• Why I want a marijuana dispensary near my kids’ school

    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 Berkeley Patients Group is going to somehow serve to protect my children is patently absurd.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Big Screen Berkeley: God Bless America

    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.

  • 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.