The Week

SB 827 could up-zone this area around the North Berkeley BART station.
Victoria Fierce (@tdfischer)
SB 827 could up-zone this area around the North Berkeley BART station.


Updated: Who Backs Building on North Berkeley BART Parking Lot?
What Do They Want?
Thursday Meeting Could Yield Answers

Zelda Bronstein
Sunday March 11, 2018 - 09:44:00 PM

UPDATE: The BART staff presentation for Thursday's meeting is now online

On the evening of Thursday, March 15, Mayor Jesse Arreguín, District 1 Councilmember Linda Maio, and District 3 BART Board Director Rebecca Saltzman will host a community meeting at the Berkeley Adult School to discuss the possibility of building housing on the North Berkeley BART station. Many neighbors of the site now view that possibility with intense mistrust, thanks to confusing statements from Arreguín, YIMBY hype and harassment, and Saltzman’s failure to brief her constituents about BART’s intentions and her YIMBY sympathies. -more-

New: Mr. Wiener’s Whimsical World: The “Madman” Theory of Zoning

Bob Silvestri
Wednesday March 14, 2018 - 04:19:00 PM

As a disclaimer, I’m not categorically against any type of development, be it prefabricated, modular homeless housing or 100 story luxury apartments. If a city wants to build the tallest building in the world, that’s fine if it’s their decision to do that. What I am against is top-down planning by government and big money, forcing inappropriate development on defenseless communities, by commandeering local planning and zoning control and dictating to locally elected officials and taxpayers. I’m also not an “urbanist” or any other “ist” for that matter. I love great urban places as much as I love quiet small towns. Each has its unique and compelling characteristics, and I think we should work to preserve both. If I need a label, I guess I’m a quasi-Wrightian when it comes to planning and growth. As anyone who has read my first book or my work over the years knows, I believe that growth and planning requires complex solutions, incorporating a mix of low-density and high-density, enabled by technology so both have a much lighter footprint on the planet than either do at the moment.

What I know for sure is that a one-size-fits-all approach to zoning will not get us there. -more-

New: The Crime Wave They Don't Mention

Carol Denney
Wednesday March 14, 2018 - 04:07:00 PM

It's a crime wave. Businesses all over town violating the law, operating in broad daylight without the proper city permits. Tables, chairs, potted plants, sandwich signboards, rolling racks and sturdy tables full of merchandise on the public right of way, all without legal permits. -more-

New: Narrowing Adeline at Ashby BART: Community Meetings to Consider Alternatives

Michael Katz
Wednesday March 14, 2018 - 03:31:00 PM

Mayor Jesse Arreguín and the City's Planning Department have announced a series of "community open houses" this week, regarding three alternatives for reconfiguring (narrowing) Adeline Street from Ashby BART to the Oakland border. -more-

New: Cut or commit time for the Berkeley Way project

Thomas Lord
Wednesday March 14, 2018 - 04:09:00 PM


Berkeley has serious needs for shelter space, supportive housing, and available housing that is affordable even to persons with very low incomes.

The BRIDGE/BFHP effort to develop the Berkeley Way parking lot has failed to produce a viable project.

City Council has been asked to commit large sums of existing funds and to try to borrow more funds in pursuit of the Berkeley Way Project. In exchange, Council is told the project might, if nothing more goes wrong, be funded and permitted by the end of 2019.

That is a bad deal. City Council should instead suspend the project and move quickly to find more viable alternatives. -more-

New: The Solution is to License Access to Guns

Bruce Joffe
Tuesday March 13, 2018 - 12:43:00 PM

Assault weapons and large bullet magazines were illegal in this country for ten years (1994-2004). During that time murders with those weapons declined. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Councilmember Linda Maio Announces… “After 25 years I will not run for Re-Election”

From Lars Skjerping
Monday March 12, 2018 - 12:59:00 PM

Citing a strong career of service of more than 25 years on the Berkeley City Council, Linda Maio has decided to step down and not run for office again in November. -more-

Sacred: A Beautiful Human Portrait of World Religions—and Their Limits

Gar Smith
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:43:00 PM

Opens March 9 at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley

As a documentary film, Thomas Lennon's Sacred stands apart—a rare collaborative visual anthology created by more than 40 filmmaking crews working independently in 25 different countries around the world. Credit for the concept and the editing goes to Lennon, an Academy Award-winning director/producer.

Described by its distributor, Argot Pictures, as "a multi-million dollar global documentary . . . two years in the making," Sacred offers a visually rich 97-minute tour-de-faith—a snapshot-scrapbook of religious practices around the world and the impact they have on the lives of people from birth to death. -more-


Public Comment

Government & The Corporate Culture: Crime Does Pay

Harry Brill
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:40:00 PM

It is no surprise to us when we learn about the unscrupulous and even criminal conduct of many of the big corporations. But what the public needs to become more aware of is the complicity of the federal government. General Motors (GM) installed a defective ignition switch in over 2 1/2 million cars, which caused, according to the official estimate, at least 124 deaths and many serious injuries. When the ignition switch failed it prevented the air bags, power steering, and power brakes from working. -more-

Saudi Arabia

Jagjit Singh
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:31:00 PM

Desperate to enter the exclusive nuclear club and assert its declining role in the Middle East Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of world-wide terrorism, is planning to erect as many as 16 nuclear reactors. -more-

Extending Daily Savings Time: The Advantages

Harry Brill
Friday March 09, 2018 - 03:30:00 PM

This Sunday begins Daylight Savings Time (DST). Make sure you reset your watches and clocks one hour ahead. It is probably a good idea if you do so on Saturday just before you go to sleep. -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Long Term Damage of Bullying in Schools

Jack Bragen
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:38:00 PM

The bogus idea of arming teachers in high schools will add another layer of serious problems to the public schools, places that are already bad enough. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The Women’s Wave

Bob Burnett
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:05:00 PM

There's continuing talk of a "wave" election in November; an election where Democrats across the nation vote in larger numbers than Republicans and take back control of Congress and many state legislatures. While a blue wave is likely, it won't be the result of superior organization by the Democratic Party. Instead it will be the result of a grassroots mobilization led by women. A November blue wave is predicted because most political experts believe that Democrats, and Independents, are more motivated to vote than are Republicans. A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll reported that voters are unhappy with the country's direction and dissatisfied with President Trump. "58%-32% [of] those surveyed say they want to elect a Congress that mostly stands up to the president, not one that mostly cooperates with him." -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: ICE Sweeps Northern California

Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:33:00 PM

yRecently, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted Northern California sweeps and claimed to have arrested more than 150 undocumented immigrants, half of whom had no criminal records. [Other accounts report more than 250 arrests.]The Trump administration’s racist, anti-immigrant actions have gone too far. ICE, by its own admission, swept up otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants, most of whom pay taxes and social security. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Monday March 12, 2018 - 09:11:00 PM

Trump's Off-the-Cuff Remarks

Remember when reporters caught Donald Trump using a "cheat sheet" complete with five talking points during a meeting with survivors of the Florida shoot shooting?

I managed to grab a screen shot with a close-up of the memo clenched in Trump's hands and, sure enough, number five reads: "I hear you."

But here's the surprise. Look at Trump's left cuff. The number 45 appears on it.

Do all president's have their shirts monogrammed thusly or is it just Trump?

And, if so, why?

Is this to remind him he's the 45th POTUS?

Or is it the caliber of the concealed handgun he carries?

Or does he have a thing for old 45-rpm vinyl records?

I'm wondering if the right sleeve is similarly marked.

And what about his socks and undies? -more-

Arts & Events

Island City Opera Presents Bellini’s LA SONNAMBULA

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday March 12, 2018 - 01:24:00 PM

Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula which to my knowledge was last seen in the Bay Area in a 1985 San Francisco Opera production featuring Frederica von Stade as Amina, the sleepwalker, tenor Dennis O’Neill as Elvino, and Samuel Ramey as Count Rodolfo, is currently enjoying a run by Alameda’s Island City Opera. In performances at Alameda’s Elks Lodge, La Sonnambula runs from March 7 to March 18. I attended the Sunday matinee on March 11; and La Sonnambula will also be given on Friday, March 16, and Sunday, Marc h 18. A trip to Alameda will be well worth your effort, for Island City Opera’s production of La Sonnambula is stellar. The cast is uniformly excellent; and the staging by director Olivia Stapp is both witty and intellectually stimulating. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, March 11-18

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday March 10, 2018 - 11:06:00 AM

There is a heavy list of city meetings for the upcoming week with most meetings earning only a quick scan. The meetings of importance are:

Around & About--Music & Shadow Puppets: Wu Man and the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band, Sunday at 3, Hertz Hall, UCB

Ken Bullock
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:24:00 PM

Pipa player Wu Man made a name for herself in America, where her lute-like instrument isn't so well-knpwn, by her virtuosic playing with the Kronos Quartet and Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. While playing folk music from Shaanxi Province, she discovered the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band, bringing them to Carnegie Hall for the China Festival there in 2009. Now on tour in North America, Wu and the Shadow Puppet Band will perform this Sunday at 3 at Hertz Hall on the UC campus, close to College & Bancroft. Tickets are $42-$68. or 642-9988. -more-

A Concert by the Early Music Group LES DÉLICES

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:49:00 PM

Founded in 2009 by noted baroque oboist Debra Nagy, Les Délices specializes in long neglected works by lesser-known composers of the Baroque period. Les Délices is comprised of Debra Nagy on oboe, Julie Andrijeski and Adriane Post on violins, Emily Walhout on viola da gamba, and Mark Edwards on harpsichord. On the weekend of March 2-4, Les Délices presented concerts in Palo Alto, Berkeley, and San Francisco. I attended the Saturday evening concert in Berkeley’s St. Mary Magdalen Church. -more-