The Week



BNC Forum on Saturday:
Can Berkeley be a Livable City for All?

Monday February 18, 2019 - 02:59:00 PM

The Berkeley Neighborhoods Council will host a forum on the future of Berkeley to address the question Can Berkeley be a Livable City for All?, to take place on Saturday, February 23, 2019:, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, at Frances Albrier Recreation Center, San Pablo Park, 2800 Park Street between Russell and Ward

It will be a conversation between Mayor Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley Planning Director Timothy Burroughs and Berkeley residents from every neighborhood. The mayor and planning director have each been asked to make a statement, no longer that 10 minutes, about three major issues that concern Berkeley residents throughout the City: -more-



She's Not Always Nancy Nice, But She Could Be President

Becky O'Malley
Friday February 15, 2019 - 09:26:00 AM

“Her voice was ever soft, gentle and low, an excellent thing in woman.” Shakespeare’s King Lear

”She yelled, threw papers, and sometimes even hurled objects; one aide was accidentally hit with a flying binder…” Buzz Feed News

The snow hadn’t even melted on Senator Amy Klobuchar’s hair after she announced her candidacy for president in a Minnesota blizzard before the planted oppo stories started appearing online.

She “ left employees in tears, four former staffers said…” Buzz Feed News echoed breathlessly.

Funny, Buzz Feed News didn’t manage to get the names of any of Klobuchar’s accusers. Maybe this is because the online publication has just laid off more than 200 people and couldn’t afford to verify the identity of the grumblers with the surviving reporters. Talk about your bad bosses.

Or maybe, just maybe, the horror stories actually originated with some of the same media mills which generated the anti-Hillary propaganda in 2016, and Buzz Feed News sloppily parroted them.

But the most plausible explanation is one which any woman over 40 who’s had any supervisory position could confirm. Women bosses are just not supposed to be, well, bossy. And if they’re too bossy, they’re even accused of being the male version: bully. -more-

Public Comment

North Berkeley BART Reconsidered

Michelle LePaule
Wednesday February 13, 2019 - 02:18:00 PM

One thing people hate about politicians is when they hold up a two dimensional solution to a problem and the three dimensional reality doesn’t add up and everyone knows it.

I see that happening now with plans to remove parking at the North Berkeley BART station and replace it with housing. They say that it’s important to cluster housing around transit hubs. The residents there will no longer need to use cars since they can get to work via BART. That’s fine if there is available land with which to do this. But the BART board, with the enthusiastic support of the local government wants to remove the parking lot and replace it with housing.

Full of holes.

For starters, the commuters who are displaced are not going to board up their houses and move in. New people will move into the new building from other communities. I’m sure some of them will BART to work, although not to the grocery store, because they can’t. Meanwhile the previous commuters are left in a bind. -more-

Climate note #3: "How soon until zero?"

Thomas Lord
Friday February 15, 2019 - 10:20:00 AM

Wrapping one's head around the urgency of climate change action, and the magnitude of that action, is very hard. What are we really talking about, concretely? For a long time, we've all been told the problem will be solved incrementally through various technical innovations and minor changes to law and daily life. Some have even told us, again and again, that "going green" will be a wellspring of economic growth and economic prosperity. We can eat a little less meat or something. California's even got a Climate Plan™.

Yet the 2018 report from the IPCC1 reveals a stark reality: Not only must net carbon emissions drop to zero in less than a lifetime2 - additionally, a very optimistic estimate is that emissions must fall "only 6% per year", beginning this year.3 (That might give us a 50/50 chance.)

What does it take to cut emissions 6% in 2019, again in 2020, again in 2021? -more-

Experts from across Bay Area Pack the House for Permanently Affordable Housing

Fernando Echeverria, East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC),Tony Samara, Urban Habitat
Friday February 15, 2019 - 09:19:00 AM

On Thursday, 2/14, more than 100 housing rights activists, allies, and public officials convened at The California Endowment for Can’t Build Our Way Out: Community-Based Solutions to the Bay Area Housing Crisis. The East Bay Community Law Center and Urban Habitat formally released their joint report, Rooted In Home. -more-

Raze People's Park? There's No Such Thing as "Just Development"

Thomas Lord
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 09:43:00 PM

This commentary is in response to an op-ed in the Daily Cal titled "UC Berkeley must prioritize community voices in future People’s Park housing plans" (February 12, 2019). Following the party line laid down by Chancellor Christ long ago, the authors call for a "justice-based approach to development [that is, razing]" of People's Park. The authors say that they surveyed Park users to identify what "services" the University ought to replace when razing the Park. It is unclear if respondents to the survey were informed of the political use to which their answers would be put. The authors, in the end, do little more than add an air of false respectability to the University's already existing plan to rob the community of the Park with the consolation of some vague, token "services". (The Daily Cal deleted a copy of this response from the comment section on the op-ed. Inquires made to the editorial staff about why the comment was deleted were not returned.) -more-

The Immigration Issue

Harry Brill
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 09:58:00 PM

President Trump claims that he doing what he can to discourage illegal immigration to the United States (U.S). He has expressed concern about the adverse impact it has on providing jobs to American workers. In turn, he has won the support of particularly white members of the working class. This explains why the polls report that the public believes he is doing a good job. He has insisted that not only should illegal immigrants with criminal records be arrested and deported, which was Obama's approach. Instead, all illegal immigrants, including those without a crime record, should be targeted. -more-

The Bogus War Against Illegal Drugs

Harry Brill
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 09:57:00 PM

The media recently reported that former Vice President Joe Biden expressed regret for supporting the drug crime laws because they have disproportionally and unfairly impacted African Americans. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found that although 16 percent of those who sold drugs were blacks, they made up 49 percent who were arrested. Moreover, African Americans constituted 74 percent of those who went to prison just for possessing drugs. And they were much more likely to receive longer sentences. -more-

Urban Shield may end on February 26 .... with your help!

JP Massar
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 09:40:00 PM

Since 2013, the Bay Area has been trying to transform Alameda County Sheriff Ahern’s Urban Shield from a highly militarized SWAT competition and weapons expo devoted mainly to policing into a community-focused safety and resilience exercise.

And now we are almost there. After six years of struggle on the streets, before government entities, and in the court of public opinion, Urban Shield may end on February 26.... with your help.

The second Alameda County task force has completed its work and issued a long and thorough list of recommendations that include ending a weapons expo that features military-grade weapons and high-tech spying and crowd control gadgets, ending the violent SWAT competition to focus on training other first responders, and directing $5 million in new funding to health and social services. -more-

Facebook’s 15th anniversary

Tejinder Uberoi
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 10:15:00 PM

As a parody on a passage in the “Good Book”, “What profit a man when he gaineth access to social media but loses his privacy?”

A recent editorial in the SJ Mercury exposed the latest egregious actions of Facebook targeting young minors paying them $20 per month to capture everything they do on their phones. Facebook offers a weak defense of its actions claiming they were providing informed consent to their young users. Really? Are children as young as 13 mature enough to make such decisions? $20 is a cheap way to invade a youngster’s privacy. The stolen information may haunt them for the rest of their lives. This offer was introduced as early as 2013 action under the radar of parental control.

This mimics the wicked actions of tobacco companies attempting to get young people hooked on their products by handing out free packs of cigarettes. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT; Another Shutdown Appears to be Averted

Ralph E. Stone
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 09:47:00 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and President Trump reached a deal whereby Trump would sign the bipartisan budget and McConnell would support a declaration of a national state of emergency by Trump, which would allow him to divert funds to build (or finish) his wall on our Southern border with Mexico. The bipartisan agreement provides $1.375 billion for his wall, not the $5.7 billion he demanded. This deal would avert another shutdown. -more-

Parkland Shooting – Repeal the Second Amendment

Jagjit Singh
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 10:12:00 PM

February 14, 2018 marks the anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that stirred a nation’s outrage at the epidemic of gun violence. The shooter, armed with a military style semiautomatic AR-15 gunned down 17 students, staff and teachers in just three minutes. Several of the students who survived rose to national prominence taking aim at the “hall of shame” - the NRA and the politicians who put profit over people’s lives. Sadly, “Never again” becomes the rallying cry after each mass shooting. -more-

Federal Climate action/Green New Deal

Jamie Facciola
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 10:10:00 PM

limate change is happening here and now – and I'm terrified.

The latest climate report from the UN says we have only 12 years to transform our economy to preserve the stable climate human civilization has depended on for milenia. We need a massive mobilization of every sector of society on par with what science and justice demand. A Green New Deal will keep Americans safe from climate change and create millions of green jobs. It is common sense policy that is overwhelmingly popular with American people, regardless of political party or where they live. Any presidential candidate who wants to be taken seriously on climate and earn the support of young people needs to support Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey’s resolution. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Turkey’s Leader’s Election Woes

Conn Hallinan
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 09:53:00 PM

“Democracy is like a tram; you get off when you have reached your destination.” The comment by Recep Tayyip Erdogan—made more than 20 years ago when he was first elected mayor of Istanbul—sums up the Machiavellian cynicism of Turkey’s authoritarian president. As Turkey gears up for municipal elections March 31, it is a prophecy Erdogan has more than fulfilled: the prisons filled with the opposition, the media largely silenced, the courts intimidated, the bureaucracy tamed, and more than 150,000 people fired. -more-


Bob Burnett
Friday February 15, 2019 - 09:14:00 AM

(Here's the outline of the "Green New Deal" released by Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (

1. Insist that the U.S. judicial process plays out and that Donald Trump and his corrupt associates are brought to justice. Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to finish his investigation -- into Russia's interference in the 2016 election -- and his report should be made public. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Politicians' Effects on Mentally ill People

Jack Bragen
Thursday February 14, 2019 - 09:51:00 PM

When Governor Schwarzenegger was in office, he slashed SSI benefits. And it was Pete Wilson who eliminated the California Renter's Credit, which was a few hundred dollars once a year, that meant a lot to us Social Security recipients. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday February 16, 2019 - 03:33:00 PM

It's not everyday someone has a chance to make headlines with a headline. Bernie Sanders hit one out of the ballpark on January 29, when he wrote an op-ed with the following bold-faced title: "The Bad News Is That We Have a President Who Is a Fraud, a Pathological Liar and a Racist." -more-

Arts & Events

New: Nola Richardson Excels in Bach’s Cantatas

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday February 18, 2019 - 04:00:00 PM

Over the weekend of February 15-18, American Bach Soloists presented a program of Favorite Bach Cantatas featuring soprano Nola Richardson. At the Saturday evening concert I attended at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church, Nola Richardson even did double-duty, singing all the soprano parts and some of the tenor parts as well. In this concert’s second half, tenor Zachary Wilder had to withdraw due to laryngitis, so Nola Richardson, who greeted me before the concert by saying “I’m moonlighting tonight because our tenor is indisposed,” was pressed into service to perform some of the tenor’s arias and recitatives as well as her own soprano parts. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Feb. 17-23

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday February 16, 2019 - 11:15:00 AM

Sunday, February 17, 2019

No city meetings or events found

Monday, February 18, 2019 – Presidents’ Day Holiday

Fake National Emergency Protest, 12 – 1 pm, at San Francisco Federal Building, Organizer – Indivisible SF,

Tax the Rich Rally, Mon, 4 pm – 5 pm, Top of Solano in front of the closed Oaks theater (soon to be a climbing gym), Rain Cancels

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Berkeley City Council, Tuesday, 6 – 11 pm, 1231 Addison Street, BUSD Board Room, Agenda Consent items: #4. Expanded Winter Shelter, #5. Recruiting for BPD, #6. Sanitary Sewer Rehab, #7. &8. Filling Vacancies Among Elected Representatives of the Poor, #9. Referral to City Manager to develop Ordinance permitting Cannabis Events and Cesar Chavez Park as an approved venue, #10. Resolution to request Gov Newsom declare a CA Homelessness State of Emergency, Action #14. Density Bonus Ordinance, #15. Contract Pride Industries for Citywide Janitorial Services, #16. Cannabis Number of Retail Establishments and Equity Program, #17.a&b. Living Wage Ordinance, #18. Standby Officers, #19.a&b. Assessment Vacant Properties, #20.a&b. Declaration City of Berkeley will not invest in production or upgrading of weapons – current policy limited to guns, #21. Refer to Planning Commission close loophole allowing prospective project applicants to avoid inclusionary affordable housing -in lieu fee by modifying property lines -more-