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Don't Miss This Excellent Article

Thursday November 01, 2018 - 11:17:00 AM

Here is the most thorough reporting I've seen on the Assembly District 15 race. It's a Must Read.

A Billionaire-Backed Democrat Is Facing Off Against a Democratic Socialist in Berkeley. And It’s Getting Rough. by Lee Fang and Leighton Akio Woodhouse

Press Release: Senator Bernie Sanders Endorses Jovanka Beckles for AD 15

Monday October 29, 2018 - 11:03:00 AM

Crowd at Bernie Sanders/Barbara Lee event chants JO-VAN-KA!

Today Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed Jovanka Beckles for Assembly District 15 following a weekend rally in Berkeley.

“While in Berkeley, I had the chance to meet with Jovanka Beckles, and I was impressed by her commitment to progressive values. In the State Assembly, she will fight for Medicare for all, a living wage for all California workers, environmental justice and criminal justice reform. I’m proud to support Jovanka Beckles in the 15th Assembly district."

Sanders met with Beckles following an auditorium-packing rally with Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) and a stem-winding campaign-style speech excoriating President Trump. Berkeley was the final stop on his dynamic, nine-state Get Out The Vote (GOTV) tour. 

Reflecting on the Saturday rally, Jovanka said, 

“As Congressmember Lee introduced Bernie, I was moved by the crowd’s effusive expression of its affection for their beloved representative.” 

“I was thrilled to be on stage while Senator Sanders explained to us all the vital need to get out the vote and to move beyond the Trump agenda. After Bernie’s speech, joining in raised hands with him and with Barbara Lee was one of the most inspiring moments of my life. 

“I am deeply honored and most grateful that he has endorsed my candidacy.” 

The event, on the grounds of Berkeley High School at the 3,500-seat Berkeley Community Theater, began with a speech by Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin. His repeated mention of Jovanka’s name evoked prolonged chants and a standing ovation for JO-VAN-KA! 

Of course, Bernie’s throw-down-the-gauntlet speech evoked frequent, classic, “BER-NIE, BER-NIE, BER-NIE” chants. When one audience member shouted “Bernie, 2020,” the crowd went wild. 

Bernie smiled.

Berkeley Havdalah* Vigil Against Hate

Saturday October 27, 2018 - 04:51:00 PM

The Berkeley community will gather this evening in a unified and healing response to the hateful and tragic shooting today at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Everyone is welcome. 

Tonight at 9:15 PM after the end of Shabbat Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley We will lift up our voices in song and solidarity and hold one another in our grief. 

*Havdalah marks the end of Shabbat. 

Note: Parking in the neighborhood is extremely limited; please use public transportation or ride sharing.

Statement by Jovanka Beckles on Synagogue Killings in Pittsburgh

Saturday October 27, 2018 - 06:45:00 PM

Armed with an assault rifle and at least three handguns, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, killing at least 11 people and wounding six others. The Anti-Defamation League said the attack was among the deadliest against the Jewish community in the United States.

Today Richmond City Council member and AD 15 candidate Jovanka Beckles released a statement on the news of the shooting.

"I extend my deep condolences to the families, friends and relations of the victims of the hate killings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh today. My heart is so heavy, almost beyond bearing," Beckles said, speaking in Berkeley. 

"With hatred and discrimination and anti-Semitism let loose in our land, we must gather to embrace each other in love. 

"All of us must take our own and each other’s pain and together seek healing. We need mutual empathy, understanding, acceptance of types of living, thoughts and beliefs other than our own. We can think, learn, and act together in deeper understanding of our differences and our common humanity that binds us together." 

"We need to mobilize politically to stop hatred, divisiveness and the inequities that subjugate our fellow humans. As we move toward the midterm elections next week, I hope that everyone can sympathize with the vulnerable, with the discriminated-against because that could be any one of us. Our humanity can be expressed politically and in unity."

Berkeley's Housing Crisis: An Open Letter to the Berkeley City Council

Charlene M. Woodcock
Saturday October 27, 2018 - 05:38:00 PM

h Dear Mayor Arreguín and city council members,

If we’re serious about reversing the loss of diversity in Berkeley due to gentrification and new housing only for those above median income, the city needs to act decisively. That’s why the majority of us rejected the real estate man for mayor in 2016, and elected Kate Harrison instead of Ben Gould for district 4. However, some council members and city staff continue to support the interests of developers over the concerns of Berkeley residents. Instead of continuing to approve market-rate projects, you need to demand projects that include low-income and family units and apply this demand to all those market-rate projects now in the pipeline. If those projects are granted use permits without having to include low-income units, the current housing crisis will be greatly exacerbated. The inadequate current in-lieu fee does not begin to solve the problem. If you’re serious about this crisis, raise the required low-income units to 50% and the in-lieu fee to $100,000 per unit. This would address the problem. We do not need more housing for the well-off in Berkeley. The developers of such housing and their investors need our locations. 

At their October 25 meeting, the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board voted to permit a 194-foot monument to real estate investment profits. In doing so, they approved this building's failure to aim for a LEED Platinum certification. Its LEED Gold goal, obsolete in this time of rapid climate change, would be achieved primarily simply by its location at BART Plaza. They approved the loss of the view of the Bay and Golden Gate from Campanile Way prized by students, residents, and visitors to the UC campus for more than 100 years. The justification for approving this architecturally undistinguished, environmentally inadequate project is the tired demand for more housing. The problem is, we don’t need more housing for the wealthy, those who can afford $4,000 or $5,000 a month for a studio or 1-bedroom apartment. We now have filled 150% of our ABAG quota for above-median income, but only a paltry 4 or 5% of the quota for low-income residents. We need housing that students, low-income residents, and families can afford. But this project, with 274 units, includes only 64 with two bedrooms, inadequate for a family even
were it priced for less-than-affluent renters.

Given the fact that Berkeley voters elected progressives rather than heavily-funded pro-development candidates in the 2016 election, it was a sad display of disregard for the will of the people. Only John Selawsky and Patrick Sheahan voted against granting the use permit for this project. Kriss Worthington’s student appointee showed her lack of understanding of the housing market in Berkeley by interrupting to second the motion to demonstrate how strongly she felt about student housing needs. She didn't see that helping to approve one more market-rate project devoid of any low-income units—the promised $10 million in-lieu fee won’t materialize for years—fails the urgent low-income, student, and family housing needs in Berkeley. In fact by taking a site for high-income housing that should be used for inclusionary housing to maintain the downtown demographics, it is in direct conflct with the DAP. But Charles Kahn made a point of stating that staff and ZAB decisions transcend the decisions of Berkeley voters. "The Council does land use policy; the public can be overruled." Democracy in Berkeley??

Patrick Sheahan asked why the project does not aim for LEED Platinum energy efficiency standards. The developer quite lamely blamed the wonderful roof gardens (who will use them at 180 feet up in the wind and cold?) for taking up the space where photo-voltaic cells could have been placed. Sheahan said the project is a dinosaur, not state-of-the-art, and ignores the will of the people that downtown heights be no taller than the Wells Fargo and Chase buildings. He then asked staff how it was that that height got translated into 180 feet, since those buildings don’t reach that height even with all roof appurtenances included. This building will be 194 feet including elevator housing etc. He asked how it came to be that the height limit was measured to the parapet instead of total height? The previous standard would put this building 20-25 feet above allowed height. He noted that this discrepancy had been ignored in the Harold Way process but said he was not going to ignore it. The question was dismissed.

And as with Harold Way, the Significant Community Benefits are a joke: 677 square feet of “community space” to be included in the building and a labor contract (that I understand the city requires anyway). The contractor tried to say that their $37K in-lieu fee was a community benefit, but someone pointed out that that was required of all the five tall buildings (except Tom Bates’ discounted fee for Harold Way).

Five or six people spoke against the project and about the same number for, including one middle-aged man identified as a private citizen whom I saw in conversation with Mark Rhoades at the break. Mr. Rhoades, as City Planning Director for ten years, laid the groundwork for his current work as front man for developers, pushing through oversized projects whether residents of Berkeley want them or not.

Altogether a very discouraging display of short-term thinking by the Board majority—incredibly ill-informed and irresponsible with regard to climate change as well as the willingness to block permanently a much-admired public view and turn it into a private profit source—those views of the Bay translate into high rents.

Police Association Should Not Attack Public Servants

Negeene Mosaed
Saturday October 27, 2018 - 06:17:00 PM

When I view the ad with a picture of a homeless encampment in an unknown location associated with Kate Harrison, I was stunned. This ad attacks not only a sitting office holder by implying she is responsible for the homeless epidemic in Berkeley; it also demonizes the poor. The Police Association has come out full bore against Kate Harrison because she is a leader in examining racial inequities in policing and a transparent Police Review Commission. 

If the Berkeley Police Association intends to reach out to the community and bridge the gap between the police and marginalized communities, they must do better than slander and implied judgments regarding the impacts of displacement in the Bay Area. What Kate and other city council members have proposed is common-sense regulations to reduce homelessness and its impacts through permanent and transitional housing, increased mental health and sanitation services and exploring designated, controlled, and supported encampments that are supervised by the city. Short of a reasonable and executable plan to provide housing to those displaced in our streets due to the multi-factorial housing crisis, the short term solution is not to jail or remove homeless people by any means necessary. 

It is as a result of tremendous pain and many years of hard work that Berkeley is known across America as a diverse and tolerant city. We cannot allow our Police Association to attack and humiliate our public servants. I call on the Police Association to quickly and openly apologize to both our city council member Kate Harrison, and our citizens for instigating such an offensive and disturbing campaign. And I call on our community to come together and treat the issue of homelessness not as a case of us against them, but with empathy and understanding, to address the underlying causes of this vast income inequality . This is undoubtedly the only way to find a solution to this continued issue that has been in our city long before Kate Harrison was elected to council last year.

Berkeley District 4 Endorsement Misplaced

Jeffrey J. Carter, Attorney at law
Saturday October 27, 2018 - 06:51:00 PM

Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that the East Bay Express endorsed “anybody but Kate Harrison” for the Berkeley City Council District 4 seat. The ostensible rationale was that her two opponents were stronger advocates for tenants, the homeless, and affordable housing. This is simply not true.  

In my 47 years as a tenants’ rights attorney, and former directing attorney of the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, I have rarely seen a council person more concerned with protecting affordable housing than Kate Harrison who has been a strong advocate for tenants' rights and affordable housing.  

Kate also has the necessary administrative experience as well to be a fine progressive city council member. She has joined the ranks of Kriss Worthington and Maudelle Shirek who withstood the pressures of the council’s give-away practices to developers of outrageously priced rental housing.  

I have never seen either of her opponents involved in any of the many activities which I have participated in to protect tenants’ rights, rent stabilization and just causes for eviction for nearly a half century. In fact, Ben Gould has yet to support the passage of Prop 10, the single most important change to California tenant survival legislation. 

The Express endorsement of Kate’s opponents is grossly misplaced, especially since it appears that the paper neglected to even interview her.

Tony Thurmond Attacked by Fraudulent Report from Tuck Campaign

Glen Kohler
Saturday October 27, 2018 - 05:36:00 PM

Tony Thurmond, who is running for California Superintendant of Schools, is an advocate of public education who opposes the Republican movement to privatize elementary and secondary education. 

Marshall Tuck, another so-called Democrat, is poised to serve the agenda to increase public funding of charter schools. 

Yesterday the Tuck campaign widely published and distributed a misleading hit piece, falsely labeled ‘ACLU’ in large type, to create the impression that the American Civil Liberties Union opposes Thurmond’s campaign. The ‘report’ alleges that Tony Thurmand has been sued multiple times for his role in education. 

The ACLU has published a disclaimer that the negative statements about Thurmond did not originate from that organization: 


Searching the web does not readily turn up corroboration of the claims asserted in the Tuck campaign's hit piece. 

Searching the web does show that Tony Thurmond’s record on the Courage Score web site is extraordinarily good. He is a defender of public education, and his record representing California Assembly District 15 is also good. 


The Tuck campaign, like the Wicks campaign, has received millions of dollars from Republicans and charter-school advocates. Such funding sources strongly indicate that Tuck is another faux ‘Democrat’ touted by anti-Democratic organizations and individuals, for a public office that could, in the wrong hands, damage the public interest.

Campaign Finance Charges in Berkeley District 8

Russ Tilleman, Candidate for Berkeley City Counci, District 8
Saturday October 27, 2018 - 05:16:00 PM

Have you heard about Lori Droste getting caught violating Berkeley campaign finance laws?



The staff report says:

"However, based on the facts above, there does appear to be sufficient evidence for a reasonable basis on which to believe that a violation of BERA Sections 2.12.500.A.7 and 2.12.440 occurred for the use of the retail space"

BERA Section 2.12.440 is not related to public financing. It is part of the law that has been there since at least 1991: 

'2.12.440 Contributions from certain organizations and business entities prohibited. No proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint venture, syndicate, business trust, company, corporation, including non-profit corporations, or labor union shall make a contribution to any candidate or committee (supporting or opposing any candidate) directly or indirectly, and no campaign treasurer (of any such committee) shall solicit or accept such contribution. (Ord. 6096-NS § 1, 1991: Ord. 4701-NS § 1 (part), 1974: Ord. 4700-NS § 605, 1974)" 

Droste appears to have violated one of the longtime anti-corruption measures in the Berkeley campaign laws. 

And after she was caught and she wrote a check for the use of the space, I think she greatly undervalued it. $100 for 2000 square feet that rents for $9000 a month? I paid $200 for 108 square feet when I rented the Berkeley Room at the Berkeley City Club for 4 hours for a campaign event. So I think she also violated the $250 limit. 

To me, this is a much more serious violation than inadvertently messing up accounting or moving funds around from one account to another. Especially considering Droste's strong pro-development stance and the fact that the company that made the illegal contribution stands to profit from Droste's actions as a Council member.

An Open Letter to the Mayor and City Council Regarding Property of Low-Income Homeowners

Mary Behm-Steinberg, candidate for City Council in District 1, co-signed by 1); Igor Tregub (also a candidate for City Council in District 1); Aidan Hill (Candidate for Berkeley City Council District 7) and Alfred Twu (Candidate for Berkeley City Council
Saturday October 27, 2018 - 04:56:00 PM

We, the undersigned leaders and candidates for public office representing Berkeley, call on you to curtail the power of the City Manager’s Office, the Department of Zoning, and City Planning to take over the property of long-term low-income homeowners over zoning issues. While we are sure that these actions are intended to expand the availability of housing to more people, we question how forcing out some of our most vulnerable long-term residents, many of them African Americans living in South and West Berkeley, will in any way benefit the city’s stated goal of maintaining diversity and affordability in housing. 

Specifically, we have been made aware of situations where the Zoning often makes it impossible for people to comply and keep their properties up to code, first through exorbitant fees that are often far outside what a low-income homeowner could pay, and second, by requiring that every last thing be brought up to code (rather than grandfathered in in cases where little to no significant risk exists) when longstanding unpermitted violations are found. 

According to the Berkeley Housing Element’s figures, 22.9% of Berkeley’s homeowners are low income or below, and of those, 4% are extremely low income (that’s over 1000 people in that narrow category alone). Fear of zoning inspectors mandating costly additional repairs drive an increasing number of people to rely on under-the-table work on their properties and make them prey to shoddy construction and sometimes to “fixes” that could trigger a level of repairs necessitating that a house be rebuilt from the ground up. Coupled with an insufficient number of inspectors, all this does is to create less building safety, and when property changes hands, sometimes work has been done that the new owner isn’t even aware of. 


Adoptable resolutions to specific issues that we have been made aware of from recent enforcement actions should include: 


Items that are non-conforming but essentially safe, like a step up into a bathroom or a staggered staircase, should be grandfathered in, since those are changes that would be prohibitively expensive for many current residents and, in some cases, would force the unit to move into a higher rental price bracket or a homeowner to be forced out entirely.
  • In cases where a house or condo is too close to the property line and changes have been made that alter the footprint, the homeowner should be allowed to upgrade the unit, with permits, to ensure that a one-hour firewall is present all along the borders instead of having to rebuild the entire unit six feet from the property line.
  • Earthquake upgrade funds should be made available first to people who are either low income, or to people who are using these funds to create an affordable rental unit. Even with current assistance, these repairs are far too expensive for many low income homeowners, so we should start from a place of complete overage and work our way down as income levels rise.
  • Require multi-unit properties that were converted to single family homes be reconverted back into multi-unit building only after they are sold. All newly sold duplexes and multi-unit properties would have a required disclosure that taking units off the market without prior permission would result in the consequences being doled out to current homeowners now, while there would be an amnesty for those who are currently residents and raised their families or took people in years ago.
  • Create limited equity programs for tenants in median income categories or below to acquire homes through limited equity community land trust schemes and make them forever affordable while retaining the essential character of the neighborhood. Every effort should be made to retain current residents, be they homeowners or renters, and eminent domain should be avoided.
Excessive permitting fees weigh disproportionately on the 22.9% of Berkeley’s low-income homeowners. Mary Behm-Steinberg’s former partner was a handyman, and was constantly being approached by people of modest means who couldn’t afford city fees to get essential maintenance done on their houses, so they went with unlicensed contractors and were constantly looking for new ones to fix the messes the old ones made. If we had reasonable fees, we could eliminate at least part of this problem. 

It’s difficult for some people to imagine how anyone who owns a home in a hot real estate market could ever be poor or disadvantaged. Many simply bought when housing was less expensive or inherited their homes, and are simply running out of money through old age or disability. We need to protect people like them, who, being on fixed incomes, can’t afford the permitting and fixes the City has traditionally required, because even if they have paid off their mortgage, rising insurance rates, property tax bills from added parcel taxes and bond measures, and medical costs can quickly consume and exceed a limited income. The fixes suggested here are one way that the City can positively impact the devastating effects of income inequality that are decimating the middle class and growing the ranks of the destitute. 

We recently read about Mr. Leonard Powell, a retired veteran, low income, African American, person with disabilities and a caregiver for other family members with disabilities. Mr. Powell was targeted after police accused his (non-resident) grandson of being in possession of cocaine and got a search warrant and an alleged confession which Mr. Powell had no knowledge of. In the process, the City discovered that Mr. Powell had, some 40 years prior, turned a duplex into a single-family home for himself, his wife, and their six children, well within the density that the building would have had as a duplex. They required it to be brought back to a duplex and for numerous fixes to be made, which Mr. Powell was unable to do in the time period required. The City offered him a no-interest loan, then failed to disburse it because of a catch-22: the house was no longer a duplex, so the loan couldn’t be used on it until it was. That house is now in receivership. http://berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2018-05-19/article/46739


The City has become a dysfunctional battleground in an era of income inequality, where the people who are hit hardest by proposed “solutions” are often those with the most to lose. A more nuanced approach that takes into consideration the needs of current residents at least as much as the desires of those who make up the “demand” for housing and don’t already live here is essential. Only then can we have a just peace in our community and convert our discord into a model for responsible growth. We hope that in embracing this model, we can go forward together and build community rather than continue fighting over scraps. There is a Planning Department Customer Service Study currently underway, and these proposals could be neatly folded into that framework and adopted that way, with further seizures by the City suspended until the study is completed and appropriate changes are implemented. 

The job of the city government is to work first and foremost for the benefit of its current citizens and to advocate for them when painful top down changes are mandated from the state, such as for an increased number of housing units. We can’t allow such mandates to dictate forcing cruel sets of hardships on some of our longest-standing citizens, who are also among our most vulnerable housed people. A new approach is long past due. Let’s start here. 


Public Comment

The Marriott Strike: "One Job Should Be Enough"

Harry Brill
Friday October 26, 2018 - 04:30:00 PM

The Marriott Hotels, which is the largest and most profitable hotel chain in the country, is being struck by workers who earn a poverty wage. After several months of fruitless negotiations, the Unite-Here Union, which represents the hotel workers, authorized a strike that has resulted in a walkout of about 7700 workers in eight cities, including the Marriott Hotels in Oakland and San Francisco. Unite-Here is among the most diversified union in the country. A majority of its members are women, people of color, and immigrants. Fortunately, the Union is highly principled and assertive. In fact, both the presidents of the San Francisco and Oakland locals were arrested with 39 others for engaging in direction action.

The hotel's addiction to maximizing profits has been very costly to Marriott employees. Although the cost of living continues to increase, wages remain very low. Even long term workers are averaging only about $12 an hour. As a result an increasing number of workers are being forced to hold two and even three jobs to support their family. Moreover, for many housekeepers the demanding and heavy load has resulted in serious physical injuries. So far the Marriott has refused to budge on key issues, including its plans to increase worker contributions to health benefits.

Moreover, jobs have become more insecure due to new technology. From the perspective of the employees they are not opposed to new technology. But rather than taking their jobs away, they want the technology to help them do a better job. The union would prefer that its members have input on the introduction of technology. Perhaps there can be other ways for the Marriott hotels to save money rather than dismissing workers. Laying off workers should not be the first resort for the hotel chain. So Instead, workers want at least a 180 day notice to explore alternatives. And the employees certainly want to be assured that they receive fair severance pay if they are ultimately laid off. 

Also, Marriott has been adopting what it calls a "Make a Green Choice Program". It sounds like an environmental program but actually its purpose is to reduce staff and staff hours. In short, it permits guests to receive various benefits if they decline housekeeping services. In fact, housekeepers have seen their hours reduced 15 to 20 percent because of the so called green choice program. Labor during the recession years agreed to forgo pay increases. But now the chain is making huge profits. In the second quarter, profits increased 25 percent from the previous year to $610 million. The hotel chain can afford to pay much better wages and still earn a substantial profit. 

If you live in the East Bay, please join the picket line even for a short while at the Marriott in Oakland, which is on Broadway and 11th street. The Marriott workers would be very grateful for your support.

The Pipe Bomber

Jagjit Singh
Friday October 26, 2018 - 04:36:00 PM

Donald Trump has fomented violence throughout his presidency whipping up his supporters into a frenzy at his rallies, with “I'll beat the crap out of you" "Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court, don't worry about it. " The crowd roared “lock her up (Hillary Clinton) with a little coaxing from their leader. “I’d like to punch him in the face. I’ll tell ya,” Man charged with punching protester at a Trump rally “Yes, he deserved it. The next time we may have to kill him.” 

Trump praises Montana congressman who body-slammed a reporter. Last year, he tweeted a video showing him tackling and punching a figure with a CNN logo over its face. This is a man who uses the bully pulpit to bully his critics and stoke violence. Oh so brave! This is man who escaped the Vietnam draft multiple times for a heel bone spur! He railed on the media as fake news who were critical of his policies with tragic predictable results. He smugly pretended to be more presidential at a recent rally pummeling the media for the terrorist pipe bomb attacks. He carefully avoided naming his critics, the target of the attacks by name. Oh, Republicans remain silent, prostrate before your master lest his wrath force you back in the soup lines.

US Greed Exceeds Saudi’s barbarity

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday October 26, 2018 - 04:41:00 PM

Caught up in a web of outright lies, the Saudis cooked up another whopper! Jamal Khashoggi, a middle age 59 year old man walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and picked a fight with 15 husky young security officials armed with a bone saw. Really? Is that the best fairy tale the demonic Mohammed bin Salman (Mr. Bone Saw) can proffer? These lies are insulting to the American people and much of the world with the exception of one person – Donald Trump who recently boasted the Saudis have paid him millions which is why “he loves the Saudis”. He also plans to sell 110B weapons to Saudi Arabia which will be used to slaughter more innocent men women and children in Yemen which means that America’s (and European) greed exceeds Saudi Arabia’s barbarity. 

Germany, Britain and France “magnanimously” agreed to halt arms sales pending the results of the Khashoggi enquiry. Did it really take the murder of a high profile Saudi to reveal the immorality of selling arms to kill innocent Yeminis? What pray happened to all those reverent Christians who profess concern for human rights? 

Pat Robertson, the evangelical leader, urged America not to be too concerned with the murder of Khashoggi when 110 billion in arms sales is in the offing. I guess he was invoking the little-known 11th Commandment, which says, “thou shalt excuse killing and bearing false witness if weapons deals are at stake.” 



ON MENTAL ILLNESS: On Delusional Systems and Environment

Jack Bragen
Friday October 26, 2018 - 11:50:00 AM

I have learned that merely being medicated isn't enough to allow a mentally ill person recover and to maintain a good level of functioning. Environment is equally important. 

Adequate housing should be considered a non-negotiable need for every person with a psychiatric diagnosis. No one can get well from an illness if they do not have housing. Aside from housing, there are other environmental factors that potentially could cause stress. And some factors, on the other hand, could be beneficial. 

In many instances, an unfulfilled need can push someone with psychotic tendencies in the direction of getting ill. In some instances, it is a genuine need that most of us would expect to be nearly universal. In other instances, it could be a false need that an individual unconsciously "programmed" herself or himself to have. Either way, a strong surge of unhappy emotions tends to be a trigger for many of us with psychotic vulnerabilities. 

Delusions of grandeur are in a different category. They may arise when someone with psychotic vulnerabilities feels inadequate. For this issue, I would suggest exercises to promote self-esteem and self-appreciation. Also, having a meaningful job, probably not one of emptying trash in a retail establishment, could help self-esteem. For example, a person could go to school and learn how to repair computers--something I have done. When we gain knowledge in a respected field, it can do wonders for self-esteem, and this can have an efficacious effect on the problem of delusions of grandeur. 

However, it is important to note that the level of emotional pain a person feels is relevant. In the early stages of "decompensating," becoming delusional seems as though it provides a form of gratification, in the absence of a straightforward ability to be happy. Or, a delusional "system" (a set of delusions that reinforces itself) could arise when facts are emotionally too hard to face. 

When I was nineteen, I worked in supermarkets, polishing the floors overnight. The environment of being alone in a supermarket, for close to ten hours every night, was a hotbed for delusions for many reasons. This included loneliness, and the tendency to take refuge in pleasurable thinking. 

The mechanisms of pleasure and pain, and those of fear, are factors that promote the onset of delusional thought. Upon becoming deeply rooted in "happy" delusions, at some point the illness will progress and the delusions will turn from a pleasurable escape from reality into a negative, painful fearful set of delusions. This is where the psychotic illness goes into another stage. 

If we are in an environment in which basic emotional needs are met, it is less likely that we will become ill. However, merely because a mentally ill person is living in favorable circumstances, this doesn't mean we should go off medication. 


Most people have choices concerning our external environment. We can change the external environment in numerous ways. Making a friend changes our environment. Turning a television on or off changes the environment. People have numerous choices while most other animals must simply live under existing conditions. 

We have choices concerning our thoughts. We can recite affirmations, and that changes the thoughts--thus changing the internal environment. When we improve the internal environment, it gives us more sway over the external environment; this is because we've raised the level of efficiency. It is a lot easier to become "efficient" or "effective" at accomplishing something when we don't have a massive amount of internally generated anguish, fear or pain. 


Delusions may also arise when we encounter something that we can't grapple with on an emotional level. There may be some event in life that disrupts the mind to the extent that the vulnerability toward delusions is activated. If we can recognize those times when we are at risk for getting ill, we can do things to prevent a relapse before it happens. 

Becoming delusional, then, is often a misguided coping mechanism. If it is too painful to track reality, the mind tries to protect itself and produces delusions instead of facing realities that may be bleak and bitter. When we become aware of this, we can obtain help in coming to terms with these realities. We can also try to do good things for ourselves. If we can balance a "bad" by creating a "good" it can do a lot toward not giving delusions a foothold. 

Creating something good can take work, or it can be simple. Just starting a conversation with a friend is one very simple strategy for producing something positive. If you do not know how to start a conversation, you could start one by asking a person non-intrusive questions about him or her, such as the question, "How are you?" or "What have you been up to?" Usually questions like these will be taken well and could lead to a positive conversation. 

The process of stopping delusions could also be called the process of living well. We may not have total choices over what we are currently doing in life, yet, we continue to have small choices. Numerous small choices will add up and could redirect our life path for the better. 

THE PUBLIC EYE Voter Suppression in the 2018 Midterm Elections

Bob Burnett
Friday October 26, 2018 - 04:20:00 PM

We're less than two weeks away from the November 6th midterm elections and the strategies of each party are well defined. Democrats are determined to rally their base and to encourage Independents and inconsistent voters to go to the polls. Republicans are determined to get out their base and to suppress the vote of everyone else.

The GOP voter-suppression strategy has two parts. At the national level, Donald Trump fans fear by suggesting there is widespread voter cheating. In a recent Tweet, Trump wrote: "All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!" (A recent report from The Brennan Center (https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/voter-fraud ) found that voter fraud is "very rare.) The Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights observed: "President Trump's statement regarding vote fraud is one of the most naked attempts to promote voter suppression that we have seen in modern times."

The second part of the GOP voter-suppression strategy is at the state level. There have been Republican voter-suppression laws enacted in 15 states (Arizona to Texas). The Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights noted; "This administration and the Justice Department's silence regarding widespread voter suppression has been deafening. To date, this Justice Department has failed to file a single case to enforce the Voting Rights Act and has failed to take any action to protect the rights of minority voters." 

The State of Georgia has a particularly egregious campaign of voter suppression. There's a tight race for Georgia Governor that pits Democrat Stacey Abrams against Republican Brian Kemp. (The 538 website forecasts that Kemp will get 49.6 percent of the November 6th vote and that Abrams will get 49.2 percent -- if this happens, no candidate gets 50 percent plus of the vote, there would be a runoff in December.) 

Republican Kemp happens to be Georgia's current Secretary of State. He has not recused himself from decisions about Georgia voter eligibility; that's resulted in a variety of voter suppression issues. The most recent is Kemp's invocation of the "exact-match" law to deny 53,000 voter-registration applications. (This law requires that citizens’ names on their government-issued IDs must precisely match their names as listed on the voter rolls.) Kemp has thrown out applications for infractions as minor as a hyphen missing from a surname. (By the way, African-Americans make up thirty-two per cent of the state’s population, but they represent nearly seventy per cent of the suspended applications.) 

In a separate action, investigative reporter Greg Palast alleges that Kemp incorrectly purged 340,134 voters from the Georgia data base after dinging them for "no activity." ( https://www.gregpalast.com/we-sued-brian-kemp-this-morning/) (By the way, in 2016, Brian Kemp was the only Secretary of State to refuse election-security assistance from the Department of Homeland Security.) 

Writing in The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb observed: "The events in Georgia are part of a broader political project. The xenophobia and the resentment that Donald Trump stirred up during the 2016 election are fundamentally concerns about the future of the American electorate. (His reported comment that too many people are immigrating from “shithole countries” in Africa and the Caribbean was paired with a lament that not enough are coming from Europe.) He has repeatedly stated that he lost the popular vote because non-citizens voted for Hillary Clinton." 

Thom Hartmann agrees that Trump and Republicans, in general, are conspiring to suppress the vote. Writing in Common Dreams (https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/10/22/stop-gop-voter-suppression-or-else ) Hartmann noted: "In North Carolina, for example, 158 polling places were permanently closed in the 40 counties with the most African American voters just before the 2016 election, leading to a 16 percent decline in African American early voting in that state. An MIT study found that, nationwide, Hispanic voters wait 150 percent longer in line than white voters, and Black voters can expect to wait 200 percent longer in line to vote." 

Many of the new Republican voting laws complicate the notion of a "valid id." The New Hampshire Supreme Court just struck down a GOP-led effort targeting students. Alternet reported, "[The] court struck down a law the GOP had passed in 2017 to impose additional residency restrictions on voters that was crafted to suppress the votes of Democratic-leaning college students." There have been similar victories in Iowa (http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/tns-iowa-voting-rights.html) and Wisconsin. 

Even in Georgia, the courts are moving to protect the right to vote. On October 24th, a Federal judge stopped Secretary of State Brian Kemp from rejecting mail-in ballots under Georgia's exact match law. PoliticusUsa (https://www.politicususa.com/2018/10/24/georgia-federal-judge-illegal-gop-mail-ballot-attack.html ) reported that Kemp must, "Notify voters of problems with their ballots and [give] them the opportunity to verify their eligibility to vote." 

Georgia Republican Kemp is going to extraordinary lengths to thwart the gubernatorial campaign of Stacey Abrams because she is a formidable candidate with a good chance of winning. Recently, at a campaign event, Kemp expressed alarm at the success of Abrams’s campaign in generating "an unprecedented number" of absentee ballots, continuing “[this is] something that continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote — which they absolutely can — and mail those ballots in." 

Kemp, and Republicans in general, should be scared. Throughout the nation, Democrats have fielded a huge number of competent candidates and Dems have mounted an aggressive effort to get out the vote. As long as they keep demanding the right to vote, in the courts and at the polls, Democrats will prevail on November 6th. 

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer and activist. He can be reached at bburnett@sonic.net 

ECLECTIC RANT: GOP Solution for Deficits— Cut Social Safety Nets

Ralph E. Stone
Friday October 26, 2018 - 11:46:00 AM

Republicans claim that their $1.5 trillion tax overhaul last year had nothing to do with this, but experts estimate that the tax overhaul will result in about $1.45 trillion in net deficits over a decade. 

Now Trump wants to pass before the midterms another tax cut promising a 10% cut in taxes for the middle class without providing details even though the earlier tax overhaul did not achieve any of the things that Republicans promised it would. That is, it didn’t reduce deficits; it didn’t target the middle class; and it didn’t win goodwill with voters. Notice that on the campaign trail, Trump is not touting the GOP tax overhaul. 

Traditionally, deficits have been anathema to Republicans. Remember when then House Speaker Paul Ryan warned of the dangers of deficits, “The facts are very, very clear: The United States is heading toward a debt crisis. We face a crushing burden of debt which will take down our economy — which will lower our living standards.”  

And remember when congressional Republicans denounced President Barack Obama for the size of the national debt, which more than doubled during his tenure. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he would pay off the national debt in eight years. 

Yet, the GOP tax “overall” made no attempt to eliminate the deficit, much less the debt. It provided for tax cuts, which means $1.5 trillion less revenue for the next decade. The Tax Policy Center concluded that federal government “revenue would fall by between $2.4 trillion and $2.5 trillion over the first 10 years and by about $3.4 trillion over the second decade.” And further concluded, "Those with the very highest incomes would receive the biggest tax cuts." 

Now to close the deficit caused by the tax overhaul, the Republicans are talking about cuts to safety nets to those forgotten by Trump and his enablers in Congress. House Republicans offered a 2019 budget proposal that would cut mandatory spending by $5.4 trillion over a decade, including $537 billion in cuts to Medicare and $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and other health programs. The budget also proposes $2.6 trillion in reductions to other mandatory spending programs, including welfare and other anti-poverty programs. 

The U.S. has the weakest safety net among the Western industrialized nations, devoting far fewer resources as a percentage of gross domestic product to welfare programs than do other wealthy countries. Cutting social safety nets will only widen the gap. 

Hopefully, those forgotten by Trump and the Republicans will remember on November 6, and vote for their economic self interests, rather than their prejudices.

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday October 26, 2018 - 11:54:00 AM

Where's Gavin?

If you want to read how Gavin Newsom stacks up against John H. Cox in the gubernatorial race, you'll come up blank. While Cox has his statement in the Voter Information Guide, Newsom's slot—unlike everybody else in the race—is blank. Newsom was disqualified for raising too much campaign money. Turns out, if you raise more than $14.5 million, you can't place a statement in the Voters' Guide. (Note to Gavin: It might have been worth foregoing a half-mil in donations to avoid looking like some entitled twerp who overlooks important details.)

Another fun fact: Nobody gets a candidate statement into the Voters Guide until they fork over $250 to have it posted. 

Isadora Duncan for Mayor! 

In order to explain ranked-choice ballots, the Alameda County Voter Information Guide includes a sample ballot. But the example uses the same six names that have been used by voting-guide writers for generations: Carole Lombard, George E. Jessel, Billy Rose, Kate Smith, Edward ["Duke"] Ellington, and Isadora Duncan—long-gone celebrities from the 1940s and 1950s. 

The trick, of course, is to use "sample names" that readers will widely recognize and not confuse with any actual, living candidates. 

Problem is, these names are so old that today's younger voters might not identify them as fakes. So it's time to start proposing some new names—three men, three women. 

Here's one possibility: Janice Joplin, Neil Armstrong, Gilda Radner, Robin Williams, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali. 

Who would you chose? 

Will the Chronicle Publish This Letter? 

The following letter-to-the-editor was sent to the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, October 18: 

According to a Washington Post tally, Donald Trump has uttered "more than 5,000 false or misleading claims" during his presidency. But Trump recently proclaimed a seldom-uttered truth about US foreign policy. 

Asked about imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Trump told CBS's Lesley Stahl: "I tell you what I don't wanna do: Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon . . . . I don't wanna lose an order like that." 

"Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon." 

This is the triad that stands at the pinnacle of the US War Economy. 

War is Washington's biggest export and Trump, like Obama before him, puts in serious time pimping for Big War—jetting around the world offering huge weapons packages to rich foreigners. 

How important are these deals? More important than healthcare, education, jobs, or crumbling US infrastructure. More important that America's moral standing. 

Trump has essentially told the world: "As far as I'm concerned, the Saudis can continue killing journalists, just so long as they continue to buy our billion-dollar weapons." 

Here is Trump's latest "Art of the Deal," as offered to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: "Go ahead and dismember your opponents. The only arms we care about belong to Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon." 

Pompeo Pontificates on "American Values" 

In an October 19 interview with the Voice of America, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to speculate on the fate of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi but Pompeo stressed that, during his recent trip to Riyadh, he personally warned Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Saudi officials that the US does not "approve of extrajudicial killings," insisting that such behavior is not "consistent with American values." 

Tell that to the thousands of people killed by US "assassin drone" attacks in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and Yemen. Tell that to the relatives of civilians killed in attacks on wedding parties and outdoor markets. Tell that to the families of the 40 boys killed by a US bomb dropped on a school bus in Yemen. And then tell that to the stockholders of Raytheon and Lockheed, the two companies responsible for manufacturing the Yemen bomb. 

Did Trump Hasten Journalist's Death by Calling Reporters "The Enemy of the People"? 

In his last published article, Kashoggi lamented the growing victimization of journalists detained and jailed in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. “These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community," Kashoggi wrote. "Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.” 

This incident didn’t happen in isolation, it didn’t happen in a vacuum." Said Sherine Tadros, head of the U.N. office for Amnesty International, "It is part of an aggressive and escalated crackdown on dissenting voices that we’ve seen really escalate since June 2017, when the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, took up his position." 

Tadros cites a long list of clerics, bloggers, academics, journalists, and human rights activists—including Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al Yousef, and Eman al-Nafjan (who advocated for women’s right to drive)—who have been arrested and "disappeared" inside the Saudi Kingdom. 

Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists notes: "There are more journalists [in Saudi Arabia] behind bars this year than last year,” and attributes the crackdown to America's failure to "take leadership on press freedom" following Khashoggi's mysterious disappearance. 

Donald Trump's continued assault on the media as "the enemy of the people" may also have emboldened the Saudis to target the Washington Post reporter. 

A Saudi State of Affairs 

Saudi Arabia is not a democracy—it is ruled by monarchy that operates under Islamic Sharia law. (Saudi women were not given the right to vote until 2015.) The US State Department offers the following assessment of life in Saudi Arabia: 

"The most significant human rights issues included unlawful killings, including execution for other than the most serious offenses and without requisite due process; torture; arbitrary arrest and detention, including of lawyers, human rights activists, and antigovernment reformists; political prisoners; arbitrary interference with privacy; restrictions on freedom of expression, including on the Internet, and criminalization of libel; restrictions on freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, movement, and religion; citizens’ lack of ability and legal means to choose their government through free and fair elections; trafficking in persons; violence and official gender discrimination against women, although new women’s rights initiatives were announced; and criminalization of same sex sexual activity." 

Dems Demand Data on Trump's Saudi Profiteering 

Baffled by Donald Trump's week's-long defense of Saudi Arabia in the wake of Jamal Kashoggi's murder, a team of 11 Democrat senators has demanded a full accounting of the Trump family's commercial dealings with the Saudis to examine any "conflicts of interest that may exist because of your or your family’s deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia.” Trump reportedly opened 8 businesses in Saudi Arabia since his election. 

In response, Trump tweeted: “I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia." (A statement that directly contradicts his public boast at a 2015 rally: "Saudi Arabia. I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million. $50 million.”) 

The senators cite public records that reveal "the Trump Organization for decades has maintained business relationships" with Saudi Arabia and the royal family. In 1995, for instance, a Saudi prince acquired Trump's New York City’s Plaza Hotel for $325 million. 

The Dems want answers by November 17. And, if they retake the House, they'll be asking to see Trump's tax returns as well. 

The Tip of the Speier: Taking a Jab at Trump 

In an October 19 KCBS interview, Rep. Jackie Speier openly expressed her alarm over Donald Trump's dissembling response to Jamal Kashoggi's disappearance inside the Saudi consulate office in Turkey—at one point comparing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's possible role in the grisly crime to judge Brett Kavanaugh's "fake news" alleged sexual assaults. 

"But for the fact that Turkey was leaking out all this information, we would have the president and the administration of the United States participating in a cover-up and complicit in a cover-up. . . . You do not take a bone-saw and an acid-wash to a [meeting with a] journalist," Speier said. 

We need to "recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia." Furthermore, Speier added: "I think the [House] Intelligence Committee should do an investigation to find out what we knew, when did we know it and if Khashoggi was under any threat and we had intelligence on that and he was not informed. That would be a huge problem." 

Speier said the administration appeared to be "grasping at straws because I think they have their hands in the cookie jar. The President of the United States has had financial relationships in Saudi Arabia. He still has two companies that are still in existence today that are doing business with Saudi Arabia. . . . In 2015, he had opened two companies, two LLCs, to do business with Saudi Arabia in Jedda and those have not been checked out." 

Asked about the strategic allegiance between Saudi Arabia and the US, Speier replied: "I think the relationship has been overhyped—much like Trump properties (and somewhat seedy). Don't forget: it was Saudi Arabians who were part of 9/11. We seem to forget that in this embrace with Saudi Arabia because of oil. We don't need their oil." 

Given Speier's seat on the House Intelligence Committee, KCBS asked what she thought should be done. 

"I think it's really critical that we determine when we found out, what we did know [about the reporter's murder], and what actions we took," Speier replied. "My belief is that we were part of a cover-up: that our administration decided that they were going to pursue this 'rogue group' of people that somehow took his life and that certainly is the script that seems to be coming out of Saudi Arabia now." 

"I think we need to remember something," Speier added as she wrapped up the interview. "Over 40 people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia in the first four months of this year. [Note: The actual number was 48.] And there wasn't a peep that came out of this administration." 

Speier speculated that the Saudis, so accustomed to beheading its own citizens, felt no compunction about sending a delegation of state assassins to Turkey to dismember a critic of the regime. "It would be the same as beheading someone in Saudi Arabia—a miscalculation that, I think, is reason for us to pause and look at this relationship in the cold light of day." 

Here's the podcast of the Speier interview: 


Speaking of Head Counts 

Saudi Arabia, not Iran, is a leading source of global terrorism. Just look at Yemen. At home, Saudi Arabia has beheaded more victims than Al Qaeda or ISIS. The country performed at least 158 executions in 2015,[1] at least 154 executions in 2016,[2] and at least 146 executions in 2017. Saudi Arabia beheaded 48 people in the first four months of 2018 alone. 

On August 9, the Saudis beheaded a man convicted of murder and then put the victim's mutilated body on public display—a practice otherwise known as a "crucifixion." (The government insisted the act was sanctioned under Islamic law.) 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has won praise for granting Saudi women the right to drive cars. In another gesture of gender equality, the New York Times reports Royal Family "has executed many women." In August 2018, the monarchy called for the beheading of Israa al-Ghomgham, a 29-year-old Saudi activist who dared to call for greater rights for her country's minority Shite community. The New York Times reports that "calls for capital punishment for a woman in a case of nonviolent political crime are highly unusual." 

After Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute a poet was compared to the punishments carried out by ISIS, the Kingdom threatened to sue anyone who characterized it as “ISIS-like.” 

According to The Independent: "Both Saudi Arabia and ISIS are founded in Islamic law, with Saudi Arabia being the only state recognized internationally that owes its existence to the expansion of Islamic radicals." Furthermore: "Both ISIS and Saudi call for the death penalty for those convicted of blasphemy, adultery and homosexuality. Hand amputations and public lashings are also prescribed for lesser offences." Saudi citizens have also been beheaded for drug offenses, adultery, and "sorcery." 

One of those currently on Death Row is Abdulkareem al-Hawa. He was arrested at the age of 16 for "chanting against the state," and daring to "insult the leaders" on social media. 

The UN Condemns the Saudis for Beheadings 

The United Nations has complained that beheadings are "prohibited under international law under all circumstances" and accused Saudi Arabia of ordering executions "with appalling regularity and in flagrant disregard of international law standards." 

The Saudi royals contend that their state-ordered beheadings are legitimate because, unlike ISIS, they only mete out punishments after conducting trials. The UN pointed out, however, that under Saudi "justice," the accused are not provided with lawyers and their confessions are commonly extracted under torture. 

WarSpeak Lite 

This column has occasionally run examples of "militarized grammar," the kind of below-the-radar threat-infected language that subtly reinforces a culture of aggression, dominance and violence. 

Example: "The blond bombshell's explosive, high-caliber performance hit the mark, leaving the target audience shell-shocked and blown away." 

But there's another layer of language that also contains a hidden manifesto of embedded violence. It doesn't communicate with images of war but with invocations of simpler forms of physical aggression. 

Here's a short list: We can make a "touching" statement, or simply "poke some fun" at someone, or even offer a playful "jab"—but we also can escalate our language to "lash out," "strike back," and "slap down" any statement we disagree with. 

We can "blast," "attack," or "crush," an opponent. We prize activities that "pack a punch." We applaud performances that are "smash hits," especially if they include a "knock-out performance." We cheer "two-fisted" heroes who "break" the rules. And, if you're into BDSM, you might describe your ideal state as one of being "slap-happy." 

Keep your ears open for other examples. 

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Oct. 28 - Nov. 4

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday October 27, 2018 - 05:22:00 PM

Worth Noting

Tuesday City Council meeting includes the mid-year Crime Report.

Holiday Food Drive, 8:30 am – 6:00 pm everyday month of November, hours vary by location. Call 981-6656 for information


Sunday, October 28, 2018

No City Sponsored events found

Monday, October 29, 2018 

Agenda Committee, Mon, Oct 29, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm, 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Conf Room, Agenda Planning for Nov 13 City Council meeting, Key Items: 3000 Shattuck Appeal, Sanctuary Ordinance, 


Parks and Waterfront Commission – Subcommittee Capital Projects with Public Works Commission Capital Projects Subcommittee, Mon, Oct 29, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm, 2180 Milvia, Cyprus Room, Agenda: T1 


Personnel Board Special Session, Mon, Oct 29, 4:00 pm, 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor, Bay Laurel Room, Agenda: Revision EOE and Diversity Officer classification https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Personnel_Board_Homepage.aspx 

Tax the Rich rally with Occupella sing along, Mon, Oct 30, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm top of Solano in front of closed Oaks Theater, On Nov 5 Tax the Rich rally begins winter hours 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018  

Berkeley City Council, Tue, Oct 30, 2134 MLK Jr Way, City Council Chambers, 

Closed Session, 5:00 pm, Agenda: Labor Negotiators, Public Employees’ Union 1, IBEW, Local 1245 


**Regular Council Meeting, 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Agenda: Item 29. Mid-year Crime Report, 30. IKE Kiosks 


Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Housing Counseling 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 

Halloween – City events 


Thursday, November 1, 2018 

Cannabis Commission, Thur, Nov 1, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, 2180 Milvia St, 6th Floor, No Agenda Posted: Check before going 



Housing Advisory Commission, Thur, Nov 1, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Measure T1, Housing Code Enforcement, 


Landmarks Preservation Commission, Thur, Nov 1, 7:00 pm – 11:30 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: T1, BUSD Theater Building, 2415 Blake Landmark Structure of Merit 


Public Works Commission Thur, Nov 1, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, 1326 Allston Way, Building A Willow Room, No Agenda Posted: Check before going 


Friday, November 2, 2018 

No City meetings found 

Saturday, November 3, 2018 

**Berkeley Neighborhood Council (BNC), Sat Nov 3, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1901 Russell St, Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch Library, Meets 1st Saturday of the month, No Agenda posted check link before going 


Sunday, November 4, 2018 


Last weekend before the election, If you drop off your absentee ballot in the ballot box at the Civic Center 2180 Milvia, no postage is needed. Absentee ballots must be turned in before close of polls on Tuesday, November 6 



The meeting list is posted in the Berkeley Daily Planet under Berkeley Activist’s Calendar 



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



When notices of meetings are found that are posted after Friday 5:00 pm they are added to the website schedule https://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html and preceded by LATE ENTRY 


Wish to engage in campaigns to flip Republican Congressional Districts, local, state and national events check Indivisible Berkeley https://www.indivisibleberkeley.org/actions and Wellstone Democratic Club, http://wellstoneclub.org 

The Berkeley Arts Calendar

Bonnie Hughes and Tom Hunt, Berkeley Arts Festival
Friday October 26, 2018 - 05:01:00 PM

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

The 27th Berkeley Video & Film Festival Opens Friday October 26 Through November 4th at the East Bay Media Center

Ken Bullock
Friday October 26, 2018 - 11:44:00 AM

The 27th Berkeley Video Festival, featuring 50 films from all over, all made during the past two years, opens Friday night, October 26th.
It will be running October 26, 27, 28 & November 2, 3, 4 at the East Bay Media Center, 1939 Addison, between Milvia & MLK, in the Berkeley Arts District.
Tickets: $10 per program; $35 for three day pass.
For information & reservations: 843-3699; website: www.berkeleyvideofilmfest.org
Films include: 'Detroit's Rivera,' on Diego Riviera's Detroit Industrial Murals; 'Wilder Than Wild, Fires, Forests & the Future;' 'Secrets of the Deep: Dreams on Film;' 'In Your Face,' on rock & roll photographer Danny Zilzower--& a wealth of other subject matter from documentary to fiction, animation and experimental, including music & poetry videos 

ARS MINERVA Is Coming to Berkeley

Previewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday October 26, 2018 - 04:38:00 PM

Ars Minerva, the San Francisco-based opera company founded by mezzo-soprano Celine Ricci, is bringing to Berkeley its latest production, Ifigenia in Aulide (1738) by Giovanni Porta. Specializing in reviving 17th & early-18th century operas that were popular in their time but have long been forgotten, Are Minerva has won multiple plaudits for its productions of operas such as La Circe (1665) by Pietro Andre Ziani, The Amazons in the Fortunate Isles (1679) by Carlo Pallavicino, and La Cleopatra (1662) by Daniele da Castrovillari. Their latest production, Ifigenia in Aulide by Giovanni Porta will be presented at San Francisco’s ODC Theater at 7:30 on November 30 and December 1, and it will also be given in an abridged concert version at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church at 8:00 on November 9. 

Opera-goers may be familiar with Gluck’s Iphigenia in Aulide, but no contemporary opera-goer, I am sure, has seen Giovanni Porta’s version of this story from the ancient Greeks. The Iphigenia myth was treated in ancient Greece by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, among others. For Giovanni Porta’s opera, librettist Apostolo Zeno adapted the story from the version by 17th century French tragedian Jean Racine, and Porta’s music is in the Venetian style of the 1720s-30s that features fast passages, arpeggios, wide melodic intervals, and long melismas. Between 1716 and 1738 Porta wrote 30 operas, occasionally in collaboration with other composers such as Gasparini and Tomasso Albinoni. Alas, however, only four of Porta’s 30 operas remain extant in complete (or nearly complete) scores. Among Porta’s lost operas is Numitore, which Georg Freidrich Handel produced in 1720 at London’s Royal Academy of Music.  

The plot of Porta’s Ifigenia in Aulide retells the story of the Greek army, ready to sail to Troy under King Agamemnon, but becalmed by contrary winds. Agamemnon ccnsulted the Oracle and was told that a sacrifice to the goddess Artemis (in Italian, Diana) must be made before the Greeks could set sail. The death demanded was that of Agamemnon’s own daughter, Iphigenia. 

The Art Minerva cast for Ifigenia in Aulide includes Aura Veruni as Ifigenia, Nikola Printz as Agamemnon, Shawnette Sulker as Clytemnestra, Celine Ricci as Achilles, Cara Gabrielson as Elisena, and Kevin Gino as Ulysses. Stage Director is Celine Ricci, and Derek Tam will conduct from the harpsichord.