The Week



Flash: Berkeley Post Office Protesters Evicted after 17 Months

Erin Baldassari (BCN)
Tuesday April 12, 2016 - 10:25:00 PM

After 17 months of camping outside a post office in downtown Berkeley to protest the privatization of public goods, demonstrators were evicted this morning, according to a postal inspector and protesters. -more-

New: Missing Man Found in Berkeley and Identified

Jade Atkins (BCN)
Monday April 11, 2016 - 05:16:00 PM

A man has been identified after being found on a bench near the North Berkeley Library Saturday morning confused and in need of help, according to the Berkeley Police Department. -more-

Press Release: Can you help us identify this person?

From the Berkeley Police Department
Sunday April 10, 2016 - 11:11:00 PM

Alert Photo

On April 9th at about 11:30 am, a community member found a man sitting on a bench near the North Berkeley Library who seemed confused and in need of assistance. When officers contacted the man, the man was unable to tell them who he was and did not have any identification. The man was taken to Alta Bates Hospital for medical evaluation. Since that time, the Berkeley Police Department has not received any reports about the man being missing. The man appears to be well cared for and was wearing newer shoes—with minimal wear, but is unable to speak.

If you know who this man is, please contact the Berkeley Police Department at (510) 981-5900. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Chorus Singin' in the Rain at the Farmers' Market.

Saturday April 09, 2016 - 03:41:00 PM

Shoppers at the Berkeley Saturday Farmers' Market were treated to a flash mob performance by the Berkeley Community Chorus. Mum was the word as the participants stealthily gathered in the rain before "spontaneously" bursting into Beethoven's Ode to Joy. For obvious reasons, added selections included You Are My Sunshine, Singin' in the Rain and Stormy Weather. Director Ming Luke is front and center in the video below, taken on the steps of the Veterans' Memorial: -more-

Honoree Speaks Truth to Berkeley City Council

Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:25:00 PM

On April 5, the Berkeley City Council honored author and Berkeley resident, Cecile Pineda for her 47 years as a cultural worker. The city proclamation read in part: "Whereas she has been and continues to be active in progressive political at the municipal, national, and international levels, where she reflects a need to address environmental, cultural, radical women's and internuclear issues." -more-

Porch Thief in Berkeley?

Friday April 08, 2016 - 04:25:00 PM

Here's a video that shows a suspect taking a package from a front porch. Look familiar? -more-

East Bay Freeway Shooting Suspect Arrested

Bay City News
Friday April 08, 2016 - 01:57:00 PM

The California Highway Patrol has announced the arrest of a suspect in a freeway shooting that occurred on state Highway 4 in Pittsburg Friday. -more-

New: Sanders Supporter Speaks

Sheila Goldmacher
Saturday April 09, 2016 - 02:46:00 PM

IT was hillary who started the shit throwing at Bernie and has increased her efforts. Sorry he lowered himself to respond to it at all. There is no way in hell this 82 year old progressive feminist will vote for her. I'm Bernie all the way. just saying. -more-

Clinton's a Hawk, says Goldberg

Chris Gilbert
Wednesday April 13, 2016 - 12:25:00 PM

Perhaps the strongest reason to favor Sanders over Clinton is that Clinton is demonstrably a hawk. This is shown again in the recent Atlantic article by Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Obama Doctrine”, April 2016. -more-

New: A Classic of Its Ilk

Jeff Hoffman
Tuesday April 12, 2016 - 01:04:00 PM

I'm sorry that Bob Burnett and Becky O'Malley are or have become so conservative that they support Hillary Clinton. Clinton is just another neoliberal corporate Democrat, and she's as much of a war-monger as any Republican. The idea that there's "a vast right-wing conspiracy" against her and Bill is laughable, since they're part of the right themselves. (Mainstream Democrats are center-right, and if you're going to write political columns you should know that.) -more-

Who is Ted Cruz talking to?

Ron Lowe
Friday April 08, 2016 - 04:05:00 PM

How can a Republican so misread the American psyche as to think that his anti-abortion brand of extremism is acceptable to a majority of the electorate? -more-

Qualifications of Bernie and Hillary

Richard Phelps
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:28:00 PM

Clinton is eminently qualified to be President of a Corporate America. Bernie is the only candidate qualified to be President of an America that treats Main Street and peace in the world as its primary focus, not Wall Street and the military and prison industrial complexes. -more-

Should Sanders Be Criticized For Opposing Lawsuits Against Gun Manufacturers?

Ralph E. Stone
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:21:00 PM

Bernie Sanders is being criticized for opposing Sandy Hook victims' efforts to sue gun manufacturers, saying that gun manufacturers and dealers generally should not be held responsible for criminal misuse of the guns they supply. Is this criticism of Sanders justified? -more-



Back off the dog whistles, Bernie, or we won't take you seriously any more, if we ever did

Becky O'Malley
Friday April 08, 2016 - 01:49:00 PM

Hey, Bernie, ever heard of “dog whistles”? Evidently not, or you wouldn’t be using dog whistles so eagerly in your revved-up attacks on Hillary Clinton in the last couple of days, or at least I hope you wouldn’t.

I see that my pagemate Bob Burnett has already done an excellent job of debunking the myths about Clinton which have been spread by the rightwing and unfortunately adopted by some of Bernie Sanders’ friends. (I can’t resist an apt cliché: “With friends like that, he doesn’t need enemies!”)

So I won’t have to go into the substance of these phony charges, but can concentrate on their tone, including Bernie’s own words, his own choice of dogwhistle vocabulary. -more-

Public Comment

New: Drones strikes fueling more rage

Tejinder Uberoi
Wednesday April 13, 2016 - 12:40:00 PM

Yet another drone carnage occurred just over a week ago. Afghan officials say at least 17 civilians were killed by U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan. The first strike hit the truck of a local elder killing the elder and 11 others. The second drone struck killed two people who were collecting their bodies. A third drone strike killed three more villagers who had rushed to see what had happened. Predictably, the Pentagon claimed there were no civilian casualties. This latest tragedy comes on the heels of a U.S. oversight office report which issued a damning indictment of Pentagon wastage. The report indicates that since 2002 $113 billion to reconstruct Afghanistan has largely been wasted. The report provides details of shoddily built structures, unsafe roads and hundreds of empty schools. U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko, who was responsible for the report, said, "Fifteen years into an unfinished work of funding and fighting, we must indeed ask, 'What went wrong?'" The $113 billion exceeds more than the total the U.S. spent on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. -more-

Why neighborhood assemblies can win against corporate developers

Steve Martinot (with thanks to Hulda Nystrom, Kathy Horsley, and Phil Allen)
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:53:00 PM

The concept of neighborhood assemblies has been broached in the recent rise in neighborhood discontent and malaise. It presents the possibility of an alternate political structure, which becomes necessary when people are faced with a representationist system that is corrupt. It is not just that some of the officials in city government are corrupt; the representationist system is corrupt as a structure. It is both exclusionary of popular participation and hermetic in its policy making. It gets its hermeticism from its dual corruption, both as a structure and as a nurturing environment for personal corruption.

By corruption, I do not necessarily refer to monetary factors of gain, but more importantly to a betrayal of trust, an ignoring or refusal of responsibility to constituents, with a substitution of alien (corporate) interests for constituent interests. The confluence of the two factors, the structural and the personal, give the system its insularity, its hermetic resistance to public accountability, and neutralizing of constituent oversight.

In Berkeley, we see this corruption in city council’s prioritizing corporate interests over constituent interests – corporate development over affordable housing, gentrification over protection against dislocation. The need for an alternate political structure of governance is indicated as political medicine for that social illness.

As an alternate political structure, neighborhood asemblies would constitute a substitution of direct democracy for representationism.

But the question arises, with respect to the housing crisis and the impending gentrification at the hands of corporate developers, where would neighborhood assemblies get their power or clout?


UC Plan to Cut Trees in Strawberry Canyon and Hills for Development Threatens Ecology

Merrilie Mitchell
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:16:00 PM

UC Berkeley has added an addendum to their 2020 Long Range Development Plan called the Hill Campus Fire Reduction Plan. The Plan seeks FEMA funding, and is known in the community as UC’s plan to cut East Bay forests and dodge a full Environmental Impact Report.

UC argues that the “addendum” is “minor with no significant impacts”. But the Plan would remove tens of thousands of trees in Strawberry Canyon and the hills above the campus to build housing and UC buildings.

Removing thousands of trees will decrease transpiration, rainfall, cooling shade, and dew, creating a drier, hotter, hills area, more DANGER for fire!

This Plan needs a full EIR to require alternatives--here are three: -more-

The “Right to the City”: Who should control the process of urbanization in Berkeley?

Dr. James McFadden
Friday April 08, 2016 - 04:08:00 PM

Berkeleyside published the OpEd that I put together after Tuesday's council meeting.

Please share widely:

"The “Right to the City” is an idea proposed by Lefebvre that those who live in a city have a democratic right, a human right, to shape the process of urbanization.

"Unfortunately we seem to live in a world where private property rights, where profit rates, trump all other human rights. We seem to live in a time where the majority of our City Council believes the neoliberal notion that markets should determine all change -— that profit-driven decision making by the .01% must determine our future. This neoliberal exercise of power by the developer-investor class is anti-democratic. The backroom deals between the Berkeley City Council and for-profit-developers, deals that control Berkeley’s process of urbanization, are diametrically opposed to democratic rule and social justice."

The Panama Papers

Jagjit Singh
Friday April 08, 2016 - 04:06:00 PM

A document known as the “Panama Papers” has exposed the sordid details of how the rich and powerful hide their wealth by using tax havens to avoid paying taxes. It’s by far the largest leak in journalism history. The world’s fourth largest offshore Panama based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, set up a massive global nefarious scheme to service their clients. Last Sunday, journalists released 11.5 million secret files from Fonseca’s database. -more-

California's New Minimum Wage Law is Too Minimal

Harry Brill
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:44:00 PM

Governor Brown just signed a minimum wage bill that was enthusiastically greeted by many progressive organizations. Among the enthusiasts is the California Federation of Labor, which is the umbrella organization for California based unions. Unions are rarely ecstatic nowadays. In this instance, it is ecstatic about the new law, claiming it will lift millions out of poverty. But unfortunately, the labor federation's optimism is questionable. -more-

New: Who would you believe, The Union of Concerned Scientists or the EPA?

Russ Tilleman
Tuesday April 12, 2016 - 01:22:00 PM

The US government publishes fuel economy ratings for new cars, to inform consumers of what they can expect if they buy a particular model. For people who care about the environment, the EPA ratings can be used to estimate the global warming effects of buying and driving a particular vehicle. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Stop Attacking Hillary

Bob Burnett
Friday April 08, 2016 - 10:18:00 AM

Amidst reports of Donald Trump’s meltdown, a significant news item went almost unreported: MSNBC noted that the number of FB1 agents working on the Hillary Clinton email kerfuffle is not “147” but “12.” The initial exaggeration was further evidence of the massive effort to demean and discredit Clinton. These attacks should stop. Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Data Corruption

Jack Bragen
Friday April 08, 2016 - 04:02:00 PM

A few delusions can do a lot of damage. No, I'm not talking of something you can see, like a wrecked car, a physical injury, or an overdrawn bank account--although these things can certainly take place. I'm talking about damage to the software that makes the human mind work. -more-

Arts & Events

Keeping It Wild: The San Francisco Green Film Festival

Gar Smith
Wednesday April 13, 2016 - 12:36:00 PM

Various SF and Berkeley screenings from April 14 - 20, 2016

San Francisco's Green Film Festival is back with its sixth annual selection of illuminating environmental cinema. This year, the Festival's theme is "Keep It Wild" and the SFGFF delivers with 70 internationally acclaimed films and screening venues that span the Bay, from SF to Berkeley.

The Festival has attracted more than 90 filmmakers and guest speakers who will be on hand to reflect on pressing environmental issues and solutions. According to the festival organizers, "Audiences will be inspired to move beyond their theatre seats, with tangible ideas and connections to take positive environmental action."

There are far too many films to write about. Some highlights follow. A complete calendar of screenings can be found online here.


New: A Profoundly Moving DAS LIED VON DER ERDE

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday April 13, 2016 - 12:31:00 PM

“A symphony in songs” is how Gustave Mahler once described what would have been his ninth symphony, a numerical designation he superstitiously avoided, calling this work Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth). In 1907-8, Mahler had only recently seen his four-and-a-half year-old daughter die, and he himself had been diagnosed with a severe heart condition. Thus, he turned to a collection of German translations of 8th century Chinese poems, all dealing with earthly pleasures mingled with the melancholy of human mortality. Mahler chose six of these poems and set them to music, summoning all he had learned in composing his previous symphonies and song-cycles. Thus, Das Lied von der Erde achieves an almost miraculous condensation of Mahler’s unique musical sensibility, his sardonic laughter in the face of emotional pain and loneliness. Alas, Mahler did not live to hear this work; it premiered in Munich under Bruno Walter on November 20, 1911, six months after Mahler’s death. -more-

Too Late: A Wild Who-Dunnit Filmed in Just Five Scenes

Gar Smith
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:33:00 PM

Opens at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in San Francisco, April 8

Eat your heart out, Quentin Tarantino!

Put a bird on it, Alejandro González Iñárritu!

There's a new film on the horizon that combines the Tarantino's crazed character studies with Iñárritu's sweeping cinematic bravado. It's a film like no other.

Too Late is a film noir set in Los Angeles. But given that it's a blood-garnished detective tale shot in Technicolor rather than black-and-white, let's agree to call it a film rouge.

Too Late, director/screenwriter Dennis Hauck's debut film makes movie history.

Hauck admits the film began as a stunt; a directing challenge. Even before the script was written, Hauck had a "what if?" moment. What if you shot a complete feature length film without a single edit? Could it be done? (The average feature has 5,000 edits.)


SF Conservatory of Music Does DON GIOVANNI

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:48:00 PM

In two performances, Friday, April 1, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, April 3, at 2:00 pm, San Francisco Conservatory of Music presented Mozart’s great opera Don Giovanni. Casts were the same for both performances, and both were led by conductor Scott Sandmeier. I attended Sunday’s matinee and was delighted by the overall strength of the singing, but especially by the outstanding vocalism of soprano Evelyn Shreve as Donna Anna. Shreve’s limpid tone, clear diction, and admirable technique wrought majestic moments of coloratura singing in the role of the woman who, sexually assaulted by Don Giovanni in the opening minutes of the opera, then spends the rest of the opera crying out for vengeance. Of course, Donna Anna also devotes considerable time to fobbing off the insistent demands of her fiancé, Don Ottavio, that they marry as soon as possible. In most Don Giovanni productions I’ve seen, Don Ottavio is the weak link among the opera’s characters, but not here. Tenor Kevin Kyle Gino was a strong, utterly determined Ottavio, and his famous aria “dalla sua pace la mia dipende (“on your peace my own depends”) was beautifully sung. In this production, unlike most, the strongest point was the pairing of Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, both brilliantly sung here by Evelyn Shreve and Kevin Kyle Gino. -more-

Dogtown Redemption:Two Special East Bay screenings at Oakland's New Parkway Theater

Gar Smith
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:42:00 PM

Saturday, April 9 at 3 PM; Sunday April 10 at 1 PM.

Dogtown Redemption is a remarkable documentary that offers a gritty yet intimate portrayal of a group of social outcasts usually dismissed as "poachers"—those nameless individuals glimpsed, if at all, on the margins of the urban landscape.

Most people look away when a poacher is at work. Some react with anger and threaten to call the police. Only a few would take time to get to know these people. Dogtown Redemption takes us down the third path, revealing the common humanity of these "disposable" people—the lowest members of urban society—poor, afflicted, suffering and homeless. This film takes us deep inside the rambunctious world of these feral entrepreneurs who stalk the back allies of the dumpster-diving/shopping-cart economy.

Dogtown Redemption deals both with the process of redeeming bottles and cans for cash but also focuses on the redemption of lives and souls. In its latter half, the film becomes a wrenching emotional experience. But hang on: the anguish will be balanced by moments of transcendence. -more-

Around & About--Theater: Modern Times Theatre Co. of Toronto Performing Bahram Beyzaie's 'The Death of the King' at ODC in San Francisco

Ken Bullock
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:37:00 PM

A theatrical event of the first magnitude: Modern Times, the critically acclaimed theater troupe from Toronto , will perform the great Iranian playwright and pioneer filmmaker Bahram Beyzaie's masterpiece 'The Death of the King' ('The Death of Yazdgerd') in a translation by Modern Times director Soheil Parsa next week for seven performances at the ODC Theater, 3153 -17th Street (at Shotwell, near South Van Ness), Wednesday April 13 through Sunday the 17th, 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with 2 p. m. matinees Saturday and Sunday, and a 5 p. m. evening show Sunday. -more-

Around & About--Music: Gil Shaham Plays Bach's Complete Solo Violin Works to David Michalek's Films at Zellerbach Thursday April 14

Ken Bullock
Friday April 08, 2016 - 03:31:00 PM

Renowned violinist Gil Shaham will perform J. S. Bach's complete solo violin works, six sonatas and partitas (BWV 1001-06), to films by photographer and videographer David Michalek, 8 p. m. Thursday April 14 at Zellerbach Auditorium on the UC campus, a program co-commissioned by CalPerformances as part of the Berkeley RADICAL series. -more-

Meetings and Events for Berkeley:Week of April 11 – April 17, 2016

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Sunday April 10, 2016 - 03:01:00 PM

Monday, April 11, 2:30 – 3:30 pm, Agenda Committee, 2180 Milvia 6th floor. Agenda link: Planning for April 26 City Council worksession and regular meeting, complete packet 162 pages

Tuesday, April 12 – no announced city meetings

Wednesday, April 13, 7:009:00 pm, Police Review Commission, 2939 Ellis Street, South Berkeley Senior Center, 5:30 pm Subcommittee on crowd control, Agenda link:

Wednesday, April 13, 7:00 – 10:00 pm, Homelessness Commission, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda highlights: Storage personal belongings, Funding Berkeley Food and Housing Project, rental subsidies, appointment to Human Welfare and Community Action Commission, Tiny House, YEAH, Agenda Link:

Thursday, April 14, 7:00 – 11:30 pm, Zoning Adjustment Board (ZAB) 2134 MLK Jr. Way, City Council Chambers, all listed are new hearings with staff recommending approval for all

· 2597 Telegraph – 4 story 10 unit townhouse, new for ZAB, reviewed by DRC, on consent,

· 2700 Bancroft – new wireless facility, on consent,

· 2424 Warring – Frat house, modify lawful group living increase bedrooms from 33 to 35, add roof deck, letter opposing roof deck, noise, loud parties,

· 2367 Shattuck – change use from former pool hall to full restaurant, bar, live entertainment, waive parking for 2nd floor construction, letter of concern about parking demand.

· 1950 Addison – demolish 2 story office building, construct 7 story, 107 unit housing, 68 parking, 75 bicycle, 1912 Addison requests modification of plans, increased setback with green space between buildings, 1912 is small 2 story building with 20 studio apt,

Agenda Link:

Friday, April 15, 9:00 am, Harold Way lawsuits, Case Management Conference with Judge Frank Roesch, 1221 Oak Street, Administration Building, 3rd Floor Department 24, expect schedule for 2211 Harold Way lawsuits to be set, open to public

Saturday, April 16, 9:30 am12:30 pm, City Sponsored Adeline Corridor: Creating a Community Vision, 2939 Ellis Street, South Berkeley Senior Center, Complete Streets 101: Placemaking, Mobility, Parking, Agenda link: