Going,going, gone.  Poignant sight: worker removes the nameplate from the former Spenger's Restaurant.
Carol Denney
Going,going, gone. Poignant sight: worker removes the nameplate from the former Spenger's Restaurant.


Berkeley Bicylist Critically Injured in Collision with Truck

Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Wednesday May 01, 2019 - 07:41:00 PM

A bicyclist is in critical condition after a collision with a pickup truck in Berkeley Wednesday morning, a police spokesman said. -more-

Nevada Deputy Shot During Apprehension of Suspect in Berkeley People's Park Killing

Janis Mara/Sam Richards, BCN
Saturday April 27, 2019 - 05:41:00 PM

A Nevada sheriff's deputy suffered a gunshot wound Friday while helping apprehend the suspect in three fatal Friday Bay Area shootings, police said Saturday.

Stefon Jefferson, 43, is a suspect in a homicide at People's Park in Berkeley Friday, as well as a shooting Friday morning in Oakland and another Friday afternoon in San Francisco's Bayview District. A fourth shooting took place when Jefferson was arrested, wounding a deputy, San Francisco police said. -more-

Public Comment

Online Survey Blues

Carol Denney
Friday April 26, 2019 - 04:02:00 PM

Not everybody has a computer. I know, half of you think that that's just no longer the case. And I bet you don't live on or near San Pablo Avenue. I tried to take the computer online survey being passed around regarding transit on San Pablo Avenue since I live on San Pablo Avenue. I found myself forced to choose between untenable options and finally realized the whole survey would be used against my neighborhood's best qualities in a wholesale sacrifice to people who want to skip the freeway. We're not just an end-run for drivers; we're an enviable mix of residential and commercial neighborhoods with the most historic roots in Berkeley besides the shellmounds. I left a lot of questions blank not knowing what else to do.

There's an option for stripping all the parking to create protected bike lanes on San Pablo Avenue. I love protected bike lanes. But if there's one thing left the authorities can do to us after allowing rents, commercial and otherwise, to skyrocket so far that local businesses can't function without prices we can't pay, it's to remove the last little bits of parking we compete for as residents, workers, and shoppers. Here it comes. There's only so many of us who can walk ten blocks to the grocery store and carry the produce home. Our bike lanes are currently just off San Pablo Avenue on side roads with lower speeds where a protected lane wouldn't require stripping out our lovely, winding medians of historic trees, trees which in this plan get no discussion. -more-

Life in Pre-Brexit England

Jagjit Singh
Friday April 26, 2019 - 11:37:00 AM

There is lots of angst among the Brits these days as they agonize over the terms of their messy divorce with the European Union. Prime Minister, Teresa May, managed to gain a postponement until the end of October which she hopes will give her time to negotiate better terms. Much like the tribal warfare in the US between pro and anti-Trumpeters, England is beset between the Leavers and Remainders. Meanwhile there is a side show in Ireland where they have to decide on how to separate Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with what the French call “le Backstop”. The Brits have got themselves in a pickle with their divide and rule strategy separating the small island between Protestant North and Catholic south. Both sides support a soft backstop rather a separating wall which could reignite the paramilitary war over the status of Northern Ireland. It’s a major stumbling block on the path to a smooth and orderly Brexit.

These squabbles bring back memories of my early life in pre-Brexit England.

I grew up in Birmingham, England amidst the horrors of World War II. Birmingham was the center of what is commonly known as the “black country” a group of cities in the “Midlands” notorious for their smoke stack industries, a favorite target for German war planes during the Second World War. -more-

UC Regents Song

Carol Denney
Friday April 26, 2019 - 11:49:00 AM

Tune: Chiquita banana song with la la la chorus. UC regents: hats and ties, suits/suit coats if you want, a little crazy works. Continually and gratuitously shake each others' hands in a macho, insider kind of way.
You're an official UC regent if you sing it with me on the 50th Anniversary of People's Park on April 28.

(I'm a) UC regent and I'm here to say
(we're) monetizing public lands in every way
(we spent) so much money on de football stuff
(no ) matter what the students pay it's not enough
la lala lala, la lala lala, la lala lala, lala lala la! (x2)

(we pay) ten million dollars to de football coach
(but in de) student housing you live with a roach
(you get) special admission if you've lots of dough
(and if you) cheated to get in well, we don't want to know
la lala lala, la lala lala, la lala lala, lala lala la! (x2)

(de) People's Park well she's a way too old
(and de) free speech stuff she really leaves me cold
(the People's) Park's a landmark but we don't care
once it's gone you won't remember it was there
la lala lala, la lala lala, la lala lala, lala lala la! (x2)

(Bridge:) 11,000 students more? let them sleep on someone's floor!
we've no place for them to go - they can commute from Fresno! Modesto!
la lala lala, la lala lala, la lala lala, lala lala la! (x2)

(it's been) fifty years and that's-a way too long
(the People's) Park should end-a just-a like our song
I'm a UC regent and I guarantee
(that if) somebody gets killed oh well it won't be me

la lala lala, la lala lala, la lala lala, lala lala la! (x2)

What's Next with Trump?

Ron Lowe
Friday April 26, 2019 - 11:46:00 AM

It seems like America went through a long dark night of the soul with Donald Trump for the last three years. The Trump presidency has, from the first represented a threat to truth, democracy, and the rule of law. Donald Trump's contempt for basic governance is accompanied by a lack of decency, empathy, and psychological stability. Trump has the psyche of an emotionally damaged toddler. You hear this not only from his ideological opponents but from countless departing confidants, lawyers, and advisers. He is devoted not to public service but to feeding the demands of his ego and his appetites. -more-

How Organic is Organic Food?

Harry Brill
Saturday April 27, 2019 - 01:58:00 PM

The public is generally aware that many foods are unsafe to consume. But it is surprising to learn that even many delicious foods are permeated with dangerous pesticides. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), which studied this issue, released its grim findings on contaminated fruits and vegetables. Just one strawberry contained 13 different pesticides. Each grape tested contained 15 pesticides. EWG found 13 different pesticides on each cherry tomato. Among the fruits, apples are the most contaminated. Very disappointing, the pesticides have remained in the foods even after the fruits and vegetable were washed or peeled. -more-


Manufacturing Consent, Part 2: San Pablo "Improvements"

Becky O'Malley
Friday April 26, 2019 - 04:06:00 PM

Anyone who’s ever been responsible for managing a 2 ½ year old knows the trick. Is the child resisting getting dressed? At that age they’re resistant to almost anything you suggest.

So you ask this way: “Would you like to wear the red shirt or the green one?” and with any luck the child will be distracted from the pink sequined tutu which was her prior choice, or at least from her first idea, which was to finish building her block tower before dressing for pre-school.

That’s the paradigm for the techniques beloved of professional planners for getting citizens to go along with what they ought to think is good for them. Or at least what the planners think they ought to think.

Yes, it’s another chapter in my ongoing discussion of Manufacturing Consent which began last week. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Turkey: Rocks & Hard Places

Conn Hallinan
Friday April 26, 2019 - 11:28:00 AM

After 18 years of unchallenged power and success, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suddenly finds himself in the middle of several domestic and foreign crises with no obvious way out. It is unfamiliar ground for a master politician who has moved nimbly from the margins of power to the undisputed leader of the largest economy in the Middle East. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Five Takeaways from the Mueller Report

Bob Burnett
Friday April 26, 2019 - 11:30:00 AM

After waiting almost two years, the report of the Special Counsel charged with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election -- the "Mueller Report" -- was made made available on April 17th. Although this 448-page report was edited -- "redacted" -- by pro-Trump Attorney General William Barr, enough was uncensored that we can draw general conclusions.

1.We're at war with Russia and they are winning. The most disturbing conclusion from the Mueller Report is that Russia made a concerted effort to alter the results of the 2016 election. "The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion." Vladimir Putin and his cronies wanted Trump to win and engaged in a variety of technical efforts to help him. It's not clear what the overall impact was. Russians operatives were active in key swing states -- such as Michigan,Ohio, and Pennsylvania -- but it's not provable that the Russian efforts resulted in Trump's 78,000 vote margin. What is clear is that the Russians helped the Trump campaign by concerted social-media campaigns and hacking Clinton-campaign emails.

There's no evidence that Russian interference has abated. Indeed, if one looks at the Putin's objectives, there's no reason for the Russians to stop because they are succeeding. Russian efforts have weakened U.S. morale and diminished our role as leader of the "free" world. (They have also weakened the European Union and brought the United Kingdom to the brink of chaos.) -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Detecting and Debunking Delusions and other Errors

Jack Bragen
Friday April 26, 2019 - 11:31:00 AM

Simplistic thought is not useful if you are trying to understand the world. Simplistic thought is prevalent among the Earth's people. Many people's thinking is guided by others who are self-appointed authorities, or who have education and authoritative jobs and who are therefore deemed wise.

Most people are afraid to think for themselves. My father encouraged independent thinking in my early upbringing, and this trait didn't always help me. But it made me the person I am today. I am not afraid to think and to draw my own conclusions. I've discovered that when I'm not psychotic, much of my thinking turns out to be conventional, and parallel to that of many others.

It helps people with psychotic tendencies if we can improve our ability to listen. At the same time, it helps if we have a system that can allow us to learn to think more clearly. Such a system doesn't necessarily have to be created by ourselves, it can be something we've studied--so long as the system works. And remember that any system you or other people develop will have limits--it won't apply to all things. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Netanyahu Wins, Palestinians Lose

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday April 27, 2019 - 08:41:00 AM

Despite three pending corruption charges, Benjamin Netanyahu won a fifth term as Israel’s prime minister. During the campaign, he said he would annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank — land captured in 1967. This would firm up Israel's hold on them and will probably preclude any Palestinian state. Presently, there are more than 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and severely blockades 2 million more in Gaza. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday April 27, 2019 - 08:49:00 AM

Stop the Presses: The GOP Calls for Impeachment

Listen to the voices or our Republican leaders:

"I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors."

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

"We're a nation of laws, and that's what this case has always been about to me … He turned the judicial system upside down, every way but loose. He sent his friends to lie for him. He lied for himself."

— Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

"Isn't it true that [the federal law on witness tampering] criminalizes anyone who corruptly persuades or engages in misleading conduct with the intent to influence the testimony of any person in an official proceeding?"

— Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)

"I do not believe we can ignore the facts or disregard the Constitution so that the president can be placed above the law."

— Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)

Are these quotes legit? Yes, and they all come from 1999, when the GOP was howling for the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

MoveOn wants to put these quotes in an ad and pay Fox News to run it. The ad will cost $150,000. Donations accepted.


Arts & Events

East Bay Media Center's 50th Anniversary Screening of Godard's 'Sympathy for the Devil' in High Definition, today at 7:30

Ken Bullock
Friday April 26, 2019 - 11:10:00 AM

The 50th anniversary of Jean-Luc Gordard's post-May '68 docu-agit prop (and satiric) film 'Sympathy for the Devil,' featuring the Rolling Stones--including a run-down Brian Jones--recording their samba-flavored masterpiece at London's Olympia Studios, intercut with Black Panthers reciting Amiri Baraka poems and clips of the Vietnam War, will be celebrated with a screening in a newly remastered High Definition 50th anniversary edition print at the East Bay Media Center ( 510-849-3699; eastbaymediacenter.com ) Friday at 7:30 pm. 1939 Addison, between Milvia & MLK Way. Tickets $12 at the door or through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sympathy-for-the-devil-tickets-60666209265

Trailer for the new edition: -more-

Héiène Grimaud Returns to San Francisco in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday April 27, 2019 - 01:56:00 PM

Like a good French wine that gets better with age, French-born pianist Héiène Grimaud seems to get better and better as time passes. Now approaching age fifty, Héiène Grimaud has outgrown her early reputation as a strong-willed, sometimes quirky interpreter of the standard piano repertoire. These days, she is simply hailed as an outstanding pianist, much loved by audiences here and around the world. Over the weekend of April 25-27, Ms. Grimaud joined the San Francisco Symphony in performances of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58. The orchestra was led by conductor James Gaffigan, who is familiar to local audiences from his tenure as associate conductor of the San Francisco Symphony from 2006 to 2009. -more-


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, April 28 - May 5

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday April 27, 2019 - 08:45:00 AM

Worth Noting: -more-