The Week



Recent Development Misses Berkeley's Real Housing Needs (News Analysis)

Tom Hunt
Thursday April 02, 2015 - 01:31:00 PM

For years we've been hearing that Berkeley needs all the new housing that can be built, at whatever price point the developers choose. But a quick review of the data confirmed my suspicion that developers have built way too much expensive housing and much too little housing for those whose income is moderate and below. It's even worse than I had previously thought.

First let's look at the last 8 years. 84% of the new housing in Berkeley was for households with greater than $92,566 yearly income (the orange top of the bars). -more-

New: Dense urbanism: Should it be Berkeley's future? (Part 1 of 2)

Tim Hansen
Saturday March 28, 2015 - 10:52:00 PM

We live in interesting times. The movement in city building towards very dense urbanism is beginning to fracture. Berkeley is part of this movement with the dissonance of change being played out in our city. The movement towards dense urbanism has been going on for a long time, mainly driven by industrialization and efficiencies in agriculture. Today many people embrace the movement out of a reaction to concerns about peak oil. In the mid 1950s the idea emerged that oil production would continue to increase for a while and then, as the fields began to dry up, production would begin to decrease. If one graphed the production by year, that point in time where production begins to drop is called peak oil. This is of great concern. With falling production oil prices would rise, and with it food prices, housing costs, transportation, and everything else. This could give rise to social unrest, destabilized governments, and possibly even wars. The future would be bleak. -more-

Press Release: Following beating of homeless people by DBA reps, homeless people demand end to campaign of criminalization and brutality

From Bob Offer-Westort
Friday March 27, 2015 - 03:24:00 PM

Protest at 4:00 p.m., Shattuck between Allston and Kittredge

At 4:00 p.m. today, homeless people and their housed neighbors in Berkeley will hold a protest concerning the recent brutal beating of two homeless men by two employees of the Downtown Berkeley Association. The protest will take place at 2230 Shattuck Ave., in front of the entry to the DBA's office. -more-

Victims of Downtown Berkeley Association Ambassador assault have already been sentenced in plea bargain.

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 27, 2015 - 08:06:00 AM

Two men shown in a YouTube video in an altercation with a pair of Downtown Berkeley Association “Ambassadors” have already entered into a plea bargain and been sentenced. They were arrested by Berkeley Police on March 19.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has released the names of the two men, Nathan Christopher Swor and James Wilbur Cocklereese, whose struggle with a pair of “ambassadors” employed by the Block-by-Block company under contract with the Downtown Berkeley Association was captured on video by Bryan Hamilton.

A male “ambassador” is shown repeatedly punching one of the two men, who seems to be arguing with him but does not have a weapon. The Block-by-Block employees were identified in court documents as Jeffrey D. Bailey and Carmen Maria Francois. -more-

Berkeley Musters Foxtail Brigade

Toni Mester
Friday March 27, 2015 - 02:19:00 PM

Volunteers will gather on Saturday morning March 28 in an effort to abate the foxtail menace at the Cesar Chavez Park off-leash area. This first attack on the noxious weeds that endanger the health of dogs will be held from 9 AM to noon. -more-

Berkeley Police claim significant increase in residential burglaries in early 2015

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Friday March 27, 2015 - 09:19:00 AM

An increased number of residential burglaries has Berkeley police advising the public to lock up, report suspicious activity and avoid allowing your house to look empty as a way of discouraging break-ins. -more-

Earl Crabb, 1941-2015

Tuesday March 31, 2015 - 08:02:00 AM
Earl Crabb, 1941-2015

Born September 6, 1941 in Le Sueur, MN. Died February 20, 2015 in San Francisco, CA of complications from pancreatic cancer. Son of Robert Joseph Crabb and Catherine Boucher Crabb (both predeceased.) Technologist, photographer, entrepreneur, online maven, music philanthropist, and dear friend, Earl transformed those who were lucky enough to be part of the myriad of communities he created, nurtured, and embraced throughout his life. -more-



Updated: Berkeley's LPC will take a look at the view of the Golden Gate from the Campanile on Thursday

Becky O'Malley
Monday March 30, 2015 - 08:50:00 AM

If you’re free on Thursday night, it might be a good opportunity to get a preview of what’s shaping up to be a battle for the soul of Berkeley. Yes, yes, I know that sounds a bit over the top, but the plans the money men are making for us are equally over the top and then some.

To get the full flavor of what’s happening, you should go on Thursday at 6 to the Campanile at what’s now called U.C. Berkeley (formerly known as Cal). It’s that bell tower (formally the Sather Tower) situated at a high point right in the middle of campus. If you look west from the Campanile (and there should be a sunset) you can see all the way out through the Golden Gate.

Breathtaking, isn’t it?

And catch that view while you still can, because the big bucks barons have a few plans to change it that they’d like to share with you.

Did you hear about San Francisco’s successful “No Wall on the Waterfront” campaign last fall? It was an initiative which prevented (at least for now) the construction of—yes, a wall—of highrises which would have blocked San Francisco’s fabled view of the Bay. Now it’s Berkeley’s Bay view that’s threatened, specifically the view of the Golden Gate from the campus which generations of students and visitors from all over the world have enjoyed since the Campanile was built in 1914. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Don't miss this

Saturday March 28, 2015 - 10:57:00 PM

Introducing apartheid San Francisco style, by Justin DeFreitas—and Berkeley's not far behind. -more-

Rolling Publication Again

Friday March 27, 2015 - 08:32:00 AM

More copy for this week's issue, probably including a new editorial, will follow in due time, but we're "publishing" early today. Keep checking for new articles. -more-


Bounce: Quandriddle Paradrum (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Sunday March 29, 2015 - 04:49:00 PM

Public Comment

Berkeley's Real Housing Needs Must Be Met First

Charlene M. Woodcock
Monday March 30, 2015 - 10:20:00 AM

Berkeley is in urgent need of affordable housing. We do NOT need more market rate and upscale rentals and condos; that need has been more than adequately served. We need housing for families and low income people who are being pushed out of Berkeley. The adult children of middle class families cannot find affordable housing in their home town. If Berkeley is to retain its valued character based on economic, racial, and cultural diversity, we must slow the rapidly rising rents that encourage waves of gentrification and drive out longtime Berkeley residents. Instead of market-rate large buildings, we need inclusionary 4- or 5-story projects that can achieve net-zero energy and do not place excessive burdens on their neighborhoods. Taller buildings should not be built before transit is improved or they will greatly increase auto traffic. -more-

New: The Berkeley public must participate in defining community benefits
Late-night council meeting is the wrong choice

Kate Harrison
Sunday March 29, 2015 - 08:58:00 PM

Based on extensive citizen input, the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) called on the City Council to seek meaningful community input about the types and scope of significant benefits to be required of developers of the three large scale developments allowed in the downtown. In response, the Mayor has scheduled the discussion as a regular City Council item at the end of a very long and controversial council agenda on April 7. This will insure that discussion of the benefits will be truncated and ineffective. This is not the type of community forum we sought when we pressed ZAB to involve the community in the definition of these benefits, given the impact these buildings will have on all of our citizens. We urge members of the City Council to vote to table this item on the April 7 agenda and to sponsor open public forums in which the public is invited to participate in defining community benefits. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Israel: America’s Bad Brother

Bob Burnett
Friday March 27, 2015 - 08:16:00 AM

Israel: America’s Bad BrotherMost families contain a problem relative: an addled elder, schizophrenic sister, or troubled brother. That’s the status of the state of Israel: a member of the US family but, these days, the bad little brother who is a constant headache.

Since the 1948 founding of the modern state of Israel, most Americans have felt protective of it, as if it is our 51st state. Out here on the Left Coast, in the sixties, many of us envied Israel; we were enamored with the idea of building an egalitarian, liberal state.

In 1978, when the Camp David accords were signed, many Americans felt that a lasting middle-east peace was inevitable. Then, for many reasons, the situation deteriorated.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, indicated that he no longer supported the two-state solution, no longer endorsed one of the pillars of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war peace accords. Writing in The New Yorker David Remnick observed that Netanyahu then took a page from Richard Nixon, “He went racist…Netanyahu, a student – practically a member – of the GOP, is no beginner at this demagogic game.” “Netanyahu, sensing an election threat from the a center-left coalition…unleashed a campaign finale steeped in nativist fear and hatred of the Other.” -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Dichotomy of Treatment Versus Abuse

Jack Bragen
Friday March 27, 2015 - 08:19:00 AM

This essay describes some of my love-hate relationship with the mental health treatment system and with the idea of medication compliance. Those who may have followed some of my writings might see a contrast in attitudes in which I often harshly criticize mental health caregivers and providers of psychiatric medication, and in which on the other hand I often argue in favor of medication compliance and cooperating with treatment professionals. -more-

Arts & Events

Bruckner’s 8th Symphony at Davies Hall

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday March 31, 2015 - 08:12:00 AM

On one of my visits to Austria, I stopped at the monastery of St. Florian, a rural retreat southeast of Linz, where Anton Bruckner spent many years, first as a 13 year-old choirboy and later as a teacher and organist. The St. Florian monastery, built in the purest Baroque style, impressed me for its serenity. I could picture the humble, pious Bruckner spending hours improvising at the church’s organ, under which the crypt now houses the composer’s coffin. I do not claim to fully understand the music of Anton Bruckner; but I am sure that a key to understanding Bruckner the man and musician lies in his relation to St. Florian. -more-

Around & About--Theater: Rare Performance of Kathakali, Classical Theater from India

Ken Bullock
Friday March 27, 2015 - 08:22:00 AM

Kathakali--almost everyone has seen at one time or another color photos of Kathakali performers ... on a travel poster, in a magazine ... usually the striking green, made-up face of an actor-dancer playing a god or a hero, maybe taking a great leap up in the air, wearing a gold crown and an ornate, colorful costume. -more-

Island City Opera’s Dazzling Production of Rossini’s IL SIGNOR BRUSCHINO

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday March 31, 2015 - 08:09:00 AM

Alameda’s Island City Opera, an offshoot of Virago Opera, recently offered a double-bill of one-act operas, Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino. As a pairing, this was a bit of a mismatch. Mind you, I’m by no means anti-Puccini. My eyes rarely remain dry when Rodolfo cries out “Mimi!” at the end of La Bohème, even if I’ve seen this opera fifteen times. However, never has Puccini sounded more coarse and vulgar than in this production of Il Tabarro. On the other hand, rarely has Rossini – and the infrequently performed Il Signor Bruschino in particular – been staged and sung with more effervescence, wit, and engaging knockabout farce than in director Erin Neff’s brilliantly staged version of Rossini’s 1813 comic opera. -more-