The Week



At Least Three Arrested During Shapiro Event at UC Berkeley

DanielMontes/ScottMorris (BCN)
Thursday September 14, 2017 - 11:02:00 PM

At least three people have been arrested in Berkeley this evening as hundreds of people gathered at the University of California at Berkeley for an event in which conservative host Ben Shapiro was set to speak, police said. -more-

Listen to this: Thanks But No Thanks

Audio by Carol Denney
Thursday September 14, 2017 - 10:29:00 AM

Press Release: Advisory: Road Closure in South Campus

Berkeley Police Department
Thursday September 14, 2017 - 10:28:00 AM

The University of California Berkeley will be hosting an event Tonight, September 14th, from 7:00-9:00pm, at Zellerbach Hall which has the potential to draw protestors and counter protestors. In anticipation of the event, the City has closed Bancroft Way between Bowditch and Ellsworth Streets to vehicle traffic. Those parked inside the affected area will be allowed to drive out but will not be allowed to drive back in until after 3:00am on September 15th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and only take these actions in the interest of public safety.

For the latest departmental information or for breaking City of Berkeley Police news, follow our Public Information Team on Twitter @berkeleypolice

Berkeley Campus Police Prepare for Shapiro

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Wednesday September 13, 2017 - 01:35:00 PM

Campus police at the University of California, Berkeley, are asking students, staff and faculty to avoid the area of a speaking engagement with former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro scheduled for Thursday evening. -more-

UC Berkeley Administrators Ask Court to End Brutality Suit

Julia Cheever (BCN)
Wednesday September 13, 2017 - 03:36:00 PM

Lawyers for protesters and attorneys for University of California at Berkeley administrators argued before a federal appeals court in San Francisco today on whether the protesters can sue over alleged police brutality in a 2011 campus confrontation. -more-

Press Release: Rules Imposed For Select Berkeley City Parks, Streets On Sept. 14

from Matthai Chakko, Public Information, City of Berkeley
Wednesday September 13, 2017 - 12:05:00 PM

Designed to allow peaceful expression of free speech

To ensure the peaceful expression of free speech, the City of Berkeley will temporarily prohibit sticks, pipes, poles and anything else that can be used for a "riot" on Thursday September 14 at three city parks.

In addition, there will also be temporary rules prohibiting various weapons on streets and sidewalks within a defined area.

Anyone violating these rules will be subject to citation and arrest.

These rules are intended to assist those wishing to peaceably express their First Amendment Rights. Thursday's event at UC Berkeley comes in the wake of a February 1, 2017 campus event that drew numerous protesters, as well as dozens of masked extremists who started fires, destroyed property, and engaged in violent confrontations with other protesters and spread into the City streets. -more-

Press Release: Campus statement on announced plans for visits by Yiannopoulos, Bannon

By Public Affairs, UC Berkeley
Tuesday September 12, 2017 - 11:28:00 PM

Today, Milo Yiannopoulos and Stephen Bannon made public statements about their plans to speak on the UC Berkeley campus as part of a series of events tentatively planned for Sept. 24-27. None of these events have been confirmed, and many planning details remain unresolved. The university has issued the following statement in response to media inquiries:


The university is committed to working with registered student organizations to host speakers on campus. Student groups planning such events must meet requirements outlined in our events policy in order for the events to proceed.

Proposed speakers

The series of events proposed for Sept. 24-27 is being planned by a student group called the Berkeley Patriot. Milo Yiannopoulos and Stephen Bannon have said publicly that they will be speaking on our campus during that time, along with “more than 20 additional speakers,” as per Mr. Yiannopoulos’s statement. However, the university cannot yet confirm exactly when or if they will be here, nor can it confirm a list of speakers. -more-

Flash: Berkeley City Council Approves Limited Use of Pepper Spray

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) and Planet
Tuesday September 12, 2017 - 10:51:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council voted 6-3 at a special meeting today to allow the city's police officers to use pepper spray in a targeted way against specific individuals in potentially violent situations during the types of massive protests the city has had several times this year.

Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood asked for the modification of the city's 1997 rule against the use of pepper spray during demonstrations in advance of a speech by conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro at the University of California at Berkeley on Thursday night, which is expected to spark the type of clashes that have occurred at previous talks or rallies by conservative groups.

Just as the meeting started at 3 p.m. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin introduced a resolution drawn much more narrowly than the one Chief Greenwood had initially requested.

He said the modification of the city's existing pepper spray policy won't permit police officers to use pepper spray indiscriminately but instead will allow them to use it against specific violent offenders in crowd situations. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Council Considers Use of Pepper Spray Against Violent Agitators

from Stefan Elgstrand, asst. to the Mayor
Tuesday September 12, 2017 - 01:56:00 PM

(Berkeley, CA) –Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin will be introducing an amendment to an item regarding the use of pepper spray by the Berkeley Police Department as such use relates to crowd control, and expression of First Amendment speech. This amendment comes in a response to address community concerns over the potential misuse of pepper spray, and in consultation of the Police Chief and the City Attorney.

Mayor Arreguin supports the Berkeley Police Department’s request to use pepper spray as a tool to deter violence against police and other individuals, and also supports continuing City policy of not using it as a form of crowd control. -more-

Updated: ON MENTAL ILLNESS: AB 1250 a Disaster

Jack Bragen
Sunday September 10, 2017 - 08:01:00 PM

AB 1250 is close to being passed by the California Legislature. It is a union backed bill that would put extreme restrictions on social service agencies that receive funding from county governments. In order to obtain a contract, agencies must demonstrate that no county jobs would be eliminated, and that there would be a savings to government as a result of the contract. -more-

Weapons Are Not the Answer (Public Comment)

Carol Denney
Saturday September 09, 2017 - 11:31:00 AM

Re: Special meeting to loosen pepper spray restrictions 3:00 pm, Tuesday, September 12, Old City Hall Council Chambers.

I share our community's frustration over those organized to stop others from speaking, and the confounding position it puts us in when hate groups come to town. But weapons, in this case loosening the restrictions for the use of pepper spray, are not the answer.

Pepper spray was once marketed as "non-lethal" and "effective" by manufacturers who now acknowledge it is only occasionally effective in disabling an unpredictable ratio of suspects in highly constrained circumstances; San Francisco Police Chief Toney Chaplin stated at a hearing in 2016, “What option does an officer have in a small room, when you cannot use a baton and you cannot use pepper spray because you’ll spray yourself?”

The obvious happened over the years; the lack of regulation of indiscriminate pepper spray products and their unpredictable rate of efficacy encouraged manufacturers to produce more concentrated products in combination with additional chemicals with little study about physiological effects of these combinations despite pepper spray's implication in dozens of deaths in California; -more-

Celebrate Peace and Justice on Thursday Night and Boycott Breitbart

George Lippman, Vice-Chair, Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission
Saturday September 09, 2017 - 11:46:00 AM

The Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission celebrates three decades of fighting the good fight for peace and social justice. You could say we put the “People’s” in People’s Republic of Berkeley.

WHEN: Thursday, September 14, 6:30pm to 9:30 pm

WHERE: North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst at Martin Luther King

We hope you’ll join us on Thursday. We’ll use the occasion to look at the state of human rights in Berkeley and beyond. We will commemorate the generations of movements that we have supported and learned from. But our main focus is to look ahead. We’ll discuss the importance of having a peace and justice commission in the 21st century, and how we can together transform the city and its government to put human rights first.

Also: we understand that former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro will be speaking on campus the same day. We urge everyone who wants to participate in the development of a positive, future-oriented vision, rather than Shapiro’s return to the 50s—or the Middle Ages—come join to the Peace and Justice event instead. It will be a lot more constructive and much more fun. -more-

At Least Three Arrested During Shapiro Event at UC Berkeley

DanielMontes/ScottMorris (BCN)
Thursday September 14, 2017 - 11:02:00 PM

AT At least three people have been arrested in Berkeley this evening as hundreds of people gathered at the University of California at Berkeley for an event in which conservative host Ben Shapiro was set to speak, police said. Police have identified two of the arrestees as Sarah Roark, 44, of San Francisco and Hannah Benjamin, 20, of Fremont. Roark was arrested on suspicion of carrying a banned weapon and Benjamin was arrested on suspicion of battery on a police officer and carrying a banned weapon, according to police. Shapiro was scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse in an event titled "Say No to Campus Thuggery." The event is being put on by the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America's Foundation. About 200 people gathered near Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue ahead of the event, many of them to protest Shapiro's appearance. Bancroft Way between Bowditch and Ellsworth streets has been closed to vehicular traffic, police said. -more-

Urban Shield Protest in Oakland Today

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday September 08, 2017 - 01:48:00 PM

The Stop Urban Shield Coalition will hold a rally in front of the Alameda County government building near Lake Merritt in Oakland at 4 p.m. today to protest the "Urban Shield" law enforcement disaster training event that's being hosted by the county sheriff's office this weekend. -more-



Let's Stop Acting Out Those Chicken Little Fantasies in Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Friday September 08, 2017 - 01:18:00 PM

So, there’s yet another right-wing twerp coming to Berkeley next week. Maybe. Unless he chickens out, like more than one of his predecessors on the Berkeley College Republicans playlist. This is getting old.

Should today’s text be The Boy Who Cried Wolf or Chicken Little?

Today in this space we’re preaching to the choir. Last week I excoriated the press for turning a few minor league fistfights into what purported to be reporting on Berkeley’s reaction to the Amber Cummings debacle. It’s true that no more than ten Antis seem to have engaged with no more than three or four suspects from the other team, but still…when a couple hundred strapping mostly White Boys (plus a few allies of various other colors and genders) show up dressed as a cross between vampires and hangmen, you can kind of understand why the newsies were confused about who was on first.

So this week, let’s talk to those who claim to be on our side, the side of truth and justice, even though they’re costumed like the villains in comic books. -more-

Public Comment

Fascism and the August 27 Events: Not the Real Threat

Rob Wrenn
Thursday September 07, 2017 - 02:05:00 PM

The word fascism is getting bandied about quite a bit without ever being defined. And “Nazis”. We are not remotely close to fascism in the US today. The real threat is quite different.

While Fascists support a strong authoritarian central government with a strong man leader and reject liberal democracy and suppress all opposition, the problem today in the US is the elected members of Congress who want to roll back government programs and protections such as Medicaid, Medicare, environmental protection, etc. They want smaller government that just spends a lot to protect the interests of American corporations abroad via big defense budgets, but with reduced government regulation of what corporations do here and abroad and with reduced government spending in all areas that benefit the large mass of low and middle income people.

Also, globalism is widely accepted by people governing this country. Trump may make populist appeals about trade deals but what has he really done to challenge the global Neo-liberal, free market system? Trump is not a fascist and he’s not as big a problem as Cruz, Rubio, Pence, McConnell, Paul, et al, the “Freedom Caucus”, and quasi-libertarian congress people, if only because he has no idea how to be president and doesn’t know anything about the main issues. Harpers Magazine had a good article about whether Trump is a fascist or a plutocrat a few months back. The conclusion: plutocrat.

The “alt-right” (another term that is not well-defined)or far right wing fringe today is still very small by historical standards. Even if you look at Charlottesville rather than handful of fringe rightwingers who showed up in Berkeley on Aug 27, who weren’t all necessarily white supremacist or nazi. -more-

What Berkeley Needs is a Non-Violent Containment Squad

Jo Freeman, A.B. U.C. Berkeley '65
Thursday September 07, 2017 - 01:36:00 PM

As an alumnus of the 1964 Free Speech Movement and a veteran of the civil rights movement, I was appalled to read about the recent violent confrontations in Berkeley.

Those reports took me back to the 1960s when I was doing voter registration for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and marching against segregation in Birmingham and Mississippi.

Then we were the equivalent of the "fascists" that Antifa and the black bloc are beating up in Berkeley. They called us Communists, not fascists, but like Antifa, they believed we were invaders who held them and their Southern values in contempt. The local whites whose towns we marched in burned us with their hate stares, blistered our ears with their curses, threw bottles and firecrackers at us, drove cars into our march lines, and sometimes used fists and bats. Guns were visible. Occasionally someone was shot.

Sometimes law enforcement stood between us and our detractors, their faces and rifles always pointed at us, and sometimes they took a vacation, leaving us to the will of the crowd.

Sound familiar?

What we learn from these comparisons is that when a group or a person significantly dissents from deeply held community-wide views it will be attacked when it publicly challenges those views, and the attackers will feel justified without any concern for "free speech" as a more important value.

That is dangerous. As UC Berkeley’s Chancellor Carol Christ put it "Once you embark on the path to censorship, you make your own speech vulnerable to it." -more-


Tejinder Uberoi
Friday September 08, 2017 - 01:34:00 PM

Trump’s decision to kill DACA is a moral obscenity evicting 800,000 young people to a terrifying, uncertain, future. Killing DACA would be killing the American dream for the dreamers. It reeks of racism. Their only crime was to be born with a brown skin. The racist AG Jeff Sessions tried to justify his boss’s edict with voodoo economics, claiming dreamers were an economic burden on America. Nothing could be further from the truth. -more-

The Climate Crisis: Language Is Our Weapon

Harry Brill
Thursday September 07, 2017 - 02:25:00 PM

Except for Amy Goodman's progressive radio and TV program, Democracy Now, the TV news programs have resisted linking the flooding in Houston to climate change. Despite the increase in frequency and intensity of climate related disasters, the fossil fuel industry continues to insist that climate change is a fiction. This is extraordinary since almost all scientists have concluded otherwise. -more-

Trump’s Grandfather: Deportee

Jagjit Singh
Thursday September 07, 2017 - 02:18:00 PM

While Mr. Trump declares war on the children of illegal immigrants, perhaps he should remember that his German grandfather pleaded not to be deported from Germany.

Friedrich Trump wanted to return to Germany with his wife and daughter after having emigrated to the US. He was refused reentry because he failed to complete his mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the US 20 years earlier. This seems to be a familiar family trait. Remember how Donald Trump successfully used his wealth and connections to evade the Vietnam draft 5 times. -more-

Ready for the Worst? Korean Talks Needed

Romila Khanna
Thursday September 07, 2017 - 02:31:00 PM

Are we ready for the worst? I am concerned with the idea of a Third World War starting with a counter-attack by America. If we do take such drastic action to stop the Korean President from using nuclear bombs, we will not be able to save our own people from being killed. I still feel that diplomatic and friendly mutual talk can stop the aggression of other powers. -more-


SQUEAKY WHEEL: The Gods are Angry

Toni Mester
Friday September 08, 2017 - 01:10:00 PM

The Mayan god Huracan is hugely pissed at the way we humans are messing up the planet, and he’s letting us know by throwing wads of wind, rain, and fire our way. The great one-legged deity of ancient mythology is said to have destroyed mankind once before, and now that Donald Trump is threatening Huracan’s progeny with deportation, we can expect even more extreme weather conditions. The President had better wise up and allow “the dreamers” to stay or see Mar-a-Lago washed away. Vengeance belongs to the gods.

Just as Texas is drying out from the ravages of hurricane Harvey, the successor storm Irma is wrecking havoc in the Caribbean on its way to Florida. Human activity doesn’t cause cyclones but the effects of climate change - rising ocean temperatures and sea level - ramps them up. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture and powers a storm like Irma, one of the most destructive hurricanes ever.

We got a whiff of heat last weekend with the thermometer hitting 100ºF in Berkeley and higher inland, the record-breaking temperatures drying forests into tinder, while millions of trees have already died due to the ravages of a bark beetle infestation, adding fuel to the infernos. In California 10,000 are fighting 25 fires, the worst being the Eclipse and Salmon fires in the Klamath National Forest and the Pier fires in Sequoia.

Nature is looking pretty apocalyptic; meanwhile back in the nation’s capital, the climate change deniers fiddle while California burns and the southeast drowns, hoping that a kinder god will make America’s weather great again.

The Lessons of Houston -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Passing the Dream Act — a long shot at best

Ralph E. Stone
Friday September 08, 2017 - 01:12:00 PM

Trump has decided to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) over six months unless Congress steps in with its own plan for these childhood arrivals.

If Trump has a "great love for DACA recipients," he would have called on Congress to pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act or Dream Act, and if it did, promise to sign it into law. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Be Careful What You Tell Yourself

Jack Bragen
Friday September 08, 2017 - 01:16:00 PM

When you feel bad, feel down and out, or if you are very upset, it matters how you deal with that. You should not tell yourself things such as: "I'm going crazy." You should not tell yourself, "What's wrong with me?" -more-

Arts & Events

New: Ars Minerva Offers a Scintillating LA CIRCE

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday September 11, 2017 - 11:44:00 AM

In a lifetime of opera-going, having attended nearly 800 fully staged operas, I’ve never before attended an opera whose composer was unknown. However, on Saturday, September 9, I attended at San Francisco’s ODC Theatre the Ars Minerva production of the 17th century opera La Circe, whose composer may or may not be Pietro Andrea Ziani, or may or may not be Francesco Freschi. These two composers both worked in Venice around the time La Circe was first performed. However, La Circe’s 1665 premiere took place not in Venice but in Vienna. For this reason, among others, Ars Minerva credits this opera to Pietro Andrea Ziani, a well-known Venetian composer who was in Vienna in the service of the Empress Eleonora around the time of La Circe’s 1665 Vienna premiere. -more-

New: Opening Night Glitter at the Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday September 11, 2017 - 11:31:00 AM

Opening Night at the San Francisco Opera is not quite the event it used to be, though it still has its share of glitter. However, I can recall opening nights when people who couldn’t afford tickets used to line the streets outside the War Memorial Opera House just to check out what the rich and gaudy were wearing, and TV crews lurked inside the lobby to film the high society crowd as they entered. Happily, none of this fashion-frenzy was on display at this year’s opening night on Friday, September 8. Mostly, what glitter on offer Friday was on stage, where David Hockney’s garish sets for Puccini’s Turando, which takes place at the Imperial Palace of Peking, glittered in lurid reds and greens, and the cast and huge chorus packed the stage wearing exotic and colorful costumes. -more-

KPFA Author Events Schedule, Fall 2017

Wednesday September 13, 2017 - 11:20:00 AM

September 20, Wednesday, 7:30 pm


Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley

Hosted by Alejandro Murguia

with Joyce Jenkins, Jane Norling

October 4, Wednesday, 8 PM


ANNIE LEONARD: RESISTANCE: What Does Effective Resistance

Look Like and Include Today?

Pauley Ballroom, U.C. Campus, Berkeley

Co-sponsored by KPFA Radio

Contact: or

October 13, Friday, 7:30 pm


In conversation with JITU BROWN

The Fight for Public Education

Oakland Tech High School, 4351 Broadway, Oakland

Dual benefit With Anthony Cody

Hosted by: Kevin Cartwright

Contact: Anthony Cody,

October 19, Thursday, 7:30 pm

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, What Donald Trump is Doing to You Now That He is President

First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Street, Berkeley

Host: Brian Edwards Tiekert

Publicist: Alexandra Primiani,

November 8, Wednesday, 7:30 pm

LEWIS LAPHAM, Age of Folly: America Abandons Its Democracy

Prices $15 to $18, with reception

First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, 2407 Dana Street, Berkeley

Hosted by: Mitch Jeserich

Publicist: Wes House,

November 16, Thursday, 7:30 pm.

ALICE WATERS, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Countercultural Cook

With Tom Luddy

First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

Dual benefit for KPFA and Edible Schoolyard

Hosted by: Kris Welch

Contact: Ken Preston. 510.967.4495

Sunday, November 19

Hunter of Stories: A Tribute to Eduardo Galeano

With Alice Walker, Alejandro Murguia, Al Young, and Aurora Levins Morales

First Congregational church of Berkeley

Publicist: Kristina Fazzalaro <>


Tax the Rich Turns Six on Monday

Harry Brill
Thursday September 07, 2017 - 02:14:00 PM

This coming Monday, September 11 the Tax the Rich group will be celebrating a tremendous achievement, its sixth year birthday party. The group has been protesting and working on issues since September 12, 2011. On domestic issues, it has been the longest running political rally in Berkeley's history. Indeed, that's six years on the streets of Solano Avenue. -more-