 AM

James Chang, aide to Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, confirmed today that Mayor Tom Bates informed him that tonight's City Council meeting is being cancelled because there might be protesters in attendance, and the council chambers would be too small to hold them all. Chang said that Bates as the council's presiding officer under the city charter, has the power to cancel meetings at his sole discretion. Councilmember Kriss Worthington told the Planet that his aide, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, had been told the same thing, but he pointed out that the city of Berkeley could use some larger meeting rooms in buildings owned by the Berkeley Unified School District or Berkeley City College if the size of the council chambers in Berkeley's Maudelle Shirek Building (Old City Hall) is really the problem which Bates fears. A call to the Mayor's press aide, Charles Burress (who used to cover Berkeley for the San Francisco Chronicle) has not been returned. -more-

The Night They Stopped the Trains to Show Solidarity with ... um...We'll Get Back to You on That (Opinion)

Carol Denney
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 10:24:00 AM

2000 protesters surged onto the freeway and stopped traffic in both directions for hours in my neighborhood. They drove a vehicle onto the train tracks and stopped all the north-south train traffic. We figured they hated cars, but who knew they hated trains, one of my neighborhood's best features. -more-

Berkeley police arrest nine in relatively peaceful protest

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 10:32:00 AM

Berkeley police have announced this morning they arrested nine people in a "relatively peaceful" protest Monday night. -more-

Berkeley: CHP arrests more than 150 people during highway protests

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 10:29:00 AM

The California Highway Patrol has announced that it arrested more than 150 protesters in Monday's standoff that blocked traffic in both directions on Interstate Highway 80 in Berkeley for about 90 minutes. -more-

An open letter to the City Council of Berkeley in response to Linda Maio’s Dec. 8 statement about the protests (Opinion)

Steve Martinot
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 10:27:00 AM

When I first read Linda Maio’s statement about the protests, what I wanted to say was this. If you don’t want violence to occur on these demostrations, all you have to do is send the police home. There will be peacefulness. But then someone convinced me that that wouldn’t be enough. What you, Linda, and the rest of the city council need to do is get out there with the demonstrators, make yourselves known, march with them, and offer some solidarity with their cry for justice. You do believe in justice, don’t you?

Do you know the difference between a police department and an occupying army? The role of a police department is to protect people's rights, especially their right to call for justice from their own government. The role of an army of occupation is to insure that people obey the rule of power, and that any disobedience be squelched. And that inherently implies violence.

But after the people took over interstate 80 and shut down the Bay Bridge I realized that you have a bigger job. In fact, the job you have is so big I don’t think you can even see it. It is, as they say, too big to see. -more-

On the Berkeley protests (opinion)

Councilmember Linda Maio Vice Mayor of the City of Berkeley
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 10:25:00 AM

Dear residents,

This message follows the City Manager’s statement I forwarded to you yesterday. This one is from me.

The injustice that came to national attention in Ferguson and then Staten Island has deep roots, characterized by racism and fear, and it is widespread. It cannot, must not, be tolerated any longer. The police from these communities report they are feared and hated. They have the weaponry, authority, and power. Like apartheid in South Africa, there are two different realities, one far more powerful than the other. The question before all of us, as a community and as a nation, is where do we go from here to advance meaningful change.

I respect and support the demonstrations’ intent, but the violence and vandalism cannot be tolerated. I am extremely dismayed by the level of destruction and loss visited upon our city and its merchants. A small group of people have wreaked havoc on our Downtown, the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center, and businesses in other areas of our city. It is cowardly and senseless, accomplishing nothing but enmity toward the legitimate and peaceful protests, and their intent, which I support. -more-

Flash: Berkeley: Protesters continue to block city streets, cleared from freeway, arrested

Jamey Padojino (BCN) and Planet
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 12:11:00 PM

Protesters continue to snarl traffic in Berkeley tonight on city streets, the freeway, public transit and train tracks.

They have blocked both directions of the Eastshore Highway near University Avenue twice tonight within an hour.

About a hundred protesters were seen entering eastbound lanes of the Eastshore Highway near University Avenue and some jumped over the center divide to westbound lanes around 8 p.m. CHP officers were able to quickly take the protesters off the freeway.

The off-ramps to University Avenue from the freeway where Interstate Highway 80 and Interstate Highway 580 intersect have been closed.

At about 8:45 p.m., protesters were seen walking on eastbound and westbound lanes of the freeway near University Avenue bringing cars to a halt.

The approaches to eastbound Highway 80 from Highway 580, Interstate Highway 880 and the Bay Bridge have been closed due to the protests, CHP officials said. -more-

Violent Berkeley Protest Ends in Early Morning

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Monday December 08, 2014 - 08:56:00 AM

Berkeley police are reporting this morning that the protest Sunday night and earlier this morning over the failure of a New York grand jury to indict a white officer in the death of an unarmed black man has ended. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Demonstrations End

Officer Jennifer Coats, Public Information Officer, Berkeley Police Department
Monday December 08, 2014 - 03:37:00 AM

It appears the demonstration has concluded. We are sending our officers home. We would like to thank the many agencies that assisted us this. I wanted to provide you with a brief update, before I head home this morning. I will be in late tomorrow.

We made five arrests connected with the demonstration for various charges (I don’t have a specific list of charges at this time). One of the arrested individuals was also the responsible who damaged Trader Joes the previous night using his skateboard. Another individual was arrested, was responsible for throwing a heavy object on Saturday, injury one of our officers. They were arrested for those offenses as well as additional charges for last night’s demonstration. -more-

Updates on Berkeley Demonstrations, Riots, Looting

Sunday December 07, 2014 - 11:55:00 PM

Follow on Twitter for live updates #Berkeleyprotests,

12:20 a. m. Demonstrators have continued to march south on Shattuck Avenue near Oregon Street.Vandalism reported at Any Mountain and Walgreens. (BPD via Nixle). For full details, view this message on the web.

12:31 a.m. Demonstrators are now in the area of Telegraph Avenue and Ashby Avenue. Receiving reports of vandalism and looting at Whole Foods Market on Telegraph. (BPD via Nixle).

Related Searches: #oaklandprotest, berkeleyside, berkeley, #berkeleyprotests tonight, #berkeleyprotests livestream -more-

Press Release: Demonstrators in Downtown Berkeley

Berkeley Police via
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 11:36:00 PM

Entered 4 minutes ago: Demonstrators now at Allston and MLK. Berkeley Police Department -more-

Press Release: Mayor Issues Press Release Re Protests

From Charles Burress
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 12:22:00 AM

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates this afternoon released the following statement about the recent protests in Berkeley: -more-

Helicoppers: How Police Tactics Fuel Confrontation

Gar Smith
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 11:35:00 PM

(Saturday, December 6, 2014) -- It has just turned 10 o'clock. The sound of helicopters continues to rattle the night sky over North Berkeley. It's been like this for hours. -more-

New: Society of Professional Journalists Raps Berkeley Assault on Members of Media (Open Letter)

Monday December 08, 2014 - 01:02:00 AM

From: Northern California Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee Sent: Sunday, December 07, 2014 04:50 PM To: Berkeley Mayor's Office; Meehan, Michael Subject: Urgent - Police assault journalists in Berkeley

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates

Berkeley Police Chief Michael K. Meehan

By Email

Dear Mayor Bates and Chief Meehan:

The Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists condemns, in the strongest terms possible, the outrageous conduct of law enforcement officers who assaulted members of the media during last night’s (Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014) demonstrations in Berkeley, California. You have an obligation to ensure that all officers, including those providing mutual aid, respect the constitutional rights of the press.

SPJ has been in touch with a number of working journalists who say they were struck with police batons while working and clearly displaying press credentials. In one incident, a journalist who was on assignment tells SPJ that he was holding out press credentials and telling an officer he was a news photographer when struck. This same journalist also reported seeing a colleague take “serious blows” from police who “hit him with impunity,” despite the fact that the colleague was “obviously press.” Other reporters also described witnessing or experiencing similar assaults. -more-

Press Release: Demonstrators Damaging and Looting Businesses on Shattuck Avenue, Avoid the Area

From the Berkeley Police Department via Nixle
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 11:22:00 PM

Currently, the demonstrators are in the area of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street. Several businesses are being damaged and looted. As a safety precaution please avoid the area. -more-

Helicoppers: How Police Tactics Fuel Confrontation (News Analysis)

Gar Smith
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 11:24:00 PM

(Saturday, December 6, 2014) -- It has just turned 10 o'clock. The sound of helicopters continues to rattle the night sky over North Berkeley. It's been like this for hours. -more-

Demonstrators march from Berkeley, block Highway 24 near 51st, Claremont

Erin Baldassari (BCN)
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 09:24:00 PM

Demonstrations in Berkeley against police brutality have moved into Oakland this evening and breached state Highway 24 at 51 Street, according to police and protesters.

A California Highway Patrol officer said eastbound Highway 24 was closed due to police activity. Reports and photos on Twitter showed protestors on the freeway blocking traffic.

Demonstrator Alessandro Tiberio said the protest began at Bancroft and Telegraph avenues around 5 p.m. with only 50 people. Soon, the crowd swelled to 500 or more, according to Tiberio and police.

Tiberio said the march started with "very positive energy." He came to the demonstration to support black people who are protesting, he said.

"I'm an ally," Tiberio said. "It's important to stay focused on the fact that black lives matter. It's not that all lives don't matter but I'm here to support especially the black people who are most often the ones victimized by the police."

Berkeley police Officer Jennifer Coats said at least one demonstrator sustained minor injuries when he tried to prevent a business's windows from being broken by someone at the demonstration. -more-

Berkeley Police Tear Gas Harms Residents (Public Comment)

Marcia Poole
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 05:11:00 PM

We live on Regent St. and were at home when we started having burning eyes, skin and lungs. It seems that the police had started firing tear gas at the demonstrators on Telegraph Avenue. This is the most densely populated area in the city and the result of this police action had a direct impact on the residents living up here. When I called the 911 number and reported the problem and asked them to stop the tear gassing, the dispatcher said it was the protestors who had used tear gas and missiles against the police. They did not seem to care that the police action of gassing Telegraph Avenue was harming residents. Shades of the 1960s and James Rector. -more-

Reflections On Broken Windows (Opinion)

Carol Denney
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 09:20:00 AM

Protesters tried to set fire to my apartment building last night, white people in masks who were stopped by my young Latino neighbors. The protesters brought a tank of gas with them to the march. We had to rescue a recycling bin, which they wanted to use as a barricade or perhaps burn. All this does is hemorrhage overtime pay into police pockets and frighten people away from joining marches.

We have children in this building. We have dozens of residents who stood in front of our apartments astonished at being targeted, watching the circling helicopters in the moonlit sky. We have everything in common with people who oppose police brutality and support police accountability. We are old and young, we are black, white, latino, asian, and pacific islanders. We are a rainbow community with stories of our own about police misconduct.

What do you masked protesters prove with broken windows? What message do you send by smashing into a grocery store, a yarn store, or even the local Wells Fargo branch, which is right under my neighbors' apartment homes?

I'm not someone who has not marched, sat in, gone to jail. But I will not provide cover for cowards who exploit a peaceful effort to join the national voice against police corruption at a crucial moment. Broken windows might catch a photographer's or reporter's attention momentarily, but whatever ambiguous message vandalism sends is not nearly as powerful as numbers, which masked vandals never seem to master. Peaceful, nonviolent tactics don't just sound nice; they are the practical path to change. -more-

Updated: Six Arrested in Berkeley Protest

Dennis Culver (BCN)
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 09:17:00 AM

Police this morning said six people were arrested during an overnight protest that turned violent in Berkeley. -more-

Anarchists Attack Berkeley Apartment Building During Protest

Sunday December 07, 2014 - 01:14:00 AM
Protesters smashed the doors of a Wells Fargo office in a commercial/residential building at San Pablo and University.

Hundreds of protesters marched from the UC campus down to west Berkeley and stopped traffic briefly at the corner of University and San Pablo Avenue Friday night. Protesters smashed glass and vandalized property at the intersection's largest building which has several commercial properties as well as 26 residential apartment units, some housing families with children, which are part of a low-income housing co-op. They tagged the front wall of the building with the traditional anarchist symbol of the letter A in a circle. The protesters attempted to set the building on fire until two young Latino tenants of the building, physically stopped them. -more-

Arrests in Berkeley Demonstrations Seem Likely

Becky O'Malley
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 12:52:00 AM

In Berkeley about midnight tonight a line of unmarked white vans, SUVs and large sedan equipped with flashing red and blue lights moved across Bowditch adjacent to the First Church of Christ Scientist and People's Park, turning down Channing to park in the block between Bowditch and Telegraph.

At about 12:30 a group of demonstrators was contained on Telegraph at Channing between two lines of police in riot gear, with additional police lines a block away in either direction.

It seems very likely that mass arrests are imminent, and these vehicles have been assembled to transport arrested persons. -more-

Berkeley Protest Takes Violent Turn

Dennis Culver (BCN)
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 01:07:00 AM

A protest in Berkeley turned violent Saturday night when a small group of protestors began hurling bricks, pipes, smoke grenades and missiles at officers, police said. -more-

Berkeley Protests End in Tear Gas, Arrests

ErinBaldassari/KeithBurbank (BCN)
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 01:02:00 AM

A standoff with police and protesters in Berkeley Saturday evening continued with police firing teargas and smoke at protesters to disperse them, police said. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Protest Turns Violent (PRESS RELEASE from Berkeley Police)

BPC Officer Jenn Coates
Saturday December 06, 2014 - 11:43:00 PM

FERKELEY-- This evening, a peaceful protest turned violent when several splinter groups broke off and began hurling bricks, pipe, smoke grenades, and other missiles at officers. -more-

Berkeley Blocks a train, says "Hands up! Don't shoot!" (PHOTO ESSAY)

David Bacon
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 11:47:00 AM

Protestors in Berkeley block an Amtrak train and then face off against police in a demonstration to protest the murders of Black men by police around the country, and the impunity of police who commit these crimes. -more-

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-

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-



Even in Berkeley, Police Bully Citizens of Color

Becky O'Malley
Friday December 05, 2014 - 09:40:00 AM

In the news in the last few weeks: multiple incidents where citizens have been killed by police officers for reasons that seem trivial or non-existent. They range in gravity from a policeman shooting a guy in Missouri who might or might not have pinched a few cigars all the way down to a twelve-year-old kid in Cleveland gunned down for flashing a toy gun in the wrong place at the wrong time. The common thread: all were African-Americans, and all had done nothing to merit summary execution. And none of the uniformed killers have been held to account. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New Issue Tomorrow

Wednesday December 10, 2014 - 10:33:00 PM

We've gotten so much news and opinion that our columns have gotten too long. We're starting this week's issue tomorrow, a day early. You can see it as it's posted by clicking on "Next Issue", and when that issue is complete it will be "published" so that it's the first thing you see when you go to You can always go back to the "Previous Issue" if you've missed anything, -more-

Don't Miss This

Wednesday December 10, 2014 - 06:06:00 PM

Winston's Diary , from "a young American who has been independently reporting from the very front-lines of the Berkeley/Oakland protests for the last week. " -more-

Mayor Bates Insults Berkeley's Press

Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 04:34:00 PM

We've just learned from our colleagues at that Mayor Bates has dissed us all again:

Breaking: City of Berkeley calls ‘invite-only’ press conference just for TV news


An Alternative Location

Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 01:21:00 PM

Since the council meeting has been called off, perhaps the Martin Luther King Civic Center Building (New City Hall) would be a good place to exercise "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." It's open during the day most days. -more-

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-


Odd Bodkins: Free the San Francisco Earthquake (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday December 05, 2014 - 11:43:00 AM

Public Comment

New Berkeley Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO) doesn't respect citizens

Vivian Warkentin
Thursday December 11, 2014 - 09:33:00 AM

A new replacement energy saving ordinance is about to be enacted in our city of Berkeley, Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO). The current system requires upgrades only when buildings are remodeled or resold. If passed, all homeowners and building owners in Berkeley will be mandated to have an outside auditor inspect their home or building every 5 to 10 years. The law would require all building owners to hire a private firm from a city approved list to conduct the assessments. Audits will cost from $200 to $600 for a single family home, up to $10,000 for a large commercial building. A filing fee of $79 -$240, depending on building size will go to the city of Berkeley. -more-

New: The Brown/Garner Killings are about a Larger State of Official Terror

Harvey Wasserman
Friday December 05, 2014 - 11:14:00 PM

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me

Pastor Martin Niemoller, speaking about Nazi Germany

First, they’ve come for the people of color.

America’s police forces increasingly serve as a a private corporate army, beyond the reach of the law.

But our nation is distracted by race. And millions of white Americans are under the illusion that what was done to Michael Brown and Eric Garner can’t happen to them. -more-

A Muslim’s Thank You Letter to Pope Francis

Khalida Jamilah
Friday December 05, 2014 - 10:09:00 AM

Dear Pope Francis,

As a Muslim I thank you for your message of compassion and peace delivered during your recent visit to Turkey. This visit and your address symbolize the need for a stronger interfaith relation between Christians and Muslims to promote world peace. I thank you for disassociating Islam from violence and that particular statement was parallel to the teaching in the Quran which states “Surely, Allah loves not the transgressors" (2:190). And when you said ISIS is persecuting the Christian in the Middle East, the Quran also condemned this barbaric action as it states, "And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have destroyed cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated" (22:41). -more-

December Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday December 05, 2014 - 11:49:00 AM

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: Berkeley Rep Audience Should Look Smarter

Lori Lorge
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 05:13:00 PM

Call me sentimental that I wanted Kathleen Turner to look the way she did back in the day last night when I went to see the play Red Hot Patriot at the Berkeley Rep (read Body Heat). My disbelief was not suspended this time - but that she is a forceful talent cannot be denied. What struck me the most however, was the bad manners of the intellectual yet sartorially sloppy audience. In the first few minutes of the play there was hissing when a picture of George W. Bush was displayed onscreen. When crass comments were made about other politicians there was whooping. Note to Berkeley audience - it's ok to be smart - AND - pretty - inside and out. Do not be afraid my fellow theatre enthusiasts. I ask you to consider the perfect storm if the care and pride of intellect is also applied to good manners and perhaps a stylish outfit. And maybe some blush. Studied unstudiedness is not a look. Cat calling is déclassé. Do better. Be better. Just sayin. -more-

Other Ways to Express Support

Romila Khanna
Friday December 05, 2014 - 10:12:00 AM

I don't like the way protesters are showing support for Michael Brown. The right to speak out and show disapproval of the grand jury's verdict is fine. But what connection is there between the grand jury's bad judgment and destruction of public buildings? -more-

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-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Wrongful Deaths

Jack Bragen
Friday December 05, 2014 - 10:00:00 AM

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. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: What Democrats Stand For: Four Messages for 2016

Bob Burnett
Friday December 05, 2014 - 10:06:00 AM

In the aftermath of the disastrous 2014 midterm election, former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean observed, “You’ve got to stand for something if you want to win.” Before 2016, Democrats must figure out what they stand for and develop coherent messages. Here are four suggestions. -more-


Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Wednesday December 03, 2014 - 01:31:00 PM

A while back, my eye was caught by the title of a small volume on the library’s New Books shelves — The Chicken Chronicles. Turkeys have been much in recent news. Dogs, cats, lambs all appeal, but chickens!? I’m not now referring to the sometimes vernacular chicks or hens … Keeping Up Appearances’s Onslow refers to a broody woman. Perish forbid. -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: Theater Review: 'Old Times' at the City Club

Ken Bullock
Friday December 05, 2014 - 11:21:00 PM

"But I think I know what you mean. There are some things you remember that never happened."

Nothing much out of the ordinary ... A visit to a couple living in the country from the old roommate of the wife, someone out of the past, not seen in years ... But even before the visit itself, in the first words of Harold Pinter's 'Old Times,' the implications, the allusions of everything and anything that may--or may not--be said loom out of the shadows quite casually in the most banal speech:

"Was she your best friend?"

"What does that mean?"

--and by the end of the play, there's been something of a catharsis for the three "Old-Timers," whether seen as lost in uncertain memories, manipulators of those memories in themselves and each other, or strangers to each other and themselves, run aground on memory and speech ... -more-

Bernstein’s CANDIDE A Hit in Hayward

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday December 05, 2014 - 10:13:00 AM

On Sunday, November 30, I journeyed to Hayward’s Douglas Morrisson Theatre for a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s opera Candide. Somehow, this 1956 opera had thus far eluded me, so I jumped at the chance to hear it. My effort was rewarded by a robust performance of Candide featuring a huge cast of soloists, chorus members, and a 14-piece orchestra conducted by David Möschler. -more-

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-