The Week

Hundreds gathered at Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park at 7:00 AM today, November 18,  to greet the dawn and show Berkeley solidarity after the national election results by forming a giant peace symbol.  Mayor elect Jesse Arreguin and Councilmember Linda Maio and incoming Councilmember Sophie Hahn spoke, and joined with other elected officials in a line behind noted Berkeley folk singer Gary Lapow who sang his own version of "Hallejah" for and with the crowd.
Steven Finacom
Hundreds gathered at Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park at 7:00 AM today, November 18, to greet the dawn and show Berkeley solidarity after the national election results by forming a giant peace symbol. Mayor elect Jesse Arreguin and Councilmember Linda Maio and incoming Councilmember Sophie Hahn spoke, and joined with other elected officials in a line behind noted Berkeley folk singer Gary Lapow who sang his own version of "Hallejah" for and with the crowd.


Flash: Berkeley Raids Tent Group One Day Before Peace Event

Carol Denney
Thursday November 17, 2016 - 10:26:00 AM
Homeless evictees rest briefly on the Post Office steps before postal police evict them again.

The tent city which had relocated to Civic Center park after being evicted from near the Berkeley Food and Housing Project (BFHP)on Fairview at Adeline was raided again early Thursday, November 17, 2016, one day before the progressive victors in Berkeley elections will convene in the same park to create a human peace sign. -more-

New: On the Berkeley elections: "hello darkness, my old friend"

Thomas Lord
Wednesday November 16, 2016 - 01:52:00 PM

At the end of the movie "The Graduate", Benjamin stands in the vestibule of the church pounding a single demand on its grand glass entryway: "Elaine!"

As Elaine abandons the altar, her eyes fixed on Ben, she takes her hypnotic walk back down the aisle. We see arrayed around her an older generation's bondage: middle class conformity, consumerism, patriarchy, sex (furtive and transgressive) as a social weapon, a business world distilled to a single word - "plastics".

For a moment, the soundtrack mutes the angry voices of those who came to see her wed. There are only red faces, teeth bared in awful grimaces. We see them shouting but their words are gone. The sound returns only as anger turns to violence when the soldiers of the social order try to snatch back the youths from the brink of terrible freedom.

In one of the most overwrought visual metaphors in cinema -- striking in an otherwise low-key film -- Ben drives back the angry mob by swinging wildly at them with a cross from their own church. As Ben and Elaine flee, they bar the door with that very cross, trapping inside the society they reject.

The pair make their getaway in the back of a public bus -- the closest the 1967 film comes to acknowledging the existence of Black people. As the wistful music swells before the final credits roll we see in their young faces a progression of emotions. The moment settles in and weighs upon them: giddy excitement, laughter, and romance give way first to uncertainty and then -- is that fear? "What next?", we see them think in unison.


Two eras ended in Berkeley last week:

On the political scene, 25 years of rule over City Council by a so-called moderate faction came to a decisive end as moderates lost all but one race they entered. Local wonks are calling it the first progressive sweep of an election in as long as anyone cares to remember. -more-

Berkeley USD students sue district re Felarca case

Kiley Russell (BCN)
Wednesday November 16, 2016 - 11:28:00 PM

Eight Berkeley Unified School District students filed a class-action civil rights lawsuit in federal court today alleging they were targets of racial targeting and intimidation by district officials. -more-

New: Two shot in Berkeley park

Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday November 16, 2016 - 05:15:00 PM

Two people were injured by gunfire in a Berkeley park this afternoon, a police sergeant said. -more-

Three teens arrested for robbery attempt in Berkeley

Kiley Russell (BCN)
Tuesday November 15, 2016 - 11:58:00 PM

Three teens were arrested Monday night by Berkeley police after they allegedly tried to rob a man walking in a neighborhood south of the University of California, Berkeley campus. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Mayor-Elect Jesse Arreguin Wins 60% to 40%--
Election Results Should Process Round Eliminations Until There Are Two Candidates

Pedro Hernandez, FairVote California
Tuesday November 15, 2016 - 02:22:00 PM

As the Alameda County Registrar of Voters continues to update the results with new numbers we wanted to highlight a key point: that Jesse Arreguin has won the mayor’s race by 60% to 40% in the final instant runoff tally against Laurie Capitelli.

In San Francisco, the Department of Elections runs the ranked choice voting algorithm in all contests down to the strongest two candidates and reports on those result. Doing so clarifies the intent of the voters. Here is a recent example from this year’s elections in San Francisco.

In Alameda County, however, the public report of the ranked choice voting tally ends as soon as one candidate secures more than 50% of the vote. In the case of the Berkeley mayoral race, the Alameda Registrar of Voters reports the final tally while there are still five candidates in the race (Arreguin, Capitelli, Kriss Worthington, Ben Gould, and Zachary Runningwolf). But if the Registrar narrowed the race to two by running a final round of counting -- eliminating Worthington and Gould, and transferring the votes of those voters to their next preference among the final two -- Arreguin would lead 60.2% to 39.8% instead of 50.04% to 34.01%. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Why Hillary lost (COLUMN)

Bob Burnett
Tuesday November 15, 2016 - 02:09:00 PM

It's essential that progressives learn from Hillary Clinton's devastating defeat. There are two competing theories about what happened: Hillary’s campaign blew it or she was cheated. -more-

Flash: Davila Apparent Winner in District 2 Council Race
6-3 Council Majority Reversed as Incumbent Moore Loses

Rob Wrenn
Monday November 14, 2016 - 11:22:00 PM

After an additional 1700 vote by mail ballots were counted, Cheryl Davila’s lead for second place in the count of first choice votes in the District 2 Council race widened to 96 votes over Nanci Armstrong-Temple. When the Ranked Choice Voting tabulation is done and Nanci’s second choice votes are allocated, Cheryl leads Darryl by 2978 (50.8%) to 2882 (49.2%).

With this result, the current six-three Council majority with Mayor Bates, and council members Capitelli, Maio, Moore, Wengraf and Droste in the majority, will be replaced by a 5-3 majority with newly elected council members Ben Bartlett, Sophie Hahn and Cheryl Davila, joining newly elected Mayor Jesse Arreguin and incumbent council member Kriss Worthington in the majority. There will be a special election for the District 4 Council seat being vacated by Jesse Arreguin. It’s quite likely that a candidate allied with the new majority will win that seat, giving this group of progressive council members six seats out of nine on the Council, reversing the current division of the council.

Davila’s election would mark the first time since 1996 that an incumbent council member has lost. In 1996, incumbent District 2 council member Mary Wainwright was ousted by progressive challenger Margaret Breland. That year, Kriss Worthington also defeated incumbent council member Carla Woodworth. -more-

Moore, Davila slip slightly while Armstrong-Temple gains a bit in District 2 council race

Rob Wrenn
Friday November 11, 2016 - 06:45:00 PM

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has counted more vote by mail ballots. As of the update posted Friday at 4:38 p.m., District 2 incumbent Darryl Moore’s share of first choice votes had slipped slightly from 40.1% to 39.8%. Nanci Armstrong-Temple, in third place, gained slightly going from 28.9% to 29.5% and Cheryl Davila, in second place, slipped a bit from 31.0% to 30.6%. Cheryl leads Nanci for second place by only 49 votes.

In the ranked choice vote tabulation, Cheryl Davila leads Darryl Moore by 67 votes, 2200 to 2133, up from 42 votes in the election night tabulation. It’s not known how many ballots were cast in District 2, but, at a guess, based on turnout in previous elections, perhaps a third or a bit more of the outstanding ballots were counted today. Tabulation is here:

Incumbent District 2 council member Darryl Moore is well short of 50% of first choice votes, so an allocation of second choice votes of the candidate in third place has to be done. That’s currently Nanci Armstong-Temple.

That could change as more votes are counted. This remains a tight race that is too close to call. Berkeleyside reports that the Registrar of Voters is planning more updates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week.

Mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguin, District 3 Council Candidate Ben Bartlett, and District 5 Council candidate Sophie Hahn still have commanding leads over their opponents. Both Arreguin and Capitelli gained slightly in today’s count at the expense of the other six mayoral candidates. -more-

Man who allegedly pulled gun on security officers in Berkeley Bowl parking lot is still at large

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) and Planet
Saturday November 12, 2016 - 10:57:00 AM

Berkeley police said they are looking for a man who allegedly pulled a gun on security guards in the parking lot at the eastern Berkeley Bowl grocery store Thursday night. -more-

The 2016 California Clean Money Scorecard

Gar Smith
Friday November 11, 2016 - 05:01:00 PM

(In the aftermath of the November 8 Trumpslide, here is a bit of hopeful news from the California Clean Money Campaign (CCMC). The following is an edited version of the content in the recent 14-page CCMC report, "Big Money, Big Ideas: Which Side Are You On?") -more-



Look on the bright side in Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Friday November 11, 2016 - 01:49:00 PM

“After all I’ve seen, I still have joy”.

Those are the original words of the gospel song I expropriated for the headline of last week’s editorial, paraphrased there as “we now have joy.” On the national level, it turned out, not so much, not now.

I’m going to leave the post mortem (”after death”) analysis of what happened in the presidential race for the moment to our columnists and public commenters, though I have plenty I’d like to say. In fact, it’s been hard to find time to write this on Friday morning because of the stream of texts, emails and phone calls from distraught family and friends which seem never to stop. But I believe, with the sainted Eric Idle, that we should always “Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

Here in Berkeley, there actually is a bright side, no kidding. The local election results are very cheering.

Jesse Arreguin and Sophie Hahn have been vindicated for all the flak they took for being prematurely right in their unsuccessful initiative attempt (Measure R 2014) to fix what went wrong with Berkeley’s downtown plan. They figured out that the plan as adopted by the City Council (which did not accurately mirror what confused voters thought they were getting with the first 2010 Measure R) was all about promoting unbridled growth for private profit, nothing Smart about it. Voters last week finally recognized that Jesse and Sophie had been right all along, and rewarded them for it. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Public Comment

Social Notes from All Over

Saturday November 12, 2016 - 10:25:00 AM

From: James Kelly <>
Date: Sat, Nov 12, 2016 at 7:31 AM

This a very Trashy. Site. I am very tired of the Sick Ugly Left Wing
news media like your site I hope and pray that the democrats will
Lose in every election until they get their act right. The Clintons should never have been elected. I am proud that Trump. Won
You and your type are UNAMERICAN

Sent from my iPad. From. James. Kelly

A Muslim's Letter to President-elect Donald Trump

Khalida Jamilah
Thursday November 10, 2016 - 02:44:00 PM

Dear Mr. Trump,

I am an immigrant Muslim woman from Indonesia. You might ban people like me from entering the Unites States, but I will not protest on the streets angry or cursing on you. Instead I will pray for you. I pray may God guide your heart and mind to be a just leader of our beloved country. My religion, Islam, teaches me to be obedient and respect the state’s laws. Islam teaches me that a true leader is the one who can treat everyone with justice, compassion and love. -more-

Why Trump Really Won

Harry Brill
Friday November 11, 2016 - 04:55:00 PM

Already there have been reams of article attempting to answer the question why voters found Trump more appealing than Hillary. The problem, however, is that if we ask the wrong questions we will come up with the wrong answer. Both candidates for good reasons were not popular candidates. But Hillary was less unpopular. After all, she won a majority of the popular vote. It was certainly not an overwhelming majority. But had she ran for office in many other countries, she would have won the election. -more-

King Trump

Jagjit Singh
Friday November 11, 2016 - 04:52:00 PM

Most of the planet is mired in disbelief, aghast at the thought of Donald Trump ascending to the White House throne. How can it be that voters would pass the baton from the first African-American president to one supported by the Ku Klux Klan, calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists, proposing a total ban on all Muslims entering the United States, mocked his opponents and the disabled? How can it be that such man escaped serious charges for assaulting more than a dozen women and boasted of such assaults? How did Melania Trump, escape deportation or a jail term by violating the law by earning modeling jobs before she became a lawful resident (AP & NYT report). -more-

Reacting to the election

Christopher Adams
Thursday November 10, 2016 - 02:43:00 PM

The morning after the election I had a doctor’s appointment. The doctor recommended an over-the-counter medication to me, so I went to the nearest CVS to pick some up. A pharmacist with a heavy Chinese accent helped me find the best and least expensive generic, which I took up to the cashier, a young brown-skinned woman in a hijab. After paying she said the usual, “Have a nice day.” I said, “I’m trying to.” We looked at each other, and she said, “I almost cried.” Then I went out to the car and cried until I could compose myself and drive home. . -more-

How could this happen?

Susanna Cline
Friday November 11, 2016 - 04:59:00 PM

As everyone now knows, on Tuesday, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton for the office of the President of the United States. What started out as a joke has turned into a real life nightmare; one that will not allow those who feel as I do, to wake up from this horrible dream. I can and cannot see how this has happened, but I won't go into that. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Combatting Trumpenstein

Bob Burnett
Thursday November 10, 2016 - 02:34:00 PM

Republicans have created a monster and on November 8th he was unleashed on the entire nation. What are progressives going to do about this? -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Electing Trump, Legalizing Pot in California, and Increasing the Cigarette Tax in California, and How This Might Affect Mentally Ill People

Jack Bragen
Friday November 11, 2016 - 01:57:00 PM

The voters of the U.S. have made their wishes known, and in about two months, barring the unforeseen, Donald Trump will take office as our President. Many people are terrified about this. However, I believe we shouldn't panic and that we should hope for the best. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Post-Election Blues

Ralph E. Stone
Friday November 11, 2016 - 05:21:00 PM

The voters have chosen Donald Trump, a failed businessman with no government or military experience as our next president. We cannot rely on polls anymore. While most polls showed the popular vote to be closing, they had Clinton getting the 270 electoral college votes. -more-

Arts & Events

New: The Eagle Huntress: A Winning Film that Soars and Scores
Now at the Landmark Shattuck in Berkeley

Gar Smith
Saturday November 12, 2016 - 11:06:00 AM

Mongolia is famous for its sweeping deserts, its snowcapped mountains, its vast blue skies, the generosity of its people, the round tents of its nomadic herders (yurt-like structures called "gers"), and the beautiful round faces of its children. But now there's something new to marvel at.

Step aside, Ghengis Kahn, Mongolia has a new hero. Her name is Aisholpan and she's 13 years old. The men in her family have been eagle hunters for 12 generations but Aisholpan is the first female to take up this "manly art." As she is quick to insist: "If a boy can do something, girls can do it as well." And, to the filmmakers'—and filmgoers'—great fortune, she goes on to prove it. In spades.

Bear in mind, we aren't talking parakeets here. Golden eagles are huge creatures weighing up to 15 pounds and equipped with wings that can span six-feet and carry the sharp-taloned predator screaming through the air at 190 miles-per-hour.

Otto Bell's astonishingly beautiful film tells Aisholpan's story with all the big screen magnificence of a Hollywood blockbuster. If this were a Disney film, the upcoming holiday season would be awash with Aisholpan dolls, guaranteed.


New: Theater Reviews:'Our Enemies' & 'Red Demon'

Ken Bullock
Saturday November 12, 2016 - 10:46:00 AM

'Our Enemies' by Yussef El Guindi, a Golden Thread production, at Thick House

Golden Thread, the San Francisco-based theater company which is the first American company to focus on plays from or about the Middle East, is inaugurating its celebration of its 20th anniversary by staging the West Coast premiere of Egyptian American playwright Yussef El Guindi's satiric comedy, 'Our Enemies'--and this's the show's last weekend at the Thick House, 1695--18th Street near Connecticut, on Potrero Hill in San Francisco--info at -more-

New: Around & About--Theater: James Keller's 'Queen Lear' in Temescal Next Weekend

Saturday November 12, 2016 - 10:55:00 AM

Orson Welles, among others, declared that Shakespeare's tragic masterpiece wouldn't have existed if there had been a Queen Lear ...

Playwright James Keller--a veteran of many productions at the Magic Theatre in the 80s--has continued his prolific career writing plays about the lives of older people, staging them with his troupe Poor Players.

Keller's latest in that vein is in a way like an improvised take off Shakespeare as a contemporary chamber piece, a character study of an aging headstrong woman suffering through a Lear-like loss of autonomy when her daughters confront her with their belief she has dementia and a plan to warehouse her in a care facility, bringing her ire down on them. -more-

Rachel Podger & Philharmonia Baroque Perform Baroque Concertos

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 11, 2016 - 04:41:00 PM

Hailed as the “Queen of the Baroque Violin,” English violinist Rachel Podger returned to the Bay Area to lead a series of concerts with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. I caught the Friday evening concert at Herbst Hall in San Francisco. The program chosen by Ms. Podger was an interesting one, featuring some lesser-known works as well as a few chestnuts. Opening the concert was the Ouverture No. 6 in G minor by Francesco Maria Veracini. This, of course, is one of the lesser-known works. Veracini, a native of Florence, performed throughout Europe as a violinist in the early 18th century. Younger than Antonio Vivaldi, Veracini made his reputation as a violin virtuoso. Reportedly, Giuseppe Tartini, himself a great violinist and an influential teacher of violin, once heard Veracini perform and was so taken with Veracini’s style that Tartini sequestered himself in Ancona until he had mastered a new technique. -more-

Movies in the Margin

Gar Smith
Friday November 11, 2016 - 05:06:00 PM

The Notorious Silent Film That Caused an Outcry

In the run-up to the SF Silent Film Festival in December, the folks at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema offered to help the SFSFF celebrate the centennial of the New Mission Theatre by hosting "A SILENT NIGHT at the ALAMO," a selection of silent era classics. The event begins this Saturday, November 12, when the infamous Diary of a Lost Girl (Germany, 1929, 113 minutes) screens at the Alamo from 7-9PM.

G.W. Pabst's 1929 masterpiece stars the luminescent Louise Brooks, who also starred in Pabst's 1928 Pandora's Box. Both films caused a furor upon their release owing to depictions of sexual themes and indictments of bourgeois hypocrisy. But those very qualities have ensured Diary—and its star, Louise Brooks—of a place in cinema history. As Henri Langlois, once wrote in Cinémathèque Française: "There is no Garbo, there is no Dietrich, there is only Louise Brooks."

The film will be accompanied by live music courtesy of The Musical Art Quintet, performing an original score by Sascha Jacobsen. -more-

Women Carry the Day in AIDA at San Francisco Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 11, 2016 - 04:43:00 PM

In San Francisco Opera’s new production of Verdi’s Aida, which opened Saturday, November 5, two outstanding women singers, soprano Leah Crocetto as Aida and mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk as Amneris, overcame the drawbacks of a dismal staging by trendy Los Angeles-based artistic designer Marquis Duriel Lewis, who goes by the pseudonym Retna. Director Francesca Zambello tried to make the best of this ill-conceived staging, and Zambello at least managed to inspire the notoriously statue-like Leah Crocetto to move around a bit and throw herself into a credibly dramatic interpretation of the role of Aida. With her sheer physical bulk, Crocetto’s Aida will never be the paragon of feminine beauty extolled by her lover Radames. But to her credit, Ms. Crocetto, who has never sounded better than here as Aida, also gave her very best dramatic performance thus far in her young career. -more-