New: DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Italy, Germany & the EU’s Future

Conn Hallinan
Monday March 19, 2018 - 03:24:00 PM

More than a quarter of a century ago, much of the European center-left made a course change, edging away from its working class base, accommodating itself to the globalization of capital, and handing over the post World War II social contract to private industry. Whether it was the “New Labour” of Tony Blair in Britain or Gerhard Schroder’s “Agenda 2010” in Germany, social democracy came to terms with its traditional foe, capitalism. -more-

Housing as a Human Right

Steve Martinot
Monday March 19, 2018 - 03:53:00 PM

Housing is a human right. That is recognized internationally, and articulated in treaties to which the US is signatory. The fact that there are hundreds of thousands of homeless people in the US makes this country a mass violator of human rights. -more-

Flash: Senator Skinner
Chickens Out
on SB827 Panel
Quelle Surprise!

Monday March 19, 2018 - 03:35:00 PM

State Senator Nancy Skinner, co-author with Senator Scott Wiener of SB 827, the bill which strips California cities of their power to plan land use in areas near transit, has bailed on her commitment to appear at the East Bay's key progressive Democratic Club to discuss the bill, according to this notice received today: -more-

New: My Lai Massacre

Tejinder Uberoi
Monday March 19, 2018 - 03:27:00 PM

Fifty years ago, U.S. soldiers attacked the Vietnamese village of My Lai. They met no resistance but ended up slaughtering 500 Vietnamese women, children and old men in what became known as the My Lai massacre. The U.S. military attempted to cover-up what happened and would have succeeded but for the persistence of a young reporter, Seymour Hersh. -more-


MAYAN WEAVERS of Los Altos de Chiapas, Mexico in Berkeley on Saturday

Rob Browning
Friday March 16, 2018 - 04:59:00 PM

Weavers from the Jolom Mayaetik Weaving Cooperative, in Chiapas, Mexico, will be demonstrating their work and offering weavings for sale for one day only, Saturday, March 17, at Talavera Ceramics & Tile in Berkeley.

Jolom Mayaetik, which translates to “Women Who Weave” from Mayan Tzotzil, was founded in 1996 and is one of the most progressive weaving cooperatives in Chiapas. The organization promotes sustainable economic development for indigenous women, in a democratic structure run collectively by general assemblies and a popular vote. Unlike more traditional cooperatives in Mexico, the weavers of Jolom Mayaetik are also advancing human rights through educational programs, cultural empowerment, and political mobilization.

Working on backstrap looms, these weavers utilize methods passed down through generations to combine old-world symbolism with new colors and designs. Their most striking textiles are the huipiles woven as ceremonial garments and women’s attire. Huipiles are traditional, loose-fitting women’s blouses, handwoven by panel and sewn together flat. Mayan huipiles vary in style throughout the culturally distinct regions of Chiapas and distinguish the wearer by their locale. Blouses in the blusa Maya style are modern adaptations, with traditional symbols rendered in bright colors never envisioned by their makers’ ancestors. -more-

A Toast to St. Patrick

Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 16, 2018 - 05:00:00 PM

On March 117th, the 167th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival will be held in San Francisco. Tis the time of parades, green beer, and shamrocks.

The Irish, the more than 70 million world-wide who claim Irish heritage, and the Irish-for-a-day, will lift a pint of Guinness, or something stronger, to toast Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. I bet corn beef and cabbage will be on many a menu. And many were and will be wearin’ the green. Why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that is the day St. Patrick died and is now celebrated as his feast day. -more-

Public Comment

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

Bob Silvestri
Friday March 16, 2018 - 05:28:00 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-

The Volkswagen Scandal: The Implications

Harry Brill
Friday March 16, 2018 - 05:09:00 PM

According to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) air pollution causes about 200,000 premature deaths each year in the United States. The researchers calculated that those who died lost on the average ten years of their lives. Emissions from road transportation are the most significant factor. Particularly problematic is the emission of the poisonous gas, nitrogen oxide, which causes smog, acid rain, and ground level ozone, all of which jeopardize our health. -more-

New: What Students Need Now

Romila Khanna
Monday March 19, 2018 - 06:10:00 PM

I had a chance to talk to a teenager in my state regarding recent mass shooting in school resulting in death of young students. The student said that most of the students feel that inequality; racism and oppression exist everywhere, even in the educational setting. The students feel discriminated and they are bullied because of their culture, race and country of origin. They don’t get a chance to vent their anger and suppressed emotions. They feel their peers, school personnel, neighbors and others who belong to affluent families, do not treat them with respect. They are depressed and are not supported in their academic achievement. Nor do they get to pursue their interests due to financial constraints. -more-


North Berkeley Neighbors
Want Good Planning
at BART Site

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 16, 2018 - 04:34:00 PM

The last remaining vestige of local control over what happens in California cities is local control over land use. That’s why it’s not surprising that an overflow crowd on a rainy night turned out for a meeting at Berkeley Adult School to take their first look at possible plans to build something on the large flat parking lot that surrounds the North Berkeley BART station. Exactly what plans might exist, and who is making them, was murky at the start of the meeting and remained murky after PowerPoint talks by Berkeley Councilmember Linda Maio and a BART employee whose name I missed, prefaced by remarks from Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin.

The Mayor got right to the point: if two bills now in the hopper in Sacramento were to pass, almost anything might happen on that site, with little or nothing Berkeley could do to stop it.

The audience, most of whom identified themselves as neighbors, made a long string of modest, genteel comments pointing to what an obvious Kumbaya solution for development of the site should be. Almost all agreed that leaving it as just a parking lot was not aesthetically or politically appealing.

The shared vision seemed to be this: Genuine no-kidding 100% low-income housing (with no weasel words about being “affordable” if family income were close to $100k.) Occupants diverse, ethnically and otherwise. Height in scale with surrounding homes: maybe 3-4 stories, but no more. Parking preserved, though not necessarily visible, to avoid flooding nearby streets with cars and to protect BART users who need to drive to the station. Some open space, perhaps a bike/pedestrian trail through the middle. -more-


New: ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Economic Deprivation

Jack Bragen
Monday March 19, 2018 - 11:39:00 AM

One of the foremost ways that many persons with psychiatric disabilities are restricted is through the absence of money. I could not conclude that it is a conspiracy, since I do not have direct evidence of that. However, it may as well be a conspiracy--it seems next to impossible for mentally ill people to become financially secure. -more-

SQUEAKY WHEEL: Council to vote on R-1A

Toni Mester
Sunday March 18, 2018 - 09:04:00 PM
2209 Ninth St., Berkeley

; On Tuesday March 27, the City Council will vote on the R-1A zoning revisions that were recommended by the Planning Commission in November after more than a year of meetings on the issue, including three public hearings. The R-1A comprises about fifty blocks between Sixth Street and San Pablo Avenue plus another ten blocks in the Westbrae around the intersection of Gilman and Peralta. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:Forecasting the Midterm Elections in the Midwestl

Bob Burnett
Friday March 16, 2018 - 05:05:00 PM

The 2018 midterm elections will occur on November 6th. Democrats need to win 23 seats to take back the house and 2 seats to gain control of the Senate. This week we look at 12 midwestern states where there are a handful of opportunities for the Democrats. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Dotard agrees to meet Little Rocket Man in May

Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 16, 2018 - 05:03:00 PM

President Trump has agreed to meet North Korea’s Supreme leader Kim Jong Un in May at a place and time to be determined. -more-

New: SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Monday March 19, 2018 - 04:14:00 PM

A Modest Suggestion Regarding Trump's Threat to Execute Drug Dealers!

Start with the Billionaires

On Monday, Donald Trump rolled out his "get tough" game-plan to tackle the country's opioid epidemic in New Hampshire. It called for harsher penalties for high-intensity drug traffickers, including the death penalty for some cases.

Shades of Philippine autocrat Rodrigo Duterte!

Here's a suggestion: Instead of jailing the petty perps in the streets, Trump might be better advised to impose his threatened death sentences on the Opioid Oligarchs—the kingpins in the suites. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Shortened Lifespan of Mentally Ill People

Jack Bragen
Friday March 16, 2018 - 04:57:00 PM

According to numerous sources, schizophrenia reduces life expectancy by about twenty years. Heavy smoking reduces life expectancy by about ten years. Put those two together, and it adds up to parents much of the time outliving their mentally ill offspring. And I have seen this happen as I've lived among persons with mental illness. I could name a dozen or more mentally ill acquaintances, and some friends, who met this fate.

I heard of and had met a man in his thirties who woke up in the middle of the night with what he believed was an upset stomach, drank a bottle of antacid, and then collapsed and died on his back porch. I've known others who have died early from other "natural causes."

For a mentally ill person, it is an accomplishment to live past sixty.

Psychiatric medications are hard on the body. They cause a whole gamut of physical illnesses. Some can cause kidney failure, while others can cause weight gain, diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Physicians will not do as much for mentally ill patients who have medical issues. To an overweight patient with medical issues, a doctor said, "Stop and smell the roses." This doctor had essentially given up and had adopted the belief that the patient was going to die. That attitude doesn’t do much for a patient's morale. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Cellist David Finckel and Pianist Wu Han at Hertz Hall

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday March 18, 2018 - 09:18:00 PM

On Sunday afternoon, March 18, the husband-and-wife team of David Finckel and Wu Han performed a chamber music concert at Hertz Hall. They explored the cello and piano repertory from Beethoven to Lera Auerbach, that is, from 1796 to 2002, with stops along the way for works by Mendelssohn and Grieg as well as a 1998 work by Bruce Adolphe premiered by Finckel and Han. -more-


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, March 18-25

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Friday March 16, 2018 - 05:29:00 PM

The list of City Meetings for the upcoming week is heavy, however, a closer look should go to CA Senate Bill 827 sponsored by Nancy Skinner and Scott Wiener. This bill is on the agenda for the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board on Monday and on Thursday the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club will have a debate forum with Nancy Skinner.

  • Supporters claim SB 827 is a gutsy measure that challenges rich homeowners by overriding local restrictions on development near transit,
  • Opponents call SB 827 a lubricant for gentrification and profiteering guarantee for investors ensuring residents and regulations will not get in the way of scooping up cheap land for maximum profit.
Here is a view from LA which might make you want to take another look at local maps.


Wednesday the Planning Commission holds a public hearing on the density bonus.

Saturday, March 24 is the day of the nation and worldwide marches, March For Our Lives on gun safety. Local marches include Oakland, San Francisco and Richmond. The Oakland March is timed to precede the SF March.

Adeline Corridor Exhibit - Exhibit Schedule The exhibit runs through Friday, March 23rd. It is open to the public weekdays from 8:00am - 6:00pm (exhibit closed on Sundays) evening exhibit hours from 6:00pm - 8:00pm on Tuesday (3/20), Wednesday (3/21),

City Council March 27 Agenda is available for comment, Agenda: Planning for March 27 City Council, Consent -6. Homeless Fund – STAIR Center, 7. Timothy Burroughs Director of Planning, 14. Ballot Measure for Police Oversight, Action - 20. HAC U1 Recommendations, 21. Police Foot Patrol in Downtown, 22.a&b Storage at Premier Cru, 23. Ballot Measures 2018, 24. BACS to Operate Pathways Project, 25. Zoning – R-1A 2nd dwelling unit 27. Police Oversight Ballot Measure. Email: council@cityofberkeley.info


The meeting list is also posted on the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition website.

http://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html -more-