Full Text

U.C. operatives demolish the Free Box.
Lisa Teague
U.C. operatives demolish the Free Box.


Report of Armed Man at Berkeley's King School Was False

Becky O'Malley
Friday May 10, 2019 - 01:20:00 PM

The Planet has been contacted by the family of the King Middle School student whose experience with bullying precipitated an uproar yesterday on the school site. Before it was over, it brought numerous Berkeley police with drawn guns to a locked down campus, responding to a report that a suspect with a gun had been sighted. This turned out not to be true, according to a family member familiar with the situation (who asked that her name not be used because of fear of reprisals) who called the Planet on the family’s behalf this morning. 

She told us that the child in question, an 11-year-old boy, had recently moved to this area. He is a small special needs student, with problems including seizures and tics which he can’t control. He has experienced several episodes of being beaten up by fellow students since he entered King, which have been reported to school administrators, but, as reported by his relative, “there were no consequences”. She says that these instances have been recorded on video. 

By her account, yet another such incident was reported on Thursday, which prompted the boy’s mother, accompanied by two other family friends, to go to the school to see if he needed their help, since school administrators had not been able to stop the bullying. One of these friends, an African-American young man with dreadlocks, was the person reported—it’s not clear by whom—to be in possession of a gun, which turned out not to be true, despite reports in local media to the contrary. 

Yesterday’s Berkeley Police Department press release, reprinted in the Planet, described “a report of a man armed with a handgun” and said that “the suspect… appears to be a parent or caregiver of a student.” 

The Police Department release said that “ witnesses described the suspect as a 20- to 30-year-old black male, 5’7” tall, with a medium build and long “twisty” braids. He was reportedly wearing a white hooded top, and blue jeans.” 

Our contact said that when the family friend who matched that description learned that he’d been accused of carrying a gun onto a school site, he voluntarily went to the Berkeley Police and told them what had actually happened. As a result, no charges of any kind have been filed about the incident. 

It’s possible that the panicky response of students and administrators might have been caused by stereotypical views of a young Black man with dreads and a hoodie, ironic in that recent school shooters have overwhelmingly been White. 

Family members of the 11-year-old bullying victim are still not satisfied with the school’s lack of success in ending the attacks.  

“We want to see some consequences for these kids,” our source said.  

She said that she was a 35-year Berkeley citizen, and another relative was a recently retired longtime BUSD employee, and that they’d encouraged the child’s immediate family to move here from another state because they hoped he’d get more help from the Berkeley schools.  

The Planet has not been able to contact school authorities for comment. 

Calls to Berkeley Police Officer Byron White, supposed to be BPD’s press contact, have not been returned. 


Press Release: Berkeley Police Respond to Report of Armed Man at King Middle School

Berkeley Police Department
Thursday May 09, 2019 - 05:23:00 PM

Berkeley Police quickly responded earlier today to a report of a man armed with a handgun at King Middle School at 3:20pm, shortly after school was let out. While officers, including all on-duty members of the Special Response team, confirmed that the suspect had already left school grounds, several officers remained at the North Berkeley scene to secure the area. Others are now coordinating with outside agencies to look for the suspect. 

Berkeley Police are interviewing witnesses and working with Berkeley Unified School District to gather more information about the suspect, who appears to be a parent or caregiver of a student. Witnesses described the suspect as a 20- to 30-year-old black male, 5’7” tall, with a medium build and long “twisty” braids. He was reportedly wearing a white hooded top, and blue jeans. 

We are encouraging students, families or others who might have other information to please contact the Berkeley Police Department at (510) 981-5900. 

We don’t expect any further updates today.

New School Superintendent for Berkeley

Annie Steuart (BCN)
Thursday May 09, 2019 - 05:21:00 PM

Berkeley Unified School District's Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to appoint Brent Stephens as the district's next superintendent. 

Stephens earned his doctorate from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. He began his teaching career as a Spanish bilingual teacher in Oakland, helping immigrant students and their families adjust to life in the U.S. 

Early in his career, he served as a special education paraprofessional and as both an elementary and secondary school principal. While working in Boston, he achieved National Board certification, which is the country's highest professional distinction for educators. 

Currently, he serves as the chief academic officer of the San Francisco Unified School District. Before he took on his current role, he served as assistant superintendent. 

"In Berkeley, I see a community committed to the full promise of desegregation, a fearless and public reflection on progress towards true equity, and strong, results-oriented community partnerships," Stephens said in a news release. 

"I am a public educator to my core, and I look forward to working with Berkeley Unified students, staff, and community to provide every one of our students with the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive," he said. 

Stephens will assume the new position officially on July 1, according to the school district.

New: Resignation from Police Review Commission

Andrea Prichett
Wednesday May 01, 2019 - 11:55:00 AM

Dear Councilmember Davila and Members of the Police Review Commission,

While I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve my community and to influence police policy, I am resigning from the Police Review Commission. I want to thank you, the other PRC Commissioners and staff for their assistance as I learned how the system does and doesn’t work.

It is my conclusion that the PRC, as it is presently constituted, is completely ineffective at addressing the concerns of the marginalized people in our city who are most vulnerable and most likely to be in need of assistance. The current PRC bears little resemblance to the scrappy agency that once challenged police practices and engaged the community in creating and revising policies, identifying when actual misconduct occurred and monitoring the functioning of the department. This was possible because of the access that the PRC had to information as well as the determination of city officials to guard against violations of the constitutional rights of our citizens.

In the current situation, the PRC has almost no access to data, information, reports or any source documents that could be used to evaluate police work in this city and so we are unable to provide actual oversight. The commission relies almost exclusively on anecdotal information and oral reports provided by BPD. Either BPD is not employing data based methods with which to evaluate their effectiveness or they are simply refusing to share this information with the PRC. In either case, without the cooperation of the department, the PRC cannot actually provide credible oversight. The Commission even wrote a letter to the City Attorney asking what information they believed we COULD look at and never even got a response. The situation is so extreme that the PRC Officer told me that I had faster and easier access to information as a citizen than as a commissioner on the PRC. 

The lack of access to evaluative information is downright perilous. The PRC is often provided with opportunities to hear from the police perspectives. However, the PRC has no metrics by which to actually evaluate police effectiveness. We have yet to receive information that could help us to identify a) how much force is being used, b) how many cases are being closed or referred for prosecution, c) how effectively the budget is being maintained d) whether these allocations are actually helping the people of Berkeley e) what the (data informed) goals of the department even are from year to year. We have no data that would allow us to substantiate the often stated claim that our police are among “the best in the nation”. We are supposed to take it on blind faith that the police would “never do such a thing”. To be clear: I am not saying that the police are not doing a good job. I am saying that none of the commissioners can honestly answer the question because we simply don’t have the information to support or refute that claim. 

Making any kind of fair determination of whether an officer engaged in misconduct is also not really possible. The standard of “clear and convincing evidence” for complaints is unreasonably high, especially for a process that supposedly does not require that complainants have or be attorneys in order to stand a chance of winning. The lopsided complaint procedures currently in place greatly favor the officer and anyone with a serious allegation of misconduct would be better off going directly to a courtroom to seek redress than to use this very flawed and demoralizing process. 

From the lack of accommodation and assistance when filing a complaint to the insensitivity of some commissioners when it comes to consideration of issues of disability, trauma, mental illness and homelessness, there is no good reason to use this complaint process. What was once a relatively accessible agency that welcomed those with the courage to follow through on a complaint is now a place where complaints go to die. The PRC record of sustained complaints in recent years is abysmal and there has been a huge decline in recent years of people even trying to use the process. It seems that people with mental health disabilities or who are homeless stand virtually no chance of making a successful complaint and are therefore quite vulnerable to potential abuse. 

Knowing some of the challenges when I joined the commission two years ago, I decided that I would focus on the policy side of things. Sadly, that function has also been greatly diminished. With the city’s subscription to the Lexipol service, the entire binder of General Orders for the BPD is being rewritten in order to reduce the chances of liability and to further insulate police from accountability. With this massive revision, whole groups of General Orders are being approved by the PRC with almost no chance of citizen input or public participation. With NO communication with the general public, policies on the use of spit hoods, canines, tasers, and other dramatic changes are being considered and rubber-stamped. These policies are remaking the culture of the BPD while disregarding previous decades of collaborations with outside experts and community members in the shaping of BPD General Orders. 

Finally, the inaction, lack of responsiveness and disregard by city leadership to concerns raised by the PRC is the final nail in the coffin of Berkeley’s efforts at civilian oversight. It seems that those who could require the chief to comply with requests for information, who could implement some evaluation and controls on the department, who could fight for the independence of the commission and the most basic principles of good governance have turned a blind eye to the ways in which the power of the PRC has and continues to be eroded. I believe that the PRC must fight harder for basic access to information. It must stop simply accepting the delays and diversions of the Chief and demand some answers. Sadly, the PRC has become more of an obstacle to real reform because it provides the mistaken illusion that some form of police oversight exists, while it most certainly does not. 

Councilmember, I will continue to advocate for the rights of the people and community control of police. I will work to support a charter amendment that would remake how our city monitors and controls police functioning so that it functions at the pleasure of the people and is held accountable for what it does and does not do. I look forward to the day when our praise for the men and women of the department is not merely some hollow, obligatory refrain, but is a well-established and genuine acknowledgement of their commitment and excellence. 


Andrea Prichett

Updated: ASUC Votes to Support Freebox

Carol Denney
Sunday May 05, 2019 - 05:05:00 PM
U.C. operatives demolish the Free Box.
Lisa Teague
U.C. operatives demolish the Free Box.
Where the Free Box used to be.
Lisa Teague
Where the Free Box used to be.

UPDATE: UC took out the freebox early this morning despite the unanimous resolution of support for it by the ASUC.

The Association Students of the University of California (ASUC) voted unanimously Wednesday, May 1, 2019, to support the freshly built freebox recreated at the April 28th concert in celebration of People's Park's 50th Anniversary by passing both a letter of support and a unanimous resolution to "affirm the establishment and continued existence of the People's Park Freebox." 


The new freebox is about twelve feet tall and stands between the driveway and the basketball court. It was designed by park volunteers who included shelves so that articles of clothing can be neatly folded in stacks of pants, shirts, etc. A volunteer painting crew was planning murals on the back and touching up designs on the front and sides on a sunny Friday. 

"We're calling it the Freeshack," said one volunteer. "It's a little bigger than the old boxes." The Berkeley City Council will have a resolution supporting People's Park on its agenda from the Peace and Justice Commission coming up on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019.

The Goldman Environmental Prize Honors Heroes of the Earth

Gar Smith
Friday May 03, 2019 - 03:17:00 PM

On April 29, the Goldman Environmental Prize marked its 30th anniversary with a stellar event that included an extraordinary demonstration of "projection mapping" artistry (courtesy of Immersive) that turned the interior of San Francisco's Opera House into a cathedral of moving imagery with huge butterflies appearing to drop through the roof and flutter over the proscenium, only to dissolve into the next episode of eye-popping imagery—twin waterfalls that suddenly appeared to thunder down the stage walls to the floor. 

The event was hosted by Alexandra Cousteau (Jacques-Yves Cousteau's grand-daughter). The featured speaker was former VP Al Gore. Musical entertainment was provide by Michael Franti and Oakland's Vocal Rush choir. And, as usual, Robert Redford was the voice behind the inspiring mini-docs that introduced each of the year's six eco-heroes. 

Each winner was memorable and their victories inspirational. Some had colleagues who were murdered. Some were forced to flee their homes and seek asylum abroad. One winner, Chilean Mapuche land activist Alberto Curamil, was arrested and jailed in November 2018. His award was accepted by his daughter. (The Goldman's are activists as well as philanthropists, so, if you want to help free Alberto Curamil, you can go to goldmanprize.org/alberto.) 

Defending the Earth from plunder can be a dangerous business that requires an exceptional degree of commitment. During his speech, Alfred Brownell (forced to flee his native Liberia after successfully challenging the palm oil plantations that are destroying Indigenous lands) paused to admonish the audience for applauding. He suggested a better response: "Don't clap! Act!" 

You can watch the entire event below: 




Barr and Comey: an Odd Couple of Peas in a Pod

Becky O'Malley
Thursday May 02, 2019 - 04:18:00 PM

The Internet age has made “I told you so” a lot easier to say.

Case in point: the whiney, self-serving op-ed by James Comey which appeared in my Thursday New York Times.

Title and subtitle: James Comey: How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Bill Barr: Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive this president.”

The piece, published just in time to pile on with the Democrats’ fully justified disgust at Barr’s mendacious performance before a Senate committee the previous day, is a wordy description of how virtuous men like Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein [and Jim Comey?] are gradually compromised by sucking up [he uses fancier words] to Donald Trump. The ending is especially stirring:

“…to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values.

“And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.”

There’s just one problem. If you look back on the public history of both Barr and Comey, you’ll discover that they deserve each other. People who’ve known them before have predicted what they’re doing now. They’re not exactly cut from the same cloth: Barr has always been an unprincipled schemer, whereas Comey has specialized in self-deceptive self-aggrandizement. But both of their souls have long since been off the menu. 

You can find all the evidence online if you look around. 

First, has Barr recently been co-opted? Has he undergone a mystical transmogrification from virtuous leader to sycophantic shill for Trump? 

Not exactly. He’s sung the same sort of tune before, when he engineered the cover-up and eventual 1992 pardon of six in-process prosecutions of participants in the Iran-Contra affair, including Caspar Weinberger. 

The independent counsel assembling the case against Weinberger was Berkeley’s own Jim Brosnahan, and he still remembers how it went down. 

“If you want a presidential cover-up, Barr is your guy,” Brosnahan, now 85, told VICE News in April. “And I think we’ve already seen that.” 

Comey’s good-man-gone-wrong theory is just a myth. Barr’s been a black hat for most of his career. 

Watch the Vice video for a quick take on who he’s always been: 


And then if you want to get to know what makes Comey himself tick, you should read Kurt Eichenwald’s November 7, 2016, Newsweek piece which thoroughly deconstructs him: FBI Director James Comey Is Unfit For Public Service 

Here’s how it starts: 

“James Comey should not simply be fired as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He must be barred forever from any form of public service.”
And it goes on from there, expressing in lengthy and graphic terms Eichenwald’s outrage at Comey’s wink-wink-nudge-nudge expose of the email server in Hillary Clinton’s basement: 

“In the last 10 days, Comey has whipsawed the election for president of the United States. Now we know he did it for no reason. When his agents found information that suggested there were emails on a laptop that might have relevance to the investigation of Hillary Clinton and her email servers, Comey did not wait until he knew even a scintilla of information before announcing it to the world. Reasonably, lots of voters assumed there must be a there there—who could imagine a person with the power of the FBI director would turn the election on its head for no particular reason, on the basis of nothing?
Then, Sunday, Comey handed down another missive from on high: Never mind. His agents had looked through the emails and decided they were piffle. His majesty, the FBI director, has not yet deigned to officially inform his subjects—the American people—whether the emails related to the Clinton case or what they were. (However, people involved in the case tell Newsweek that almost all of them were duplicates of what the bureau already had or were personal.) He just said “nothing to see here” and waived us on our way. “Well, forget it, Jim. We’re not moving on. America has just witnessed one of the most—if not the most—egregious abuses of power in the service of one man’s ego in its history. Joseph McCarthy and A. Mitchell Palmer at least believed they were fighting a Communist threat. Richard Nixon, in Watergate, at least had the motive of retaining power and covering up wrongdoing. But Comey—who I do not believe did this for partisan reasons—has no such motive. This was about him, about preserving his now forever-destroyed reputation, about preening with his self-satisfied standing as a maverick who acts based on what he thinks is right, regardless of others’ opinion. But there is a very thin line between being independent and being reckless. And Comey has demonstrated he does not know the difference.” 

That’s just the beginning of a lengthy and outraged essay which Eichenwald himself called ”a full Comey tear-down”. Do remember, November 7 was the day before the disastrous election, so the piece accurately anticipated the pivotal role which Comey’s stupid grandstanding would play in creating the Trump victory. 

(The role of the New York Times, where Eichenwald once worked, and especially of Maureen Dowd, in propagating this nonsense should not be forgotten either.) 

More: “Plenty of people in Washington knew of Comey’s self-infatuation and predicted it would lead to the exact kind of problem born of his arrogance that has convulsed the country for more than a week. In fact, shortly after he was nominated for FBI director, the Daily Beast quoted an unidentified Justice Department official saying these frighteningly prescient words:’If past is prologue, something will happen in the context of a legal, policy, or operational disagreement where Jim may get on the high horse and threaten to resign or take some other action unless things go the way he believes they should.’ “
Far be it from me to make excuses for Donald Trump, but it’s just possible that “the Russia thing” was not the only reason he fired Comey. 

In any event, it’s more than a little scary to think that this country is now in the hands of a cast of characters who wouldn’t have been credible in a ‘40s B movie. Neither Comey, nor Barr, sadly, will be “barred forever from any form of public service”, though they both should be. 

And neither is a valiant leader co-opted by the evil Mr. T. Anyone who remembers history or at least knows how to do a Google search might have predicted the pickle we’d be in with these two jerks right about now. We were warned, weren’t we? 

In fact, when you think about it, it’s not a B movie these two belong in, it’s an opera, a genre where the malign underlying nature of the principal villain is established early on and leads to the inevitable disastrous outcome.  

John Adams, are you watching? This could be your next big hit.

Public Comment

CVP and Livable California prevail in challenge to BART’s illegal endorsement of SB 50

Bob Silvestri
Sunday May 05, 2019 - 04:54:00 PM

On Friday, April 12, 2019, attorney Jason Bezis, representing Livable California and Community Venture Partners, Inc., filed a cease and desist demand letter with the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors (BART) to “cure or correct Brown Act Violations” at the BART Board’s March 14, 2019 special meeting to endorse Senate Bill 50. 

In that letter, CVP and Livable CA alleged that the BART Board took part in substantial violations of central provisions of the Ralph M. Brown Act and Article I, Section 3 of the California Constitution, because BART failed to provide adequate notice to the public, and there was no finding of fact by the BART Board to support their decision to call for a special meeting. 

In response, on Friday May 3rd, Matt Burrows, general counsel for BART issued a letter to the BART Board recommending that 

“the action taken under item 3 of the Board's Special Meeting agenda of March 14, 2019” [the board’s endorsement of SB-50] be “vacated.” (Emphasis added) 

In advising the Board, Mr. Burrows adds the caveat that 

“Generally, the Act bars a lawsuit if the Board cures the complained of act by providing notice of a new meeting in public session within 30 days of notice of a complaint. The Act expressly provides that taking such action shall not constitute an admission of wrongdoing.” 

While this is technically correct, as detailed at length in our complaint to the BART Board, we continue to maintain that “wrongdoing” did in fact occur and that the lack of public notice and more importantly a lack of transparency and good faith dealings are apparent in the record and the other documents and evidence we have received under a separate Public Records Act request. 

However, in addition to recommending that the BART Board cure the violation, Mr. Burrows is also recommending that at its upcoming May 9th hearing, 

“the Board takes a position of Support on Senate Bill 50 (Wiener)” 

That recommendation includes a staff report, SB 50 (Wiener) Analysis and Recommendation, which will be considered at the May 9th hearing, in order to facilitate a discussion and a new vote on endorsement by the BART Board. 

Senate Bill 50 is the most serious challenge by the State Legislature to locally elected government control of planning and zoning in California’s history. And although recent amendments and “compromises” among state senators have watered down some of its provisions, the precedent it sets undermines the very foundations of the sovereignty of locally elected government and the sanctity of the General Plans of local government, which are protected in our State’s Constitution. 

The actions taken by CVP and Livable CA have now provided the public another chance to express its concerns about SB 50 and to oppose its endorsement by BART. 

BART's mission does not include real estate development 

Taxpayers need to remind BART that they are not in the housing or real estate development business. BART was founded as a community-serving transportation agency. As their website proudly proclaims, "For more than 45 years BART has provided fast, reliable transportation to downtown offices, shopping centers, tourist attractions, entertainment venues, universities and other destinations for Bay Area residents and visitors alike." 

As such, BART has no place getting involved in politics or regional housing planning, particularly in supporting a state mandate that usurps locally elected government's authority over local zoning and planning. 

It should also be noted that at present, BART already has the authority to build housing on its surplus land and in fact, in many locations its unused land is already zoned for housing and zoned in existing general plan documents for housing and mixed use development. 

Therefore, there is no necessity for the BART Board to endorse SB 50 or any similar legislation. Let's also bear in mind that many of the duly elected bodies, who are responsible for planning and zoning, such as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Marin Board of Supervisors, have not endorsed SB 50. 

Call to Action 

CVP and Livable CA recommend that SF Bay Area residents make their voices heard and contact the BART Board to express their opposition to SB 50. 

E-mails should be submitted before May 9th to this address: 

boardofdirectors@bart.gov and also to the individual BART e-mail address of the BART director who serves the writer's area, if available. 

There are nine BART directors, listed on this BART webpage: 


Livable California, Inc., a San Francisco-based California nonprofit corporation, is a statewide coalition of elected officials and community leaders who work together to educate, network and advocate for community interests around land use, zoning, transportation, and housing issues. Its mission is: (1) to empower communities to take action to support local community planning and decision making with the goal of an equitable and sustainable future for California; and (2) to grow and sustain communities that meet the needs of individuals and families, governed by locally elected City Councils and Boards of Supervisors, in collaboration with regional agencies, and free from undue influence of big business and Sacramento. 

Community Venture Partners, Inc. is a Bay Area-based California nonprofit organization that facilitates and assists community-based projects, programs and initiatives that demonstrate the highest principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability. CVP is committed to the need for a transparent, "bottom up" public process that incorporates under-served community voices into government decision-making. The projects, events, programs and services offered by Community Venture Partners address a variety of community, local and regional issues related to city, county and regional planning, community involvement, affordable housing, sustainable development, and social and environmental impacts of development. CVP takes every opportunity to promote community voices on these issues.

The Police and the Right to Due Process

Steve Martinot
Saturday May 04, 2019 - 04:20:00 PM


Rights, in an exploitative and impoverishing society such as ours in the US, are the front line against police arbitrarily and a police state.

There are two kinds of rights. There are individual rights, those understood as "inalienable" or "natural" rights that persons have as human. The main ones are listed in the First Amendment.

And there are social rights, those that provide for necessary equalization between individuals and the institutionalities of government. They are granted constitutionally, and can be withheld (wrongly) by institutions. The most essential of these social rights is due process. “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” (Fifth Amendment). 

There are two major aspects of “due process.” The first is that it occurs before there is deprivation of life, liberty, or property. What might occur after such deprivation would not be due process, but rather appeal, made against having already been deprived. To grasp the seriousness of the priority of due process, consider the deprivation of life. After a person has been shot and killed by a cop, there is no possibility of appeal. Therefore, any due process concerning deprivation of life, and thus also liberty and property, must occur before there is a process of deprivation. 

Secondly, “due process” constitutes an equalization between individuals and social institutions. Social institutions, like the police, or bureaucracies, or corporations, etc., because they wield greater power than individuals, and can thus act arbitrarily toward persons, must be reduced to a level in which individuals can have equity in the event of any dispute. That is, there must be a process wherein an individual to be deprived of anything would have equal power and standing as the institution that would commit the deprivation. “Due process” is what provides for an individual having the right, and the equal power, to enter into dialogue or debate or argument with an institution on the justice or injustice of a proposed or impending deprivation. 

All democratic ethics and procedures depend on the right to due process. To withhold due process is to violate the sanctity of the individual (against institutional power), which is inimical to democracy. 

Today, in the US, “due process” is almost universally withheld. In other words, a democratic ethics is almost universally ignored or violated in the US.  

Examples: A cop stops a person on the street, and the person asks why he is being stopped. If the cop then handcuffs the person, as happens often to people who question a cop (especially black people), that cop is depriving the individual of liberty without due process. Though the cop represents governmental power, while the person is exercising his right to question, the cop is creating a dispute in which there is deprivation of liberty, and for which due process is required. 

When a cop, pursuant to a city ordinance against sitting on the sidewalk, approaches a homeless person, commands the person to move, and seizes the person’s property, that cop is depriving the person of liberty and property without due process. Should a store-owner complain about a homeless person blocking access to the store, a cop could have the store-owner and the homeless person present arguments for their respective sides, and make a decision according to law. In such a case, there would have been due process with respect to the person moving himself and his belongings to another place. 

We are not speaking of criminality here, but only of offenses, the possible violation of rules, or disobedience to police commands. Under criminal law, if a cop sees a crime in progress, he can stop it by arresting the criminal. 

If the cop commits a crime, such as shooting a person, or depriving a homeless person of the property he needs to withstand and survive the elements, individual civilians have no recourse to the extent due process is withheld. Only after the cop had committed such a crime would the civilian have the right to appeal. Should the elements make the homeless person fatally sick, appeal would be too late. 

Appeal is not due process. Due process is designed to prevent unwarranted or illegal deprivation. Appeal only occurs after an unwarranted or illegal deprivation has occurred.  

The nature and structure of due process  

Due process is the existence of a procedure in which a person has an opportunity to speak for themselves when threatened with deprivation of life, liberty, or property. In jurisprudent tradition, this opportunity to speak would occur before a neutral third party who had the ability to decide whether the threatened deprivation was legitimate or not, taking into account the immediate circumstances of the person and the law ostensibly in question. In general, the third party need not be a judge or legally licensed individual, but only someone agreeable to both parties. 

There are 5 structural elements to due process. 1) There is an institution (governmental or otherwise, represented by an agent) who seeks to deprive a person of their liberty or property for whatever reason (a statute, a complaint by another person, the agent’s gratuitous or arbitrary desire, etc.). 2) There is a person who opposes the commands of the institutional agent as unwarranted, illegitimate, or arbitrary. 3) A third neutral party agreeable to both sides is found who can hear both sides and decide what is just on the basis of the immediate situation and the law. 4) There is an opportunity for the two parties to enter into dialogue with each other on the basis of their social interests, their knowledge, and their social situations. 5) There is a willingness by the third party to decide on the basis of fairness, justice, and equity between the individual and the institutional agent. 

In short, due process reduces institutional power to the level of the individual human, and places the individual’s position and interests on an equal footing and in dialogue, with that of the institution. Due process constitutes, in effect, the ability of an individual to argue for their social existence, and for the properness of their actions or comportment, against any institutional demand that they act differently, or that they exist in a different way. 

“Due process” is guaranteed by Constitutional amendment (the 5th and the 14th). Any deprivation of liberty that occurs without due process is unconstitutional. If a person is commanded to do something by a cop, pursuant to a rule passed by city council, that person is constitutionally authorized to demand due process before doing it, because otherwise there would be a deprivation of liberty incurred by institutionally requiring the person to do something they did not wish to do (again, we are not talking about the commission of felonies here.)  

The nature and structure of police commands  

The police, in most cities, take it upon themselves to actively enforce city ordinances concerning resident comportment. That means, the cop tells a person what he must do (for instance, packing up and getting off a piece of public land), or else the cop will act forcefully against the person. 

If a cop gives a person a command (for instance, to fold up a tent that the person, because homeless, is living in), and forces the person to obey that command by threatening to injure the person (with a nightstick or a stun gun, etc.), or by threatening to arrest the person, or to seize their property, then the cop is establishing a particular kind of relation between himself and the person. The cop is establishing himself as a commanding officer with respect to the person who he then treats as a subordinate, as if an enlisted person in the army that gives the cop commanding officer status. 

In other words, the legitimacy of such policing actions is based on a fallacy, an assumption that the police and the person belong to a form of military organization. The fallacy does not inhabit the ordinance the cop enforces. It inhabits the nature of the commands that the cop uses to make a person obey a rule (which might be at most an offense, not a misdemeanor or a crime, but rather something for which a ticket could be issued). 

A military form of organization is at odds with traditional "civilized" relations between people in civil society. What mainly characterizes a military form of organization is that disobedience to a commanding officer’s command can be punished immediately through the use of force. When this form of relation is transferred to civil society, it is out of place. 

Civil society is not a form of military organization. To command a person to do something they are not doing voluntarily (stand up, sit down, move out of the street, fold up that tent, etc.), the cop is forcing the person to do something they had not freely decided to do. It changes the social status of the person because it changes (by assumption) the form of organization in which the person is then placed. When a cop assumes a “commanding officer” status with respect to a person, he is not only assuming a power he is not given constitutionally, but he is placing the person commanded in a form of organization in which that individual had not enlisted, and is thus placed by the cop against his wishes. 

By this act, and by the change in social organization this assumes for the person, the cop deprives the individual of liberty without due process. The cop is there to stop felonies, not to change the form of social organization in which civilians live. 

The right to “due process” is a right established by the Constitution that allows individuals to resist and oppose being placed in a military form of organization while still in civil society because it allows individuals to resist the imposition of institutional power. It is the imposition of power that is the deprivation of liberty. A "command," which constitutes a deprivation of liberty based upon the imposition of a military form of organization without due process, means that a cop’s insistence on obedience in a civil situation (which includes notification of an offense) is in violation of the Constitution. 

The military form of organization is inherently and imminently anti-democratic. Any pro-democratic stance or movement or desire must stand in opposition to the military form of organization for civil society. 

In short, in a democracy, a cop can only tell a person (not involved in a felony) what to do, but cannot follow it up with a threat of force without depriving the person of their liberty without due process, and without being destructive of the democracy that cop may think he is upholding.  

How could due process be facilitated in a fair and Constitutional manner?  

Suppose a cop sees a person living in a tent on public land at the border of an industrial and a residential area, and decides the tent violates a city ordinance. How would due process be facilitated in such a situation? 

1- The institutional agent (cop) would have to have in hand both a statement of the rule that he thought he was enforcing and the rationale for applying that rule to the particular situation. And the person would have the right to argue against the cop and for remaining where he was, in the presence of others. 

2- If there was a complainant (for instance, a store-owner in the vicinity of the homeless person’s tent), then that complainant could be substituted for the institutional agent in addressing the homeless person about his tent. 

3- In both cases, a neutral third party would have to be found, acceptable to both the homeless person and the institutional agent (or complainant), who could then hear both sides. The institutional agent (cop) could only play the role of neutral party is that were acceptable to both parties to a complaint. 

4- A dialogue would then ensue, presided over by the neutral third party, in which each side – complainant or cop on one side, and homeless person on the other – would then be able to offer reasons why the homeless person should or need not move his tent and belongings – subject to a decision made by the neutral third party.  

This process would bring democracy to the enforcement of laws and rules, to insure that no injustice is committed in the name of the law. It would bring about involvement of proximate communities in the problems that arise between neighborhood residents and the homeless. It would overcome some of the isolation and alienation that we all feel to some extent in being separated from each other by the law. 

In general, in all of its attacks and harassments against the homeless, the city of Berkeley has been in violation of the US Constitution because they have withheld due process.  

Collusion? Or Bank Fraud?

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday May 03, 2019 - 03:19:00 PM

President Trump’s initial response to the appointment of special prosecutor Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia. . “I am f . . . up, this is the end of my presidency” is the reaction of a man consumed with guilt. It is a pity Mueller didn’t continue his investigation to uncover the missing pieces of the puzzle. But the chickens may be coming home to roost with Trump’s efforts to block revelation of his shady dealings with Deutsche Bank.  

By inflating the value of his assets he was able to commit massive bank fraud obtaining credit from US banks for decades. But following their refusal to advance additional credit, Trump sought help from Deutsche Bank who advanced him $2B allegedly from Russian oligarchs’ laundered money in a high stakes quid pro quo for political favors orchestrated by the wily Vladimir Putin. In 2016 Trump jnr. admitted “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia from Trump Organization properties.” Jared Kushner seems to be following in the footsteps of his father-in-law’s seeking Saudi money to stop the hemorrhaging of his businesses teetering on bankruptcy using a top security clearance to facilitate his dubious activities. 

Let us hope Congress discharge their oversight duties under Article 1 of the US Constitution, issue subpoenas, follow the money to get to the bottom of the monstrous malfeasance, self-dealing and criminal abrogation’s of duty of this President and his family.


Jagjit Singh
Friday May 03, 2019 - 03:23:00 PM

We are at it once again, orchestrating regime change in Venezuela.

We have learned nothing from our historical attempts at regime change creatingmayhem and destruction wherever we have unleashed our economic and military power. Our interventions in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, sent millions to their early graves; Iraq with bogus claims of WMD’s has torn the country apart and given birth to ISIS; Libya is mired in civil conflict; Afghanistan with no end in sight squandering trillions of dollars and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians including thousands of American soldiers suffering from horrific injuries many choosing to end their lives. Buoyed by our impeccable record of failures, we have now set our sights on Venezuela.  

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research at (CEPR) least 40,000 have died since 2017 as a result of U.S. sanctions. These sanctions reduced the availability of food and medicine and increased disease and mortality. CEPR argues “American sanctions are deliberately aiming to wreck Venezuela’s economy and thereby force regime change. It’s a fruitless, heartless, illegal, and failed policy, causing grave harm to the Venezuelan people. The sanctions blocked international capital markets and the oil company from restructuring its loans, oil earnings plummeted contributing to hyper-inflation and social and humanitarian disintegration.” 

There is little doubt that President Madura and his predecessor Hugo Chavez mismanaged the economy but the US under the misguided leadership Citizen 1, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton have hugely contributed to Venezuela’ misery.

May Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Tuesday May 07, 2019 - 10:36:00 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! 


THE PUBLIC EYE:What About Impeachment?

Bob Burnett
Friday May 03, 2019 - 11:46:00 AM

Here on the Left Coast, most voters I talk to are disgusted with Donald Trump and want him impeached. Nonetheless, our leader, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urges Dems to be cautious and to hold hearings rather than rush into an impeachment process. That's sound advice because a majority of Americans don't want Trump impeached. 

The latest Washington Post / ABC News Poll (https://www.washingtonpost.com/page/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2019/04/26/National-Politics/Polling/question_21366.xml? ) indicates that only 39 percent of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling his job as President. 

With regard to Special Counsel Mueller's report, most poll respondents felt the report was fair (51 percent) and most felt that "it did not clear Trump of wrongdoing" (53 percent). (47 percent felt that "Trump tried to interfere with the Russia investigation in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice;" versus 41 percent that did not feel this way.) Most tellingly, 58 percent believe that Trump "lied to the American public about the matters under investigation by Mueller." 

To summarize, most American believe the Mueller report was fair and Trump has engaged in wrongdoing. 58 percent believe that Trump lied about this. 

Nonetheless, a strong majority (56 percent) of Washington Post / ABC News poll respondents do not feel that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump. 

What explains this somewhat contradictory finding? 

The Washington Post / ABC News poll indicates that opinions about impeachment are split by Party affiliation: 62 percent of Democrats are in favor of beginning impeachment proceedings versus only 10 percent of Republicans (87 percent oppose impeachment). Most telling, only 36 percent of Independents are in favor of beginning impeachment proceedings. (The Washington Post / ABC News poll doesn't provide much demographic information to help us interpret this polarization on impeachment; however, non-white voters are much more inclined towards impeachment (59 percent) than are white non-Hispanic voters (25 percent).) 

However, another Washington Post / ABC News poll item illustrates how unpopular Trump is. The survey asks: In 2020, if Trump is the Republican candidate would you vote for him? 55 percent of respondents said they would "definitely not vote for him." (Only 28 percent would definitely vote for Trump.) It's possible that many voters -- particularly Independents -- decided: "We're going to vote Trump out of office in 2020 so why go to all the effort to impeach him if he will be gone in 17 months." 

Finally, the final Washington Post / ABC News poll question is: "Do you think the political system in this country mainly works to benefit (all people) or mainly works to benefit (those in power)?" Interestingly, 72 percent of respondents feel the political system works to benefit those in power. Once again, response divides by political affiliation, with Democrats and Independents overwhelmingly agreeing that the system is biased towards those in power. It's possible that some voters -- those who do not like Trump -- have lost confidence in the political process and do not think anything would be accomplished by impeaching Trump. 

Whatever the reason, most Americans don't want the House to initiate impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. That means that House Dems are right to listen to Speaker Pelosi and pursue a five-part plan. 

1.Democrats need to constantly remind Americans that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and is likely to do this again. This is key because question 11 of the Washington Post / ABC News poll indicates that many Americans aren't convinced of this. "Given what you've heard or read, do you think interference by Russia undermined the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election, or did it not rise to that level?" 51 percent of respondents felt "It did not rise to that level." 

On April 26th, the FBI issued a new warning about Russian interference in the 2020 election (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/26/us/politics/fbi-russian-election-interference.html ). 

2.Democrats need to lead the effort to protect the integrity of the 2020 elections. On the first day of the new congress -- January 3rd -- Democrats introduced HR 1 ( https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1) which, among other subjects, addresses election integrity and security, 

3.Democrats need to pursue the investigations they have started. Four Democratically controlled House committees are pursuing information relevant to the Mueller Report. The primary committees are the Intelligence Committee, lead by Adam Schiff, and the Judiciary Committee, led by Jerry Nagler. Both want to see the unredacted Mueller report. Schiff is also interested in the question of whether Trump is is being financially compromised when he makes foreign-policy decisions. 

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is interested in Trump-related financial documents to see if he committed fraud in recent financial dealings. (they are also looking into his handling of security clearances.) The House Ways and Means committee is studying Trump's tax returns to see if he committed fraud. 

4.Democrats need to call out Trump on Obstruction of Justice. Just as he did during the conduct of the Mueller report, Trump is using various tactics to keep the truth from the American people. Now he and his minions are blocking release of the undredacted report and refusing to appear before House committees. Democrats need to call out the attempts to obstruct justice and initiate the appropriate court proceedings. 

The sheer amount of White House obstruction may force impeachment to commence but we are several months from that point. 

5.In the meantime, Democrats need to demonstrate they can "walk and chew gum at the same time." Americans are troubled; they are concerned about issues such as jobs, immigration, gun violence, healthcare, clean air and water, etcetera. They want Democrats to pursue meaningful legislation on these subjects. In other words, they don't want House Democrats to solely focus on impeaching Trump. 

Therefore, House Democrats have to work doubly hard: get after Trump and, at the same time, generate meaningful legislation. 

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

ECLECTIC RANT:Turmoil in Venezuela

Ralph E. Stone
Thursday May 02, 2019 - 05:39:00 PM

Even with backing from the Trump administration, Juan Guaidó, the U.S.-recognized interim president of Venezuela, failed to oust Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.

It is difficult to reconcile our outrage over Russia’s interference in our elections with our present interference in Venezuela’s affairs. I’m sure everyone would agree that Venezuelans deserve a better government. But let’s face it, the late Hugo Chávez's vision of a modern day “Bolivarian revolution” — a Latin American political block with a socialist bent as an alternative to U.S. hegemony. — has descended into repression and economic decline under Maduro.

That said, the U.S. shouldn’t be the ones to determine what Venezuela should look like. Our interference in Venezuela follows a long and sordid history of U.S. intervention in Latin America. As the past should have demonstrated, our present interference in Venezuela, I fear, will do more harm than good.

Finally, it is not a coincidence that Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world.

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Mental Illness, Measles, and Primeval Thinking

Jack Bragen
Thursday May 02, 2019 - 05:35:00 PM

Some analogies can be drawn between people's dumb refusal to be vaccinated (and the morally inexcusable failure to have their offspring vaccinated) and many people's dumb refusal to realize that mental illnesses are brain disorders that require biochemical intervention. And you should realize that many of those who are mixed-up about what mental illness really is are not just the patients. In some instances, family and friends lack adequate understanding of the basis of most mental illnesses and will try to influence the patient not to take medication.

We live in a time of widespread ignorance. Typically, in the U.S., our President is the one to set an example for many American people. The example shown by President Trump is that of unparalleled depravity, ignorance, and sometimes superstition. It is also superstition to believe that people are not helped by modern vaccines. 

Scientists have made life-changing discoveries in past decades that have all but wiped out numerous infectious diseases. Vaccines are modern medicine at its best. Depriving oneself of vaccination and, on the other hand, refusal of psychiatric medicines, are of the same brand of human ignorance. 

People have ignorant misunderstandings concerning mental illness. They might believe that if you eat brown rice and run ten miles a day, it will cure mental illness. Not so; the result of that idea is you get a marathoner in great athletic condition but lacking adequate protein, one who continues to have delusions, hallucinations, mood swings, or depression, depending on the variety of mental disease. 

It is not always true that being delusional is the cause of noncompliance. When delusions are the cause of noncompliance, none of what I've written above is applicable. When the disease takes over the thinking, it is not an instance of being a dummy to refuse medication, it is attributable to the effects of the illness. The individual who lacks insight because of delusions isn't culpable.  

Lithium for bipolar people and early antipsychotics are/were tremendous discoveries, allowing numerous mentally ill people to live somewhat normally. More advanced, newer medications have, for the most part, helped mentally ill people even more. 

It is fine to avoid doctors for a while, because many will torture you with excessive time in their waiting rooms, painful tests and procedures, and being bogged down with time consuming treatment for chronic conditions. We need quality of life. However, when you really need a doctor, you should see one or more, because the life you save could be your own. 

Schizophrenia can kill. Schizophrenic people in some instances have a potential to unintentionally or, otherwise because of their disorder, harm people, including themselves. Lives can be cut short or otherwise ruined by psychotic behavior. A psychotic person could do things that could get her or him killed because of not being connected to basic reality. Medication increases our chances of survival. 

A person suffering from psychosis might not think well enough to pay for basic needs in a timely manner or might not plan adequately for other needs. Medication increases that chances of living independently and productively. 

Failure to comply with taking medication can arise for numerous reasons. Medication, due to side effects, causes physical suffering and, in some instances, side effects that ruin a person's health. Yet the alternative is that of having untreated mental disease, which can permanently harm brain tissue, and can get a patient incarcerated or deceased. 

Science is limited. Scientists might assert that science is limited only because of it not being advanced enough to do and understand everything. Yet, as it stands, many things about human existence aren't addressable or explainable with science or technology. 

Yet, if we're dealing with either a microbial threat to human health, or with a brain malfunction issue that can be alleviated, even if imperfectly, with medication, then people need to let science perform its job. Deciding otherwise is for fools.

ECLECTIC RANT: Trump — Putin’s Lapdog

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday May 05, 2019 - 05:02:00 PM

On May 3, 2019, Trump spoke to Putin on the telephone for over an hour. Why didn’t Trump warn him not to meddle in the next U.S. election? Because Trump knew that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help him win the election.  

Deep down, Trump also knows that without the that interference, he probably wouldn’t have won the election. That's why election security is such a low priority in this White House.  

Thus, Trump has no incentive except a moral one (morals?) to chastise Putin for the interference as he was and will be a beneficiary. If he said anything at all, it probably was to thank Putin and ask for help in the upcoming presidential election.  

I wonder why Trump has never criticized Putin.

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday May 03, 2019 - 02:34:00 PM

No More Oily Politicians

Oil money is one of the key political lubricants working on behalf of the 1%. Now a group called No Fossil Fuel Money has created a campaign—and a website—to hold politicians oil-accountable. Go online to see it your local reps have signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge. Here's a teaser:

Who Has Signed: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Eric Swalwell, Seth Moulton, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Pete Buttigieg, Wayne Messam, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson.

Who Hasn't Signed: Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Tim Ryan, Julian Castro, Beto O'Rourke, John Delaney, and John Hickenlooper.

Among the Californians Who Have Signed: Barbara Lee, Ro Khanna, Delaine Eastin, John Chiang, Laura Oatman, Fiona Ma, Mike Eng, Tony Thurmond, Scott Wiener, Jovanka Beckles, Buffy Wicks, Dianne Feinstein, Dave Jones, Nancy O'Malley, Kevin de Leon, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Protect the King: Barr the Gates

After watching Trump-appointed US Attorney General William Barr's performance during the recent US Senate hearings, I agree with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Barr deserves to be fired and/or jailed for lying under oath.

Here's my 7-word characterization of Trump's AG: "A toady who looks like a frog."

Barr has been widely criticized for acting like Trump's attorney instead of the nation's attorney general. Clearly, Trump has been hiding behind Barr. Just as clearly, Trump deserves to be hidden behind bars.



Stuck with Trump? 

When it comes to impeachment, Nancy Pelosi says Trump "is not worth the trouble." Adam Schiff, fearing that impeachment would be blocked in the Senate, recently told Bill Maher: "We should vote his ass out of office." But a growing number of Dems—including presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris—are openly aligning with Rep. Rashida "impeach the M-F" Tlaib. 

Meanwhile, we're stuck with Trump. So here's a simile for our woebegone situation: Having Trump in the White House is like discovering that you've rented your spare bedroom to a serial arsonist. The guy is a proven danger but he refuses to leave. If you accept the arsonist-in-the-bedroom scenario, "not worth the effort" doesn't wash. In the real world, you'd call the cops and have him evicted. 


Robert Reich: America Has Already Fired Trump 


Goldman Awards: Guess the Messenger 

In her eloquent opening address at the Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony on April 29, Alexandra Cousteau offered the following quote and invited the audience to guess the author: 

Restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions. It has become a common cause of all the people of this country. It is a cause of particular concern to young Americans, because they more than we will reap the grim consequences of our failure to act on programs which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster later.  

Clean air, clean water, open spaces-these should once again be the birthright of every American. If we act now, they can be. 

Many of us guessed Al Gore. 

Nope: Richard M. Nixon in his 1970 State of the Union Address. 

Goldman Awards: A Message for Al Gore 

Many years ago, when Al Gore made a visit to Berkeley, I joined the crowd in MLK Park (then known as "Provo Park") and attempted to present Gore with a gift—one of the license plates from my car. The plate read: "GO SOLAR." 

When I thrust the plate at Gore and invited him to take it, he gave me a suspicious glance and replied: "I'm not about to." At which point, a security guard stepped forward to accept the offering. 

On Monday, at the Goldman Environmental Prize event in SF, I had another message for Al. But this time I didn't utter a word. And I'm still debating whether I should have interrupted his speech. 

Gore began by rambling amiably but, when it came to addressing the existential threat of climate change, he pounded his fist on the podium and declared forcefully: "We will win!" He went on to praise environmental activists for accepting the science of climate change. He named Greta Thunberg, the charismatic Swedish teen who started the Student Strike for Climate. He praised the demonstrators in the Extinction Rebellion. He even invoked the struggles of the Black Lives Matter movement. But, as his presentation was approaching the end, he had not yet mentioned the single, most promising climate-action development ever to hit Washington. 

I felt an increasing impulse to stand and shout: "Al! What about the Green New Deal?" 

Instead, I remained silent, holding out hope that Gore would acknowledge Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and the GND. He didn't. 

I suspect I was not the only one in the huge Opera House audience who was on the verge of shouting the same question. 

Pot on the Pavement 

On my Sunday morning run uphill to the Berkeley Rose Garden, I spotted a new sign on the road in front of the Euclid Avenue entrance. The road sign wasn't on a pole, however. Instead, the message was stenciled directly onto the asphalt. The ad hoc ad, from TreeOfHealthCA.com, promised home delivery of a range of high-value products—i.e., "pot, weed, ganja, marijuana, cannabis." The ad was half-covered in fallen leaves but there was something about this odd advertising strategy that clicked: looking around I discovered that, sure enough, the blacktop billboard was located near (can you guess?) a pothole. 

Housing Solutions 

Mark Benioff has pledged $30 million to fund a five-year program to "solve" the problem of homelessness by hiring scientists to compile huge amounts of new data. According to the Chronicle, "The goal is to study homelessness and come up with ways to be more effective in creating housing and services for homeless people. Another objective will be to compile a digital library of local and national research." 

Forgive me, but this seems like a waste. The answer to the problem of homelessness is as simple as it is apparent: Homes. How many Bay Area apartments could $30 million have created? 

Housing Solutions for Military Vets 

Looking beyond the Bay Area, isn't it odd that we honor "our brave fighting men and women" when they are overseas but when they return, we force military families into substandard squats lined with moldy walls, shoddy ceilings, sagging floors, and faulty faucets? 

Until the government addresses the plight of thousands of penniless war vets forced to live on city streets, America should stop calling itself the "Home of the Brave." What if every returning vet were guaranteed a decent, well-paid job and a clean, affordable dwelling? How about using some of the Pentagon's misspent billions to fund a federal program called "Homes for the Brave"? 

Housing Solutions: Small Homes = Big Impact 

It's not necessary to build a two-bath apartment to house a homeless family. In Mongolia, for instance, three generations of nomadic herders typical share a single communal space inside the family gur (aka a "yurt"). 

In recent years, the "Tiny Homes" movement has taken some giant strides. Since 1994, Reverend Faith Fowler (who presides over Detroit's Cass Community United Methodist Church) has been bringing down the cost of home ownership through the church's nonprofit, Cass Tiny Home Development. 

Yes! Magazine has called this "radical program" nothing short of "the American Dream come true" for some of America's poorest citizens: "[P]eople who are unhoused, people with disabilities, youth aging out of foster care, veterans, or those formerly incarcerated gain new accessibility to home ownership." And all for the average cost of $1-per-square-foot! 


Photo by Michelle and Chris Gerard/Curbed 

Rev. Fowler's mini-homes range from 250 to 400 square feet and can house up to two people. Fowler's flock has built 12 of these small-but-servicable shelters and work is underway on six more. A recent $400,000 gift from the Ford Motor Company Fund will pay for construction of an additional 25 homes (average cost: $16,000 each). 

Each resident is required to volunteer eight hours of community work per month and, at the end of seven years, each Cass casa (along with the land it sits on) is deeded to the occupant, mortgage-free. A resident becomes a homeowner. This is a solution that Mark Benioff should study. 

Student Killed Tackling Shooter; Carolina Cops Take Credit 

On April 30, two students were killed and four injured during what Slate.com described as "a shooting spree at University of North Carolina Charlotte." (It the US the only country on Earth that uses the phrase "shooting spree"? Is the US the only country that normalizes mass-killings as being somehow on par with "shopping sprees"?) 

Campus Police Chief Jeff Baker praised his officers who rushed to the classroom and arrested the gunman. "Our officers' actions definitely saved lives," Baker said. “One officer immediately went to the suspect to take him down.” 

It wasn't until the next day that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney corrected the story. Putney disclosed that the gunman was actually tackled and "taken down" by an unarmed student, 21-year-old Riley Howell, who "took the assailant off his feet." Howell was killed in his struggle with the gunman. "But for his work," Putney said, "the assailant may not have been disarmed." 

Religion, the Miracle Cure 

It's a recurrent theme in reports of catastrophes. Whether its deadly hurricanes, floods, wildfires, or tornadoes, tattered survivors step forward to tell reporters: "We were spared, thanks to God. It was a miracle." (This observation fails to explain why other God-fearing neighbors died.) 

Now that mass-shootings have become as common as extreme weather events, Americans are selectively attaching the stamp of "miracle" to gun-slaughters as well. 

On Saturday, April 27, 2019, a woman was killed and several worshipers injured during shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein recalled confronting the gunman: "I couldn't see his eyes. I couldn't see his soul," Goldstein said. When Goldstein raised his hands, the gunman shot off one of Goldstein's fingers. And then, Goldstein told reporters, "Miraculously, the gun jammed." 

Given the death count, "miracle" just does not seem to be the best word to use. 

Letters the Chronicle Didn't Run Dept. 

Dear Chron: In the article "Bold move fails to oust president" (May 1) The New York Times repeats the Mainstream Media mantra about Nicolas Maduro's "widely discredited elections." Some facts:  

More than 150 international observers declared Venezuela's election fair and honest. Nine million Venezuelans voted in that election. Maduro won six million of those votes. In the same election, Presidential wannabe Juan Guaido, only won 24% of the votes for his National Assembly seat.  

In the article "Envoy blasts Pompeo over remarks on nuclear talks" (May 1), the Associated Press tosses in a gratuitous reference to Kim Jong-un's "rubber stamp Parliament." The AP has yet to raise similar concerns about Donald Trump's rubber-stamp Senate. 

Arts & Events

An Indy Weekend at East Bay Media Center

Ken Bullock
Friday May 03, 2019 - 04:16:00 PM

Three days of independent video and film screenings from all over at East Bay Media Center span this weekend, Friday and Saturday nights through Sunday afternoon, in the Center's events room in at 1939 Addison (between Milvia & MLK Way) in the downtown Berkeley Arts District, featuring student films from the USC (University of Southern California) Cinematic Arts Program, long the top hands-on film program nationally, and documentary, dramatic, animation and music videos and films from everywhere on Saturday and Sunday, as the Center splashes its decades-old festival onto the screen. 

'Film School Frenzy' on Friday night, 6:30-9:15, promises screenings of 10 student films, including drama, horror, comedy, documentary and animation, 3 to 25 minutes long with a 15 minute intermission, will show the work of the world's future filmmakers.  

On Saturday, seven "Docs, Xperimental & Music Vids," from 5 to 92 minutes, will screen from 5 till 9, with two (15 & 30 minute) intermissions.  

On Sunday, two documentaries and two experimental films, 15 to 35 minutes, will show, 2-5 pm, with a 15 minute intermission.  

Themes range across the board, from a documentary on the murals Diego Rivera painted in Detroit during the 30s; to two romantic animated shorts, one about romance in ancient China, the other a love story about a lonely sock in the laundry; to a dark comedy about making breakfast for a one night stand zombie lover ...  

Admission: General, $10; Students, elders, disabled $5--"No-one turned away for lack of green." 

***Berkeley High & Middle School Students admitted Free ... 

More info: eastbaymediacenter.com  

Tickets at the door or through eventbrite.com

Alisa Weilerstein Takes On the Bach Suites for Solo Cello

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday May 03, 2019 - 03:13:00 PM

In program notes, Alisa Weilerstein paid tribute to Pablo Casals, who single-handedly resurrected from oblivion the Bach Cello Suites, and she also fondly recalled her own family’s roots in Berkeley. With these two things in mind, Alisa Weilerstein spoke of how honored and humbled she felt to be bringing Bach’s complete Cello Suites to this Berkeley audience in one evening’s concert. For those of us in attendance at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church on Wednesday, May 1, Alisa Weilerstein’s performance was a thing of beauty. 

The first thing one notices about Weilerstein’s playing is her gorgeous, burnished tone in the low register. Her Courante in Suite No. 1 in G Major featured sumptuous low notes galore, and it was exciting to hear such fare. The following Sarabande, an achingly slow movement, was also beautiful to behold. Two lively Minuets and a jaunty Gigue brought this opening Suite to a rousing close.  

Suite No. 2 in D minor is a horse of a different color. The opening Prelude is solemn and brooding, and this movement closes with a long-held note that, in Weilerstein’s nimble hands, seems to hang in the air forever. Then, in between a slow Allemande and a contemplative Sarabande, Weilerstein ably performed an agitated Courante full of leaps. In this Suite, as in No. 1, two lively Minuets and a rhythmic Gigue closed out the Suite in fine fettle. 

Generally, Weilerstein excels in the high-powered fast movements of these Suites for Solo Cello. Her fingering technique seems flawless, and her sense of rhythm and phrasing is impeccable. Slow movements – the Allemandes and Sarabandes – pose problems of interpretation for the cellists. How does one remain faithful to the slow, episodic melodic line while maintaining a unifying thread? How does one prevent the overall line from breaking down here and there? One example of this difficulty came in Suite No. 5 in C minor’s Allemande, where the music risked grinding to a halt at one point in which a pause occurred between one note and the next, almost losing the unifying thread. Of course, this Suite has the reputation of being the most searching yet austere of the six Suites for Solo Cello by Bach. The Allemande is plaintive, and the Sarabande is downright gloomy. Two Gavottes and a Gigue liven things up to close out this Suite.  

Some of my favorite moments occurred in Suites 3 and 4. The first of two Bourées in Suite 3 offers a lively, bouncy mood, and the closing Gigue of this Suite utilizes a bagpipe-like drone. In Suite No. 4, the Sarabande is exquisite, and it was beautifully rendered by Alisa Weilerstein.  

Of all six suites, my overall favorite is No. 6 in D Major. Here Bach lets out all the stops – including frequent double-stops – and Alisa Weilerstein rose to the challenge with a virtuoso performance. Unusually high notes abound in the opening Prelude. The Allemande is long and intensely lyrical, and it is also searching. The Courante features leaps galore, and the Sarabande is quite melodic. But it is the two Gavottes that always move me the most. The first is joyous, while the second imitates the sound of a musette, a French bagpipe. Both of these Gavottes were brilliantly performed by Alisa Weilerstein. The final Gigue brought this Suite – and this concert – to a rousing close. An appreciative audience gave Alisa Weilerstein a much-deserved standing ovation.

Not Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR but Zellerbach’s

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday May 04, 2019 - 04:16:00 PM

Théâtre National de Bretagne came to Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on April 27-8 with Arthur Nauzyciel’s staging of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. This French théâtre troupe performed Shakespeare’s text, or most of it, in English. However, in the cavernous expanse of Zellerbach Hall, Shakespeare’s immortal text was, for the most part, gone with the wind. Even from my seat in center orchestra, the spoken text was only partly audible. One caught a word or two here and there, though rarely a whole sentence. I can’t imagine how little of Shakespeare’s text was heard at the back of the house or up in the balconies. If one thing is perfectly clear, it is that Zellerbach Hall is simply too cavernous a space for presenting Shakespeare’s plays. Had these performances been given in either the much smaller Playhouse or in Hertz Hall, I’m sure the expérience would have been far more fulfilling and enjoyable. Instead, we got not Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar but Zellerbach’s. What a shame ! 

Immortal lines such as Caesar’s, « Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous , » or, to give another example, Brutus’s monologue, « Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar, I have not slept. Between the acting of a dreadful thing and the first motion, all the interim is like a phantasma or a hideous dream , » simply went unheard in Zellerbach. What we were left with, then, was a barely audible text and director Arthur Nauzyciel’s staging. This latter was, to borrow Brutus’s unheard words, « like a phantasma or a hideous dream. » 

Nauzyciel’s actors moved about the stage at a snail’s pace, like zombies caught in a nightmarish afterlife. They seemed less like flesh and blood Romans than pale revenants, returned from the dead to reenact their murderous crime in a theatre. Indeed, Riccardo Hernandez’s sets prominently featured enormous photographic images of a bank of theatre seats, thus mirroring back to us our unenviable position in a cavernous theatre space.  

Nauzyciel costumed these Romans in 1960s suits and ties of a distinctly American cut. The characters all looked like Richard Nixon’s gang of plumbers. Or they looked like Mafia dons. When the conspirators gathered in Brutus’s house to plot Caesar’s assassination, they ritually all drank from a single wineglass passed from man to man among them all. They also ritually shook hands both when vowing their murder and after accomplishing it. They also ritually took turns smearing Caesar’s blood on their hands, one conspirator after another till all were bloodstained.  

Where individual performances are concerned, what can one say ? Without having heard any clear declamation of the text, we were again left with little but body language to go on. James Waterston was a physical presence as Brutus, and he even managed to convey some of his character’s hesitancies regarding the murderous plot he hatched. As Portia, Brutus’s wife, Sara Kathryn Bakker was a luminous presence, and she even managed to make a crucial line or two of her dialogue heard. Mark Montgomery was a believable Cassius. Daniel Pettrow was perhaps a bit over the top as Mark Antony, even if his character’s famous funeral speech, « Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears. I come not to bury Caesar but to praise him, » was entirely cut from this production. In its place, an overwrought Mark Antony delivered ritualized torturous blows to his own body as he stood over the dead body of Julius Caesar. In the role of Julius Caesar, Dylan Kussman barely suggested Caesar’s charisma and sway over the Roman masses. Luca Carboni was effective as the soothsayer, and his famous line, « Beware the ides of March, » was delivered loud and clear.  

In the final analysis, I choose to end this review of Julius Caesar with my own soothsaying proclamation : « Beware the cavernous space of Zellerbach. Here all declamation goes for naught. »

Deborah Voigt in Recital at Herbst Theatre

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday May 05, 2019 - 04:50:00 PM

Although I’ve heard Deborah Voigt quite a few times in live operas, I’ve never been overly impressed with her voice. I found her a capable but not outstanding Wagnerian soprano, and a so-so heroine in several operas of Richard Strauss. Yet I welcomed the opportunity to hear Deborah Voigt sing in the more intimate setting of a recital in Herbst Theatre accompanied by pianist Steven Bailey under the aegis of San Francisco Performances. Thus I went to Herbst Theatre Thursday evening, May 2, with an open and curious mind.  

The results, I am sad to say, were not good. Deborah Voigt chose to offer a mixed bag of Broadway show tunes and German lieder, all supposedly unified under the rubric of “Love Scores”. In a colossal mistake, Ms. Voigt opened the program with “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood” from Camelot by Lerner & Lowe. Whether as a result of insufficient vocal warm-up or whatever, Deborah Voigt’s voice in this song sounded tinny, brittle, and, simply, old. Moreover, her voice nearly broke in the middle of this show tune. To cap off her poor judgment in opening with this piece, the combination of unsteady singing and lyrics in praise of maidenhood only magnified the fact that Deborah Voigt’s voice sounded old and tired. Thus, the lyrics, instead of being celebratory,of maidenhood, were dripping with unwanted irony of a rather bitter, backward-looking sort. To make matters worse, Ms. Voigt followed this song with another tune from Lerner & Lowe, “Follow Me,” which while not nearly as glaring in vocal deficiencies, hardly set things aright. I settled in for what promised to be a long and perhaps tedious evening. 

Things perked up a bit in a set of Six Songs, Opus 13, from Alexander Zemlinsky. Deborah Voigt has excellent diction in German, the language of these Zemlinsky art-songs. The songs themselves, however, though they dealt obliquely with love, struck me as undistinguished, except perhaps for the last one, “Sie kam zum Schloß gegangen”/”She Came to the Keep,” set to a German translation of a poem in French by Maurice Maeterlinck. To close out the first half of this recital, Deborah Voigt offered a set of Six Songs, Opus 48, by Edvard Grieg. These songs, also in German, were generally celebratory of Grieg’s happy marriage to soprano Nina Hagerup. Deborah Voigt seemed more at ease in these joyful songs than in anything else on her program. She can still belt out powerful high notes when they are called for, and these Grieg songs gave her ample opportunities. Nonetheless, her voice seemed to have a brittle, hard-edged quality even in the high notes. 

After intermission, the second half of this recital was divided into two sets: one offering the Rückert-Lieder by Gustav Mahler, and the second a set of Broadway show tunes by Cole Porter. I am very fond of the Rückert-Lieder, and I own two excellent recordings of them: one featuring the incomparable mezzo-soprano Janet Baker, and another with mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier. The Rückert-Lieder were originally scored for orchestra & mezzo-soprano; but here they were offered in a piano reduction, ably performed by Steven Bailey, a faculty member, like Deborah Voigt, at San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  

There are five Rückert-Lieder, but Deborah Voigt inexplicably omitted one song, “Um Mitternacht”/”At Midnight,” offering no reason for this omission. In any case, as Deborah Voigt sang them, these Rückert-Lieder were strident instead of bursting with Infinite poignancy. As Deborah Voigt launched into the opening song of the Rückert-Lieder, “Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder”/’Look Not Upon My Songs,” her voice sounded tinny and brittle once again. Then, in the next two songs, her voice went shrill at key moments. In the final, very beautiful, song, “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”/”I Have Become Detached,” Ms. Voigt sang well. However, as I said to my seat-mate, this song of the Rückert-Lieder is so beautiful it’s hard not to sing it well. The fact remains, however, that Deborah Voigt’s hard-edged, high soprano is simply not at all right for the Rückert-Lieder. So even these much-loved songs were, in Deborah Voigt’s hands, a huge disappointment. 

All told, I was so disappointed by this recital that, given my dislike of Broadway show tunes sung by opera singers, I decided not to stay for the program’s final set of Cole Porter tunes. Nonetheless, would I go to hear Deborah Voigt in, say, a live opera by Wagner, Richard Strauss, or even Berlioz’s Les Troyens? The answer, I suppose, is yes. But I would go with considerable trepidation, for Deborah Voigt’s best years are behind her. That much is all too clear.

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, May 5-12

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday May 04, 2019 - 04:14:00 PM

Worth Noting:

Budget: May 1 and 3 in two all day meetings the City Departments presented their budget requests for Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 with a total of $13 million in budget request increases. https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Home/Policy_Committee__Budget___Finance.aspx

The proposed budget is being presented Tuesday at 6 pm. The first Public Hearing is May 14. The City Council vote to adopt the budget is June 25.

Monday – 10:30 am – The Berkeley City Council Public Safety Committee is meeting on Police Stop Data collection and analysis

Thursday – 6 pm – There is a City Council Special meeting at Longfellow Auditorium on Housing Development at North Berkeley BART

Saturday McGee Spaulding Neighbors in Action is sponsoring a Town Hall with Kate Harrison

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Bay Area Book Festival


Monday, May 6, 2019 

Berkeley City Council Public Safety Committee, 10:30 am, at 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor Cypress Conf Room, Agenda: Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Stop Data – review and provide feedback on BPD responses to inter-related Council and PRC referrals, reports, recommendations, including Center for Policing Equity recommendations, no new stop data is included in packet. 


Personnel Board, 7 – 9 pm, 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Conference Room, Agenda: V. a.&b. Request for Extension of Temporary Staff Attorney and Hearing Examiner, VI. Recommendation to Revise Classifications of Police Officer Recruit, Police Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, VII. Recommendation to Revise Fire Apparatus Operator, Classification 


Tax the Rich Rally, with music by Occupella, 5 – 6 pm at the Top of Solano in front of the Closed Oaks Theater, Rain Cancels 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 

Berkeley City Council, 1231 Addison Street, BUSD Board Room 

5:00 pm, Closed Session: Agenda: Existing Litigation Pursuant to Code Section 54956.9(d)(1) a. Rideout matter – Claim No. 0360BC2018 

6:00 pm, Special Meeting: Agenda: 1. FY 2020 and FY 2021 Proposed Budget, 2. Bond Disclosure Training 


Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, 6 – 7:30 pm, 2090 Kittredge, Berkeley Central Library 3rd Floor, Workshop for Landlords – Rent Levels and Allowable Rent Increases, 


Transportation Commission – Fossil Free Subcommittee, 5:30 – 7:30 pm at 1125 University Ave, West Branch Library Community Meeting Room 


Wednesday, May 8, 2019 – Bike to Work Day 

Homeless Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor Cypress Room, Agenda: 8. Crime by homeless persons, stigma and impact, 9. Individuals and families identified by BUSD, 10. Homeless Youth, 11. Housing subsidy discrimination, 12. Vehicle encampments, 13. Transportation to shelters and resources, 14. Encampments as homesteading, 15. Employment strategies for the homeless. 


Parks and Waterfront Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 2800 Park St, Frances Albrier Community Center, Agenda: 8. Special Events, 10. Southern Waterfront Parking Update, 11. Presentation: Center Street Fountain 


Police Review Commission, 7 – 10 pm, at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 9. a. charge of Lexipol Subcommittee, b. Lexipol Policies, c. Juneteenth Festival, 10. Policy regarding asking motorists in traffic violation stops if they are on parole or probation and conducting subsequent searches, b. Senate Bill 233 prohibiting arrest of a person for certain sex crimes if that person is reporting sexual assault, human trafficking, or other violent crimes, c. Stop Data Collection, Analysis and Community Engagement. 


Thursday, May 9, 2019 

City Council Budget & Finance Committee, 2 pm, at 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Conf Room 2. Voluntary Time Off on Statewide Election Days for City Employees 


Berkeley City Council, 6 pm, at Longfellow School Auditorium, 1500 Derby, Agenda: 1. Adopt North Berkeley BART Development Goals and Objectives, 2. North Berkeley BART Design Principles and Conceptual Massing Scenarios 


Community Environmental Advisory Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 1901 Russell St, Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch Library, Agenda: VIII. Discussion/Action 1. Cardboard Recycling Truck Fire, 3. Bird Safety policy, 4. Cigarette Butt Receptacles, 5. Bee City update, 6. Pollutants update, 7. Natural Gas draft Letter 


Zoning Adjustments Board, 7 – 11:30 pm at 1234 Addison, BUSD Board Room 


Staff recommend approve on all three 

1155-1173 Hearst Ave – Remanded to ZAB - develop 2 parcels, including substantial rehabilitation of existing 7 dwellings and construction of 6 new units 

2325 Sixth St – raise 1-story single family dwelling by 9’2” to create new 1676 sq. ft. ground floor dwelling, increase total bedrooms on parcel from 3 to 8, construct 2-story accessory building, 

2072 Addison – Use permit modification to eliminate all 29 off-street parking spaces and to pay in lieu fee, 

Friday, May 10, 2019 

Berkeley City Reduced Service Day 

Saturday, May 11, 2019 

Town Hall with Kate Harrison District 4 Sponsored by McGee Spaulding Neighbors in Action, 9:30 -9:45 am social, 9:45 - 10:50 am Town Hall, University Terrace Common Room, entrance to Common Room from Jefferson parking lot between Allston and Addison, MSNIA meeting follows Town Hall,  

Hat’s & High Tea Mother’s Day Event, 11 am – 2 pm at Rose Garden 


Community Yard Sale and Craft Fair, 11 am – 3 pm at James Kenney Recreation Center, 


12th Annual Kids Triathlon, 8 am – 12 pm at King Pool 


Sunday, May 12, 2019 – Mother’s Day 

No City meetings or events found 




Berkeley City Council May14 Meeting Agenda available for comment. Email Council@CityofBerkeley.info, Consent: 1. Cannabis ordinance revision, 2. Prohibiting contracting with ICE, 3. FlixBus Agreement, 4. Annual Appropriations ordinance, 5. Section 115 Trust Fund Investments, 6. Mental Health Ambulance Transport Contract $5.6 mil 7. & 8.Public Health services Grant Agreements with (7) Alameda Co. (8) State of CA, 9. Grant Application Essential Access Health, 10. Purchase Order Data Center Upgrade, 11. WiFi Installation 12. Hosted Cloud Storage, 13. Video Streaming, 14. Internet Redundancy, 15. Summer Food Service Program for Berkeley youth, 16. Harrison Park-Gabe Catalfo Fields Renovation, 17. Marina Berth fees. 18. Measure M. Woolsey Street, 19. Parking Enforcement Vehicles, 20. Street Lighting Assessments, 21. On-call Construction Services, 22. & 23. Gilman Railroad Crossing Safety Project, 24. Purchase 11 Ford Police Interceptor Utility, 25. Reappoint Dian Davenport to Board of Library trustees, 26. Declare every 3rd Sunday in May to be Postpartum Justice Day, 27. Recommendation to Install Outdoor Public Warning System (Sirens), 28. From Auditor – Understaffing 911 Dispatchers, 29. Support AB 539 – Fair Credit Act, 30. City Manager Evaluation, 32. Opposition to proposed Title IX revision from Betsy DeVos, 33. Support Charter School Reform Assembly Bills, 34. Refer to Budget – Rebuilding Together, 35. Light Acton and University, 37. Buy Clean Act, 38. Support AB 38 Fire Safety, 39. Traffic Calmin, 40. May 15 as Bloody Thursday Remembrance and Commemoration of People’s Park, 41. Budget Referral $125,000 Missing Middle Report, Action: Charges/Fees/Increases (42-47) 48. FY 2020 and FY 2021 Public Hearing #1, 49. One-Way Car Share, 50. Residential Parking Football Game Days, 51. ZAB Appeal – 1444 Fifth Street, 52. a.& b. Fossil Free Berkeley, Mental Health, 53. a.&b. Grant Allocation – Sugar Sweetened Beverages, 54. Extend Winter Shelter April 15 – June 30, 2019, 55. Budget Referral: Remediation Lawn Bowling North Green and Santa Fe Right of Way, 56. Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan – Hargreaves Assoc. 57. Resolution No U.S. Intervention in Venezuela 

Information: 59. RFP Results for Study of Affirmative Action in Berkeley, 61. Residential Preferential Parking 






*Agenda Committee Unfinished business for scheduling – 1. a.&b. U1 Funds for Property Acquisition at 1001, 1007, 1011 University, 1925 Ninth Street, 2. Revisions to Ordinance 7,521 BMC. To increase compliance with short-term rental ordinance, 3. Disposition City-owned Former Redevelopment Agency Properties at 1631 & 1654 Fifth St, 4. Economic Dashboards, 5. Referral to City Manager and budget for creation of “vehicle dweller program” 





Public Hearings Scheduled – Land Use Appeals 

2700 Tenth – Pardee Parking Lot - 4-30-2017 

1444 Fifth St – 4 single family dwellings - 5-14-2019 

Notice of Decision (NOD) With End of Appeal Period 


Remanded to ZAB or LPC With 90-Day Deadline 

1155-73 Hearst (develop 2 parcels) – ZAB 5-19-2019 

2701 Shattuck (construct 5-story mixed-use building) – ZAB 6-30-2019 




June 18 –Green Stormwater Infrastructure, Arts and Culture Plan 

Sept 17 –UC Berkeley Student Housing Plan, Zero Waste Rate Review, Adeline Corridor Plan 

Oct 22 – Berkeley’s 2020 Vision Update, Census 2020 Update, Short term Rentals 

Nov 5 - Transfer Station Feasibility Study, Vision Zero Action Plan, 

Unscheduled – Cannabis Health Considerations 



May 1 and 3 @ Budget Committee – Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront CIP Update, Public Works CIP Update 

May 28 – tentative EBMUD presentation 



To Check For Regional Meetings with Berkeley Council Appointees go to 



To check for Berkeley Unified School District Board Meetings go to 





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

http://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html and in the Berkeley Daily Planet under activist’s calendar http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com 


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