Several community groups are presenting a petition today to compel the Berkeley Police Review Commission to hold a special hearing on the death of a mentally ill transgender woman who died in a struggle with officers in February. -more-
On Thursday, October 17, approximately 200 California residents will be outside Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco protesting the Blue Green Alliance’s honoring of Governor Jerry Brown with its Right Stuff Award. In particular, the protest will focus on Brown’s support for fracking, a massive twin tunnels project and his emissions trading scheme. -more-
Four armed robberies have occurred on or near the University of California at Berkeley campus in the past week, and police are beefing up patrols and reminding students to remain vigilant. -more-
Press Release: Taxpayers Picking Up Annual $7 Billion Tab for Low-Wage Fast-Food Fobs, According to U.C. Berkeley Study
The fast-food industry costs American taxpayers nearly $7 billion annually because its jobs pay so little that 52 percent of fast-food workers are forced to enroll their families in public assistance programs, according to a report released today (Tuesday, Oct. 15) by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. -more-
Parks in South Berkeley will be the focus of a special meeting of the new Parks and Waterfront Commission to be held on Wednesday October 16 at the South Berkeley Branch Library,1901 Russell Street at ML King Way, from 6-7:30 pm.
The public is invited to discuss ideas for improving the City’s parks, pools, community centers, marina, and camps. Please attend and share your ideas about the future of our parks and facilities. The Commission is especially interested in hearing from the African American, Latino, and other minority communities about their park use and recreational needs. All neighbors are warmly welcome; childcare will be provided.
South Berkeley facilities include Willard Park and Willard Swim Center, Oak Park, Monkey Island, Greg Brown, Grove, Bateman Mall, Halcyon Commons, The 63rd Street and Prince Street Mini-Parks, and the LeConte, Malcolm X, and John Muir Schools Parks.
Concerns about other parks or pools can be addressed by members of the public who missed the two prior neighborhood meetings.
These meetings each attracted about forty citizens who spoke to all nine commissioners and three staff members. Chairman Jim McGrath began with a statement of budget constraints that have resulted in the loss of 32 parks positions over the last ten years and a backlog of approximately $40 million in maintenance projects and then asked people to focus on the needs of their favorite parks. The responses ranged from small adjustments such as replacing basketball nets at Strawberry Park, and changing the locale of senior aerobics to removing the barrels adjacent to the steps of King Park and installing toilets there and at Indian Rock. -more-
Many progressives are feeling quite relieved that Larry Summers withdrew as a candidate for heading the Federal Reserve. Summers would certainly have been a disaster. But Janet Yellen, who just was nominated by President Obama, is no angel either despite her support from Elizabeth Warren and other liberals. In fact, there are important similarities between Yellen and Summers. -more-
The world lost a shining spirit with the passing of Margaret Gudmundsson on October 1st. Margaret was very giving and well known and beloved by many. An active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley where she was board president and chaired a number of committees, Margaret also had a love of community theater and participated in Actors Ensemble of Berkeley (where she was a past president, and the board secretary for many years up until her death), Squirrel Hill Theater and Pine Hill Theater where she acted, directed and stage managed hundreds of productions. Margaret’s love of the outdoors began with her life-long association with the Campfire Girls. She worked for Solano County and the Social Security Administration, and is survived by her three children, Bob (also long associated with Actors Ensemble), Thora and Jon, and two grandchildren, Sayre and Connor.
Services will be held 2:30 this Sunday, October 13, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Road, Kensington. -more-
There Goes the Neighborhood in San Francisco, with Down-and-Dirty Dealings Borrowed from Berkeley in Play
A friend who’s lived in San Francisco’s North Beach since, well, the old days, called me last night all in a swivet. She’d stopped in at Tosca, a longtime neighborhood hangout especially for arty types, which had just been re-opened after new owners from New York took over and made some changes.
She was fine with the modest décor upgrades, fine with the addition of real food, but she was outraged that the signature House Cappuchino, featuring chocolate, booze and no coffee, had doubled in price, from $6 to $12. Yes, yes, all the ingredients are now listed with high-end brand names, but still…who needs a $12 drink? So much for hanging out at Tosca with the old crowd.
It’s just one more example of the “there goes the neighborhood” phenomenon, in which big money, usually from out of town, comes in and destroys cities and their artifacts in order to save them. As the distribution of wealth continues to migrate into dumbbell-shaped graphs, global capital is gobbling up formerly pleasant places to live and turning them into rich-guys’ preserves.
This is not a new story. It’s what ruined Greenwich Village, and indeed most of Manhattan, not to mention a lot of London, and many other places. But the pace at which it’s proceeding, and the number and variety of urban settings which are being cannibalized all over the world are accelerating. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
As the Republican shutdown of the Federal government moves into its second week, it’s widely believed House Speaker John Boehner could end the impasse by permitting the continuing budget resolution and debt limit increase to be voted upon. Why won’t he?
There are three explanations for Boehner’s intransigence. His base doesn’t want him to permit the vote and he is beholden to them. He’s gotten in over his head and doesn’t know how to end the Republican shutdown without looking like a fool. A third alternative is that Boehner is playing his part in a Machiavellian GOP strategy that has forced the US to the edge of financial chaos in the hopes of getting horrific concessions from the Obama Administration.
On Sunday, October 6th, Boehner appeared on the ABC news program This Week. When asked if the House of Representatives would pass a debt limit increase unencumbered by policy demands (such as defunding Obamacare), Boehner replied, “We’re not going to pass a clean debt limit increase.”
He should know better. Bloomberg News described failure to increase the debt limit as a “financial apocalypse:” -more-
Measuring someone's clarity of thought and overall level of functioning is a complex undertaking, whether or not the subject has a psychiatric disability. When we are dealing with anyone and obtaining facts about them, whether they are an acquaintance, friend or relative, most people automatically will perform guesswork as to the level of the person's functioning. -more-
One of the most persistent myths about the modern women’s movement is that activists believed we could “have it all.” On the contrary, we knew it was impossible. That is why we demanded universal child care for parents, paid parental leave for men and women, government-subsidized day care, on-site care for children, equal care of children and the home by men, and part-time jobs, health care and flexible work schedules for parents. These reforms were common in most European countries. In the United States, they challenged our deeply held belief in individual solutions. -more-
Arts & Events
The Newman Nonviolent Peacemakers and the Fr. Bill O’Donnell Social Justice Committee will sponsor a lecture on Friday, October 18, by Annette Herskovits (PhD) on the role of Muslims in France during World War II.
Dr. Herskovits will tell the story of how she survived as a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Paris, and present a short film about how the Mosque of Paris sheltered Jews. -more-
The BAHA fall 2013 lecture series, “Living with Arts & Crafts,” began in September with an illustrated talk by Dr. Kirby W. Brown on the tiles of the California Faience Company of Berkeley.
The series continues this month with a lecture on the origins of Mission-style furniture.
On Thursday, October 24, Arts & Crafts scholar Timothy L. Hansen will present “Sitting in Style: The Birth of a New Furniture Design,” in which he will offer little-known information about the beginnings of the American Arts & Crafts Mission-style furniture. Mr. Hansen will focus on furniture design from 1894 to 1900 in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a new explanation of how the American Arts & Crafts furniture style emerged. On display will be several pieces of pre-1900 Arts & Crafts furniture. -more-
With each day bringing us closer to Halloween, why wait to get your holiday chills? Thanks to Berkeley singer/songwriter/promoter Ira Marlowe, you can get a head start on the spooky season at The Monkey House, a unique live/work storefront cabaret at 1638 University Avenue. For the rest of the month, The Monkey House will be hosting "Mortimus Greely's Haunting School"--"a spooky stage show for kids"--every weekend from October 12 through Halloween. -more-