UC Berkeley’s next Chancellor made a brief public appearance on the campus on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 27, 2012, offering informal greetings to some hundreds of campus staff, students, faculty and alumni who had gathered on the steps of Doe Library in response to an open invitation from current Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. -more-
Several students who barricaded themselves inside of a vacant University of California at Berkeley building last night to demand support for minority programs on campus have ended their occupation, according to protesters. -more-
Police misconduct is being ignored as a community-wide problem in Berkeley.
The echoing canyons of empty storefronts blamed on the presence of homeless people and panhandlers probably have more to do with real estate brokers’ refusal to lower rental rates than panhandling, but Berkeley streets have another issue which is a serious, even dangerous problem for poor people and shoppers alike– police misconduct.
Try to imagine coming across the bay to visit friends with your family and being suddenly tackled, torn from your family’s side, and forced to spend the night in a psychiatric facility without charge or explanation. Would you ever come back to visit?
Hila Sulme and her son, both of San Francisco, visited friends one Sunday in Berkeley then stopped by the downtown library before walking back to their car on Center Street. It was November 18, 2012, around 6:00 pm.
They were on Center near the game store when, Ms. Sulme told the Planet, Berkeley bike officer Eric Keen zoomed around the corner and grabbed her son, taking him to the ground and handcuffing him. Another Berkeley police officer, a woman named Cole, was present as well, according to Ms. Sulme. A man who claimed to have reported a crime stood nearby watching as Ms. Sulme’s son was handcuffed on the public sidewalk. -more-
Updated: 2012 Election in Berkeley: Voters 90% for Obama, 91% for Prop 30—Props 34 and 37 and Measure B1 also favored by large margins (News Analysis)
90.3% of Berkeley voters voted to re-elect Barack Obama as president. That’s down from the 92.5% who supported him in 2008. John Kerry won 90.0% of the vote in Berkeley in 2004 presidential election. -more-
Balance your time and energy during the holiday season or anytime with plenty of playtime. Find a Frisbee and locate a place to toss it with some friends; or find a kite and go fly it. One of my favorite toys made in the Bay Area is a Tangle Toy that always makes anyone of any age smile as they endlessly twist and turn it. Go to www.tangletoys.com to learn more. -more-
Measure T was this year’s closest election contest in Berkeley, with the outcome uncertain for over a week following the election.
Measure T would have made changes to West Berkeley zoning and to the West Berkeley plan to allow greater height and density on large sites.
Measure T lost by a margin of 512 votes, 25,291 to 24,779. In West Berkeley, the area west of San Pablo Avenue, the measure lost by 649 votes. In the rest of the city east of San Pablo, the measure finished ahead by a small margin. -more-
Turnout in Berkeley in this year’s election was down compared to the 2008 presidential election. 9% fewer votes were counted this year. 73.7% of registered voters voted compared to 77.5% in 2008.
Turnout was also below 2004’s turnout, with 259 fewer votes cast. The number votes cast in 2012 was still well above that of the 1996 and 2000 elections, in part due to increased population and a larger pool of people eligible to vote., -more-
Measure S, which would have prohibited sitting on sidewalks in Berkeley’s Commercial Districts from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., was the hottest issue on this year’s presidential election ballot in Berkeley.
The measure failed with 25,523 voters, 47.7%, voting Yes, and 27,981 or 52.3% voting No. More people cast votes pro or con S than cast votes for a mayoral candidate. 88.4% of the 60,559 ballots cast in Berkeley contained votes on the measure, a high percentage for a Berkeley ballot measure.
UC Students played a major role in defeating the measure. In thirteen near-campus precincts (consolidated down to seven in this year’s election), 70% voted against the measure, and a bit over half the citywide margin of defeat came from these precincts. -more-
For the first time in its half-century history, Wal-Mart is facing the prospect of significant labor strife. Wal-Mart workers throughout the country have been participating in short strikes and other workplace actions for the past two months. They are demanding higher wages, better benefits, more full time work, and respect on the job. And for the first time in five decades, Wal-Mart is deeply concerned, fearing these actions will escalate to something beyond its control. In many ways, however, they already have – the protesting Wal-Mart workers have attracted support from a wide variety of women, immigrant, civil rights and community organizations, as well as tens of thousands of allies on social media. -more-
Don’t miss it: the special “worksession” Tuesday, November 27th, 5:30 pm at the City Council Chambers (Martin Luther King at Center) where the Measure S losers weep together over Telegraph Avenue. You’ll enjoy the “Options and Opportunities" report with the usual; wifi and sparkling lights for shoppers, crackdowns on panhandlers, and the usual remake of People’s Park. -more-
On Friday November 16, 2012, the University of California (UC) razed all of the publicly planted crops on the Gill Tract.
Occupy the Farm is disappointed that the UC has unneccessarily destroyed the hard work of the community and food that could have fed it. Over the course of the last month, members of the public sowed edible winter greens together with fava beans, a popular and effective cover crop. Had the UC left these in place, the Gill Tract would have benefited from the necessary nutrient building over the course of the winter, and would have produced food for the community. The weekly distribution and harvest events could have continued that, over the course of the summer and early fall, have yielded over one ton of food from the crops planted during the occupation last Spring. This free food was distributed locally in Albany, Berkeley, Richmond and Oakland at pop-up farm stands organized by Occupy the Farm.
SAN LEANDRO, CA (11/17/12) -- On past Black Fridays, the nation's annual post-Thanksgiving shopping celebration, Walmart stores have seen such a crush of shoppers that people have been trampled trying to get through the doors. On this coming Black Friday, however, shoppers are more likely to see protesting workers.. -more-
Strawberry Creek Lodge tenants are thinking about staging a protest outside the Board of Trustees’ meeting tomorrow. Monday, November 19, 2012.
SCL tenant Jane Eisley reports that the Tenant Association sent a November 14 memo to the Lodge Board of Trustees regarding proposed change in ownership: (1) “We reject the Board of Trustees plan to change the ownership of Strawberry Creek Lodge.” Motion passed with 45 ayes, 1 nay and 3 abstentions. (2) “We insist that the Board consider alternative financing, phased seismic work, apartment renewal by attrition, and negotiate new terms of the 23 Section 8 slots.” Motion passed with 37 ayes, 1 nay, no abstentions.
The Board will meet on Monday, November 19, 2012 at the office of board member Holly Near-Brown, and cast a vote that will approve transfer of ownership to a new partnership with one of three candidate management companies, unless at least a third of the members are persuaded to vote no. -more-
Author and climate activist Bill McKibben is hitting the road on a 21-city cross-country bus tour in a last-ditch attempt to change "the terrifying math of the climate crisis." On Friday, November 9, McKibben brought his "Do the Math" crusade to Berkeley's Martin Luther King, Jr. High. McKibben's warning is stark: global coal, gas and oil corporations are on track to destroy the planet and we may have less than 15 years to stop them. The coal, gas and oil that is still buried beneath out feet must remain buried—or it will be our funeral. -more-
Alameda County Measure B1. which would have increased the sales tax in the county by .5%, has narrowly missed the required two-thirds with 66.53% at the end of Thursday’s count of provisional ballots. Two hotly contested Berkeley measures, S and T, were defeated; both were behind in the Election Day count and lost further ground as the remaining absentee and provisional votes were counted. -more-
Occupy Cal visibly resurfaced on the UC Berkeley campus on Thursday, November 15, 2012 with a small encampment intended to mark the one year anniversary of the mass rally and protest that marked the high point of the campus Occupy Movement. -more-
The wife and two sons of a 67-year-old man who was killed outside his home in the Berkeley Hills in February filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city today, alleging that it was negligent in the way it handled the situation. -more-
Written from behind the scenes, this is the backstory of the recent "battle for the soul of Berkeley"—the Berkeley election that was to set the course for "Berkeley at the crossroads." Exposés to follow.
When Kriss Worthington teamed up with Jacquelyn McCormick, and Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi three months before the election, it seemed there was at least a ghost of a chance to unseat the popular incumbent mayor, who sat at the wheel of a highly tuned political machine— a Ferrari racing against soap-boxes.
But the ghost of a chance was a ghost. -more-
Now that the election is behind us, it’s time once again to speculate on that eternal existential question: Why bother?
The motto behind this journalistic endeavor, which has taken a variety of forms in the past ten years, is that if people knew what was going on they’d do something about it. This has turned out to be only partially true, because some of the people some of the time want to know something about what’s up, but lots of people lots of the time would rather not know, thank you. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
Okay, folks, you’re up! The new-old Berkeley City Council starts its next term tonight, and watchdogs are desperately needed. While you’re not paying attention, your tax dollars are being allocated, and not always in ways you might want. You need to keep your eye on the ball. Herein, a quick primer on how you can do this. -more-
Today, in keeping with our desire to relax a bit more, there's no "new issue" and no editorial. But Rob Wrenn continues to produce excellent analysis of the recent election, so there's something good to read. Regular columnists also continue to submit columns, which will be posted soon in the current issue. -more-
Anyone who knows anything at all about history can't help but compare the current blitzkrieg Hell currently descending on Gaza with the living Hell that the British endured during the blitzkrieg of London during World War II. -more-
On November 13th, Diana Alvarado of the USPS wrote that -more-
Stand Up for the Right to Sit Down, the campaign organized against Berkeley's proposed sitting prohibition, Measure S, has finally declared victory in the November election. As of the close of the day on Thursday, Measure S was behind by close to 2,500 votes—4.6% of the vote. Members of the campaign do not expect any more ballots to be counted, and believe that the Alameda County Registrar of Voters is now engage solely in verifying its count. -more-
- It's a sad sad day
- at the DBA
- Measure S is in defeat
- the anti-sitting
- law is getting
- pretty badly beat
- they had the dough
- the Mayor in tow
- they thought they had it all
- but at the polls
- as it unfolds
- the public dropped the ball -more-
When shopping at the large Safeway Store at College and Claremont, the first person I usually encounter is Charlie, the self-appointed welcome committee at that store. Due to his distinct facial features, Charlie clearly has Down Syndrome. This syndrome is a genetic abnormality, the most common single cause of birth defects in the United States. The syndrome occurs because of an extra copy of chromosome 21. It causes life long developmental delays that can range from moderate to severe but can be managed so that people with this syndrome live a long life -- many past the age of 50. -more-
It was a good week in Lake Southside, where everyone is down and out.
Craig Becker was making plans for the first Thanksgiving at the Cafe Med since he bought the business four years ago, when it was close to bankruptcy. Becker is a Berkeley big shot, who is chummy with all the city bureaucrats, as well as two police chiefs.
He is a member of the city's homeless commission, and president of the Telegraph Avenue business improvement district, but manages to find time here and there to run the Med, which has recently added Beer and Wine, which some Medheads thought triggered the death of the Med. -more-
Over the next four years the U.S. will face a number of foreign policy problems, most of them regional, some of them global. Dispatches From The Edge will try to outline and analyze some of the key issues for Africa.
Africa is probably the single most complex region of the world and arguably its most troubled. While the world concerns itself with the Syrian civil war and the dangers it poses for the Middle East, little notice is taken of the war in the Congo, a tragedy that has taken five million lives and next to which the crisis in Syria pales. -more-
Over the next four years the U.S. will face a number of foreign policy issues, most of them regional, some of them global. Dispatches From The Edge will try to outline and analyze them, starting with the Middle East. -more-
In the last one hundred years, only four Democrats have twice been elected President: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Obama’s reelection was doubly remarkable considering the sluggish economy, the $2 billion plus spent to defeat him, and the fact that at the beginning of his campaign many Democrats were unenthusiastic. Obviously voters reappraised the President. -more-
In his November 11 "Willie's World" column in the San Francisco Chronicle (www.sfgate.com/default/article/Next-up-for-Jerry-Brown-Prop-13-4026611.php), Willie Brown suggested that Jerry Brown's next "bold move be to enlist Warren Buffett for a joint effort to reform Proposition 13." -more-
Despite months of uncertainty, on October 6th Barack Obama decisively defeated Mitt Romney. There were ten other notable winners and losers in the 2012 Presidential election. -more-
Sue Kaufman’s 1967 novel, Diary of a Mad Housewife, was about a woman struggling to find some sense of her own identity within the confines of her role, her lifestyle and her husband’s unreasonable demands. Tina Balser begins an affair with George Prager, a dashing, successful and blatantly sadistic writer. He torments her in much the same manner as her husband plus being unfaithful. She plays with the idea of resisting her psychiatrist-approved feminine role, but decides that for her, there are no other options. She goes back to her husband and begins group therapy. Even many sixties-decade readers were dissatisfied with the story’s ending. -more-
Because of how society treats persons with mental illness, and also because of the strong "work ethic" that people have, (in which people who can't keep up are made a scapegoat) persons with mental illness, (at least those who can't work at a job as a result of their condition) are made to feel that our existence isn't justified. -more-
Arts & Events
Cosi fan tutti, the charming Mozart/Da Ponte opera, will be presented for one night only, Friday November 30, by Dazzling Diva Productions, Jonathan Khuner (of Berkeley West Edge Opera) conducting, and Eliza O'Malley producing, directing—and singing the role of Flordiligi—at the Berkeley Piano Club.
The cast also includes Sarita Cannon, Eric Coyne, Nikola Printz and Jonathan Smucker.
Berkeley Piano Club is a choice but small venue—advance tickets are strongly advised: $15-$20 at brownpapertickets.com/event/287184
Dazzling Divas info: 510-517-1820
Berkeley Piano Club, 2724 Haste (one-way westbound, between Piedmont and College.) -more-
New: AROUND & ABOUT THEATER & OPERA: Inferno Theatre's 'Dracula' Opens; Arthur Miller's 'All My Sons' at Douglas Morrison Theatre; Mozart/Da Ponte 'Cosi fan tutte' Friday December 1 only at Berkeley Piano Club; Festival Opera's Unusual Pastiche 'About Face,' I
—Giulio Cesare Perrone—formerly of the Grotowski Institute in Italy and the Dell'Arte School in Humboldt County—has produced some of the more interesting work locally on stage in the past few years with his Inferno Theatre Company: 'Galileo's Daughters' and 'The Iliad,' two completely different kinds of play, at the Berkeley City Club, as well as set designs for many companies up and down the West Coast. -more-
PERFORMERS UNDER STRESS presents a raucous cavalcade of American Poetry that answers the question: Why Poetry? Nov 30 through Dec 23 at Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth Street, San Francisco. -more-
The Big Picture is an engrossing film. Actually, thanks to director Eric Lartigau, it is two magnificent films in one smooth 115-minute package. The original title of this French masterwork (first released in 2011 but only now reaching the US) was L'homme qui voulait vivre sa vie ("The Man Who Wished to Live His Life"). It was, in turn, based on The Big Picture, a 1998 novel by American author Douglas Kennedy. -more-