The Week



Berkeley Rousts Marina Vehicle Dwellers

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) and Planet
Monday July 09, 2018 - 09:51:00 AM

Responding to repeated health and safety complaints, the city of Berkeley has evicted about 35 homeless people who were living in RVs and vans in the parking lot of the recently-closed HS Lordships restaurant in the Berkeley Marina, a spokesman for the city said today.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city responded to the encampment at 199 Seawall Drive after families who use the nearby Adventure Playground and the management of the nearby DoubleTree Hotel complained about assaults, drug needles and defecation in the area surrounding the encampment.

But the people who lived at the encampment told reporters at a news conference in front of Berkeley City Hall that they had lived there peacefully and lawfully and kept the area as clean as possible. -more-

Flash: Berkeley Firefighters Respond to Fire at former University Hardware Building

Bay City News and Planet
Tuesday July 10, 2018 - 09:28:00 AM

A structure fire in Berkeley was under control last night, a dispatcher said.

The fire was reported at about 10:15 p.m. in the 2100 block of University Avenue,

The building is the former location of University Hardware at 2145 University, and was slated to become the new Acheson Commons development.

The historic facade was supposed to be preserved as a condition of the use permit.

Proposed Acheson Commons Development Would Add 200 Units to Downtown Berkeley


A Critique and Evaluation of the CPE Police Report

Steve Martinot (With special thanks to Jim McFadden for some important ideas);
Thursday July 05, 2018 - 12:01:00 PM

This critique is divided into three sections. Part 1 deals with some problems with the report in general. It mostly concerns information omitted, along with an ignoring of the historical context. Part 2 deals with disparities in traffic stops, not only between black drivers and white, but between black drivers and others in the category of “people of color,” which raises the issue of a police “recognition factor,” and certain implicit “search functions” overlaid on racial profiling. Part 3 relates these factors to the question of harassment as a political project. And that has ramifications for the concept of "race" itself. The suggestion is made that race is not inherent, but is more properly understood as a verb, something one group of people does to others. If you would like to read ahead, Part 2 can be found here [], and Part 3 can be found here [].

Part 1 – Some problems in the report

In 2015, the City of Berkeley commissioned the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) to do a study and report on racial profiling in the Berkeley Police Department (BPD). It was done in the wake of years of complaints about police comportment, which came to a head after special hearings on how the BPD had handled certain large demonstrations (about police brutality) that occurred in December, 2014. Those demonstrations were in solidarity with others across the country protesting the failure of Missouri and New York to charge the officers who had killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The Berkeley police assaulted these political demonstrations using tear gas, pepper spray, beanbag rounds, beatings with nightsticks, and the "kettling" of people for the purpose of mass arrest. A number of lawsuits resulted from BPD use of force. And hundreds of people came to City Council to testify about police behavior, putting the issues of police violence, militarization, and racial profiling on the table. -more-

Suspect Arrested in Berkeley April Stabbing Case

Bay City News
Wednesday July 04, 2018 - 07:59:00 PM

Berkeley police last week arrested a 19-year-old man suspected of stabbing someone in April while he was visiting the police station to recover a car that had been towed in an unrelated matter.

Joshua Gertz, of Berkeley, allegedly stabbed a 20-year-old man in the 1700 block of McGee Avenue just before 7:30 p.m. on April 3. -more-

Smoke Advisory for Bay Area

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:26:00 PM

A smoke advisory has been issued for today for the San Francisco Bay Area because of smoke coming from the County Fire in Yolo County, officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said.

Air district officials suggest that area residents avoid outdoor physical activity and keep children inside if it's smoky outside.

Keep windows and doors closed unless it's really hot out. If it's very hot and the home has no air conditioning, seek alternative shelter where it's cool.

Home and car air conditioners should be run on recirculate.

Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean.

Anyone with asthma or lung disease is urged to follow their doctor's directions about taking medicine and following an asthma management plan.

People are urged to call their doctor if their symptoms get worse.

Anyone with heart or lung disease, older adults and people with children are urged to talk with their doctor about whether to leave the area.

Berkeley residents on social media have reported ash from the fires falling at their homes. -more-

Activists to Visit Refugee Detention Facilities Today

Janis Mara (BCN)
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:28:00 PM

Activists from various advocacy groups will visit Bay Area youth refugee detention facilities this afternoon to bring stuffed animals, books and blankets and hold a candlelight vigil, organizers said.

A loose coalition of activists were to meet at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists in Berkeley at noon and a caravan was scheduled to depart at 1 p.m., according to Cynthia Papermaster, a coordinator with the Golden Gate chapter of Code Pink Women for Peace.

Concerned members of the public are welcome to show up as well, Papermaster said.

"We want the kids to know that we care and we are there," Papermaster said. "It's centered on the children. We are bringing stuffed animals, blankets and Spanish language children's' books."

Papermaster said the group had not yet decided which location they will visit. One of the possibilities is Southwest Key, a facility in Pleasant Hill. There are roughly two dozen children being held at Southwest Key, a shelter for immigrant youth in Pleasant Hill, and two of them are adolescent girls who were separated from their parents as a result of the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy. -more-



Are Americans Better Than This?

Becky O'Malley
Monday July 09, 2018 - 01:53:00 PM

“We’re better than this.”

How many times have liberal Americans used this phrase as they condemn the Republican administration’s seizure of several thousand children as punishment for their parents’ attempts to enter the United States? It’s even been used by a few critical right-wing Christian Evangelical supporters of Donald Trump. I might have used it myself on occasion.

But it’s not true, like so many other patriotic characterizations bandied about these days. We are exactly no better than this.

This is who we are—Americans all, not just members of evangelical Christian sects like Attorney General Sessions. Stephen Miller, the most horrendous of the anti-immigrant reptiles Trump likes to surround himself with, was a Bar Mitzvah boy. Although the majority of the Supreme Court justices who have just upheld the worst bans on immigrants from Moslem countries were raised as Catholics, they happily turn their backs on exhortations from Pope Francis to show “Christian” charity to strangers among us.

Religion doesn’t save us.

And realistically, that’s not new news around here. Yes, we’re a nation of immigrants. Everyone except a dwindling number of Native Americans is descended from immigrants, but we’ve always been happy to raise the gangplank to keep the last batch of refugees from disembarking on our sacred shores. -more-

Berkeley's Place in "the urban crisis of affluence"

Becky O'Malley
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 03:22:00 PM

San Francisco just elected a new mayor after a hotly contested race. I asked a friend who lives there what difference she thought London Breed would make.

“The candidates were all alike, just a few tiny differences,” she said. “But meanwhile, they’re locking up babies in Texas!”

She has a point. All the news, all day every day, is so appalling that it’s hard to get worked up about local controversies. Yesterday, locking up babies and the prospect of Alt-Right Supremes forever. . Today, a newsroom massacre. Tomorrow, what fresh hell will our nation’s rulers produce?

Saturday afternoon, I joined some thousands of Berkeley friends at an emphatic rally denouncing the baby-snatchers. Sometimes I feel that much of my adult social life has been seeing old friends at demonstrations, always a pleasure, but ultimately not preventing things from going from bad to much worse over time.

Against the backdrop of national catastrophe, thinking about local land use problems can seem almost recreational, kind of like watching the World Cup when you don’t really know the rules for futbol.

Meanwhile, however, the urban future is being dramatically changed, and not for the better. Our livable cities are being destroyed by moneyed interests while we’re occupied with the Big Picture.

This will be a long piece incorporating big quotes, but please be patient and read it all. At least the end is inspiring. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Harold Way Project Trying for a Third Extension

Tuesday July 10, 2018 - 02:47:00 PM

We've just learned via a well-researched story on that Hill Street Realty is asking the CIty of Berkeley for its third extension on the so-called "Berkeley Plaza" development that they proposed for the corner of Harold Way and Shattuck, in the space originally Hink's Department store and more recently Shattuck Cinemas. They've been trying unsuccessfully to flip the project, which depended for its approval on an obviously undeliverable list of supposed community benefits. The current progressive council majority was elected partly because of community outrage over this project, so their supporters expect that they will stop the staff from granting another free pass to Hill and its fixer Mark Rhoades, even though he's the former city planning director. -more-

Public Comment

Declaration of Independence for Whom?

Harry Brill
Thursday July 05, 2018 - 01:10:00 PM

We have just celebrated on the 4th of July the struggle by the American colonies for independence from England. This remarkable anti-imperialistic doctrine, the Declaration of Independence, explained why the colonies should declare their independence from Great Britain. Especially important and moving about the document is the following line -- "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." -more-

Donald Trump

Tejinder Uberoi
Thursday July 05, 2018 - 01:13:00 PM

We live in dark times. President Trump’s lies, fabrications, and racist tweets are finally having an adverse impact on his popularity and support. -more-

New: Trump’s Tax Returns

Jagjit Singh
Monday July 09, 2018 - 03:25:00 PM

Donald Trump’s elusive tax returns might finally see the light of day if New York State Attorney General, Barbara Underwood has her way. On June 14 she filed a civil complaint against President Trump and his three oldest children accusing them of “persistently illegal conduct” using the Trump Foundation as their “checkbook for payments regardless of their purpose or legality.” -more-

New: Reject Supreme Court Confirmation until next year

Bruce Joffe
Monday July 09, 2018 - 02:23:00 PM

Can the President pardon himself or others, to free himself from criminal investigation? Can the president be compelled to testify before a grand jury? Can a sitting president be criminally indicted for obstructing justice? What is the legal consequence for Trump's violations of the Emoluments Clause? These are some of the crucial questions that the next Supreme Court Justice may decide. The man whose legal and political jeopardy is at stake should not be the one to select that Justice. -more-

New: Mable Howard BART Station?

William Dintenfass
Monday July 09, 2018 - 03:26:00 PM

I am writing to tell you of Mable Howard: -more-

Berkeley Mayor NOW cares about law(s):
one said to give City Manager total decision on Urban Shield!

Gene Bernardi-Chair; Jane Welford-Executive Secretary; *SuperBOLD (Berkeleyans Organizing for Liberty Defense)
Saturday July 07, 2018 - 10:50:00 AM

Mayor Jesse Arreguin’s abrupt announcement, at the June 18, 2018 Ad Hoc Council Sub-Committee on NCRIC and Urban Shield, that he was withdrawing his vote to ban Berkeley police from 2018 Urban Shield because “I’m not here to break laws…I don’t think I took an oath to do that” reaches the height of hypocrisy . (Also, Councilmember Wengraf’s interpretation of the Berkeley City Charter’s Powers of the City Manager is not founded. –see paragraph 11 below.)

Mayor Arreguin and the majority Council’s violation of Federal, State and Berkeley laws dates back to February 2012. The Coalition for a Safe Berkeley (an organization which met with Councilmember Arreguin in City Hall in its early stages, and at least once in his office) on February 10, 2012, sent a memo to Mayor Bates and City Councilmembers urging the Council “Not approve the agreement with the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC)” and “Not approve the agreement with the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).

The Coalition expressed their concern that these programs may violate our First Amendment right to free speech and assembly and our Fourth Amendment right to privacy. (SuperBOLD* distributed to Councilmembers at their 2/14/12 meeting, a copy of the City of Berkeley Oath of Office to which each Councilmember had sworn to defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of California against all enemies both foreign and domestic.)

However, despite these expressed concerns of the Coalition, of which Councilmember Arreguin was a member, Arreguin at the 2.14.2012 City Council meeting, distributed a last minute revision changing his position to encouraging the Council to approve both NCRIC and UASI. The Coalition for a Safe Berkeley followed suit with a hurriedly crafted memo to the Mayor and Council canceling their previous call for No approval on NCRIC and UASI. This Coalition memo actually made reference to Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) 2.04.170 and 2.04.190 but did not spell out in detail what these Berkeley laws require and encompass.

At the February 14, 2012 City Council meeting, and thereafter every year, often late in the fiscal year for which they are considering renewal of UASI and NCRIC, the Council majority which included Arreguin (until 6.20.17 when he voted no on renewal of NCRIC) voted to approve renewal of the Department of Homeland Security UASI program which funds the Berkeley Police Department’s (BPD) participation in Urban Shield, and the FBI’s NCRIC program. NCRIC calls for the FBI deputizing three Terrorism Liaison Officers (TLOs) in the BPD who are sworn to secrecy. Arreguin (with the exception of 6/20/17 when he voted no on NCRIC) voted for renewal of these programs despite the fact that in doing so, he violated the Oath that he had sworn to defend the U.S. and California Constitutions that protect our First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as Berkeley’s own laws BMC 2.04.170, 2.04.180 and 2.04.190: -more-

July Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Monday July 09, 2018 - 10:47:00 AM

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-

Abuse of Migrant Children

Jagjit Singh
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:38:00 PM

At the Shiloh Detention Center children are over-medicated turning them into zombies. They are forced to line up to receive their daily dose of pills. Those who refuse are verbally and physically abused. In addition to the extreme drowsiness, the children experience other major side effects includes extreme weight gain as much as 40 to 50 pounds, in a few months. -more-

Maxine Trumps T-Rump!

H. Scott Prosterman
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:32:00 PM

Wow, the terms and boundaries of “civility” have been battered and bruised to a pulp. But don’t blame Maxine Waters. One might even argue that her directive to make t-Rump officials not feel welcome in public is overdue . . . like since the early 90’s when Newt Gingrich dispensed with common decorum on the House floor, weaponized Congressional investigations, and empowered Kenneth Starr to make a national issue over an Arkansas land deal. Wait a minute; that was about blow jobs in the White House, a grave matter of national security. And don’t forget Kenneth Starr became president and chancellor of Baylor University, where one of the ugliest rape scandals on any college campus occurred under his watch. -more-

Trump: A Twisted Child

Alfred Waddell, Marstons Mills MA
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 09:18:00 PM

If the polls are right that 90% of the Republicans are still supporting Trump even though his administration is responsible for separating innocent children from their immigrant parents at our borders, something has gone terribly wrong with a large part of the conscience of America. Every human being came from a mother and a father; we all bleed and breathe alike no matter where we came from or how much money or material things we acquired in life. In my opinion, and from observing the behavior of President Trump, he strikes me as being a selfish spoiled 72 year old man who never evolved from a childhood bully. He is like a twisted, lying, crazy unruly child in a grown-up 72 year old body. We can’t expect him to have empathy or sympathy for other human beings; it is not in his DNA. And I suspect many of his die-hard followers share the same traits. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Democrats Need to Stay Cool

Bob Burnett
Friday July 06, 2018 - 11:58:00 AM

The midterm elections happen in four months. in the interim, we'll have to endure a daily barrage of Trump. Some days, American politics are very depressing; we have to resist the impulse to stay in bed and hide under the covers. To prevail in November, Democrats must stay cool and do the political organizing we know how to do. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Hygiene of the Thoughts

Jack Bragen
Thursday July 05, 2018 - 01:15:00 PM

The term "decompensate" is offensive to me. I would guess it is also offensive to others to whom this word has been applied. However, for lack of a better word, deterioration of people who are subject to psychosis is a real potentiality, even though it is often preventable. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Shooting at Annapolis, MD and Trump’s media bashing

Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 06, 2018 - 12:00:00 PM

We are all saddened, or should be, at the killing of two editors, a sports reporter, a community beat reporter and a sales assistant at the Capital Gazette located in Annapolis, MD. But attention has to turn to President Trump’s history of inciting violence against the media. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Telling the Truth About Immigration

Bob Burnett
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:06:00 PM

Donald Trump plans to make immigration and "border security" the dominant themes in the 2018 midterm election. On June 24th, Trump tweeted: "We need strength and security at the Border!... We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, [send] them back." To respond effectively, Democrats need to tell the truth about immigration; they need to respond to 10 questions.

(1) Why do immigrants want to come to the United States? Trump and his surrogates spin a consistent dark narrative: "Uncontrolled immigration... illegal immigrants being arrested for the most heinous crimes imaginable... Low-wage foreign workers being brought in to take your place at less pay."

The reality is more complicated. Most of the recent immigrants coming across the southern border are fleeing the "Northern Triangle" of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) because their lives are in danger; they're seeking asylum in the United States. There's no compelling evidence that these immigrants are criminals (

(2) How many are crossing the southern border? Trump routinely calls the influx of immigrants "a crisis" and implies it's a deluge. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: The Case for Public Incivility

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:09:00 PM

On June 20, 2018, Homeland Security Secretary Kirsjen Nielson was heckled about the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy by about a dozen hecklers at the MXDC Cocina Mexicana in Washington, D.C. As she entered the restaurant, they shouted, “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace.” While she was eating, they heckled, "You’re eating a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting tens of thousands of people separated from their parents," and chanted "No borders, no walls, sanctuary for all.” Nielson left the restaurant shortly thereafter. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Brain Overload Should be Avoided

Jack Bragen
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:16:00 PM

It seems to me that my brain has various ways of signaling me ("me" in this case means my consciousness) when I am pushing it too hard. In some instances, I might have an inexplicable cough unrelated to either congestion or postnasal drip. In other instances, I might have coordination problems. There are also some other physical cues that my brain gives me, to tell me it has had enough, and it is time to rest. There have been a couple of instances in which I've fallen asleep while in the middle of writing. -more-

Arts & Events

New: See Verdi's Joan of Arc this weekend

Pamela Tibbits
Monday July 09, 2018 - 03:13:00 PM

Tickets are now available for Berkeley Chamber Opera’s summer production of Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco (Joan of Arc) at the historic Hillside Club in Berkeley, with chamber orchestra under the baton of Alexander Katsman and directed by Elly Lichenstein.

Two performances this weekend only: Fri, July 13 (7 pm) and Sun, July 15 (2 pm)

Music by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Libretto by Temistocle Solera, inspired by the play Die Jungfrau von Orleans (1801) by Friedrich von Schiller


Brown Paper Tickets:
General: $37 in advance, $42 at the door
Senior/Student: $25 in advance, $28 at the door
12 and under: free

Don’t miss this opportunity to see a recently revised authentic version of a rarely-performed gem by Giuseppe Verdi. Giovanna d’Arco (Joan of Arc) had its world premiere during the turbulent years of the Italian risorgimento at Milan’s La Scala in 1845 (with the composer himself at the keyboard).

Berkeley Chamber Opera (BCO) is using the 2009 scholarly edition from the University of Chicago Verdi series, restored by Alberto Rizzuti from original manuscripts without text changes which had been mandated by Verdi’s contemporary censors. For this production, BCO has once again assembled an outstanding cast with company founder soprano Eliza O’Malley as the medieval heroine Giovanna, baritone Geoffrey Di Giorgio as Giacomo, Giovanna’s father, and tenor Salvatore Atti as Carlo VII, King of France. All three were principals in the company’s 2017 Verdi offering, Luisa Miller. -more-

Merola Opera Launches Its Summer Season

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday July 06, 2018 - 03:09:00 PM

Opening with the Schwabacher Summer Concert, Merola Opera launched its 2018 Summer Season with two performances, Thursday, July 5, at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Saturday, July 7, at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall. I attended the Thursday evening performance, which was a sold-out affair, though I saw a few empty seats. Featured on the program were extended excerpts, often whole scenes, from Samuel Barber’s Vanessa, Giacomo Puccini’s Il Tabarro, Georges Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The Orchestra was conducted by Kathleen Kelly, who was an apprentice coach for Merola back in 1991-92. The minimal staging was provided by Aria Umezawa. -more-

Produced by Arianne MacBean and The Big Show Company

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Thursday July 05, 2018 - 01:09:00 PM

[Disclaimer: Arianne MacBean is my daughter. However, I have tried to write an objective review of this complex dance-event, though, as you will see at the end of this review, I have not shied away from acknowledging my personal involvement as Arianne’s father.]

On Thursday-Friday, June 28-9, Arianne MacBean and The Big Show Company in Los Angeles offered the world premiere of The Collective Memory Project at Ford Theatre in Hollywood. This was a bold, provocative work utilizing dance, text, music, video, and drawing to examine the rich contours of memory. Some of the memories evoked in this show were those of veterans who experienced combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. However, many of the memories evoked here were those of cast members or Arianne MacBean herself. The very nature of memory was brilliantly investigated here, including its possible distortions, its fragmentation, its dispersal, and its tenuous reconnections to ongoing life. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, July 8-15

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday July 07, 2018 - 10:47:00 AM

Worth Noting:

The summary of meetings for the coming week is not as heavy as expected considering the canceling and rescheduling for the 4th of July Holiday. When the Peace and Justice Commission meets on Federal Immigration abuses on Monday evening it will be after the working poor and nine children living in vehicles at the Marina are evicted from their current location under threat of arrest and being jailed in Berkeley or Santa Rita.

The Tuesday City Council Agenda is packed. The Vacancy Ordinance, Police Commission Charter Amendment, Fire Safety and Disaster Preparedness and Transfer Tax Ballot Initiative are in the agenda item list.

The Community meeting on fire safety Thursday evening organized by Sophie Hahn District 5 is timely given that fire season is upon us. The announcement does not list speakers. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar

Kelly Hammargren
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:20:00 PM

Worth Noting:

With the Fourth of July in the middle of the week on Wednesday, most of the City meetings are either postponed, cancelled or rescheduled leaving a very light week. There are only two more regular City Council meetings before the summer recess (July 25 – September 10). The July 10 City Council agenda is available for review and comments. Any/all City ballot initiatives must be completed before summer recess to be on the November ballot.

Agenda for July 10 City Council meeting: Email comments to Consent items, 11. Bike Station Agreement with BART City to pay $130,000 in new Center St. Garage, 19. Commercial Cannabis Retail Nurseries, 20. Permit Process for Scooter Sharing Companies on Public Streets, 21. Revisions to Short Term Rental Ordinance, 26. Request for Comprehensive Annual Report on Homeless Services (past reports in packet well worth reading), Action items, 24. ZAB appeal 840 Page Street, 28. Unlawful Nuisance Ordinance Residential Buildings vacant > 120 days and meeting 2 or more specified conditions 29. a.&b. Immediate Priorities for Fire Safety and Overall Disaster Preparedness, 30. Affordable Housing Bond Nov. Ballot Initiative, 31. Ballot Initiative Rent Ordinance, 31. Berkeley Waterfront Parking Restrictions, 32. a.&b. Charter Amendment Police Commission, 34. Auto Sales in Commercial South Area, Urban Agriculture Ordinance, 35. ADU Ordinance Updates, 36. Standards for Views, 37. CEAC recommendations City-wide Green Development requirements apply to 50 units or more, LEED Silver, 38. Ballot Initiative Increase Transfer Tax to fund Homeless Services. -more-