The Week



Flash: High Winds Topple Trees, Power Lines, Causing Blackouts and Accidents

By Bay City News
Thursday November 21, 2013 - 10:21:00 PM

High winds are bringing down trees and power lines throughout the Bay Area tonight, blocking roads and causing accidents and several major blackouts.

At 10:45 p.m., PG&E reported 35 outage locations in Berkeley affecting 7559 customers. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Fair Campaigns Practices Commission To Consider Alleged Campaign Law Breaches by Berkeley Democratic Club and Yes on S Tonight

By Patricia Wall and Bob Offer-Westort (No on S campaign)
Thursday November 21, 2013 - 10:12:00 AM

The Yes on Measure S campaign and Berkeley Democratic Club (BDC), founded in 1934, are facing serious questions about alleged violations of state and local campaign finance laws. On July 12, 2013, the Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC) received a complaint against BDC alleging violations of the Berkeley Election Reform Act (BERA) and state election law, including failure to file expense reports for false and misleading campaign materials that were distributed by homeless people during the November 2012 election cycle.

The BDC Political Action Committee spent a total of $26,781 in the November 2012 election cycle to produce a Berkeley-wide mailer and literature to be distributed at the polls, according to California filing records. While the BDC filed with the California Secretary of State, it failed to file with the City of Berkeley Clerk’s Office, as is required by BERA. A search of campaign filings in Berkeley shows that, despite actively expending funds in the last several election cycles, the BDC stopped filing with the City after August of 2010 and began filing under much looser requirements with the State of California. -more-

New: Judge Declines to Block Planned Eviction of Homeless Campers from Albany Bulb

By Julia Cheever (BCN)
Monday November 18, 2013 - 08:35:00 PM

A federal judge in San Francisco today turned down a bid by 10 homeless people to block the city of Albany's plan to evict them and others living on a bayside landfill known as the "Bulb."

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said in a one-page ruling that the homeless people and a nonprofit group that joined them in the case had "failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits" of their lawsuit, which was filed last week.

The ruling came two hours after Breyer completed hearing arguments on the request by the 10 individuals and Albany Housing Advocates.

About 60 people are now living in tents and structures at 40-acre tip of the landfill, according to the lawsuit. The site juts out into San Francisco Bay near the Golden Gate Fields horseracing track.

Last May, the Albany City Council voted to begin enforcing a no-camping ordinance there in October. The city has not yet begun evictions, but on Oct. 21, the council approved a $570,000 transition plan that includes assistance and temporary shelter for the Bulb residents and cleanup of the campsites.

The plan also includes completion of a transfer of the site to the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park. -more-

New: Allen-Taylor Wins PEN Award

Monday November 18, 2013 - 02:17:00 PM
J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

The PEN Oakland writers organization announced this week that Oakland-native journalist, political-social columnist and novelist J. Douglas Allen-Taylor is the winner of the group's Reginald Lockett Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award this year for Allen-Taylor's "gadfly writings exposing the hypocrises and errors of Bay Area politicians."

Presentation of the award will be made at the PEN Oakland Literary Awards ceremony at Oakland's Rockridge Branch Library on Saturday, December 7, from 2-5 p.m. Also being honored at the Rockridge Library PEN Oakland event are writers Toni Morrison, Andrew Lam, Luis J. Rodriguez, and Lucille Lang Day, journalist Chris Hedges, poet Tim Seibles, and editors Denise M. Sandoval and Christopher Wagstaff.

Allen-Taylor said of receiving the Reginald Lockett Award that "it's a tremendous and humbling honor any time you are recognized by fellow members of your craft," and added that "but being listed anytime, anywhere on a program alongside Toni Morrison's name is pretty much beyond words to describe."

The Reginald Lockett Award is named for the Oakland poet and educator who passed away in 2008. Lockett and Oakland-based novelist and essayist Ishmael Reed co-founded PEN Oakland in 1989 as an affiliate of the international PEN organizations of novelists, essayists, and poets. Dubbed the "Blue-Collar PEN" by The New York Times, PEN Oakland's self-proclaimed "unique purpose is to promote works of excellence by writers of all cultural and racial backgrounds and to educate both the public and the media as to the nature of multi-cultural work." -more-

Updated: Rosie the Riveter Visitors' Center Shows How Kids Played During World War II

By Stevanne Auerbach, PhD
Monday November 18, 2013 - 07:11:00 PM

During 1941-1945, Richmond, and the surrounding East Bay, was the hub for a mighty war effort that included construction of tanks, ships, jeeps, and housing, distribution of supplies, plus many innovations in medical care and child care. Many thousands of men and women worked in the area during those years while the entire country was engaged in the fight. -more-



In Berkeley and Everywhere, Citizen Input on Planning Decisions Counts for Nothing

By Becky O'Malley
Monday November 18, 2013 - 05:45:00 PM

Sorting through a huge pile of file boxes this week, detritus accumulated in 40 years of living in one Berkeley house, pursuing three careers encompassing several jobs, and closing three office locations from businesses I managed, I’ve come to the conclusion that citizens are not running the show almost anywhere these days, if indeed they ever did. In particular, I found a truly staggering volume of paper produced by various civic entities which purported to be making decisions relevant to the way public business is conducted—and realized that most of those so-called decisions were bypassed by the civil servants who were supposed to be executing them.

We the People, as our brothers and sisters in the Tea Party wing of the OMG movement would say, don’t count for much in the long run. While I think the Partiers are wrong about almost everything that they’d like to do, their perception that no one’s paying much attention is grounded in observable reality.

In evidence, I offer the reams of paper copies I’m throwing out which I got during almost 8 years on the Landmark Preservation Commission. Most of what we talked about, most of what we “decided”, just never happened, or at least didn’t happen the way the materials we received promised. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence


Odd Bodkins: Prayer (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Monday November 18, 2013 - 08:27:00 PM

Public Comment

Iran Negotiations

By Jagjit Singh
Friday November 15, 2013 - 09:48:00 AM

The American people are growing tired of Prime Minister Netanyahu's frequent outbursts attempting to derail US efforts in reaching a peaceful accord with Iran. For the sake of fairness, is it not time for the international community to demand that Israel open its own nuclear stockpile for inspection and insist that Israel follow Iran’s example of signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty?

It is outrageous that France has opposed U.S efforts in its blatant self-serving interests to appease Saudi Arabia and thereby win lucrative nuclear power contracts. It also time we displayed a modicum of humility and contrition for our own dark deeds. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Global Climate Change: A Blow to the Head

By Bob Burnett
Friday November 15, 2013 - 06:15:00 PM

As evidence mounts that global climate change is dramatically impacting our lives, resistance hardens. What will cause Americans to address this grave danger? Perhaps the answer lies in the campaign to reduce traumatic head injuries in American football. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Relationships Revisited

By Jack Bragen
Friday November 15, 2013 - 09:45:00 AM

People who don't have a romantic partner might complain about being lonely. And after finding someone, they may then complain some more, about the problems posed by the relationship. When you embark on a relationship with a partner you might be exchanging one set of problems for another. -more-

THE SAVVY SHOPPER: Savers Opens on University Avenue

By Stevanne Auerbach
Friday November 15, 2013 - 05:03:00 PM

The long empty Andronico’s store has been transformed and opened today as a new Savers Thrift Store. The parking lot was empty when I pulled up at 8:15 AM after driving my husband to BART. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra Concerts Feature “The Power of Music”

By Elaine Hooker
Tuesday November 19, 2013 - 02:27:00 PM

The Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra (BCCO) will present a program of “music about the power of music” in its fall concert series in November. Under the direction of BCCO Music Director Ming Luke, the chorus will perform Charles Gounod’s elegant Messe Solennelle (St. Cecilia Mass), a paean to the patron saint of music; Ralph Vaughan Williams’ ethereal Serenade to Music; and Franz Schubert’s poignant An die Musik in a new arrangement written especially for BCCO by composer Loretta Notareschi. -more-

New: “The Dining Room” Opens This Thursday in Piedmont/Oakland

Tuesday November 19, 2013 - 02:26:00 PM
John Hale, Karly Shea, Aaron Vanderbeek, SusannahWood, Brett Mermer,and Jamie Harkin

Piedmont Avenue Repertory Theatre—a new theatre company-- this Friday Nov 22 opens with “The Dining Room” by A. R. Gurney at the Piedmont Center for the Arts, 801 Magnolia, Piedmont, for six performances with a reduced price preview on Thursday Nov 21. -more-

Theater Review: 'Emmett Till, A River'--Theatre of Yugen at NOHspace--This Weekend Only

By Ken Bullock
Friday November 15, 2013 - 09:37:00 AM

"What is blame when it is spread out so thin Across fields and rivers, miles and roads?"

Theatre of Yugen, the Bay Area's troupe practicing the rigors of classical Japanese theater, Noh and Kyogen, is celebrating its 35th season with something profoundly different, unusually successful ...

'Emmett Till, A River,' a new play following the outline of a Noh tragedy, by Kevin Simmonds and Judy Halebsky, incorporates the infamous story from 1955 of the murder of a 14 year old African American from Chicago, visiting relatives in Mississippi, and his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, whose efforts to expose the hushed-up crime made her dead son a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. -more-

Two Theater Reviews: Ibsen's 'A Doll House' in Marin, SubShakes' Burlesque of 'Shakespeare Night at the Blackfriars'

By Ken Bullock
Friday November 15, 2013 - 09:43:00 AM

--A Brilliant Version of Ibsen's 'A Doll House' in Marin

Driving past St. Vincent's School, on the bayside of 101 north of San Rafael, south of Novato, there's a glimpse, as maestro Kent Nagano once put it, of an older, bucolic California, a tableau that could've appeared anywhere along the coast or a few inland waterways in the not-so-distant past. The fields of the Silveira Ranch run to old eucalyptus in the background, with the spire of a Mission-style church visible through them, a former orphanage from Gold Rush days, now a home for abused young people.

There's an auditorium opposite the church, often used by local performing arts groups, where something unusual's being staged right now: a remarkable production of Ibsen's most famous play--one of the most famous plays in the modern repertory--'A Doll House,' 1878, which anatomizes the plight of the housewife with a tightly-wound plot and brilliant, ironic dialogue. Strindberg wrote another masterpiece to answer it, 'Miss Julie,' and 'A Doll House' has served as touchstone for both modern theater (and modern writing in general--for several generations, Ibsen was venerated as a stylist in the manner usually confined to poets and novelists) and awareness of the movement for women's equality ever since. -more-