The Week



Flash: Berkeley Feels Second Vallejo Area Quake

Thursday February 16, 2012 - 09:10:00 AM

A second earthquake, also with estimated magnitude of 3.7, struck near Vallejo this morning at 9:13 a.m. and was felt in Berkeley.

View Larger Map -more-

Flash: Appeals Court Rules for Berkeley Hillside Preservation--City Must Do a Full EIR on Mitch Kapor's Proposed House

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday February 15, 2012 - 09:46:00 PM

Today the California Court of Appeals ruled that the City of Berkeley must do a full environmental impact report on software entrepreneur Mitch Kapor's plan, with his wife Freada Kapor-Klein, to build a house of close to 10,000 square feet with a ten car garage at 2707 Rose in the Berkeley Hills.

The court reversed a lower court decision by Judge Frank Roesch that an EIR was not required, and supported the contention of a group calling itself Berkeley Hillside Preservation, with named appellants Susan Nunes Fadley and Lesley Emmington Jones, that the proposed construction was not categorically exempt under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and that environmental concerns should be reviewed in an environmental impact report (EIR). -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Hillside Preservation Wins CEQA Appeal Berkeley

From Susan Brandt-Hawley, attorney for appellants
Thursday February 16, 2012 - 03:26:00 PM

On February 15th, the First District Court of Appeal reversed the Alameda County Superior Court and ruled that the City of Berkeley’s approval of the 10,000 square foot Kapor residence and 10-car garage proposed for a steep lot in the Berkeley Hills was unlawful. The Court agreed with Berkeley Hillside Preservation that the project is not exempt from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act. -more-

Berkeley City Council Renews Mutual Aid Agreements Without Amendments

Wednesday February 15, 2012 - 05:36:00 PM

Last night, despite verbal protests from a long list of civil liberties organizations, the Berkeley City Council voted, with only one dissent, to renew a package of mutual aid agreements with a variety of organizations, which were supported by Berkeley's police chief and city manager. Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, in conjunction with a group of commissioners and civic organizations, had proposed modifications to the agreements which were intended to address their deficiencies, but the text of his proposed amendments was not delivered to the council until 8:30 during last night's meeting, enabling six councilmembers to avoid going on record as supporting them. Councilmembers Anderson and Worthington spoke in favor of the changes, but the amendments failed, and when the final vote on the agreements was taken, only Kriss Worthington voted no. Arreguin said after the meeting ended that the contracts will be up for renewal in a year, and in the intervening time the council and city staff will have time to prepare desired changes.

The testimony and council discussion can be seen below, despite the misleading heading at the beginning of the video clip.

Get Microsoft Silverlight -more-

New: Earthquake Near Vallejo Felt in Berkeley

Wednesday February 15, 2012 - 06:36:00 PM

At 6:09 p.m. today Berkeley residents felt a magnitude 3.7 earthquake centered near Vallejo. -more-

The Pacific Steel Casting Situation (News Analyis)

By Steve Martinot
Tuesday February 14, 2012 - 07:33:00 AM

People are back in the streets because of Pacific Steel Casting Company. In the past, it has been the issue of pollution. The workers have struck over the issue of health and safety (the same issue, as seen from inside). And now, some 200 workers are protesting unjust job termination, owing to intervention by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), in violation of the spirit of Berkeley as a sanctuary city. This factory remains a problem. There will be a march to publicize this problem on Friday, Feb. 17. -more-

Appeals Court Considers Challenge to Affirmative Action Ban

By Julia Cheever (BCN)
Tuesday February 14, 2012 - 08:09:00 AM

Lawyers for 46 minority students and a civil rights group asked a federal appeals court in San Francisco today to allow them to go forward with their challenge to a voter-approved ban on affirmative action in University of California admissions. -more-

Berkeley Neighborhood Leaders Meet, Set Priorities (Participant Account)

By Martha Nicoloff
Tuesday February 14, 2012 - 07:25:00 AM

For the first time in many years a city wide gathering of neighborhood leaders was held Saturday at the Hillside Club The objective of the meeting was to increase contact, explore local issues and to have more impact on City government. -more-

Occupy Oakland Spotlights Police Actions in Forum

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Tuesday February 14, 2012 - 08:08:00 AM

Occupy Oakland protesters sought to draw connections between police actions at recent demonstrations and what they say is a history of misconduct by the department at a forum held at the Grand Lake Theater on Thursday. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley City Council to Discuss Mutual Aid and Other Police Reforms

From Anthony Sanchez, Aide to Councilmember Jesse Arreguin
Tuesday February 14, 2012 - 07:27:00 AM

In response to concerns of police involvement in activities ranging from domestic surveillance and reporting, to the use of mutual aid to crackdown on political demonstrations, Berkeley City Council will consider changes its policy on mutual aid requests and to agreements with local and federal law enforcement agencies this Tuesday night. -more-

Man Arrested In Massive Caffe Med Cop-Op, Back On Streets In Four Hours

By Ted Friedman
Wednesday February 15, 2012 - 07:35:00 PM
Entering men's shelter.

After yet another Caffe Med Berkeley Cop-Op Friday, to restrain a mentally ill man, it seemed the man was on his way to a forty-eight hour mental evaluation. But that's not the way it went down, as the Cop-Op devolved into a cop-out. -more-

My Eventful Visit to a Zen Temple (First Person)

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday February 14, 2012 - 07:40:00 AM

My visit of a couple of years ago to a Zen place of worship has left me with some loose ends that I don't know exactly how to resolve. When I went there I had already practiced meditation of another sort, and had done this diligently. By the time I went to this Zen temple, I believe I already had achieved some degree of meditative attainment, and yet was not accustomed to Zen practices. -more-

Cal “Occupy” Emerges Once Again (Photo Essay)

By Steven Finacom
Friday February 10, 2012 - 03:36:00 PM

The first good rainstorm of the year last week, and the fine weather that has followed, seem to have sparked a newly fertile “Occupy” demonstration on Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus. -more-

Occupy is Back at UC Berkeley

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday February 10, 2012 - 03:32:00 PM

Occupy Cal protesters have set up seven tents on Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus, according to a spokesman for the group. -more-

Berkeley People's Park Tree-Poker Convicted for Convictions While Sticking Up For Indian Rights

By Ted Friedman
Friday February 10, 2012 - 06:38:00 PM

Even though I had vowed to cover the story to the bitter end, the end became too bitter for me. -more-

Mental Health Day at Caffe Med Goes Haywire; Cops, Once More, Invade Coffee House of Whack

By Ted Friedman
Friday February 10, 2012 - 05:54:00 PM
Rat-trapped at Caffe Med, Friday, a mentally-ill man, with flare, is surrounded by police, who "just want to help."

You could almost have seen it coming. -more-



CIR-BayCit Merger: What's in It for Places like Berkeley?

By Becky O'Malley
Monday February 13, 2012 - 01:16:00 PM

What’s up with local news these days? How is it going to be possible, in the brave new world of the corporate future, to find out what’s going around home? Here’s what one Berkeley-based superflack has to say about it on her blog:

“Merging CIR with The Bay Citizen and would be a northern California media lover's wet dream.”

Do we believe that? And even, do most consumers of local news know what she’s talking about? -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Why We've Been Slow and How Not to Miss Anything

Monday February 13, 2012 - 10:56:00 PM

Our server, maintained by a third party and located on their premises, has been subject to unexplained slowwdowns in the past few days, which is why we've been late posting some articles. Please check the front page, including the list of the articles over the last week in its right-hand column, to be sure not to miss anything. We hope that the problem has been fixed. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Trouble on the Border (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday February 10, 2012 - 06:59:00 PM

Bounce: Friends (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Friday February 10, 2012 - 07:18:00 PM

Public Comment

The Activism Entry Point: Critiquing The Cancer in Occupy Debate

By Joseph Anderson
Tuesday February 14, 2012 - 07:31:00 AM

Well, by now everyone in the Occupy movement is hotly debating "nonviolence" vs. "diversity of tactics", as recently so in, "Chris Hedges and Kristof Lopaur of Occupy Oakland debate black bloc, militancy and tactics," February 8, 2012, on KPFA in Berkeley, California.

Both Lopaur and Hedges made some critically weak, flawed, at times somewhat disingenuous or self-contradictory and, in Lopaur's case, often specious arguments in their radio debate. This so, even though I politically agree with Hedges, and although Hedges' recent commentary, "The Cancer in Occupy," seemed, journalistically, poorly supported. But, Hedges is dead on about, 'Go do violence under your own name, not the Occupy movement's.' -more-

February Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday February 10, 2012 - 07:22:00 PM

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-

Reviving Berkeley Restaurants in Tents on Burned-Out Building Site: How It Could be Done

By Thomas Lord
Friday February 10, 2012 - 03:46:00 PM

There's plans afoot to perhaps reboot Raleigh's and Intermezzo using modified shipping containers and tents in lieu of a more elaborate structure to get them going quickly. A third restaurant may enter the picture.

I think that's clever and has a lot of relevance to the local economy as impacts the 99%, so to speak.

So I wrote this open letter to the architect: -more-


EATS, SHOOTS 'N' LEAVES:Amyris Drops Out of the Agrofuel Business

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday February 14, 2012 - 12:05:00 PM

Yep, Amyris [previously], the UC Berkeley-spawned company born of Bill Gates bucks to create an antimalarial drug then reincarnated as a corporation dedicated to creating fuels from plants, is dropping out of the fuel game — in precisely the same way it left the drug business. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Jim Crow Never Left

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday February 10, 2012 - 07:23:00 PM

In his article, "The Caging of America" in the January 30, 2012 issue of The New Yorker , Adam Gopnik quotes Robert Perkin's "Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire," who argues that the South is "the fountainhead of subjugationist discipline." That is, America's prison system is a slave plantation, a way of reimposing Jim Crow. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The GOP Problem: “It’s Halftime for America”

By Bob Burnett
Friday February 10, 2012 - 05:01:00 PM

This year’s Super Bowl program contained a commercial ”It’s Halftime in America”, featuring Clint Eastwood. Initially this seemed to be a public service pep talk for the nation, then a promo for Detroit, and it turned out to be a Chrysler ad. The commercial outraged Republicans. It’s an indication of their core problems in the 2012 Presidential contest. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: The Albatross and the Anarchist

By Joe Eaton
Friday February 10, 2012 - 06:34:00 PM
Courting Laysan albatrosses on Tern Island, Hawaii.

One of the science blogs I check regularly is Darren Naish’s Tetrapod Zoology, currently hosted by Scientific American. Naish has a taste for the gratifyingly obscure, and the blog’s science-to-polemic ratio is high. He recently wrote about a remarkable case of mutualism—a reciprocally beneficial cooperative relationship between organisms of different species—that was described by a group of Japanese scientists in the journal Marine Biology. -more-

SENIOR POWER:On Dining Alone…

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday February 10, 2012 - 04:38:00 PM

There were few people with whom gastronome M. F. K. Fisher cared “to pray, sleep, dance, sing, or share her bread and wine.” In an essay sprinkled with foody tidbits, she contended that A Is for Dining Alone. “I drive home by way of the corner Thriftmart to pick up another box of Ry Krisp, which with a can of tomato soup and a glass of California sherry will make a good nourishing meal for me as I sit on my tuffet in a circle of proofs and pocket detective stories.” -more-

MY COMMONPLACE BOOK (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)

By Dorothy Bryant
Friday February 10, 2012 - 06:29:00 PM

You don’t inquire what is selling these days. You don’t worry about what editors or reviewers may like or not like. -more-

Arts & Events

Around & About Opera: Goat Hall's Valentine's Party This Sunday—Songs, Arias & Duets

By Ken Bullock
Friday February 10, 2012 - 04:33:00 PM
Eliza O'Malley

Goat Hall Productions always come up with the most refreshing—and fun!—modus operandi for putting on a show of opera new and old. This Sunday at 8, they're throwing a benefit party for Valentine's Day at the Julia Morgan Chamber Arts House on Ashby ... and the m. o.'s been to hand over the role of impresario to the principal donors, over a dozen of whom have staked $100 per singer to hear their favorite operatic numbers, from Mozart to Puccini, Mahler and Debussy, including Goat Hall's founders, Harriet March Page and Mark Alburger performing his fine music, and Eliza O'Malley singing Delibes and Schubert. -more-

EYE FROM THE AISLE: Counter Attack at Berkeley's Ashby Stage—a delicious slice of theatre a la mode!

By John McMullen II
Friday February 10, 2012 - 05:07:00 PM
Lynne Hollander, Joan Mankin, Arthur Holden

With COUNTER ATTACK at the Ashby Stage, Joan Holden has written a moving tale of an aging waitress, capturing the craziness of the profession, the lure of the tips, the regulars, the banter, and what happens when your legs ain’t what they used to be. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT FILM: Rare Gregory Markopoulos Retrospective at the Pacific Film Archive

By Ken Bullock
Friday February 10, 2012 - 07:44:00 PM

Gregory Markopoulos (1928-92) was one of the most creative American filmmakers who emerged during or just after the Second World War. From Toledo, Ohio, on of Greek immigrants, he made his first film at 12, and studied with Josef Von Sternberg as a teenager. His sense of place, of the subliminal (Markopoulos might've said said "mythic"), of person was volatilized by an extraordinary, "almost Mannerist" use of color ("Color is Eros") and his own signature in montage, eventually expressed through rapid cutting and unusual soundtracks, with and without music. -more-

THEATER REVIEW: 'Body Awareness' at the Aurora

By Ken Bullock
Friday February 10, 2012 - 05:14:00 PM

Body Awareness Week on campus at Shirley State college in Vermont, and the feminist professor in charge (Amy Resnick as Phyllis) bravely plunges into welcoming the audience to the festivities—while at home, her domestic partner Joyce (Jeri Lynn Cohen) is verbally scrimmaging with her post-adolescent son Jared (Patrick Russell) over his ongoing onanism, spiraling phone bills for sex calls, and her suspicions (along with Phyllis) he has Asperger's Syndrome. But Jared is having nothing of it, sniping at his mother while delving into his passion ... etymology. -more-