The Week

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin celebrated on Tuesday night with Kate Harrison, after preliminary election returns indicated that she will be his successor in City Council District 4.
M. H. O'Malley
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin celebrated on Tuesday night with Kate Harrison, after preliminary election returns indicated that she will be his successor in City Council District 4.


Forum tonight on the homelessness crisis

Thursday March 09, 2017 - 10:34:00 AM

Tonight, Thursday, March 9, In partnership with Northbrae Community Church, BOCA (Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action),
the Berkeley Food Network and the North Berkeley Public Library, please join Councilmember Sophie Hahn for a Community Forum onThe Homeless Crisis in Berkeley.

Thursday, March 9, 5:00-8:00 pm

Northbrae Community Church, 924 The Alameda

Deplorables battle to a draw in Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Monday March 06, 2017 - 10:28:00 PM
A Trump fan who also believes in free speech!

My sister in Southern California called me on Sunday night because she’d seen reports of violence in Berkeley on Saturday and she was worried. Knowing me for many years as she has, she thought I might have been there.

Well, we did go to the variously named Provo /Martin Luther King, Jr./Civic Center Park as we do on many Saturdays, mainly to buy tangerines at the Farmers’ Market (Brokaw, Gold Nugget, the best). And yes, we knew the Trumpistas would be there for comic relief, and no, we were not disappointed.

Really, there’s just one sobriquet that fits many on their team, “deplorables”. Unfortunately that also fits many on our team. The two groups, or at least those who came spoiling for a fight, deserved each other. Losers, all of them, and deeply pathetic.

Except for the black costumes and kerchief masks on some of our deplorables you’d have trouble telling the tribes apart. Each had a remarkable percentage of oddly decorated participants. Many, many variously ugly tattoos. At least one man in a skirt on each side. Lots of hair-dye, though theirs tended to unreal orange and platinum where ours ran to blue tones, probably not because they were Dems however. Braids and tie-dyes everywhere, both sides. Motorcycle jackets and boots for both.

Each side also had a reasonable number of seemingly peaceable hangers-on urging their cohorts to “be nice, don’t fight, eat a piece of fruit”. A self-labelled Grandmother for Trump was matched by someone of a similar age I recognized as a hardcore supporter of Berkeley’s Unitarian-Universalist Social Justice Committee.

I decided I wasn’t there to do neutral reporting, since the reliably impartial Bay City News would supply that for the Berkeley Daily Planet, and I saw Tracey Taylor from Berkeleyside snapping pictures. In fact, it appeared that the media outnumbered the demonstrators, both the pros with the fancy cameras and the amateurs with their cells. The reporters took to interviewing each other, because frankly it was pretty boring most of the time. -more-

Flash: Kate Harrison wins in Berkeley City Council District 4

Tuesday March 07, 2017 - 11:11:00 PM

This is the vote total as of Tuesday night in the race for the Berkeley City Council district vacated by Mayor Jesse Arreguin:

Kate Harrison: 1278 votes = 63.71%

Ben Gould: 728 votes = 36.29%

Any votes which were dropped in boxes at Berkeley City Hall or at the Alameda county clerk's office or which are still in the mail have not been counted, but there are not enough ballots outstanding to change the winner. -more-

Suspect who tried to run down officer spotted in Berkeley

Jeff Shuttleworth/Kiley Russell (BCN)
Tuesday March 07, 2017 - 03:26:00 PM

Berkeley police are searching in the area of Aquatic Park for an auto burglary suspect who allegedly tried to run down a Richmond officer with a car early this morning, prompting the officer to fire multiple rounds in self-defense, authorities said. -more-

Tuesday is last day to vote in District 4 Berkeley election

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Monday March 06, 2017 - 08:57:00 PM

Voters who live in Berkeley City Council District 4 in the city's downtown area have one more day to vote in a special vote-by-mail election pitting graduate student Ben Gould against veteran activist Kate Harrison.

Voters may still drop off ballots in a drop box in front of Berkeley City Hall at 2180 Milvia St. that's open 24 hours a day or at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office at 1225 Fallon Street in Oakland, which is open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Voting by mail began on Feb. 6 and ends on Tuesday. Ballots received by Friday will still be counted.


Free Market Ideology is not Progressive Thinking

Dave Blake
Monday March 06, 2017 - 08:33:00 PM

David Blake served on the zoning board for 13 years at various times, appointed by Carla Woodworth, Dona Spring (his then Council representative), and Linda Maio, the Arts Commission for 6 years, appointed by Maio and Jesse Arreguin, his Council representative), and also served 9 years on the (architectural) Design Review Commission.

Markos Moulitsas (March 2 Berkeleyside, “Ben Gould for City Council, for a more affordable Berkeley”) boasts in his article of his pride in living here. I’m a 45-year long Berkeley resident, the last 17 as a homeowner; but I haven’t always been proud of my town. For the 14 years of the Bates council, I was frustrated and depressed to see Berkeley become a poster child for how to minimize construction of new affordable housing in a city that loves to think that it, and its council, are all dedicated progressives.

When Bates became mayor, Berkeley required that 20% of its new mixed use residential (residential over first-floor commercial), the overwhelming generator of our affordable housing construction, meet affordability standards. Under Bates, and with the crucial help of then staff attorney, now city attorney Zach Cowan and our then Zoning Officer, now downtown developer frontman Mark Rhoades, state density law was radically interpreted to reduce that number to barely over 10%. Berkeley fell from a state leader in affordable housing policy to deep into the bottom half. Anyone with an interest in our housing production for the last two decades should know that. -more-

Trump march results in 10 arrests, 7 minor injuries

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Sunday March 05, 2017 - 01:11:00 AM

Police said 10 people were arrested and seven suffered injuries in a March 4 Trump protest this afternoon in downtown Berkeley. -more-

"March 4 Trump" planned for Saturday in Berkeley, counter-protests expected

Scott Morris (BCN)
Friday March 03, 2017 - 05:14:00 PM

A march for Donald Trump is planned in Berkeley this Saturday, one of dozens planned nationwide to show support for the new president. -more-

An Extremely Political Act: Silence

Carol Denney
Friday March 03, 2017 - 05:04:00 PM

I know what most people mean when they describe someone as "political." They mean they're tedious. They mean someone who is always angry, repetitive, boring, and don't forget repetitive. They're afraid they're going to dominate a gathering with speeches or worse, make them eat kale. I've met the people who fit this category. You can only hope they all end up having to sit next to each other someday on the same bus. -more-



Markos Moulitsas Zuniga trashes Berkeley progressives, supports developers' shill

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 03, 2017 - 04:20:00 PM

In case you ever wondered about the definition of “hypocrisy”, you might just want to compare and contrast a couple of documents which can be found online today.

Exhibit A is the outrageous hit piece just published in the op-ed section of by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the owner of the DailyKos website under his corporate umbrella, the very prosperous Kos Media LLC.

It’s billed as an endorsement of Kate Harrison’s opponent in Berkeley’s District 4 council race, but provides him with an opportunity for a gratuitous attack on Mayor Jesse Arreguin,

Exhibit B is the “Daily Kos Rules of the Road” , his proprietary site’s somewhat smarmy guide to making nice online. Let’s see how Mr. Moulitsas Zuniga follows his own rules. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Rolling release today--wait for it

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 03, 2017 - 05:10:00 PM

There's so much going on that I'm publishing this issue before everything has been posted, contrary to my usual procedure. Please keep checking for later posts, and if you're a contributing writer, don't worry, we'll get your piece online ASAP. -more-

Public Comment

Open letter to Councilmember Hahn

Isabelle Gaston
Thursday March 09, 2017 - 10:38:00 AM

Thank you for your comments at Council Tuesday night regarding the City's infrastructure needs.
I agree with your statements regarding the need for a long-term comprehensive vision and plan for our City's infrastructure - not just for 2050 but for the 22nd century.
I also totally agree with you that we should evaluate new technologies before investing hundreds of millions of dollars into repairing the "old stuff."

For those who missed it, I encourage you to listen to Sophie's comments at ~ 1 hr, 15 minutes.

The Alchemy of Community Action: A report from South Berkeley

Steve Martinot
Saturday March 04, 2017 - 11:08:00 AM

A neighborhood speaks

On Feb. 27, 2017, about 25 people met in South Berkeley to figure out how to deal with a developer. The project in question is 2902 Adeline, at the corner of Russell St. In discussing the problem, these people were upholding an important democratic responsibility, that of attempting to participate in political decisions that would affect them.

They also expressed a high level of social responsibility insofar as they not only addressed community needs with respect to this specific development project. They also gave recognition and credence to the developer’s interests. These included the need to make a profit, as well as its (corporate) property rights. (I refer developers as "it," since they are generally LLCs, and not "he," which would be a silly personification).

The thinking of this community meeting rose above both considerations. The thought emerged, as conversation ensued, that if land and buildings have value (which developers count on), it is the surrounding society, the social environment, that gives it that value. A plot of land in Berkeley has a lot of value, whereas the same size plot of land southeast of Flagstaff, Arizona, would have very little. What makes the difference? The city of Berkeley, the Bay Area, and the people who live in it. That means that land value, and whatever benefit the developer gets from ownership, is linked to the community. To the extent that profit emerges from value that the surrounding society makes possible, the neighborhood should share in that benefit. -more-


Tejinder Uberoi
Saturday March 04, 2017 - 11:20:00 AM

The Russian-Trump connection gets murkier by the day. -more-

A Route To Poverty: The Decline of Conventional Employment

Harry Brill
Saturday March 04, 2017 - 11:28:00 AM

It doesn't take a genius to realize that the standard of living is declining despite the claims of many public officials and corporate CEOs. Among the important problems that have been battering working people is that millions of jobs have been and continue to be OUTSOURCED abroad. Since the year 2000, about 5.5 million jobs in manufacturing have been outsourced. A conservative estimate of the total shipped abroad since the year 2000 would be at least 9 million jobs This does not include the substantial number of jobs that have disappeared because of the steep decline in consumer spending as a result of moving jobs abroad.

Since the 1980s many businesses have employed another weapon -- DOMESTIC OUTSOURCING. In addition to sending work abroad, many establishments are also replacing their own workers with less expensive employees from subcontracting firms. Apparently they have decided that the very last thing they intend to do is to increase their workforce even if their business volume is expanding. Unless this development is successfully confronted a lot more working people and their families will be joining the ranks of the poor. -more-

Trump’s Speech

Jagjit Singh
Saturday March 04, 2017 - 11:19:00 AM

In an incredibly low bar of expectations, President Trump stayed on script and was able to read from his teleprompter taking long pauses for thunderous applause from sycophantic Republicans who just a few months earlier had mocked and ridiculed him. -more-

March Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday March 03, 2017 - 04:06:00 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-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Surviving is hard when living independently

Jack Bragen
Friday March 03, 2017 - 05:04:00 PM

Being disabled and at the same time, through employment, earning enough money to live on, is very difficult--one must deal with the effects of the medication, the effects of the illness, and, at the same time, the difficulties of the job. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Trump’s Kremlin Konnection

Bob Burnett
Friday March 03, 2017 - 04:47:00 PM

In "Hamlet," Shakespeare wrote, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." What fun Shakespeare would have with Donald Trump! Imagine a play where Trump, the character, tries to dismiss his ties with Russia, and Shakespeare responds, "The scoundrel protests too much."

Although Trump and his lackeys keep trying to discredit the various rumors about his dealings with Russia, the press and the US national security bureaucracy won't let them go. There are at least four threads that connect Trump to the Kremlin.

1.Trump's business dealings with Russia. We do not fully understand Trump's Russian business connections because Trump has never released his tax returns. On February 28, 2016, Senator Ted Cruz said, “There have been multiple media reports about Donald’s business dealings with the mob, with the mafia. Maybe his [tax returns] show those business dealings are a lot more extensive than has been reported.” At the time, Politifact noted, “Cruz’s statement is accurate. Media reports have linked Trump to mafia bosses and mob-connected business associates for decades.” Time magazine , and other sources, have tied Trump to Russian oligarchs. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Democrats Maintain Status Quo With Election of Perez to DNC Chair

Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 03, 2017 - 05:07:00 PM

Democrats this week maintained the status quo with the election of former Labor Secretary Tom Perez over Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn) for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairmanship. Following his elevation, Perez appointed Ellison as Deputy Chair with unanimous approval. -more-

Arts & Events

A French Don Quixote for Alameda’s Island Opera

John McMullen, ATCA
Monday March 06, 2017 - 10:57:00 PM

Two Bay Area outstanding voices are performing at the Elk’s Ballroom in Alameda. Igor Viera and Buffy Baggott, both of whom have played featured roles at San Francisco opera, are well-known to East Bay audiences. Viera plays Sancho Panza and Baggott is cast in the role of Dulcinee in Massenet’s version of the Don Quixote tale in French entitled “Don Quichotte.” -more-

Land of Mine: Denmark's Explosive Oscar-Nominated Film

Reviewed by Gar Smith
Saturday March 04, 2017 - 11:13:00 AM

Opens at the Albany Twin on March 3 (Rated R)

Hollywood's depiction of Silver Screen warfare has evolved. During and after WWII, Hollywood enlisted to promote warfare big-time, big-screen. The result was a genre of cinema we might call "warmance"—a glorification of the noble and heroic warrior soldier.

Recently, the "warmance" tradition has migrated into an endless stream of over-the-top summer action/adventure/sci-fi blockbusters. Warmance also commands laptops and smartphones with images of Small-Screen violence designed to transfix and reprogram young minds. You might call this new genre: "Warporn."

Now, increasingly, we have movies depicting the horrors of war—a genre we might call "warpology" films. Works like Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan and Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge mix bloody mayhem with soul-affirming messages. One of the best of these films is Danish writer-director Martin Zandvliet's new Oscar-nominated Land of Mine.


The Source: A Cacophonous, Confused Opera cum Video Installation

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday March 04, 2017 - 11:36:00 AM

There’s a rule of thumb one ought to keep in mind when dealing with art. Beware of artists who talk a better game than they show. Ted Hearne, the composer of The Source, an opera cum video installation whose ostensible subject matter is the material provided to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning (né Bradley Manning), talks a good game. In interviews or discussions with New York Times music critic Zachary Woolfe and Ryan Kost of San Francisco Chronicle, Ted Hearne manages to say a few things that sound reasonable and measured. Take this quote for instance, gleaned from Hearne’s interview with Zachary Woolfe that appeared in The New York Times on February 25, 2017. When asked how The Source fits into the contemporary world of Trump’s attacks on the media and “fake news,” Ted Hearne replied, “We have a huge need for real journalism, for good reporting and for truth. It’s totally under attack. But the power of art and music to blur all those boundaries and enact a sort of feeling, to free words from their need to be specific, that is a totally different type of truth.” -more-