Full Text



Press Release: Thousands of RNs to Strike Five Sutter Hospitals April 30

From Joanne Jung
Friday April 24, 2015 - 11:50:00 AM

The Sutter RNs, members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, are calling on Sutter to stop endangering patients through inadequate staffing, and stop draconian cuts in health coverage for RNs and their families.

The walkouts will affect Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Health Services hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo, Sutter Auburn Faith, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, and Sutter Tracy. Sutter nurses will also conduct an informational picket that day at California Pacific Medical Center’s Pacific facility in San Francisco.

Sutter hardly needs to demand major cuts, notes CNA. Sutter has made more than $3 billion in profits the past five years, and sits on more than $8.3 billion in net assets. Yet Sutter is demanding its own caregivers pay substantially more for ER care, lab work, diagnostic procedures and other care than it requires for the general public in Sutter’s own health plan. 

Strike Locations, all picketing begins at 7 a.m.:

Northern California

Mills-Peninsula Health Services (Sutter), April 30. 1501 Trousdale Drive, Burlingame, CA and 100 S. San Mateo Drive, San Mateo, CA. Rally, Burlingame location, 12:30 p.m. 

Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, April 30. 11815 Education Street, Auburn, CA. Rally, 1:30 p.m. 

Sutter Roseville Medical Center, April 30. One Medical Plaza Drive, Roseville, CA. Rally, 12 noon. 

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, April 30. 30 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, CA Rally, 12 noon. 

Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, April 30. 1420 N. Tracy Boulevard, Tracy, CA. Rally, 12 noon. 

Picketing only, no strike:

California Pacific Medical Center-Pacific campus (Sutter), April 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., rally, 11:30 a.m., 2333 Buchanan St., San Francisco. 

RNs Speak Out: Why We’re Striking

“We’re fighting for patient safety, we’re fighting against unsafe staffing. We believe patients deserve better. I’m inspired by my colleagues who are willing to step up and take on the Sutter Health corporation in the name of safe patient care,” said Jennifer Barker Tilly, an emergency room RN, one of 1,000 RNs represented by CNA at Sutter Roseville. 

“Sutter is offering health care plans to the public that are better than what they are offering their own nurses. We need adequate health-care for ourselves and for our families along with staffing conditions that are safe. As it is, Sutter is trying to cut corners despite tremendous profits, but nurses deserve basic essentials, which, at the very least, consist of quality health coverage and safe staffing,” said Sutter Santa Rosa ER nurse Debra Bucculatto, one of 420 RNs at the hospital. 

“Our willingness to strike shows that we will fight Sutter’s slash-and-burn agenda. As a nurse negotiator I am proud to stand with my fellow Mills-Peninsula RNs: united, determined, and strong,” said Chris Picard, Family Birth Center RN who is among 700 Mills-Peninsula RNs. 

“We are not willing to accept the significant healthcare cost increases being proposed by Sutter,” said Sandy Ralston, a recovery room RN one of 250 RNs at Sutter Auburn Faith. “It’s wrong to squeeze out even more profits by forcing rates on us we can’t afford. It’s frightening how focused on profits this corporation is.” 

“We truly see the value in being united with other Sutter nurses,” said Dotty Nygard, one of 175 RNs at Sutter Tracy. “It has been a remarkable experience to witness our collective voice grow stronger as union nurses since we initially voted in the union. We are proudly standing up for safe patient care, a fair contract, and respect for our profession.” 

At Roseville, “Labor and Delivery staffing cuts are being carried out under the guise of ‘efficiency’ when they are actually about cutting the quality of care,” said Labor and Delivery RN Andrea Seils. “Sutter is trying to restructure our unit to eliminate positions and combine care with no economic or operations justification for any of it. It’s unsafe for mothers and babies in our community.

Berkeley Campus Power Out

By Bay City News
Friday April 24, 2015 - 02:15:00 PM

Power is out throughout a large part campus at the University of California at Berkeley in Berkeley today, university officials said.

University spokesperson Robert Sanders said the first report of the outage was between 11:30 a.m. and noon.

Thirty-four buildings are without power and officials expected to have power restored to some buildings after 2 p.m. Officials said they expect power to be restored to all buildings by evening. 

Sanders said classes are being affected by the outage, but some professors may be able to hold classes outside. Otherwise, professors may cancel and reschedule classes, Sanders said. 

Some of the buildings affected are the Alumni House, the Energy Biosciences Building, Haas Pavilion, Moffitt Library, Sather Tower and Sproul Hall.  

A contractor doing routine work at a power substation cut a power line, which caused the outage. Campus utility workers are working to restore power by switching to another substation.



Berkeley ZAB Pauses for a Moment to Reflect on the Environment

Becky O'Malley
Friday April 24, 2015 - 02:24:00 PM

This is getting to be annoying, to me and I’m sure to the good chunk of Planet readers who live outside of Berkeley. Dreadful things are happening all over the world these days, and though Bob Burnett and Conn Hallinan do their best to keep us informed, I seem to be using this space all too much to report on local land use. And even worse, it’s about local land use battles that I’m inserting myself into the middle of.

But there really is a bigger picture emerging from what’s happening here.

First, the update, for all you people who have been calling and emailing to ask what happened last night at ZAB (the city of Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustment Board, for those of you who haven’t tuned in yet.)

The Board displayed a rare (around here) amount of common sense. They declined to certify the manifestly inadequate Environment Impact Report on the 18-story “Residences at Berkeley Plaza” (2211 Harold Way) thrust onto their agenda by an over-eager city staff.

Certifying an EIR amounts to declaring that they’ve been told everything they need to know about possible negative impacts on the environment of a proposed project. And if they had been tempted to believe that myth in this instance, fifty citizens showed up last night to explain it all to them. 

An especially cogent argument was advanced by Kate Harrison and James Hendry, with echos from others: with the definition of “significant community benefits” currently left hanging, at least until the May 5 special City Council meeting and probably longer, what project exactly is the EIR supposed to be covering? 

A communication from Tim Hansen gave some specifics. He pointed out, for example, that various figures for the number of seats and square footage in any successor movie theaters were provided in various parts of the document. And the proposal to include instead a general purpose performing arts space, which was suggested the last time ZAB discussed the project, would require still another analysis. 

About that performing arts center: Both Tree Fitzpatrick and Don Goldmacher of Save Shattuck Cinemas asked Commissioner Denise Pinkston to recuse herself from voting on the project, since she’s a board member of the youth theater group which has been spearheading a consortium formed to advocate including the performing space in the building as a significant benefit. There was no response to his request from Board or staff. 

(Here I have a personal interjection: when I was on the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the question of whether Temple Beth El should be allowed to build on a historic site in North Berkeley came before us. At the insistence of well-wired project advocates, the city attorney at the time bounced from the LPC the three commissioners who were also members and/or on the board of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, including me. 

A pro bono attorney began a lawsuit on our behalf, but we abandoned it after deciding that the precedents were iffy. Needless to say, without us the commission voted to support Temple Beth El, and the building stands today. Ironically, I was leaning toward voting their way all along, but frankly I was delighted to be off the hook. ) 

Will the challenge to Commissioner Pinkston be upheld by city staff? Hard to tell. 

This year’s bounced LPC commissioner, Rose Marie Pietras (axed by Mayor Tom Bates for questioning the effect of the Harold Way project on the view from the Campanile) managed to breathlessly squeeze her 30 years as a planner in Contra Costa County into her allotted two minute review of the EIR in Public Comment. Not to mince words, she thought it was terrible. Among other things, she said, in Contra Costa County they were not allowed to rely on data more than two years old, whereas this EIR referenced information that went back five or more years. 

Other speakers said that the dire water situation in Northern California was not adequately accounted for in what’s supposed to be the Final Environment Impact Report. Energy consumption was questioned, and many more topics. 

Berkeley High parents made an argument that seemed especially persuasive to ZAB members, several of whom are past or present BHS parents themselves. The report is virtually silent on the many problems of noise, traffic and air pollution that a project this big will pose for the high school, which is less than 400 feet from the site. 

It seemed clear to ZAB members that it’s too soon to close off the discussion of possible environmental impacts of this unspecified project. 

It went on like that into the smallish hours, about 11, when the board voted to continue the discussion until their next regular meeting, scheduled for May 14. It’s barely possible that the council will nail the question of significant community benefits on May 5, but it’s most unlikely. 

What’s the big picture here? What seems most striking to me is that the urban legend of the last decade, that building steel frame skyscrapers near BART stations will prevent suburbs, is collapsing. BART is maxed out, with no relief in sight. Almost every car is jammed. 

This building is slated to be luxury apartments, probably to be expensively condo-ized after construction. It taxes the imagination to believe that wealthy residents will forego cars and travel on BART, as EIRs like this try to convince decision-makers. There’s very little recent data to argue otherwise. 

Last night ZAB showed more common sense in their other decision as well. They refused to believe the claim of a guy who owns a historic house on Blake Street that his proposed project was anything except mini-dorms (what we used to call rooming houses) for large groups (of students or others). They denied the permits he sought, though without prejudice, so he could come back with a new and hopefully better design. 

This applicant was supported in his claims by one Mark Rhoades, former employee of the City of Berkeley’s Planning Department, who, when queried by a ZAB member, just couldn't say whether he had any past or present financial relationship with this would-be developer. 

Coincidentally, or not, Rhoades is also the fixer consultant who’s promoting the Harold Way project. And also perhaps coincidentally, when another ZAB member asked him how many film screens would be included in the new building, in order to clarify the contradictions in the EIR, his answer was 6, or 10, or “I dunno, I’m still talking to Landmark Cinemas.” The guy seems incapable of a straightforward answer. 

We’ll see what the ZAB will decide to do when all the facts are finally in and they are able certify the EIR in good conscience. If they should be tempted to shirk this duty, several speakers last night (myself included) reminded them that the decision to certify can be appealed. 

None of this, of course, entertaining though it is, means that the City Council isn’t poised to go ahead and approve the big building at the end of the line, regardless of what ZAB decides and whatever it does to the environment. Last time I looked, Mayor Tom Bates had his council majority locked down tight. 

The council has scheduled its summer recess from July 15 to September 14. That’s the real reason that this not-quite-ready-for-prime-time EIR was thrust forward by the Planning Department staff. The developer-influenced councilpersons want to make sure that their patrons have their entitlements locked down, preferably by June to avoid surprises. Fast-tracking will be the order of the day from now on. 

Thanks to the reader who corrected a vote tally and an attribution in the first draft of this hasty report.

The Editor's Back Fence


Bounce: The Battle of Herrings (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday April 25, 2015 - 01:35:00 PM

Joseph Young


Public Comment

New: Significant Community Benefits for taller buildings: May 5 special Berkeley City Council meeting
Open Letter to Mayor Bates and members of the Berkeley City Council

Rob Wrenn
Monday April 27, 2015 - 01:18:00 PM

When the City Council adopted the Downtown Area Plan in 2012, it opted for case by case determination of community benefits for buildings over 75 feet in height rather than doing a study to establish specific benefits that would apply to all projects.

For each proposed project exceeding 75 feet, there are two essential steps that the City should require:

  1. the City should require developers to submit financial information about the proposed project. A pro forma with costs and anticipated revenues should be submitted to the City.
  2. The developer’s cost and revenue assumptions, as presented in the pro forma, should be carefully evaluated with the goal of determining the total value of community benefits that the developer can reasonably afford to provide. The goal should be to capture the added value created by the City’s upzoning of Downtown, which greatly increased land value and the value of what can be developed on that land.
My impression is that the City does not have anyone on staff with the requisite expertise to do this kind of an evaluation, so it would be necessary to hire consultants with expertise in real estate economics to do the analysis. The developers can pay for the this analysis, though the group hired to do it must be strictly independent of the developer and must be charged with maximizing benefits for the city while ensuring the viability of the proposed project. 

With respect to the 2211 Harold Way project, City staff were originally planning to have consultants review the community benefits the developers were proposing. What is really needed is review of the project’s financial info to determine the total value of benefits the developer can afford to provide. Then the City Council can decide how that amount should be allocated, how much should go for affordable housing, open space, a more energy efficient building, transportation demand management, etc. 

The only reasonable alternative to a case by case approach with careful independent evaluation of each project’s financials, would be to hire consultants to undertake a full study to establish specific amounts per square foot or per unit that would be required for all projects above 75’. This is the approach the Council rejected when it considered the Downtown Area Plan. Any other approach that is not based on independent analysis of financial information and market conditions would be inherently political and would invariably and justifiably lead to accusations of giveaways to developers. 


While the focus of the May 5 meeting is on community benefits, it is also important to ensure that new taller buildings don’t have detrimental impacts. With respect to 2211 Harold Way, it is essential that the developer be required to reach an agreement with the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas that guarantees that the theaters will be retained in the new building. It is not sufficient for the developers to propose building some movie theater space that it would offer at an unrealistic rent. The idea of building a “community performance space” instead is also unacceptable. There doesn’t appear to be enough space for ten movie theaters and a separate performance space at the 2211 Harold site. Advocates of community performance space should talk to the developers of the proposed hotel, which may include conference space and could be asked to include an auditorium. Community performance space could perhaps be included in the project proposed for Berkeley Way. The movie theaters at Harold Way must be designed and provided on terms that ensure their long term viability at that location. If the developers are not able to reach agreement with Landmark, ZAB and the Council (if the project comes to the Council on appeal) should deny the developers a use permit. 

There are many potential sites for the limited number of exceptional taller buildings allowed downtown. When the developers chose the site with Shattuck Cinemas (and the Habitot Museum), they should have been aware of Downtown Area Plan policies calling for the retention of movie theaters downtown. If they are not willing or able to ensure retention of the theaters, they should find another more suitable site for their planned-18 story building. 

The City’s Downtown Area Plan recognizes the importance of movie theaters in the following policies: 

“Policy LU-1.2 Encourage unique cultural and entertainment uses that serve the city and region, including museums, live theater and cinemas.  


b) retain and support Downtown’s cinemas. Consider incentives for retaining existing movie theaters and upgrading their facilities. 

c) recruit uses that complement Downtown as an evening destination, including new cinemas, restaurants, and art and entertainment venues.” 

(pages LU-7, LU-10 in the Downtown Area Plan) 

“Policy ED-1.7: Entertainment & Culture. Strengthen Downtown as a prime regional destination for alternative and mainstream cinema, and live theater and music. Evaluate and enhance the theater- and cinema-going experience in subareas where they are concentrated. 

  1. Work to retain and expand cinemas, live theaters, and music venues.
  2. Work with cinema, theater, and music venues to upgrade to state of the art facilities.”
Community Benefits 

I have already voiced my opinions in a letter to ZAB dated Feb. 17. I would just reiterate that each project should contribute something, beyond what is otherwise required, to the following: 

  • Affordable housing; The target should be doubling the otherwise required number of below market affordable units (or the fee paid if no units are provided onsite) as recommended by the Housing Advisory Commission.
  • Open space, especially funds to help make the Center Street Plaza a reality
  • Reducing the carbon footprint for the proposed buildings. There should be some renewable energy component to each project. Solar panels to generate enough electricity to at least provide lighting for common areas and run the elevators, etc; solar thermal could provide heat/hot water for the buildings. Energy efficient design should be maximized.
In addition, I agree with the Sierra Club’s support for a Transportation Services Fee (as mentioned in their letter of April 6). The City committed to implementing a transportation services fee (TSF) when it certified the Environmental Impact Report for the City’s General Plan in 2002. A TSF was a mitigation measure for the increased traffic created by the growth anticipated by the General Plan. The Council has so far failed to implement such a fee despite the completion of a nexus study. At a minimum, the City could impose such a fee on these exceptional tall building projects. 

Rob Wrenn is a former member of the Planning Commission and Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee. 

More Reasons Why the Harold Way Project EIR is Inadequate

Christopher Adams
Saturday April 25, 2015 - 12:36:00 PM

On April 23 the Zoning Adjustments Board declined to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report for the proposed project at 2211 Harold Way. Board members are to be commended for refusing to accept the misguided staff recommendation to certify the EIR in the face of what, one suspects, was strong pressure from the Mayor and his Council allies to push this project forward.

The Final EIR, which was before the ZAB for certification, consisted of a “Draft EIR,” with numerous appendices and a “Response to Comments,” in which the City and its consultants attempted to answer critics of the Draft EIR. Before the April 23 meeting the Planet had already published criticisms of the Draft EIR, and many at the meeting spoke to its weaknesses. Here is what I wrote to the ZAB about my comments on the Draft EIR and the ineffective “Response to Comments” (RTC) which the City and its consultants prepared in rebuttal:

The Draft EIR totally failed to explain what the project benefits will be. The RTC does not deny this but simply states: “It is not within the purview of the Draft EIR to determine whether significant community benefits would be provided by the proposed project” and “this information is outside of the scope of the EIR, which focuses on physical impacts to the environment.” If this is so, then why are community benefits repeatedly included in the Draft EIR to explain and justify most of the significant impacts of the project? The City cannot have it both ways. If benefits are discussed in the Draft EIR, they are fair game for comments, and these comments cannot then be brushed off as “opinions.” The Draft EIR has not adequately defined or explained project benefits, and the Final EIR must respond and discuss them or remain inadequate.  

It is a fact that the proposed 120 foot high and block-wide building along Harold Way is not compatible with anything existing in downtown or with any sketches or discussion in the Downtown Area Plan. Towers are arguably part of the vision of the DAP, but a block-long wall twelve stories tall has no precedent in the existing fabric or the vision of a new downtown. The RTC dismisses my comment as an “opinion.” 

The RTC claims that the impact on views from the Campanile was adequately discussed, and I will not pursue this argument, which has been much discussed in other forums. However, the RTC also fails to respond to the second part of my comment which stated that the Draft EIR “fails totally to consider the impact of views from the west,” because the RTC claims these will be from “private viewpoints” as if this means they don’t matter. In point of fact the most likely damage to views will be from places like Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands and the new east bay segment of the Bay Bridge. 

The RTC states “The commenter states an opinion that the Draft EIR fails to consider an alternative with a smaller number of residential units and less square feet.” No, this is not an opinion. It is a fact that the EIR does not consider a smaller project alternative. I admit that it is my ‘opinion’ that this is a basic failure under CEQA; perhaps the City, the project developer and their attorneys don’t agree with my ‘opinion.’ But the EIR does not provide a smaller project alternative. All the alternatives simply shift the square feet around, but the same number of square feet remain in all of them.  

In my comments I noted that the Draft EIR had nothing about sunlight and shadows except in Appendix A, and I questioned the accuracy of the determination of shadows on Allston Way by including a photograph of the Brower Center taken on the summer solstice. The RTC answers by noting that the project won’t cast shadows on pubic spaces several blocks away, which may be true but was not in any way the subject of my comments. It then goes on to deny that summer solstice shadows would be equivalent or greater than those cast by the nearby Brower Building because the proposed project would be set back 15 feet above the fifth story and because my photograph of the Brower shadow was taken at 11 AM rather than noon. References to standard sun angle diagrams suggest that the hour difference is inconsequential, but more to the point, the 15 feet setback would not make any difference to my comment. Anyone with a protractor can make a diagram which will show that a 15 feet of setback on a 120 foot high building is equivalent to a 75 foot building without a setback, or greater than the Brower Building. The drawing shown in Appendix A of the Draft EIR appears to be wrong. The least amount of shadow, at noon on the shortest day of the year, will be at or close to the center of Allston Way.  

In my comment I noted that buried in Appendix F to the Draft EIR the wind consultant noted that roof furniture should be fastened down so it would not blow off and injure people below. The RTC says that this is just a “standard recommendation for any rooftop space.” Really? We are talking about large objects which could fall from 120 to 180 feet onto the sidewalks and streets below, and the RTC insists that this impact is “less than significant.” The rooftops of most high-rise buildings are not accessible to anyone but service workers. For this project the room terraces are a major amenity and intended to meet the open space needs of residents of 302 apartments, who just might bring their own furniture up to the roof. This is a significant impact and should be so acknowledged. 

The RTC acknowledges that “the project plans have been subject to refinement since the wind consultant’s report was prepared.” In other words the design has been changed. It goes on to say that the wind consultant sent the City some email about these issues. Perhaps one should be grateful the City and the project proponents acknowledge the problems that winds may cause, but if the project design has changed because of information about wind that was not included in the EIR as circulated, then the EIR should be recirculated to show the revisions to the design and give the public the opportunity to review the new information from the wind consultant. 

Christopher Adams is a retired architect and city planner.  

letter to Berkeley City Council
Significant Community Benefits for Buildings Over 75 Feet in Berkeley

Olga Bolotina,Chair,Sierra Club Northern Alameda County Group
Saturday April 25, 2015 - 10:26:00 AM

We appreciate the opportunity to comment on Significant Community Benefits for Buildings Over 75 Feet in Berkeley.

The Sierra Club has supported the City of Berkeley’s efforts to up-zone the Downtown to allow for more Transit Oriented Development. We have also consistently and enthusiastically advocated for new projects to provide Community Benefits that improve environmental sustainability and livability for all residents.

At this time, as the City Council and Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) are establishing a framework for determining the quantity, quality, and nature of Significant Community Benefits required of the five allowed high-rise buildings in Berkeley’s Downtown, we wish to express our support for the following framework and benefits.

Levy Benefits “Beyond What Would Otherwise be Required”  

The finding required in Section 23E.68.090E of the Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) clearly states that the Significant Community Benefits required of the five buildings over 75 feet must be “beyond what would otherwise be required by the City.” We urge the City Council and ZAB to clarify that these Significant Benefits must be above and beyond the inherent benefits of new development and housing and beyond: 

- The benefits already required by the Berkeley Municipal Code, either within the C-DMU provisions, or in provisions that apply City-wide, including the existing “fee-or-10% build” Affordable Housing requirement; 

- Benefits which may arise from other applicable laws and statutes, such as the Statewide Density Bonus laws; and 

- Benefits which are customarily required of new developments, either by the Planning Department or ZAB, such as electric vehicle charging stations, transit passes, car-share, bicycle parking, and other routinely required benefits. 

With regard to construction workers, the Sierra Club does not believe that payment of prevailing wages should be considered in and of itself a “significant community benefit,” as payment of such wages reflects community standards, values, and expectations. A project labor agreement in combination with local hire and apprentice labor programs could be considered a significant benefit

Define and Measure “Significant” Community Benefits  

In addition to ensuring that inherent, already required, standard, and customary benefits of developments not be counted towards the Significant Community Benefits requirement of Berkeley Municipal Code Section 23E.68.090E, we urge the Council and ZAB to adopt the most comprehensive measures of what constitutes “significant” community benefits, both in monetary terms, and in their size, permanence/longevity, and positive impact to the Berkeley community and to the environment. 

When the City of Berkeley enabled the building of five high-rises in the Downtown, the parcels selected for this increased development were endowed with significantly increased potential for profits. In addition, limiting the number of high-rises to a total of five in the entire Downtown area provides each development with a virtually exclusive right to the views and other significant monetary benefits of being one of only a handful of high-rises in a low-to-mid-rise built environment. Finally, in the Bay Area’s hot real estate market, new (and sometimes merely “newly permitted”) developments are sold to investors at huge premiums. These and other measures of value should be considered by the Council and ZAB when determining the capacity of the five high-rise developments to deliver Significant Community Benefits, such that the community recaptures its fair share of the value the property owners were given in the form of increased and exclusive development potential, and the benefits of high market demand. 

When considering what will constitute “significant” community benefits, in addition to adopting a broad measure of a project’s monetary capacity to fund benefits while still remaining viable, the Council and ZAB should also consider the long-term value and impact of each benefit to the local community. To facilitate this determination, the Sierra Club urges the Council and ZAB to engage in outreach to citizens and to community, social services and neighborhood organizations, and provide multiple forums for community and stakeholder input. With that input, categories and qualities of desired benefits can be identified, providing the necessary framework for the City to draw from in tailoring appropriate packages of significant community benefits for each high-rise project. To that end, we hope that the April 7 Council discussion marks the beginning of a more robust community and stakeholder input process. 

Consider Sierra Club Significant Community Benefit Priorities  

The Sierra Club would like to express strong support for the following environmental and transit benefits, which we believe will confer measurable and long-term benefits to the environment and the community: 

- A robust Transportation Services Fee (the Sierra Club has previously gone on record in support of this fee, and for all programs supported by this fee to benefit alternatives to single-occupant vehicles). 

- Additional fees to fund the Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP), for which the Sierra Club has also previously expressed support. Unfortunately, the SOSIP does not have an adequate financing plan, and existing impact fees are insufficiently set far below the nexus study’s recommended levels. The City may find that SOSIP implementation will have extraordinary benefit for these five downtown buildings, each with the most proximate access to BART and the downtown Core, and potentially higher demands for pedestrian and open space. 

- State-of-the-art sustainable building practices, including but not limited to Zero Net Energy, LEED Platinum, and/or other markers of the most progressive sustainable building practices available, to establish and demonstrate the lowest environmental impact that is feasible for buildings. 

In addition to these environmental benefits, the Sierra Club is extremely supportive of including additional affordable housing in high-rise developments, beyond what is already required by the BMC. The Sierra Club maintains a longstanding policy in support of a minimum of 20% affordable housing, with a significant amount built on-site or within the Downtown Area. This policy was articulated during the formation of the Berkeley Downtown Area Plan and was central to the Sierra Club’s support for 2010 Measure R. Achievement of the goal of 20% Affordable Housing is one of the Sierra Club’s top priorities for Significant Community Benefits. Locating affordable housing in the Downtown Area is of environmental concern to ensure a balanced jobs-housing fit in a high-quality transit area. 

Finally, the Sierra Club is also supportive of other Significant Community Benefits including, but not limited to (not in order of preference): 

- Services/facilities for the homeless, disabled, elderly, youth and/or other vulnerable populations 

- Enhanced parks and streetscapes/public spaces (via SOSIP or other efforts), such as funding for the pedestrianization of Center Street 

- Historic preservation 

- Project labor agreements in combination with local hire and apprentice labor programs 

- Universal access units and family-sized housing 

- Funds and facilities for arts and culture 

- Community meeting spaces 

- Public restrooms 

- Secure bicycle parking for public use 

- Funding or building green infrastructure projects 

We look forward to continuing to work closely with you to establish a framework and categories for Significant Community Benefits that reflect community and Sierra Club priorities.

No Birthday Celebration for Medicaid?

Harry Brill
Friday April 24, 2015 - 02:38:00 PM

July 30 this year will be a very special day -- the celebration of the 50th birthday of Medicare, which serves mainly senior citizens. But although President Johnson signed both Medicare and Medicaid bills on July 30, 1965, senior citizen organizations as well as hundreds of labor and community organizations will be commemorating only Medicare. The progressive national senior citizen organization, The Alliance for Retired Americans, is concerned that Congress may seek to privatize Medicare. So The Alliance views the celebration as an opportunity to remind members of Congress of how important the program is. But Medicaid, which serves older Americans, is facing major cutbacks. Yet, little or nothing is being planned for Medicaid, which serves low income individuals and families of any age.

In California, the Campaign for a Healthy California, which is an organization whose purpose is to achieve affordable health care for all, mentions only Medicare in its publicity on the July 30 celebration it is planning at the federal building in Oakland. In fact, it mistakenly mentions that Medicare is the nation's largest health insurance program. Medicaid is the nation's largest health insurance program, and serves a much broader population than Medicare. Included are low income people of any age whether they are children, parents, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

Organized Labor too is on the whole celebrating Medicare but not Medicaid. Just recently the California Nurses Association submitted a resolution to the San Francisco Labor Council to support the Medicare Turns 50 campaign "to protect, improve, and expand Medicare". The resolution was approved unanimously. It is distressing that a nurses union would fail to include Medicaid. And since many low wage and unemployed workers depend on Medicaid, organized labor should be playing a leading role celebrating Medicaid. 

How do we explain this pattern of omission? You probably can make a very good guess. Medicaid is a poor people's, means tested program. Even among those who have lobbied on behalf of Medicaid, poor people's programs are not high on the reputable list. So not surprisingly a celebration that included Medicaid might not be met with enthusiasm among the middle class, and it could therefore tarnish the celebration of Medicare. In short, why take chances. The problem is that this is a defeatist attitude. The public needs to be educated on the value of social programs, even when the poor are the main constituents. 

Unlike Medicare, which is completely a federal program, Medicaid is a federal and State program. Since the program is administered by the states, there are considerable differences from state to state. But generally speaking, Medicaid is more comprehensive, and offers certain important advantages that are not provided by Medicare.  

In contrast to Medicare, Medicaid provides long term care custodial care. Nursing homes are very expensive and in California average about $10,000 a month. Those who don't meet the strict income limits must pay out of pocket. But it is only a matter of months that most clients run out of money. They can then qualify for Medicaid. An alternative to nursing homes is home care. But the political pressure from the nursing home industry prompts Medicaid to favor nursing homes. Significantly, the highly reputable researcher, Charlene Harrington at UCSF, estimates that at least 30 percent of recipients in nursing homes facilities could comfortably remain at home if the home care provision is expanded. By ignoring Medicaid we are ignoring its benefits and limitations. 

So celebrating the 50th anniversary of Medicaid as well as Medicare provides a wonderful opportunity to both applaud the program and campaign for its improvement. You know the old line -- "United We Stand, Divided We lf Fall".


THE PUBLIC EYE:Scott Walker: Mobilizing Resentment

Bob Burnett
Friday April 24, 2015 - 09:53:00 AM

It’s early in the Republican presidential primary process, but at this point former Florida governor Jeb Bush is a slight favorite. However, the latest CNN/ORC poll indicates that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is closing in on Bush. In a large GOP field that features archconservatives and outright crazies, Walker is the most disturbing because his stock-in-trade is mobilizing the resentment of working-class white voters. 

According to the CNN/ORC poll, the ranking of Republican presidential candidates is Jeb Bush (17 percent), Scott Walker (12 percent), Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (11 percent), Florida Senator Marco Rubio (11 percent), former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (9 percent), Texas Senator Ted Cruz (7 percent), followed by surgeon Ben Carson (4 percent) and New Jersey Chris Christie (4 percent). Pollster Nate Silver observed that most of these candidates have approval ratings that are “net-negative,” unfavorability ratings greater than favorable. Scott Walker is an exception – his favorability ratings nearly match his unfavorable – perhaps because he has the lowest name recognition of the major candidates. 

Who is Scott Walker? At this point in the competition for the Republican nomination, voters know about as much about Walker as they did about George W. Bush before he won in 2000. 

Writing in Mother Jones magazine, political blogger Kevin Drum argued that Scott Walker would be the 2016 Republican nominee because he is the one candidate that could unify the various factions of the GOP: “Scott Walker… has a record of governance. His persona is generally adult. He doesn't say crazy stuff. Relatively speaking, he's attractive to moderates. But at the same time, the tea partiers love him too.” 

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign took off after his famous 2007 Iowa speech at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Scott Walker’s prospects have heightened after his January 24, 2015, speech at the Iowa Freedom summit. 

In that address, Walker positioned himself as the champion of “commonsense conservative reform.” He bragged of defeating “big government special interests” to be twice-elected governor in a traditionally Democratic state and attributed this to his willingness to “go big and bold.” 

In his Iowa speech, Walker worried about the future of the US; expressed concern that America won’t be as great in the future as it was when he was growing up. His twisted explanation for this (alleged) decline was an expression of classic Reagan-era conservative logic: Washington is controlled by big government special interests, taxes are too high (“It’s the people’s money not the government’s money”), and too many Americans are content to “be dependent upon the government.” Walker said he wants to build an economy that works “everywhere not just in Washington” and be a leader “who stands with our allies against terrorism.” Predictably he’s pro-life and anti Obamacare. He’s muddied his stance on global climate change but his Wisconsin record is virulently anti-environment. On immigration he’s recently shifted his position to the far right. 

As a result of his Iowa speech, Scott Walker is ahead in the early polling among Iowa Republicans. In New Hampshire Walker and Jeb Bush are in a virtual tie (Walker has 17.6 percent Republican support and Bush 18 percent). 

Many observers believe that Walker is a puppet controlled by the notorious Koch brothers. Walker’s core message is targeted to harness the resentment of working-class white voters. It’s based on the typical conservative lies often promulgated in campaigns funded by the Koch brothers. 

The substantial economic gains of the last seven years haven’t been shared by all Americans; rather than blame the rich and powerful, Scott Walker blames Washington. And, by implication, he blames the least fortunate Americans, those who need government assistance. This is classic Reagan rhetoric but with a sharp edge that denigrates the poor and America’s racial minorities. 

Recently, The New York Times contrasted the campaign strategies of Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. Both are conservative, but Bush has an inclusive message: “He is telling Republicans, in effect, that they must accept a changing country: that the path to the presidency will be found through appealing to voters who may not look like them.” On the other hand, Scott Walker has an adversarial message: “The Party’s way forward… lies in demonstrating toughness in the face of intense opposition from the left and mobilizing those who are already inclined to support conservatism.” 

In the 2012 presidential contest, Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney with 51 percent of the vote. Obama carried women and racial minorities; Romney carried men and white voters. Most tellingly, Romney carried white women. 

Scott Walker’s 2016 strategy is simple: He will seek to defeat Hillary Clinton by mobilizing the resentment of working-class white voters, male and female. Walker will take his adversarial message to swing states such as Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin; and hope to mobilize a massive turnout by angry white voters. Walker is dangerous. 

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. He can be reached at bburnett@sonic.net 


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Variations in Judgment and Levels of Awareness

Jack Bragen
Friday April 24, 2015 - 10:06:00 AM

My father once said to me that when someone is becoming mentally ill, "Judgment is the first thing to go." This was along the same lines as his comment about Norton Antivirus. He said "The first thing the virus does is to render Norton ineffective."  

The problem with loss of clear and balanced thought is that when it happens, you almost always lack the ability to judge the fact that your judgment is gone.  

And then you are prone to doing damage to business and personal relationships, as you could end up sending emails that should not be sent, or you could make badly thought-out decisions that get you off track.  

It is often good to bounce ideas off of someone who understands. In my case, that person is my wife, who at times talks me out of a paranoid or other delusion. This has prevented me from making numerous mistakes, some of which could have had negative repercussions.  

I have taught myself to maintain an evaluation of my awareness level, albeit this evaluation isn't always there. I continue to have times when my awareness and my judgment are lacking, and in some instances I am unaware of this absence until the higher faculties return. This is not a mood swing, but it is a fluctuation in wisdom and self-awareness.  

I am intentionally trying to learn better techniques of thought. I am constantly learning new things about myself, about the effects of my illness, about what works and what doesn't.  

Learning to cultivate the higher mental functions and use them as a tool to combat mental illness could be an important aspect of a good recovery. Some psychiatric medications could block some of the higher functions, since they can seem to shut down a lot of mental function in general.  

We are always dealing with an imperfect situation. The compromise is to treat the symptoms of mental illness without at the same time sacrificing too much "good" mental function. I am still able to use many higher functions despite being on substantial dosages of medications. A lot of this ability is attributable to effort and the ability to observe, including observing my innards. 

In recent years, it has become apparent that I have spent numerous decades with awareness that is deficient in a lot of areas. I continue to have some problems, and I try to learn from them.  

Trying to evolve to a better level while living with a psychiatric illness is a significant challenge. If we don't treat the illness with medication, evolution of the mind isn't externally blocked. However, the illness, if untreated, creates complete mental chaos or worse, and this absolutely prevents the mind from evolving. Failing to take medication, in the pursuit of personal growth, is not a viable option.  

So then we take medication, which may be stabilizing but may block types of thought that could potentially help us resolve a lot of our problems. This predicament is a lot of the reason why some severely mentally ill people never get much better.  

However, there are things you can do about this. One suggestion: Fish oil (taken according to directions). A study has indicated that fish oil is good for brain structure. Additionally, regular sessions of what I'll call "internal exploration." This can take a number of forms. You could sit with a tablet of paper and write down thoughts. You could do various types of meditation or cognitive techniques. Taking notes about what goes on inside my mind is something I find helpful.  

Another boost to awareness can arise from interacting with intellectually aware and wise people.  

A relative has suggested to me that if I want to get something accomplished, I should push myself. This idea has some merit. Effort along with an organized approach to a task can be effective. However, pushing oneself too much is not the best thing.  

Reading and journaling are good for the mind. The reading that I do is primarily on the internet, and not so many books any more. Before I was put on medication, I read quite a number of books. But also, the internet didn’t exist back then. (I also write books.) 

Overall, it is difficult to gain a good awareness if you are taking some psychiatric medications, while other psychiatric medications do not interfere with the higher functions. But there is always hope for someone who aspires to do better.  

Arts & Events

AROUND AND ABOUT MUSIC:Berkeley Symphony, Choral works by Mozart and Adams; Schedule Announced for Next Season

Friday April 24, 2015 - 02:13:00 PM

This coming Thursday, April 30th, at 8 in Zellerbach Hall on the UC campus, Berkeley Symphony will present the last concert of this season, two choral works: Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor and John Adams' Choruses from 'The Death of Klinghoffer,' conducted by music director Joana Carneiro.  

San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows Jacqueline Piccolini (soprano), Zanda Svede (mezzo), Michael Dailey (tenor) and Anthony Reed (bass) will join the Symphony for the Mozart Requiem. The combined choruses of the University and Chamber Choruses of the University of California, Berkeley, directed by Marika Kuzma, will perform in both the Adams and Mozart works. 

Adams' opera, 'The Death of Klinghoffer,' based on the 1986 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship the Achille Lauro by Palestinian militants and the subsequent killing of US citizen Leon Klinghoffer, has been controversial since its debut in 1991, commissioned by a consortium of opera companies, including San Francisco Opera.  

The Symphony has also just announced its 2015-16 season, featuring the West Coast premieres of works by Kaija Saariaho (Laterna Magica) and Mark Grey's Frankenstein symphony--and the US premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina's Fachwerk (featuring the Bay Area debut of Geir Draugsvoll, the bayan classical accordion player from Norway her piece was written for)--as well as works by Beethoven, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Lutoslawa and Gabrieli. 

The new season will also see the Bay Area debuts of Canadian soprano Simone Osbourne, violinist Simone Porter and the Symphony debut of pianist Conrad Tao.  

For Thursday's performance, tickets are $15-$74. berkeleysymphony.org or 841-2800 ex. 1

Updated: Romeo is Bleeding: Shakespeare in the Crossfire on the Streets of Richmond

Preview by Gar Smith
Friday April 24, 2015 - 02:06:00 PM

Special World Premiere: El Cerrito High School, 540 Ashbury Ave., April 29, 2015. 7:30 p.m.

San Francisco Screening: Sundance Kabuki, May 1, 2015 6:30 p.m.

UC Berkeley Screening: Pacific Film Archive, May 3, 2015 2:00 p.m.

Romeo Is Bleeding, one of the many outstanding offerings at the upcoming San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), is intended to take viewers on an unforgettable journey into the beating, emotional core of urban America. It delivers. A team of local filmmakers has produced a gritty and moving social documentary -- captured live on the streets of Richmond, California -- that immerses viewers in a dangerous world of drive-by shootings and poverty. But there's more to this film than blight and peril. There is also the promise of redemption.



Romeo is Bleeding follows a group of real-life Richmond teens who are inspired to challenge the climate of gang violence by staging a performance of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet -- but this time, the Bard's pentameter will be translated into the verbal ricochets of rapid-fire street rap and straight-from-the-furnace blasts of spoken word. 

Romeo is Bleeding follows 23-year-old poet Donté Clark on a quest to heal his warring city by giving the youth a means of artistic expression as a creative alternative to drugs, dealing and gangbanging. 

"We're going to take a Shakespearean play and rewrite it to fit Richmond," Clark explains, and he is well suited for the task. In addition to being a well-known spoken-word poet and a community activist, Clark also serves as the artistic director of the RAW Talent Creative Arts Program. In this capacity, he organizes field trips, poetry events and theater workshops to serve low-income youth, encouraging them to rise above the pall of street violence by expressing themselves on the public stage and the printed page. 

The violence that stalks Richmond's residents is largely fueled by a turf war between North and Central Richmond that has raged for decades. The Montagues and Capulets (the Bard's bitter rivals) were clearly on Donté's mind as he wrestled with the long process of turning Shakespeare's tragic tale into a crackling, harrowing (and frequently hilarious) stage play called "Té's Harmony." In the play (which debuted last year in two sold-out performances at the 600-seat auditorium at El Cerrito High), Romeo becomes "Té," a young man from North Richmond who falls in love with "Harmony," a star-crossed Juliet from Central. On stage and in the documentary, Harmony is fiercely embodied by Richmond native, D'Neise Robinson. 

Producing the film spanned more than a year and involved many days and nights with a film crew embedded in the heart of Richmond's home-front/war-zone. On one nighttime ride-along in a squad car, the lone policeman at the wheel grimly notes, "Sometimes we have two shootings a night." 

Jason Zeldes, Romeo's director, came to this project after working as the editor of the 2013 Oscar-winning documentary, Twenty Feet from Stardom. Zeldes explains the film's goal was to deliver a slice of "visual poetry worthy of RAW Talent's work. Our vérité footage offers an unfettered view on the current state of inner city US from the perspective of our characters. 

"These perspectives range from students to city employees, from ex-convicts to police officers. As the content of the footage turns dark, we're able to cut to poetry performances, allowing us to hear our characters' most personal thoughts in response to their environment. 

"When the poetry calls on history, we cut to archival footage, allowing us to juxtapose past and present Richmond, identifying key factors behind the city's postwar decline. The film quickly falls into a cycle, where real life informs poetry, which informs history, which informs real life. We establish a positive feedback loop, where these different elements blend seamlessly together to create an emotional, experiential, artistic, and informative tapestry of an American post-industrial city." 

In addition to screening the film at San Francisco's Sundance Kabuki Cinemas and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, the SFIFF generously agreed to host the film's World Premiere in the East Bay. In order to make the screening accessible to the Richmond community whose lives and struggles are depicted, the film will debut at the El Cerrito High School auditorium. This is especially appropriate since this is where "Té's Harmony" also had its world premiere. (The people in the auditorium on April 29, will have the experience of sitting in the seats in front of the very stage that appears in the documentary.) 

KQED Film Critic Michael Fox has tagged Romeo is Bleeding as one of the "ten SFIFF tickets that will sell out" and predicts the world premiere at El Cerrito High "will be a raucous affair, but the screenings at the festival should be pretty electric, too."  

Tickets are available online at: http://www.sffs.org/sfiff58/program/romeo-is-bleeding# 

General Admission: $15. Seniors: $14. Children (12 and under): $10 

The San Francisco International Film Festival runs from April 23 -- May 7. 

Director's Statement 

Jason Zeldes  

Poverty takes on different forms depending on the landscape, but the narratives are the same. I've seen it first-hand while living in Detroit, Chicago, and now the East Bay, and I recognize that Richmond is a microcosm for the injustices seen in African American communities nationwide. The African-American narrative is generational, rooted in a culture bred on plantations, which has been evolving with the times ever since, but always achieving the same effect: the marginalization of black men. 

Originally this was accomplished through slavery, then segregation and Jim Crow, now the prison system, but black men are always labeled as "other" or worse -- criminal -- and abandoned as society's outcasts. 

And then there are leaders like Donté́, who derive pride from this history of oppression but refuse to be labeled by it. I am drawn to Donté because within him I see this convergence of a dark past and an optimistic future, battling for dominance in his heart and mind. I see an eternal conflict, a brilliant man who is both inspired and confined by his environment. He writes about this conflict in his poem titled "find me guilty": 

"I don't know who I'm supposed to be, see?  

I'm like Half Kingdom/Half Slave! 

Have some pride, no! Have shame! 

I'm half alive and half grave, 

I battle with life and death every day. 

I'm recently realizing that "Romeo is Bleeding" is about this convergence, which happens within everyone as they form their identity. Will you let your constraints define you, or will you redefine them? It's a universal question, but when it plays out in poverty-stricken communities, the stakes are high and the results are often tragic. For all the talent that lives in Richmond -- or inner cities anywhere in America for that matter -- there are so few outlets, forcing many youth to surrender to the constraints of their environment, depriving the world of their beauty while the ugliness remains. 

Using the arts to heal communities isn't a new idea, but in practice it is still shockingly rare, and communities like Richmond sorely need outlets like RAW Talent. It's my hope that Romeo is Bleeding can multiply the local and regional effect that Donté had with "Té's Harmony" and ultimately extend Donté's influence as wide as the film can take it. 

Just as Donté inspired me to make a film, I hope my film will inspire people everywhere to create beauty where they recognize the need, so that future generations can inherit a cultural fabric made of poetry and empowerment, rather than hatred and despair. 


AROUND AND ABOUT THEATER: Rare Performances of Kunqu Chinese Opera

Ken Bullock
Friday April 24, 2015 - 12:00:00 PM

Chinese Opera dates back to our late medieval period--one of the oldest theatrical forms that's been performed without a break ever since its founding. Highly stylized in its vocals, stage movement--sometimes acrobatics and martial arts--and acting styles, it became a touchstone for modern and avant-garde theaters in Europe and America.

(Orson Welles featured Cantonese Opera in his scenes of San Francisco's Chinatown in 'Lady from Shanghai.' Living in Chinatown in the 80s and 90s, I remember hearing on the streets the sounds of Chinese Opera singing and music practiced as I'd walk home from work.)

It's influenced the theater of neighboring societies: Vietnamese Opera, for one; Tibetan is another, its plays based on North Indian theater, its staging from Chinese Opera. And Kabuki was probably influenced by Chinese forms.

In the West, Jesuit translations of Chinese plays into Latin were a feature of the Enlightenment. Bertolt Brecht--Jesuit-educated--read "The Circle of Chalk" and based his late masterpiece, "Caucasian Chalk Circle" on it. He also wrote an essay, sometimes translated as "The Fourth Wall of China," on the relation between Chinese Opera acting and stagecraft and his own concept of Epic Theater.

Brecht first encountered Chinese Opera in Moscow, where V. S. Meyerhold brought Mei Lanfang's famous troupe in 1935. Mei was a great Jingju ("Peking") Opera "diva" who traveled the world, a male actor specializing in female roles, some of whose ancestors were practitioners of the ancient style of Kunqu Opera, a predecessor to Peking Opera, which influenced it. Founded during the Ming Dynasty, it dominated theater in China from the 16th through the 18th centuries. Mei became a legendary figure in International theater, hailed by Chaplin among others.

After declining during the early 20th century and suppression during the Cultural Revolution, Kunqu Opera came close to dying out. But there's been a resurgence--and UNICEF designated it a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001.

Now a celebrated troupe, Suzhou Kunqu Opera, has arrived in the Bay Area from Mainland China, only their second time here, and will give two performances of scenes from the classic "The Peony Pavilion" on Sunday and Tuesday evenings. 

The actors are highly skilled, often virtuosi, combining mime, acting and singing, with instrumental accompaniment, Kunqu Opera being famous for its music. 

There's a sample on YouTube from one of the scenes with different actors: 


They're presented by local producer Chinese Ticket Box, with the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in support. 

Shows at 7 on Sunday at Koshland Theater, Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto and Tuesday at 7:30 at the Music Recital Hall, Santa Clara University, 952 Franklin, Santa Clara. 

Tickets: $45; $65 VIP. (510) 796-9988; chineseticketbox.com --click on "English," upper right, then on the show dates

Cal Performances' 2015/16 Season: Berkeley R. A. D. I. C. A. L.

Ken Bullock
Friday April 24, 2015 - 02:23:00 PM

"We talk about literacy a lot these days--I think we have to talk about artistic literacy," said Matias Tarnopolsky, the executive and artistic director of Cal Performances at the unveiling last Monday of their new and ambitious season season--and of "Berkeley Radical"--at Meyer Sound Laboratories, Cal Perf's longtime technical partner. 

The location heralded some of Cal Perf's innovations: new shows will include programs like Olivier Messaien's symphonic composition for the American Bicentennial, Des Canyons aux Etoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars), performed by the exceptional St. Louis Symphony, conducted by their music director David Robertson, with projected landscape photography by Deborah O'Grady (and including Mahler's 5th Symphony and John Adams' Saxophone Concerto on the same program).  

The season's opener will be with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela with three wiorks by Beethoven (and, as with the St. Louis Symphony, other, often free, public events in a residency, including symposia, lectures, master classes, film screening and open rehearsals. 

Other music events include Kent Nagano conducting the Montreal Symphony Orchestra playing Debussy's Jeux, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 (with pianist Danill Trionov) and The Rite of Spring; Vefim Bronfman playing the complete Piano Sonatas of Prokofiev, Gil Shaham with his reconsiderations of Bach's Sonatas & Partitas for Violin (with films by David Michalek), pianist Murray Perahia, soprano Renee Fleming, Ensemble Intercontemporain (the ensemble founded by Pierre Boulez almost 40 years ago), Jordi Savall with Frank McGuire, Kronos Quartet playing Terry Riley--and much, much more. 

Dance events include Twyla Tharp's 50th anniversary tour, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, Alvin Ailey and the Mark Morris Dance Group performing to Handel's L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato, played by the Philharmonia Baroque, conducted by Nicholas McGegan. 

There's such a wealth of talent from around the world in the classical and popular arts, from theater to jazz to ethnic pop music and singing, that the only way to grasp what the coming season has to offer is to visit calperformances.org 

And Berkeley Radical is an acronym, of course: Research And Development Initiative in Creativity, Arts and Learning