The Week



Berkeley Firefighter Dies in Tractor Accident

By Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Monday February 24, 2014 - 04:29:00 PM

Berkeley firefighters are mourning today after one of their own, 54-year-old firefighter-paramedic Anthony Nunes, was killed when his tractor overturned in rural Contra Costa County on Sunday, the city's fire chief said. -more-

New: Rain Next Week? Maybe!

By Bay City News
Sunday February 23, 2014 - 03:15:00 PM

A series of storms is expected to bring much-needed rain to the Bay Area starting on Wednesday, a National Weather Service forecaster said today. -more-

New: U.C. Employees To Strike on March 3

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Saturday February 22, 2014 - 10:50:00 AM

More than 21,000 employees at University of California campuses across the state will go on strike for five days at the beginning of March, union leaders have announced.

Todd Stenhouse, a spokesman for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, said today that the primary strike from March 3 through March 7 will involve 8,300 service workers with concerns about wages and staffing issues.

In addition, around 13,000 patient care workers at UC's five medical centers will strike in sympathy with the service workers, Stenhouse said. -more-

New: Berkeley Water Main Break: No Problemo

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BPN)
Tuesday February 25, 2014 - 09:51:00 AM

A water main break in Berkeley on Friday afternoon was completely repaired by early Saturday morning, an East Bay Municipal Utility District spokeswoman said today. -more-

Water Main Break Floods Berkeley Intersection

By Bay City News
Friday February 21, 2014 - 12:25:00 AM

A water main break in Berkeley flooded an intersection and flowed into some yards this evening but does not appear to have damaged any homes or cars, according to a Berkeley fire official. -more-

Benjamin James Yerger
December 8, 1930 -February 5, 2014

Monday February 24, 2014 - 11:13:00 AM

Ben died peacefully after being ill for several years. He was born in Hope, Arkansas to his parents Chester H. Yerger Sr. and Naomi L. Reddix Yerger. Ben graduated from Henry Clay Yerger High School, named after his grandfather who was the first teacher (in 1886). Ben’s grandmother, Ella J. Yerger, left her home on a Choctaw reservation to teach in the school, and later married Henry Clay. Together they inspired Ben’s lifelong devotion to educating others. Ben’s mother and aunts all taught at the school which was the center of his educational and cultural life. After graduating from high school with high honors in 1948, Ben entered Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, on a music scholarship. He was also an avid football player in college. Ben graduated from Philander Smith in 1951 with majors in biology and chemistry. -more-



Berkeley Squelches Squirrels While Oakland Burns

By Becky O'Malley
Friday February 21, 2014 - 04:45:00 PM

In case you were wondering whether Berkeley has really gone to hell in a handbasket, check out today’s column by one of the Chronicle’s trio of obnoxious conservative columnists, Chip Johnson. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Now Read This

Wednesday February 26, 2014 - 09:24:00 AM

Here's a competent report of a discouraging city council action which I watch online last night:

Council majority pushes redistricting decisions to March

The most significant part of the meeting was the Mayor's expressed desire to discuss the November election in closed legal session. Obvious topic: Which set of council boundaries should be used for the councimember races? Should it be possible for the Council to go into closed session because the City threatens to sue itself to get a legal determination? -more-

Happy Birthday Helen!!!

Friday February 21, 2014 - 09:21:00 AM

Can it be true? Our Senior Power columnist for many years, Helen Rippier Wheeler, turned 88 this week. She's still turning out interesting columns on a regular schedule, almost always perfectly in order, no copy-editing required. If this is what eighty-eight looks like, we all have something to look forward to! -more-


Odd Bodkins: Rhino Races (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday February 22, 2014 - 11:58:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Letter to the Editor about Squirrels

By Carol Denney
Wednesday February 26, 2014 - 10:09:00 AM

I don't appreciate you making fun of the squirrel issue. Most of these squirrels are part of terrorist cells working to destroy the bay and our American way of life. The next time I go to the park I am taking a taser with me.


Carol Denney -more-

Press Release: Zoning Adustments Board (ZAB) Public Hearing Tonight On Demolition Of Industrially Protected & Productive West Berkeley Industrial Building

Thursday February 27, 2014 - 08:31:00 AM

Tonight (Thursday, February 27) the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) will hold a Public Hearing on the application by the Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley (French School) to demolish a 13,000 ft industrial building to accomodate a new playing field. As the building is considered protected industrial space, Berkeley Municipal Code Section 23E.84.090.E requires mitigation for such loss. The French School previously owned the property in 1998 and at that time ZAB ruled it could remove the building without the required mitigation because “To date (1998), the council has not adopted a payment schedule for mitigating the loss of warehouse space, therefore this finding is not applicable.” Planning staff have now recommended allowing the demolition without the required demolition, based on the 1998 ruling. -more-

New: For a Living Wage in Berkeley

By Harry Brill
Saturday February 22, 2014 - 10:49:00 AM

During the great depression of the 1930s, Franklyn D. Roosevelt stated "No business which depends for existence on paying less then living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country." The ugly fact is that a growing number of working people are paid a poverty wage. In fact, due in part to the enormous increase in low wage jobs, working people for the first time now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps. -more-

Are We Thinking or Lamenting?

By Romila Khanna
Saturday February 22, 2014 - 11:01:00 AM

It is very strange. We are still fighting for our right to bear arms. When a killer goes on a shooting spree, we say the shooter was not of sound mind. Why do lawmakers forget the meaning of background checks? I value the Second Amendment for normal people who would not use guns to ruthlessly kill others. But I don't know how many more gun related deaths will happen in our country before we take the matter of background checks seriously. -more-


By Sheila Goldmacher
Thursday February 20, 2014 - 08:58:00 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with Harry Brill's urging to have bicyclists light up their bikes at night. What would save more lives as well, is having law enforcement ENFORCE laws that many bicyclists never obey. It is hair raising these days to try and cross in pedestrian walkways or to drive your car and have a bicyclist right in your face when you have the right of way. I am happy to see more bicyclists on the roads but am dismayed at their lack of observing the rules of the road. Perhaps a license and testing needs to be given before one is allowed out in traffic as it too is becoming a lethal weapon these days. -more-



By Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Thursday February 20, 2014 - 08:18:00 PM

The Nugget—Berkeley, California’s North and South Senior Centers’ newsletter—refers to February as National Senior Independence Month. I’m all for senior independence. My eighty-eighth birthday was this week. -more-

New: ECLECTIC RANT: Eliminating Pre-Dispute Arbitration Clauses in Consumer Contracts

By Ralph E. Stone
Saturday February 22, 2014 - 10:55:00 AM

According to The Free Dictionary, "arbitration is the submission of a dispute to an unbiased third person designated by the parties to the controversy, who agree in advance to comply with the award—a decision to be issued after a hearing at which both parties have an opportunity to be heard." Over the years, arbitration has become a take-it-or-leave contract provision in many consumer contracts. And available evidence suggests that the arbitration playing field has tilted against consumers. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2014)

By Bob Burnett
Friday February 21, 2014 - 08:44:00 AM

In 1970, the late jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron wrote >The revolution will not be televised, which became an anthem for the black power movement. His thoughts remain relevant. I’ve broadened the context and updated the prose. -more-

AGAINST FORGETTING: The War Against Contraception: “Women need to be liberated from their libidos."

By Ruth Rosen
Thursday February 20, 2014 - 08:45:00 PM

The new Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires all health plans to pay for contraception. Some religious organizations and corporations are so angry that they have taken their case to the US Supreme Court. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Learning to Discard Spurious Thoughts

By Jack Bragen
Thursday February 20, 2014 - 08:55:00 PM

In the mind of any human being, mentally ill or not, the thoughts that carry a strong emotional charge will gain a higher priority. Thus, thoughts that trigger or come from jealousy, fear, anger, and desire, will all have more power over us, and will be harder to disregard compared to thoughts that are more objective. -more-

Arts & Events

New: THEATER REVIEW: Strindberg's 'Miss Julie' & Two Short Plays

By Ken Bullock
Sunday February 23, 2014 - 10:18:00 AM

Marin Onstage, which put on a remarkable version of Ibsen's modern classic, 'Doll House,' reviewed here in November—and all the more remarkable as a small, independent company taking on such a work and giving it a fresh, compelling staging—continues their season of plays about women with three very different short plays, including the great—and not so short—'Miss Julie,' one of the salvos Strindberg directed in part at Ibsen, a decade after 'Doll House,' one of the first truly modern plays, displaying in rare, exciting dramatic form with a small cast both the war of the sexes and the class struggle. -more-

New: Two Plays: 'Gidion's Knot' at the Aurora & Cutting ball's 'Ubu Roi'--Problems in Theatricality

By Ken Bullock
Sunday February 23, 2014 - 10:15:00 AM

After seeing a couple of local productions, I was surprised, in going over notes, to realize that my feelings of dissatisfaction with both came from a complaint of something the two very different plays and productions had in common—or didn't have—a certain downplaying of theatricality, more from the staging in the case of Cutting Ball's 'Ubu Roi,' an old (maybe the original) chestnut of the Avant-Garde (there's an oxymoron!); in the case of the brand-new 'Gidion's Knot' at the Aurora, more from something in the conception of the play itself. -more-

Theater Review: Marcus Gardley's The House That Will Not Stand at Berkeley Rep

By Ken Bullock
Thursday February 20, 2014 - 08:26:00 PM

What's most striking about 'The House That Will Not Stand,' the premiere of the Marcus Gardley play commissioned by Berkeley Rep and produced in collaboration with Yale Repertory, now playing at the Rep's Thrust Stage in an extended run through March 23, is the progression Gardley seems to be making from the seemingly Southern Gothic romance-style plays he was writing a half dozen years back (“évery tongue must confess,” reviewed in the Planet July 31, 2008, comes to mind) bringing out more of the lyric element, always present, but tied more and more to the action of the characters in ensemble. -more-

AROUND AND ABOUT MUSIC: Lafayette String Quartet at the Berkeley City Club Play Music by Schubert, Dvorak & Berkeley Composer David Jaffe

Thursday February 20, 2014 - 08:43:00 PM

The Lafayette String Quartet--the only all-female musical ensemble still comprised of its founding members--will play Schubert's String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, "Rosamunde;" Dvorak's viola quintet, op. 97, the "Ämerican;" and the US premiere of Berkeley composer David Jaffe's "Fox Hollow" for Berkeley Chamber Performances at the Berkeley City Club, Tuesday, February 25 at 8 p. m. A complimentary wine and cheese reception with the musicians will follow the concert. -more-

Around & About Theater: The Lion and the Fox at Central Works

By Ken Bullock
Thursday February 20, 2014 - 08:25:00 PM

This weekend, Central Works opens a prequel to one of their most popular shows, 'The Lion and the Fox,' concerning Niccolo Machiavelli's fascination with tyrant Cesare Borgia, the strongman he thinks might unite Italy, and Macchiavelli's loyalty to the independence of the Florentine Republic. Written by Gary Graves, directed by Jan Zvaifler. Thursdays through Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 5 through March at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue between Ellsworth and Dana, $28 advance (Brown Paper Tickets: 800-838-3006), sliding scale of $28-$15 at the door; previews and Thursdays, pay what you can. 558-1381; -more-

A Celebration of International Women's Day, March 8

Thursday February 20, 2014 - 08:54:00 PM

Berkeley Copwatch invites you to “In Love and Struggle” a celebration of International Women’s Day. It's all happening on March 8th at 7:30pm at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. This night will feature dance and spoken word performances by our own MC Kaila Love , Students for Hip Hop and surprise dramatic performances. There will also be a special guest appearance by hip hop diva Vixen Noir, and at beginning at 9pm The Average Dyke Band will have you on your feet and dancing to old school funk, R &B, modern and more. -more-