The Week

 Staff, board members and young artists of Youth Spirit Artworks have chosen to create a new partnership with Street Spirit. Photo by YSA
Staff, board members and young artists of Youth Spirit Artworks have chosen to create a new partnership with Street Spirit. Photo by YSA


THE EDITOR’S BACK FENCE: Social Notes from All Over

Becky O'Malley
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - 04:55:00 PM

That was the title of my mother’s favorite part of the New Yorker, alas now just about abandoned. I’ve been hoping to revive it—I’ve always thought the Planet should have a gossip column, and I guess if I want one I’ll just have to do it myself.

First item: In the ‘80s or ‘90s, could anyone have imagined that a fundraiser for a candidate for the Mayor of Berkeley would be co-hosted in the 21st Century by Mayor Gus Newport and Mayor Shirley Dean?

Next thing you know, the lion will be lying down with the lamb. -more-

Protesters set up tent city on Adeline in Berkeley

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - 01:50:00 PM

A group of about 20 homeless people have set up a small tent city on a median in the middle of Adeline Street near the Berkeley Bowl grocery store to protest the way the city of Berkeley is allocating aid to people who live on the streets. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The 2nd Debate: Hillary Stares Down A Bully

Bob Burnett
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - 12:48:00 PM

It was the presidential debate I expected but hoped wouldn't happen. In the October 9th St. Louis debate, Donald Trump was vicious. He threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Hillary Clinton; hurling insult after insult, lie after lie. But Clinton held her ground, managed to look and act presidential, and emerged victorious. -more-

Planet endorsements for south and west Berkeley

Phil Allen, West Berkeley
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - 01:46:00 PM

About the Planet's endorsement of Nanci for the District 2 council seat...

It was published after the candidates' sell-gathering at the lovely South Berkeley Community Church on Fairview on the evening of October 5, the one many attended.

If I had known nothing about either D-2 candidate who showed, I'd say that the first to speak--Cheryl Davila--made specific points from a focused platform. She got deserved applause--several times.

The second--Nanci Armstrong-Temple--impressed me as a civic figure in the making, a grande presence, almost Earth-motherly. Then she opened her mouth and nothing came out. Hesitation and gulps of silence at this stage of her campaign are not encouraging. And why she's never mentioned the Thomas Paine award presented her last March, I'll never know. She did receive applause, and should. The two progressives attempting to unhorse the incumbent have run mutually non-hostile campaigns for a key seat, without one being overtly hounded as a spoiler. -more-

October 14, 1066

Phil Allen
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - 12:36:00 PM

We are weeks away from a fateful day for both city and country. It could presage catastrophe. Healing could take generations, if there is time this time.

As we prepare, let us reflect upon another such moment, the one date every English-speaking schoolboy was once expected to know. On Friday, October 14, evening newscasts may conclude with a brief commemoration of that heated day-long battle. It too ended around supper time. It will be quietly observed around here, if at all, but look for an ad in The Times.

Because it lies in the peace of 950 years of distance, the Battle of Hastings reposes as indifferently in the modern mind as the shaded uphill field upon which it was fought. There is no nod to it in cinema, probably because the ‘knights in shining armour’ deal was centuries away. Shakespeare and Co. avoided it, despite its rich dramatic underpinnings. Hell, even the ceremonial kneeling cushions wondrously embroidered by the ladies of Exeter Cathedral omit the losing king’s presence—he alone of over 1000 years of English rulers. In 1950, Hope Muntz’ bardic The Golden Warrior redressed these oversights in an overlooked literary masterpiece. -more-

An In-Depth Probe of Stravinsky by Esa-Pekka Salonen & London Philharmonia

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - 12:34:00 PM

Cal Performances hosted London’s Philharmonia Orchestra led by Esa-Pekka Salonen for three concerts, October 7-9, at Zellerbach Hall. Two of the three concerts focused on works by Igor Stravinsky. Although the famed Le Sacre du Printemps/Rite of Spring was scheduled for Saturday, I opted for the Sunday afternoon concert featuring Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and his opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is performed quite regularly, and it is often danced, either in Nijinsky’s original choreography or in some new version. As this was a simple concert version of Rite of Spring, and because I was unable to schedule more than one concert this weekend, I chose to attend works by Stravinsky that are far less often heard. I was by no means disappointed with my choice. -more-

After the second debate

Bruce Joffe
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - 12:27:00 PM

With all his sniffing and huffing and puffing, the Sexual Predator failed to keep his hot air balloon from deflating. He prowled the stage, pointing at Hillary, attacking her with the same old lies that have been debunked scores of times. He even threatened to have her jailed if he were to become president, oblivious to the irony that he himself may be convicted for bribing the Florida Attorney General, for bilking thousands of Trump University students, and for using his so-called charitable foundation for personal gain. -more-

Press Release: Community: Carjacking ends with two in Custody

Berkeley Police Department
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - 01:52:00 PM

On 10/06/16 at 11:59pm, the victim parked her car on the 2100 block of Prince Street and exited when she was approached by three male adults, one armed with a handgun. They told her to get back into her car. The victim dropped her purse, cell phone, car keys, and ran. The suspects picked up her property and fled the area in her vehicle. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Spain’s Turmoil & Europe’s Crisis

Conn Hallinan
Friday October 07, 2016 - 12:25:00 PM

While the chaos devouring Spain’s Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) mixed elements of farce and tragedy, the issues roiling Spanish politics reflect a general crisis in the European Union (EU) and a sober warning to the continent: Europe’s 500 million people need answers, and the old formulas are not working. -more-

Around & About--Music: Berkeley Symphony Opener on Thursday

Ken Bullock
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - 12:06:00 PM

Berkeley Symphony's season opener this Thursday, October 13, 7 p/ m., featuring Erich Korngold's Violin Concerto (1945) with soloist Philippe Quint, the world premire of Berkeley composer Paul Dresher's Crazy Eights and Fractured symmetries and Stravinsky's Petrushka (1910-11, revised 1947) at Zellerbach Hall on the UC campus (near Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way), will be conducted by Edwin Outwater of the San Francisco and Ontario's Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies. -more-

The campaign to save Street Spirit: Bay Area street newspaper suddenly threatened with termination

Jess Clarke
Saturday October 08, 2016 - 10:18:00 AM
On the day that Alliance Recycling Center was shut down by the City of Oakland, film-maker Amir Soltani (at right) listened intently as Ohio Smith showed him how much he earned by recycling on the final day.

[Editor's note: This article first appeared in Street Spirit.]

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has announced that after 22 years of sponsorship, they will cease funding the operations of Street Spirit as of December 31, 2016.

Terry Messman, founding editor of Street Spirit, said, “The news came as a complete shock to all of us, especially since Street Spirit had just completed our most successful year ever, with an amazing outpouring of good writers, and our participation in some highly meaningful solidarity campaigns with activist groups. Also, the AFSC had just funded a $15,000 evaluation and planning process to guide the paper for the next 3-5 years.

“So it came completely out of the blue. We were given absolutely no advance warning that they were planning to shut down the program due to AFSC’s budget shortages. I was stunned to realize that more than 100 disabled, elderly and homeless vendors would lose their livelihood. And all the dozens of writers who have done such dedicated work for Street Spirit would be silenced, and all the activist groups we stand in solidarity with would lose their major media outlet.” -more-

Youth Spirit Artworks Launches Campaign to Build a New Home for Street Spirit

Jess Clarke
Saturday October 08, 2016 - 10:17:00 AM
Sally Hindman (at right) organized a sleep-out at Old City Hall last winter in protest of Berkeley’s anti-homeless laws. A longtime homeless advocate and an original co-founder of Street Spirit, Hindman is now involved in the campaign to save the paper

“Please join the Save Our Street Spirit Campaign. We can’t afford to lose this essential platform for human rights and social justice, and we can’t let down the 100-plus vendors for whom this is a literal lifeline.”

-- Sally Hindman, executive director, Youth Spirit Artworks

When the members of Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) heard the devastating news that Street Spirit could be shut down, these youthful leaders immediately began brainstorming ways to support the Save Our Street Spirit Campaign. -more-

Protestors' Tents Raided

Carol Denney
Friday October 07, 2016 - 04:52:00 PM
Rob Williams agreeing with the "Where are we supposed to go?" question chalked on the shattuck sidewalk after the raid.

The dozen or so tents in front of the Berkeley Food and Housing Project protesting the housing crisis were raided at dawn Friday morning, October 7, 2016, by the City of Berkeley according to several activists now collected in front of the Downtown Berkeley Association's (DBA) headquarters on Shattuck Avenue. -more-

Berkeley Daily Planet Endorsements for the Berkeley City Races

Becky O'Malley
Saturday October 08, 2016 - 11:48:00 AM

Okay, I know, it’s kind of cheating. But anyone who reads what I write knows that I’m not an armchair commentator, but someone who’s been a political activist all my life. I’m a quasi-founding (joined but did no work) member of the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, started by stalwart community members who had decades of experience in the muddy trenches of the Left, who wanted to give the Democratic Party one more chance. They’ve done a good job—a notable success was their winning endorsement of outsider Tony Thurmond for the state legislature as a counter to the stodgier Democratic Party establishment (also called The Machine, though that’s an insult to the first Chicago Mayor Daley).

So, without further ado, I’ve simply posted a file of the whole glossy and handsome Wellstone endorsement flier with my personal blessing on its recommendations. If you have that kind of printer, you can even print it out at home and distribute it to your neighbors, or hand it out downtown, or whatever. A one-page cheat sheet with all the Wellstone choices to take to the polls can be found here.

Here are the Wellstone Democrats' choices for the Berkeley City Council, followed by my own version of the options: -more-

Berkeley Democratic Caucus endorses Jesse Arreguin for Mayor

Elisa Cooper
Saturday October 08, 2016 - 12:58:00 PM

The October 5th launch of the Berkeley Democratic Caucus, which took place at the South Berkeley Community Church, brought the power of local engagement to South Berkeley in the 2016 election season.

The audience of over 40 Berkeley residents packed the small church for the opportunity to hear the platforms of the candidates, and, after the campaign speeches, mingle with them in a warm and friendly space. Former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport was in attendance and asked the candidates some challenging questions! -more-

Endorsements for state ballot measures

Tim Redmond, San Francisco Bay Guardian
Saturday October 08, 2016 - 03:08:00 PM

Editor's note: We've asked our friend Tim Redmond, former editor of the old San Francisco Bay Guardian, now editor of and steward of the SFBG's current endorsement venture, for permission to reprint his gloss on which state ballot measures to vote on, and why. -more-

Measures and Propositions: Progressive endorsers

Margot Smith
Friday October 07, 2016 - 04:13:00 PM

Editor's Note: We're eternally grateful to Margot Smith for all the good work she volunteers to publicize all sorts of good causes in both politics and the arts. Here are some excellent charts she's compiled of the recommendations of groups with a progressive bent for the local and state measures and propositions. Click on the pictures to enlarge them if the print's too small for you to read. -more-

Big Landlords Raise Big Bucks to Fight Measure U1

Rob Wrenn
Friday October 07, 2016 - 01:40:00 PM

A group sponsored by the Berkeley Property Owners Association (BPOA) has already spent more than $497,000 this year to defeat a common-sense measure to fund affordable housing. Measure U1, endorsed by every member of the City Council, would increase the business license tax paid by landlords who own five or more rental units in Berkeley from 1.08% to 2.88% of their gross receipts.

With rents soaring, landlords in Berkeley now collect $82 million more a year than five years ago. Measure U1 would collect an estimated $4 million in year one, with revenues gradually increasing over time. The median rent for new tenancies in two bedroom apartments in rent controlled buildings increased by 53% between 2011 and 2015.

The BPOA group sponsored an alternative measure, DD, which would raise the tax to only 1.5% and which does not exempt owners of fewer than five units from the increase. Measure DD is projected to raise only about $1.4 million each year. -more-

East Bay state Senate District 9: Sandré Swanson

Becky O'Malley
Saturday October 08, 2016 - 03:14:00 PM

We’re supporting Sandre Swanson because he’s not beholden to the statewide Democratic establishment, reflected in Berkeley as the Bates/Capitelli Moderate Majority on the Berkeley City Council.

My own personal reason for liking Sandré is that he got his start working to support Shirley Chisholm for President in 1972, as did the superb Barbara Lee. I loved working on that campaign myself in Michigan, and am happy that we’ve all lived long enough to see an African-American and probably a woman elected to the presidency, though Ms. Chisholm would have been both at the same time. This district is one of the few in the state that can provide an African American voice at the state level, and we should just do it. -more-

What's beyond Reich's endorsement? (Public Comment)

Joanna Graham
Friday October 07, 2016 - 01:34:00 PM

I have a pretty simple explanation for Robert Reich’s endorsement of Laurie Capitelli. Robert Reich worked for the Bill Clinton administration. So did Loni Hancock. Might they not have crossed paths at that time? If so, the Hancock-Bates crowd may be the crowd (or at least a crowd) that Reich hangs with now that he is in Berkeley. Dinner parties and all that. -more-

New: About Robert Reich: Things Are Seldom What They Seem!!!

Harry Brill
Saturday October 08, 2016 - 09:15:00 PM

In 1993, when Robert Reich was head of head of the U.S. Department of Labor, he supported President Clinton's notorious NAFTA legislation, which decimated about 700,000 domestic jobs. In other ways as well, the law was harmful to working people and their families. He denied that there would be any major net job loss despite the evidence. Later on he acknowledged the damage NAFTA caused. -more-



Election endorsements in the works

Friday October 07, 2016 - 05:24:00 PM

AAND they’re OFF!

The ballots formerly known as “absentees”, for the use of those who will vote by mail, or by hand delivery to the county clerk, will be mailed out next week. When registered voters have them in hand, they can vote at home right away (even though it’s only October) and mail them back (don’t forget that stamp) or take them to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office, 1225 Fallon Street, Room G-1,Oakland, CA 94612. Or they can just show up at that office and vote there.

And if they forget to do any of these things, they can hand deliver their ballots to their local polling place on Election Day, November 8.

There is still time to register in a variety of ways, right up until 15 days before the election. Look here for the details.

It’s customary for publications of various sorts to endorse candidates, and since some of our readers will be voting next week, we should get down to brass tacks.

This weekend I’ll be working on a roundup of all credible endorsements, to be posted in the "Election Section" in this issue as fast as I can get around to it. Stay tuned. -more-

Public Comment

Objections to Mather LifeWays/PSR demolition and development plans, #ZP2016-0165, 1798 Scenic Avenue

Berkeley neighbors of Pacific School of Religion (see below)
Saturday October 08, 2016 - 06:32:00 PM

An open letter to Carol Johnson, Acting Director, Berkeley Planning Department, Berkeley City Council

Berkeley is a unique city, blessed with numerous historic resources. Unfortunately, some of the most iconic architectural heritage sites throughout Berkeley have not been designated as city landmarks owing to a state-mandated religious exemption. Currently, many local religious institutions are experiencing financial difficulties and considering alternative uses of their buildings and lands. The key issue is whether an alternative use will respect the heritage of the site or desecrate it.

We would like the leaders and managers of the City of Berkeley to work to ensure that religious exemption does not become systemically used as a loophole for destroying historic resources in Berkeley, and to see to it that reuse occurs in a manner that respects and retains their historic fabric and character and that of the neighborhoods in which they are located.

A prime example of this issue is the proposed project at the Pacific School of Religion’s campus, located on what is commonly known as Holy Hill. This project represents a worst-case scenario in terms of balancing reuse with preservation of historic character and open space. The project would demolish, rather than incorporate, many buildings of architectural significance; it would cut down redwood groves and live oak stands; reduce and enclose open space; and block off one of the most iconic bay vistas available to the public. Beyond the damage done to the Pacific School of Religion campus, this project would destroy the fabric of the surrounding residential neighborhood through the introduction of density that is totally out of scale with the area and cannot be supported by existing single-lane road access.

The PSR/Mather proposal will be a testing ground for Berkeley: Do we intend to allow development to destroy the elements that make our city unique, or shall we cultivate our development to preserve our historical treasures? Do we want to follow the architectural sameness found in every suburb, or can we take a stand to retain those unique spaces and buildings that fill Berkeley’s residents with civic pride and spiritual uplift? We choose the latter. -more-

The Housing Crisis in Berkeley

Michael Diehl
Saturday October 08, 2016 - 10:17:00 AM
 Housing activists speak to a local reporter about the little tent city they set up near the Berkeley Food and Housing Project in early October. Activist Michael Diehl (at right) is shown taking part in the demonstration.

Every day I hear the desperation of people on the street. We need a revival of street action and protest in Berkeley.

Fences everywhere. Construction everywhere. Berkeley, driven in part by the expansion policies of the University of California, is developing big time. During the week of September 17, many members of the houseless community and residents found a large section of downtown Berkeley fenced off with “no trespassing” signs put up as the public commons is once again taken away from us. -more-

Send vibration of love and peace

Romila Khanna
Friday October 07, 2016 - 05:57:00 PM

Americans have always thought and debated to find the best solutions to address their problems. More recently, over the past seven years, Congress has not paid attention to the dire need of poor and needy people to have safety and security. Our failed immigration system, our inability to control the drug trade, and guns in the hands of insane people, is making our own country a miniature war zone where innocent people die from gun violence. We pay more attention to the other countries and their terrorists attacks but we forget to screen and remove terrorist networks here. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Is It Possible to Reconcile with Trump Voters?

Bob Burnett
Friday October 07, 2016 - 01:30:00 PM

The last question asked in the October 4th vice-presidential was on a subject all Americans should worry about: "It has been a divisive campaign... if your ticket wins, what specifically are you going to do to unify the country and reassure the people who voted against you?" Democrat Tim Kaine replied that he was confident that Hillary Clinton could unify the US because she is a proven conciliator. Republican Mike Pence asserted Donald Trump would unify the country by making "America great again." -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:U.S. Diplomacy: A Dangerous Proposal

Conn Hallinan
Friday October 07, 2016 - 02:00:00 PM

While the mainstream media focuses on losers and winners in the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there is a largely unreported debate going on over the future course of U.S. diplomacy. Its outcome will have a profound effect on how Washington projects power—both diplomatic and military—in the coming decade. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits and Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday October 07, 2016 - 01:50:00 PM

"Equity Permits": from Oaksterdam to Wall Street

SF Chronicle columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr. recently ripped the "equity program" that some Oakland community members want to see incorporated into the city's new laws legalizing the cultivation and sale of marijuana ("Half-baked Oakland Pot Plan a Buzzkill," September 30, 2016). Taylor noted that established weed-dealers fear the compensatory codicil could "bottleneck the city's pot trade." -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Continued Improvement with Time

Jack Bragen
Friday October 07, 2016 - 01:19:00 PM

My condition, and being heavily medicated for it, over time, has caused me to have fewer capabilities in some areas of life. It is harder for me to drive a car than it once was. (Albeit, some of this difficulty stems from increased unpredictability of other drivers, who are talking on the phone and/or texting while driving, or perhaps they got their driver's license out of the proverbial Cracker Jack box.) -more-