The Week



New: Suspect in Berkeley Ashkenaz Robbery Identified as Rodeo Man

Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Wednesday March 20, 2013 - 12:41:00 PM

Berkeley police have released the name of a suspect in a robbery and shooting at the Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center last weekend. -more-

Ashkenaz Employees Recovering after Berkeley Robbery

Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Tuesday March 19, 2013 - 09:57:00 PM

The managing director of a Berkeley music venue is recovering along with another employee who was shot during a robbery at the center early Saturday morning, a center spokesman said. -more-

Campaign launches to return Berkeley “Dreamer” from Mexico

Diana Bohn
Tuesday March 19, 2013 - 09:55:00 PM

Rodrigo was a happy nine-year-old fourth grader at Jefferson Elementary School in Berkeley, where he lived since he was two years old. On January 10, 2013, Rodrigo and his parents, Reyna Diaz Mayida and Javier Ponce Guzman, returning from a trip to Mexico, were detained at the border in Houston, Texas. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities discovered that the father’s visa as well as the visas of Rodrigo and his mother had expired, so the entire family was denied entrance to the U.S. The family was told that they could not re-apply for a visa for five years. -more-

Now Read This: ZAB Slams Rhoades' New Berkeley Push

Tuesday March 19, 2013 - 09:34:00 PM

In the Chronicle's "Berkeley Blog", a cogent report on the Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board's negative review of the proposed downtown high rise...or you can watch the ZAB meeting yourself here. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Police Identify Ashkenaz Shooting Suspect in Custody

Officer Jennifer Coats, City of Berkeley Police Public Information Officer
Tuesday March 19, 2013 - 09:00:00 PM

We are releasing the name of the person arrested on the morning of March 16, 2013 in connection to the robbery and shooting at 1317 San Pablo Avenue, Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley School Board President Resigns

Mark Coplan
Monday March 18, 2013 - 11:21:00 AM

Berkeley School Board President Leah Wilson has recently been named the new Court Executive Officer (CEO) of the Alameda County Superior Court. Due to future potential conflicts of interest arising from her role as CEO and Clerk of the Court, Ms. Wilson is resigning from her position on the School Board. -more-

Odd Bodkins: Mom's Birthday And St. Pat (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Sunday March 17, 2013 - 05:40:00 PM

Here's a A St. Pat's Special from Dan O'Neill: -more-

Updated: Ashkenaz Employees Shot in Berkeley Robbery In Stable Condition

Bay City News
Saturday March 16, 2013 - 06:23:00 PM

Two employees at a Berkeley music venue who were shot and wounded during an armed robbery early today are in stable condition and expected to recover, venue officials said today. -more-

Flash: Two Workers at Berkeley's Ashkenaz Shot in Midnight Robbery

Laura Dixon (BCN)
Saturday March 16, 2013 - 10:19:00 AM

Suspects shot and wounded two employees at a long-standing Berkeley music venue during an armed robbery early this morning, a police spokeswoman said.

The shooting and armed robbery occurred minutes after midnight at the Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center at 1317 San Pablo Ave., Officer Jennifer Coats said.

Two armed suspects entered the crowded center and demanded cash from employees. The suspects shot and wounded two of the employees before fleeing the business, Coats said. -more-

Flash: Berkeley's Ashkenaz Robbed at Gun Point at Midnight; Two Employees Wounded;One Suspect Still At Large (BPD Press Release)

Ofc. Jennifer Coats Public Information Officer
Saturday March 16, 2013 - 10:15:00 AM

The Berkeley Police Department (BPD) is investigating the shooting of two employees during a robbery on March 16, 2013 at approximately 12:05 a.m., at the Ashkenaz Music and Dance Center, 1317 San Pablo Avenue. -more-

Graffitirazzi – A Hole-in-the-Wall on Haste

By Gar Smith
Friday March 15, 2013 - 04:13:00 PM
<b>The size of a small prison cell, the enclosed space expands upwards, rising two stories. A clean-looking folding mattress stands packed along the back wall. Peeling it away reveals walls scrawled with mystic notes and graphic shibboleths.

Sometimes an open doorway leads to someone's last-ditch crash-pad. Walking down Haste Street, you may have passed one such hole-in-the-wall hideaway. It might go totally unnoticed, if it weren't for the peek-a-boo graffiti. Appropriately, this no-money-down retreat is located in the same building that houses a Dollar Store. -more-

Berkeley Tech Student Assaulted, Robbed Near School

Bay City News
Friday March 15, 2013 - 05:34:00 PM

Police are searching for a suspect who assaulted and robbed a high school student in Berkeley on Wednesday morning.

Police responded to a report of a robbery in the area of Stuart and Milvia streets at about 11:35 a.m., Officer Jennifer Coats said.

The victim, a student at Berkeley Technology Academy, was walking in the area, a few blocks from the school, around 11 a.m. when the suspect approached him, Coats said.

Coats said the suspect, armed with a handgun, demanded the victim's property, but he refused.

The suspect proceeded to strike the student several times with the gun, Coats said. -more-

Berkeley Man Sentenced for Possessing Destructive Device

Julia Cheever (BCN)
Friday March 15, 2013 - 05:37:00 PM

A man who was found to be storing a gun and apparent bomb-making materials in his Berkeley home in 2009 has been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Oakland to two years and three months in prison for two federal criminal counts. -more-



The Berkeley Daily Planet After Ten Years: Why a Newspaper Now?

By Becky O'Malley
Friday March 15, 2013 - 02:35:00 PM

De profundis, a plaintive cry from a would-be Planet contributor: “I have no idea what you're doing, but every other publication on the planet can state what it's looking for. Until I get that from you, I won't be submitting.”

Well, yes, I can understand that sentiment, and it’s a wise decision he’s made. In the ten years since the O’Malley family launched this ship of fools, I’ve often wondered myself where it was supposed to be sailing.

It’s also been ten years next Wednesday since the Bush II administration launched an even more foolish endeavor, the pointless invasion of Iraq which resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths both Iraqi and American, and which has left behind it a ruined landscape in continuing chaos.

The two launches were not unconnected. From our first editorial, written by Becky with copious input from Mike and other family members: -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Which Berkeley Is It in the San Francisco Chronicle?

Sunday March 17, 2013 - 03:03:00 PM

Which Berkeley article do you read in the Comical?

A couple of weeks ago, they published a Sunday front page piece by Carolyn Jones that took a dim view of the situation on Telegraph Avenue, one of Berkeley’s traditionally most profitable shopping streets. It noted that things on Teley have gone badly downhill in the last few years (oddly enough during the decade when Tom Bates was mayor):”… sales tax revenues on Telegraph have plummeted, and empty storefronts abound. The intersection of Haste and Telegraph is marred by two vacant lots, and the former Cody's bookstore - once a hub of intellectual life - has sat empty since 2006."

But this week, only two weeks later, it seems everything’s actually coming up roses in Berkeley. This Sunday’s front page proclaims that “Berkeley mayor pushes city to prosperity.” -more-


Odd Bodkins: When too much is not enough. (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Thursday March 14, 2013 - 12:17:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: The Celestial Rockpile, etc. (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Thursday March 14, 2013 - 12:13:00 PM

Public Comment

New: Rent Board Assertion on Landlord Reinvestment Absurd

By Sid Lakireddy, President, Berkeley Property Owners Association
Tuesday March 19, 2013 - 12:44:00 PM

The Berkeley Rent Board is as is as predictable on rent control as the National Rifle Association is on gun control. In both cases, the underlying assumptions are up front and the ultimate proclamation a foregone conclusion. Stephen Barton is long-time advocate of rent control and has worked for or with the Board for years. Each of his many studies for the Board has been structured to support the program. His latest effort, a summarization of his report in the form of an article in these pages written with Rent Board Chair Lisa Stephens, is no exception. -more-

Updated: Berkeley Police Deliver Mental Health Services Rodeo Style!

from Berkeley Copwatch
Saturday March 16, 2013 - 05:45:00 PM

This video was provided to Berkeley Copwatch on Wednesday March 13, 2013 by individuals who happened to be on the scene at the time. -more-

Rand Paul’s Filibuster on Drones

By Tejinder Uberoi
Friday March 15, 2013 - 03:17:00 PM

Unfortunately, Rand Paul’s filibuster concerning the issue of drones was more political theater than addressing the more critical issues surrounding these terrifying weapons.

Of far greater importance is their clear violation of international law, invading the sovereignty of other nations and targeting their citizenry – often with appalling results. It is worth repeating the results of a Stanford Law School/NYU and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism at City University in London which estimated 98% of drone attacks killed or injured innocent civilians. General McCrystal warned that such attacks are creating a visceral hatred of the US and has served to be a great recruitment tool of our foes. It defies logic why President Obama should persist in this failed and dangerous policy. -more-

Short Takes on Big Stuff

Carol Denney, Helen Rippier Wheeler, Ron Lowe
Friday March 15, 2013 - 03:04:00 PM

Thank you for Steven Finacom's excellent rebuttal of the annual weep-in over Telegraph Avenue. I get my largest hanky out once a year to accommodate the fact-free flow of tears most of the media laps up over Telegraph Avenue's mythological woes. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Searching for Republican Soul

By Bob Burnett
Friday March 15, 2013 - 02:57:00 PM

Despite the pugnacity of its leaders, the Republican Party is in bad shape. In 2012 it lost the Presidency, the Senate, and the popular vote for the House of Representatives. More important, it has lost its identity. Other than opposition to everything President Obama proposes, Republicans have no vision for America. Nonetheless, like an aging parent that no longer drives but truculently holds onto the keys to the car so no one else can use it, Republicans are part of the national political process: a perpetual stumbling block. How did they get this way and is there any chance they could find their soul? -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Is Pope Francis the Right Choice to Fix a Church in Disarray?

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 15, 2013 - 02:54:00 PM

As the whole world now knows, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope (Pope Francis). Clearly, the cardinals saw him as a safe, compromise choice. In other words, a keeper of the status quo. He holds traditional Catholic Church views. Otherwise he would not have been elected. He opposes abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, adoption by gays and lesbians, and contraception. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Tortuous Side Effects of Antipsychotic Medication

By Jack Bragen
Friday March 15, 2013 - 02:58:00 PM

Psychiatric medication, ideally, is a tool to help persons with mental illness become and remain functional in life. Medication should not be an enemy. -more-

Arts & Events

West Edge Premieres Gauguin Opera in April

By Maura Lafferty
Friday March 15, 2013 - 03:18:00 PM
The post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, sung by baritone Anders Froehlich and his Inner Voice, sung by soprano Shawnette Sulker in the American premiere of Fabrizio Carlone’s Bonjour M. Gauguin at West Edge Opera April 6, 12 and 14.

West Edge Opera continues its 2013 season with the American premiere of Italian composer Fabrizio Carlone’s Bonjour M. Gauguin on Saturday, April 6 at 8 pm, with repeat performances on Friday, April 12 at 8 pm, and Sunday, April 14 at 3 pm. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Spring Show for Woodminster Musicals: 'Little Shop of Horrors'

By Ken Bullock
Thursday March 14, 2013 - 03:08:00 PM

Woodminster Summer Musicals has announced a Spring Thing: 'Little Shop of Horrors,' staged March 14-24 at the Regents Theatre in the Valley Center for the Performing Arts at Holy Names College, 3500 Mountain Road, in the Oakland Hills. -more-

New: Berkeley Copwatch Democratic Education Series:
Federalization of Police: Update on the Battle to Control OPD

Friday March 15, 2013 - 05:43:00 PM

Oakland based civil rights attorney James Chanin will discuss the federalization of Oakland police and the recent movement to hire William Bratton, the champion of “Stop and Frisk” policing. With over 40 years in the struggle for police accountability, from the establishment of the Berkeley Police Review Commission to the Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) that guides Oakland’s police, James Chanin is a leading voice in the fight to stop police abuse. -more-

EYE FROM THE AISLE; Reprise of “The Couch” about Freud, Jung and his women wins for Women’s History Month

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday March 14, 2013 - 03:10:00 PM
Courtney Walsh, Peter Ruocco, Maggie Mason, Louis Parnell (top)

It was in the middle of the first act that I said to myself, “Hey! I’ve seen this play before.” Thirty years ago I was working for the Magic Theatre and Lynne Kaufman’s “The Couch” played there. There is an excellent reprise of it directed by Amy Glazer and produced by 3 Girls Theatre Company at 533 Sutter Street in San Francisco in SF above the Shelton Theatre. -more-