The Week



Updated: Berkeley Boots Smoke Out of Multi-Unit Housing

By C. Denney
Wednesday October 02, 2013 - 01:29:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council mustered five votes to protect tenants in multi-unit housing from their neighbors’ secondhand smoke at the October 1, 2013 city council meeting. The ordinance would go into effect in early 2014. -more-

Updated: Berkeley Campus Classes Cancelled, Buildings Closed after Blast

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Tuesday October 01, 2013 - 10:07:00 PM

A power outage and explosion at the University of California at Berkeley Monday afternoon was connected to a theft of copper wiring, a university spokesman said today. -more-

Updated: Eleven Buildings Dark at UC Berkeley After Explosion

By Hannah Albarazi (BCN)
Tuesday October 01, 2013 - 08:13:00 AM

Eleven buildings on the University of California at Berkeley campus that remain without power this morning following an explosion Monday evening will not hold classes today, UC Berkeley officials said. -more-

Flash: U.C. Berkeley Center Campus Evacuated after Power Outage, Explosion

By Bay City News
Monday September 30, 2013 - 09:38:00 PM

A power system failure knocked out power at the University of California at Berkeley and led to an explosion in the center of the campus, emergency officials said. -more-

Turning Public Assets into Private Gold

By Peter Byrne
Friday September 27, 2013 - 09:55:00 AM

[This is a chapter excerpted from the new e-book by Peter Byrne called Going Postal – U.S Senator Dianne Feinstein's husband is selling post offices to his friends, cheap, The book is available here from Amazon]

How CBRE and Blum Capital tick-tock

CBRE Group, Inc is a one-stop shop. It acts as the realtor and investment banker to hundreds of international corporations and public and private investment funds, and to governments of all sorts, as well as small businesses. It buys and sells and finances billions of dollars worth of commercial properties every year on its own behalf and for its clients.

In 2012, CBRE turned over capital transactions worth $72 billion in the Americas. Ten percent of its business is transacted in one state: California. But 40 percent of its annual revenue flows from its foreign business. Worldwide, it controls 37,000 employees; its recent acquisitions of Trammel Crowe and ING Clarion make it the world's largest commercial real estate company. The secret of its rapid growth has been a willingness to assume massive indebtedness in order to gobble up competitors. Such "leveraged buyouts" are a risky business practice: the firm carries a $2.1 billion debt burden which "constrains the operation of our business," CBRE reported in March 2013 to the Securities & Exchange Commission. -more-

Berkeley Parks Meetings to Start

By Toni Mester
Friday September 27, 2013 - 10:21:00 AM

Berkeley’s new Parks and Waterfront Commission invites the public to three Wednesday night meetings in October to discuss ideas for improvements to the City’s parks, pools, community centers, marina, and camps.

The first meeting will be held on Wednesday October 2 at James Kenney Community Center, 1720 Eighth Street (between Virginia and Delaware) from 7 to 9 pm. Childcare will be provided.

Although people may attend any of the three meetings, the focus of each will be on areas of the City defined by the Council Districts. The City maintains over fifty parks, pools, and playgrounds. The first meeting will emphasize parks and facilities in Districts 1, 2, and 4, which include two large open spaces: Chavez Park, formerly known as North Waterfront Park, and Aquatic Park in West Berkeley.

Civic Center Park, Ohlone, Strawberry Creek, Cedar-Rose, and the West Campus Swim Center are among the other major municipal properties that will be discussed. For a complete list, see below.

The meetings will include reports from staff, but most of the time will be devoted to public input. The Commission’s Chair, Jim McGrath, calls these meetings “listening sessions.” Berkeley’s open space and recreational facilities are popular, the competition for use can be intense, and wear and tear has taken its toll. To make matters worse, The Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront division is running on a structural deficit of approximately $700,000 annually despite the reauthorization of the parks tax every four years by Berkeley voters. The parks tax has a built in CPI (consumer price index) increase, but the raise doesn’t meet the increased real operating costs. -more-

Albany Bulb Eviction Threat Draws Protests (News Analysis)

By Lydia Gans
Thursday September 26, 2013 - 01:14:00 PM

Albany Bulb, a chunk of land at the end of Buchanan Street in Albany, has been in the news lately – though not the first time. It is a landfill that was created many years ago from construction debris and landscaping materials and has become a home for a collection of people who by necessity or by choice have no other home. People started camping there in the nineties, setting up tents and more solid structures, and artists created works of art from scrap materials. In 1999 the city sent in the police to evict the campers. However it was unable to enforce the stay-away because Albany had no shelters to house the homeless. The campers soon returned. -more-



What's the News about Berkeley News?

By Becky O'Malley
Friday September 27, 2013 - 11:54:00 AM

From time to time I get a call or letter from a Berkeley resident telling me about some important event that “you should send a reporter to cover”.

Folks, those days are gone. You might not be aware of this, but the Berkeley Daily Planet is no longer a commercial publication. We no longer sell ads, nor do we employ reporters. The great bulk of what you read here is contributed by the writers--contributed in all senses of the word—-written by people who are not paid for what they write. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence


Odd Bodkins: The Carnage in Yuba City (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday September 28, 2013 - 01:51:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: The Bancroft! (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday September 28, 2013 - 01:47:00 PM

Bounce: Arm and a leg (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday September 28, 2013 - 01:41:00 PM

Bounce: Moon Walk (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday September 28, 2013 - 01:31:00 PM

Bounce: Tenacity ... surfing (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday September 28, 2013 - 09:51:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Shutdown: Who is to Blame?

By Bruce Joffe
Wednesday October 02, 2013 - 02:54:00 PM

Like petulant children, Congressional Republicans shut down the government because they don't like Obamacare. More to the point, they don't like Obama. Obamacare is primarily a Republican program, modeled after the Massachusetts program signed into law by Mitt Romney. It provides health insurance to all through private insurance companies. When bringing the ACA into law, Obama compromised wholeheartedly with Republicans; he even abandoned the key element, a single-payer public option. The Republicans who want to destroy Obamacare by shutting down our Federal government are saying "Obama needs to compromise." Our democracy can not yield to terrorists within the halls of Congress who want to destroy our system of government. -more-

Social institutions vs. the individuals in crisis

By Steve Martinot
Thursday September 26, 2013 - 01:19:00 PM

The question of mental health, and a certain problem with respect to the growing number of people whose mental health is in disarray, or in trouble, was brought to public attention recently by the death of Kayla Moore. Kayla Moore was a transgender man, living as a woman, who experienced a mental health crisis, and died in police custody when the police responded to an emergency call for help. Instead of offering assistance (crisis intervention) to someone in dire need, they attempted to arrest him on an outstanding warrant.

The questions this event raised with respect to how we deal with mental health crises were, first, why police were called to respond to a mental health emergency, and second, why police are not trained in crisis intervention, so that they can tell the difference and offer assistance to those who need it, rather than mechanically exercise the controlling force of arresting someone. When unable to tell the difference, what the police then do in effect is punish a person for needing help. -more-

Wimps, All of Them

By Julia Ross, J.D.
Friday October 04, 2013 - 04:34:00 PM

The Republicans are wimps. If they had any guts they'd hold out till they repealed the Constitution. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Police Association President Says Community Member’s Near Suicide Could Have Been Prevented if Police Officers had Tasers

From the Berkeley Police Association
Thursday September 26, 2013 - 03:10:00 PM

Victim Nearly Succumbs to Self Inflicted Knife Wounds

Berkeley-Last Wednesday, Berkeley police officers answered a call to a home where a man suffering from a mental illness was threatening to slit his throat with a knife. Upon arriving to the property, the man had possession of at least two knives, threatening to end his life. Every attempt was made to negotiate with the community member to calm him down and to get him to release the knives. It became clear that the the suffering man was not going to release the knives, presenting a grave danger to himself, to members of the public at the scene, and to our police officers.

If this had been been any one of the 100 cities in Northern California whose police officers are authorized to use tasers, this suffering community member would have been safely disarmed, taken out of harm's way and transported to a place where he could get help. That is not what happened. The man stabbed himself repeatedly causing massive trauma, and life threatening injuries. Police officers on the scene applied battlefield medicine techniques to stop the bleeding, ultimately saving the community member’'s life.

"If Berkeley police had tasers, we could have safely disarmed this mentally ill man and prevented the multiple knife wounds he inflicted on himself," said Sergeant Chris Stines, President of the Berkeley Police Association. "Tasers save lives and would have allowed us to take this man into custody unharmed so he could get the help he needed." -more-

The Food Stamp Budget Must Be Increased

By Harry Brill
Friday September 27, 2013 - 04:16:00 PM

The debate in Congress about the funding of the food stamp program, formally named the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is NOT about whether to make or reject cuts. It is True that not a single Democrat in the house voted for the draconian cuts that the Republicans supported. But the Democrats are not opposed to reducing the food stamp budget. Instead, they support a more modest reduction, which is still substantial. In fact, the Democrats on the Senate Agricultural Committee voted to cut food stamps while increasing subsidies to some southern farmers to guarantee them a certain level of profits. Reflecting the view of the Democratic Party, the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Schultz, also favors a reduction in the Food Stamp budget. In her own words, "I'm certain that we could embrace as House Democrats some measure of cuts. I mean, every program can benefit from some savings". -more-

The “Substantial” Rock That Could Shipwreck Smokefree Housing

By Carol Denney
Friday September 27, 2013 - 10:11:00 AM

Rent Board Attorney Matt Brown’s passionate “I got nothing” statement to the Open Government Commission last week confirmed publicly that the Rent Board has absolutely no shred of evidence that strong smokefree laws result in evictions. He searched high and low, he said, and came up with…nothing.

Well, of course. There is no evidence of any connection between evictions and smokefree regulations nationally, even internationally. Most smokers in Alameda County already smoke outside, and studies show the few who don’t, even those with mental or addiction challenges, have no more difficulty with compliance than anybody else. Most people know secondhand smoke kills, travels throughout shared-wall housing, etc. Most people aren’t set on killing the neighbors. -more-

You Don’t Get What You pay For—You Get What You Settle For

by Carol Denney
Friday September 27, 2013 - 02:36:00 PM

In a letter dated September 19, 2013, Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA) Director John Caner acknowledged to Berkeley’s Campaign Fair Practices Commission that on election day, November 6, 2012, he handed out more than $5,000 in $100 cash payments to more than 50 clients of Options Recovery Services to distribute misleading slate cards near polling places. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Selling Obamacare

By Bob Burnett
Friday September 27, 2013 - 10:28:00 AM

Three and a half years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” its primary provisions will go into affect October 1st. While the new health care law will benefit most Americans, it appears to be unpopular. Why? -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Navy Yard Mass Shooting: Déjà Vu All Over Again

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday September 26, 2013 - 01:10:00 PM

On September 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist, killed 13 people at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. Alexis was shot to death by police. Already there are renewed calls for gun control legislation, which will fall on deaf ears. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Effects of Teen Bullying

By Jack Bragen
Thursday September 26, 2013 - 01:09:00 PM

Thirty-five years ago places me as a student in high school, where I was ostracized and bullied. In spite of me not being socially adept, the bullying I endured wasn't something I brought upon myself. -more-

Arts & Events

Around & About Theater: Studium Teatraine from Poland Performing & Teaching in Bay Area

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 27, 2013 - 10:14:00 AM

Studium Teatraine, directed by Jerzy Grotowski's student Piotr Borovski, will be in the Bay Area next week, a residency presented by the San Francisco Arts Festival, performing an adaptation of Hannah Kral's novel Chasing the King of Hearts, as well as teaching an afternoon-long, free acting workshop and presenting a discussion, Poland During and After World War II, with Dr. Krzystof Persak, director of the Office of the President, Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw. -more-

Around & About Arts & Entertainment: Fall free For All Sunday at UC

By Ken Bullock
Thursday September 26, 2013 - 01:18:00 PM

Cal Performances' great, open day of performing arts and entertainment for the whole community, Fall Free For All, sprawling all over the UC campus, comes around again this Sunday, beginning at 11 with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, led by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, at Zellerbach Hall with music by James Daugherty and Josef Suk, and ending at 5 with Theatre of Yugen performing two medieval Japanese Kyogen comedies, the Chaucer or Boccaccio-like stylized farces that accompany tragic Noh plays at Wheeler Auditorium--and much, much more in between and overlapping, in mor than a half dozen venues ... -more-

Around & About Jazz: Julian Pollack Trio CD Release Concert at Yoshi's: Waves of Albion

By Ken Bullock
Thursday September 26, 2013 - 01:11:00 PM

Julian Pollack is a Berkeley musician par excellence. Son of two gifted musicians, Susan Waterfall and Allan Pollack (Allan teaches music at UC Berkeley), founders of the Mendocino Music Festival, where Julian grew up around the sounds and where he has played his own. Julian's played piano since five, his mother his first teacher. Among my fondest memories of music in Berkeley is the double piano duet Julian and Susan did of John Adams' Hallelujah Junction for the Mendocino Festival at the Berkeley City Club--something of great, interlocking dynamism and compelling musicality. -more-

Press Release: Gerard Schwarz Replaces Joana Carneiro in Berkeley Symphony's Opening Night Concert

From Rene Mandel
Friday September 27, 2013 - 10:16:00 AM

Conductor Gerard Schwarz will step in for Music Director Joana Carneiro at Berkeley Symphony’s season opening concert Thursday, October 3 at 7 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall. Maestra Carneiro has had to cancel her appearances due to medical conditions that prevent air travel at this time. The program features the world premiere of Ossicles (Tiny Bones) by Bay Area-based composer and UC Berkeley composition faculty member Edmund Campion, a co-commission with Cal Performances. Ossicles is Campion’s fourth piece for orchestra and refers to the three smallest bones in the human body located in the middle ear. Italian pianist Alessio Bax joins the Orchestra as soloist in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.2 with Wagner’s symphonic poem Siegfried’s Idyll also featured on the program. -more-