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Charges Dropped against UC Berkeley Employee Arrested During Demonstration

Daniel Montes (BCN)
Thursday March 01, 2018 - 02:09:00 PM

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office has dropped charges against a University of California at Berkeley employee arrested last month during a demonstration at the school, union officials said today. -more-

Oakland Mayor Defends Warnings about ICE

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday March 02, 2018 - 02:22:00 PM

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf today again defended her recent warning to the community ahead of a large-scale operation by federal immigration authorities. -more-

Northern California Sweeps Arrest 232

Janis Mara (BCN)
Friday March 02, 2018 - 02:18:00 PM

Immigration officials arrested more than 200 people on suspicion of immigration violations during a sweep in northern and central California that ended Wednesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said late Thursday. -more-

California Bar Warns Immigrants to Check Legal Credentials

Janis Mara11(BCN)
Friday March 02, 2018 - 02:16:00 PM

The California State Bar is warning those seeking legal help following the recent immigration sweep to carefully vet attorneys or other legal providers before using them. -more-

Press Release: Give Input on "Significant Community Benefit" Packages for Downtown Buildings Over 75 Feet

from Matthai Chakko, City of Berkeley
Friday March 02, 2018 - 03:18:00 PM

Use the City of Berkeley's online forum to help Council decide whether to establish a more specific process and more precise standards for evaluating "significant community benefit" packages for downtown buildings exceeding 75 feet. -more-


SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday March 02, 2018 - 05:48:00 PM

No Nukes Is Good Nukes. As this week's East Bay Express reveals, UC Berkeley may finally lose its 75-year contract serving the Pentagon's nuclear weapons industry. The bad news: among the contenders vying to claim the contract…. Bechtel. That must hurt, especially given that there's already a Bechtel building on the UCB campus. (Anyone else suffering from Bechtel fatigue?) -more-

Public Comment

Sb 827 Is Wrong... So What Is Right?

Russ Tilleman
Friday March 02, 2018 - 11:18:00 AM

Unlike Scott Wiener and Nancy Skinner, I have personally increased the housing available in Berkeley, and I have done it in a way that hasn’t destroyed my neighborhood. All with building permits and all within the existing zoning. While I was at it, I made my house earthquake-safe, upgraded the utilities and systems, and added off-street parking. -more-

Putting An End to Homelessness - Politeness Doesn't Work!

Harry Brill
Saturday March 03, 2018 - 11:07:00 AM

Any effort the cities and the state can play to provide the homeless and those who are likely to become homeless with affordable housing should be made. But only the federal government has the resources to make a major dent on the problem. Unfortunately the federal government has been making things worse, particularly by giving up on public housing and reducing the availability of Section 8, in which tenants pay to a willing landlord 30 percent of their income, and the government subsidizes the rest. But unless we can turn things around, I don't see an easy way out for the overwhelming majority of the homeless and near homeless. It could be done but would require a massive anti-poverty movement that doesn't suffer from being addicted with too much politeness. -more-

The Socialist Alternative

Harry Brill
Friday March 02, 2018 - 11:11:00 AM

Many socialists were enthusiastic during the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign for claiming he is a socialist. Among the outcomes is that his associating his progressive political programs with a socialist perspective played an important role in boosting the membership of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). In fact, this 75 year old presidential candidate can take considerable credit for inspiring particularly young people to join the organization. Since 2015 the average age of members declined from a median average of about 68 to 33 years. Also, DSA, now the largest socialist organization in the nation, has increased phenomenally from about 6700 members in 2016 to over 32,000 dues paying members. The East Bay chapter, which is among the largest, has a paid up membership of over 900. -more-

March Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday March 02, 2018 - 02:28:00 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-


Celebration of Dorothy Bryant on Sunday

Saturday March 03, 2018 - 08:39:00 AM

A Celebration of
Dorothy Bryant’s Life and Work
will be held on
Sunday, March 4, 2018,
from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
at Northbrae Community Church
941 The Alameda in Berkeley

If possible, RSVP or (415) 922-7439



Will We Have the Courage to be Sanctuary Citizens?

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 02, 2018 - 05:24:00 PM

So it’s finally raining, and we can’t complain, because we need the rain.

On the other hand, an errant branch poked a couple of big holes in our roof last week, so I’m complaining. What to do?

First, I called the big old-line locally owned roofing company that put the new roof on maybe a decade ago. It’s well-Yelped, recommended on Next Door, etc. But…

Fully Booked, first appointment not until mid-April, and then just for the estimate, work schedule TBD, they said. What could be done?

Then I remembered what we’d done in the last roofing crisis, when either a raccoon or a grizzly bear scraped a long line of shingles off of the garage roof. (Yes, this happens more often than you’d think. And we live in urban central Berkeley, not in the hills.)

A damaged garage roof in the summer is less serious than a hole in the roof above your bedroom in the rainy season, but still…so we asked around, and a friend recommended…let’s just call him Jose.

He’s the owner-operator of a small roofing business. He came right away, did a quick professional fix at what seemed to be a fair price, without insisting on a signed contract even before going up on a ladder to take a look as the big guys do, for a price.

So we called him again and left a message on his cell phone (no receptionist, in fact probably no office).

When he called back on Wednesday, he apologized profusely for not being able to come over until Friday at 9. He showed up on the dot this morning with another guy and a big ladder, and fixed it right up, just in time before the rain started again.

Why am I telling you all this? Because, of course, “Jose” speaks good English but with a Spanish (probably Mexican Spanish) accent. And no, we didn’t ask about his immigration status.

Don’t tell ICE. The immigration police have been busy raiding employers suspected of hiring undocumented workers. They’ve evidently concentrated on convenience stores, but who knows when they might go after homeowners getting roofs repaired?

If the Trump administration’s crazy campaign to rid the United States of willing competent workers continues, there will be serious consequences in many sectors of society.

Already, a favorite Farmer’s Market vendor told us recently that they didn’t have spinach because although they grew it they couldn’t find pickers—there’s a 25% agricultural labor shortage in Santa Cruz County.

And the immigration insanity is not just about Latino workers from the Americas. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Forecasting the Midterm Elections in the South

Bob Burnett
Friday March 02, 2018 - 12:01:00 PM

The 2018 midterm elections will occur on November 6th. Democrats need to win 24 seats to take back the house and 2 seats to gain control of the Senate. This week we look at the 11 southern states where there are a handful of opportunities for the Democrats. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Mindfulness to Address Psychosis

Jack Bragen
Friday March 02, 2018 - 11:04:00 AM

In this week's column, I am taking a break from national events and offering some escapism in the form of meditation hints. Maybe next week I will be back to talking about the jeopardy we mentally ill, and everyone else, are facing due to the current political and social climate. Meanwhile, here come some methods that might make you feel a bit better, and that might, along with conventional treatment, help create clearer thinking. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Modest Proposals to Address Gun Violence

Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 02, 2018 - 11:06:00 AM


Like many Americans, I am appalled at the level of gun violence in this country. Therefore, I favor reasonable federal gun control measures to limit such violence. While in the U.S. Army, I was trained in a number of small arms, including the M-16 rifle, the military version of the AR-15. As an officer, I carried a .45 caliber pistol during the Vietnam War. As a civilian, I never saw the need to own a gun, but I understand that other law-abiding citizens must have their guns..

Let’s start with a Congressional ban of AR-15-type semi-automatic weapons and bump stocks. -more-

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar: March 4-11

Kelly Hammargren
Saturday March 03, 2018 - 08:44:00 AM

The March 13 City Council meeting includes items of contention that were left unsettled and rescheduled. Comments emailed early have the best chance of being read.

Heras-Casado Conducts Schoenberg and Brahms

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday March 02, 2018 - 05:44:00 PM

Pablo Heras-Casado, who was last seen here in 2016 conducting the San Francisco Symphony in works by Mozart, Schumann, and Dvorak, returned to Davies Hall this weekend, March 1-3, to conduct Helix by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Violin Concerto No. 2 in C-sharp minor by Arnold Schoenberg, and Symphony No. 1 in C minor by Johannes Brahms. Heras-Casado, as I noted in reviewing his 2016 appearances here, exudes confidence and charisma, and he conducts with an extremely energetic style. In fact, he’s almost too energetic. Orchestra members don’t really need to have every single phrase acted out for them by a conductor. Nor should audiences require such coddling. While dynamic energy has its place, that place is hardly each and every moment of a work being performed. In conducting, less is sometimes more. (Take Herbert Blomstedt, for example.) -more-

Daniil Trifonov and Sergei Babayan Play Four-Hand Piano Music

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday March 02, 2018 - 11:16:00 AM

In the second of his three programs this season under the auspices of San Francisco Symphony, pianist Daniil Trifonov teamed up with his mentor, Sergei Babayan, to perform music from the four-hand piano repertory. Their concert took place on Tuesday evening, February 27 at Davies Hall. Having studied with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Daniil Trifonov welcomed the opportunity to perform together with Babayan, saying “it’s a great pleasure to be on a stage with him.” -more-