The Week



Press Release: Bates and Berkeley Council Violated Brown Act in Measure S Process, Says ACLU in Letter

From Bob Offer-Westort, Berkeley Standing Up for the Right to Sit Down; Michael T. Risher, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California: 415 621 2493
Thursday September 06, 2012 - 02:38:00 PM

The ACLU of Northern California has sent a letter to the City Council, the Mayor, and the City Attorney alleging that Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and city councilmembers violated the California Brown Act when they approved the "sit-lie" ballot measure S this July. The letter was sent to the City Council on August 28, and was received this week.

In a letter sent to the city, the ACLU stated, "As a result of these violations, members of the public and of the Council were denied their rights to speak about this controversial proposal, and the proposal was adopted without the public debate by council members that is a crucial part of our democracy."

According to the ACLU complaint, during a heated July 10 Berkeley city council meeting at which councilmembers approved “sit-lie” for this November’s ballot, the council violated both the Brown Act and its own rules by voting on the measure before public comment was completed. -more-

New: Berkeley Schools, the Billionaires, and the New Superintendent (News Analysis)

By Thomas Lord
Wednesday September 05, 2012 - 08:54:00 AM

Billionaires such as Bill Gates and Eli Broad (pronounced brōd) use charitable donations to school districts, schools, and education professionals to change public education policy nationwide. Berkeley feels its share of influence from these billionaires.

In 2003, the Gates Foundation helped Berkeley High School transition to a small schools model, a policy Gates was aggressively pushing nationwide. Today in 2012, the Broad Foundation has influenced the school district's choice for a new superintendent. -more-

Berkeley School Board Chooses Finalist for Superintendent

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Saturday September 01, 2012 - 10:44:00 PM

The Berkeley school board has chosen Edmond Heatley of Georgia as the sole finalist for superintendent job that's being vacated by departing superintendent Bill Huyett. -more-

There's Something About Tom Bates (News Analysis)

By Ted Friedman
Saturday September 01, 2012 - 01:59:00 PM
There's Something About Tom.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates rallied his supporters at his fourth mayoral run kick-off and fund-raiser, Wednesday, showing some of the style that has made him Berkeley's longest sitting mayor, ever. He's been mayor since 2002.

The elegant setting was Berkeley Mills, a furniture design workshop and showrooms on 7th Street.

There's something about "Tom"…which most of his constituents call him. A big glad-handing guy, even some of his most persistent opponents can't help liking him--even sixteen year council-veteran Kriss Worthington, who nonetheless made a last minute decision to oppose Bates after repeatedly clashing with him at council meetings

At his own opening event, Worthington said that the last straw which convinced him to run for mayor was the majority’s vote, at Bates’ insistence, to place a loosely specified bond issue (Measure M) on the November ballot. It prioritizes undefined street repairs over needed environmental infrastructure improvements, especially to watershed management, which would have benefited now-deteriorating Aquatic Park and addressed periodic flooding, particularly in South and West Berkeley.

But there's something about Tom, something that keeps him running for Berkeley mayor. His detractors say the "something" is a network of developers and other special interest groups. -more-

Rare 'Blue Moon' to Shine Bright Over Berkeley Tonight

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Friday August 31, 2012 - 11:15:00 AM

A blue moon will light up the night sky tonight. -more-

Got Free Speech in Berkeley’s Constitution Square? (First Person)

By Carol Denney
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 09:48:00 PM
Poster girl. Carol Denney, Berkeley activist, who has postered Berkeley since 1972, posters Sunday in Constitution Square (at downtown Bart entrance). Above her restricted area poster ("Wealthy People Only) is a "No Smoking" sign.  The glop running down the pole is her own special-formula glue, shot from her spray bottle.

The “Ambassadors” in the Downtown Berkeley Association’s Block By Block program claimed on Sunday, August 19, 2012, that only fliers authored by the City of Berkeley were allowed on Constitution Square’s light poles. -more-

New: Berkeley Election News in Other Media

Tuesday September 04, 2012 - 11:27:00 AM

Two summer interns at have done a bang-up job reporting how incumbent Berkeley councilmembers use their city-paid funding to support worthwhile causes. Kriss Worthington comes out as "most liberal", with Laurie Capitelli on the parsimonious end of the scale.

Noteworthy in Berkeleyside's election-to-date roundup: The Berkeley Democratic Club, traditionally the Moderates when the Mod vs. Prog grouping meant something, endorsed District 2 incumbent Darryl Moore over his two progressive challengers, making Moore perhaps the new Mod standard bearer. Not to worry: few if any BDC members live in District 2—it's a Hills outfit primarily. -more-

New: Wellstone Club Endorsement Meeting for the Berkeley November Election to Take Place in Oakland on Thursday

From the Wellstone Newsletter
Tuesday September 04, 2012 - 11:20:00 AM

On Thursday, September 6, the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club will consider Berkeley offices and initiatives, and elected positions for a variety of special districts including Directors for BART, AC Transit, and the Peralta Community College District, as well as Oakland city attorney. -more-

Berkeley's General Election Calendar

From the Berkeley City Clerk
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 09:40:00 PM

Here are the relevant dates for Berkeley's General Election, which will take place on Nov. 6, 2012: -more-

Election Information: 2012 Berkeley Ballot Measures

Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 09:38:00 PM

Here the measures which will be on the Berkeley ballot for the November 6 election, along with the arguments for and against them: -more-

Berkeley Mayoral Candidates Forum on Sept 26th

By Margot Smith
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 04:49:00 PM

Meet the candidates for Berkeley Mayor at a forum on Wednesday, September 26th at 1:30 PM at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst, corner of MLK. Moderated by George Lippman of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, the candidates will present their positions and discuss their visions for Berkeley. Sponsored by the Berkeley-East Bay Gray Panthers. -more-

Profiles of the Candidates for Berkeley Office in the November Election

From the Berkeley City Clerk
Tuesday August 28, 2012 - 10:15:00 AM

Names of and information about all candidates for office in Berkeley's November election can be found below: -more-

Jacquelyn McCormick for Mayor (Opinion)

By Martha Nicoloff
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 05:30:00 PM

Five candidates have taken on the challenge of beating the Mayor Bates machine. One citizen to sign up early is Jacquelyn McCormick, a person with experience evaluating Council actions. She has a continuing website called "Berkeley Council Watch". one of the few sources of reporting on local politics. She has attended every Council meeting for the last two years. -more-



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

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-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Mitt Romney: The Great White Hope

Friday August 31, 2012 - 10:59:00 AM

To secure the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, Mitt Romney had to take increasingly conservative positions. Many observers expected that once he became the nominee, Romney would move towards the political middle ground. But he hasn’t. His campaign has taken even more extreme stances because Romney believes it is the only way he can attract the votes of working-class whites. -more-

AGAINST FORGETTING: Voter Suppression: The "Schurick Doctrine" and the Unravelling of American Democracy

By Ruth Rosen
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 09:16:00 PM

Republicans across the United States have passed a spate of voter suppression laws aimed at those most likely to vote for Obama. They are specifically targeting African American women who, in the past, created a gender gap that decisively elected Democratic presidents. America needs immediate international monitoring of its presidential election. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Chevron's Richmond Refinery Fire: Another Case of Environmental and Community Destruction

By Ralph E. Stone
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 04:31:00 PM

Chevron's Richmond Refinery -- the company's second largest refinery -- recently spewed toxic smoke over Richmond and San Pablo sending more than 14,000 people in the East Bay to medical facilities with smoke-related complaints. This is but the latest in Chevron's legacy of environmental and community destruction. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: The GOP and the John Galt Factor

By Ralph E. Stone
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 04:20:00 PM

Vice President candidate Paul Ryan once remarked, "The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. ( And at the Rand celebration he spoke at in 2005, Ryan invoked the central theme of Rand's writings when he told his audience that, "Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill  . . .  is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict - individualism versus collectivism." -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: The Mali War: The Wages of Sin

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 04:17:00 PM

The reports filtering out of Northern Mali are appalling: a young couple stoned to death, iconic ancient shrines dismantled, and some 365,000 refugees fleeing beatings and whippings for the slightest violations of Sharia law. But the bad dream unfolding in this West African country is less the product of a radical version of Islam than a consequence of the West’s scramble for resources on this vast continent, and the wages of sin from the recent Libyan war. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Kennedy, Jackson and Bipolar

By Jack Bragen
Friday August 31, 2012 - 10:28:00 AM

Patrick Kennedy and Jesse Jackson Jr. are two people with bipolar illness who were or are [respectively] members of Congress. It doesn't take a genius to realize that these examples of people who have bipolar are a different breed than those who get a weapon and do a random shooting. -more-

Arts & Events

Berkeley Arts Festival presents: Erik Satie's Vexations: September 8 & 9, 2012 - Saturday 6 pm through Sunday around 2 pm

By Diane Caudillo
Monday September 03, 2012 - 09:56:00 AM

The act of performing or listening to a complete performance of Erik Satie's Vexations cannot be compared to any other musical experience. -more-

FILM: Red Hook Summer: Hook, Line and Sinker
Opens August 31 at the Shattuck Cinema

By Gar Smith
Friday August 31, 2012 - 10:31:00 AM

Some films merely disappoint. Others aggravate. Spike Lee's third return to Brooklyn falls in the latter category. This latest Spike Lee Joint (filmed in just 18 days) is an entertaining but wildly dis-jointed beast of a film—paved with good intentions but plagued with conflicting road signs and pitted with plot holes. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT OPERA: Lisa Scola Prosek's New Opera 'Daughter of the Red Tsar' Featuring John Duykers as Winston Churchill

By Ken Bullock
Friday August 31, 2012 - 11:05:00 AM

Bay Area opera composer Lisa Scola Prosek has written the music and libretti for some of the most creative, melodic works in the genre staged hereabouts over the past decade or so. Her new—and typically ambitious—piece is an 80 minute one act, 'Daughter of the Red Tsar,' about Churchill's flight to Moscow in 1942 to meet Stalin, their all-night drinking bout getting to know each other, and the plight of Stalin's daughter Svetlana and her doomed Jewish intellectual boyfriend. -more-

Don't Miss This

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - 09:47:00 PM

"Summer time and the living is easy." Also easy (and free) are the fabulous cultural and educational activities occurring in the bay area this month. Where to begin? -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Subterranean Shakespeare Presents 'Shakespeare Night At the Blackfriars' Labor Day at the Berkeley Arts Festival Theater

By Ken Bullock
Friday August 31, 2012 - 11:09:00 AM

Subterranean Shakespeare will present a staged reading of Berkeley playwright George Crowe's play, 'Shakespeare Night at the Blackfriars,' about a fictional contest between Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and other playwrights of the era, directed by Robert Estes, this Monday Labor Day) at 7:30, the Berkeley Arts Festival Theater, 2133 University Avenue. $10. 276-3871. -more-