The BART officer who set in motion a chain of events that ultimately led to the killing of Oscar Grant testified that Grant grabbed her arm in the minutes before BART Officer Johannes Mehserle shot him to death. According to the Chron, the testimony by Marysol Domenici came during Mehserle's preliminary hearing in which a judge will decide if there is enough evidence to order the former BART cop to stand trial for murdering Grant. Domenici said that she was trying to force Grant to sit down when he allegedly grabbed her. Her partner, Officer Tony Pirone, then rushed over, grabbed Grant, and pushed him to floor just moments before Mehserle shot Grant in the back. The only problem with Domenici's version of events is that it's not supported by the numerous videos of the incident taken by BART passengers. So the question is: Will the judge believe the videos or the cops' testimony?
The long-awaited Berkeley Bowl West is set to open next week. According to the Chron, the huge, new 140,000 square-foot store is opening Thursday, June 4 at the corner of Ninth and Anthony streets, not far from the intersection of Ashby and San Pablo avenues. The new store has been seven years in the making, and customers at the Oregon Street store hope it siphons off some of the nightmarish crowds.
In an email sent out just minutes ago, owners Kyle and Catherine Fischer confirmed what many fans and followers of the former two-theater chain saw looming on the horizon: Speakeasy Theaters is no more. Last Friday, with the announced "temporary" closure of the Cerrito theater (exactly two months after the March 22 shuttering of the Parkway in Oakland, in case you're counting), we predicted this news would soon arrive -- though perhaps not this soon. No public announcement as to the future of either theater has yet been made, but it seems likely that new owners will step in at some point (post-recession, perhaps?) to continue to maintain and operate these fine community theaters. Read the Fischers' warmhearted farewell below, including bits about a shrink and long walks on the beach.
We're late on this, but considering today's Supreme Court ruling, upholding Miss California's views, we give you Jonathan Mann:
Once again, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has successfully spun the story, and a reporter has failed to call him on it. In a recent Q&A with Stoppelman in the LA Times, reporter Robin Abcarian asks the question: What made Yelp decide to allow business owners to comment on its reviews? It's a legitimate question in light of the fact that Stoppelman had continuously insisted that it would chill the speech of Yelpers. But then, as Abcarian points out, the company did an abrupt about-face after a series of stories I wrote in which multiple business owners said that Yelp's sales reps offered to move or remove their negative reviews if they advertised.
The state Supreme Court has decided to keep same-sex marriage illegal in California in a long-awaited ruling upholding Proposition 8. The court voted 6-1. But the court also ruled that the 18,000 gay marriages performed last year are still valid. In other words, if you were among those who took advantage of last year's window when same-sex nuptials were legal in California, then your marriage is still valid. If not, then the state can legally discriminate against you.
Berkeley detectives did some clever work to catch a thief recently.
The Supreme Court is set to announce today its decision on whether to re-legalize gay marriage in California. Gays and lesbians were allowed to marry for several months last year until state voters approved Prop. 8, the anti-same-sex marriage initiative. The court today will decide whether Prop. 8, itself, was legal. Gay marriage supporters argue that Prop. 8 was an unlawful revision of the state constitution, but at a hearing earlier this year, the high court appeared to disagree. Since that hearing, however, three more states have legalized gay marriage, Iowa, Maine, and Vermont, thereby giving same-sex marriage backers a little bit of hope. The justices also will decide the fate of about 18,000 marriages involving gay couples last year before Prop. 8 passed.
President Obama has chosen appellate court Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the US Supreme Court. Sotomayor is to replace retiring Justice David Souter. If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor will become the first Hispanic to serve on the high court, and only the third woman. But her confirmation fight may not be easy. Republicans have indicated that they may attempt to block Obama's choice with a filibuster if they think that person is too liberal -- even though Democrats allowed Bush to appoint ultra-conservative justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Also, look for a continuation of the attacks against Sotomayor by anonymous sources.