Last night (Thursday) we were sorry to learn that Berkeley’s beloved Pat Cody, who founded Cody’s Books along with her late husband Fred, had died at 5:30, with her children at her side. They have written an obituary which can be found here, and we would also like to invite any of the many people whose lives she and Fred touched to send us their memories of her for publication. -more-
Press Release: Initially Thought To Be An Apparent Suicide, UC Berkeley Fraternity Death May Be Accidental, Police Say
At approximately 3:11 a.m. on Friday, September 24th 2010, a 24 year old fraternity member was found unresponsive in his room in the 2400 block of Warring Street by another member and called the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Communications Center 911 line. BPD officers and two Sergeants went to the scene and found the young man with a gunshot wound to the head. Berkeley Fire Department (BFD) Paramedics pronounced the student dead at the scene. A preliminary investigation by officers and evidence at the scene lead the Officers to the conclusion that the young man was the victim of a suicide. There were no outward indications and/or evidence of foul play. The Alameda County Coroner deputies arrived that morning to take custody of the student's body and evidence. -more-
Frozen yogurt, British Petroleum, and political prisoners were a few of the lively subjects discussed at Tuesday's regular City Council meeting. -more-
Tuesday's City Council worksession on the Sunshine Ordinance for open government ended with Mayor Bates' promise that “we will bring this item back into the Council in January. And we will be ready to make it happen.” The Sunshine Ordinance, an attempt to make city governance more accessible to the public, has been on the table in various forms for the last ten years and has seen 24 drafts by the City Attorney. The ordinance is an attempt to improve upon the “minimum standards” set by the Brown Act of 1953 and the California Public Records Act of 1968. -more-
It's been said that baseball is as American as apple pie, but men's baseball will no longer be a varsity sport at the University of California at Berkeley under a cost-cutting plan announced by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau today. -more-
An Oakland judge has issued a preliminary injunction barring Target Corp. and employees at its 244 stores in California from illegally dumping hazardous waste into the environment. -more-
The new Wesley Center building at Dana and Bancroft, designed by architect Kirk Peterson of Oakland, is an excellent example of how contextual infill development can be done right in Berkeley. -more-
Approximately seventeen people have been charged over the past three weeks with crimes related to the protests against former BART cop Johannes Mehserle's involuntary manslaughter verdict on July 8th. Some of those recently charged were arrested that night, while others have been identified by police in photos, and have been newly arrested. The latest set of arraignments on Monday, September 20th saw three Oaklanders charged with Unlawful Assembly, Remaining at the Scene of a Riot, and Rioting. They are set to reappear in court within the next month. -more-
A handsome new Berkeley building was formally dedicated Sunday, September 26, 2010. The event represented the culmination of a several year effort by the Wesley Foundation—the United Methodist Church student center in Berkeley—to provide not only a new home and income for its program facilities but residential quarters for Cal students. -more-
PG&E officials are recommending careful energy conservation today and during the week's forecasted heat wave after more than 30,000 Castro Valley customers lost power Saturday due to system overload. -more-
More than 100 University of California, Berkeley, campus faculty, staff, students, and retirees gathered September 27, 2010 for the annual campus memorial service to remember those in the University community who died during the previous year. Other friends and family of many of the deceased joined them. -more-
Pow wows often have two host drums, one Southern and one Northern. All other drums are invited, and some often show up unannounced. At this year’s Berkeley pow wow the Host Southern Drum is Rockin Horse, with lead singer Rick Leroy, and the Host Northern Drum is All Nations, with lead singer Michael Bellanger. The drums usually take turns, unless the MC or arena director specifically asks one drum to play a particular song. -more-
The three candidates for Berkeley’s District Seven Council seat currently held by Kriss Worthington presented themselves to the Le Conte neighborhood at a candidate’s forum sponsored by the Le Conte Neighborhood Association on the evening of Thursday, September 16, 2010. -more-
Council 1: NO ENDORSEMENT
Council 4: Jesse Arreguin
Council 7: Kriss Worthington
Council 8: Stewart Jones
School Board: Hemphill, Holcomb, Wilson -more-
Public education advocate and veteran chief financial officer Priscilla Myrick has launched her second run for a slot on the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) board in the November 2nd election. -more-
Press Release: Berkeley Chamber of Commerce's Committee On Government Affairs Presents Public Forums for City Council Candidates
Location of Public Forum of Sept. 27 and Oct. 4: Community Conference Room, Floor 3, Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge
Location of Public Forum of Oct. 12: Berkeley Repertory Theatre School of Theatre, 2071 Addison St.
Public Forum of Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. -more-
Where Have All the Drugstores Gone? -more-
It’s interesting that the mayoral challengers have chosen to make this election about jobs, probably the one issue that the mayor has the least ability to influence. We are part of a regional economy that is well above the national average in unemployment, largely because of the bubble bursting in California’s overinflated housing market. This was not a city-driven phenomenon, nor will there be a city-driven solution. -more-
Some assertions by Councilmember Jean Quan in her Sept. 20th commentary need to be corrected. -more-
KPFA Radio, America's first listener-sponsored station, has an impressive history of groundbreaking journalism. Throughout its 61 years, the station has been justly famous for hard-nosed reporting, award-winning radio documentaries, cutting edge and wide ranging music, and coverage of some of the key events of our time—whether Iran Contra or the Iraq War. -more-
The city is about to solicit public comment on a draft of the Streets and Open Space Improvement Program (SOSIP) for downtown Berkeley. -more-
Recently, President Obama announced the reduction of our military presence in Iraq to 50,000. What we now need is a U.S. acknowledgement that the Iraq war was a hoax on the American people and the world so the country can move on. -more-
When last I counted there were over 100 vacant commercial storefronts in our community. That’s a total of well over 200,000 sq. ft. of storefront space that sits unused for any purpose whatsoever in Berkeley on any given day. Calling commercial realtors and landlords to pitch ideas for use of vacant space does just about NOTHING to change the status quo. In the last three years I have made over eighty calls to commercial realtors and landlords proposing innovative, yet practical and aesthetically pleasing uses of space for exhibits of artwork by homeless and low-income participants in the program I run, Youth Spirit Artworks. When I’ve been lucky enough to get a call back I’ve have heard countless POOR EXCUSES for why it wouldn’t be possible to engage a space that’s currently for rent…even when the property has sat vacant for three or more SOLID years. -more-
Longtime Berkeley resident, bookstore owner and health activist Pat Cody, age 87, passed away on Sep. 30. She was born in 1923, the fourth of what would be ten children borne to Rosalia and Jack Herbert (eight would survive). Her father worked for the railroad as a station agent, so the family scraped by through the depression. She enrolled at Willimantic Teachers’ College around 1940, and also worked at the Electric Boat Company helping to build submarines for the war effort. She became more politically aware, and eventually went to New York City, enrolling at Columbia University, where she got her Masters degree in economics. And there, following the war, she met a dashing West Virginian veteran, who shared her interest in politics. Their activism earned them a knock on the door from the FBI, so rather than “name names,” they packed up and drove to Mexico City. Fred enrolled in the Universidad de Mexico, and the two of them were part of a lively ex-patriot community. They attended social gatherings at the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and met luminaries like Pablo Neruda, who declared that Pat’s lemon meringue pie was the best he ever had! -more-
Because of the hallowed California tradition of “non-partisan” local elections, it’s hard for the infrequent voter to figure out which candidate to vote for. In Berkeley the local elections, which used to be held in the spring, have been added to the huge November ballot. As a result, a lot of occasional voters here will be confronted on election day with a list of unfamiliar local names and incomprehensible local proposals when they show up to cast their Democratic ballots for statewide offices (as we dearly hope they will). -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
UC's Media Relations Department points with pride to two young faculty members who've named MacArthur Foundation fellows, complete with YouTube videos.
Bay Area News Group investigative reporter Thomas Peele endorses the Sunshine Ordinance proposed for Berkeley.
Berkeley's Angela Arnold thrills the opera crowd at the ballpark on Friday.
Mercury critic gives Koh top marks, Berkeley Symphony orchestra a bit less.
Bayer Stays but Jobs Go, says The Bay Citizen.
Someone who's caught the city of Berkeley planning department violating its own zoning rules has put her findings online for all to see. -more-
Accused Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is a centerpiece for the book “Merchant of Death” and the model for the Hollywood movie “The Lord of War.” Washington apparently traded military hardware to the Thais in order to get him extradited from a Bangkok jail. -more-
Weary of incessant hazy lazy references to “issues”? And to euphemisms like your “twilight years,” “golden age,” “passing away”? As a noun, issues is a classy way to package problems, dilemmas, duties, chores. -more-
I haven’t been to outer Point Reyes this fall, and I doubt that I’ll make it before the migration ends. Chasing vagrant birds at the Point has lost much of its appeal for me. High winds and blinding fog are frequent out there. Some days you see almost nothing. Other times you show up at the lighthouse trees or the Drake Memorial just after the Connecticut warbler, or whatever the rarity du jour was, has left, forever. There will be gloating; the Point Reyes birding scene is highly competitive. Then there are the reeking bubbling farm ponds, the dairy farmers’ hostile dogs, the pieces of rusted agricultural equipment lurking under the ivy. Most of the time it just ain’t worth it. -more-
Arts & Events
Tilt!: Pacific Pinball Museum, the Alameda nonprofit, spearheaded by Berkeleyites including Mike Shiess, Melissa Harmon and Larry Zartarian, which aspires to become "the Smithsonian of Pinball," emphasizing education and enjoyment with their 650 plus collection of games, is producing the fourth annual Pacific Pinball Exhibition this weekend, all day and evening on Oct 1, 2, and 3, at the Exhibition Hall of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin Civic Center, with more than 300 pinball machines from the 1920s on, set at free play, plus special guests: the Australian author of the Pinball encyclopedia (dating the game back to its predecessors in the 17th-18th century) and an inventors panel, including one guest, the former chief inventor from Atari Games. -more-
Ah yes, the days do indeed grow short when you reach September. Hopefully, many of you took in some of the exciting musical and theatrical events occurring this week, such as the wonderful Cal Performances "Free for All," this past Sunday. People lined up for hours in the hot sun to attend free performances at Zellerbach, Hertz Hall and Lower Sproul Hall. (Which accounts for my sunburn!) -more-