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A bad week for the Yimby narrative

Tim Redmond
Friday August 10, 2018 - 01:56:00 PM

New studies show that building more market-rate housing for rich people doesn't bring down rents for everyone else.

It is not a good week for the Yimby argument.

In a series of reports, studies, and articles, the claim that building more housing for rich people will bring down prices as been challenged, if not debunked. The new evidence suggests that the only falling rents are at the very top of the scale – for the rest of us, that new housing is not bringing any relief at all. -more-

Public Comment

What's Berkeley Mayor Arreguin's Stand on BART Development Bill?

Zelda Bronstein
Friday August 10, 2018 - 01:43:00 PM

Ten Bay Area mayors signed the No on AB 2923 op-ed in the East Bay Times. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín wasn’t among them. Why not?

On August 5, the East Bay Times published a powerful critique of AB 2923, the bill that would remove zoning authority over BART stations in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties and land within a half-mile of those stations from the host cities and counties and give that authority to BART.

The signers included Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin, Albany Mayor Peggy McQuaid, Concord Mayor Edi Birsan, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, Dublin Mayor David Haubert, Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, Livermore Mayor John Marchand, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, and Antioch Mayor Sean Wright—plus Alameda County Supervisors Scott Haggerty and Karen Mitchoff, Pittsburg Councilman Salvatore Evola, and Pleasant Hill Councilman Michael Harris.

Why didn’t Mayor Arreguín join the other mayors? After all, the question of zoning authority over BART stations is presumably of great interest to the Berkeley public, given the huge turnout at the March 15 community meeting about development at North Berkeley BART; the substantial attendance at the August 2 community meeting about development at Ashby BART; and the heated public comment on AB 2923 at the Berkeley City Council’s May 29 meeting. -more-

The Time is Now!

Romila Khanna
Saturday August 11, 2018 - 09:08:00 AM

The time is now for voters to think about voting for candidates who have developed social skills and those who respect the humanity in every person. In today’s chaotic world of despair and inequality, we need those in government who have the ability to hear people’s voices. It is very sad that we are watching the game of power play in all the three branches of our government. -more-


The DNC Doesn't Speak for Me in Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Friday August 10, 2018 - 06:42:00 PM

Summertime, and the living is easy. I’m back from a week in the ever-interesting East, mostly the environs of the District of Columbia, and can reliably report, in the words of yet another classic song, that it’s Too Damn Hot. Otherwise, it’s fine.

The first couple of days were devoted to a family reunion of sorts, what started out as a memorial picnic for my aunt, who died this year in her late 90s. Something like 44 of us turned up, and those were just a subset of my 15-cousin generation and their descendants. I’m proud to report that every one of them more than met my standards for political correctness and right livelihood, and many of them had a sense of humor to boot. This includes both those born into the family and those who simply married into it, though there was a nasty rumor that one spouse had Republican relatives.

I’ve often heard anguished musings about Thanksgivings in other families marred by heated disputes between Trumpoids and Liberals, but I’m happy to say that we don’t seem to have any of the former. This causes me once again to wonder who those other people are, and how they got that way.

I did hear a few hints in my crowd that some had wished for a flashier candidate than Hillary in 2016, but if so they kept it to themselves this week. There’s a remarkable unity of purpose these days among anyone who’s ever voted for a Democrat: Just hold your nose, and pull the Democratic lever. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Why is California Burning?

Bob Burnett
Friday August 10, 2018 - 01:47:00 PM

In case you missed it, California is beset with an unusual number of intense wildfires; the state is covered by smoke. In response, on August 5th, Donald Trump tweeted: "California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws..." Hmm, so California "environmentalists" are responsible for the fires? Or is someone else to blame?

Twelve years ago, I wrote "Global Warming? Not in My Back Yard" ( ), pointing out that while most Americans are concerned about global warming (climate change), in general, they don't get excited about it, in particular, until there's evidence at the local level -- because they have a lot of other issues to worry about such as the cost of their healthcare or housing or jobs.

Two years of extreme wildfires has gotten Californians' attention. Waking up each morning worried about air quality -- because of the smoke -- or worse yet, wondering if you will be forced to evacuate, has made everyone in California aware that we have a problem. The issue is what to do about it. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Labor Movement Victory in Missouri

Ralph E. Stone
Friday August 10, 2018 - 02:24:00 PM

in a referendum on August 7, 2018, Missouri voters overturned a right-to-work law passed in 2017, giving organized labor a substantial victory. The vote was 64% to 36%. This vote reverses a trend of states passing right-to-work (RTW) laws. Presently, 27 states have such laws.

RTW laws are permitted by Section 14(b) of theTaft-Hartley amendments to the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C §141, which permits a state to pass laws that prohibit unions from requiring a worker to pay dues, even when the worker is covered by a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement.

Thus, workers in RTW states have less incentive to join a union and to pay union dues and, as a result, unions have less clout vis-à-vis corporations. In other words, RTW laws prohibit union contracts at private sector workplaces from requiring employees to pay any dues or other fees to the union. In states without such laws, workers at unionized workplaces generally have to pay such dues or fees. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Social Exclusion

Jack Bragen
Friday August 10, 2018 - 02:23:00 PM

People who take antipsychotic medication may be identifiable as "mentally ill" by members of the general public. It seems that the medications affect physical mannerisms, movements, and probably other aspects of our appearance. -more-

Arts & Events

Merola Opera Performs Stravinsky’s THE RAKE’S PROGRESS

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday August 10, 2018 - 04:37:00 PM

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, which premiered in 1951, occupies a unique place in the composer’s career and, far more importantly, also in the history of opera and literature. In Stravinsky’s career, The Rake’s Progress marks the culmination and end-point of the composer’s neo-classical style. We’ll deal with that aspect of it shortly. Where literary history and opera history are concerned, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress occupies a very problematic, and I would even say, precarious place. Making reference as it does to Mozart’s Don Giovanni as well as to Goethe’s Faust, to mention only the most important of this work’s prestigious antecedents, Stravinsky‘s The Rake’s Progress audaciously invites comparison with two of the most profound works in western culture. In spite of a libretto intelligently fashioned by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, The Rake’s Progress comes off very badly in such an exalted context. -more-


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday August 11, 2018 - 09:05:00 AM

Worth Noting:

Very light week - City Council is on summer recess and most Boards and Commissions do not meet in August.

The Zoning Adjustment Board August 23 draft agenda is posted and available for comment,

2510 Channing – density bonus 8-story, 40 unit, mixed use, (consent calendar)

2120 Berkeley Way – modify Use Permit #ZP2015-0153, renovate 3-story building to 6 stories of offices (consent calendar)

811 University – Use Permit #2018-0038, change use from commercial to private school grades 6-12, maximum 65 students, 25 teachers/staff (consent calendar)

1155-73 Hearst – continued from August 2017, develop 2 parcels including substantial renovation existing 7 units, construct 6 new units (action – staff recommend approve),

1110 University – demolish existing mixed use with 8 rent-controlled units, construct 5-story mixed-use with 36 dwellings which includes 8 Very Low income and 1 Low income units (action – staff recommend approve)

August 10 was the deadline for submitting ballot initiatives. The Police Charter Amendment is dead for November 6, 2018 election. Mayor Arreguin did not call the special Council meeting for a Council vote on the Police Commission Charter amendment. -more-

Back Stories



The DNC Doesn't Speak for Me in Berkeley 08-10-2018

Public Comment

What's Berkeley Mayor Arreguin's Stand on BART Development Bill? Zelda Bronstein 08-10-2018

The Time is Now! Romila Khanna 08-11-2018


A bad week for the Yimby narrative Tim Redmond 08-10-2018


THE PUBLIC EYE: Why is California Burning? Bob Burnett 08-10-2018

ECLECTIC RANT: Labor Movement Victory in Missouri Ralph E. Stone 08-10-2018

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Social Exclusion Jack Bragen 08-10-2018

Arts & Events

Merola Opera Performs Stravinsky’s THE RAKE’S PROGRESS Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 08-10-2018

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 08-11-2018