The Week



Student Who Posted Racist Threat at Berkeley High Discovered

Scott Morris (BCN)
Thursday November 05, 2015 - 06:11:00 PM

Berkeley High School administrators have found the student who posted racist threats to a library computer on Wednesday that prompted a massive walkout at the school this morning, a school district spokesman said.

The threats, found on a library computer at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, included several racial slurs, statements of support for the Ku Klux Klan and a specific threat of public lynching on Dec. 9.

Technology workers at the school worked quickly to gather evidence identifying the student, who was located this afternoon and brought in for an interview with school principal Sam Pasarow, district spokesman Mark Coplan said. When confronted with the evidence, the student confessed, he said. -more-

Flash: Hundreds of Berkeley High Students Walk Out over Racist Threats

Scott Morris (BCN), Planet
Thursday November 05, 2015 - 12:32:00 PM

Update from BPD at 1:05 pm: Group has now returned to Berkeley High School campus.

Update from BPD: Group is now on the move again in area south of UC Berkeley campus. Heading westbound Bancroft from Telegraph Avenue toward Berkeley High.

Hundreds of students walked out of Berkeley High School this morning to protest threats of violence against black students and statements of support for the Ku Klux Klan found posted to a library computer on Wednesday afternoon, according to social media posts.

After a rally at Berkeley's old City Hall, adjacent to the BHS campus,students marched up Channing to Telegraph and ended up on Dwinelle Plaza at the UC Berkeley Campus, according to the Berkeley Police Department's post on the website. The BPD estimated that 700 people were at the earlier demonstration. Photos and video on social media showed students holding "Black Lives Matter" signs and screaming in outrage as speakers quoted the posted threats.

The messages include several racial slurs, threats of lynching and a specific threat of public lynching on Dec. 9, according to screenshots of the threat posted online. -more-

Racist, Threatening Messages Found on Berkeley High Computer

Scott Morris (BCN)
Thursday November 05, 2015 - 12:52:00 PM

Threats of violence against black students and statements of support for the Ku Klux Klan were found posted to a library computer at Berkeley High School on Wednesday afternoon, according to school officials. -more-

Racist, Threatening Messages Found on Berkeley High Computer

Scott Morris (BCN)
Thursday November 05, 2015 - 12:52:00 PM

Threats of violence against black students and statements of support for the Ku Klux Klan were found posted to a library computer at Berkeley High School on Wednesday afternoon, according to school officials. -more-

Berkeley Police Seek Fleeing Burglar

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Thursday November 05, 2015 - 12:50:00 PM

Police are looking for a suspect who allegedly burglarized a home and then fled from an officer in Berkeley this morning, a police spokesman said. -more-

Homeless Task Force Proposal Represents a Consensus of Community (Public Comment)

Councilmember Jesse Arreguin
Tuesday November 03, 2015 - 09:40:00 PM

I have a great deal of respect for Carol Denney and all of her work over the years as an advocate for the homeless and for social justice. However, I have some disagreement with her characterization of my proposal on the Homeless Task Force recommendations coming to the Berkeley City Council on November 17th. -more-

Patient No More: Celebrating the Disabled Rights Movement's Historic 1977 Sit-in (Events)

Gar Smith
Tuesday November 03, 2015 - 11:53:00 AM

Runs until December 18 at Berkeley's Ed Roberts Campus (3075 Adeline St.) at the Ashby BART Station

There are many iconic moments in the history of the US civil rights struggle. There was the Pettus Bridge. There was Stonewall. There was Sproul Hall. And then there was the Section 504 Sit-in that took over a government building in San Francisco.

If you aren't familiar with the last historic watershed, the Section 504 Sit-in marks the day in April 1977 when more than 150 disabled men and women did something unheard of. On crutches and in wheelchairs, they converged on the US Federal Building, struggled up to the fourth floor and began a 25-day sit-in at the office of the Health, Education, and Welfare department to demand that the Carter Administration implement a four-year-old law protecting the rights of people with disabilities.


Coming up on the Berkeley City Council’s Agenda: November 17, homelessness, December 8, luxury housing project at 2211 Harold Way

Kelly Hammargren
Tuesday November 03, 2015 - 11:49:00 AM

As announced Monday, November 2, at the Berkeley City Council Agenda Committee, the hearing for all of the five 2211 Harold Way appeals is scheduled for December 8 at 6:00 pm. The location is not yet determined. -more-

Council Member Arreguin's Report Distorts Homeless Task Force Work (Public Comment)

Carol Denney
Monday November 02, 2015 - 09:42:00 AM

Years of work by the Homeless Task Force, a community-wide effort to make recommendations on issues of poverty and homelessness, is being misrepresented in a distorted report by Councilmember Arreguin on the Berkeley City Council's Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 agenda.

The task force does support the recommendations now re-organized in the "tiered" priorities, but the most obvious, most important, most cost-effective recommendation, to vacate municipal laws that criminalize homelessness and poverty, is now buried and literally de-prioritized despite not only being cost-free but a cost-saving measure for our city and county. -more-

Three Arrested and One Hospitalized after Fight near UC Berkeley

By Bay City News
Sunday November 01, 2015 - 11:48:00 AM

Three suspects were arrested and one man was taken to a hospital when police responded to a report of a fight in a crowded area near student housing in Berkeley early this morning. -more-

Flash: This Just In: Rowdy Whiteboys Acting Up Again at UC Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Sunday November 01, 2015 - 09:25:00 AM

The conjunction of a lingering supermoon, a football game and Halloween seems to have produced a traditional testosterone-and-alcohol-fueled uproar on Berkeley's Fraternity Row last night, reminiscent of the popular "panty raids" of my youth (well,other people's youth in my time frame). The local blogisphere called it a "huge riot" (Berkeley police respond to huge Southside riot), though not much actual damage or illegal activity of any kind were reported by the Berkeley police, who turned out in large numbers wearing their trademark scary outfits to join the fun.

"No, I would not call it a riot,"Officer Andrew Rateaver of the Berkeley Police Department told me this morning. He said it was between three and five thousand people who all got out of parties at the same time shortly after midnight, producing a few fights, one assault charge and one "medical contact". Nothing political about it, he said.

The website, to which I subscribe because it's supposed to report police activity in Berkeley, has said nothing yet about the event.

This sort of thing has been going on in college towns for a long time now. It was worse in the 14th Century.

Wikipedia reports:

"The St Scholastica Day riot of 10 February 1355, is one of the more notorious events in the history of Oxford, England.[1] Sparked off by a tavern dispute between two students and a taverner, the riot lasted two days and resulted in a large number of deaths among local citizens and students. The ensuing pacification led to a reinforcement and enlargement of the privileges and liberties of the academic institutions over the town." -more-

Updated: Citizens and Applicant Appeal Downtown Project Approvals to the Berkeley City Council

Becky O'Malley
Friday October 30, 2015 - 03:42:00 PM

Multiple appeals were filed on Tuesday to decisions by the Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board and the Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission to allow construction of a complex of three structures, the tallest of which would be more than 18 stories high, on the landmarked site of the Shattuck Hotel and the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas. There would be more than 300 market rate apartments in the project, but no on-site affordable or low-income units. -more-

U.C. Berkeley Police Warn about Drugging at Frats

Daniel Montes (BCN)
Friday October 30, 2015 - 02:42:00 PM

Campus police are reminding students at University of California at Berkeley to take precautions in light of a recent alleged drugging at the school. On Thursday, campus police said they received a report that one or more individuals may have been drugged at one of the school's fraternities. -more-



Things That Go Bump in the Night, Oakland and Berkeley Division

Becky O'Malley
Friday October 30, 2015 - 02:19:00 PM

From ghoulies and ghosties / And long-leggedy beasties / And things that go bump in the night, / Good Lord, deliver us!

With Halloween upon us, let’s talk about fear.

First, let’s reprise my traditional sermon about dangers to kids from malevolent neighbors. I’m making my traditional offer of a hundred bucks to anyone who can prove that a child was harmed by what a stranger gave them on Halloween (unless, of course, you’re the stranger who did the deed). I’ve been making this offer for at least 40 years, and no one has ever claimed it. It’s what the professor in my Cal folklore class called an urban legend. In fact, it now is Number Three on the list of the top 25 urban legends as reported by

The most popular version of the story used to be that wicked homeowners put razor-blades in apples to injure children, but I haven’t heard that one for a while, probably because it never ever happened. In fact, at our house we usually offer kids apples, individual cookies and wrapped commercial candy, and it’s truly heartwarming to see how many are delighted to choose “real apples”.

Recently there’s been an ongoing discussion of a form of urban legend that’s more pernicious: racial profiling. A recent article in the East Bay Express described a local version:

Racial Profiling Via “White Oakland residents are increasingly using the popular social networking site to report ‘suspicious activity’about their Black neighbors — and families of color fear the consequences could be fatal.”

The story has spotlighted a great deal of justified concerned, especially among African-Americans and those of us who have Black family members and friends who visit our homes. A sizeable part of the response has been critical of for airing the hysterical suspicions of some Oakland and Berkeley residents, but that seems to me to be killing the messenger who brings the bad news. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Letters I Never Finished Reading

From Ted Cruz
Thursday October 29, 2015 - 02:59:00 PM


I am declaring war on the liberal media, and I need to ask a personal favor from you.

Will you chip in $35 or $50 to my Post-Debate $1 Million Dollar Money Bomb to show the media we're dead serious? -more-

Public Comment

Searching for Solutions to Syria's Refugee Crisis

Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War
Friday October 30, 2015 - 02:31:00 PM

The conflict in Syria has driven more than 3 million Syrians from their homes. (Some estimates place the number at more than 4 million). Many refugees have fled to desolate camps in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Others have chosen to attempt a dangerous and costly trek by land and sea in hopes of finding new lives in Europe. As winter approaches, the flood of refugees threatens to overwhelm Europe and the Balkans. Other resettlement options may seem far-fetched but—with rising numbers of global refugees—new solutions are needed.

How about tent cities in Saudi Arabia?

How about high-rise apartments in China? -more-

Amazon Colonizes the UCB Campus

Gar Smith
Friday October 30, 2015 - 02:40:00 PM

The corporate makeover of the University of California's Berkeley campus is about to gain another dab of pernicious commercial luster.

Over the years, a steadily growing list of multinationals has been staking claims to territory on the Berkeley campus. To date, these Big Money interlopers include: Zellerbach Hall, the Haas School of Business, the Bechtel Engineering Center, the $350 million Energy Biosciences Institute (bankrolled by British Petroleum), the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences (the naming rights cost Mr. Li $40 million), and six different on-campus buildings and sites perpetuating the memory of media baron William Randolph Hearst.

It's all just part of a long tradition. -more-

The Berkeley City Council "Hopes" for Housing

Steve Martinot
Thursday October 29, 2015 - 01:26:00 PM

At the Berkeley City Council meeting on Tuesday night, they considered a measure proposed by District 8 Councilmember Lori Droste to relieve developers of the necessity to put parking spaces in new buildings, hoping that the developer will use that space for more affordable housing. The word heard during the discussion from a number of councilmembers was indeed "hoping." The developer would still have the option to use the space for market rate housing (according to the law, i.e. the Palmer decision).

During public comment, I mentioned that since "affordable" housing is especially for working people of the city (among others), many of whom commute to their jobs, a place to keep a car is still necessary. Given the state of public transportation in Berkeley, as District 6 Councilmember Susan Wengraf pointed out, travel to jobs is most often very problematic. The impression I got from the stony-faced look of the councilmembers was, “well, those aren’t the kind of people we want in this town any more anyway.” -more-

Speak Up for Seniors

Romila Khanna
Thursday October 29, 2015 - 01:27:00 PM

It is distressing to hear that all seniors have to pay more for Medicare Part B coverage next year. This is the part of Medicare which covers outpatient visits Seniors make to their doctors. Why has the rate been increased now, I wonder, when Social Security has cancelled the usual cost-of-living allowance? Why do Seniors in straitened circumstances have to bear the burden of filling the Treasury budget hole? The most vulnerable elderly persons should never be asked to pitch in extra. -more-

The Country of Thieves

Rebecca Wu
Sunday November 01, 2015 - 05:48:00 PM

When I was attending high school in China, I noticed something very strange: every time we had a class discussion, our class would automatically separate into two teams: me versus everyone else. All of my teachers and classmates would have the exact same opinion about any given topic. What’s more, nobody was forcing them; they actually did all think alike! -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Editing and Correcting Thoughts

Jack Bragen
Thursday October 29, 2015 - 01:24:00 PM

This week's column primarily pertains to mood and does not so much discuss severe symptoms of mental illness.

This week's piece involves looking at thoughts. Focusing on one's thoughts can worsen symptoms for some people with schizophrenia. On the other hand, if able to handle it, making deliberate changes to the thought patterns can bring a lot of progress. The reader should use his or her best judgment concerning this week's piece.

The methods described in this week's piece should not be construed as a suggestion to go off medication. This method potentially goes well as an adjunct to meds.

Thoughts are the precursor to emotions. If a thought is generated by the ego, in which case it says something relating to the perception of self, an emotion will soon follow--it could be painful or pleasurable depending on the content of the thought and how the mind processes it. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:The Republicans’ Secret

Bob Burnett
Thursday October 29, 2015 - 01:12:00 PM

In the past few days, US voters has been reminded of the reasons why we don’t trust Republicans: Representative Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi committee demonstrated that the GOP abuses congressional power for political purposes. The Republican threat to not raise the debt limit indicates they don’t understand how the Federal government works. But it took GOP candidate Donald Trump to reveal the darkest secret of all, Republicans don’t keep American safe. -more-

Arts & Events

New: The 40th Anniversary American Indian Film Festival

Gar Smith
Saturday November 07, 2015 - 02:32:00 PM

November 6-13, 2015 at San Francisco's AMC Metreon

Gala 40 Dinner & AIFF Award Show on November 14, 2015 at Hotel Nikko

When most Americans think about movies, the images that typically come to mind involve romance, villainy, heroism, guns, explosions and car chases. Or course, we accept that commercial cinema serves up a world of escapist fantasy but we lack the cultural yardsticks to measure how far removed our movie-going experiences are from anything approaching an average life on planet Earth.

Take those car-chases, for example. In nearly every mainstream movie you expect to see someone driving a car. That's "normal." Well, nope, it's not. The truth is that 91 percent of the people living on this planet today do not and never will own a car.

It may also be true that 91 percent of the films the average movie lover sees in the course of a year do not constitute anything close to a realistic impersonation of the global human condition.

Fortunately, a good dose of remedial Big Screen therapy is headed our way as the American Indian Film Festival (AIFF) brightens Bay Area movies screens from November 6-13. The AIFF's eight-day run manages to include 95 works from Canada and the USA—an incredible selection of feature films, documentaries and 59 shorts (ranging from two to thirty minutes).