The Week

Early closing at BA, Telegraph, Saturday. Protestors are banging on bank windows, making demands. Rev. Billy is seventh from left.
Ted Friedman
Early closing at BA, Telegraph, Saturday. Protestors are banging on bank windows, making demands. Rev. Billy is seventh from left.


Details About Berkeley Hills Killing Emerge Slowly--New BPD Release Lacks Name of Victim

Monday February 20, 2012 - 06:55:00 PM

Berkeley Police continue to withhold the name of the man who was killed by a trespasser outside his home in the Berkeley Hills on Saturday night. However, more details about the story have emerged in a variety of Bay Area publications. Some of these have been confirmed in a Saturday evening press release from the Berkeley Police.

A report in the San Francisco Chronicle identifies the owner of the home where the crime took place and the probable victim as Peter Cukor, 67, a consultant with a logistics business. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Police Department; additional information re: 2/18/12 Homicide X

From Lt. Andrew Greenwood, Berkeley Police Department
Monday February 20, 2012 - 06:53:00 PM

Coverage of the February 18 homicide generated a number of questions today. We are offering this additional information regarding the homicide from Saturday night, February 18, 2012: -more-

New: Occupy Oakland Marches to Berkeley to Stick it To Cops and Memorialize

By Ted Friedman
Sunday February 19, 2012 - 09:26:00 PM
Occupy Oakland hits the streets of Berkeley, saturday night.

When Berkeley's bad-ass brothers next door pay a Telegraph Avenue visit to its smaller uptown brothers, you might expect trouble on the Avenue. You might also expect that the marchers from downtown Oakland might be met by police. -more-

New: Rev. Billy's Roadshow in Berkeley Occupies Telegraph B of A—Sort Of

By Ted Friedman
Sunday February 19, 2012 - 06:04:00 PM
Rev. Billy working the crowd, which grew to 35, Saturday outside Caffe Med, on Teley. "Never trust a man in white shoes," he cautioned.

The whole bizarre incident started, as usual, in front of the Caffe Mediterraneum—center of the universe, where a tall man who resembles Jay Leno had attracted a crowd. -more-

New: Bay Bridge Reopens Early

By Bay City News Service
Sunday February 19, 2012 - 06:07:00 PM

The Bay Bridge's westbound upper deck will reopen this evening, more than 24 hours ahead of schedule following a planned holiday weekend closure for demolition and construction work. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Police Arrest Homicide Suspect in Berkeley Hills Killing

Press Release From Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, Berkeley Police Information Officer
Sunday February 19, 2012 - 01:59:00 PM

Overnight, members of the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) arrested a male suspect for homicide just a short distance from where the crime took place.

On Saturday, February 18, 2012 at about 8:45 p.m. a community member called BPD from Shasta Road and Grizzly Peak Boulevard to report a suspicious person/trespassing suspect near the garage when she and her husband returned to their home. The husband confronted the suspect and told him to leave. Minutes later, the husband walked outside and was assaulted.

View Larger Map -more-

Two Vallejo Quakes, Felt in Berkeley, Were a Cluster, Says Expert

By James Lanaras (BCN)
Friday February 17, 2012 - 11:03:00 AM

The U.S. Geological Survey has downgraded the magnitude of the most recent earthquake near Vallejo from 3.7 to 3.5. -more-

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

By Ted Friedman
Friday February 17, 2012 - 09:11:00 AM
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-

New: Occupy Oakland Marches to Berkeley

By Scott Morris (BCN)
Sunday February 19, 2012 - 10:10:00 AM

The weekly Occupy Oakland anti-police march headed to Berkeley Saturday night to meet with other Occupy demonstrators holding a conference at the University of California at Berkeley campus this weekend. -more-

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-



Odd Bodkins: The Hot Dog Man (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday February 17, 2012 - 02:42:00 PM

Public Comment

People with Potential: Providing Sanity to the US’ Struggle for Israel’s Peace

by Wendy Kenin @greendoula
Friday February 17, 2012 - 02:58:00 PM

For Americans who are burnt out by the negative and aggressive public dynamic between opposing political factions on Palestine-Israel peace, hope lives! I am thrilled to introduce you to some incredible people with their priorities in order who are coming from the Holy Land and speaking sanely about how to move forward. These people have already demonstrated the ability to reach a diverse political spread of people, and they are only in the earliest stages of their work. -more-

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-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Class Warfare: Which Side Are You On?

By Bob Burnett
Friday February 17, 2012 - 11:11:00 AM

Are we in the middle of a Class War? Billionaire Warren Buffett thinks so, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Most Americans agree; a recent Pew Poll found “Two-thirds of Americans said they think there are ‘very strong’ or ‘strong’ class conflicts in society.” But there’s a notable lack of enthusiasm for making fundamental change. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Time to Protect Kid's Privacy Online

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday February 17, 2012 - 11:06:00 AM

Privacy has become a major issue in the United States and Congress is paying attention. H.R. 1895, "The Do Not Track Kids Act," , a bi-partisan bill sponsored by U.S. Representatives Ed Markey (D. MA) and Joe Barton (D. TX), is pending in Congress. H.R. 1895 would amend the "Children's Online Privacy Protection Act" (COPPA) by introducing additional provisions to govern the collection and use of teens' personal information. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: The Duck in the Cave

By Joe Eaton
Friday February 17, 2012 - 11:27:00 AM
Two nene on Kaua'i: relatively normal geese.

Yes, it’s another Hawai’i column. “Neighbors” is a relative term.

I’ve written before about the extraordinary birds called Hawai’ian honeycreepers, or more technically drepanine finches (“dreps” for short.) They’re a classic evolutionary radiation: some generalized ancestral finch gave rise to over 50 descendant species with diverse plumage colors and specialized bill shapes and functions. For a long time there’s been speculation as to whether the ancestor originated in Asia and North America. In an earlier piece for a now-defunct magazine, I imagined a house finch or lesser goldfinch flying from California to Hawai’i with the seed of a tarweed—itself the ancestor of the equally extraordinary silversword plants—clinging to its feathers. -more-

SENIOR POWER The eyes have it…

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday February 17, 2012 - 12:32:00 PM

Your first indication may be that notorious newspaper fine print. Held at the usual distance from your eyes, you find yourself holding the paper farther from your eyes to focus the image. -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-

Arts & Events

FILM REVIEW: Red Tails: May the Air Force Be With You

By Gar Smith
Friday February 17, 2012 - 11:34:00 AM
A Red Tail Air Battle

There is a quick-and-easy way of describing Red Tails, George Lucas' new film about the Tuskegee Airmen: "Star Wars with propellers." Red Tails is a film to see and a film to support but it is not the film event it could have been. -more-

The Real Story of the Tuskegee Airmen

By Gar Smith
Friday February 17, 2012 - 12:29:00 PM
The Real Tuskegee Airmen

George Lucas' Red Tails is a serviceable introduction to the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen but a richer and more honest story can be found in Adam White's Red Tail Reborn, which was originally broadcast on PBS and is now available in a two-disk set that includes extended bonus interviews with a number of surviving "Red Tails." (, including Col. Charles McGee, a man who has flown more combat missions than any other American (409 missions; 6,100 hours in the air) and who — as the film shows, is still proudly flying. -more-


By Ken Bullock
Friday February 17, 2012 - 12:46:00 PM

Marvin X has been one of the great spokesmen of Black culture in the Bay Area—and the United States—for decades. Every time Amiri Baraka, one of the country's best-known poets and playwrights, comes here for a reading or talk, Marvin's always on the bill. His plays have been presented by different troupes around, lately—and notably—by Ayodele Nzinga's Lower Bottom Playaz in Oakland and at the San Francisco Arts Fair. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Central Works' 'Mesmeric Revelation' at the Berkeley City Club

By Ken Bullock
Friday February 17, 2012 - 02:09:00 PM

                Joe Jordan as Franz Anton Mesmer and Theo Black as Antoine Lavoisier at Julia Morgan's "Little Castle" Berkeley City Club

Central Works is bringing back Aaron Henne, who wrote and directed that most interesting production, 'A Man's Home ... an ode to Kafka's Castle' for the company a little while ago. This time Henne and the Central Works team will open (after two days of previews) his 'Mesmeric Revelation' on Saturday, inspired by tales of Poe--but about an encounter between Lavoisier, "father of chemistry," and Dr. Mesmer, the first famous hypnotist, promoter of "Animal Magnetism." It could prove to be one of the more unusual shows of the year. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: 'In Search of My Father ... Walkin' Talkin' Bill Hawkins'

By Ken Bullock
Friday February 17, 2012 - 02:03:00 PM

W. Allen Taylor performed the multi-character solo show he wrote, 'In Search of My Father ... Walkin' Talkin' Bill Hawkins' in Berkeley, 2006, to critical acclaim and a Critics Circle award for best solo show. (My review was published in the Planet, now archived above: January 10, 2006). Now it's coming back—see below ... -more-