New: ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Berkeley Mayor and City Council

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday September 05, 2012 - 09:14:00 AM

As promised, Labor Day has passed, and we’re following up on our promise to publish endorsements as quickly as possible. Today, the Berkeley City Council candidates, including the Mayor, are before us for consideration.

We’re pleased to learn that the three best candidates for Mayor of Berkeley seem to have created a mutual support pact which responds to the dynamics of ranked choice voting. They’re collectively urging voters to vote for all of them in one-two-three order. The consensus among them and their supporters seems to be that incumbent Mayor Tom Bates has passed his pull date, and it’s time to replace him—not that they agree on everything else, of course.

For Berkeley’s genuine progressives, the tipping point seems to have been Bates’ full-throated promotion of Measure S, the anti-sitting initiative which he ramrodded onto the ballot at the last minute by calling in all his chits with the Faux-Progs who make up his council majority, a couple of whom should actually know better. Everything that annoys anyone about street behavior is already illegal in Berkeley, so this measure represents nothing more than another swift kick aimed at the down-and-out. Those of us with long memories remember that then-Assemblymember Bates backed a similar proposal about 15 years ago, which was thrown out in federal court on constitutional grounds. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Berkeley Heats Up For the Fall Election Season

By Becky O'Malley
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 06:10:00 PM

As summer slowly cools down, local politics is starting to heat up. We’ve made an earnest effort to take some time off, but our indefatigable contributors have continued to crank out excellent copy, so today’s new issue makes room for their latest output.

I’ve been whiling away the idle hours by attending a variety of campaign kickoff events for a miscellany of candidates as I’ve been waiting for the ballot information to be completed and posted by the Berkeley City Clerk’s office. As of this week, it’s all in, so it’s time to start reporting on local election activities in earnest.

This issue reprises all the information available from the Berkeley City Clerk’s office—and there’s a lot. Take a good look at what’s here, and when I get back to work after Labor Day I’ll get right to the question of endorsements. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Fred for Prez (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Tuesday August 28, 2012 - 11:18:00 AM

Bounce: The Shunning (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Tuesday August 28, 2012 - 11:21:00 AM

Public Comment

Berkeley Police at Washington Elementary School Do Not Promote Student Safety

By Kasey Harboe Guentert
Friday August 31, 2012 - 11:10:00 AM

I am writing to express my outrage at the police's treatment of law-abiding parents and children at Washington Elementary school. The purpose of a police department should be to prevent crime and promote safety. Instead, however, the Berkeley traffic officers and meter staff take up valuable drop-off parking spots, cause additional anxiety for drivers by stating clearly that they are here to collect parking fines, and threaten/intimidate parents trying to drop off children at school. This creates an unsafe environment for children and unnecessary chaos. -more-

Romney's Vision for the Future: An Uninhabitable Earth

By Jack Bragen
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 04:07:00 PM

I have heard Newt Gingrich, (who I’m relieved won’t be president any time soon) use the term, “Social Engineering” to describe some of the politics to which he is opposed. Ironically, it is the Republicans who are attempting this. Apparently, the Republican vision of the future includes the total elimination of the middle class and the ruination of the Earth’s environment. Under Romney’s vision, America will have only two classes: the few super-rich, and their serfs, the many people who are extremely deprived. -more-


Thursday September 06, 2012 - 10:05:00 AM

This Year Make Sure that Our Causes are Larger...

By Rabbi Alana Suskin, Director of Strategic Communications, Americans for Peace Now
Thursday September 06, 2012 - 09:59:00 AM

Last spring, an event galvanized a segment of American Jews like no other. People knew it was going to change their lives and they wanted to stop it. There were weeks of Facebook comments decrying it. Petitions were launched. The Jewish community became galvanized.

You remember - the Trader Joe's supermarket chain announced that its chocolate chips would no longer be certified as kosher pareve (containing no dairy or meat products), and would instead be kosher dairy.

As much as this affected some people's lives (kosher dietary laws forbid consuming meat and dairy products at the same meal), how many became as indignant over the daily violations of Jewish law taking place in Israel and the West Bank? Imagine if the continued building of settlement outposts on Palestinian-owned land, the defacing of mosques by Jews, and attacks on IDF soldiers by settlers could cause as much buzz as little bits of chocolate! -more-