The Week



Sacramento Housing Deal: Big Challenges Ahead for Vulnerable Berkeley Neighborhoods

By Thomas Lord
Tuesday June 14, 2016 - 07:45:00 AM

(This is part two in a three-part series. Part one was published last week: )

Governor Jerry Brown and the state legislature are nearing a deal that would eliminate local discretion to review and challenge certain housing development projects. Under the proposed legislation, multi-unit housing projects will win automatic ("by-right") approval if they include a minimum number of affordable units and conform to the objective requirements of local zoning law.

The new bill will, in essence, suspend the review requirements of Berkeley's Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance and will also allow the by-right demolition of rent controlled units.

This weekend, Ben Metcalf, the Director of the Governor's Housing and Community Development department took some time to help the Daily Planet better understand the motivation, intent, and impacts of the Governor's bill. -more-

South Shattuck Neighbors at ZAB

By Thomas Ferrell
Tuesday June 14, 2016 - 07:41:00 AM

The Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board faced fierce organized neighborhood opposition at its June 9 hearing to consider Berkeley Honda’s and developer Ali Kashani’s proposal to shoehorn a “full service auto dealership” into the old Berkeley Bowl building, a site half the size of its former home. The proposal would also take over the triangle parking lot at the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Adeline Street. -more-

Berkeley Resident Celebrates Her 100th Birthday

Erika Shaver-Nelson
Thursday June 09, 2016 - 11:29:00 PM

Berkeley resident, Henrietta Harris will celebrate her 100th birthday with family and friends on Wednesday, June 15th. Henrietta was born in San Jose and later lived in North Beach in San Francisco. Her grandparents traveled by covered wagon from Kentucky and settled in San Jose.

Henrietta attended San Jose State University and later received a Master’s degree from Stanford. A formally trained classical singer and performer, she toured Europe and the United States, performing a repertoire of German lieder, art songs, and spirituals, as well as in theater productions. She taught courses in UC Berkeley's Drama department from 1954-1969.

In 1964, she founded the Aldridge Players West, a pioneering black theatre ensemble that performed in San Francisco to give black actors the opportunity to do a broad spectrum of theater and to become familiar with all aspects of the theater. UC Berkeley sponsored the Aldridge Players West to tour the South and perform at historically black colleges. -more-

Sacramento Poised to End Rent Control and Neighborhood Preservation in Berkeley and Elsewhere

Thomas Lord
Friday June 10, 2016 - 04:24:00 PM

Sacramento appears to be ready to over-ride two of Berkeley's most important housing policies: the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance, and the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause ordinance. Berkeley's housing policies as we know them are slated for execution.

Governor Jerry Brown and the California legislature have made an agreement that will permit, by-right, the demolition of nearly every rent controlled apartment in Berkeley.

Additionally, the agreement will authorize the by-right demolition of single family homes and duplexes throughout most of the city, and their replacement by apartment buildings. Exempt from the impact of these new rules will be the residential neighborhoods in the hills, and a few small pockets of "R-1" zoning in the flats.

Demolished housing units would be replaced, by right and without public hearing, by multi-unit residential buildings that contain some minimum number of designated affordable units. Those affordable units would revert to market rate units after 30 years. -more-

Masses, Movements, Muhammad Ali!

Raymond Nat Turner
Friday June 10, 2016 - 08:51:00 AM


He came like a Jack Johnson flashback, wrapped

In Gorgeous George game, mentored by Malcolm

He came, fancy footwork, flamboyant flurry of fists

And flaming tongue—when a hero was needed to go toe-to-toe with Jim Crow—outpoint Amerikkan

Apartheid in rings ‘round the globe!

He came telling the world about brave

Children facing firehoses, fangs of snarling

German Shepherds, billy clubs, cattle prods,

And crackers with stars; He came as a mirror,

Face reflecting beauty of our mighty mass movements—welts, warts, zits, imperfections and all…

He came, Bojangles in boxing gloves, fighting

Shoulder to shoulder, side by side with Watts, Detroit, Newark, Montgomery millions—

Makers of history in anonymous glory….

He came, defying grand dragon draft boards and

Speaking truth to people—Ali Shuffling Black

Men out cul-de-sacs as cannon fodder; off bottom

Lines and balance sheets of war profiteers; off

Rope-a-Dope of rich men’s wars; off killing, ‘serving’

The world’s greatest purveyor of violence—murderers of Malcolm, Medgar, Martin, Lumumba,

Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman and good men and women in the Philippines, Korea, Cuba, Indonesia, Iran; He came Nina-Langston-like

“Backlash Blues” “Ain’t No Viet Cong ever called me


He came healing, practicing preventive medicine on

PTSD and suicide…He came reinvesting tears of Black families in graduations and weddings—making

Black Lives Matter…

He came Coltrane, like the blues, “I ain’t got no

Quarrel with them Viet Cong…” Cliff Notes on

Lenin’s Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism


I sat silently on Facebook clicking red hearts

Emblazoned, ‘LOVE’ and occasionally writing

“Right on” or “TEACH” my ‘60s taught response

To righteous truth-telling—I didn’t want to write

Ali’s heroic deeds, simple words are Shakespearean,

Leaving us blind men and women fool’s errands of

Feeling an elephant and claiming deep grasp of its

Nature…intersectionality, binary Huxtabullshit to

‘de-construct’ or ‘unpack’

Ali’s a real role model—no Shaq/Chuck shuck…

No Nobel Peace Prize mass murderer; no prop

In hands of clowns—acrobats skillfully hoisting him and supporting the troops while dangling on the dick of the Drone Ranger!

Ali’s a real role model. His words and deeds stoked

Dream machines, made us think and believe we can run Miles and Trane…and be “The Greatest” at something… -more-



Keeping on Keepin' On, even in the summertime

Becky O'Malley
Friday June 10, 2016 - 12:21:00 PM

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is supposed to be easy. What that means is that some of us, including me, are starting to want to slack off. Regular columnists will be absent from some issues (this week it’s Bob Burnett).

Thank goodness the primaries are behind us. What’s left of them reminds me of deodorant ads of my youth: “Even his best friends won’t tell him.” We can only hope that Bernie Sanders’ best friends can steer him away from becoming the Harold Stassen of the early 21st century. It’s just as well that he’s probably too old to choose the perennial candidate path, in the interest of preserving his reputation in future generations. His candidacy is history, but his ideas need to survive. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New: Update status for writers and readers

Thursday June 16, 2016 - 08:07:00 AM

I'm on the road, in a hotel with very weak wi-fi, so I'll post articles if and when I'm able to. If you're very eager, look at the site from time to time and see what's new. There may not be a new issue per se tomorrow. -more-

Public Comment


John Mink
Friday June 10, 2016 - 08:55:00 AM

It is no surprise to anyone paying attention that the current wave of uncontrolled, primarily market-rate (and higher) development is bringing unprecedented gentrification and erasing many of the most fascinating, well-loved treasures of Berkeley's architectural, historic, cultural, and educational heritage. The Village is an iconic Berkeley building located at Telegraph Ave. and Blake St, situated on "5th Block" of Telegraph Avenue in the famous South of Campus area. This area has enormous historic significance as a center of the Anti-War, People's Park, and Free Speech Movement Demonstrations of the 60's and 70's, and this unique building completely exemplifies the community spirit of the time.

I am part of a group of neighbors who are currently APPEALING the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s refusal to grant landmark status to this uniquely Berkeley structure. The Village is a visionary and pioneering example of adaptive re-use in the shell of a former auto showroom. This skylit, indoor semi-public arcade of small independent restaurants and stores was imagined & created in 1971 by and for residents of the South Campus community. It is one of the only still-existing examples of the historic period known as the “Era Of Change” - specifically, the ‘60s/early 70s “hand-built architecture” school, part of what is known as the “Hippie Modernist” art and design movement. This movement combined a diverse palette of design ideas with transformative new philosophies of adaptive reuse within the urban environment – a movement which has been profoundly influential in our ways of thinking in a modern world where recycling, adaptive reuse, and sustainability are very important underlying philosophies. -more-

Protect Working Families from the Berkeley City Council

Wendy Bloom, Nurse at Children’s Hospital, member of CA Nurses Association;Mike Donaldson, SEIU 1021; David Fielder; Ned Pearlstein, Retired instructor - Peralta Federation of Teachers; and Steve Gilbert SEIU 1021 – Oakland
Friday June 10, 2016 - 04:52:00 PM

It’s hard to even call it “economic inequality” any more here in Berkeley. Rents are skyrocketing—but wages are flat. Families can’t keep their heads above water, and are being pushed out of Berkeley. We are in danger of losing our diversity and history, while gaining only a bigger gap between rich and poor. -more-

Teachers must have high morals

Romila Khanna
Friday June 10, 2016 - 01:04:00 PM

It is very sad to read about the teacher who misguided a thirteen-year-old boy and had a sexual relationship. It is shameful to know that the teacher became pregnant via a sexual relationship with the minor boy. In India teachers are respected. The student, family and the community get advise and help not only during school year but afterwards too. -more-



Conn Hallinan
Friday June 10, 2016 - 09:09:00 AM

For the past quarter of a century there have been few watershed moments in Spanish political history. Like a well-choreographed pas de deux, the center-left Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and right-wing Popular Party (PP) have taken turns governing the country. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Lapses in Judgment

Jack Bragen
Friday June 10, 2016 - 09:11:00 AM

As someone who suffers from a severe psychotic disorder, even while medicated and in other treatment, my better judgment is sometimes out the window. This affects numerous aspects of my life. As an example in recent times, (even after getting most of my problems ironed-out) sometimes I have sent emails that I would have been better off never sending. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee--what's next?

Ralph E. Stone
Friday June 10, 2016 - 12:19:00 PM

Now that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential candidate, the Democratic Party must open the Convention to at least some of Sanders’ progressive ideas and give him a meaningful say in the Party's platform. If Sanders’ supporters are satisfied at the Convention, there is plenty of time between July and November for Sanders to play a unifying role to help beat Donald Trump. The alternative is a Trump presidency with Sanders relegated to a footnote in history. I doubt Sanders' movement could survive a four or eight year Trump presidency. -more-

Arts & Events

AROUND AND ABOUT MUSIC: Ojai Festival in Berkeley with Kaija Saariaho's 'La Passion de Simone' (Joana Carneiro conducting) & Tyshawn Sorey's 'Josephine Baker: A Portrait'

Ken Bullock
Friday June 10, 2016 - 01:07:00 PM

The Ojai Festival, with music director Peter Sellars, celebrating its 70th year of musical performances in the famous valley town southeast of Santa Barbara, will be hosted by Cal Performances in three Berkeley shows on the UCcampus next week: -more-

Kristian Bezuidenhout Plays Fortepiano

James Roy MacBean
Friday June 10, 2016 - 12:16:00 PM

Early keyboard specialist Kristian Bezuidenhout returned to Berkeley for a fortepiano recital on June 9 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church as part of the biannual Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, a showcase for early music. Bezuidenhout’s most recent appearance in Berkeley was in February performing Mozart’s 23rd piano concerto on fortepiano with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Then as in the present recital, Bezuidenhout’s playing displayed fantastic technique and a flair for subtle, refined interpretation. In his program for this recital, Bezuidenhout again featured the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He began the recital with an early Mozart work, the Klavierstück in F Major, K. 33b. This was a bouncy, bumptious piece, brief in length but full of youthful high spirits. Next came Mozart’s Sonata in C Major, K. 309, a work the composer wrote out and completed while in Mannheim on the ill-fated trip to Paris with his mother. In three movements, this C Major Sonata has a middle movement that is reputed to be a pensive musical portrait of Mademoiselle Cannabich, the daughter of Mozart’s new friend, Mannheim’s Kappelmeister Cannabich. The two outer movements are marked by bright, long runs, here performed with great finesse by Kristian Bezuidenhout. -more-

Violinist Rachel Podger Performs with Voices of Music

James Roy MacBean
Friday June 10, 2016 - 12:13:00 PM

Rachel Podger has recently been described by England’s Sunday Times as “the queen of the baroque violin,” and on Thursday evening, June 9, in Berkeley’s First Congregational Church Ms. Podger demonstrated why she has earned this moniker. In a program entirely devoted to Baroque Violin Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi, Ms. Podger was joined by Voices of Music, a group of outstanding Bay Area Baroque specialists. Voices of Music, founded by Hanneke van Proosdij and her husband David Tayler, has been called the most popular early music ensemble in the USA. -more-

Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra Celebrate Their 50th Anniversary with Benjamin Britten’s WAR REQUIEM

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday June 10, 2016 - 12:12:00 PM

It’s hard to believe the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra has been around for 50 years, and with only three music directors in all that time. Yet it’s true; and they celebrated their 50th anniversary on the weekend of June 3-5 with three inspired performances at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. Composed by Britten in the early 1960s, his War Requiem was commissioned by England’s Coventry Cathedral Festival to consecrate the new cathedral that replaced the old medieval one bombed to rubble by the Nazis in mid-November 1940. Britten, an ardent anti-war pacifist, had long admired the terse, moving poems written from the battlefield during World War I by Wilfred Owen, who was killed in action one week before the armistice was signed that ended World War I. Thus, when asked in 1960 to compose a work for Coventry, Britten opted to weave together some of Wilfred Owen’s texts and the old Latin Mass, thereby combining old and new, ancient and modern, just as the new Coventry Cathedral combined architectural elements of the old medieval cathedral now in ruins and the strikingly new cathedral which one enters through the ruins of the old. -more-

Clarification: On Nudity in SF Opera’s CARMEN

James Roy MacBean
Friday June 10, 2016 - 12:11:00 PM

In my review last week of SF Opera’s Carmen, I wrote that “there was no nudity I detected on opening night.” This was inaccurate, though true in a larger sense. Nudity did occur, but it was so extraneous to the ongoing story-line that it seemed to occur outside the opera as a gratuitous ploy of sheer sensationalism. On a bare, darkly lit stage, during the instrumental prelude to Act II, a nude man strode forward, paused, stared out at the audience, then ran off into the wings. “What in the world was that about?” I thought at the time, and promptly dismissed it as eminently forgettable. Indeed, it was so forgettable that when I sat down to write my review, I totally forgot it. Which was probably the best thing to do in regard to this off-the-wall, utterly meaningless sensationalism. -more-

Berkeley Civic Events, Week June 12 to June 19, 2016

Kelly Hammargren
Sunday June 12, 2016 - 08:16:00 AM

City Council returns to Council Chambers 2134 MLK Jr. Way. The week starts with minimum wage up again at Berkeley City Council on Tuesday. Thursday response to public records requests and the April 5 City Council meeting are heard at the Open Government Commission. Sunday June 19 is Juneteenth celebration in South Berkeley -more-