The Week



Updated: Voters Say No to High-Rise Condos on San Francisco Waterfront

By Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Wednesday November 06, 2013 - 09:31:00 AM

San Francisco voters yesterday rejected two ballot measures that would have allowed a condominium project to be built along the city's waterfront. -more-

San Francisco Defeating Pro-Developer Ballot Measures
in 2 to 1 Vote

Tuesday November 05, 2013 - 09:57:00 PM

Unofficial Returns at 10 pm

Measure B - 8 Washington Street—Initiative
Ballots cast Percentage
No 58464 62.17%
Yes 35570 37.83%
Total 94034 100%

Measure C - 8 Washington Street —Referendum
Ballots cast Percentage
No 61829 66.51%
Yes 31126 33.49%
Total 92955 100 -more-

Press Release: One Saved Post Office: Stamford, CT

From Margot Smith, Save the Post Office
Monday November 04, 2013 - 08:02:00 PM

Berkeley and cities across the nation are fighting to keep their historic postal buildings. In Stamford, CT, the National Post Office Collaborate based in Berkeley won its first legal victory on Sept. 26, when U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant granted a Temporary Restraining Order preventing the sale of the Stamford CT post office. to the Capelli Organization. Capelli is a New York-based real estate developer planning to build apartments on the Post Office site. -more-

Body Found on Berkeley Shore Identified

By Bay City News
Friday November 01, 2013 - 11:27:00 PM

Police have identified a man whose body was found along the shoreline adjacent to Interstate Highway 80 in Berkeley Wednesday as a man reported missing a week before. -more-

Dr. Toy Talks About Street Games and Outdoor Play

By Stevanne Auerbach, PhD
Friday November 01, 2013 - 10:14:00 AM

Play takes many forms. Do you recall as a child the great fun playing games outside with friends? What games can you remember? I recall the fun of playing games like Hopscotch, Jacks, yo yo, jump rope, and watching the skills of other players who tossed marbles or played stickball.

We know that that one of the negative effects of the pervasive encroachment of electronics into the lives of children and adults, is the reduction of fun time spent actively playing with friends and as a family. This deficit takes a serious toll on personal health, socializing, shared group experiences, and better mental health.

We want to share some exciting group game events, and encourage parents to share the fun of games with their children, and to be inspired by exciting activities happening around the world that are happily stimulating more interests, fun, and increased playfulness.

Donald Edwin Rasmussen

By David Rasmussen
Tuesday November 05, 2013 - 09:12:00 AM
Donald Edwin Rasmussen 1916-2013

Donald Edwin Rasmussen, 96, died peacefully, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, on Friday, October 18, 2013, in Berkeley, California. Don remained active and independent to the end, walking daily, attending exercise classes, and enjoying people. -more-

Man's Body Washes Up on Berkeley Beach

By Bay City News
Thursday October 31, 2013 - 09:44:00 AM

A man's body was found along the shoreline adjacent to Interstate Highway 80 in Berkeley yesterday afternoon, an East Bay Regional Parks District police lieutenant said. -more-

Updated: All Clear in Downtown Berkeley after Bomb Panic

By Jamey Padojino (BCN)
Monday October 28, 2013 - 04:51:00 PM

Berkeley police have reopened streets in a popular downtown area after two suspicious packages were found to be harmless, a police spokeswoman said. A suspicious package was delivered to a business in the 2300 block of Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley police Officer Jennifer Coats said. -more-

Flash: Another Suspicious Package at Bancroft and Telegraph in Berkeley

By Jamey Padojino (BCN)
Monday October 28, 2013 - 04:48:00 PM

University of California at Berkeley police are investigating a suspicious package found near campus this afternoon. -more-

Flash: Suspicious Package Shuts Down Shattuck in Berkeley

By Bay City News
Monday October 28, 2013 - 04:47:00 PM

A busy thoroughfare in downtown Berkeley has been shut down and some businesses evacuated this afternoon as a bomb squad investigates a suspicious package, a police spokeswoman said. -more-

Berkeley City Council to Decide on Appeal Brought by Former Tenants of Fire-Ravaged Building with History of Landlord Negligence

By Marcia Poole
Sunday October 27, 2013 - 05:21:00 PM

Lakireddy Bali Reddy, owner of 2227 Dwight Way, allegedly disconnected fire alarms from the building prior to the fire. Shortly after 7pm on October 29, 2013, the Berkeley City Council will hear an appeal on the fire-damaged 2227 Dwight Way property brought by several UC Berkeley students and alumni, including two former tenants and signed by nearly 30 immediate neighbors. The building was completely destroyed after a fire broke out in the early morning hours on March 8, 2012. -more-

One Nation, Under Guard: How the Pentagon Trains for Martial Law in America

By Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War

Friday October 25, 2013 - 02:49:00 PM

Time and again over the past several decades, the Pentagon has staged "war games" inside US cities -- Kingsville, Texas; Oakland, California; Pittsburgh; Chicago San Francisco and elsewhere. These so-called "humanitarian exercises" are actually a pretext for honing techniques to seize control of the "Urban Battlescape" inside the US. This investigative report (versions of which originally appeared simultaneously in the Bay Guardian and the East Bay Express) focuses on the Pentagon's "Urban Warrior" exercise staged in San Francisco and Oakland in 1999.
From a paper presented at the "Cities and the New Wars" Conference at Columbia University, New York, September 2009.


Murdered Berkeley Man's Settlement with BPD a Bad Legacy (News Analysis)

By Ted Friedman
Friday October 25, 2013 - 02:31:00 PM

The Peter M. Cukor family's lawsuit against the city of Berkeley police was dropped unexpectedly, Tuesday, in exchange for what their attorney's called the department's "three changes…" in dispatcher policies which "will help prevent similar tragedies in the future." -more-

Infected Bat a Reminder to Use Caution

By Berkeley Heath Department
Thursday October 24, 2013 - 08:52:00 PM

A bat infected with rabies was recently found in the area of the 1500 block of Spruce Street in the City of Berkeley. Although the bat was removed without incident, residents in Berkeley and the surrounding areas are advised that Alameda County has been a “Rabies Area” since 1958. -more-

New: Hidden History—1983: Before the Invasion
A Reporter Visits Grenada and Disproves Ronald Reagan's Rabid Rhetoric

By Gar Smith
Monday October 28, 2013 - 09:27:00 PM

Thirty years ago, the US launched a vicious military attack on the small Caribbean island nation of Grenada. President Ronald Reagan claimed a new airport under construction was intended to provide Russian aircraft with a strategic base in the Americas. Reagan claimed a "submarine pen" was under construction. In March 1983, a reporter from Berkeley visited the site to investigate and uncovered evidence that exposed the Pentagon's claims as a fabrication -- a pretext for war. The assault on Grenada was to be the first of a long string of foreign invasions based on a foundation of official lies. -more-



Victims of Obamacare: A New Urban Legend

By Becky O'Malley
Friday November 01, 2013 - 09:40:00 AM

The discussion of the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, coming as it did around Halloween, reminded me that it’s time to extend my traditional Halloween offer: $100 to anyone who can prove that a trick-or-treater was harmed in any way by a stranger.

No one has ever, in perhaps 15 years, taken me up on it, for good reason. It just doesn’t happen.

When I first started making this offer, the media abounded in reports of razor blades in apples and similar devilish plots perpetrated on unsuspecting children. These were usually retracted—in fine print—some weeks after Halloween, but the damage was done by then.

Parents everywhere cautioned their kids to accept nothing but commercial candy, wrapped by the manufacturer. No homemade cookies, no apples—who knew what could be in them?

An occasional case of Junior sampling dad’s marijuana brownies was reported, but nothing having to do with strangers was ever proved. The useful exposed such stories as urban legends. Probably they were started by candy manufacturers. This year, as always, we offered kids apples along with the candy, and every year more and more have enthusiastically chosen the apples (I do live in Berkeley, after all).

How does this connect to the Affordable Care Act? This year’s razor-blades-in-apples story is how some percentage of the 5% of Americans who use privately-paid health insurance will be forced to change their coverage, even though President Obama said they wouldn’t have to. -more-

Debts Threaten to Halt Students' Education

By Becky O'Malley
Monday October 28, 2013 - 01:27:00 PM

The statistics about the student loan crisis are appalling enough, as many excellent articles attest.

A few samples: Student Loans Are Becoming a Drag on the US Economy ; Student Loan Defaults Surge To Highest Level In Nearly 2 Decades ; The Student Loan Debt Crisis in 9 Charts ; and more.

But even more appalling than the statistics are the stories. Ask around among your friends and acquaintances and you’ll soon discover a whole lot of young people who are saddled with debts that they didn’t expect or understand and which they can’t get out from under. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence


Odd Bodkins: The Rapture (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Monday November 04, 2013 - 09:24:00 PM

Bounce: Tenacity Surfing (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Monday November 04, 2013 - 09:30:00 PM

Bounce: An Optimistic Plunge (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Monday November 04, 2013 - 09:28:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Sunday Service in the Holy Land (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Sunday October 27, 2013 - 02:53:00 PM

Odd Bodkins: Roger Wingnut (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Sunday October 27, 2013 - 02:49:00 PM

Public Comment

New: Letter to the Berkeley Planning Commission Regarding Proposed Changes to the Demolition Ordinance

From the Berkeley Tenants Union Steering Committee
Tuesday November 05, 2013 - 06:02:00 PM

The Berkeley Tenants Union is extremely concerned about proposed changes to the demolition ordinance. As you may recall, you already approved changes to this zoning code in the spring. We think it might be a bit confusing that this law is before you once again, so we have tried to provide a comprehensive summary with links to all relevant documents in this correspondence. -more-

New: Saudi Women's Bravery

By Jagjit Singh
Tuesday November 05, 2013 - 09:11:00 AM

Bravo to the courageous Saudi women who are defying a government ban on driving. This oppressive ban is so unjust; it relegates Saudi women to a suffocating role as subservient members of their own society unable to venture outdoors independently. Predictably, Saudi clerics heaped scorn and called women drivers ‘prostitutes’. Only male drivers are issued driving licenses. -more-

New: Berkeley Planning Commission to Consider Weakening Demolition Rules on Wednesday

Berkeley Tenants Union
Sunday November 03, 2013 - 07:41:00 PM

Once upon a time, Berkeley was seeing an unprecedented wave of construction, with new -- but perhaps ugly -- apartment buildings popping up right next to our famous brown shingles and lovely craftsman bungalows. At the same time, rents were rising much faster than income. Thus Berkeley in the 1970s began the move toward rent control, and voters passed the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance to prioritize neighborhood character and affordable housing over unbridled growth.

Today, Berkeley is again seeing a huge wave of development, with 1,000 new apartments being constructed in the wake of upzoning and other changes under the Downtown Area Plan. At the same time, market rents in the Bay Area increased 9.2% last year, according to RealFacts.

But the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance is still the law of the land. That voter-approved initiative recognized that “new construction in a city as built-up as Berkeley requires demolition, often of attractive low rent older homes,” and so it called for any new construction to contain a decent proportion of low-income housing. Later, parts of the NPO were incorporated in Berkeley’s Demolition Ordinance (BMC 23C.08), which prohibits demolition of rent controlled units unless they are in really bad shape and they will be replaced with affordable housing.

However, the City Council majority has decided we need to ease restrictions on development further, so there are new drafts of the Demolition Ordinance. The latest of these drafts would allow developers to tear down rent controlled apartments if they are empty, and not require that they be replaced with units for lower income residents. The Berkeley Tenants Union objects to the changes to this zoning code, because easing restrictions on empty units encourages eviction and harassment. -more-

November Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Monday November 04, 2013 - 09:00:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money. -more-

The Truth About ObamaCare

By Mrs. kathryn pennes, san carlos, CA
Monday November 04, 2013 - 04:03:00 PM

Dear The Berkeley Daily Planet,

We the People are NOT "Keeping Our Doctors, Keeping Our Insurance plans..... The RED Man in The White House is not going to keep your policy down by 2,500.00. America WAKE-UP -more-

Post Office on Berkeley Planning Commission Agenda on Wednesday

Save the Post Office
Sunday November 03, 2013 - 07:46:00 PM

Over 100 people came to the last Planning Commission meeting--60 spoke FOR the Zoning Overlay and only 3 spoke for the developers. At this next meeting, the Commission will finalize its recommendation to the City Council. It is possible that more will speak against rezoning, so we must be there! -more-

Equations of Peace
An Iranian Woman’s View on How to Integrate a Divided Globe (Mathematically Speaking)

By Zeinab Bandpey
Monday October 28, 2013 - 12:37:00 PM
Zeinab Bandpey

غلام همت انم که زیر چرخ کبود ز هر چه رنگ تعلق پذیرد آزادم

In March, as a female mathematician, skilled astronomer and noted professor left her university near Cairo, a mob surrounded her. They attacked and brutally killed her, burning her body. The thought of a woman engaging in philosophy and mathematics so outraged local religious leaders that there was no penalty for her killer.

This happened 1,500 years ago, but even today, religious issues, ethnic prejudices, and political divisions have historically prevented the progress of women in science and society in general. -more-

New: Irony Abounds

By Larry Jones
Monday October 28, 2013 - 09:23:00 PM

I was struck by two articles in the current issue (10/28/13). First was The Public Eye: The Politics of Hate which details the paranoia as well as forces behind the extreme right's political views and activities. On the other hand we had One Nation, Under Guard: How the Pentagon Trains for Martial Law in America. It presents the extreme left's paranoia. Both of these dystopian, if factually correct views, reflect the division and extremism that seems to be more and more common worldwide. -more-

New: NSA Spying

By Tejinder Uberoi
Sunday October 27, 2013 - 05:24:00 PM

The diplomatic fallout of NSA spying continues. Last month, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil cancelled a state visit after news reports that the N.S.A. had intercepted messages her messages and had conducted espionage on the state oil company, Petrobras. The German newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, revealed the NSA had gained access to communications to and from President Felipe Calderón of Mexico when he was still in office. The French newspaper, Le Monde disclosed that a large number of French citizens private communications had been captured by the NSA. -more-

New: Gun-Related Deaths

By Romila Khanna
Sunday October 27, 2013 - 05:23:00 PM

Is there a way of dealing with conflicts so that gun violence becomes unnecessary? Often people will not stop to consider someone else’s point of view. But while we undergo training in finding common ground even with our adversaries, we can create a kind of time out. Let us stop gun exhibits and enforce gun control laws strictly. -more-

Non-profit Developers Scheme to Grab Section 8 Vouchers and Public Housing

By Lynda Carson
Thursday October 24, 2013 - 08:43:00 PM

Local non-profit so-called affordable housing developers including Affordable Housing Associates, Resources for Community Development, and the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation have teamed up with local and national organizations that are pushing for Rental Assistance Reform (RAR) legislation to be passed in the House and Senate, that is harmful to the poor.

The non-profit organizations are pushing for rental assistance reform (RAR) legislation that will result in fewer Section 8 housing choice vouchers for the poor, higher rents for public housing residents, and the acceleration of the privatization of conventional public housing projects into privatized mixed-income residential housing developments for higher income renters. Developments that are being promoted by so-called non-profit and for profit affordable housing developers who want to get their hands on public housing properties locally, and all across the nation. -more-

Albany Landfill Evictions Affect Berkeley

By Daniel J. McMullan III
Thursday October 24, 2013 - 08:28:00 PM

In 1999 I was asked by some of the then long time residents of the Albany landfill to come out to the bulb and advocate for those who were being evicted, some them after living there for over 10 years or more.

At the time the City of Albany had no services whatsoever for the homeless and their only design, that became very clear by the end, was to dump their homeless problem on the City of Berkeley. The residents of the landfill then as they are today came from places all over the state and country.

I watched the City of Berkeley spend 100's of thousands if not millions of dollars on the people they ejected from the landfill, most of whom eventually died on our streets. With the help of a non-profit they paid a nominal $13,000 they shifted their responsibility to their homeless to Berkeley. -more-

It Ain’t Rocket Science: It’s Housing

By Carol Denney
Thursday October 24, 2013 - 08:37:00 PM

One can hardly blame Albany for electing not to house its homeless, not to square up its 1999 obligations to the Bay Area Governments’ Housing Needs Plan, and for spending $330,000 not on housing subsidies but on police, clearing vegetation and belongings, and inaccessible trailers for a few people for a few months who have lived for years at the Albany Bulb landfill. Why not? The city of Berkeley and the media are more than willing to describe it all as benign, humane, and just part of making the Bulb a nice park. -more-

The Sierra Club and the Albany Bulb

By Lydia Gans
Thursday October 24, 2013 - 08:17:00 PM

The backlash against the Sierra Club for joining with Citizens for East Shore Parks in lobbying to incorporate the Bulb into East Shore State Park is not surprising. The San Francisco Bay Chapter, in the May issue of their newspaper, the Yodeler, states the rationale for their action. It gives a very troubling image of the group. The story is titled “Changing the Albany Bulb – creating a bright spot on the East Bay Shoreline”. Apparently in order to “create a bright spot” the first step requires evicting the people who are camping there, people for whom the Bulb is their home. Why is this Sierra Club chapter participating in evicting people? The mission of the Sierra Club is the maintenance and protection of the environment for the enjoyment of the people. It does not mean only certain people, only the“right kind” of people. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: US Energy Policy: A Bridge to Nowhere

By Bob Burnett
Friday November 01, 2013 - 09:40:00 AM

Recent polls indicate that Americans do not appear to be concerned about global climate change or national energy policy. Understandably, most of us are worried about jobs, the economy, and gridlock in Washington. America’s narrow focus is unfortunate, because the decisions we make about energy today will determine the quality of life for our descendants. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Disabled People with Aging Parents

By Jack Bragen
Friday November 01, 2013 - 10:09:00 AM

More often than for most people in mainstream society, psychiatrically disabled people do not outlive our parents. -more-

New: DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Torpedoing the Iran Nuclear Talks

By Conn Hallinan
Monday October 28, 2013 - 09:18:00 PM

As the U.S. and its allies prepare for another round of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, powerful and wealthy opponents—from the halls of Congress to Middle East capitals—are maneuvering to torpedo them. At stake is the real possibility of a war with consequences infinitely greater than the 2003 invasion of Iraq. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The Politics of Hate

By Bob Burnett
Friday October 25, 2013 - 02:36:00 PM

In 2008, I was in line to hear Barack Obama’s Denver acceptance speech when I encountered protestors holding signs: “God Hates Obama.” I told them I didn’t believe in a God of hate and one of the protestors yelled back, “And God hates you!” It was my introduction to the politics of hate that has characterized the Republican Party for the last five years. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Atypical Antipsychotic Medications

By Jack Bragen
Thursday October 24, 2013 - 08:39:00 PM

Prior to the invention of atypical antipsychotic medications, people took older meds such as Thorazine, Haldol, Stelazine, Navane, and Prolixin--most of these came into existence beginning in the 1950's. The older drugs had some nasty side effects. The atypical ones have side effects as well. -more-

Arts & Events

Press Release: Mrs. Dalloways to Hold Benefit Weekend for Berkeley High

Tuesday November 05, 2013 - 10:05:00 AM

Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore is holding a Benefit Weekend for Berkeley High School!

When: Friday & Saturday, Nov. 22-23, 10am-9pm AND Sunday, November 24, 11am-6pm -more-

New: THEATER REVIEW: 'Red Virgin' at Central Works

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday November 05, 2013 - 09:07:00 AM

"To the barricades!" The epic tale of the Siege of Paris and the Paris Commune of 1870-71 is retold by Central Works in their first musical theater production, 'Red Virgin,' focusing on the figure of Louise Michel (Anna Ishida), one of the more famous of the bands of valiant women, mostly unsung, who took on a major role in the popular uprising and early attempt to govern a modern city from the bottom up. -more-

Theater Review: '444 Days'--Golden Thread Founder Torange Yeghiazarian on Iranian-American Relations-LAST WEEKEND

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday October 30, 2013 - 10:22:00 PM

Quick flash of an image: Bedside in a hospital, where a lovely young woman lies unconscious, on an audible respirator, as another woman raises her head, covered with a scarf or shawl, from the bed at the sight of a male figure in trenchcoat with briefcase hovering in the hall light through the open door ... -more-

Around & About Poetry: George Stanley Reads for Mythos Gallery in the Berkeley Hills

By Ken Bullock
Friday October 25, 2013 - 02:46:00 PM

"there is more here than memory"

George Stanley, one of the finest Bay Area poets of the 50s and 60s, who moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in the 70s, is back in town for his first local reading in 15 years. Much of his poetry since his move north has been published in Canada, and is often unfamiliar to American readers, even those who know what he wrote when part of the circles around Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan in San Francisco from the late 50s. It's a shame; Stanley's is a unique voice in North American writing, one that has evolved continuously without losing touch with its original impulse, only gracing it with changes of perspective, adding to his discovery and exploration of what it is to be a poet, to be a person, a human being in these times, one among others, in the anonymity of cities and institutions--and in the familiarity, yet strangeness, of small towns. -more-

Theater Review: 'Metamorphoses'--Inferno Theatre Brings Ovid to Berkeley

By Ken Bullock
Thursday October 24, 2013 - 08:19:00 PM

"Remember, if you find a fork in the road—take it!"

The Satyr's advice or dare—tossed off by a lusty, snorting Valentina Emeri as the half-human animal, or half-animal human—is taken up by the whole troupe as Inferno Theatre's cast appears to endlessly expand in number throughout their new show, each player taking on a new shape, as they proceed through the tangled intricacies of Ovid's 'Metamorphoses,' in company founder Giulio Cesare Perrone's deft, charming, yet often shadowy adaptation of Ovid's own adaptation of the transformations of classical mythology. -more-