The Week

It's time for the latest episode of "water-shaming." And this time, the award for notable water-wasting goes to . . . EBMUD. At least it looked like an EBMUD operation gone wrong. Date: April 7. Location: Pardee Street in West Berkeley, between 8th and 7th. Somehow, a backhoe attacking some asphalt, bit a bit too deep. The resulting spill had water gushing OUT of the storm drain on Seventh street, creating a river of wasted water last seen heading south in the direction of the Urban Ore recycling facility.
Gar Smith
It's time for the latest episode of "water-shaming." And this time, the award for notable water-wasting goes to . . . EBMUD. At least it looked like an EBMUD operation gone wrong. Date: April 7. Location: Pardee Street in West Berkeley, between 8th and 7th. Somehow, a backhoe attacking some asphalt, bit a bit too deep. The resulting spill had water gushing OUT of the storm drain on Seventh street, creating a river of wasted water last seen heading south in the direction of the Urban Ore recycling facility.


Berkeley Police Release Video of Shooter

Scott Morris (BCN)
Tuesday April 19, 2016 - 11:20:00 PM

Surveillance video released by Berkeley police today shows a shooting suspect at a downtown Berkeley car wash open fire on a homeless man across the street last week.

Police are asking for help identifying the suspect, who fired several shots from the parking lot of the Touchless Car Wash at 2176 Kittredge St. at 3:35 a.m. Thursday, police said.

The surveillance video shows the suspect standing around near the gas pumps before pulling a pistol from his pants firing several gunshots across the street. -more-

Berkeley Police Seek Ipad Theft Suspects

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Saturday April 16, 2016 - 06:31:00 PM

Police are asking for help identifying two suspects in an Ipad theft last week at an Apple store in West Berkeley. -more-

Have You Seen This Man or This Truck?

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Friday April 15, 2016 - 03:07:00 PM

Police are asking for help identifying a robbery suspect in an attack on a 70-year-old woman Monday afternoon in Berkeley, police said. -more-

Mayors Say No to Oakland Coal Shipping

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday April 15, 2016 - 03:04:00 PM

Mayors of 11 East Bay cities have sent a letter to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Oakland City Council urging them not to allow coal to be shipped from a marine terminal that's under development at the former Oakland Army Base.

The Oakland City Council approved a contract in 2012 with California Capital and Investment Group to develop the site but the mayors said in their letter that coal was not considered in the environmental review of the project when it was approved.

The 11 mayors said, "If you don't stop what would be the largest coal terminal on the West Coast of the U.S. the health and safety impacts would be severe, not just for Oakland but also for our communities and for the world." -more-

New: I Hope You Will Help Put Me On the Berkeley Tenants Convention Rent Board Slate

Thomas Lord
Monday April 18, 2016 - 12:29:00 PM

May I have your vote of support to run for the Rent Stabilization Board?

Save the date: April 24th, the Berkeley Tenants Convention. It's at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street, and starts at 1:30. See

Why should you attend?

* Do you support protecting tenants from unfair evictions?

* Do you oppose unwarranted, excessive rent hikes?

* Are you in favor of fighting displacement due to gentrification? Protecting and enhancing the city's diversity?

* Are you alarmed by the very high price of market rate rentals these days? Wondering how anyone but the rich can ever move to Berkeley?

* Do you wonder where students or people who work in Berkeley are supposed to live?

* Are you against kicking seniors and long-standing residents out of Berkeley simply because their incomes are too low?

* And at the same time, do you believe that landlords and tenants alike deserve dignity, fairness, and respect from the City?

If so, then the Tenants Convention is for you. Your votes will pick a slate of four Rent Board candidates from a field of 12.

You might wonder: What's at stake at this convention?

You might wonder: Why should I vote for Thomas Lord? -more-

Housing Costs Major Topic for Berkeleyans

Councilmember Jesse Arreguin
Friday April 15, 2016 - 03:02:00 PM

The biggest challenge we face as a city is the skyrocketing cost of housing, which threatens our economic and cultural diversity. This concern was validated by over 78% of Berkeley residents who were recently surveyed, who said that affordable housing was the top priority for the city to address. -more-

The Drs. Beernink: a personal reminiscence

Alta Gerrey
Saturday April 16, 2016 - 03:48:00 PM

Dr. F. Beernink & Dr. H. Beernink, twins who were born in Europe and moved to California to practice medicine, became expert in difficult situations and saved many mothers and babies. Dr. H. pioneered Natural Childbirth with the Lamaze Method. He also managed to get smoking forbidden at Alta Bates Hospital. Dr. F. specialized in fertility treatments, enabling couples to have children. -more-



Litigation About Berkeley Building Begins

Becky O'Malley
Friday April 15, 2016 - 04:48:00 PM

People have been asking me what happened to the challenge to the project planned for 2211 Harold Way in Berkeley, on the site of the Shattuck Hotel: 300 market-rate apartments that would be built as an 18-story building on the part of the site now occupied by the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas, which would be displaced for several years and might never return.

The short answer is that it’s still in the works, but the lawsuit filed by two solo plaintiffs (“pro per”) has started winding its way through the courts.

Today was the first public appearance of the combatants in the court of Judge Frank Roesch, a Berkeley resident with a substantial record of hearing cases under the California Environmental Quality Act. Petitioner Kelly Hammargren had requested an October hearing date, but Judge Roesch turned her down, mentioning newish CEQA requirements to get these cases tried as fast as possible. The other petitioner, also present today, is James Hendry. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New: Don't Miss This: NYT does BARF

Sunday April 17, 2016 - 02:20:00 PM

The easily-suckered and ever-parochial New York Times has published another one of its classic "Isn't the West weird?" stories, this one about the colorful BARFers, about whom you may have heard in these pages on many occasions:

In Cramped and Costly Bay Area,Cries to Build,Baby, Build

Rest assured, I'll have more to say about this before long, but in the meatime don't miss the comments on the article, now pushing 800 in number, the vast majority of them strongly anti-BARF. The best is from a Berkeleyan, Robert Lauriston:

"I find it bizarre that the NY Times could publish 3300 words about development in the SF Bay Area and not one of those words is 'water.' "

Yes, but you do need to know that in Manhattan you just have to turn the tap and out it comes.

And in case you think BARF is only in San Francisco, a reader who's lurking on the BARF list-serv tells me that Councilmember Lori Droste's HAC representative, Diego Aguilar-Canabal, a BARFie, was observed signing up SF BARF members using that list to speak at the [last City Council] meeting. He was also lobbying the Mayor's office to rearrange the agenda, with disastrous success.

One of Bates' aides appears to be a BARFer.

If you live in Droste's District 8, you might want to ask her why making an alliance with this cast of clowns is in the best interest of her constituents. -more-

Public Comment

Creating Chaos by Mistake or by Design

Dean Metzger
Friday April 15, 2016 - 03:10:00 PM

At the April 5, 2016 Berkeley City Council meeting the Mayor attempted to rearrange the agenda. It was done in a manner that left the other council members and the public guessing the new order of the agenda and how it would affect public participation.

The whole evening left one to wonder: what has happened to our city government? From the calls of disrespect from all sides, to the debate on giving a non-profit $15,000 outside of the budget process, the audience felt like we were witnessing an episode of the Keystone Kops.

What a waste of time. Why do committed citizens subject themselves to this abuse?

The disrespect goes both ways – but to get respect, you have to show respect. And the public rarely gets any.


Planning Commission Public Hearing To Allow Large Medical Office Buildings In Mixed Use Light Industrial Zone (MULI)

Rick Auerbach, WEBAIC
Friday April 15, 2016 - 04:54:00 PM

Proposed New Medical Office Building (MOB) Zoning Allows 10,000 – 40,000+ sq ft Uses, Prohibits Uses Less than 10,000 sq ft
4/20/16 - 7:15pm, North Berkeley Senior Center 1901 Hearst Ave / MLK Jr. Way

This coming Wednesday, April 20, the Planning Commission will hold a Public Hearing on the staff proposal to create a new zoning classification (MOB) in the MULI that would allow now-prohibited large scale Medical Office Building Buildings from 10,000 – 40,000+ sq ft, while prohibiting MOBs under 10,000 sq ft. The proposal requires a Public Hearing for 20,000+ sq ft but only an Administrative Use Permit (AUP) up to 20,000 sq ft. -more-

New: Sanders & Clinton Clash over Israel

Jagjit Singh
Monday April 18, 2016 - 12:38:00 PM

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton clashed over U.S. policy towards Israel. -more-

Can we bring a positive change by deep thinking?

Romila Khanna
Friday April 15, 2016 - 03:20:00 PM

Why is Congress ignoring the needs of public? Maybe they know their jobs are secure for two years and they can enjoy all the federal benefits that come with their jobs. It would be better for the country if their term of office were limited to one year. -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Avoid Being Too Disturbed by World Events

Jack Bragen
Friday April 15, 2016 - 03:14:00 PM

Trump's and Cruz's quests for power are frightening to vulnerable people, such as poor people, seniors, and disabled people. Trump is frightening to anyone who has a shred of sensitivity and/or sensibility. If Trump or Cruz becomes President, it promises to bring the U.S. back into the 1950's, or worse, in terms of racism and other social injustices. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:New York Showdown: Clinton vs Sanders

Friday April 15, 2016 - 02:07:00 PM

If it’s been awhile since you watched Hillary Clinton debate Bernie Sanders, you would have been struck by the tone evidenced in the April 14th New York event. After 8 encounters, the two Democratic candidates don’t like each other. That animosity produced a contentious two-hour debate. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Bernie’s Last Stand: California’s June Primary

Bob Burnett
Friday April 22, 2016 - 11:27:00 AM

Improbably, it appears that the June 7th California primary will determine the nomination of both the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, and the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. After winning the New York Democratic primary, Clinton has approximately 1930 delegates, 453 short of the magic number 2383. Unless Bernie Sanders stages an epic comeback, Clinton will cross the finish line in California. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Murray Perahia Performs at Zellerbach

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday April 18, 2016 - 12:37:00 PM

Pianist Murray Perahia has been in the spotlight for more than 40 years. I first heard him play in a recital in Princeton, New Jersey, back in 1979-80. Now, on Sunday, April 17, he returned to Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall for a recital under the auspices of Cal Performances. On the program were works by Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven.

The opening work was Joseph Haydn’s Variations in F minor, a piece published in 1799, late in Haydn’s long career. It was hailed by scholar A. Peter Brown as a work that “presents a microcosmic but complete view of Haydn’s late keyboard style.” In this brief set of variations, two themes are developed. The first, in F minor, seems melancholy but deeply felt. The second, in F Major, reveals a brighter mood, and it is decorated by a number of brief right-hand runs that are the pianistic equivalent of a singer’s trills. Murray Perahia was particularly expressive in handling the second, brighter theme, which included much cross-handed virtuosity. -more-

Sold: A Tale of Abuse That's Difficult to Watch

Gar Smith
Friday April 15, 2016 - 02:58:00 PM

Opens April 15 at Berkeley's Elmwood Cinema

(2:00, 4:10, 7:00, 9:15)

The US-produced, India-filmed feature, Sold, is it praiseworthy project with much to recommend. It is based on a best-selling book by Patricia McCormick that has been translated into 32 languages. It is directed by Academy Award winner Jeffrey D. Brown. It has been honored at film festivals from Albuquerque to Abu Dhabi. It was executive-produced by the multi-talented British film star Emma Thompson. And the cast includes Gillian Anderson and David Arquette and stars Niyar Saikia as Lakshmi, an innocent village girl from the mountains of Nepal who is sold into bondage in a Kolkatta brothel.

The issue of human trafficking deserves the utmost attention. The story of Lakshmi's plight is clearly designed to ignite global concern. But, for this reviewer, there were some problems.


Gil Shaham Shines in Bach’s Solo Violin Works

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday April 15, 2016 - 02:52:00 PM

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin are towering monuments of the violin repertoire. As such, they pose a challenge for even the greatest violinists. Gil Shaham, who performed these works on Thursday, April 14, at Zellerbach Hall, felt the challenge so strongly that he waited many years into his illustrious career before beginning to play (and record) these Bach masterpieces. The result, as one might expect from such a consummate musician as Shaham, combines technical mastery and passionate commitment. Playing the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius, Shaham handles the many difficult passages in these works with apparent ease. But we can rest assured that the ease is only apparent, and that Shaham has put a great deal of work and thought into how these sonatas and partitas should be performed. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Symphony Announces Next Season

From Jean Shirk
Friday April 15, 2016 - 02:55:00 PM

Music Director Joana Carneiro and Berkeley Symphony today announced the concerts and programs for the 2016-17 season, including the world premiere of a new Berkeley Symphony commission by Paul Dresher; the West Coast premiere of James MacMillan’s new Symphony No. 4, a co-commission; and the Bay Area premiere of Mason Bates’ Cello Concerto, with Joshua Roman as soloist. The Orchestra will also perform Shostakovich’s epic Symphony No. 13, “Babi Yar”, with bass Denis Sedov and alumni of choruses including the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus, the Pacific Boychoir Academy, and members of the St. John of San Francisco Russian Orthodox Chorale, led by Marika Kuzma. Shai Wosner is soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and Philippe Quint performs Erich Korngold’s Violin Concerto with the Orchestra. The Orchestra performs Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. -more-

Press Release: West Edge Opera’s 2016 Festival Opens July 30 at Oakland’s Abandoned Train Station

From Marion Kohlstedt
Friday April 15, 2016 - 02:52:00 PM

West Edge Opera’s 2015 Festival of three operas will take place July 30 through August 14 at Oakland’s abandoned Train Station at 18th and Wood in West Oakland.

Under the combined artistic leadership of General/Artistic Director Mark Streshinsky and Music Director Jonathan Khuner, the Festival opens on Saturday, July 30 at 8 pm with Leoš Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. With Janácek’s blend of lyrical modernism and central European folk melody, Vixen also has the distinction of being the only opera in the repertory based on a graphic novel. Soprano Amy Foote will sing the title role of the Vixen, with bass-baritone Philip Skinner as the Forester. Mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz is the Fox and others in the cast are Joseph Meyers, Nikolas Nackley and Carl King. Patrick Diamond will direct and Jonathan Khuner will conduct. Repeat performances are Sunday, August 7 at 3 pm and Saturday, August 13 at 1 pm. -more-