Three People, Including Berkeley School Board President, Seriously Injured in Accidents

Sam Richards (BCN)
Saturday January 05, 2019 - 06:24:00 PM

Three pedestrians have been seriously injured after being struck by vehicles in two separate incidents, Berkeley police said Saturday.

Two women were critically injured shortly after midnight early Saturday morning when they were struck by a car as they crossed Martin Luther King Jr. Way near the corner of Stuart Street in South Berkeley near their home.

Police on Saturday wouldn't confirm the names of those victims, but a Berkeley Unified School District statement Saturday said school board President Judy Appel, 53, and her wife Alison Bernstein, 54, an attorney, were the ones injured. -more-

Page One

CASA: A Coup by Any Other Name

Zelda Bronstein
Friday January 04, 2019 - 11:13:00 AM

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has been planning a coup.

Not the putsch kind of coup, where armed insurgents overthrow a duly constituted government, but an insidious takeover led by an ad hoc public-private coalition, authorized by new laws, and justified by artful rhetoric—above all, a reiterated declaration of emergency. The goal is not to overthrow the ruling order, i.e., the capitalist growth machine, but to secure and aggrandize it at the expense of the most vulnerable.

The MTC cabal, otherwise known as The Committee to House the Bay Area or CASA, would have us believe that the region’s housing crisis necessitates:

  • creating a public-private agency that would standardize zoning across the region
  • imposing as much as a billion dollars of new taxes on the Bay Area
  • rolling back environmental review
  • lowering housing affordability standards
  • re-zoning “high opportunity” single-family neighborhoods for higher-density market-rate housing development, regardless of transit accessibility
  • accepting the assumption that building market-rate housing lowers the price of all housing enhancing private developers’ profit margins
  • ensuring continuous, explosive job growth while ignoring services and infrastructure to support that growth
These fatuous propositions inform the “CASA Compact: A 15-Year Emergency Policy Package to Confront the Housing Crisis in the San Francisco Bay Area,” a 31-page manifesto and plan of action finalized on December 12. Now MTC/CASA is lobbying the state Legislature to pass laws, including SB 50, State Senator Scott Wiener’s do-over of his failed SB 827, that implement the Compact’s recommendations.

For the sake of democratic governance, fiscal sanity, environmental protection, and housing justice, MTC/CASA needs to be stopped. -more-

Public Comment

Re: Games of Berkeley

Janet Winter
Saturday January 05, 2019 - 10:16:00 AM

I wonder how long he was at the store to miss absolutely everything that is not what he described. Maybe we should fear "Candyland" or jigsaw puzzles, or Chess, or Frisbees, or playing cards too. Inquiring minds want to know. -more-

Time to quit Afghanistan is NOW

Jagjit Singh
Friday January 04, 2019 - 06:04:00 PM

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to hunt down and kill members of al-Qaeda and destroy their safe haven in an operation dubbed ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’. What a grotesque name for a war that has gone so badly.
Hundreds of coalition forces and thousands of Afghan soldiers and civilians have died and the Taliban insurgency has become emboldened, occupying large swaths of land in rural areas and terrifying Kabul with IED’s and suicide bombers. Kabul is so dangerous that US personnel are forbidden to drive the 2 miles from the local airport to the US embassy but instructed to use helicopters to land onto the embassy roof. American troops stay behind in steel-reinforced concrete walls to protect themselves.
The CIA admits that it is partially defraying cost of operations by transporting “poppy seed drugs” on American planes generating about $50 billion annually.According to Brown University, ‘Cost of War Project’ the Afghan war could exceed $2 trillion in this mother of all quagmires. American leaders stubbornly refuse to learn the lessons of prior conflicts. It has recently come to light that General Westmorland was seeking permission to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam! -more-

Press Release: Victory for Transparency: CA Supreme Court Rejects Police Union Effort to Gut Landmark Police Transparency Law

First Amendment Coalition
Friday January 04, 2019 - 05:28:00 PM

In a significant victory for government transparency and accountability, the California Supreme Court today denied a police union’s last-minute effort to undermine the effectiveness of a new, landmark police transparency law, rejecting the union’s effort to make the law (SB 1421) apply only to records created after January 1, 2019.

The First Amendment Coalition (FAC) led a coalition of media groups in opposing the union’s effort, filing papers on December 28 urging the Court to deny the effort to gut the law.

In a one-sentence order issued Wednesday, the Supreme Court rejected a petition filed on December 18 by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association. The union had asked the high court to rule that the bill, signed into law in September, applies only to records created after January 1—the bill’s effective date. -more-

January Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Thursday January 03, 2019 - 09:10:00 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-


Age Before Beauty? Not a Bad Idea

Becky O'Malley
Friday January 04, 2019 - 05:31:00 PM

Well, we can all take a deep breath, and maybe even a short nap. Granny’s back, and she’ll take care of everything now.

I’m glad Paul Krugman said it first, so I don’t have to be embarrassed to admit that seeing Nancy Pelosi sworn in surrounded by all those kids brought “una furtiva lagrima” to my eye.

He said he was especially moved by the shot of the new, diverse Congress: “If you don't tear up a bit at this image of a better nation, you don't get what America is all about.".

We’ve had a two year look at what we don’t want America to be about, so the image of a better option which the group photo of the House provides is a blessed relief.

Fifteen tedious twerps, conservatives putatively in the Democratic column, voted against Pelosi as Speaker. Progressives on Long Island are already gunning for one of them for the 2020 primary, and the rest had better watch their backs.

I won’t reprise all of my 11/30/18 editorial to make the point that a grandmother-in-charge is exactly what we need to get this mess cleaned up. But the manifest wisdom of bringing Nancy Pelosi back in 2019 should tell us what we’re going to need for a presidential candidate in 2020.

Another grandmother, of course.

A passel of pretty faces are being paraded in front of us by a media whose slogan should be “let’s you and him fight”, based on their futile attempt to create a fine old conflict over the speaker’s job. It didn’t work then, and it shouldn’t work now.

When you compare Elizabeth Warren’s qualifications with those of the cast of dozens who might like to become the Democratic candidate to take down whatever will be left of the Trump administration, it’s not even close. She’s a giant among shrimps. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:“Are You Serious?” Awards 2018

Conn Hallinan
Friday January 04, 2019 - 04:26:00 PM

Each year Dispatches From The Edge gives awards to individuals, companies and governments that makes reading the news a daily adventure. Here are the awards for 2018:

The Golden Sprocket Wrench Award to Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms manufacturer, for its F-22 Raptor Stealth fighter, a fifth-generation interceptor said to be the best in the world. That is when it works, which is not often. When Hurricane Michael swept through Florida this fall, 17 Raptors—$339 million apiece—were destroyed or badly damaged. How come the Air Force didn’t fly those F-22s out of harm’s way? Because the Raptor is a “hanger queen”— loves the machine shop. Less than 50 percent of the F-22 fleet is functional at any given moment. The planes couldn’t fly, so they got trashed at a cost to taxpayers of around $5 billion.

Lockheed Martin also gets an Oak Leaf Cluster for its F-35 Lightning II fighter, at $1.5 trillion the most expensive weapon system in U.S. history. Some 200 F-35s are not considered “combat capable,” and may never be, because the Pentagon would rather buy new planes than fix the ones it has. That may cost taxpayers $40 billion. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:2018:Ten Reasons to be Thankful

Bob Burnett
Friday January 04, 2019 - 04:32:00 PM

New Year's Day was clear and sunny on the Left coast and it was easy to imagine that 2019 would be "all green lights and smooth sailing," as unlikely as that seems at the moment. Nonetheless, while 2018 ended with a government shutdown, and a flurry of ugly Trump Tweets, the year wasn't all bad. Here are ten reasons to be thankful.

1. The Blue Wave: Democrats won control of the House of Representative and Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House. (Pelosi is the right person to lead the Democratic Party up to the presidential convention in July of 2020.) -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: A Piece of My History: Functioning in Society While Psychotic

Jack Bragen
Friday January 04, 2019 - 04:38:00 PM

In 1996, I went off antipsychotic medication, and this was a mistake. This came after a series of crises in which I was threatened, assaulted, victimized by con artists, and otherwise attacked. By the time a stable situation was restored, I had deteriorated, and had lost the insight that the medication was the only thing that remained that held me together. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: End of Dismal Oakland Raiders Season

Ralph E. Stone
Friday January 04, 2019 - 04:35:00 PM

With a season win-loss record of 4-12, are the Oakland Raiders management now having second thoughts about that much ballyhooed 10-year, $100 million contract they gave to Jon Gruden. We can just barely hear Al Davis’s faint exasperated whisper from the grave, “Just win, baby.” -more-

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Jan. 6-13

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday January 05, 2019 - 10:10:00 AM

In the changing climate of drought and fire storms, Local Hazard Mitigation Plans are not an exercise to place on a shelf. First read the LA Times December 30, 2018 article “Here’s How Paradise ignored warnings and became a deathtrap” by Paige St. John, Joseph Serna and Rong-Gong Lin II. Then dig into the Berkeley Local Hazard Mitigation plan draft. https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-camp-fire-deathtrap-20181230-story.html

The deadline for Commissions and the community to comment on the Local Hazard Mitigation plan draft (the Plan for preparing for natural disasters and reducing the impacts) is February 28.


Please note the location of Commission meetings. The North Berkeley Senior Center is closed for renovation until mid 2020. -more-

Puccini and Passion: Berkeley Chamber Opera Presents Manon Lescaut on Friday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 13

Friday January 04, 2019 - 04:41:00 PM

If you like to experience genuine opera up close and personal, the Berkeley Chamber Opera production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, at Berkeley’s Hillside Club on January 11 and 13 is your opportunity. If your only exposure to opera has been recordings, videos in movie theaters, or cavernous auditoriums like the San Francisco War Memorial Opera house, you’re in for a revelation.

The BCO, a non-profit, presents locally-sourced professional casts singing with a chamber orchestra in a human-scale venue evocative of the many intimate opera houses in Italy. This is their sixth fully costumed and staged production, the last five mounted at the historic wood-paneled club.

Conductor Jonathan Khuner is a veteran of many operas, including several for BCO. The title role will be sung by Bay Area soprano Eliza O’Malley, whose last BCO role was Joan of Arc in Verdi’s Giovanna D’Arco, which Khuner also conducted. The stage director is Lisa Houston. All three, as it happens, are Berkeley High School graduates who have gone on to regional, national and international careers. Many of the cast and chorus are also local residents. -more-

Creativity Unhoused: Homeless Art Exhibition in Berkeley, CA on March 9, 2019

Marcia Poole
Friday January 04, 2019 - 06:00:00 PM

On March 9, 2019 an art show dealing with multiple aspects of homelessness within our communities will open at Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, sponsored by the advocacy group, First They Came for the Homeless. The main focus of the art will be on the efforts of homeless people to survive within urban environments and, especially, on the benefits created by the communities that develop within and around homeless encampments and shelters, as well as among people sleeping in the rough. The exhibition will explore the differing ways utilized by individuals in these communities to insure safety, solidarity, camaraderie, and other positive aspects of the communal experience. The show will also address the problems faced by the homeless on a daily basis. -more-

A Baroque New Year’s Eve with American Bach Soloists

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday January 04, 2019 - 05:24:00 PM

Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen and soprano Mary Wilson joined American Bach Soloists for a splendid 4:00 pm concert on New Year’s Eve at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre. Musical Director Jeffrey Thomas announced from the stage that he intends to offer similar concerts every New Year’s Eve. If future such events are anything like this one, Bay Area audiences are indeed fortunate, for this was magnificent. Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen lived up to his advance billing. His countertenor voice is superbly rich in tonal variety, and his range is stupefying. Moreover, Cohen is an immensely gifted interpreter of the music he performs. With exquisite diction in Italian, Cohen brought immediacy and intensity to everything he sang at this New Year’s Eve concert. Perhaps the highlight of the whole affair was Cohen’s interpretation of “Che farò senza Euridice” from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. This aria, of course, is a familiar chestnut; but Aryeh Nussbaun Cohen made it sound new and fresh. Likewise, veteran soprano Mary Wilson, who needs no introduction to Bay Area audiences who have heard her many wonderful performances over the years with Jeffrey Thomas’s American Bach Soloists, brought her refreshingly bright, gleaming tone to this concert’s selection of soprano arias from George Frideric Handel. -more-