The Week

These Berkeleyans were in the group of ten whose entry into Berkeley's city administration building was barred by city employees during business hours last week. L to R: Moni T. Law, Tom Luce, Kyla Whitmore, Nanci Armstrong-Temple
These Berkeleyans were in the group of ten whose entry into Berkeley's city administration building was barred by city employees during business hours last week. L to R: Moni T. Law, Tom Luce, Kyla Whitmore, Nanci Armstrong-Temple


New: Jesse Arreguín is right to oppose Jerry Brown’s anti-democratic give-away to the real estate industry

Zelda Bronstein
Tuesday August 02, 2016 - 09:01:00 PM

In his July 19 op-ed on, Garret Christensen slammed Berkeley City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguín for opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s Trailer Bill 707. Christensen called the legislation “an important state affordable housing bill” that “Berkeley and its councilmembers, especially those with aspirations of becoming mayor should welcome…with open arms.” “[I]t is truly baffling to me,” he declared, “why anyone who calls themselves a progressive is opposed to the governor’s proposal.”

In fact, Trailer Bill 707 is opposed by many people besides Arreguín who call themselves progressives—for example, the representatives of the sixty-plus organizations, including Public Advocates, the Council of Community Housing Organizations, Jobs with Justice San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and SEIU 1021, who signed a July 8 letter urging the state legislature to reject the bill.

Brown’s proposal, they wrote, “gives developers the power to force approval of projects “’by right’ without public or environmental review.”

For Christensen, the lack of public or environmental review is a boon that would eliminate “Berkeley’s extra layers of approval requirements.” What he deems “extra” is anything beyond the “objective zoning standards” specified in the bill.

The problem: zoning is an essential but limited land use planning tool. A development could meet a city’s zoning and still displace existing tenants, small businesses, and jobs. By removing the right to negotiate with developers over such issues, Brown’s bill puts communities, especially disadvantaged ones, at the mercy of the real estate industry. Meanwhile, as the letter cited above notes, “privileged communities…can merely maintain or redesign zoning restrictions to keep out affordable housing.” -more-

New: Five robberies of Southside Berkeley pedestrians on Monday night prompt police warning

Daniel Montes (BCN)
Tuesday August 02, 2016 - 09:37:00 PM

Police are advising Berkeley residents to beware after five robberies were reported Monday night within minutes of each other in the city's Southside neighborhood, near the University of California at Berkeley. -more-

Statement on U.S. Airstrikes in Libya

Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Monday August 01, 2016 - 09:57:00 AM

I am deeply concerned about the expansion of U.S. airstrikes in Libya. The U.S. military continues to become more engaged in the Middle East, despite the lack of a Congressional debate or specific authorization. -more-

Berkeley city employees deny citizens' right to petition by blocking entry to civic center building

Nanci Armstrong-Temple
Friday July 29, 2016 - 03:31:00 PM

Last week some concerned citizens in Berkeley decided to petition the council to have a special meeting to put the issue of the police commission, by-right development, and the minimum wage on the agenda to be heard before the council went on vacation. We understood that by the time the council returned from vacation it would be too late to meet the deadline for the ballot.

We were incensed at the callous disregard that the council showed in putting off the police review commission issue for the fourth time. In order to highlight the injustices perpetrated by the Berkeley police department, as well as to participate in the national call for actions in support of the Movement for Black Lives, we called on other community members to join us.

As it turned out, three of our elected representatives agreed with our proposal and believed we could get additional signatures.

A hearty group of 10 folks came to the Martin Luther King, Jr. building and expected to have a meeting with those representatives as well as interns from the CORO project.

There was no covert or dangerous behavior.

We talked with two additional council members outside of city hall who indicated their willingness to talk with us about our petition.

When we arrived at the city administration building it was clear that the police were waiting for a demonstration. The gate that is usually open was closed; people were told that they had to have an appointment to enter the building.

But despite our appointment, despite our constitutional rights to gather to petition our elected officials for a redress of grievances, the City Managers office refused to let us enter into the building. Despite the fact that it was obvious that there was no threat and that the people present were there in good faith, we were blocked from entering the building. -more-

We Came in Peace: City Staff Banned us from Building

Moni T. Law, Nanci Armstrong-Temple, Tom Luce,Kyla Whitmore
Saturday July 30, 2016 - 10:00:00 AM

A few Berkeley citizens met a guy named "Justice" recently on the steps of the city's government building. Ironically, we were ten peaceful residents participating in a BlackLivesMatter inspired gathering who were banned from entering the building. We were forced to talk with Justice outside on the steps. On Thursday, July 21, 2016, we experienced a shocking lock down of the City of Berkeley's Administration building on Milvia Avenue. We were a small group of ten people comprised of a faith leader, Cal students, Cal alumni and a new Bay Area resident. On a National Day of Action called by groups concerned about Black and Brown lives, a small group decided to create a Berkeley event for Black Lives. -more-

Updated: Suspected Berkeley gang members among those arrested in homicide investigation

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday July 29, 2016 - 03:08:00 PM

Four reputed gang members and associates,including Berkeley residents, have been arrested for the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man in East Oakland earlier this month, police said today. -more-



Change gonna come, oh yes it will

Becky O'Malley
Friday July 29, 2016 - 02:52:00 PM

So there I was in the car, on my way to the Farmers’ Market, radio on as usual, with NPR covering the Democratic convention, and I heard Bernie Sanders’ booming voice moving the nomination of Hillary Clinton by acclamation. To my enormous surprise (and luckily I wasn’t driving) I felt tears coming to my eyes and rolling down my cheeks.


No way, I thought, did I care all that much who the nominee was going to be, since the Republican primary the week before had made it clear to all rational political beings that the job at hand for the next 100 days would be defeating Donnie Twimp, no matter who the Democrats backed.

At the market, just as I was trying figure out if the tomatoes were really ripe, I got a call from my sister on my cell phone. Yes, she’d been crying too (I had stopped by that time) and she pinpointed why we were both so affected: What a shame our mother didn’t live to see this day. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

She's in the money, honey

Tuesday August 02, 2016 - 08:57:00 PM

If you’re the kind of person who wants to vote for the candidate with the most money, Nancy Skinner’s your kinda gal. The Planet received this press release from one Parke Skelton in her campaign organization:

“Skinner with huge fundraising advantage over Swanson as campaign heads into November general election.

Nancy Skinner, who finished in first place by a wide margin in the June primary election for State Senate District 9, holds a massive fundraising edge over Sandre Swanson as the campaign heads to the general election.

The just released 6/30/16 filings in this race showed Nancy Skinner with $936,369 COH and $34,469 in debt. Swanson had just $76,448 on hand with a staggering $98,559 in debt. Swanson’s campaign is more than $22,000 in the red.

Skinner made the strategic decision to spend very little in June to preserve cash for the run-off. Swanson spent everything he had – and more. Swanson was forced to loan himself $67,000 on 6/28 just to keep the lights on in his campaign office.

Skinner’s filing can be found here:

Swanson’s filing can be found here:

You might want to click on those links to check out who contributed what to which campaign. One caught my eye up top: Skinner got $1,000 from Pepsico,Inc. Does that make Pepsi her Sugar Daddy?


Read this

Sunday July 31, 2016 - 10:54:00 PM

The very first story I wrote for the Bay Guardian, in 1974 (??), and possibly the first story I ever wrote for publication, was an expose of the political schemes surrounding the desire to tear down the old Transbay Terminal and replace it with something more profitable for someone. With the help of Lowell Bergman I found a bit of Mafia involvement in that one, which earned me a credible threat that if I said anything else like that in print I'd be sorry. Unfortunately, I didn't know anything else, and they tore it down without my permission, but now, ha-ha, this is the I-told-you-so moment:

That sinking feeling in San Francisco

This moment doesn't belong to you.

UC Berkeley student struggling to pay tuition is facing homelessness

Water main breaks on Cornell Street


Public Comment

New: “Will the Democratic Party Ever be the Same After the 2016 Convention?”

Chris Krohn, Special to The Planet
Sunday July 31, 2016 - 11:23:00 AM

Democracy can be messy. And it was in Philadelphia this past week, a week that saw Hillary Clinton supporters going head to head on policy with Bernie Sanders delegates. It was likely good for the party and good for the American political system. When a democratic socialist garners almost thirteen million votes and wins twenty-two primaries in a presumably capitalist country, there’s going to be some fireworks at the national political convention and we were not disappointed. -more-

Lock Him Up!

Bruce Joffee
Friday July 29, 2016 - 03:47:00 PM

At the Democratic convention, Representative Joe Crawley recounted how, after 9/11, the Republican Congress refused to vote for recovery funds for New York. Senator Hillary Clinton fought for, and obtained $20 billion for New York. What did Donald Trump do? He applied for and received some of those funds, even though none of his buildings were damaged. That is fraud. What should be the consequence for his greedy, illegal action? As the Republicans are fond of saying, "lock him up." -more-

Candidate Trump

Romila Khanna
Friday July 29, 2016 - 03:47:00 PM

It was encouraging to hear at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland that the presidential nominee Donald Trump will make America great again. But our multilingual and multicultural society wants to know exactly how presidential candidate Trump will make America great again. -more-

Has UC Berkeley become an Academic AirB'n'B?

Gar Smith
Friday July 29, 2016 - 03:16:00 PM

I admit it: I derive a perverse pleasure from listening to the radio ads on KCBS. -more-

August Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Sunday July 31, 2016 - 01:35:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money.

This is a Very Good Deal. Go for it! -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: 5 Takeaways from the Democratic Convention

Bob Burnett
Friday July 29, 2016 - 09:55:00 AM

The 2016 Democratic convention concluded with Hillary Clinton’s paean to American exceptionalism. She contrasted “morning in America” with Donald Trump’s “the barbarians are at the gates.” In addition to the stark contrast in the vision of the two candidates, we learned five things at the conventions. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: I'm Voting for Hillary, and Here's Why

Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 29, 2016 - 09:41:00 AM

I will vote for Hillary Clinton no matter what happens between now and November. I figure a vote for a third-party candidate or not voting at all is really a vote for Trump. I am not only voting for Clinton, but I am also voting for the democratic platform, which is not perfect, but is, thanks to Sanders, the most progressive Democratic Party platform in history. True, if Clinton wins, she is not beholden to follow it. But then again, there will be a lot of pressure for her to adopt some or all of it. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: More About Mindfulness

Jack Bragen
Friday July 29, 2016 - 03:02:00 PM

Since I have a severe psychotic disorder and significant mood issues, mindfulness, for me, is an essential adjunct to medication and talk therapy. However, if I am not careful, mindfulness can downgrade into negative rumination. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Janáček’s CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN at West Edge Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday July 31, 2016 - 10:50:00 AM

Kicking off their 2016 Summer Season, West Edge Opera opened with Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen on Saturday, July 30, at West Oakland’s abandoned train station. Coming on the heels of San Francisco Opera’s beautifully sung Jenufa by Janáček, The Cunning Little Vixen shows us another side of this erstwhile composer whose musical and cultural roots lie deep within his native Moravian soil. Whereas Jenufa explores Moravian peasant culture, Vixen examines the fertile life of the animals and humans who live in the Moravian forests. Vixen is thus a kind of Aesops fable, in which animals have human characteristics, and the humans, well, they take on quite a few animal characteristics. -more-

Theater Review: 'The Tempest' at John Hinkel Park

Ken Bullock
Friday July 29, 2016 - 09:52:00 AM

'The Tempest,' Free Weekend Afternoon Performances, at John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre

Miranda: Oh wonder!/How many goodly creatures are there here!/How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,/That has such people in 't!

Prospero: Tis new to thee.

Prospero the Magician's admonition to his daughter's gushing, on the verge of their return from the exile of an isle like Bermuda was imagined to be, back to Milan, is as quietly telling as Hamlet's raucous self-rebuke carried out to the race, 'What a piece of work is a man! ... The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me , what is this quintessence of dust?"

Inferno Theatre's free, plein air weaving of 'The Tempest' 's spells in John Hinkel Park's old New Deal CWA Amphitheatre, dedicated to "cultural recreation" in 1934, hits so many of the "Coincidentia Oppositorum," the opposites of mood and humor on earth that coincide in the infinite, a Renaissance ideal, that picnickers may halfway imagine themselves on The Bard's island of spirits, tamed by Prospero's magic ... -more-