The Week



The Truth about Maps Showing the Effects of SB827

Thomas Lord
Tuesday October 09, 2018 - 01:29:00 PM
Transit Priority Project Eligible Areas

A recent op-ed and comments, published on, make outrageously false claims about a map that I shared with a number of people in January of 2018. The op-ed and the comments use these falsehoods in an attempt to influence the upcoming vote for District 8 City Council Member.

I thought it might be helpful to provide the truth. In part, this is because the voters of District 8 should not be misled by the Berkeleyside op-ed. In part, it is because the falsehoods in the Berkeleyside piece are about me, personally.

Some background: SB827 is a bill introduced into the state Senate on January 3 by Scott Wiener, and with our own Senator Nancy Skinner listed as one of two principal coauthors.

The purpose of the bill is to over-ride certain local land use powers in geographic areas the bill identifies as "transit rich". In such areas, the bill would exempt eligible projects from local limits on residential density, floor area ratio, parking requirements, design standards that might otherwise limit the number of units (for example Berkeley's requirement that bedrooms in apartment buildings have windows), and certain height limits. To be eligible, a project would be required to provide a very small number of so-called affordable units.

When the bill first came out, Senator Wiener's office conspicuously failed to provide maps of the geographic areas that would be impacted. Housing activists quickly noticed, however, that the geography impacted by SB827 would be nearly identical in effect, at least in this region, to Transit Priority Project Eligible Areas, as defined in California Public Resources Code Section 21155.1.

That was helpful because the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) had recently prepared a map of those Transit Priority Project areas. That is the map you can see in Berkeleyside. I have included a copy of it here. I have also included a copy of a map that MTC made later, for SB827 specifically. You can see for yourself that, indeed, the Transit Priority Project Eligible map and the SB827 map are nearly identical. (See also the editorial "SB 827 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) will destroy local land use control", Berkeley Daily Planet January 6, 2018 -- three days after SB827 was introduced.) -more-

Smithereens: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Tuesday October 09, 2018 - 09:46:00 PM


The Trade War between Washington and Beijing may have claimed an unusual victim—a Chinese automobile. China had been planning to introduce its first automobile to the domestic US market by the end of this year. The ongoing tariff battle between the two argumentative world leaders (a case of "He-Said-Xi-Said"?) has likely derailed the US debut of China's new SUV, which would now cost much more, thanks to White House tariffs.

Recently, Beijing signaled its intention to change the name of its new made-for-America vehicle. It was originally named the Trumpchi GS7. (According to London's Daily Mail, "Trump" means "best" in Chinese while "chi" stands in for "China.")

Suggestion: If Beijing really wants to rankle Mr. T, maybe they could attach a bigly bulldozer blade to the front and call the van a "Muellermobile." -more-



Updated: Who, What, When, Where and Why to Vote on November 6 if You Vote in Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Monday October 08, 2018 - 04:57:00 PM

UPDATE: OOPS. We inadvertently left off the endorsement for the 15th Assembly District: JOVANKA BECKLES.

The countdown to Election Day begins in earnest today.

Here are the key dates:

Today, October 8, 2018, is :

  • First day for early voting for the November 6 General Election
  • First day for mailing vote by mail ballots
  • First day to pick up will call ballots
Last day to register to vote for the November 6 General Election Is October 22.

Last day to request a vote by mail ballot for the November 6 General Election is October 30.

Last day to request a will call ballot for the November 6 General Election is November 05.

From an odd combination of an abundance of caution and a certain amount of bourgeois sentimentality, I usually prefer to walk into my neighborhood polling place at the firehouse. You never know what might happen between now and November, do you? Still time for an October Surprise, isn’t there?

But god willing and the creeks don’t rise, many readers will probably be turning in their ballots starting now, and they probably won’t want to change their mind later in the month. So we should get on with the inevitable business of endorsements. -more-

Public Comment

Here We Go! Early Voting Starts October 8th.

Russ Tilleman
Monday October 08, 2018 - 12:42:00 PM

I began my campaign for Berkeley City Council District 8 in April, but my reasons for running go back a lot further than that.

Like many people, I started out not being very active politically. I voted and sometimes I donated a little money. I watched the news and tried to pay attention to what was going on. Then things happened that made me get involved. -more-

The Case Against Continuing to Pay for the Downtown Berkeley Association

Carol Denney
Monday October 08, 2018 - 12:31:00 PM

Dr. Phil, the affable problem-solving TV host, has a catch phrase he uses when defensive participants exhaust themselves telling him and the TV audience why they do things the way they do. He listens patiently. And then he says, "how's that working for you?"

It's time for Berkeley, and any city with a "business improvement district" or BID, to ask the same question. How's that working for you? Getting anything out of the special tax you're paying to, for instance, the Downtown Berkeley Association to improve your business or community?

Because a recent report from the UC School of Law report examining 189 BIDs suggests that not only is the answer "no", it raises the possibility that BIDs are counterproductive. And it uses the City of Berkeley and more specifically the Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA) more than once as a case in point.

From their inception, the local business improvement districts have lobbied locally and state-wide for anti-panhandling, anti-sitting, and anti-belongings laws and sidewalk restrictions which primarily target the poor. The most recent Berkeley City Council agenda featured just such a new set of "enforcement priorities" from the Mayor for the renovated BART Plaza which was, at least temporarily, withdrawn due to the 9th Circuit's Martin vs. Boise decision and its implications regarding such laws' constitutionality. -more-

Epilogue of Kavanaugh Saga

Jagjit Singh
Tuesday October 09, 2018 - 11:31:00 AM

Unable to effectively blunt the damaging testimony of Dr. Ford and sensing their beer drinking and alleged sexual predator’s nomination slipping away, Trump and his morally bankrupt posse of bullies went on the attack. At a Mississippi campaign rally, Trump mocked Dr. Ford credulity regaling the crowd with his cruel taunts. Sadly, the FBI investigation turned out to be a complete sham, narrow in its scope with tight parameters established by the White House. It was designed to be a spectacle and fail. Key witnesses were ignored including 2,400 law professors who opposed Kavanaugh’s confirmation. -more-

October Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Saturday October 06, 2018 - 06:29:00 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-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Righteous Anger: Trump and Kavanaugh

Bob Burnett
Monday October 08, 2018 - 12:15:00 PM

The confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh began on September 4th, quickly devolved into a demolition derby, and finally has reached it's ultra-partisan conclusion. Kavanaugh will be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. Republican actions will live on in infamy. And Democrats are united in righteous anger.

This 33 day process established several things. First, Brett Kavanaugh is unfit to be a Supreme Court Justice. At first, many of us opposed him because we thought his views were too extreme -- he will, I'm sure, oppose Roe v. Wade and any other law that lets women make their own health decisions. (And he is a corporatist who will side with corporations, and the wealthy, in cases that pit these interests against working folks.) But, as he we got to know Kavanaugh -- through the determined efforts of Senators like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris -- we realized that he's a liar; that he had lied to Congress ( ) And then, because of the courageous efforts of Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and other women, we learned that Kavanaugh had (or has) a drinking problem and, when he drank to excess, assaulted women. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: On Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court

Ralph E. Stone
Monday October 08, 2018 - 12:21:00 PM

It was a sad day when the U.S. Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh, a partisan, intemperate, accused sexual predator, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s courage, like Anita Hill’s before her, was not enough block his confirmation. Senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake teased us with the possibility of voting “no,” but at crunch time voted “yes.” And what’s with Democrat Joe Manchin’s “yes” vote? -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Predicament of Trying to Adapt When Older

Jack Bragen
Monday October 08, 2018 - 12:36:00 PM

Adapting to changing life conditions is one of the hardest things that people face. It is especially hard for those who have the limitations brought about by living with a psychiatric condition. -more-

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Arts Calendar

Tom Hunt and Bonnie Hughes
Wednesday October 10, 2018 - 11:09:00 AM

CLICK HERE for a comprehensivve calendar of arts and cultural events in Berkeley and beyond, today and in the future. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Oct. 7-14

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday October 06, 2018 - 11:36:00 AM

Worth Noting

Election Campaigns are in full swing. The last day to register to vote in California is Oct 22, you can register or check your registration online To help with campaigns outside our borders go to Indivisible Berkeley and Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club for information. -more-

Philharmonia Baroque’s All-Mozart Choral Concert

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday October 09, 2018 - 11:25:00 AM

From Wednesday, October 3 through Sunday, October 7, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale presented concerts throughout the Bay Area of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s early religious music. Included on this program were Litaniae Lauretanae, K. 195, Exsultate jubilate, K. 165, and the Mass No. 15 in C Major, K. 317 “Coronation.” I attended Saturday’s concert at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church. -more-

Silk Road Revisited by Sandeep Das & the HUM Ensemble

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday October 09, 2018 - 11:24:00 AM

On Sunday, October 7, under the aegis of Cal Performances, world-renowned tabla virtuoso Sandeep Das brought to Hertz Hall the HUM Ensemble, a group of four musicians who performed music that, as the concert was dubbed, spanned from “Delhi to Damascus.” Sandeep Das, who often performs with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble, here traced the musical and linguistic interchange between India and Syria. It is indeed a rich heritage, one that includes a Syrian origin of the ancient Indo-Iranian and Indo-European Sanskrit language. Musically, the nod to Syria came in the form of the oud, played here by Syrian artist and composer Issam Rafea, who chairs the Arabic music department at the High Institute of Music in Damascus. The other members of the HUM Ensemble were, in addition to Sandeep Das on tabla, Suhail Yusuf Khan on sarangi, and Rajib Karmakar on sitar. The sarangi is of the same family as the Persian kamencheh. It is held upright and bowed, producing an eerie, often ethereal sound. Suhail Yusuf Khan is from a musical family in India, and he is an eighth generation sarangi player. -more-