Daily Archives: May 10, 2012


Why I want a marijuana dispensary near my kids’ school

Berkeley Patients Group, which closed last week
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Last week, one of California’s oldest and most respected medical marijuana dispensaries, Berkeley Patients Group, closed its doors. It shut down because its landlord, like dozens across the state, received a letter from United States Attorney Melinda Haag threatening to seize the property for renting to a medical marijuana dispensary located within 1,000 feet of a school. My three children attend elementary school and preschool in West Berkeley, just blocks from Berkeley Patients Group. The notion that the closure of … Continue reading »


The Berkeley Wire: 05.10.12

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UC Berkeley speaks of impasse, seals off Occupy Farm

The main entrance to Gill Tract, which has been occupied by activists since April 22, was today locked by UCPD. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, Friday May 11, 1:00 pm: UC Berkeley says it will hold a planning meeting tomorrow morning, led by the dean of the university’s College of Natural Resources, Keith Gilless, and that two members of Occupy the Farm would be allowed to attend on condition that the group leaves Gill Tract by 10:00 am Saturday.

In a statement issued at 12:39 pm today, UC Berkeley says the meeting will be attended by city of Albany officials, members of the Albany community, residents of University Village and UC Berkeley faculty members and students and will “tackle the details of how the Gill Tract will be shared by our researchers and urban agriculture, and how the effort will be supported, coordinated and sustained under the university’s supervision.”

Read the full UC Berkeley statement dated today, May 11. … Continue reading »

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A record number of cyclists ride on Bike To Work Day

Ric Oberlink and his dog Sassy Girl rode a bike on Bike to Work Day. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Dozens of people joined Mayor Tom Bates and City Councilmembers Laurie Capitelli and Kriss Worthington on a leisurely ride through Berkeley Thursday morning as part of Bike To Work Day.

About 40 people gathered at the North Berkeley BART station around 8:00 am to link up and ride to the Downtown Berkeley Bike Station on Shattuck Avenue. Riders even got a chance to get a peek at the contested West Street Pathway.

“I’m really a walker,” said Bates after the ride, as he consumed a plate of pancakes covered with bananas. “I ride my bike occasionally but I walk to work everyday. But it was really a wonderful experience. It made me think I should ride more often.” … Continue reading »

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Barbara Dane celebrates 85 years of life, music at Freight

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Barbara Dane was born in Detroit in 1927, and she was reborn musically in Berkeley about 25 years later. Possessing a big, bold, beautifully expressive voice, she had already earned a reputation as a gifted folk singer and musical activist who had campaigned against racial discrimination with Pete Seeger when she and first husband, folk singer Rolf Cahn, relocated to the Bay Area in the late 1940s.

After serving as the host of a pioneering folk television show broadcast on KGO TV, she was recruited as the founding member of a group conceived as a West Coast version of the hugely popular Weavers. But when Dane bailed on the project at the last minute due to creative and other differences, she was left in something of a quandary, in need of income and seeking a new creative direction.

Living in a brown-shingle house at Dwight and Telegraph (rent $35 a month), she often sat in at the Blind Lemon, the pioneering storefront folk club Cahn launched on San Pablo Avenue (a building most recently inhabited by California Office Machines). It was there that she encountered banjo player Dick Oxtot, a leading figure in the East Bay’s thriving traditional jazz scene, who was impressed by her soulful renditions of country blues and spirituals. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: God Bless America

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Remember Bobcat Goldthwait? Back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s Bobcat was a stand-up comedy star, an HBO prime time staple, and an ensemble cast member of the godawful, but guiltily pleasurable, Police Academy movies. Along with the late Sam Kinison, the long-haired, gravel-throated Goldthwait was one of the MTV generation’s most popular comedians, his political edginess suggesting he could have inherited George Carlin’s throne.

Goldthwait retired from stand-up some years back, but his dark comic visions of a country gone off the rails have continued via a handful of acerbic if inconsistent features he’s written and directed, including Shakes the Clown (1992) and World’s Greatest Dad (2009). His latest film, God Bless America, opens at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, May 11th — and the good news is that it’s his best behind-the-camera effort yet.

Heavy-set Joel Murray headlines as Frank, a middle-aged Syracuse insurance salesman who’s mad as Hell and isn’t sure if he can take it anymore. Driven to distraction by his Lindsay Lohan obsessed neighbors and their mewling infant, Frank fantasizes about ending their miserable lives, but instead goes to work for another day of annoying water-cooler chat about last night’s TV lowlights, including the latest victim of the ‘American Superstarz’ fame machine. … Continue reading »

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Activists: Farming and academic research can coexist

Farm activists at BART
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The group calling itself the Gill Tract Farmers Collective that took over UC Berkeley-owned land in Albany 19 days ago issued a statement Wednesday evening in which they said they believed urban farming and academic research could “coexist and benefit one another on public farmland”. They added that they felt police activity on the site yesterday morning had impeded a Cal professor’s work and been unnerving for an elementary school situated across the street from the open land.

The statement was largely a description of what happened at the site yesterday, and did not address UC Berkeley’s latest move which was to file a lawsuit against Occupy the Farm. That action was made public at around 1:30 pm yesterday.

A group of around 50 people gathered at North Berkeley BART station Wednesday at around 6:00 pm and marched to Gill Tract to show support for the activist farmers. … Continue reading »

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