The Week



Another Berkeley Kidnapping Attempt by Green Minivan Suspect

Scott Morris (BCN)
Thursday March 17, 2016 - 05:36:00 PM

A 9-year-old girl told police a man who pulled up behind her in a minivan followed her and might have tried to kidnap her while she was walking to school in Berkeley on Monday morning, police said today. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Shooting Victims' Car Had Uber, Lyft Stickers

from ANDREW J. FRANKEL, Sergeant, S-29,Public information Officer,City of Berkeley Police Department
Thursday March 17, 2016 - 09:55:00 AM

As a number of media outlets have reported, the victim vehicle involved in the early Wednesday morning shooting at Tremont and Prince Streets had Uber and Lyft stickers on its windshield. We are grateful for the assistance provided to the Berkeley Police Department by Uber in confirming that the vehicle was not actively in service with their company. We have not yet determined if the car was in service by a Lyft operator when the incident occurred. -more-

50 BART Cars Out of Service

Dennis Culver (BCN)
Thursday March 17, 2016 - 09:53:00 AM

There are approximately 50 BART cars out of service this morning because of an unknown electrical issue that has been affecting trains since Wednesday on the tracks between the Pittsburg/Bay Point and North Concord/Martinez stations, BART officials said. -more-

Berkeley Shooting Suspect Turns Himself In

JeffShuttleworth/ScottMorris (BCN)
Wednesday March 16, 2016 - 09:50:00 AM

The suspect in a shooting in West Berkeley late Tuesday morning turned himself in at police headquarters this afternoon, police said. -more-

New: BPD Says Two Berkeley Shooting Incidents Unrelated

ScottMorris/DanMcMenamin (BCN)
Wednesday March 16, 2016 - 12:59:00 PM

Mar Two shootings in Berkeley late Tuesday morning and early this morning that critically injured three people are not believed to be related, a police sergeant said today. -more-

Press Release: Assemblymember Swanson Endorses Arreguin for Berkeley Mayor

from Noah Finneburgh, in the Office of Sandre Swanson
Wednesday March 16, 2016 - 10:31:00 AM

Today, Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin announced that his campaign for Mayor has been endorsed by former California State Assemblymember Sandré Swanson, who represented the East Bay’s former 16th Assembly District from 2006 to 2012.

“I am very happy to give my endorsement and full support to Jesse Arreguin in his campaign for Mayor,” said Swanson. “He is a visionary leader who will be a great Mayor of Berkeley. Now, more than ever, Berkeley needs a Mayor who will fight to make the city work for all of its residents and improve the quality of life for the entire city. That’s Jesse Arreguin.” -more-

Berkeley City Council Majority Fails to Protect Historic Building (Public Comment)

Fred Dodsworth
Wednesday March 16, 2016 - 10:29:00 AM

For those who don't already know, I'm running for Berkeley City Council. Last night (aptly the Ides of March) I attended a city council meeting and watched the city council stab the neighbors, the unions, the auto dealers and its own revenue stream to death by overriding its Landmarks Commission's decision to identify the old Berkeley Bowl as a building of significance (for example, it was the very place were Alan Ginsberg first read "Howl"). -more-

Flash: Shooting at Tremont and Prince in Berkeley This Morning

Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Wednesday March 16, 2016 - 10:22:00 AM

A man and woman were injured in a shooting in Berkeley early this morning, a police sergeant said.

The shooting was reported around 1 a.m. in the area of Prince and Tremont streets, located near the Ashby BART station. -more-

Updated: Advisory: Police activity in the area of Tenth & Delaware St.

Sent by Berkeley Police Department
Tuesday March 15, 2016 - 08:34:00 PM


The police activity at Tenth & Delaware is pairing down and we are lifting the "shelter in place." Although the suspect has not been apprehended, officers will continue to be in the area to continue the investigation. If you notice something suspicious in your neighborhood, do not hesitate to report it to BPD.

The Berkeley Police Department would like to thank the community for its support, patience, and cooperation during this incident. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Police Search for West Side Shooting Suspect

Scott Morris (BCN)
Tuesday March 15, 2016 - 03:22:00 PM

Police are searching a west Berkeley neighborhood for a shooting suspect and are asking residents to stay in their homes, police said. Officers are searching the area between Ninth and Tenth streets and Delaware Street and Hearst Avenue. -more-

Flash: Police Activity in Berkeley between 10th and Delaware

Berkeley Police Department
Tuesday March 15, 2016 - 03:18:00 PM

Officers are in the area bounded by Tenth St, Delaware St, Ninth St, and Hearst Ave searching for a suspect who is wanted in connection to a shooting that occurred earlier (11:30 am) this afternoon at San Pablo & Delaware. Residents in the area are advised to shelter in place and immediately call the Berkeley Police Department should they notice anything suspicious in their neighborhood. -more-

UC Berkeley Law Dean Steps Down Amid Harrassment Allegations

Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday March 09, 2016 - 04:38:00 PM

The dean of the University of California at Berkeley law school stepped down from his post today after a lawsuit filed Tuesday by his former executive assistant revealed he had sexually harassed her and other women in the office for months. -more-

New: A Toast to St. Patrick

By Ralph E. Stone
Tuesday March 15, 2016 - 01:13:00 PM

On March 12th, the wind and rain weren't enough to dampen the sounds of bagpipes accompanying festive dancers marching through downtown San Francisco for the 165th Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Festival. Saint Patrick's Day is actually on Thursday, March 17th. -more-

The Ferocious Life of Barbara Yaley

Jeffrey St. Clair
Friday March 11, 2016 - 07:46:00 PM

Barbara Yaley lived in Berkeley and died on February 22. This remembrance was written on February 23, 2016, the day after she died, and posted on .

My friend Barbara Yaley died yesterday morning. The news was delivered by a close mutual friend and it came as a shock from which I’m still reeling. Three weeks ago Barbara was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. She started chemo treatments immediately and never left the hospital. I didn’t even know she was sick.

Many longtime CounterPunch readers may have encountered Barbara from her time together with Alexander Cockburn, in the late 1990s and the early Bush era, as the two of them migrated up and down the California coast from Barbara’s place on Milvia in Berkeley and Rancho Cockburn in Petrolia on the Lost Coast. Those were high times for CounterPunch, as well as Alex. Much of our vicious biography of Al Gore (Al Gore: a User’s Manual) was written on the telephone in Barbara’s house, with her African parrot Ernie spewing hilarious profanities in the background.

Barbara teamed up with Cockburn, but she never operated in his shadow. Barbara Yaley was a titan in her own right. She earned a degree from Berkeley in criminology and followed that up with a PhD in the History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz, where she was in the same cohort with Black Panther Huey Newton. She wrote her dissertation was on the History of California Prisons. Barbara used her academic training to fight ferociously for the oppressed. She specialized in hopeless cases: death penalty cases, cases involving racist cops, the drug war, long-term solitary confinement. After our book Whiteout: the CIA, Drugs and the Press, Alex and I spent much time together organizing in Richmond, California against the street slaughter from gang violence sparked by the drug war. Barbara, whose years of footwork as a private investigator took across those mean streets, served as our Vergil, guiding us through that fraught terrain. -more-



Updated: The Election Slouches Toward Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 11, 2016 - 04:09:00 PM

Well, it’s time to face the facts. The election will be held next November, ready or not. And on the one hand, I’ve already started to miss the Obamas, not just because of the President’s politics but because of the family’s unfailingly admirable comportment. It’s been such a welcome relief not to have to be ashamed of the behavior of one or more members of the First Family for eight years. Besides, Barack Obama has gotten a lot done.

In this space we’ve talked about the field of candidates for the presidency, and we probably will again. Last week, for the very first time, I watch complete debates, not just clips, for both the Democrats and the Republicans. Nothing I saw changed my mind.

Between Clinton and Sanders, I could live with either. On the Republican side, OMG.

Just for starters, not a one of the Final Four speaks like an educated person, despite some of them having attended some expensive schools somewhere along the way and all of them claiming to be native born Americans. Evidently this week’s Republican show was tame, even genteel, compared to the earlier ones, from which I saw only the money clips. If any one of them should be elected President, we’re in deep trouble. (No, I will not resort to the kind of vulgarism Donald Trump enjoys.)

On the other hand, here in Berkeley, regime change can’t come too soon. When I look around and see how Berkeley has deteriorated in the 12-year Bates era, it’s sobering. Under Bates, Berkeley is turning into Speculation City, no longer the human-scale home town we used to be proud of.

On every corner, it seems, an ugly box is being constructed, built right out to the sidewalk, for “luxury” apartments, cheaply built but expensively marketed to wealthy San Francisco escapees and international flight capital. One of the speculation buildings constructed in the Bates era has already killed a bunch of Irish kids when it collapsed under them, and more are at risk. Dwellers in older moderate rent buildings are being displaced.

The Maudelle Shirek Old City Hall has been allowed to deteriorate to the point of Demolition by Neglect, and the Berkeley City Council is blithely just moving out with no plans for fixing it. It’s reminiscent of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, where everyone gets up and moves around the table to a new place when they want a clean cup.

The warm pool at Berkeley High has been demolished, and the Southside public pool at Willard Park has been filled in with dirt. The Berkeley Municipal Pier is falling down. The Rose Garden is collapsing.

The streets are ever more perilous. Residents without homes are sleeping in doorways and parks, at least until they’re rousted by security guards hired by downtown commercial property owners.

Civil rights demonstrators have been assaulted by Berkeley police.

And that’s just a few of our problems.

The local election will be on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, along with the national and state races.

The Berkeley offices to be elected are Mayor, City Council Districts 2, 3, 5, 6; the Berkeley rent stabilization board (4 seats) and the Berkeley school board (2 seats).

So far, here’s the preliminary line-up, with links to the candidate’s web site if I can find one, or to press reports about their candidacy if not. -more-

Public Comment

New: Stop Eminent Domain Fishing Expedition in Berkeley

Councilmember Kriss Worthington
Tuesday March 15, 2016 - 02:23:00 PM

A proposal for a wide-ranging fishing expedition that threatens to use taxpayer money to search the City for property the City can take away from its owners by eminent domain will be item 22 on the Berkeley City Council agenda tonight. Here is a link to the proposal: -more-

New: Council Action Needed to Prevent Berkeley Displacement

Councilmember Jesse Arreguin
Tuesday March 15, 2016 - 01:20:00 PM

Most people in Berkeley agree that we have a housing affordability crisis. Yet last Tuesday, a majority of the Berkeley City Council voted down two critical measures to fund new affordable housing. -more-

Thomas Paine On Social Security

Harry Brill, East Bay Tax the Rich Group
Saturday March 12, 2016 - 10:24:00 AM

In a preface to Thomas Paine's 1795-6 pamphlet, Agrarian Justice, the writer correctly notes that Social Security is currently the most effective antipoverty program in the nation. Indeed, as a result of Social Security, over 20 million Americans including more than 1 million children each year escape poverty.

Thomas Paine understood the immense importance of providing an adequate pension to the elderly. To the best of my knowledge, he was the first prominent intellectual after the birth of this nation who advocated social security for both older and disabled Americans. To sustain the program, he proposed a tax on inherited property. -more-

Too Cute to Fail? A Critical Look at Tiny Houses

Carol Denney
Thursday March 10, 2016 - 10:19:00 PM

A friend of mine reminded me recently that when Senator Dianne Feinstein was mayor of San Francisco she thought that homelessness was going to be a brief phase, and one proposal floating through town was the idea of mobile cement drain pipes to be used as temporary shelters. The Department of Public Works was already adept at carting them around, they were too heavy to steal, unbreakable, semi-private, washable, and available. And if you think this is a little nutty, you'll have a sense of my response to tiny houses, the movement for miniature abodes sometimes promoted as one solution to the housing crisis.

My friend said that all the contractor proposing the cement drain pipe shelters was requesting from the city was "a plot to put them on." And I thought well, golly. Is that all? Because that's what Liberty City, the community of tents on Berkeley's old City Hall lawn was requesting. And that's what the people in tents under the Division Street freeway overpass were requesting after being flushed away from San Francisco's Market Street Superbowl City celebration area.

That's what the Albany Bulb community was requesting. That's what people ferrying what little they have left to call their own have been requesting of cities nationwide for decades along with their human rights and perhaps a little compassion. Most communities of homeless people are having the door slammed on such requests, and it isn't because tents aren't aesthetically appealing. Liberty City was a monument to cleanliness, orderliness, cooperative living and indigenous democratic organization, much more so than most apartment buildings or even co-ops, and the famously liberal City of Berkeley still swept it away. -more-

BART's Failures

Jeff Hoffman
Thursday March 10, 2016 - 10:11:00 PM

It would be nice to see an in depth story about BART's failures as a public transit system. My point of view is that public transit should be funded by those who drive in the form of a gasoline tax, but since we don't have that, BART workers and management should not be overpaid (as they are quite substantially in most cases), and BART should not be used as a jobs program to employ people in useless positions, such as most station agents (this job for all but the busiest stations could easily be handled by a call center). -more-

Democratic Presidential Contenders

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday March 11, 2016 - 04:16:00 PM

The print and cable media continues to keep up the drum beat of Bernie Sanders being unelectable and have effectively blocked out his campaign coverage. By contrast, Hillary Clinton actual record has largely escaped scrutiny. She supported the deregulation and gambling activities of Wall Street which precipitated the economic crash of 2008. Her stubborn refusal to release the transcript of her speech to Golden Sacks speaks volumes of her cozy relationship to these banks. At the recent Democratic debate she defended her dark money activity claiming that it was acceptable because President Obama was also a recipient of millions from Wall Street Banks. That is precisely why the Wall Street banks got a free pass from the Obama administration and none of the executives served prison time. -more-



Conn Hallinan
Thursday March 10, 2016 - 10:32:00 PM

The effort by Pedro Sanchez, leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, to form a government on March 2 brings to mind the story of the hunter who goes into the forest with one bullet in his rifle. Seeing a deer on his right and a boar on his left, he shoots in the middle.

Sanchez’s search for a viable coalition partner began when the ruling right-wing Popular Party (PP) took a pounding in Spain’s Dec. 20 election, dropping 63 seats and losing its majority. Voters, angered by years of savage austerity that drove poverty and unemployment rates to among the highest in Europe, voted PP Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy out and anti-austerity parties in, although leaving the PP as the largest single party in the parliament.

The only real winner in election was the left-wing Podemos Party, which took 20.6 percent of the vote. The Socialist Party actually lost 20 seats, its worst showing ever, and at 22 percent, barely edged out Podemos. And if the Spanish political system were not rigged to give rural voters more power than urban ones, Podemos would have done much better. The Socialists and the PP are particularly strong in rural areas, while Podemos is strong in the cities. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: White Men, Go to the Back of the Line!

Bob Burnett
Thursday March 10, 2016 - 04:42:00 PM

In 2012, Democrat Barack Obama won reelection with 51 percent of the vote compared to Republican Mitt Romney’s 47 percent. Obama’s victory was the result of a formidable coalition of racial minorities and progressive Whites, particularly single women. In 2016, if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is to prevail, they must recreate the same coalition. And, White men will be the smallest faction. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Strategies Delusions Use vs. Strategies to Alleviate Delusions

Jack Bragen
Thursday March 10, 2016 - 10:10:00 PM

In case my readers didn't know by now, I have done a lot of introspection partly for the purposes of gaining a better understanding of my psychotic illness, and also for gaining a better understanding of my mind, in general. I have often combined this introspection with journaling, and this is useful because I can see the thoughts and ideas on the pad of paper in front of me. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Purcell’s THE FAIRY QUEEN at SF Conservatory of Music

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday March 16, 2016 - 10:50:00 AM

Henry Purcell died in 1695 at the early age of 36 just three years after the premiere of his semi-opera The Fairy Queen, which in turn came only a year after the great success of his other noteworthy works in this genre, Dioclesian and King Arthur. The genre itself developed in England out of the popular court masques. Semi-operas combined spoken dialogue, acting, instrumental music, singing, and dance. The libretto for The Fairy Queen, by an anonymous author, offers a heavily abridged version of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. This material, usually presented in spoken dialogue, was absent in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s concert version of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, which included all the music Purcell composed for the 1692 premiere as well as the music he added for the 1693 revival. None of the familiar characters from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream have singing roles, so the singing is provided by nymphs, fairies and allegorical figures. I attended on Saturday afternoon, March 12, the second of two performances of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. -more-

Press Release: The Dazzling Divas at Le Bateau Ivre on Wednesday

Arlene Giordano, Le Bateau Ivre
Friday March 11, 2016 - 04:35:00 PM

Opera Divas Kathleen Moss (mezzo) and Eliza O’Malley (soprano), with special guests Deborah Rosengaus (mezzo-soprano) and Maestro Alexander Katsman (piano), will light up the hall with arias, duets and trios from celebrated operas of Puccini, Verdi, Bellini, Bizet, Delibes and a special selection of Irish favorites in honor of St. Patrick's Day. . -more-

New Falcon String Quartet in Vallejo

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Thursday March 10, 2016 - 10:05:00 PM

On Sunday, March 6, the New Falcon String Quartet gave its debut performance under the aegis of Vallejo Symphony Orchestra at Vallejo’s First Presbyterian Church. This group of eminent musicians formed only five weeks earlier, arising phoenix-like out of the ashes of another group, which was to bear the name Peregrine Quartet. Dissension in the first group led to its dissolution as two musicians departed, and a second group was formed, comprising musicians who had performed with the Mendocino Music Festival. Standing before a statue of a falcon in Mendocino, the musicians, mindful of the former name Peregrine Quartet, hit on the name New Falcon String Quartet. It seems a happy choice. The New Falcon String Quartet is comprised of Joseph Gold on first violin, Dan Kristianson on second (and occasional first) violin, Raphael Gold on viola, and Burke Schuchmann on cello. All are experienced as members of Bay Area symphonies, and they have also performed widely in the USA and abroad. -more-

The Lost Trio Plays Monk Plus Originals Saturday Night At California Jazz Academy

Ken Bullock
Friday March 11, 2016 - 12:55:00 PM

The Lost Trio—Phillip Greenlief (saxophone) of Oakland, Dan Seamans (bass) of Berkeley and Tom Hassett (drums) of San Francisco—premiere Bay Area jazz combo founded in 1994, will play Six By Monk, Six By The Lost Trio, 8 p. m. Saturday, March 12, at the California Jazz Conservatory, formerly known as the Jazzschool, 2087 Addison near Shattuck in downtown Berkeley. -more-

Press Release: Pianist Sarah Cahill in Concert at Berkeley Public Library

From Debbie Carton, Art & Music Librarian, Berkeley Public Library
Thursday March 10, 2016 - 10:13:00 PM

Berkeley Public Library welcomes local pianist/writer/producer Sarah Cahill on Sunday, March 20 at 2:00pm at the Central Library, 2090 Kittredge (at Shattuck) in the third floor Community Meeting Room. -more-