Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street in Berkeley were both opened to vehicle and pedestrian traffic today, less than three weeks after a raging fire forced the demolition of a 39-unit apartment building at the intersection. -more-
Last Saturday the wrecking crew employed by Kenneth and Gregory Ent, owners of the Sequoia Apartments, began demolishing what remained of the mixed-use apartment building at the northwest corner of Haste and Telegraph,which was the subject of a fire on November 18 of still undetermined origin that left the building uninhabitable, and also necessitated the evacuation of the apartment building directly west on Haste. -more-
It is often confused with Occupy Cal, especially on-line, has launched no major actions, and has not distinguished itself from thousands of similar-sized Occupies—but it has something that other Occupies, (including O.C.) might envy—it has survived. -more-
The Occupy Wall Street encampment in downtown Berkeley is creating more issues now that it is growing in size but there still aren't any serious problems there, Berkeley City Councilman Jesse Arreguin said today.
The encampment in Civic Center Park, which began in early October, along with similar encampments around the country, initially had only 30 to 40 tents but now has reached about 100 tents. -more-
Are you fed up with Millionaires not paying their fair share of federal taxes and not paying their fair share of state taxes? If so, would you be interested in knowing the City of Berkeley has an item on their agenda to provide city tax breaks for local well heeled people? -more-
This evening, the Berkeley City Council will be considering a framework for revisions to the ordinances governing the demolition and elimination of housing units. I believe that the language in the framework is a huge improvement over previous language that has been shared with me, as it includes provisions for tenant protections.
However, there are two gaping problems with it:
1) Although tenants of the demolished building have the right of first refusal to return to new construction that replaces it, there are almost no provisions that these new units will be at anything other than market rate. Thus, a situation similar to Park Merced in San Francisco could arise, in which low-income tenants are would be unable to move back into the new units. -more-
Accidents will happen.
That’s the truism that links the reports on the biggest Berkeley happenings in the last month, the police break-up of the Occupy Cal demonstration and the big fire which destroyed the Sequoia apartments. Something unpleasant takes place, and the people in charge report that they are shocked and surprised by the outcome—which, however, could have been predicted. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
Richard Brenneman's blog this week spotlights a remarkable report: that the UC Police Department trained with the Alameda County Sheriff's Department on campus to shut down Occupy camps, and "even more astounding: The exercise was part of a national training exercise that included elements of Israeli border police." -more-
This is the last of what turned into a series on the female impersonators of the animal kingdom: males that temporarily or permanently mimic the females of their respective species to enhance their mating opportunities. Cuttlefish do it, as do isopods, a whole slew of fish, one snake, a couple of lizards, and at least two birds. (If the phenomenon occurs among mammals, I haven’t located any examples.) One of the birds is the western marsh-harrier, in which 40 percent of males have female-typical plumage and are not recognized as rivals by “normal” males. The other, better-known species is the ruff (Philomachus pugnax), which has a much more complicated arrangement. The Latin name translates as “combative battle-lover.” -more-
MY COMMONPLACE BOOK: (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)
Nothing makes you hate people as much as knowing in your heart that you are in the wrong and they are in the right. — Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, author, in his NY Times column, Sept. 3, 2004 -more-
I have been writing this column for the Planet for about a year, and have covered a lot of territory about the plight and the needs of persons with mental illness. I have reached a point where it feels like it is time to do something else with my writing career. -more-
Arts & Events
AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Inferno Theatre's 'Adoration of the Magi' at South Berkeley Community Church
Inferno Theatre, founded by Giulio Perrone—maybe best-known in the theater community as set designer for local professional theaters and once director at Dell'Arte School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake near Eureka—has produced some of the most interesting original work around here in the past few years: 'Galileo's Daughters' and 'The Iliad,' both at the Berkeley City Club. -more-
This Thursday—December 8—Berkeley Symphony, led by guest conductor Jayce Ogren, will explore the late Bay Area composer Lou Harrison's seldom-played Piano Concerto, featuring Berkeley's Sarah Cahill on the keys. Harrison, student of Henry Cowell and early promoter of Charles Ives, Alan Hovhaness and Harry Partch, among others, is known for his works in just intonation (versus equal temperament) and for composing in microtones, influenced by Indonesian, Chinese and other Asian musics. -more-
For thinking folks, the holidays can be conflicting and a downer. If you aren’t religious, and maybe a tad cynical like me, you might consider taking a flight to India or Peking to get away from all the “stuff” surrounding Christmas. -more-