Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oscar Grant Resisted Arrest?

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 27, 2009 at 6:48 AM

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?

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New Berkeley Bowl About to Open

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 27, 2009 at 6:28 AM

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.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's Official: Speakeasy Theaters Is a Goner

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, May 26, 2009 at 2:55 PM

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.

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'Gay Love, Your Tits, One's Real, They're Not'

Jonathan Mann on Gay Marriage and Miss California:

Tue, May 26, 2009 at 12:19 PM

We're late on this, but considering today's Supreme Court ruling, upholding Miss California's views, we give you Jonathan Mann:

Yelp's CEO Responds to Policy Change, Continues to Spin the Story

by Kathleen Richards
Tue, May 26, 2009 at 12:19 PM

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.

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Same-Sex Discrimination Upheld

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 26, 2009 at 10:14 AM

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.

Watch Obama Select Sotomayor

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 26, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Watch Obama select Sotomayor. And here's the transcript.

Berkeley Cops Catch a Thief

by Anneli Star Josselin Rufus
Tue, May 26, 2009 at 8:57 AM

Berkeley detectives did some clever work to catch a thief recently.

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The Prop. 8 Decision

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 26, 2009 at 6:34 AM

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.

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Obama Picks Sotomayor for Supreme Court

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 26, 2009 at 6:20 AM

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.

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