The Week

A Secret Service agent on the press shuttle at the Republican Convention
Chris Krohn
A Secret Service agent on the press shuttle at the Republican Convention


Freedom of the Press--for reporters with Secret Service credentials

Chris Krohn
Thursday July 21, 2016 - 01:43:00 PM

At this week’s Republican National Convention (RNC) the U.S. Secret Service is perhaps inadvertently redefining a free press. A.J. Liebling said that freedom of the press is only guaranteed to those who own one. He never met the Secret Service agent standing in the stairwell at the front of the press shuttle bus headed toward the RNC. -more-

The Battle for the Street in Cleveland

Chris Krohn
Thursday July 21, 2016 - 09:31:00 AM

Downtown Cleveland, Ohio has been in a state of near lockdown this week: more than Dallas, more than Baton Rouge, La., and perhaps even more than Bagdad. Groups of heavily armed police, military, US Marshals and Secret Service patrol the streets surrounding “the Q,” the Quicken Loans Arena where over 4,000 delegates and alternates of the Republican National Committee are holed up and set to nominate Donald J. Trump tonight as their candidate for President. The NBA’s Lebron James, who also performs at the Q, might be hard pressed to put up the kind of firepower now on display here in Cleveland, the “Rock and Roll Capitol of the World.” James’s shooting arsenal is formidable—hopefully we do not have to find out about any shots the police might take. -more-

New: Protesting the Republicans in Cleveland

Chris Krohn
Wednesday July 20, 2016 - 03:45:00 PM
Ohio is an open-carry state

You can openly carry an AR-15 automatic weapon around Cleveland, but don’t get caught with a tennis ball or they might lock you up. Tennis balls are on a lengthy list of prohibited articles in and around the Republican National Convention this week. To test the open tennis ball law, Code Pink’s, Medea Benjamin order five hundred and began distributing them, throwing, catching and otherwise playing with these spherical objects right outside the main pedestrian entrance of the RNC.

“People can walk around with assault weapons, but not tennis balls,” Benjamin told me as she watched other members of Code Pink perform a playful ‘Myth America pageant,’ in which each contestant says what kind of America they want to live in.

Also occurring yesterday afternoon in Cleveland’s Public Square, less than a half mile from the the Code Pink tennis ball confiscation, a group of a dozen men in various forms military dress and toting automatic weapons decided to exercise their open-carry law rights. When asked by the Planet what they were doing, a man wrapped in an ammunition cartridge belt and carrying an AR-15 said, “We are the West Ohio Minutemen, and our mission statement is to support the Second Amendment, and what we’re doing here pretty much makes that statement.” The group continued to march around an area that already held some 3000 protesters, many of whom were also exercising their rights of free speech, debating, discussing and carrying signs promoting a variety of political, social and religious issues. -more-

Press Release: Nanci Armstrong-Temple’s Response to the Berkeley Police Association

Nanci Armstrong-Temple, Candidate, District 2 City Council
Wednesday July 20, 2016 - 05:05:00 PM

What happened at last night’s Berkeley City Council Meeting was a disgrace. We are at a critical time and we need police accountability not deferment of a critical issue for the fourth time. -more-

Press Release: Roads in Marina reopened

Berkeley Police
Tuesday July 19, 2016 - 08:47:00 PM

Police activity in area of Berkeley Marina area has concluded, all roads have been reopened. No action required. -more-

Berkeley father, daughter drown in Hawaii

Scott Morris (BCN)
Tuesday July 19, 2016 - 05:19:00 PM

A Berkeley father and his 6-year-old daughter both drowned while visiting Hawaii on Saturday, the father when he jumped in the water to save his struggling daughter, local officials said. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Police advise avoiding Marina amid reports of man with rifle

Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Tuesday July 19, 2016 - 05:17:00 PM

Police are advising people to avoid the Berkeley Marina this afternoon because of a report of a man with a rifle in the area, a police spokesman said. -more-

New: Report from Cleveland
Women for Trump: Who are they, and why?

Chris Krohn
Tuesday July 19, 2016 - 01:17:00 PM

What Donald Trump says about women has not been pretty. Comments like “blood coming out of her wherever,” referring to some women as “pigs,” and others as having “an ugly face and body,” perhaps represent who Trump is as much as his orange mane might characterize his appearance. He’s gone so far as to say that Rosie O’Donnell is “ugly inside and out,” he’s criticized Angelina Jolie as being “not beautiful,” and he once even called a breast feeding mom, “disgusting.”

Here in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention this week are hundreds, perhaps thousands of female Trump supporters. I asked more than a dozen Republican women why they were supporting Donald Trump and whether they were concerned about his past comments and behavior concerning women. -more-

U.C. student injured in Berkeley BB gun shooting

Daniel Montes (BCN)
Monday July 18, 2016 - 08:51:00 PM

A University of California at Berkeley student suffered minor injuries in a shooting that occurred on campus early this morning, according to UC Berkeley police. -more-

U.C. Berkeley student confirmed dead in Nice

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Sunday July 17, 2016 - 07:09:00 PM

Officials with the University of California at Berkeley said a 20-year-old junior at the university was identified as one of the dozens of people who died in an attack Thursday in Nice, France. -more-

1500 San Pablo Avenue appeal to be heard at City Council

Toni Mester
Friday July 15, 2016 - 12:56:00 PM
1500 San Pablo Avenue: Alt B.

The health and welfare of children will be a primary focus of the public hearing on the neighbors’ appeal of 1500 San Pablo Avenue at the City Council on Tuesday July 19 at 7 PM.

The appeal has two components: the need for traffic mitigation and a request for design modifications based on expansion of underground parking.

The appeal was signed by 36 neighbors residing on surrounding streets: Jones, Ninth, Tenth, Cedar, and San Pablo Avenue. Their contention is that they were denied due process in influencing the decisions of the Zoning Adjustment Board, which did not adequately consider the detriments of the project and possible mitigations. In two meetings, the Design Review Committee had produced only cosmetic changes to the exterior and better natural lighting of long dark corridors. Neither design review nor ZAB tried to reduce the mass of the five story building that was the neighbors’ main complaint.

The appeal also criticizes the traffic and parking study conducted by AECOM, which looked at six major intersections, four on San Pablo and two on Sixth, but did not examine the patterns on Gilman, Ninth and Tenth, nor estimate the routes that drivers would take during the construction of the Gilman Interchange. Rather than demand a new traffic study, the appellants are asking for concrete bollards on Jones west of the project to prevent vehicles from traversing the adjacent streets. Examples of such diverters are Tenth and Camelia near REI and Berkeley Way at the entrance of Trader Joe’s. -more-

One UC Berkeley student missing, 3 injured in Nice attack

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Friday July 15, 2016 - 03:01:00 PM

Three University of California at Berkeley students were injured and one remains missing after an attack Thursday night in Nice, France, university officials said today. -more-

It was not a good week for the NRA (News Analysis)

Gar Smith
Friday July 15, 2016 - 01:11:00 PM

The National Rifle Association likes to argue that people need to carry guns for "self-defense" but real-world experience shows that merely having a gun in your possession can get you killed.

On July 5, Alton Sterling was pinned to the ground after a scuffle with police while selling CDs outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge. The incident, captured on private cellphones and surveillance cameras, shows Sterling immobilized, pinned to the floor by two officers. At this point, one of the police shouts, "He's got a gun!" An officer pulls his revolver from his holster and shoves it into Sterling's chest. He fires point blank. Stirling was shot several times in the chest and once in the back for good measure. As Stirling lies mortally wounded, an officer leans over his body and appears to wrench a gun from inside one of the dying man's pockets.

Initial reports all indicate that it was the presence of a gun that escalated the confrontation that got Stirling killed. At no point do the videos show Stirling actually holding a gun in his hands.

According to CBS News, Abdullah Muflahi, the owner of the convenience store, testified that Stirling "was not holding a gun during the shooting, but that he saw officers remove one from his pocket afterward." Muflahi is now suing the police for allegedly seizing the store's surveillance videos without a warrant. (The police also seized the shopkeeper's cellphone and detained him inside a locked squad car and a jail cell for six hours.)

Chris LeDay, an equipment technician at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, caught the incident on his cellphone and posted it online, where it went viral. Twenty-four hours later, LeDay found himself arrested and charged with "assault and battery." LeDay believes this was an instance of police "retaliation" for posting the video. The charges were eventually dropped and—after spending 26 hours in jail—LeDay was ordered to pay a fine for some unpaid parking tickets and released.

Good Guys versus Bad Guys -more-

Yes, Clinton's Emails Were Hacked and Now You Can Read Them Online

Gar Smith
Friday July 15, 2016 - 01:55:00 PM

While it is difficult to excuse invasions of privacy when it comes to the rights of ordinary citizens, it is sometimes necessary to oversee and rein-in the abuses of powerful politicians and corrupt business leaders.

Hillary Clinton's emails are so in-the-news these days, it is worth taking a moment to note that, yes, the former Secretary of State's emails were hacked and, yes, as a result, anyone can now spend an afternoon (or all night) online, pretending to be a Global Czar of Espionage while combing through Clinton's electronic exchanges.

There are some surprising discoveries to uncover. Read, for example, the inside story of how the "conquering powers" tried to out-maneuver one another in the hidden battle to take over Libya's oil resources. Read the memo that informs Clinton that the funding behind the deadly attack on the US embassy in Benghazi came from . . . Saudi Arabia.




Evil v. Good: it's the same old battle, still going on

Becky O'Malley
Saturday July 16, 2016 - 10:14:00 AM

“What fresh hell is this?”

The quotation is attributed, most often humorously, to Dorothy Parker, supposedly what she said when she answered the door, or perhaps the telephone.

It crossed my mind as I’ve been trying to decide what, if anything, is worth writing about this week.

Folks, we’ve have a rough couple of weeks, experiencing what the New York Times headlines as “a violent news cycle’. Yes, you could call it that.

A nightclub full of people attacked by a man claiming religious motivation. Two Black men senselessly gunned down by police within days of each other. Five policemen gunned down by a one crazed man openly carrying a legally-authorized assault weapon designed to kill many people quickly and efficiently, which it did. Another crazed man who didn’t need a gun running down a couple of hundred men, women and children strolling along a Riviera esplanade on a lovely holiday, killing very close to a hundred of them.

People all over the world seem to be going berserk (and that doesn’t even count whatever’s happening in Turkey as I write, which may or may not be irrational and might or might not succeed.)

It’s tempting to attribute all of this to the influence of the media: too much publicity given to too many bad actors which encourages others to emulate them, but you know what? It’s been going on for a long time. -more-

Public Comment

New: Convention

Bruce Joffee
Tuesday July 19, 2016 - 10:01:00 AM

Melania Trump had no words of her own to describe her husband. She had to steal Michelle Obama's praise of Barack Obama, spoken at the 2008 Democratic convention. There is a word that does describe the Shifty Huckster and his believers: unbelievable. -more-

Unbelievable yet again

Bruce Joffee
Saturday July 16, 2016 - 05:40:00 PM

At the post-Twitter announcement press conference that re-announced the selection of Mike Pence as his running mate, the Shifty Huckster said, "Ted Cruz is a good guy," twice. This, after months and months of the wannabe Bully-in-Chief calling Cruz a liar and denigrating Cruz' father. This is yet another example of a small, insecure con artist saying whatever he wants the audience to hear at any given moment, irrespective of previous statements or any actual reality attached to his words. His words are literally, and actually, unbelievable. -more-

An Open Letter to Congresswoman Barbara Lee about the Democratic platform

Raymond Barglow
Friday July 15, 2016 - 12:26:00 PM

Dear Representative Barbara Lee,

I belong to the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club here in the East Bay. What I say below reflects my own views, not any official position taken by the Club. I want first of all to thank you for your consistent support for non-violent alternatives to war and specifically for your opposition to Congressional “Authorization for Use of Military Force” in the aftermath of 9/11 and for your effort to end that authorization in May of this year.

I am also writing to express appreciation for the role you, as a member of the 2016 Democratic Party Platform Committee, have played in shaping the platform. I am one of those who voted for Bernie Sanders in the recently completed primary contest. Sanders has now endorsed Hillary Clinton, and both of them have called for a united campaign going forward. I hope – and I’m sure you do too – that we will all work together to elect progressive Democratic Party candidates in November and to implement a platform that both you and Sanders have acclaimed. (Sanders has hailed the document as “the most progressive Democratic platform in the history of our country.”) -more-

Politicians set bad example for children

Romila Khanna
Friday July 15, 2016 - 02:10:00 PM

hy do politicians want to smear the character of other people by using abusive words? People who are candidates to be President of the country should mind their language. Technology and media quickly relay the name-calling to a wide public. Even young children hear the news with their parents. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Hillary Can Win Big

Bob Burnett
Friday July 15, 2016 - 12:24:00 PM

Hillary Clinton staggered out of the worst week of her 2016 presidential campaign with a 3 percent lead over Donald Trump. Nonetheless, it’s likely she will move forward to a resounding victory in November. Here’s what Hillary needs to do. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: McAllister/Jones standoff demonstrates SFPD revised use of force policy saves lives

Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 15, 2016 - 12:51:00 PM

On July 6, I was on the 5-Fulton bus going home. The bus pulled into the bus stop at Jones and McAllister Streets here in San Francisco, when we saw a shirtless man facing two police officers with their guns drawn. The bus quickly moved on. I didn’t know the conclusion of the incident until it was reported in the news later that day. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: You Don't Have to Like Your Psychiatrist

Jack Bragen
Friday July 15, 2016 - 12:49:00 PM

In 1984, I disliked the psychiatrist I saw at Kaiser in Hayward. I had been noncompliant with medication and, as a result, had been put on injections of Prolixin administered by a nurse--so that persons who were treating me could be certain that I was medicated. -more-

Arts & Events

AROUND & ABOUT: JAZZ: Kalil Wilson Sings at the Mystic Hotel Saturday Night & the Calfornia Jazz Conservatory Sunday Afternoon

Ken Bullock
Friday July 15, 2016 - 02:29:00 PM

I've been talking about the street in the clubs," said jazz singer Kalil Wilson, "and if a conversation interrupts me on the street, I talk about the clubs! They complement each other--the street uses other colors on the palette you don't find in the clubs."

While mentioning his upcoming appearances in Berkeley and San Francisco, the brilliant El Cerrito vocalist told about something new in his diverse career that's crossed genres from composing and songwriting to studying ethnomusicology, singing opera and jazz to rhythm & blues and funk--and now busking, playing on "the street."

He's set himself up with a keyboard at downtown Berkeley BART, at Rockridge and on Fourth Street, sometimes alone, sometimes with members of his band Love or other musical friends and collaborators. And, pleasantly surpised by what he's found, enjoys it.

"Jazz musicians, like classical musicians, haven't always enjoyed listenership from modern sensibilities," Kalil noted. "And in the clubs, where I'll be concentrating on making amazing music with my friends, people talk about other things than the music." -more-

Edwin Outwater Conducts Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday July 15, 2016 - 01:45:00 PM

San Francisco Symphony offered two performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Friday-Saturday, July 8-9, at Davies Hall, conducted by Edwin Outwater, now in his third season as Director of Summer Concerts at SF Symphony. Beethoven’s Ninth, of course, is a major milestone in any conductor’s career, and Outwater met the challenge with an excellent performance, leading his orchestra, soloists and chorus in a fiery yet tightly controlled reading of this great symphony. -more-

Monteverdi’s L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA Staged by Opera Theater Unlimited

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday July 20, 2016 - 01:07:00 PM

Opera Theater Unlimited is a young company, having produced till now only Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw, which ran last September at San Francisco’s Exit Theatre on Eddy Street. Now they have produced a lively, well sung, exquisitely acted L’Incoronazione di Poppea by Claudio Monteverdi, which was offered Friday-Saturday, July 15-16, at Exit Theatre. -more-