The Week



Press Release: Congressman George Miller Endorses Tony Thurmond for Assembly

From the Tony Thurmond Campaign
Thursday January 23, 2014 - 04:00:00 PM

Richmond, CA – Congressman George Miller, one of California's most respected members of Congress and a recognized leader on education, labor and the environment, announced today his endorsement of Tony Thurmond for State Assembly, District 15. Miller represents Congressional District 11, which includes Richmond, San Pablo, Walnut Creek, Concord and Orinda. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Re-Districting Referendum Qualifies for Ballot

Tuesday January 21, 2014 - 09:20:00 PM

A statement from Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, posted tonight on the Berkeley Citizens Action Facebook page, announces that a referendum on the Berkeley City Council majority's redistricting plan has qualified for the ballot:

"Victory! We submitted over 7,500 signatures to stop the City Council majority's unfair gerrymandering of Berkeley! Once again the community has spoken and stood up to big power politics! Let's hope the Council listens to the people and adopts a fair and inclusive map."

The council now must choose between rescinding the redistricting scheme they've adopted and putting it on the ballot for a vote by citizens. -more-

Embedded in The Square: Inside Egypt's Revolution

By Gar Smith
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 03:52:00 PM

The Square is a powerhouse of a film that plunges you smack into the middle of a people's rebellion – Cairo's Tahrir Square in 2011, where the Arab Spring sprang to rambunctious life. Jehane Noujaim's audacious filmmaking dives headlong into the emotions, the debates, the daring occupations of public space and the bloody repercussions that toppled the 30-year rule of the US-backed Egyptian strongman, Hosni Mubarak. The Square delivers 104 minutes of hope, heroism and heartbreak. The Square has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. -more-

Finest Kind –Freight & Salvage Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014

By Carol Denney
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:18:00 PM
Finest Kind –Freight & Salvage Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014

It’s like listening to pure gold.

Ian Robb, Shelley Posen, and Ann Downey of Ottawa’s Finest Kind started singing together after accidentally sitting close together at a singing circle. The sound that their three voices produced naturally was so arresting they couldn’t help but look at each other and wonder if they shouldn’t explore working together.

That was decades ago. Besides being internationally acknowledged as the finest vocal blend in music, Finest Kind has established itself as the pinnacle of musical arrangers, demonstrating their “we vote on every note” methods at workshops and festivals all over the world.

And they are so funny. Their Freight and Salvage show on Sunday, Feb. 2, will be rocking with laughter and sing-alongs – get your tickets early. -more-

Jerome Carlin

Tuesday January 21, 2014 - 09:50:00 PM

Jerome Carlin, a vibrant force in art, law and social justice in the Bay Area, died on January 7 at his home in Berkeley. Born in Chicago in 1927, he attended the Francis W. Parker School from kindergarten through 12th grade. Its liberal, progressive values had a great influence on him and it was there he formed many lifetime friends. He was graduated from Harvard University where he majored in Social Relations and was the student chairman of the Henry Wallace for President Campaign. He received his Master's and then Ph. D. degrees in Sociology at the University of Chicago. He also received his LL.B from Yale Law School. He wrote two books about the legal profession, LAWYERS ON THEIR OWN, a study of individual practitioners in Chicago, and LAWYERS' ETHICS, a survey of the New York City Bar, while at Columbia University's Bureau of Applied Social Research. Both are considered seminal works in their field. He was a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a grant from The Social Science Research Council.

In 1964 he moved to Berkeley to teach and do research at The Center for the Study of Law and Society. In 1966 he left the University when his proposal to provide, for the first time, major city-wide free legal services to those who could not afford them was accepted by the Johnson Administration and he was chosen to be its director. This was the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, providing storefront law offices in five low-income neighborhoods throughout the city.

In 1970, as the money from Lyndon Johnson's poverty program was drying up, and his activities became more and more administrative, he decided to give in to his lifetime passion to paint. For the past 40 years Jerry was a full time painter with work in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The Oakland Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in many private collections. His work has been shown in San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago and New York.

But he also continued his social activism. He swiftly opposed the War in Vietnam before it was popular to do so; helped create Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts that has grown to be a very effective and more encompassing organization now called California Lawyers For The Arts. He was active in creating the Bay Area Artists for Nuclear Sanity, supported the Ploughshares Fund, the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, worked with the Berkeley Fire Department to get a new firehouse built after the Oakland fire, and many other civic and peaceful causes.

He leaves his wife of 59 years, Joy Carlin, two sons, Nicholas, a San Francisco lawyer and cellist, Alexander, a rock musician, and daughter Nancy, an actor and director and four granddaughters, Celeste, Miranda, Sofia and Allegra. -more-


The Editor's Back Fence

Amazing Bedfellows Endorse Berkeley Referendum
Signature Drive Ends Tuesday

Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:38:00 PM

From the Berkeley Tenant's Union Newsletter:

"The Redistricting Referendum is now supported by BTU and The Council of Neighborhood Associations, SEIU Local 1021, East Bay COPE, former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport, the Alameda Green Party, the Cal Dems, and former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean."

Who would ever expected to see all these people on the same page? Must be something going on!

Tuesday is the last day to sign the petition to put it on the ballot. -more-

Public Comment

New: Building Power

By Harry Brill
Tuesday January 21, 2014 - 09:24:00 PM

There are still many who believe that we lack the money to fund and improve our vital social and economic programs. But consider the following -- Social Security benefits can be substantially increased by raising the taxable limit of $117,000. Why should executives who earn, say $500,000, pay no more social security taxes than someone who earns substantially less. How about supporting a viable and expanding food stamp program for the growing number of poor Americans by at least in part reducing if not abolishing the tax deduction for executives who dine their clients and others in expensive restaurants. And generally speaking, how about assuring that the rich pay at least the same rate of income tax as the average worker? In fact, it is commonly known that some corporations that earn billions of dollars pay no taxes at all. What a major difference these changes would make to appreciably improve our quality of life. -more-

Setting the Record Straight on the Oakland Zoo Expansion Plan

by Laura Baker, East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:24:00 PM

In last week's Oakland Tribune (1/9/14) Joel Parrott called for unity to launch the Oakland Zoo's disastrous expansion plan in Knowland Park, a plan reminiscent of many grandiose projects that appeal to a seductive illusion. Parrott lashed out at park proponents who aren't buying that destroying park land to create an illusory experience is better than holding on to the real deal. The California Trails project would fence, grade, and destroy 56 acres of prime park land in an effort to transport visitors back in time to pre-1850 California and charge them for the experience. To sell the deal, zoo execs have resorted to using secrecy and truth twisting to make some of the more problematic aspects of the project go away. -more-

A Muslim American Reflection on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

By Khalida Jamilah
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:05:00 PM

On January 20th, Americans will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr, Day—a day to commemorate his achievements and to end racial segregation particularly for the African-Americans in the United States. Although I am not an African-American, King is one of my inspirations. He inspires me to be perseverant and courageous no matter how harshly people oppose you. And I am even more grateful because in one part of his classic “I Have a Dream” speech, I can make a connection to the Islamic teaching on equality for all humankind. This part, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" is parallel to the farewell sermon of the founder of Islam. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of God be upon him) said, “All of you are equal. All men, whatever nation or tribe they belong to, and whatever station in life they may hold, are equal…….an Arab possesses no superiority over the non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab over an Arab.” -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: 2014 Democratic Agenda: Protecting the 47 Percent

By Bob Burnett
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:03:00 PM

Politicians occasionally tell the truth. That happened in September of 2012, when Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney lambasted the “47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what [because they] are dependent upon government [and] believe they are victims.” Romney spoke for the Republican Party, which has decided to turn its back on the least fortunate Americans. The 2014 Democratic Agenda must respond to the cold-hearted Republican stance. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Crisis in the California Courts

By Ralph E. Stone
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:49:00 PM

Last year, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, and San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi made statements on the importance of adequate funding for the California courts.

Why? Because the California state court system -- the largest in the world - is in crisis. In the last five years, the judicial branch has been cut $1 billion and over the same time, General Fund support of the court system has been reduced by almost 65 percent and an additional $1.7 billion has been borrowed or redirected from court construction costs. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Tragic Shooting in North Carolina

By Jack Bragen
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:11:00 PM

An eighteen year old man afflicted with schizophrenia was shot and killed by a policeman in North Carolina. He hadn't commited a crime, but was exhibiting symptoms of mental illness which may have included agitation and/ or, being assaultive. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Memoirs, Memories

By Helen Rippier Wheeler,
Thursday January 16, 2014 - 04:08:00 PM

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about memoirs. All these references to memoirs and memoir-writing and writing about one’s own memories. If you Google memoir-writing, you’ll get ‘how to’ do your own thing as well as eager ghost-writers galore! And there are senior center and library classes on memoir-writing. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Why Hasn’t Obama Reined in NSA?

By Bob Burnett
Friday January 10, 2014 - 04:34:00 PM

After the 2008 election, Barack Obama supporters had high expectations for his national-security policy. We thought he’d end US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and open talks with Iran. We expected he would close down Guantanamo and end the National Security Agency’s (NSA) domestic surveillance program that collects Americans’ phone and e-mail data. He’s accomplished some of these objectives but he hasn’t reined in the NSA. Why not? -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Contagious Delusions

By Jack Bragen
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:13:00 PM

Delusions can become perniciously contagious when more than one person not in treatment associate together and enable one another, especially if they are away from outside contact. -more-

Arts & Events

AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Shadowlight's Poro Oyna,' Myth of the Aynu

By Ken Bullock
Saturday January 18, 2014 - 04:16:00 PM

The Aynu (or Ainu), indigenous people of Hokkaido, Northern Japan, and of Easternh Russia, whose culture dates back 2200 years, were only recognized as such by the Japanese Diet in 2008. Fewer than 15 native speakers of their language are alive. -more-