New: Berkeley's Fair Campaign Practices Commission Meets Tonight To Consider Light Penalties for Flagrant Election Law Evaders (News Analysis)

By Dave Blake and Dean Metzger
Thursday May 16, 2013 - 01:08:00 PM

Tonight the Fair Campaign Practices Commission meets (7 pm, N Berkeley Senior Center) to consider the stipulation offered by members of Tenants United for Fairness (TUFF)—a slate that ran for Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board in the November election—and the landlords who illegally funded their campaign. -more-

Berkeley Hills Shooting Victim Identified

By Sasha Lekach (BCN)
Tuesday May 14, 2013 - 01:10:00 PM

A 21-year-old Fremont man was shot and killed at a popular Berkeley hills turnout Sunday morning, a University of California at Berkeley police lieutenant said.

Alverto Santana-Silva was shot around 5:30 a.m. at an overlook off of Grizzly Peak Boulevard near signpost 16 that is frequented by people looking at the view of the Bay and hills, UC Berkeley police Lt. Marc DeCoulode said. -more-

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Press Release: Homicide Near Berkeley on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Signpost 16

From UC Police Department
Tuesday May 14, 2013 - 07:34:00 AM

On Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 5:38 a.m., UCPD officers were dispatched to the area near Signpost 16 on Grizzly Peak Boulevard regarding a report of a casualty, possibly related to a shooting. When they arrived on scene, they found a vehicle off to the side of the road and an adult male gunshot victim outside on the ground. UCPD officers provided medical aid to the victim, but unfortunately the victim did not survive his injuries and was pronounced deceased by the Berkeley Fire Department on scene. -more-

Police Raid UC Berkeley's Occupy the Farm Site

By Zack Farmer (BCN)
Monday May 13, 2013 - 11:22:00 AM

University of California at Berkeley officials plowed thousands of plants from a tract of land they own in Albany this morning that the "Occupy The Farm" encampment planted during the weekend, a group member said. -more-

Drones or No Drones? The Debate Drones On (News Analysis)

By Gar Smith
Monday May 13, 2013 - 10:35:00 AM
Berkeley citizens express their concerns over drones.

Late last year, when word leaked that police in Alameda County and Berkeley were preparing to jump on the post-911 bandwagon by acquiring unmanned, aerial surveillance drones, it was the kind of news that makes a pacifist go ballistic. So, on December 18, 2012, squadrons of anti-drone activists homed in on a City Council meeting to demand that the city -- home of the country's first "Nuclear-Free Zone" -- declare itself a "No Drone Zone."

Despite the unanimous public outcry against the idea of "drones in Berkeley," when it came time to act, the council was split -- with a majority clearly entranced by the promise of the city owning its own high-tech drone to handle "emergency situations." The council ordered a time-out for further study. They did, however, agree to send a letter to Alameda's Sheriff and Board of Supervisors asking that the county "delay any action on the purchase of a drone until the City of Berkeley has completed its evaluation of the issue." -more-

Public Comment

New: Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission to Act on Most Egregious Violations of Local Election Laws

By Alejandro Soto-Vigil
Thursday May 16, 2013 - 01:17:00 PM

Berkeley Tenants United for Fairness”, a pro-landlord slate, has admitted numerous violations of state and local campaign finance laws The violations committed by TUFF are some of the most egregious in Berkeley history and could pave the way for other violations in the future, and undermine the letter and spirit of Berkeley’s voter approved Election Reform Act. -more-

New: OUTRAGEOUS! Berkeley's City Staff has essentially endorsed corruption by failing to hold TUFF and the BPOA accountable

By Fred Dodsworth
Thursday May 16, 2013 - 01:16:00 PM

Berkeley's Fair Campaign Practices Commission must hold the "Tenants' United for Fairness" TUFF slate — a dark-money stalking horse for the Berkeley Property Owners Association — accountable and punish these flagrant violations in a substantial fashion that sends a loud clear message to those who would destroy our local democracy! -more-

Statement in Support of a Citywide "No Drone Zone"

By Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War (www.envirosagainstwar.org)
Monday May 13, 2013 - 10:30:00 AM

Environmentalists Against War is a global coalition of more than 100 environmental, peace, and social justice groups committed to addressing the impacts of war and militarism. -more-


Democrats in Sacramento are Still Trying to Gut CEQA—Even Berkeley's Senator Hancock

By Becky O'Malley
Friday May 03, 2013 - 08:50:00 AM

When I lived in Michigan, I was a hold-your-nose-and-pull-the-Democratic-lever kinda gal, but in the long time I’ve been in the East Bay it’s gotten harder and harder to do. No, I never thought anyone would know or care if I voted for Ralph Nader, and the one time I met him he was quite surly, so voting for him instead of Gore or Obama was never a temptation.

Some people hold the sacramental view of voting—you should vote for the candidate you believe in, regardless of consequences—but I’m a pragmatist. The firm grip that the usually-liberal machine has on the Democratic party in the East Bay makes participation in elections here just about pointless—and besides, the machine picks usually perform pretty well, all things considered.

Lately, however, some of the people I’ve voted for have been annoying me. Actually, on the national level, annoying isn’t even the word for President Obama’s seeming inability or unwillingness to deal with the continuing situation of the prisoners at Guantanamo. No one, regardless of what they may or may not have done, should be treated the way these guys are being treated, and they haven’t even been convicted of anything. Appalling. Candidate Obama promised change, but he hasn’t delivered.

Then, moving to California, we have Governor Jerry Brown’s, yes, more than annoying, though not surprising, attack on the California Environmental Quality Act. He’s opposed by both labor unions and environmentalists, two groups which don’t always agree, though both usually endorse Democrats. It’s not clear why the governor in his second incarnation wants to gut one of the earliest and probably the best state environmental laws in the country—he’s called CEQA a "vampire" that needs "a silver stake through it"—but you can be sure money has a lot to do with it. Traditionally, developer cash has been the biggest part of campaign contributions to both Democrats and Republicans. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Who’s to Blame for Long-Term Unemployment?

By Bob Burnett
Monday May 13, 2013 - 10:21:00 AM

May 3rd brought news that the unemployment rate has dipped to 7.5 percent and there’s been an alarming rise in the suicide rate for middle-aged Americans. According to the Center for Disease Control, “The [suicide] increase does coincide with a decrease in financial standing for a lot of families…” 4.35 million Americans have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks. Whose fault is this? -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Timeshares: Know What You Are Buying

By Ralph E. Stone
Monday May 13, 2013 - 10:34:00 AM

Mr. Smith received a mailer -- "3 Free Nights in Waikiki-Spend 3 nights in 4 star hotel-no purchase necessary." The mailer directed him to call the listed telephone number "to schedule your short presentation from ABC Resort." When he called the telephone number on the mailer, he was given a nearby address and time for him to attend the presentation. Both Mr. Smith and his wife showed up and were given a hard-sell sales presentation that while not illegal, bordered on the unethical. Instead of carefully reading the contract or better yet, taking it home and having their lawyer read it, the Smiths impulsively signed the contract obligating them to pay $20,000 for their timeshare. -more-


By Jack Bragen
Monday May 13, 2013 - 10:26:00 AM

Self-coaching might consist of you telling yourself positive things, some of which might be affirmations, in order to deal with a situation. If a situation brings anxiety or apprehension, or if challenging to face, self-coaching can make it easier and can sometimes make the outcome better. -more-