The Week



New: East Bay Hills fire completely contained

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Monday August 07, 2017 - 05:56:00 PM

The 20-acre vegetation fire in the vicinity of Grizzly Peak Boulevard in the East Bay hills that broke out last week was deemed to be 100 percent contained as of 10 a.m. today, an Oakland fire battalion chief said. -more-

U.C. Berkeley police investigating robbery, assault at People's Park

Peter Fournier (BCN)
Monday August 07, 2017 - 09:53:00 AM

University of California at Berkeley police are investigating a reported battery, kidnapping and robbery that took place Sunday morning at People's Park. -more-

Flash: Berkeley fire on Addison injures one

Peter Fournier (BCN)
Sunday August 06, 2017 - 11:27:00 PM

A fire at a three-story apartment complex in Berkeley injured one person, according to Berkeley fire chief Gil Dong. -more-


The Editor's Back Fence

Bus Rapid Transit on the Road

Friday August 04, 2017 - 12:17:00 PM

If you'd like to know what the ultimate manifestation of AC transit's BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) will mean when (not if) it comes to Berkeley, check out former Planet columnist J. Douglas Allen-Taylor's discussion of how it's progressing in Oakland on his CounterPoints web site here: -more-

Public Comment

Abuse by U.S. Customs & Border Agents

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday August 04, 2017 - 11:48:00 AM

ABC 20-20 investigative reporters revealed horrific abuse by U.S. Customs and Border agents.

Newly released video footage shows U.S. C & B agents causing the death of a 16 year-old Mexican teenager, Cruz Velazquez, by forcing him to drink a bottle of liquid methamphetamine at a border checkpoint in San Diego.

Minutes after the teenager sipped on the liquid, his body began convulsing, and he screamed "my heart" in Spanish and then died. The officers were never disciplined. John Carlos Frey, two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker said Velazquez’s case is just the latest example of rampant abuse and mistreatment by border agents. -more-

Protests at The Local Butcher Shop are harassment

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin
Friday August 04, 2017 - 11:41:00 AM

I respect people's passion for social causes as well as their right to express their opinions, but the recent action undertaken by animal rights protesters against The Local Butcher Shop is harassment — plain and simple. Demanding that the store hang a sign stating the group's views in exchange for an end to protests is coercive, improper and not the way to treat a much-loved local business. Our independent stores are the lifeline of our community and should not be harassed for simply doing their jobs. -more-

Our quicksand economy

Harry Brill
Friday August 04, 2017 - 11:25:00 AM

It is widely known that we live in a roller coaster economy, which economists refer to as the business cycle. We hear from the establishment that our economy is almost at full employment. According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the June unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, which is relatively speaking very low. But most people realize that this figure is nonsense. It fails to take adequate account of the very large number of working people who have given up looking for work. They are either jobless or working part time because they are unable to obtain full time work. -more-

August Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday August 04, 2017 - 04:58:00 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-



Toni Mester
Friday August 04, 2017 - 01:38:00 PM
840 Page

One of the things I learned in kindergarten was to get a pass to go to the bathroom. The teacher kept the keys on wooden sticks marked girls or boys, our ticket to legally walk the halls while classes were in session.

A crucial lesson we should have learned early in school is that you need permission for privileged behavior. In grown-up land that includes building additions to a house or converting a garage to a dwelling unit or even building a whole house in the backyard. And yet people do these and many other extraordinary things without permits.

There must be an epidemic of illegal building in Berkeley, an outbreak in West Berkeley, or maybe I just happened to discover several cases in the last few weeks by serendipity. But after the death of six students last year due to faulty construction, the idea that anybody would even consider building a place for human habitation without the proper permits and inspections should make our skins crawl.

What’s going on, why, and how can we stop illegal construction? Without looking into the bigger picture City wide, I can point to three unpermitted local projects, two under investigation and one that went to ZAB. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: When Too Much Effort Works Against Us

Jack Bragen
Friday August 04, 2017 - 11:23:00 AM

When we are trying to do something, and the going gets difficult, most people are taught that we just need to try harder. However, if your brain has a biological vulnerability, too much effort at some things can worsen or even initiate a psychiatric condition. This applies to both physical and mental effort. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Rossini’s LA CENERENTOLA Shines in Merola Production

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday August 06, 2017 - 03:27:00 PM

The 2017 crop of Merola singers continues to impress, unveiling seven new young singers in two performances, August 3 & 5, at San Francisco Conservatory of Music of Gioachino Rossini’s musical retelling of the Cinderella story, La Cenerentola. With an artful libretto forged by Jacapo Ferretti, Rossini’s La Cenerentola hinges not on a missing slipper but rather on one of a pair of identical bracelets. If the Prince finds the mate to the bracelet given him by the beautiful but mysterious woman who attends the ball but refuses to tell her name, the Prince will indeed have found his mate. That is, if he can accept the mysterious woman’s lowly status as step-sister and servant in the household of Don Magnifico, who cruelly mistreats his step-daughter in favor of his own two daughters. The only other major change in the Cinderella story is here provided by Alidoro, court philosopher to the Prince, who presides over all events in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, even exercising seemingly mystical cosmic powers to raise up the Cinderella figure, here named Angelina, to her rightful status. -more-

Benjamin Beilman Excels in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday August 04, 2017 - 11:39:00 AM

These days, it seems there is a veritable worldwide explosion of talented young violinists and pianists, all seemingly armed with flawless technique. American-born violinist Benjamin Beilman, age 27, has awesome technique; but Beilman also has something surprising in such a young performer – a wonderful interpretive feel for the delicacy as well as the sheer power of music. As soloist in the San Francisco Symphony’s performances at Davies Hall, July 28-9, of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Benjamin Beilman sensitively brought out far more delicacy in that familiar work than I have ever heard before. With Guest Conductor Juraj Valčuha leading the way, Beilman was acutely respectful of dynamics in this concerto, with the result that the fiery pyrotechnics of Tchaikovsky’s score were set in sharp contrast to the soft, delicate passages that are too often played as if they too were marked fortissimo or at least forte. Beilman set the tone from the outset, offering a delicate filagree in the first movement’s Allegro moderato section, then redoubling that gossamer touch in the Moderato assai section. Beilman also excelled in the First movement’s cadenza. -more-