Berkeley Can Be Better, but Some Voters Missed the Memo

By Becky O'Malley
Friday October 19, 2012 - 01:30:00 PM

The newsies (as we used to call them back when I was managing campaigns instead of reporting on them) are all excited right about now about what the “low information voters” are going to do in the presidential election.

That’s the new name for what have also been called “swing ” or “ independent” or “undecided” voters, and it’s a better choice. When I was doing what we used to call “door-to-door” campaigning (now militarized as “the ground game”) I learned that all of these terms usually meant “unlikely to show up at the polls”, so we concentrated instead on making sure that Our Guys showed up on election day.

But now I’ve met the newsies, and they is us. And for us newsies, now that election day is little more than a dozen days away, the poll action is around the dwindling number of “who me?” low information voters.

In Berkeley, as in many other places in the country, some people know exactly what they’re doing when they vote, and these sophisticated voters often take the option of voting early with absentee ballots. Unfortunately, Berkeley is also the home of an unusual number of voters who know an awful lot about a lot of things, but pride themselves on not knowing much about Berkeley—and they vote too, early and often, whether they need to or not. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Some Dead Guy (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Monday October 22, 2012 - 11:51:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Whales (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Monday October 22, 2012 - 11:48:00 PM

Bounce: Ohm...... (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Monday October 22, 2012 - 11:55:00 PM

Public Comment

Complaint Filed with Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission Regarding Yes on T’s Illegal/Fraudulent Endorsements

By Zelda Bronstein
Monday October 22, 2012 - 08:34:00 AM

In an effort to stem the rampant dishonesty of the campaign to rezone West Berkeley to profit a few big developers, as reported in the Berkeley Daily Planet and on berkeleyside.com, on October 17 I filed two complaints with the City of Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC). -more-

Religious Leaders Speak Out Against Berkeley’s Measure S

By Sally Hindman and 52 Signers
Friday October 19, 2012 - 04:03:00 PM

As religious leaders of diverse faith traditions, we stand united in opposition to the November 2012 ballot initiative in Berkeley, “Measure S,” making it illegal to sit on sidewalks in commercial areas.

Measure S violates deeply held religious convictions that call us to seek justice and compassion for all living beings. We must respect the humanity of our brothers and sisters and honor their dignity. Thus, we oppose the criminalization of homeless people.

Measure S will increase the persecution, ticketing and arresting of homeless people. If this inhumane law is passed, homeless people will be forcibly driven from one street corner to another by cruel threats and citations, when their urgent needs for shelter, housing, jobs and other resources go unmet. -more-

Jody London, Sankofa Academy and the Mysteries of the Oakland Unified School District, and a BILLION (Yes a Billion!) in Assessment Tax Bond Money from B and now J

By Robert Brokl
Monday October 22, 2012 - 10:48:00 AM

Maybe it was the $7,000 illuminated "monument" sign that did it. Trying to figure out how that appeared like a toxic mushroom on the lawn at Sankofa Academy, with its newly minted McDonald's color scheme of bright red and gold, led down the proverbial rabbit hole, leaving more questions than answers. The quest led to unsatisfying interactions with Dist.1 Oakland School Board member/Board President Jody London (of the thousands of lawn signs), disturbing conclusions about the apparent lack of much state oversight even for a school district just emerging from bankruptcy and state takeoever, and the mystery of how 10.1 million (and counting) can be spent on a "green tier" neighborhood school, as those nearby either close or get all the gold stars. Not to mention the questions about whether to support more money (Measure J and another $475 million) for the Oakland schools when we're not convinced the Measure B funds are being wisely spent or even monitored at Sankofa. And since understanding the Big Picture may only happen after analyzing the little one—Is the Sankofa story emblematic of bigger problems with schools and their funding in general in Oakland? (Sankofa Academy is not even mentioned regarding Measure J in the official Voter Information Pamphlet for the upcoming election, only its former incarnation as "Washington Elementary.") -more-

Press Release: Solution to Berkeley's Homeless Problem: Number the Homeless (A Modest Proposal)

From Karen Able
Friday October 19, 2012 - 11:19:00 PM

The “Measure S” campaign has morphed into a brutal back and forth pitting bleeding hearts against business buffs, but really is just a facade to deny homeless people their rights on both sides. Citizens for the Numbering of Homeless People calls for a return to the original purpose of the measure and announces a write-in campaign:

“Vote No on Measure S, Write-In for Measure #S!” -more-

Berkeley's Asinine Sitting Ban Measure

By Michael T. Pachovas
Friday October 19, 2012 - 03:15:00 PM

Once again the mayor and a majority of our esteemed city’s councilmembers have adorned themselves with their tiny pointed dunce caps in order to enact a ballot measure that would, if passed by the voters, ban Berkeley citizens and visitors from sitting on the “public” sidewalks. Obviously, well-dressed, pleasant, well-to-do folks who might bother to stop and sit down on a sidewalk will likely not be harassed by our civic minded boys-in-blue. Should you look like you can’t afford $4 to sit in one of our many cafes however, it will cost you $50 and considerable discomfort to do the same. -more-

Monsanto & Dupont Spend Big Money to Defeat Prop 37

By Glen Kohler
Friday October 19, 2012 - 04:12:00 PM

Are we going to allow the two largest contributors to the No on 37 campaign, Monsanto and Dupont -- who told us Agent Orange and DDT are safe -- convince us that we don't have a right to know what they're doing to our food? -more-

Berkeley Measure T's Misleading Ads

By Christopher Adams
Friday October 19, 2012 - 03:10:00 PM

Last week's mail brought a flyer asking for a yes vote on Measure T. It contains a picture of the West Berkeley Branch Library, now under construction on University Avenue next to a picture of children presumably in that library. The West Berkeley Library has absolutely nothing to do with Measure T. As someone who worked many hours to get the bond measure passed for the new branch libraries and who has worked many additional hours to raise additional private donations for the branch libraries, I find it appalling that the backers of this misguided measure would attempt to use the library for such purposes. -more-

Lies in Political Campaign Material

By Tree Fitzpatrick
Friday October 19, 2012 - 03:22:00 PM

Thanks for the story about the lies printed on material sent on behalf of folks supporting Measure T. This is a shameful, sickening story. -more-

Oakland’s Knowland Park Worth Saving: Vote NO on Measure A1

By Jane Molnar
Thursday October 18, 2012 - 05:05:00 PM

My children and I first discovered Knowland Park in the spring of 2009 when they were six, nine, and eleven. They were amazed that there was such a place – a pristine, beautiful space that felt boundless to them. Their first reaction was to run full-speed until they finally tired out. -more-