The Week

Cafe Babette's corner at BAMPFA
Cafe Babette's corner at BAMPFA


Press Release: Bicylist Seriously Injured in Berkeley Collision

Officer Jennifer Coats, BPD
Tuesday February 02, 2016 - 10:11:00 PM

BPD continues to investigate the injury collision that occurred at Fulton and Bancroft on February 2 at 4:57 p.m. The bicyclist, a 42 year old female, of Berkeley, is in critical condition receiving treatment at a local hospital. The driver, Berwick Haynes, a 47 year old male, from Sunnyvale, has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. -more-

New: Don't Blame The Minimum Wage

Harry Brill, East Bay Tax the Rich Group
Tuesday February 02, 2016 - 01:54:00 PM

In a recent article in the online newsletter, Berkeleyside, the caption reads "Mokka to Close. Minimum Wage a Major Factor". Mokka is a cafe on Telegraph Avenue, just two blocks south of Ashby Avenue. Since the minimum wage issue is on the agenda of the Berkeley City Council next week (Tuesday, 2-9), the timing of the article is unfortunate. You can bet your bottom dollar that the business community will be screaming how mandating higher wages is causing a tidal wave of bankruptcies. The Berkeley minimum wage will be increased from $11 to$12.53 an hour in October. As a result, the owners of Mokka question whether they would be able to operate profitably. Berkeleyside's reaction is to take the owners at their word rather than seriously evaluating whether higher wages are really their most serious problem.

Had the newsletter done so, it would have reached a very different conclusion. Mokka suffers two insurmountable problems. The lease expires in June. Afterward they were informed that the new lease will include a large increase in rent. Also, the owners would be required to sign a five year lease. I spoke with one of the proprietors who told me that such a long lease is too risky. Instead, they want just a one year lease. If the economy sours or other unanticipated developments occur, he would still be legally obligated to pay the rent for the duration of the lease.

Mokka's situation reflects the problem of small business generally. Too many local businesses are taking a beating due to the exorbitant increases in their rents. But it is wrong that they are attempting to retrieve some of the losses on the backs of low wage working people. -more-

Verismo Opera Presents Verdi's Otello in Berkeley on Saturday Night

Monday February 01, 2016 - 01:54:00 PM

This coming Saturday night the Verismo Opera company brings its performance of Verdi’s Otello to the intimate performance space of the Hillside Club in Berkeley, with Fred Winthrop as Otello, Eliza O'Malley as Desdemona and Michael Moran conducting. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Hillary & The Urn of Ashes

Conn Hallinan
Monday February 01, 2016 - 01:18:00 PM

“They sent forth men to battle.

But no such men return;

And home, to claim their


Comes ashes in an urn.”

Ode from “Agamemnon”, in the Greek tragedy The Oresteia by Aeschylus

Aeschylus—who had actually fought at Marathon in 490 BC, the battle that defeated the first Persian invasion of Greece—had few illusions about the consequences of war. His ode is one that the candidates for the U.S. presidency might consider, though one doubts that many of them would think to find wisdom in a 2,500 year-old Greek play.

And that, in itself, is a tragedy.

Historical blindness has been much on display in the run-up to the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. On the Republican side candidates were going to “kick ass” in Iraq, make the “sand glow” in Syria, and face down the Russians in Europe. But while the Democratic aspirants were more measured, there is a pervasive ideology than binds together all but cranks like Ron Paul: America has the right, indeed, the duty to order the world’s affairs. -more-

Press Release: Sophie Hahn Announces Run for Berkeley City Council District 5

From the Sophie Hahn Campaign Committee
Monday February 01, 2016 - 10:41:00 AM

Today, dedicated community leader and Zoning Adjustments Board member Sophie Hahn announced that she will run for Berkeley’s 5th District City Council seat. A passionate community advocate, Sophie has spent her career working to advance Berkeley’s values of equity, opportunity, education and the environment, and to make Berkeley a better place for all. -more-


Christopher Adams
Friday January 29, 2016 - 10:58:00 AM

The new Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive is not a neutral building. Two friends, one an architecture historian, the other the son of an architect, have already challenged me to defend it, and it hasn’t yet opened. After a preview visit, I give it an A, with a few caveats that keep it from A+.

Much of the credit for the design must go to its director, Lawrence Rinder, who worked with the design team from the beginning. Clearly he set out to make the new museum everything its predecessor was not. The old Berkeley Art Museum on upper Bancroft Way, completed in 1970 to a design by the Bay Area architect Mario Ciampi, remains an icon of its period of brutalist architecture[i], but its design continually frustrated its directors and curators. Set back from the street mid-block , the windowless concrete walls gave no hint of the treasures within. The Pacific Film Archive was housed in a small theater accessed from a garden path off Durant Avenue. The largest galleries, in great concrete cantilevers fanned out from the central entry, had few walls for hanging pictures and high southwest-facing windows which frustrated efforts at effective light control.

The new Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive largely succeeds in correcting these shortcomings. Its new location is highly visible, across from the west entry to the UC campus and on the east side of downtown Berkeley. Its name is outlined in large metal letters on the building’s south façade and abbreviated to BAMPFA (no slash or hyphen) on publications and other signs. The art museum occupies a complete reconfiguration of what was once the UC Press Building, an Art Deco office building and attached saw-tooth roofed factory which housed the printing plant. The film archive occupies a new structure north of the old printing plant, and this addition forms the most visible, and potentially controversial part of the total design. The film archive theater’s exterior sheathed in curved zinc-coated planks resembles a giant silvery pastry bag which narrows as it flops over the old printing plant, and at its “nozzle” end forms a canopy over the new museum entrance on Center Street. Windows along the sidewalks next to both the old and new structures offer glimpses of the activities inside. -more-

BART to Ask 20% Affordable Housing at Stations

Scott Morris (BCN)
Friday January 29, 2016 - 04:50:00 PM

BART enacted a policy to have 20 percent affordable housing at future residential developments at its stations as it moved forward with a new development in East Oakland intended to have 100 percent affordable housing. -more-

Achieving Better Results in Working with Adults and Older Adults with a Mental Health Concern

Sally Douglas Arce
Friday January 29, 2016 - 12:48:00 PM
Freddie Smith, M.P.H. Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services, and Colette Winlock, Executive Director, Health & Human Resources Education Center in Oakland , engaged in conversation at the Isolated Adults and Isolated Older Adults Conference that took place in Berkeley on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016

On Jan. 22nd, more than 100 people gathered in Berkeley for an all-day event to learn about innovative ways to provide care for adults and older adults with a mental health concern. The conference, presented by Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services, featured speakers and workshops with a focus upon improving mental health outcomes for Alameda County residents – isolated adults (ages 18 – 59) and isolated older adults (age 60 and older). -more-

Marvin Lipofsky
September 1, 1938 – January 15, 2016

Friday January 29, 2016 - 12:33:00 PM
Marvin Lipofsky in his studio in Berkeley, CA, in 2003.

Marvin Lipofsky, 77, renowned San Francisco Bay Area teacher and sculptor who worked with glass, died of natural causes at his home in Berkeley on Friday, January 15, 2016. Mr. Lipofsky was born and raised in Barrington, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where his parents Henry and Mildred Lipofsky owned a small department store. He earned his BFA in Industrial Design, 1957-1962 at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, followed by an MS and MFA in Sculpture, 1962-1964, University of Wisconsin, Madison. -more-



Time to Save the Coast--Again

Becky O'Malley
Friday January 29, 2016 - 03:50:00 PM

The recent death of Berkeley’s beloved Sylvia McLaughlin, one of the three women who are honored for saving our equally beloved San Francisco Bay from being filled in by Berkeley speculators and their cronies, prompted me to think about what it might mean to aspire to a life well-spent. Sylvia lived more than two decades past my current age, well after she saved the Bay, and she made good use of her extra time in a variety of ways.

Of course, in a real sense the Bay will never be saved. Or rather, Saving the Bay is a continuous struggle, and will never be a fait accompli, because “the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”—that is to say, speculators will always be after our public treasures.

There are several good organizations currently engaged in watching over the Bay itself, so I won’t spend much time on that here. Instead, let’s take a look at trouble now threatening an organization often credited with having been inspired by Save the Bay, the California Coastal Commission. -more-

Public Comment

New: Dr. Lester, You Have Arrived!
And what we can do to protect the California coast.

Janet Bridgers, Earth Alert,
Tuesday February 02, 2016 - 10:56:00 AM

There may be no better indicator that the executive director of the California Coastal Commission (CCC) is doing his job than for the governor and his commission appointees to try to sack him. -more-

Shhh, It’s An Official Emergency

Carol Denney
Friday January 29, 2016 - 12:52:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council officially affirmed that Berkeley has a shelter crisis in the quietest way possible at its Tuesday, January 19, 2016 council meeting. -more-

Donald Trump

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday January 29, 2016 - 04:49:00 PM

Donald Trump has started the new year with a big bang with his comment,“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, O.K.?” – meaning most of his supporters embrace anarchy and the rule of law? -more-

My Take on the Presidential Race As It Stands

Jack Bragen
Friday January 29, 2016 - 12:27:00 PM

Here is my five cent analysis of the race for the White house. If you don't like it, your money will be refunded. -more-

Dark Money

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday January 29, 2016 - 04:48:00 PM

In her new book, “Dark Money”, New Yorker reporter, Jane Mayer, explores how the Koch brothers and their fellow right-wing billionaires have poured money to elect Republican ideologies to shape public policy. Mayer traces the history of the family fortune beginning with industrialist, Fred Koch, the Koch’s father who built an oil refinery in Nazi Germany which was personally approved by Adolf Hitler. The fuel from the refinery was used on German warplanes. -more-

The Real Cost of War

Leo Lieber
Friday January 29, 2016 - 12:34:00 PM

Saturday, Jan. 17, marked 25 years since the 1991 launch of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. A quarter- century later, the U.S. is still bombing, a devastating war rages in Syria, and the countries of the region are overwhelmed with the largest refugee crisis since World War II. It is a grim legacy. -more-

Please Think

Romila Khanna
Saturday January 30, 2016 - 02:24:00 PM

Guns are fine so long as mine are fine.
It is okay for the rich to avoid taxes
But the poor will be taxed because they have less.
It is okay for us to throw bombs on others
But it is not OK if others bomb us.
Who allows the gun manufacturer to supply guns to the gun show?
Those who love gun sales ignore the moaning of those who lose their loved ones. -more-

February Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Monday February 01, 2016 - 02:49:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money.

This is a Very Good Deal. Go for it! -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: It’s Inequality, Stupid!

Bob Burnett
Friday January 29, 2016 - 12:43:00 PM

As Bernie Sanders presidential campaign has gained momentum, Sanders has come under attack from Democrats and Republicans. Some mock Bernie’s identification as a “Democratic Socialist,” while others lament his supposed policy deficiencies. The critics miss the point. Sanders is running to call attention to a national emergency: the influence of money on politics, and economic inequality in general.

In the last twenty years, Democratic presidential candidates have run on the basis of their policies (“bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq,” “implement national healthcare”). In contrast, Republicans have run on the basis of personality. (In 1992, George W Bush won because he was more likable than Al Gore.)

In 2008, Barack Obama won the presidency because of his charismatic personality, his slogan “change we can believe in,” and enough detail on major policies to keep his critics at bay. In 2016, Hillary Clinton is running a similar-style campaign based upon a slogan, “Hillary for America,” and detailed policy positions. In contrast, Bernie Sanders is focusing on a single issue, money in politics. At the conclusion of the January 17th Democratic Presidential debate, Sanders explained: -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: What is Normal?

Jack Bragen
Friday January 29, 2016 - 12:46:00 PM

I had never heard the word "normalcy" until George H. W. Bush spoke it when running against Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton played saxophone, and admitted to smoking marijuana, but said, "I did not inhale."

When mentally ill, you are not considered "normal."

What is that? Is normal when the NRA uses intimidation on members of Congress so that weapons of mass destruction, namely assault-type firearms, will be in the hands of anyone and everyone who wants them? Is normal obliterating the functioning government of Iraq, believing that its citizens would accept a U.S. "installed" government? Is normal living in a neighborhood where it isn't safe to go out at night, or during daylight hours, or at any time, and where it isn't safe even to remain in one's own roach-infested home?

Is it "normal" to shun people because of them having a psychiatric disability, one that at times affects behavior? -more-

EATS, SHOOTS 'N' LEAVES: The New Official City of Berkeley Anthem™

Richard Brenneman
Friday January 29, 2016 - 12:54:00 PM

Yep, there’s no more fitting anthem for the City of Berkeley, California, than this little video offering from Berkeley music blogger 6VIDEO9.

For six years we toiled as the land use reporter for the late print edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet til shortly before the paper folded, laying off its paid journalists but still active as a website.

Despite its reputation as a city of the radical Left, Berkeley has a political system devoted to gentrification and the construction of massive apartments catering to upscale tenants, while less monumental erections serve as hives for UC Berkeley students, who are forced to pay their rent to corporations run by investment bankers, massive real estate holding companies, and the occasional UC Berkeley professor.

The reason the city allows the demolition of existing buildings is due in part to the city’s largest landowner — an owner exempt from property taxes and development fees — the University of California. -more-

Arts & Events

Around & About--Music: Berkeley Symphony Performs Lutoslawski & Beethoven Concerti

Ken Bullock
Friday January 29, 2016 - 04:45:00 PM

Following two very diverse concerts opening the 2015/16 Berkeley Symphony season, featuring works by two prominent contemporary female composers, Russian-born Sofia Gubaidulina and Finnish-born Kaija Saariaho (who attended and commented from the stage on the performaqnce of her piece 'Laterna Magica'), music director Joana Carneiro has programmed another intersting juxtaposition of works for the Symphony's third (and next-to-last) program of the season, "Majestic," for 8 p. m. next Thursday evening, February 4: two concerti, Beethoven's final piano concerto, No. 5 in E-flat major, the "Emperor,"and Concerto for Orchestra,:the first work by Witold Lutoslawski to be noted in the West. -more-

The Method in Mad Men

Toni Mester
Friday January 29, 2016 - 12:37:00 PM

When my brother and I were pre-teens, our parents took us to visit Uncle Larry in the Time-Life Building on Sixth Avenue in New York City. At that time, the mid-50’s, Lawrence W. Mester was managing editor of several Luce magazines including House and Home and Architectural Forum.

As the humble country cousins, we were wonder struck by the sleek modern office and bustling staff that our uncle commanded. After showing us around, he stood in a central space, spread his arms, and asked, “Now children, what do you think created all of this?” a rhetorical question that he immediately answered with one emphatic word: “Advertising!”

I recalled this incident recently while watching the series Mad Men, which supposedly takes place in an ad agency in the Time-Life Building, although the business is sometimes referred to as “Madison Avenue” and was mostly shot on sets in Los Angeles. The historical accuracy and detail of these reconstructed interiors, from the Eames chairs to the abstract paintings, frame the main story and its 92 episodes, which span the 1960’s. -more-

American Bach Soloists Perform Bach Cantatas

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday January 30, 2016 - 02:22:00 PM

When Johann Sebastian Bach took up in 1723 the post of Thomaskantor (Cantor at St. Thomas Church) in Leipzig, (this post having been offered first to Georg Philipp Telemann and Christoph Graupner, both of whom declined), he had his work cut out for him. Bach took on musical obligations to four Lutheran churches in Leipzig as well as to the city’s town council, plus occasional responsibilities to the University of Leipzig. During Bach’s first year in Leipzig, he premiered such remarkable works as the Magnificat, the Sanctus in D Major (which would become a part of the Mass in B minor), the St. John Passion, and the cantatas Wachet! betet! betet! wachet! (Watch! Pray! Pray! Watch!) and Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life). These two cantatas formed, respectively, the opening and closing works performed by American Bach Soloists on Saturday evening, January 23, at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church. In between these cantatas, violinist Tatiana Chulochnikova, 2016 Recipient of the Jeffrey Thomas Award, was featured in a transcription for solo violin of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Bach’s Concerto for Violin in E Major. -more-