The Week



At It Again on Berkeley Campus

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Wednesday September 27, 2017 - 10:18:00 AM

A small group of conservative activists gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley today at noon, outnumbered by counter-demonstrators and vastly outnumbered by police. -more-

A Sensational LA TRAVIATA

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday September 27, 2017 - 11:55:00 AM

On Saturday, September 23, San Francisco Opera opened its 2017 production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata by presenting three international singers who were all making their local debut. Violetta was sung by Romanian soprano Aurelia Florian; Alfredo was sung by Brazilian tenor Atalla Ayan; and Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father, was sung by Polish baritone Artur Rucinski. To put it succinctly, they were sensational! Rarely, if ever, until now, can I recall hearing for the first time three singers in principal roles in an opera and finding myself astounded by the top-level caliber of their singing! This was opera at its best! -more-

One or More in Custody after Rally, Scuffle on UC Berkeley Campus, March to People's Park

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Tuesday September 26, 2017 - 02:51:00 PM

At least one person has been taken into custody this afternoon at a rally and march by the conservative group Patriot Prayer at the University of California at Berkeley campus. -more-

Updated: Oakland Hills Residents Evacuated: Fire Spreading

Bay City News
Tuesday September 26, 2017 - 01:34:00 PM

Residents of the Oakland hills north of Interstate Highway 580 and Edwards Drive are being evacuated this afternoon because of a four-alarm grass fire, police and fire officials said. -more-

Fire in Hills Threatens 50 Homes

Bay City News
Tuesday September 26, 2017 - 01:24:00 PM

About 50 homes are threatened this afternoon by a four-alarm fire burning in the Oakland hills, Cal Fire and Oakland fire officials said. -more-

Berkeley Police Seize Million Dollars in Mushrooms from Groweres

Alex Kekauoha (BCN)
Tuesday September 26, 2017 - 01:31:00 PM

Police responding to a report of a domestic disturbance at a home in Berkeley on Saturday night discovered more than $1 million worth of psychedelic mushrooms, police said. -more-

Another Rightist Group Claims They'll Rally at UC Berkeley Today

Alex Kekauoha (BCN)
Tuesday September 26, 2017 - 01:26:00 PM

The group Patriot Prayer is scheduled to hold a rally today at the University of California at Berkeley campus, according to a group organizer. -more-

Press Release: Advisory: Eleven arrests made during today's demonstration.

City of Berkeley Police Department
Sunday September 24, 2017 - 07:52:00 PM

The Berkeley Police Department and law enforcement partners arrested 11 people as part of efforts to manage demonstrations at and near the UC Berkeley Campus.

There were no reported injuries due to violence and no reports of any property damage.

Previous violence at demonstrations prompted the City to enact regulations prohibiting various weapons on certain City streets and sidewalks as well as three City parks. Violations of those regulations were charged under Berkeley Municipal Code BMC 13.45.020.
Those arrested and their charges are below: -more-

Helicopter Noise Again Makes Things Worse

Brad Horner
Sunday September 24, 2017 - 06:52:00 PM

I was looking over your December 2014 article, Helicopters: How Police Tactics Fuel Confrontation, and was startled by how closely it resembles the current situation:

It's stunning to me that the problem just gets worse, especially if you are living near the center of town anywhere. I hope that someone can follow up and understand why nobody can take responsibility for this noise. It has an affect on our health.

If you want to pursue this topic, the best I can do is offer my FAA and Berkeley Health Division's rejection letters and understand the system is not working at the moment, for this issue. -more-

UC Berkeley Demonstrations "Mostly Peaceful" Police Say

Janis Mara (BCN)
Sunday September 24, 2017 - 04:46:00 PM

The speeches and demonstrations at the University of California at Berkeley's Sproul Plaza today were mostly peaceful, with no injuries and only two arrests, campus police said. -more-

In Berkeley, the Party's Over

Becky O'Malley
Sunday September 24, 2017 - 01:26:00 PM

Well, whiny little Milo came to Sproul Plaza, kvetched to a couple of hundred people, not all of whom were his fans, and now he's gone.

The heavens did not open. Zeus with his thunderbolts did not strike Milo down. The sky did not fall, Chicken Little, sorry to disappoint you.

Outside the campus, an eager assemblage of those who came looking for a fight seem not to have found one, at least as of this writing.

The main crowd of protestors Milo suckered into showing up, as reported by, seem to have been the Bob Avakian puppies currently sailing under the flag of, whose principal prop, a REALLY LOUD sound system, was reported to have been confiscated by the police under the noise ordinance.

By Any Means Necessary, the longtime bane of the existence of several African-American friends of mine who have kids at UC, did show up, and they have loud voices without amplification. They didn't get struck down either.

I didn't go. I'll be trying to skip all of these faux-right provocations from now on. My media colleagues at nobly live-blogged what seems to have been a non-event, and our partners at Bay City News have produced the kind of sober, factual report which I appreciate. I'm happy to have missed it.

At this writing it's only about 2 pm, so there's still time for someone to start a riot, but don't let it distract you from actually useful political action, like, say, phone-banking to Maine to defeat Graham-Kennedy. I think it's highly possible that the sky will go on not falling.

Once again, Berkeley has survived free speech. Can we learn anything from that, or is it more fun to be scared? Me, I'd rather not. -more-

The Speeches at UC Berkeley Are Over

Janis Mara (BCN)
Sunday September 24, 2017 - 01:40:00 PM

The scheduled speeches at the University of California at Berkeley's Sproul Plaza are over and the scheduled speakers have left the area, Berkeley police said. -more-

Press Release: Sproul Speeches at UC Berkeley Are Over

Berkeley Police Department
Sunday September 24, 2017 - 01:02:00 PM

The scheduled Sproul Plaza speeches have concluded and the scheduled speakers have left the area. Participants have begun leaving. The road closures are still in effect. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Protests at Telegraph and Bancroft

Janis Mara (BCN)
Sunday September 24, 2017 - 01:00:00 PM

Protests are taking place near Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way in Berkeley, causing traffic congestion, and people are advised to avoid the area if possible, police said this morning. -more-

It's Off, But Milo SAYS He's On for Noon on Sunday

Janis Mara (BCN)
Saturday September 23, 2017 - 07:52:00 PM

While the so-called "Free Speech Week" at the University of California at Berkeley has been canceled by its student organizers, far-right speakers said they would hold forth at Sproul Plaza tomorrow. -more-

Updated: UC Berkeley Says Students Canceled "Free Speech Week"; Yiannopoulos Confirms, Sets Sunday Rally

Janis Mara (BCN)and Planet
Saturday September 23, 2017 - 01:14:00 PM

The so-called "Free Speech Week" at the University of California at Berkeley has been called off by the Berkeley Patriot organization, university officials said this morning.

The Berkeley Patriot student organization is the student group sponsoring the event. Right-wing media personality Milo Yiannopoulos was to appear at the event.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Yiannopoulos said that the event would still take place despite media reports that it had been canceled. However, in a press conference today, Yiannopoulos confirmed the cancellation, but promised to hold a noon rally on the steps of Sproul Hall, now called the Mario Savio steps, tomorrow.

Representatives of the student organization this morning told university officials that all of the events scheduled for the following week have been canceled, Dan Mogulof, a university spokesman, said in a statement. -more-

At It Again on Berkeley Campus

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Wednesday September 27, 2017 - 10:18:00 AM

A small group of conservative activists gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley today at noon, outnumbered by counter-demonstrators and vastly outnumbered by police. -more-

At It Again on Berkeley Campus

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Wednesday September 27, 2017 - 10:18:00 AM

A small group of conservative activists gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley today at noon, outnumbered by counter-demonstrators and vastly outnumbered by police. -more-

At It Again on Berkeley Campus

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Wednesday September 27, 2017 - 10:18:00 AM

A small group of conservative activists gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley today at noon, outnumbered by counter-demonstrators and vastly outnumbered by police. -more-

New: Is Berkeley Yiannopoulos Speech Event On or Off? Who Knows?

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) and Planet
Friday September 22, 2017 - 06:43:00 PM

A spokeswoman for right-wing media personality Milo Yiannopoulos said today that the so-called "Free Speech Week" at the University of California at Berkeley will still take place despite media reports on KQED radio, the San Francisco Chronicle's and that it might (or might not) have been canceled. -more-



Let's Just Watch the Ball in Berkeley, Okay?

Becky O'Malley
Friday September 22, 2017 - 03:29:00 PM

Okay, folks. It’s time to start ignoring all of those nutcases, both right and yes, left too.

I know I’m not the right person to use sports analogies, but I did play softball occasionally in school. I do know that what really counts is keeping your eye on the ball.

Say, for example, you’re at bat: pitcher in front of you, catcher behind. Suddenly up in the bleachers a big guy in a clown suit with a neon pink wig and a bunch of balloons jumps up and starts hollering. Then maybe another guy wearing the same outfit but with a yellow wig jumps him from behind, and now they’re both hollering and rolling down the steps.

And here comes the pitch! You swing—and miss. If this happens three times, you’re out. Do it enough, and you lose the game.

While the good people of Berkeley and environs are busy watching the Altered Right and the Hard-Assed Left duke it out on the sidelines, the game is happening on the field, and our side is losing. -more-

Public Comment

Civil Rights in Danger: Free Speech a Tool

Gene Bernardi, SuperBOLD (Berkeleyans Organizing for LibertyDefense)
Friday September 22, 2017 - 03:10:00 PM

EDITOR'S NOTE: We're fortunate today to get a letter from Gene Bernardi which she also sent to our mutual colleague Carol Denney and Carol's response, which is posted below. This kind of dialogue is very valuable, and we appreciate being able to publish both points of view in the same issue.

Emphasis by Chancellor Carol Christ of U.C. Berkeley must be on the threat to Civil Rights espoused by white supremacist groups and speakers. These groups and their representatives want to do away with what remains of the achievements of the '50s and '60s: integrated schools, housing, workforce, recreational facilities and voting rights. The local Civil Rights Movement of the '60s at U.C. Berkeley needed Free Speech, e.g. the right to distribute flyers and hold rallies on campus, mainly Sproul Plaza, in order to recruit students and others to take part in sit-ins at Bay Area hotels, Cadillac row and other businesses that refused to hire blacks. We also were working to pass a Fair Housing Ordinance in Berkeley. The Real Estate industry adhered to restrictive covenants that barred blacks from living above Berkeley's Sacramento Street. -more-

Misconceptions Misconceptions Everywhere; Open Letter to Gene Bernardi

Carol Denney
Friday September 22, 2017 - 03:13:00 PM

Gene Bernardi's letter has some common misconceptions: Chancellor Christ is not the person inviting the alt-right speakers to the UC Berkeley campus any more than the mayors of Berkeley and San Francisco are inviting the white supremacists groups. But all of them are obligated by law to allow the speakers to speak.

The invitations are coming from, in UC's case, the Berkeley College Republicans, and a second group called Berkeley Patriot. Both groups have connections to right-wing political efforts who want to use Berkeley as a speakers' setting because of the likelihood that liberal/left groups will violently overreact and prove their point; that there is censorship of right-wing speech.

Public forums, even "limited public forums" are obligated under the law to accommodate any speakers chosen by the student groups without any content-based restrictions. The restrictions have to be security-based or safety decisions because of campus' equally serious legal obligation to keep the campus safe and protect people's right to teach, attend classes, etc., as well as hear the speakers chosen by the clubs. -more-

What My Family Could Lose if the Affordable Care Act Goes Down

Bill Claxon
Friday September 22, 2017 - 11:33:00 AM

In August 2004, we got the phone call every parent dreads. Our 17-year-old daughter had been in a car accident, but, to our relief, was apparently not badly injured. When we saw the accident, though, our fear soared. Her compact car was in the middle of the four-lane highway, its driver’s side crushed.

We jumped out of our car just as the EMS personnel were strapping her onto the stretcher, her neck immobilized in a white brace, a two-inch triangular shard of glass sticking out of her left shoulder. I bent down to say something like, “We’re here. You’re going to be all right.” I touched her shoulder gently. The police officer pulled me aside to get the details of car ownership and other information. My wife got into the ambulance with my daughter. Just as the ambulance was pulling away the clouds burst, and we were hit with a torrential downpour. -more-

Harold Way — Has It Been Flipped Yet?

Gale Garcia
Friday September 22, 2017 - 11:26:00 AM

I keep hearing the rumor that the proposed project called 2211 Harold Way may have found a new buyer. The current owner, HSR Berkeley Investments LLC, successfully sought permits to build 18 stories and 302 apartments sprouting from the back of the iconic Shattuck Hotel. Several people warned that the applicant was a flipper, not a builder. Sure enough, as soon as a legal challenge concluded, HSR put the property on the market as a fully-entitled development site. -more-

War Crimes

Jagjit Singh
Friday September 22, 2017 - 04:22:00 PM

A major new investigation by Amnesty International reveals a US bomb killed 16 civilians and seriously wounded 17 more in Yemen last month. -more-

The Corporate Immigration Agenda

Harry Brill
Friday September 22, 2017 - 04:20:00 PM

President Trump's decision to terminate the DACA program, which protects almost 800,000 immigrants from being arbitrarily deported, has triggered a massive outcry. These immigrants came here when they were very young. They can attend school and take jobs without fear of being arbitrarily deported. Among Trump's ardent critics has been the business community. The CEO of Microsoft boasted "We will always stand for diversity and economic opportunity for everyone." In fact, hundreds of corporate leaders, including Amazon and Apple, co-signed a letter expressing similar high minded sentiments. "Immigrants often risk their lives for a chance at freedom and opportunity. And our country remains the world's beacon of freedom and opportunity". -more-

Medicare for all

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday September 22, 2017 - 04:38:00 PM

Kudos to Sen. Sanders for unveiling a Medicare-for All (MFA) Bill with 15 patriotic co-sponsors. -more-


The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Bob Burnett
Friday September 22, 2017 - 03:39:00 PM

"The First White President," an Atlantic essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a must read for progressives. Coates argues that Donald Trump was elected for one reason: his unapologetic whiteness. "It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true—his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power." -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Too Early to Compare Watergate Scandal to Russiangate

Ralph E. Stone
Friday September 22, 2017 - 04:34:00 PM

I remember the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, which probably dates me.

Some have compared the Watergate scandal to today’s Russiangate — whether Donald Trump and/or his cohorts and/or his family members colluded with the Russians in cyberattacks on the U.S. electoral system or attempted to interfere in the FBI’s investigation of any potential links to and coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Let’s look back at the Watergate scandal: -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Efficacy of Mind-Numbing Television

Jack Bragen
Friday September 22, 2017 - 03:04:00 PM

Television watching is almost always a passive undertaking. It is not something that requires focus, like using a computer or playing a video game. It does not require that you do anything. You will not be tested afterward to see if you have learned the material.

An art instructor, a very long time ago, was complaining about budget cuts to his program, and said that art relaxes the mind. Television can also relax the mind, albeit it is often in a mostly idiotic way.

Everyone needs to rest their minds. Many people go to work every day, and I am not one of them, come home and need to obtain a little bit of escapism. If you are mentally ill, sometimes escapism and resting the mind are exactly the things you need to get off the track of worrying, being upset, and possibly having symptoms. -more-