Open letter to: Housing Advisory Commission, Mayor, and City Council
Re: Item 8, June 1 Commission meeting; June 13 City Council Public Hearing on affordable housing

Charlene M. Woodcock
Wednesday May 31, 2017 - 02:15:00 PM

The 12/16 figures that show Berkeley has met 278% of our ABAG quota for above-median-income housing but only 3% for low-income and 4% for moderate-income residents provide more than ample justification for a strong new policy from our city council to address this intolerable imbalance.

A new policy to require 40% inclusionary low-income and family units in all new residential developments and to require all new buildings both residential and commercial to meet LEED platinum environmental efficiency standards can be made effective immediately and can apply to any project that has not yet broken ground.

At this point we surely do not need to encourage any project except for those of non-profit developers and those that that provide a significant 40% percent inclusionary low-income and family units. A lower percentage of inclusionary units or an in-lieu fee are simply inadequate to the very serious problem we now have. Additionally, it is well past time that Berkeley as a city address climate change and ensure that any new building meets much more stringent energy and natural resource efficiency requirements than the very dated LEED Gold standards. -more-

New: San Francisco Silent Film Festival is this weekend

Justin deFreitas
Wednesday May 31, 2017 - 02:18:00 PM

In an age of streaming movies and social media feeds that are blowing up with “must-see” videos of every stripe, how does the San Francisco Silent Film Festival guarantee a full house for its annual program of century-old cinema at the Castro Theater? -more-

Nancy Skinner, real estate Democrat, backs three bad bills in next week's votes

Zelda Bronstein
Monday May 29, 2017 - 06:59:00 PM

June 2 is the final day in this session for the State Senate to pass bills that originated in that house. Berkeley’s state senator, Nancy Skinner, has supported or sponsored three dangerous bills that will be considered by next Friday: -more-


SQUEAKY WHEEL: A Memorable Day

Toni Mester
Friday May 26, 2017 - 02:36:00 PM

For the seventh time, Memorial Day falls on my birthday, less often than leap year. The holiday previously known as Decoration Day used to be May 30, but it was changed in 1971 to the last Monday in May. And with that began a coincidence that coincidentally first fell on my 29th birthday. -more-

Public Comment

Manchester Bombing

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday May 26, 2017 - 11:50:00 AM

While the horrific suicide attack in Manchester has dominated international headlines, little attention has been paid to civilian casualties in the perpetual “war on terror”. Recent US airstrikes in Syria and Iraq have killed dozens of civilians during the past week. In Yemen, the human rights group, Reprieve, says U.S. Navy SEALs killed five civilians during a raid Tuesday night on a village in Ma’rib governorate. -more-

America becoming great again?

Romila Khanna
Friday May 26, 2017 - 11:44:00 AM

Are you happy to see America becoming great again? American history is changing. By changing the system in congress to get the required number of votes, by keeping everything secret, by killing the spirit of journalism, by depriving poor, sick and old from a chance to get their needs met, by giving the lion’s share to his own family and friends, President Donald Trump is keeping his promise to the voters. -more-

The meaning of "deadpan" government

Steve Martinot
Friday May 26, 2017 - 11:08:00 AM

The Uproar

It was night time. It wasn’t the right time. It was Tuesday, May 16, 2017, and the clock was just ticking past 11:30 pm. People looked at each other and asked, “What? Are we back with the Bates Council?” -more-


Remembering Dave Linn, 1956-2017

Carol Denney
Friday May 26, 2017 - 11:21:00 AM

If you saw Dave Linn up in People's Park the last thing you'd think is that he was a lawyer, or a teacher, or a journalist, because he dressed and spoke in such an unassuming manner and could only do so much with his long, unruly head of hair. But you might guess he was a poet if you had a chance to talk to him for a moment. He had an unexpected way of saying a lot with a few words. And seeing that he was an activist would be easy - it would be written all over his t-shirt, or on a political button, or painted right on the side of his funky car.

Dave was born in Napa, California, and died this year of cancer in Bellingham, Washington at only 60 years old. He organized with the Oakland Tenants Union, the Peace and Freedom Party, wrote for Grassroots newspaper, and took the hardest cases as a social justice attorney in Berkeley, in Washington, and in southern California. He took on immigration, civil rights, and criminal cases for people who often could pay nothing at all. -more-


What's news is not news any more

Becky O'Malley
Friday May 26, 2017 - 05:06:00 PM

For the last week I’ve been in a genteel suburb outside of Philly to celebrate my eldest granddaughter’s graduation from college. We stayed, unusually for us, in a relatively conventional on-campus commercial lodging, in what used to be called a fancy motel but is now dignified as an “inn”.

In a universe where in the last hundred+ days we’ve become accustomed to Le Scandale du Jour, having a huge television screen across from the bed was an unaccustomed luxury. We don’t even own a TV any more.

Like many of my peers, I get a lot of my national news from NPR, backed up in print the next day by the New York Times, and occasionally from the Chronicle. Sometimes I even see a bit of color on YouTube, maybe Rachel Maddow for spice or Steven Colbert for drollery. So it was a revelation to experience All Excitement All the Time via MSNBC, CNN or even CSpan.

My goodness, how they do go on! Eventually I got tired of so much Shocked, Shocked, even though what the various talking heads are reporting on continues to be genuinely shocking, even when delivered with solemnity by public broadcasters. -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The value of an accurate self-assessment

Jack Bragen
Friday May 26, 2017 - 11:38:00 AM

A clear self-evaluation helps with numerous things in life. It can lead to turning down a job offer, in instances where we realize a particular job would get us in over our heads. It is one thing to be able to obtain a good job by performing well in the interview process and by presenting well. It is another thing to be able to perform at such a job. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The four faces of Trump

Bob Burnett
Friday May 26, 2017 - 11:30:00 AM

After four enervating months of Donald Trump's presidency, Americans have seen four different sides of Trump.

Trump the politician: We've seen a lot of the same Donald Trump we saw during the 2016 political campaign. Trump the Tweeter. Trump the media basher. Trump the braggart. Trump the liar... -more-

ECLECTIC RANT:Senators: don't repeal ObamaCare, fix it

Ralph E. Stone
Friday May 26, 2017 - 11:35:00 AM

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was repealed in the U.S. House of Representatives and replaced with the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA is now pending in the U.S. Senate. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Guest Conductor Manfred Honeck Leads Symphony in Shostakovich & Tchaikovsky

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday May 30, 2017 - 02:34:00 PM

In a series of concerts at Davies Hall, May 25-7, San Francisco Symphony offered Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarotti and Piotr Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64. Austrian-born Guest Conductor Manfred Honeck led the Symphony in these concerts, making his local debut. In Shostakovich’s Michelangelo Suite, heard here for the first time, baritone Matthias Goerne sang Michelangelo’s verses in a Russian translation by Abram Efros. -more-