New: 1937 Oakland/Temescal Fire Foreshadowed 1991 Conflagration In Oakland/Berkeley Hills

By Steven Finacom
Monday September 24, 2012 - 01:22:00 PM
This map from the September 27, 1937 Oakland Tribune, shows the fire area; it was published while the fire was still burning eastwards.   Highway 24 now runs up the “New Tunnel Road” route that crosses the map, to the Caldecott Tunnel (shown as “Western Portal of New Tunnel” on map).   Lake Temescal at lower left.

September 26 / 27 is the 75th anniversary of one of the five largest wildfires of the 20th century to burn the west side of the Berkeley Hills. Scorching at least a square mile of land south of today’s Highway 24 and the Caldecott Tunnel, the fire burned for more than a day and threatened both Oakland and Berkeley residential neighborhoods. -more-

Space Shuttle Passes Over Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Friday September 21, 2012 - 10:15:00 AM
The NASA Shuttle as seen over Berkeley

Wow! I just glanced out my window and saw the retiring space shuttle, mounted on the back of a big plane, passing over my head. Very moving, much more than I'd expected.

Mark Coplan forwarded some great pictures with this comment:

"The historic flight of the NASA Shuttle to its final resting place where millions will be able to see it passed over Berkeley today. It was an awesome sight from the roof of the new Berkeley Unified School District Administrative Offices." -more-

Campaign for McLaughlin Park
on State Parks Commission Agenda
for September 28

By Patricia Vaughan Jones,Executive Director, Citizens for East Shore Parks
Friday September 21, 2012 - 03:32:00 PM

Naming parks after people adds a human element and story to open space. Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP), a shoreline advocacy nonprofit, has spearheaded a campaign to rename Eastshore State Park as McLaughlin Eastshore State Park after San Francisco Bay champion and citizen volunteer Sylvia McLaughlin. The proposal will be on the agenda of the California State Parks Commission on September 28.

CESP is committed to this campaign because Sylvia McLaughlin represents the many citizen volunteers who worked to preserve the San Francisco Bay shoreline. Sylvia McLaughlin is co-founder of CESP and Save the Bay and she was instrumental in establishing the Eastshore State Park. CESP was founded in 1985 as a result of Santa Fe Railroad’s proposed fill and development on the Berkeley shoreline. CESP brought shoreline advocates together to stop this development, preserving the land that became the Eastshore State Park. -more-

Ashby BART Station in Berkeley Closed Due to Person Under Train

Tuesday September 25, 2012 - 07:43:00 PM

Berkeley's Ashby BART station is closed this evening because a person was under a train there, according to BART. -more-

New: Grey Panthers Host Berkeley Mayor Candidates in Forum

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Wednesday September 26, 2012 - 10:21:00 PM

The Berkeley-East Bay Gray Panthers’ monthly meeting filled the North Berkeley Senior Center large meeting room with reporters, photographers, and senior citizens-elders-boomers on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 afternoon. Maggie Kuhn —she who contended that “Power should not be concentrated in the hands of so few, and powerlessness in the hands of so many”— would have been pleased with the turn-out and how the Meet the Candidates for Berkeley Mayor forum was conducted. -more-

Press Release: Celebratory “Sitting Olympics” To Highlight Measure S Concerns
Berkeley celebs headline Sept. 30 “Starry Plough Olympiad 2012”

From Christopher Cook
Wednesday September 26, 2012 - 06:07:00 PM

Adding colorful levity to the campaign season, the coalition Berkeley Standing Up for the Right to Sit Down/No on S is hosting an “Olympic Sitting Competition” Sept. 30 to dramatize the “absurdity” of outlawing sitting on a sidewalk. -more-

Press Release: Bookmark and Share Curb-Sit and Kiss-In Protest Against Anti-Sitting Law-- Re-Creation Of Barack And Michelle Obama's First Kiss While Sitting On The Sidewalk

By B Sofer
Wednesday September 26, 2012 - 12:05:00 PM

What: Obama wedding anniversary eve first date re-creation, “Curb-Sit” and “Kiss-In”

When: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Where: On the Curb of the Berkeley City Council meeting, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

On the eve of Barack and Michelle Obama's 20th wedding anniversary, citizens of Berkeley will be re-creating the First Family’s first date and first kiss, exactly as they did, while sitting on the sidewalk and sharing ice cream. If measure S, (the sidewalks for the merchants, not the homeless measure) passes in the November election, this re-creation would be illegal on the Obamas 21st anniversary.
A plaque placed outside a strip mall in the Hyde Park neighborh
The protesters were inspired by the dedication, in August, of a plaque commemorating that first kiss, on a 3000-pound granite marker at the location where their first kiss occurred.

The photo is from Zimbio

There will be a signing of an anniversary card, urging the Obamas to come out in opposition to this awful law.

That first kiss occurred in 1989 when Pres. Obama was a Harvard law student working as a summer associate in the law firm where Michelle Obama was an attorney. Their first kiss occurred while they were sitting on the sidewalk in front of what is now a Subway sandwich shop. The president said in a February 2007 interview in Oprah's "O.", magazine, " On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate." -more-

New: Vote No on Alameda County Measure A1 (Opinion)

By Laura Baker,East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society
Wednesday September 26, 2012 - 10:29:00 AM

The East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society is a member of the organized opposition to the Oakland Zoo's county-wide parcel tax measure, Measure A1. We are one of the signers to the argument against the measure that appears in the voter pamphlet. This measure is not what the zoo is claiming it is--all about humane animal care. It's about getting Alameda county taxpayers to foot the bill for the big ridgeline expansion and 34,000 sq. foot visitor center, restaurant, and office complex that zoo management insists they will be building on unspoiled Knowland Park, Oakland's largest park and an area of amazing plant and wildlife diversity. There is another side to this measure besides the cute animals that the zoo displays to divert attention away from the real issues. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Mayoral Candidate Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi to Host Green Party Endorsement Celebration at New Campaign Headquarters

Friday September 21, 2012 - 11:45:00 AM

Berkeley Mayoral candidate and Green Party member Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi will host a Green Party endorsement celebration and meet-and-greet on Friday, September 21, 2012 at his new campaign's headquarters located at 1551 University Avenue.

The event will be held on Friday evening, between the hours of 5PM to 9PM, and invited guests and speakers include City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, Rent Commissioner Asa Dodsworth, Adolfo Cabral, Michelle Hamilton and other progressive candidates, community leaders and educators. -more-

MapLight's Voter's Edge: A Graphic Guide to Election Information

Monday September 24, 2012 - 06:16:00 PM

Voter's Edge is the product of MapLight, a non-profit foundation-funded organization which documents political contributions and presents them in an easily accessed online format. Here's their widget which tells you all about California ballot propositions:

And below you'll see the MapLight widget for Berkeley.

We must emphasize, however, that we haven't fact-checked the information here, which is compiled by and for the blog under contract with MapLight. Also, in many categories, like "Endorsements", the information is incomplete.

We've taken just a quick look, and have already found one error: Street Spirit's cartoon on Anti-Sitting Measure S does not belong under Editorials in the "Yes" column—they're emphatic opponents, as any Street Spirit reader might guess. Also, Osha Neumann's Public Comment piece, listed under Measure S "No" editorials, is not technically a Planet editorial, though we're proud to host it nonetheless and agree with his opinion..

If you find any other mistakes, please let us know at, and we'll post corrections. And if you can supply missing information, please tell us that too.

UPDATE: The Street Spirit cartoon about Measure S has been moved to the "No" column as of Wednesday morning. Please continue to report errors and omissions. -more-

Election Information

Friday September 21, 2012 - 12:34:00 PM

Here are previous Planet articles with information and opinion about Berkeley’s November election: -more-