The Week



New: UC Berkeley Student Diagnosed with Measles, Rode 25-A Bus

Sara Gaiser (BCN)
Monday August 31, 2015 - 09:23:00 PM

A A University of California at Berkeley with the measles rode on public transit and spent time on campus before diagnosed, Berkeley Public Health officials said today. -more-

Press Release: Jeff Scott Resigns as Director of Berkeley Public Library

From Abigail Franklin, Chair, Library Board of Trustees
Monday August 31, 2015 - 05:36:00 PM

The Berkeley Public Library announced today that Jeff Scott has officially resigned from his position as Director of Library Services, effective September 8, 2015. -more-

Man Gropes Girls in UC Berkeley Strawberry Canyon Pool

By Bay City News
Friday August 28, 2015 - 03:15:00 PM

An adult male suspect allegedly sexually battered several female children between the age of 9 and 13 while they were swimming at the Strawberry Canyon Pool on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Thursday afternoon, UC police said today. -more-



Berkeley Rearranges Those Deck Chairs One More Time

Becky O'Malley
Friday August 28, 2015 - 01:46:00 PM

“My mind is made up—don’t confuse me with facts!”

That was my father’s refrain when, as a typical teenaged know-it-all, I confronted his long-held beliefs with my own ideas. That was way back in the fifties when he was still struggling to remain a Republican. The last Republican he voted for was Senator Tom Kuchel, but he maintained his Republican registration until he died in his nineties. Of course, this was mainly at my Democratic mother’s instigation, who was wont to send irate telegrams signed by his name and “lifelong Republican”. Over the years, both Senator Kuchel and my father were deserted by the Republican party that they wanted to believe in.

Sometimes when he repeated that mantra it was in all seriousness, and sometimes he was mocking my own seriousness. Either way, I’ve been frequently reminded of my late father’s maxim as I compulsively continue to track the Titanic 2211 Harold Way project through the Berkeley political process.

The descriptive adjective above is chosen deliberately—I’ve seldom seen anything that better illustrates the cliché about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. At the Zoning Adjustments Board last night, during the “study session” which preceded the regular meeting, various commissioners raised questions about the color of the tinted wall of glass, the tiles used on one face, the trees on the roof garden, and myriad other minor points, but tried desperately not to confront the totality of the problems which this monster promises to create for Berkeley. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Public Comment


Jagjit Singh
Sunday August 30, 2015 - 09:38:00 PM

The ISIS atrocities continue to invoke raw emotions of disgust and outrage. There has been a steady barrage of unspeakable atrocities from beheadings to mass executions, tossing gay men from roof tops, destruction of priceless archaeological treasures and a host of other despicable acts of mayhem. -more-

New: Old vs. Young? or Professional PR?

Vivian Warkentin
Sunday August 30, 2015 - 09:32:00 PM

Thank you Becky O’Malley for calling out the old people vs. young people gambit that is being fomented to discourage opposition to the urban density machine that has taken over Berkeley’s planning. The classic false argument, ad hominem attack, is often used in the absence of reasonable argument by those who stand to benefit. -more-

New: Hurricane Katrina

Jagjit Singh
Saturday August 29, 2015 - 02:24:00 PM

Last week marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that devastated the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 people, forcing more than a million people to evacuate. President Obama echoed the sentiments of many of the local residents stating, "what started out as a natural disaster became a man-made one—a failure of government to look out for its own citizens." Many patients in hospitals, jail inmates were left to die. Many African-Americans desperately looking for food were gunned down by police for ‘looting’. -more-

New: Stop, Think and Save Human Wealth

Romila Khanna
Saturday August 29, 2015 - 02:25:00 PM

In the U.S. we seem more bothered about foreign enemies attacking us than about danger to our own citizens from within. -more-

More on Smart Growth: an Inter-generational debate

James Shinn
Friday August 28, 2015 - 09:12:00 AM

Attached below is a dialogue I recently had with my grandson about “Smart Growth”.. He had written to me critiquing some of the points I had made in my latest Daily Planet letter. He raised some objections and questions others have raised, so I responded in some detail. I hope you will find this "inter-generational dialogue" of public interest. -more-

What is to be Done about Gentrification in Berkeley?

Thomas Lord
Thursday August 27, 2015 - 04:22:00 PM

This is part 2 of a 2 part article. See also Berkeley's Progressives: Fighting to Make Gentrification Even Worse

Berkeley can't fight gentrification if it doesn't understand what gentrification is. Here, we have a problem.

We labor under neoliberal nonsense about gentrification

In the popular imagination, gentrification is merely the replacement of the poor with the better off; often the displacement of the less-white with the more-white; the replacement of the shabby with vibrant; in short the so-called "upgrading" of a neighborhood or region. -more-

Black Monday

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday August 28, 2015 - 04:31:00 PM

Following last Monday’s historic market decline which saw stock prices tumble across the globe, a plethora of economists swarmed onto network media outlets to offer their explanations on the causes which precipitated the sudden free fall. Perhaps the best analysis was offered by Michael Hudson, distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri, and author of the book, "Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy." -more-


New: ON MENTAL ILLNESS: More About Aging

Jack Bragen
Sunday August 30, 2015 - 09:28:00 PM

For many people, the twenties are a third decade of making mistakes and living with the results. We might not yet be aware that some of the things we do could have permanent and far-reaching effects on our lives for ensuing decades.

Thinking back on it, I had far more and far worse emotional and cognitive problems in my twenties. I was severely depressed much of the time, was having a great deal of difficulty with work, wanted badly to meet my soulmate, and was far less stable compared to now. I had not yet learned a number of things concerning how to survive. I also wanted badly to have a number of things that I wasn't getting. I was inadequate to face a number of the challenges that life was giving me. -more-

New: DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Europe’s New Barbarians

Conn Hallinan
Monday August 24, 2015 - 02:17:00 PM

On one level, the recent financial agreement between the European Union (EU) and Greece makes no sense: not a single major economist thinks the $96 billion loan will allow Athens to repay its debts, or to get the economy moving anywhere but downwards. It is what former Greek Economic Minister Yanis Varoufakis called a “suicide” pact, with a strong emphasis on humiliating the leftwing Syriza government. -more-

New: ECLECTIC RANT: Bernie Sanders: Drawing Massive Crowds Yet Still Considered a “Long Shot?”

By Ralph E. Stone
Saturday August 29, 2015 - 02:14:00 PM

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an unabashed democratic socialist, is making quite a splash in the media and on the campaign trail, drawing massive crowds wherever he goes. The question is, can an independent, democratic socialist win the Democratic nomination for president? What follows is my view of the Sanders’ campaign to date. -more-

Arts & Events

New: New Esterházy Quartet Plays Beethoven’s 15th & 16th String Quartets

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday August 29, 2015 - 02:13:00 PM

On Friday evening, August 29, Berkeley’s Hillside Club once again hosted The New Esterházy Quartet in their series of concerts devoted to Beethoven’s Late Quartets. The program for this concert featured Beethoven’s 15th and 16th Quartets, the former in A minor, Op. 132, and the latter in F, Op. 135. The A minor Quartet is one of three late quartets by Beethoven in which he experimented with the structure, going far beyond the Classical string quartet structure of four movements. His Op. 130 contains six movements, his Op. 132 has five movements, and his Op. 131, (which was actually composed after the Op. 132 Quartet), contains seven movements. -more-

New Esterházy Quartet Plays Beethoven’s Late Quartets at Berkeley’s Hillside Club

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday August 28, 2015 - 04:28:00 PM

Locally based, The New Esterházy Quartet offered on Wednesday, August 26, at Berkeley’s Hillside Club the first of three concerts dedicated to Beethoven’s Late String Quartets. This series of concerts presents a wonderful opportunity for Bay Area listeners to hear an internationally acclaimed string quartet perform the monumental late quartets of Beethoven’s mature musical genius. Moreover, Berkeley’s Hillside Club, now nearly 100 years old in its present form, having been rebuilt in 1924 after the disastrous fire of 1923, is a small, 100-seat concert hall with excellent acoustics, and it offers the best possible venue for listening to chamber music. I cannot insist strongly enough on this point. Chamber music should not be played in cavernous auditoriums such as Zellerbach Hall, where I happened to hear the Takács Quartet play Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130 last December. That experience was less than satisfying. (See my review of Dec. 14, 2014 in these pages.) -more-

Around & About--Music: Curious Flight's New Season Opens

Ken Bullock
Friday August 28, 2015 - 04:21:00 PM

Brenden Guy, clarinetist who plays with the Berkeley Symphony and other prestigious Bay Area ensembles, founded Curious Flights a couple of years ago, a concert series featuring fine local musicians and ensembles and works not always heard hereabouts.

On Saturday, August 29th, Curious Flight's new season opens at the San Francisco Conservatory with 'An English Portrait,' music from the British Isles being another feature of the ongoing concerts. Adler Fellow soprano Julie Adams will be soloist with Miles Graber on piano performing John Ireland's Songs Sacred and Profane, followed by Brenden Guy on clarinet with the One Found Sound string quartet. St. Dominic's Schola Cantorum will sing Vaughan Williams' Valiant for Truth, Benjamin Britten's The Shepherd Carol, and My Spirit Sang All Day by Gerald Finzi, under the direction of Simon Berry. Arnold Bax's Sonata for Two Pianos will be played by Peter Grunberg and Keisuke Nakagoshi, the program concluding with John Kendall bailey conducting the Curious Flights Chamber Ensemble in Britten's Sinfonietta, Op. 1. -more-

Around & About--Theater: Lower Bottom Playaz Perform August Wilson's 'King Hedley II'

Ken Bullock
Friday August 28, 2015 - 03:37:00 PM

The Lower Bottom Playaz, out of West Oakland, have moved Uptown to the Flight Deck to perform the next-to-last play of August Wilson's series that covers a century of black life and society in the Hill district of Pittsburg, 'King Hedley II.' With the completion of the series in a few months, when LBP puts on 'Radio Golf,' they'll be the first ever to have performed the series in its chronological order, as envisioned by the late playwright. And the troupe brings an unusual sense of authenticity to the project--real community theater. Directed by founder Ayodele Nzinga. -more-