The Week



Flash: Active shooter on 580 in East Oakland

Bay City News
Friday February 17, 2017 - 10:00:00 AM

Eastbound Interstate Highway 580 is shut down as Oakland police deal with an active shooter in East Oakland this morning.

A man armed with a rifle is in the area of 98th Avenue and Golf Links Road, according to police.

The California Highway Patrol has shut down eastbound Highway 580. As of about 9:40 a.m., CHP officials said shots were still being fired.

There have no reports of any injuries. Police are asking people to avoid the area. -more-

Berkeley Police post photos of auto burglary suspect for public

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Thursday February 16, 2017 - 02:47:00 PM

Berkeley police are asking for the public's help in identifying a suspect in an auto burglary last week.

Police, who released two photographs of the suspect, said the man burglarized a car in a parking lot in the 900 block of Heinz Avenue between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Feb. 9.

The photos can be seen here and here. -more-

Berkeley Police confirm identity of dead couple

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Thursday February 16, 2017 - 02:57:00 PM

Two people who were found dead in a Berkeley apartment on Saturday were identified today by police as Dora Bibbs, 87, and her husband Gary White, 56, both of Berkeley, as previously reported by Channel 7 News. -more-

Updated: PROBABLY FALSE: Bay Area Alert: ICE checkpoint at Richmond Costco right now!

from a Mexican American Facebook Friend
Wednesday February 15, 2017 - 02:54:00 PM

This is probably a false Twitter panic rumor: See this:

Bay Area Alert: ICE checkpoint at Richmond Costco right now! Do not go near the area. Status copy and pasted at 1:50pm, 2/15/17 -more-

Protest at Carl's Jr. denounces Labor nominee

Daniel Montes
Monday February 13, 2017 - 09:50:00 PM

Business at an Oakland Carl's Jr. restaurant was disrupted for nearly an hour as dozens of protesters held a rally inside to denounce President Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor, who is the fast food chain's CEO. -more-

Complete Streets—not Honda

Ann Foley
Monday February 13, 2017 - 04:51:00 PM

“Home is everything you can walk to.” -- Jerry Spinelli, author

“The paradox of transportation in the late 20th Century is that while it became possible to travel to the moon, it also became impossible, in many cases, to walk across the street.” -- Joell Vanderwagen, transportation consultant

By approving the Honda dealership on Shattuck Avenue between the complicated intersections of Ward and Stuart Streets, the City would encourage more car use in a particularly congested area AND turn its back on the serious traffic problems that pedestrians, bikers, buses, and drivers have long faced on this segment of Shattuck. -more-

Fire at new Berkeley apartment complex injures one

Daniel Montes (BCN)
Sunday February 12, 2017 - 10:44:00 PM

One person was taken to the hospital early Saturday morning following a fire at a recently developed housing complex occupied mainly by students near the University California at Berkeley, according to a fire dispatcher. -more-

Updated: Two found dead this morning in Berkeley apartment

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Saturday February 11, 2017 - 11:45:00 PM

UPDATED: ABC News has reported that the two people were found dead late Saturday morning, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning, in a Berkeley apartment were lifelong Berkeley residents, Dora Bibbs, 89, and her companion Gary White, 56. -more-

Berkeley Police say several robberies in last few days may be related

Kiley Russell (BCN)
Friday February 10, 2017 - 11:12:00 AM

Berkeley police are trying to determine if a series of four robberies and one theft involving patrons at cafes that took place over the course of four days are somehow related. -more-

Falling tree crushes four cars, pulls down power lines

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Friday February 10, 2017 - 11:21:00 AM

A 60-foot-tall tree fell on four unoccupied cars Thursday evening in Berkeley, fire Chief Gil Dong said. -more-



Keep your eye on the tail of the fish in Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Friday February 10, 2017 - 05:49:00 PM

It’s said that a fish rots from the head. Those who believe that might be worried about our form of government, so worried that they’re having trouble keeping track of what’s happening to the rest of the fish. But even though most of us here in Berkeley are desperately concerned about the Washington situation, we really should be keeping track of the tail too.

(First, let’s digress with a salute to our 9th Circuit judges, especially Judge Michele Friedland, born in Berkeley according to an undisclosed source.)

And speaking of Berkeley, despite the outrage fatigue we’re feeling, we really should keep track of what our newly-elected mayor and councilmembers are doing. In my opinion, in the local November elections we reversed the national outcome: that is to say, we replaced a poorly performing government with a better one.

Note, I did not say perfect. -more-


Dan O'neill
Sunday February 12, 2017 - 04:04:00 PM

Public Comment

Once bitten, twice cautious:
Berkeley Bowl and Honda

Jane Kitchel
Friday February 10, 2017 - 11:31:00 AM

To Berkeley City Council Members,

It is sometimes said that we like Berkeley Bowl but don't like Honda. Please read my comments on this mischaracterization, and on the history of Berkeley Bowl at their original location.

I was at the neighborhood meeting on Derby Street in about 1976 when Glen Yasuda and Willie Ide came to tell us about their vision for a marketplace that would sell fresh produce, fresh fish, and meat and cheese that would be cut and weighed to order.

It sounded wonderful to us, as what we had then was cellophane-wrapped Safeway.

None of us, not even Glenn, anticipated that Berkeley Bowl would be so popular and successful. Jack, who owned the meat and cheese counter, told me that never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that he would make so much money. -more-

In Los Angeles they're hoping to drive developers out of the back room--can Berkeley do it here?

Carol Denney
Friday February 10, 2017 - 10:48:00 AM

We're not the only town suspicious about how developer-driven our town has become. Los Angeles is proposing doing something about it, and our new Berkeley City Council should take notice. -more-

UC Berkeley: Provide Housing Not Illusions

Harry Brill, UC Alumnus
Friday February 10, 2017 - 11:05:00 AM

It is very difficult to avoid the unkind conclusion that the University of California, Berkeley does not care very much about serving a basic student need -- providing most of its students, as many colleges do, with affordable housing. This is not only a very important economic issue. Students deserve a social environment that will enrich their lives by maximizing their opportunities to interact with one another. According to a recently released housing task force report, UC Berkeley offers the lowest number of beds to students in the nine UC Berkeley system. Only 22 percent of undergraduate students and 9 percent of graduate students enjoy campus housing. In contrast, the system wide average is 38.1 percent for undergraduates and 19.6% for graduate students. -more-

New: The Planet Scoops The Chronicle on Cabinet Proposal

Gar Smith
Monday February 13, 2017 - 04:33:00 PM

In the February 8 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, James W. Loewen proposed an interesting response to the rise of Trumpian Politics. Loewen called for the creation of a Democratic Shadow Cabinet" whose mission would be to "help mobilize public opinion to ward off the worst Republican excesses." -more-

A divine deal: Berkeley student co-op can bring affordable living and preserve PSR’s historic mission on Holy Hill

PSR Alumni/Alumnae
Friday February 10, 2017 - 07:49:00 PM

Holding our beloved Pacific School of Religion close to the heart, we urge our Alma Mater to take the Berkeley Student COOP up on their offer to purchase and preserve two beautiful campus buildings to provide continuing affordable student housing on this sacred and truly Holy Hill.

We who have drafted this letter are typical of those whom PSR has prepared for ministry as clergy, and as workers, including artists and writers for peace and justice outside religious institutions. Our formative years of challenging graduate study were spent in what to all of us is the sacred space of these architectural treasures. We were heartbroken when we learned that plans were afoot to bulldoze these irreplaceable structures to build high rise luxury living quarters accessible only to the economically privileged. Providentially this spiritually destructive scheme has collapsed just in time for PSR to save its soul. -more-

Huddled Masses

Jagjit Singh
Friday February 10, 2017 - 11:24:00 AM

Kudos to the Seattle judge who halted President Trump’s executive order targeting people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US. Hundreds of refugees, students, researchers, business men and women had to endure extreme humiliation being forced off planes stuck in limbo waiting for sanity to return to the US. Trump was attempting to follow through on his campaign promise to launch a “total and complete shutdown” on all Muslim entrants to America. -more-

Rescuing animals Is not a crime- hurting them Is

Matt Johnson
Friday February 10, 2017 - 11:40:00 AM

A Berkeley-based grassroots animal rights network, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), released footage Thursday of myself and fellow activists rescuing a dying animal named Scarlett from horrific conditions of immense suffering.

Unfortunately, actions such as this - which really amount to common decency - have recently been characterized as criminal and even terrorist.

The egg farm I visited was the epitome of hell on Earth. Dead birds were piled up near the entrance. The air was thick with burning ammonia - a smell that lingered over a half mile away. We witnessed birds being cannibalized - the result of stressful confinement and periodic starvation to stimulate egg production.

Yet this facility was touted by Safeway as “humane” and “cage-free”. While this type of self-regulation can be quite effective at pacifying animal-friendly consumers as it enriches corporations, it fails the very individuals it claims to protect. In fact, it’s debatable whether cage-free improves animal lives at all.

Last November, DxE activists received a threatening legal letter from a Whole Foods supplier, accusing them of “eco-terrorism” for rescuing animals and blowing the whistle on animal abuse. Then last week, Diane Sorbi, a Bay Area retiree and DxE activist, was charged with theft, larceny, and criminal mischief. Her crime? Allegedly rescuing a hen, Ella, from being tormented on a cage-free," "certified humane" Costco egg farm.

This might all be hilarious were it not so tragic. Corporations which systematically brutalize millions of animals seek desperately to silence and to deflect. The 2006 Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and a litany of state-level “ag-gag” laws starting in 2011 are blatantly anti-speech and unconstitutional.

Much like the authoritarian tendencies of our president, this corporate overreach presents opportunities alongside its threats. The defensive hypocrisy is plainly visible to everyday citizens, who would similarly support the rescuing of a dog by breaking the window of a hot car. An informal poll on the streets of Berkeley found unanimous support of activists, with reactions ranging from confusion to outrage regarding legal charges. -more-

Trouble at the top

Romila Khanna
Friday February 10, 2017 - 11:00:00 AM

I don’t know how President Trump has unique executive powers to do all that he alone thinks is good for the whole country. Why doesn’t the Republican Congress and Senate see any problem with these executive orders? I don’t think it is good for the Country. He has decided to select leaders who will follow the old system of suppression and slavery towards people who don’t like his random selections or nominations, or people who look different. -more-


SQUEAKY WHEEL: Berkeley Commissions Get to Work

Toni Mester
Friday February 10, 2017 - 10:44:00 AM

With the new City Council installed, fresh commissioners and their veteran colleagues are rolling up their sleeves for a busy year.

At the Parks and Waterfront Commission on Wednesday night February 8, staff presented the new T1 web page with a story map indicating the location of 33 potential projects that may be funded through bonds approved by the voters in November.

The projects fall into three categories from planning to construction with an estimate of the cost for each project. A description of the projects was presented to the Council on December 22. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Taking care of ourselves amidst challenging times - and my take on events

Jack Bragen
Friday February 10, 2017 - 10:56:00 AM

The news is fast and furious about all of the mean, nasty, incompetent and ill-advised actions of the Trump Administration, such that a column becomes outdated within the usual five or six days in which I normally write my columns in advance. If the column you're reading now seems outdated, it is because it was written last weekend. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Playground gives homage to their new home with “The Potrero Nuevo Project”

John McMullen, ATCA
Wednesday February 15, 2017 - 10:53:00 PM

Playground has been an East Bay force for rising dramatists for several years. It is known for its Monday Night monthly presentations of 10 minutes plays at Berkeley Rep of a most interesting format (they send a word to the playwrights a few days to a week before and the play has to be on the topic of that word!).

They have thrived under the leadership of Jim Kleinmann, a Yale Drama MFA, who ran the Berkeley Symphony for several years (and kept them in the black). With his organizing and fundraising skills combined with a sharp aesthetic and leadership, Playground has flourished.

Playground has been presenting the best of their plays once a year over in San Francisco in the Potrero in what was the “Thick House” Theatre; however, that theatre company, like so many others, has gone under and disbanded. Playground refurbished the theatre, and is presenting there. -more-

Head to BAMPFA and Get Your "Hip" On!

Gar Smith
Monday February 13, 2017 - 04:23:00 PM

This week, the University of California's Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) unveils a new exhibition/film series devoted to the transformative art and revolutionary politics of the 1960s. Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the "Summer of Love," Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (February 8 through May 21, 2017) has assembled more than 400 pieces of Sixties ephemera—ranging from psychedelic posters and magazines to hand-made clothing and home movies—that capture the radical politics and flamboyant explosion of creativity that illuminated the advent of the "Counterculture."

A warning: if you are expecting lightshows and a soundtrack of Beatles music, please note: most of the artifacts on display involve printed matter—journals, mandalas, tracts, treatises, manifestos—so bring your reading classes.

There were, however, two creations on display that stood out—going well beyond the realm of two-dimensional print.


FILM REVIEW:I am not your Negro

Ian Berke
Saturday February 11, 2017 - 11:58:00 PM

Race in America is a tough persistent issue, and we often delude ourselves into thinking that we are progressing toward more inclusiveness and less racism. It took political courage for President Truman to integrate the armed forces in 1948, an act many never forgave. Martin Luther King famously stated that "the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And indeed it does... sometimes, as when the Brown vs Board of Education decision (1954) held that school segregation was unconstitutional. Then the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s gained ground, often at a heavy cost to those determined to bring racial equality into everyday life. I can remember being shocked In 1965, when in Army training in Louisiana, seeing, for the first time in a local laundry, big signs for “White” and “Colored” above each of the two front doors. And I remember stories from some of the black soldiers in my platoon that were equally shocking. Measured against that, and measured against eight years of a black president, we appear to have come a long way. Yet today the goal of true equality seems more distant than ever. Even with the protests of Black Lives Matter, we seem increasingly slipping backward, in every sense. Some historians felt that after Obama was first elected, we had become a post-racial society. Clearly such is not the case. -more-