The Week



Berkeley Mayor, Councilmembers Sworn in at Private Ceremony--
Says City Will Move to the Left

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Thursday December 01, 2016 - 12:30:00 PM

A new political era began in Berkeley today with the swearing in of new Mayor Jesse Arreguin and three new city council members.

In brief comments to an invitation-only audience of more than 100 people at a standing room-only ceremony at City Council chambers, Arreguin, 32, said, "This is a really momentous occasion for Berkeley." -more-

Press Release: Kate Harrison Enters Berkeley District Four Council Race

Kate Harrison Campaign Committee
Thursday December 01, 2016 - 01:21:00 PM

Kate Harrison, experienced government leader and progressive activist, announced her candidacy for District 4 City Council on the steps of Berkeley's Maudelle Shirek Old City Hall yesterday, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. -more-

Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny

Steven Finacom
Thursday December 01, 2016 - 10:25:00 AM

Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny died today after a long illness.

A Bay Area native, she was a long time resident of Berkeley and a stalwart and effective champion for preserving the special character of the community. Susan served as chair of the Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission, authored or championed numerous landmark applications, was past President and a long-time Board member of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA), and had many other community connections.

Not least among her accomplishments was authoring Berkeley Landmarks (both the first, and revised, editions), as well as a definitive guidebook to the architecture and history of the Bay Area, and serving as editor and one of the lead writers of the revised versions of BAHA's popular "41 Berkeley Walking Tours" publication. She was a careful and thoughtful researcher and writer and an absolutely dedicated volunteer for every aspect of local preservation causes and activities. -more-

Blythe: habitat, healing, and a suppressed play unchained

Carol Denney
Saturday November 26, 2016 - 10:48:00 AM
Dan McMullan, director Leah Joki, and the cast of Blythe answer questions at the forum after the performance.

This is an unusual story of habitat, creativity, punishment, redemption, and recovery which won't be obvious for several paragraphs. It begins with some observations about a native California bird, pelicanus californicus, which almost disappeared a few decades ago.

The California Brown Pelican Recovery Plan by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1983 is 179 pages of earnest, early effort to save a species from pollutant and habitat-related reproductive failures. The only viable colonies of the bird once plentiful along the west coast by the 1960's were in Florida.

The surveys and documentation in the plan are followed by articulate, unemotional discussions of habitat needs for species survival and frank discussion of the fact that at the time there existed "little or no protection" of colony sites aside from the Mexican Navy, which accidentally protected certain breeding sites from human disturbance.

"The basic habitat needs of the California brown pelican are: 1) a disturbance- and predator-free nesting area, 2) offshore habitat with an adequate food supply, and 3) appropriate roosting sites for both resident and migrant pelicans." - California Brown Pelican Recovery Plan, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Pollutants, notably DDT, had reduced egg shell thickness by 50% by 1969, so that most eggs collapsed during incubation, work shared by both parents. Noise pollution played a role as well, making habitat protection even from aircraft a priority for the pelicans' survival along with anchovy harvest quotas and other protective measures.

It took years, but it worked. Now the tourists on the ferry to Alcatraz Island, the Spanish word for pelican, can see a sight not seen since the early 1950's; long strings of pelicans fishing together on the bay, their elegant profiles backlit by the sun.

Alcatraz is home to another recovery; the transformation of its notorious prison, established in 1868, to a national landmark in 1986 which acknowledges in its rangers' interpretive talks the nineteen month-long occupation by protesting native tribes with a hint of pride.

On November 5, 2016, about a hundred people took the ferry to see the Poetic Justice Project's presentation of Blythe, a play by local author Daniel McMullan, in the former industrial arts building on the island, a building with no facilities except for its 360 degree view of the bay and a large area with seating and a simple stage. -more-

How Berkeley Voted: Clinton 90.4%; Trump 3.2%

Rob Wrenn
Friday November 25, 2016 - 06:38:00 PM

Trump Vote Second Lowest in Nation

Hillary Clinton won 90.4% of the vote in Berkeley. Donald Trump finished third with 3.2% behind Green Party candidate Jill Stein who won 4.6% of the vote.

Clinton. 57,750 90.4%

Stein 2,947 4.6%

Trump 2,031 3.2%

Johnson 884 1.4%

La Riva 298 .5%

There were also 912 write-in votes, some of which were probably for Bernie Sanders, and 559 people voted for no one for president.

Trump’s showing was the worst ever for a Republican presidential candidate in Berkeley. In 2012, Romney managed to get 4.6% of the vote, while John McCain did a bit better in 2008 with 4.9%. George Bush won 6.6% running against Democratic candidate John Kerry in 2004. -more-

Berkeley Bird of the Day: black oystercatcher

William Woodcock
Friday November 25, 2016 - 02:57:00 PM

William Marx Mandel -- Presente !

James Vann (with help from Wikipedia)
Thursday November 24, 2016 - 10:32:00 AM

William Marx "Bill" Mandel (born June 4, 1917 in New York City), a former broadcast journalist, left-wing political activist and author, best known as a Soviet expert, died Thanksgiving morning, October 24, 1:15am. Bill was 99. -more-



The new council needs creative thinking about homelessness

Becky O'Malley
Friday November 25, 2016 - 10:01:00 PM

As the furor over the outcome of the national election starts to subside a bit, it’s time to start thinking about what can be done locally. It appears that Berkeley has elected a solid new City Council majority, composed of people who promise to be more receptive to local voices and more suspicious of out-of-town speculators and their various paid shills, including the faux renters à la SFBarf and the revolving door lobbyists like Mark Rhoades. How did this happen, and what will come of it? -more-

Public Comment

Emergency Measures to Address Homeless Crisis

Berkeley Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín
Friday November 25, 2016 - 10:50:00 AM

I have placed the following on the Berkeley City Council Agenda for December 13:

Take the following actions to implement emergency measures to address our growing homeless population:

1. Direct the City Manager to provide an update on staff and Council actions discussed on November 1, 2016 to respond to the homeless shelter crisis.

2. Direct the City Manager and Chief of Police to permit camping on designated public property, unless conditions arise posing an imminent threat to health and safety.

3. Establish an ad-hoc subcommittee to work with the City Manager to explore emergency solutions, including short-term Navigation Centers. -more-

Trump's Woes

Jagjit Singh
Saturday November 26, 2016 - 11:52:00 AM

Trump grudgingly acknowledged that he may have run afoul of self-dealing rules by using $258,000 of foundation funds to settle legal disputes for his businesses. He also reneged on pledges of financial support for his foundation. Money was also improperly used to pay for private school fees for Trump’s son, Barron. The foundation remains shrouded under a dark cloud pending investigation by the New York attorney general. -more-

Letter to the Heartland from California

Harvey Smith
Friday November 25, 2016 - 01:20:00 PM

I am a White guy writing from California to all of you White people in the middle of the United States. The two parties of the 1% have managed to separate us into two evenly divided blocks. I’ve been to your part of country so just in case you haven’t been here I’d like to take the time to introduce you to my region. -more-

Help Requested for Tent City - “First they came for the homeless”

Marcia Poole
Friday November 25, 2016 - 12:55:00 PM

We are requesting the residents of Berkeley reach out to those in their community who are less fortunate. We ask this with the sincere hope that it awakens the community to immediate and compassionate action. -more-

With malice towards none

Joanna Graham
Saturday November 26, 2016 - 10:46:00 AM

Both Becky O’Malley (“I get so angry as to be incoherent”) and Kurt Eichenwald (“You’re lucky it’s illegal for me to punch you in the face”) are expressing extreme anger with those on the left of the Democratic party who put Trump in the White House by failing to turn out for Hillary Clinton. -more-

Let us educate people to revive our democracy

Romila Khanna
Sunday November 27, 2016 - 08:31:00 PM

We have to educate our citizens to believe in a truly democratic country where all have the right to thrive and get equal opportunities to participate in choosing their Commander-in chief. -more-

What's wrong with the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton?

Glen Kohler
Sunday November 27, 2016 - 08:29:00 PM

in between meeting with people in my neighborhood to commiserate and plan for the policy and economic changes immediately ahead, and waking up in sadness and dread at 3:00 am, I think of how and why the Democratic Party so often fails to serve and support the majority of Americans. This year, as it became obvious that Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, et. al., were determined to marginalize Mr. Sanders in favor of Mrs. Clinton, I felt ever more distance from and distaste for the wealthy power brokers in the Democratic Party. -more-


ECLECTIC RANT: Berkeley's Violent Raids on Tent Communities Illegal

Ralph E. Stone
Friday November 25, 2016 - 01:17:00 PM

The Berkeley police have conducted raids on homeless camps as members of the homeless community continue to protest the Hub — the city’s homeless services system — for its alleged inefficiency in providing homeless Berkeley citizens with housing and other services.

It is illegal to criminalize someone's status rather than their conduct, and therefore enforcing no-camping laws when homeless people don't have viable alternatives is criminalizing their state in life. A shelter is a basic human right and efforts to remove the homeless self-help shelters -- including tents -- are likely to run afoul of the law. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Building the Trump Resistance

Bob Burnett
Friday November 25, 2016 - 10:41:00 AM

With the election of Donald Trump, the US has lurched towards political and social turmoil, an era where democracy is under attack. Progressives have a moral obligation to resist autocracy and injustice. Here are eight steps for building an effective resistance to Trump. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Achieving More Personal Happiness Today

Jack Bragen
Friday November 25, 2016 - 10:48:00 AM

As persons with psychiatric disabilities, there is no expectation that we try to solve the world's problems. If we are cooperating with treatment, and if we have some kind of regular activity that engages the mind and body, that holds our interest, it should be good enough. No one expects mentally ill people to become involved in politics, social justice, or to have professional employment. If you have a severe mental illness, it is legitimate to sit in the sidelines of society. We should be focused on our own recovery and on staying well. -more-

Arts & Events

Simon Rattle Conducts Berlin Philharmonic in Mahler’s 7th Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 25, 2016 - 10:46:00 AM

What a treat it is to have two great conductors and two of the world’s leading orchestras, Gustavo Dudamel with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Simon Rattle with the Berliner Philharmoniker, performing, respectively, Gustav Mahler’s 9th Symphony and Mahler’s 7th Symphony in a three-week span here in San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall. On Tuesday evening, November 22, Simon Rattle, the Berlin Philharmonic’s chief conductor for the past 14 years, led his orchestra in a program consisting of Éclat by the late Pierre Boulez and Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 in E minor. The following night’s program by the Berlin Philharmonic featured works by the 20th century Viennese atonal innovators Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern, as well as the Symphony No. 2 in D Major by Brahms. -more-