The Week



Berkeley Police Warn Residents against "Grandparent" Fraud Scheme

Officer Byron White, Berkeley Police Operations Division Area Coordinator--Area 1
Tuesday April 23, 2013 - 04:38:00 PM

Since yesterday, the Berkeley Police Department has received at least two (2) complaints from elder residents about a man telephoning them—claiming to be a police officer with a Bay Area police agency. Both incidents occurred yesterday during the daytime hours to residents of the North Berkeley Hills. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Board of Education Selects Finalist in Superintendent Search

From Mark Coplan, BUSD PIO
Friday April 19, 2013 - 11:34:00 AM
Dr. Donald Evans

After conducting an extensive national search for a new Superintendent, the Board of Directors of Berkeley Unified School District have unanimously selected a finalist for the position, Dr. Donald Evans. Dr. Evans currently serves as the Superintendent of Hayward Unified School District. -more-

New UC Berkeley Police Chief Named

By Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Friday April 19, 2013 - 09:04:00 AM

University of California at Berkeley has a new police chief, campus officials announced Thursday. -more-

Graffitirazzi — Meet the Gang

By Gar Smith
Friday April 19, 2013 - 11:59:00 AM
Thanks to more than one well-informed Planet reader, a window has been opened to the colorful world of the Bay Area's graffiti artists. It turns out that "Mr. Watchful," the distinctive graffiti meme saluted in our March 30 column, is better known as "Smiley." He is the work of a prolific tagger known as "BROKE." This, and more revelations are available at a website known as Endless Canvas, a site devoted to local "road dogs" who go by the tags ANEMAL, ASK, AURA, BELLA CIAO, BRAG, BROKE, CEAVER, CERN, COPS, DAMSEL, DEADEYES, GATS, HIER, HINT, MEME, MIGUEL, NART, OLD CROW, REKN, STUEY, SWAMPY, TURNIP, VADER66 and YODER.

"A city without graffiti is like a field without flowers." -- Tulz1996

"It's not art or vandalism. It's art because it is vandalism." -- Josiah Rodgers -more-



What Berkeley Can Learn From Maudelle Shirek

By Becky O'Malley
Friday April 19, 2013 - 10:09:00 AM

After all the trouble President Obama got into for calling Kamala Harris the nation’s most attractive attorney general (I haven’t seen all the competitors, but he might be right) I hesitate to say this, but Councilmember Maudelle Shirek was a beautiful woman, easily the most beautiful councilmember I’ve seen in all my years of going to city council meeting. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New: Note for Subscribers

Monday April 22, 2013 - 07:07:00 PM

We have been having Comcast problems and have not been able to send out this week's batch of special links to subscribers. We're working on it, but if you're reading this you probably figured out how to get to the site yoursel -more-

Who was Tamerlan?

By Becky O'Malley
Friday April 19, 2013 - 09:41:00 AM

None of the reports I've seen about the young man who died in Watertown, Massachusetts, as police pursued him in their search for those responsible for the Boston marathon bombing took note of his first name. It was Tamerlan, an Anglicization of the name of a 14th century folk hero, Timur, who led the armies of what my first Russian teacher at my Massachusetts college used to call "the Wild Tribes of Central Asia". The Emperor Tamerlan ( alternatively Timur, Tamerlan, Tamburlaine) is described in Wikipedia as a Turkic ruler who conquered West, South and Central Asia and founded the Timurid dynasty. He was a romantic warrior who captured the imagination not only of Central Asians, but of Europeans. He was the subject of a 16th Century play by Christoper Marlowe and a 19th Century epic poem by Edgar Allan Poe, among others. One might speculate that whoever gave Tamerlan Tsarnayev his name was familiar with the historic associations, and even that the young man who has been accused of being a bomber might have fancied himself the 21st Century incarnation of the ancient hero. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Sprung (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Sunday April 21, 2013 - 09:29:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Islamic Council Denounces Boston Attacks

Friday April 19, 2013 - 05:13:00 PM

Northern California Islamic Council (NCIC), an umbrella organization that aims to provide a united Muslim voice to the Northern California community, is in shock and disbelief by the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon, that killed at least 3 people and left scores injured. -more-

Aquatic Park Heights Study

By Armin Wright
Thursday April 18, 2013 - 06:03:00 PM

Excellent work by Messrs. Price and Bailey showing the visual impact of various heights of possible development adjacent to Aquatic Park as seen from the west.

I believe it would be a valuable service to the community to show the impact of those various heights of development on views of the bay from several locations in the Berkeley/Oakland flatlands.

My personal belief is that it is unconscionable that developers might have the legal right to build large structures anywhere along the bay front that exploits the aesthetic benefits of the bay for its tenants while blocking the bay views of tens of thousands of flatland residents. -more-

Changes in CalPERS Policy Will Affect Berkeley City Finances

By Barbara Gilbert
Thursday April 18, 2013 - 05:42:00 PM

Yesterday CalPERS shortened the rate smoothing period. This has major implications for Berkeley's budget. Employers' rates will go up by about 50 percent. This will mean even larger cuts to the city services and higher taxes unless there are substantial changes to employee compensation and employee contribution to benefits. How are we going to fix this as well as our decaying infrastructure? -more-

Response to Jack Bragen

By Judi Iranyi, LCSW
Friday April 19, 2013 - 02:28:00 PM

This is a response to Jack Bragen's article, "Response to Letter by Judi Iranyi." Mr. Bragen is responding to my April 13, 2013, article, "Making Laura's Law More User Friendly." -more-


ECLECTIC RANT: Tyranny of the Minority Sinks Meaningful Gun Control Legislation

By Ralph E. Stone
Sunday April 21, 2013 - 08:59:00 AM

Given the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, the shootings at a supermarket near Tucson, the pleas for gun control legislation by the parents of the Sandy Hook victims, and the testimony by Gabrielle Giffords, victim of the supermarket shootings, you would think that reasonable gun control legislation would likely pass in the U.S. Senate. Regrettably, it is not to be. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Why We Should Reduce the Defense Budget

By Bob Burnett
Friday April 19, 2013 - 09:03:00 AM

According to a report by the National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2030, seventeen years from now the world will be remarkably different: “There will not be any hegemonic power… China alone will probably have the largest economy.” Why can’t the US plan for this and reduce our defense expenditures? -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Things With Which Most of us Struggle

By Jack Bragen
Thursday April 18, 2013 - 05:58:00 PM

It occurred to me that a column about the things that matter the most to persons with mental illness would be fairly "on the mark." Getting and keeping adequate housing is pretty high on the priority list. Additionally, we must deal with the following life difficulties: getting and remaining on the right medications; surviving on the very limited income we have; relationships, both finding them and making them work; finding and maintaining a meaningful regular activity (or otherwise, what to do with our time.) In this week's column, I will try to briefly touch upon all of the above. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Sexuality… It’s a good thing.

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday April 18, 2013 - 05:32:00 PM

“Of all the passions, the old man should avoid a foolish passion for women,” advised The Old Man’s Guide to Health and Longer life with rules for diet, exercise, and physic for preserving a good constitution and preventing disorders in a bad one, by J. Hill, M.D., member of the Imperial Academy (1764). John Hill (1714-1775) also opined that to marry was everyone’s duty, except for the aged. -more-

Arts & Events

Don't Miss This

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Thursday April 18, 2013 - 05:51:00 PM

Breathing a deep sigh of relief having mailed off my 2012 Income Tax return, I am now seeking ways to relax and unwind. Fortunately there are absolutely scads of entertaining and educational activities, which I list below in no particular order: -more-

Around & About Theater: Ragged Wing Ensemble's 'Time Sensitive'--& a New Theater!; Actors Ensemble Reading of Hildeshimer's 'The Showing'

By Ken Bullock
Thursday April 18, 2013 - 05:29:00 PM

—"A crack is growing. The shape of time is changing. Only a few can see it." Ragged Wing, Berkeley's plucky little movement theater troupe, has announced the opening of co-founder/artistic director Amy Sass' new, prize-winning (Playground's June Anne Baker Award) play, 'Time Sensitive,' running Thursdays through Saturdays at 8, April 18-May 18—as the inaugural production at their new theater, Sanctuary for the Arts, 496-38th Street (at Telegraph), Oakland, two blocks from MacArthur BART ... Sass, a talented director, will be at the helm in a show which "combines clockwork choreography, rhythmic fugue & ice art into a fantastical tale that urgently asks: How do we hold a moment, if we constantly crave the next big thing? $25-$40 (sliding scale). 1-800-316-8559; (Ragged Wing's David Stein directs a rare reading of a Wolfgang Hildeshimer play—see below: ) -more-

Around & About Theater: Theatre of Yugen's Annual Show of Classic Kyogen Comedies--Sorya!

By Ken Bullock
Thursday April 18, 2013 - 05:27:00 PM

Theatre of Yugen, the Bay Area's classical Japanese theater company (& the only company in North America that practices & performs Kyogen, the classical Japanese comedy that is staged between Noh plays) is performing their annual show of Kyogen comedies, 'Sorya!,' minimalist stagings of rigorous physical theater—like dance or martial arts in its patterns—that portrays medieval comic types, almost the Japanese equivalent of Chaucer or Boccaccio: servants tricking masters, wives fooling husbands, pompous priests & judges made fun of ... -more-

Around & About Opera: SF Cabaret Opera (Goat Hall Productions) Stage Scenes & Arias from Mozart, Weill, Menotti--'Anything But Here'

By Ken Bullock
Thursday April 18, 2013 - 05:21:00 PM

San Francisco Cabaret Opera, that redoubtable touring show out of goat Hall Productions, is staging scenes & arias from Mozart, Weill & Menotti this Saturday & Sunday at 8, in the Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street (between 2th & 21st), in San Francisco's Mission District, to open their 13th season, "Mischief & Mayhem"--featuring the direction of Michelle Jasso, Choreography by Brittany Blakenship--& at the piano, Skye Atman, presiding over a fine cast: Sibel demirmen, Zoltan DiBartolo, Steve Hoffmann, Alexis Lane Jensen, Justin Marsh, Letitia C. Page--& founder/artistic director Harriet March Page. General admission, $15; Cabaret table seats, $25; Seniors & students: $10. (707) 451-8396; -more-