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Spectacular Eifman Ballet from St. Petersburg at Zellerbach Friday to Sunday

Ken Bullock
Thursday May 30, 2019 - 03:23:00 PM

Cal Performances closes its 2018-19 season by featuring the spectacular Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg with 'The Pygmalion Effect,' four performances from Friday at 8 through Saturday (2 & 8) to Sunday at 3. 

Boris Eifman, who founded the Leningrad Ballet Ensemble in 1977, and has premiered over 50 shows, has created a new piece from the old Pygmalion story, this time of a ballroom dancer challenged to "sculpt" a clumsy young woman into a virtuoso dancer, set to the music of Johann Strauss, Junior. 

Eifman's work has been characterized as based in classical Russian ballet, expressed with great theatricality, using stunning effects like acrobatic pas de deux. 

Tickets: $36-$135 (half price tickets available for UC students) Info: calperformances.org  

Eifman's website: www.eifmanballet/ru/en/

Theater Review & Preview of Festival--'Orphelin 2.0' by Effervescent Théâtre de la Feuille of Hong Kong at the Ongoing San Francisco International Arts Festival

Ken Bullock
Thursday May 30, 2019 - 03:23:00 PM

A bright, energetic theater troupe from Hong Kong, Théâtre de la Feuille, performed their own updated version of the ancient Chinese story 'The Orphan of Zhao' with brilliant mime and acrobatic ensemble work, all in the service of a fine, crystalized sense of storytelling, to open the first full weekend of two for the San Francisco International Arts Festival at Fort Mason on San Francisco's northern waterfront. 

Performing at the Cowell Theater, situated on the Bay waters, just one of the Festival's venues, Théâtre de la Feuille's five member ensemble--Suen Chi Hung, Lai Cheung Leong, Wang Yao, Li Tengfei and Liao Shuyi--accompanied by an onstage musician--Heidi Law; music design by Fung Chin Lung--fleshed out the story of the destruction of the Zhao clan, leaving only infant Zhao Wu, concealed and mentored by loyal Zhao retainer Cheng Ying, until he confronts his family's murderer years later. 

'The Orphan of Zhao' by playwright Junxiang Ji was originally staged as "Chinese Opera" during the Yuan era of the 13th century, based on chronicles from the Han Dynasty (Second Century, BCE to Second Century, CE). It was the first Chinese play to be translated into European languages, including English, during the 18th century. Voltaire based his play 'Orphelin' on it. Théâtre de la Feuille has adapted Ji's play, taking into account contradictory variants of the ancient tale, as well as its European Enlightenment vogue, so--'Orphelin 2.0.' 

'The Orphan of Zhao' has been called "the Chinese Hamlet," from the revenge theme, the suicidal thoughts of Cheng Ying--and a subplot of incestuous love between brother and sister inlaws that sparks the bloodletting. 

It was moving to hear Hamlet's Soliloquy delivered in Chinese by the Cheng Ying character--and exciting to watch the ensemble acrobatics depicting childbirth, massacres, concealment--and finally a splendid triumphal human juggernaut parading through the theater. 

Watching the troupe, it seemed both very much a modern Chinese adaptation of a classic, with nods to classic Chinese theatrical forms, but also having the particular condensed elegance of modern French mime. I learned later that their excellent director, Ata Wong Chun Tat, studied at L'Ecole Internationale de Mime et de Théâtre in Paris, gathering classmates there of different backgrounds from Hong Kong and around China to form the company.  

Jacques Lecoq, founder of the School, was initiated in theater by members of Jacques Copeau's family theater company, one of the original modern European theater troupes. Copeau's collaborator Charles Dullin's own Théâtre de L'Atelier was the laboratory for Corporeal Mime and also fostered Antonin Artaud. Copeau's theater was the inspiration for Jerzy Grotowski's concept of the Poor Theater. 

(And the 18th century Jesuit translations of Chinese plays, as well as the techniques of Chinese Opera, inspired Brecht's Epic Theater--and Théâtre de la Feuille's spectacle certainly had an epic theatrical sense with its historical sweep, yet attention to a compact milieu of central characters amid the great events.) 

I hope this gifted troupe returns soon to the Bay Area. 

But the Festival has more to show in all the performing arts, as well as in panels and symposia on art and social issues, to promote its theme this year, "the Path to Democracy," with scores of both local and visiting international artists, sometimes in collaboration. 

In theater, the Festival just announced the confirmation of the appearance this weekend of Prague's Spitfire Theater, after the cancellations of Canada's Compagnie Virginie Brunelle and Syria's Collective Ma'louba, due to last minute visa denials by the US State Department. 

Spitfire will perform their masked play 'Antiwords,' described as a creative reimagining of Vaclav Havel's famous play, 'Audience,' Thursday at 9:30, Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 7, at the Southside Theater, Building D, Fort Mason, with a special workshop held at the ACT Studio, Sunday at 1 o'clock. Performance tickets $15-$28. 

For information and tickets, check the Festival website: https://www.sfiaf.org/ or call (415) 433-6988

Joshua Bell, Steven Isserliss, & Jeremy Denk Perform Trios

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday May 25, 2019 - 03:04:00 PM

Longtime partners Joshua Bell on violin, Steven Isserliss on cello, and Jeremy Denk on piano were reunited Sunday, May 12 for a program of trios under the aegis of San Francisco Symphony at Davies Hall. Featured in this concert were Felix Mendelssohn’s Trio No. 1 in D minor, Opus 49, (1839); Dmitri Shostakovich’s Trio No. 2 in E minor, Opus 67 (1944); Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor (1892); and Maurice Ravel’s Trio in A minor (1914). Apart from Beethoven’s great “Ghost” and “Archduke” Trios, as well as Schubert’s E-flat Trio, this current program offered what might be called the cream of the crop in trio writing. 

Joshua Bell, Steven Isserliss, and Jeremy Denk are highly animated performers. Bell, who was seated on a bench, repeatedly leaned so far forward into his bowing that, at moments, I felt he might fly right off the bench. Isserliss, also seated, is notorious for waving his arms extravagantly, and in the second movement of the Ravel Trio, he waved his arms, bow in hand, as if he were conducting a particularly lush melody. Isserliss also is known for vigorous head shakes with his mop of silver, tightly ringed curls. As for Denk, he is given to much head lolling and repeated head swivels at right angles as if to catch a cue from what his partners are doing. All this motion from the musicians can, at times, both distract and detract from the music itself. But Bell, Isserliss, and Denk are such fine musicians, both individually and together, that their agitated mannerisms don’t often get in the way. 

Opening the concert was Mendelssohn’s Trio No. 1, a magisterial work that premiered in 1840. The first movement , marked Molto allegro e agitato, features lush Romantic melodies traded back and forth among the three instruments. The second movement, an Andante, opens with the piano, which introduces a lovely melody then taken up by the other instruments, including some pizzicato from the cello. A Scherzo then offers brilliant piano passages; and an exuberant Finale brings this work to a spirited conclusion. 

From the sunny optimism of Mendelssohn we now turned to the stark despair of Shostakovich. Despair was doubly on Shostakovich’s mind in 1944 when he wrote his Trio, No. 2, for his beloved mentor Ivan Ivanovich Sollertinsky died at age 41 in February 1944, and Shostakovich was also deeply disturbed by news of the Nazi death camps and their attempted extermination of the Jews. In this stark trio, the opening notes from the cello are so high and so pianissimo that they are almost inaudible. It is as if the strain were simply too much to bear. Indeed, each of the three instruments initially finds itself strained outside of its normal range. Eventually, they will return to their normal range, but the music will be no less anguished.  

In the second movement, Shostakovich composed a musical shriek, a long, drawn-out wail of pain and anguish. By contrast, the third movement, a Largo, offers a beautiful lament, one that was played at Shostakovich’s own funeral three decades later in 1975. Repeated chords by Jeremy Denk on piano opened this Largo, followed by a dark, brooding melody from Joshua Bell’s violin and taken up by Steven Isserliss’s cello. The final movement suggests that the plight of Europe’s Jews was on Shostakovich’s mind, as the composer incorporated klezmer music into this closing movement. I personally have always found klezmer music too manic for my taste; and here Shostakovich transformed klezmer’s manic qualities into something horrifically maniacal. It is as if this klezmer music were one frenzied shriek of pain and despair at the Jews’ fate at the hands of the Nazis. The work then concludes with a return to the frozen bleakness of this trio’s opening notes.  

After intermission, the musicians performed Sergei Rachmaninoff’s melancholically lyrical Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor. In this work, Rachmaninoff was clearly inspired by Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor, but Rachmaninoff endowed this single-movement trio with his own characteristic melancholy. A theme is heard first in the piano, then is taken up in turn by the cello and violin. Cellist Steven Isserliss had some particularly engaging passages in this work. At the close, a coda restates the opening theme as a funeral march. 

The final work on the program was Ravel’s Trio in A minor. As played by Joshua Bell, Steven Isserliss, and Jeremy Denk, this Trio had much of the same coloristic sheen of Ravel’s beautiful String Quartet. Ravel’s artistry here offers abundant pizzicato, tremolos, and sustained trills. A particularly lush melody in the second movement brought on Steven Isserliss’s flamboyant arm-waving, which was almost comical, though thankfully brief. The third movement was in the form of a passacaille, replete with a persistent bass line over which is heard a series of variations. An exuberant Finale offers unusual meters and closes in the major mode.  

All in all, the Bell, Isserliss, Denk Trio offers brilliant continuity with the great Beaux-Arts Trio of past years. I would hope that they will return often to San Francisco, and that they will present here the great Beethoven “Ghost” and “Archduke” Trios, as well as Schubert’s E-flat Trio.

Complete video of May 15, 2019 Teach-in at Brower Center, sponsored by Heyday

Harold Adler, videographer
Friday May 24, 2019 - 04:59:00 PM

The footage was shot by Harold Adler, impresario of The Art House Gallery and Cultural Center in Berkeley and longtime photographer and videographer. Link below: 


SB 50 - The More HOMES Act

Liat Zavodivker
Wednesday May 22, 2019 - 04:42:00 PM

I am 35 years old and I still live in a rental unit because I graduated into a recession and can not afford the financial risk of home buying. My rent controlled, seismically questionable unit built in 1966 was market rate and is now it is renting for $3000. Year over year of doing nothing has caused the rents to exceed inflation, and the next set of wildfires in California will make this problem even more dire. I have seen many affordable projects get scrapped or delayed due to local control and it's heartbreaking. We must tell exclusionary cities such as Beverly Hills, Palo Alto, and La Cañada-Flintridge to build more homes. It is time to end the era of expensive, luxury single family homes being the dominant type of structure in California and to embrace characters and not neighborhood character. We can not move forward in California or take any leadership in progressive movements until we have ensured a future for the younger people growing up in California. That means increasing the capacity to build affordable and market rate homes near transit. I hope Senator Atkins can bring SB50 to the floor without any more delay so that we can build more homes.

On Working With and Working Against – Open Letter to the Mayor and City Counci

Steve Martinot
Wednesday May 22, 2019 - 04:02:00 PM

Somehow it seems that when we (the people) attempt to participate in making policy for this city, and we point out things that are not quite kosher, or that seem to impose something extraneous, or even perhaps nefarious, something that doesn’t seem to arise from the lives of city’s residents, someone in government will say to us, “Don’t work against us, work with us.” Do you have any idea how hypocritical that sounds? 

  • ۰Sometimes what City Council is doing seems like window dressing rather than a substantial resolution of an issue. That was the case with the ban on single-use plastic. Dozens of people, during “Public Comment,” came forward with substantial analyses of the plastics-problem, and its corporate foundation, which was not included in the item.
  • ۰Sometimes what City Council is doing seems more like a war against the people, rather than issue resolution. There is no other way to characterize the low-intensity assaultiveness on the homeless.
  • ۰Sometimes we sense there is money being misallocated. Why would you rather not hear about that? Yet when someone starts asking questions about conflict of interest, or buddy-buddy relations with developers, or the failure of a project to meet the real needs of the people for whom it was intended, shouldn’t those questions be considered warning flags rather than nay-saying?
Nay-saying doesn’t get us anywhere, but warning flags can be important parts of proper policy-making. 

But when a councilmember says, “Don’t work against us, work with us,” there is something wrong. That councilmember is missing something very important. 

During the years that the city raided the encampments of the homeless, continually confiscating their possessions – which left them exposed to the elements – it was the homeless who were saying, “hey, work with us, not against us. We’re human beings, not aliens. We’re part of your society just as you are part of ours.” The city’s response was to hold another raid a few weeks later. It never seemed to get enough of its ability to add torment to those who had been thrown into most dire of circumstances. 

The only thing that stopped the endless raids and confiscations of goods was a Federal Circuit Appeals Court Decision (Martin vs. Boise). So now, the city puts time and energe into finding ways of sidestepping that decision. It passes a law that says all possession and belonging must fit in a square 3x3. The city just doesn’t seem to know how to stop tormenting people. 


Yet, this city council wants self-respecting human beings, who still have real human feelings in their hearts, to “work with them”? First, the city must show that it can actually stop “working against” the people. 

Depletion of the black community 

We see this priority of “working against” most starkly in the depletion of the black community. Over the last 20 years, it has gone from 22% of the Berkeley population down to 7%. And that is only the black community, which has a sense of identity (and a sense of cohesion that sees each loss of a resident as a loss to community). We have no access to data concerning other low income families that also feel the brunt of displacement (and exile from their home town). But the displacement has been occurring for years. When is city government going to stop working against the low income people of this city? 

When the city decided to formulate an “Adeline Corridor Plan,” the south Berkeley neighborhoods came forth, and said, “Affordable housing, stop the displacements of our people through rent increases, rein in the rent gougers that are impoverishing us.” The city listened, and said those concerns would be included in the plan. But did that stop the city from permitting market rate housing in the very zone of the plan? No. it did so without a care as to whether the proposed development would harmonize with the eventual plan or not? The city did not have the forthrightness to tell the developers that they would have to wait for the plan to be finished in order to see if their proposals would fit. Instead, the developers got the green light. 

The City Council passed an Inclusionary Housing Act about two years ago, at the height of the displacement crisis. And all it provided was 20% affordable units in any new development – a mere drop in the bucket. And even that was reducible through fees. This was the same moment when a glut in market rate housing was becoming obvious (there were “Now Leasing” signs all over town). The neighborhoods knew what they needed, what the situation was, and all the city gave them was 20%. In other words, the city has been “working against” the neighborhoods all along. 

The opposite would be easy. People in the neighborhoods are always defining their situation, always articulating problems, and always suggesting solutions. And they talk about this all the time among themsselves. But when have the people of the neighborhoods been actually brought into involvement by the city for defining issues, articulating problems, and crafting policy solutions? The city is involved in making policy for the neighborhoods, but without people’s participation (not just "input"), those policies will be imposed. “Input” is monologue. Dialogue involves actual give and take of ideas. Dialogue is necessary for policy-making. 

Nevertheless, the people still turn to the city council and say, “work with us, not against us.” They have been saying that for years. Yet the continued absence of affordable housing (after all this time), the continued hemorrhaging of low income families from this town (teachers can’t even find a place they can afford), the criminalization of homelessness, the torment imposed on those simply trying to survive, is the City Council’s response. 

You see what’s wrong with a councilmember saying, "work with us, not against us”? 

What the people are asking for is the ability to participate in making policies that will affect them as people. Participation does not just mean one has a vote. It doesn’t just mean voting for people with money, or a good promissory rap. It doesn’t just mean speaking monologues at Council meetings. It means dialogue and policy-making. This does not happen in Berkeley. 

Yet the neighborhoods have no one else to turn to (they haven’t yet learned how to turn to themselves), and are left to sigh, “we thought you were going to work with us on this.” Behind its hand, the city snickers and says "Sucker." Which apparently is what the expression “work with us, not against us,” really means in the city’s mouth. 

The fundamental principle of democracy is that those who will be affected by a policy participate in formulating and deciding on the policy that will affect them. 

The Marina 

The latest example is the Marina. After years of mismanagement, with unfunded projects rotting the Marina’s social structure, the City Council decided to hire a million dollar consultant, probably to figure out how to privatize that city attraction. The consultant they chose, in response to a Request for Proposals (RfP), is wracked with financial problems, has declared bankruptcy, and is involved in redoing shoddy work in Miami. Yet a few councilmembers are ecstatic about contracting with them. The kicker is that only two contractors responded to the RfP. Why? Well, the Council says it was because they handled the bidding process badly. The other alternative is that they didn’t want many bids because someone in government already had their eyes on this consultant. Should we flip a coin on that one? 

Did the City Council’s proposal involve any of the people who live or work in the Marina in doing this? No. Had the city tried to find out what the neighborhoods thought, or how they would like the Marina transformed in their own interest? Don’t be silly. The first anyone found about this plan to "privatize" the Marina was when the consultant’s contract showed up on the Council’s Consent Calendar (April 30, 2019). Yet, when someone raised some questions about how they are going about the process, that person is told, "work with us, not against us.” 

Who’s working against whom in this? 


The Marina is actually another ghost in the Council’s closet. One of its cruelest and most dehumanized moments of the last few months was the ordinance designed to torment the homeless RV dwellers. In the midst of a crisis of homelessness, the Council actually passed an odinance against the homeless living in an RV. Unbelievable. The city says it wants to find housing for all homeless people, but attacks those who have partially housed themselves in vehicles. 

And what is worse, it intentionally created a situation of conflict between the RV dwellers and people in the neighborhoods by forcing the RVs out of an empty parking lot in Marina, where they were bothering no one, to park in the city streets, and incur some residential complaints. Under these conditions, the city, rather than send mediators to establish dialogue between the RV people and the residents, so that they could find mutual interest and mutual benefit (and there are many opportunities for that), the city sends the cops. 

When the city shut down the "Lordship" parking lot so RV dwellers could not longer park there, and made rules for living in an RV on Berkeley streets, were any RV dwellers involved in making those decisions? Not a one. That, along with erecting a fence around that parking lot, represented a purely despotic spirit. 

We know they have rules and contracts and laws to use to justify evicting the RVs from the Marina. But we also know that in a crisis, in which the wellbeing of human beings is actually at stake, some executive discretion is possible. Instead of creating a means of working with the people facing raw survival, the City Council prefers to work against them. It works against its own people. 

Democracy means that those who will be affected by a policy participate in formulating and deciding on the policy that will affect them. How far this city is from anything like that. 

Give people the power to make policy 

Those who will be affected by a policy must be able to participate in making the policy that will affect them. You, City of Berkeley, have to work with those you make policy about, not work against them as you have been. 

To work with the people would mean setting up structures by which the people could address the issues and policies that they need, and do so in dialogue with each other and with the City Council. When the council asks the people for "input," which means restricting them to Public Comment, it is saying, “you get no dialogue on this issue. You will be stuck with what we come out with.” 

Thus, the City Council advances its own policies, claiming it is doing so in the interest of all the people. But not all the people have the problems that some do. To pass over real solutions for the "some," because that would not fit the "whole," is to rationalize doing nothing for the "some." It won’t matter whether it involves hiring a corrupt consultant, or looking for a loophole to get past the Boise decision, or inventing RV parking regulations that will drive the RV dwellers out of this town, or making deals with developers that relieve them of the "burden" of paying into the Housing Trust Fund (3000 Shattuck). Whatever policy the City Council comes up with will be anti-democratic because it will be derived and developed without the direct participation by those who will be affected by the policy. 

And that means the arrow of representation will be reversed. What council’s elitist policies do is put the people in the position of having to represent the elected officials since it is the people who have to live with the policies imposed on them by the elite. Representation goes the wrong way. 

To change that, there are three things that we will have to do. 

1- Restructure the City Council so that it is based on dialogue involving the people, and not monologue by which the people are silenced. 

2- Create a system of neighborhood assemblies (popular local autonomy) which will be an arena in which the people of each neighborhood can talk to each, and make policy for their neighborhood with each other. 

3- Prioritize the ethic that governance operates according to principle, and not just according to rules and regulations, the chief principle for democratic governance being that those affected by a policy will be the ones to make the policy. 

Berkeley's KPFA is a Private Radio Club

Doug Buckwald
Wednesday May 22, 2019 - 04:37:00 PM

The program hosts at KPFA (94.1 FM) in Berkeley are in the midst of another fundraising drive. They aren't doing well; they are still hundreds of thousands of dollars short of their goal with only a few days left. So, their calls for donations are becoming more strident. 

If you are considering giving a donation to KPFA, you should be aware of how far the station falls short of its self-promoting rhetoric.  

KPFA used to operate like a true community radio station, but now it has devolved into little more than a private radio club for the same handful of paid program hosts who have occupied the airwaves for decades. Kris Welch, for example, has been a programmer and host at KPFA for the past 45 years. Philip Maldari, host of Sunday Show, has also been working at the station for over 40 years. To put this in perspective, the average time in office for a dictator of an autocratic country is 15.2 years. And, the average tenure of a US Supreme Court Justice is currently 16 years -- and they are appointed for life. It appears that, for all practical purposes, the program hosts at KPFA are appointed for life, too. 

Why does this matter? It matters because community organizations are not supposed to be run like dictatorships or oligarchies with the same few people wielding absolute power. In order to truly reflect the interests of the community, these organizations need to welcome and include a significant number of members of the community who have the desire to participate in meaningful ways, including taking on key roles. This is certainly not the case at KPFA. Instead, KPFA is run by a small group of insiders who make all of the most important decisions at the station. Long-time listeners will recognize that there has been only a minimal turnover in the program hosts who occupy most of the high-listenership time slots on the air.  

Each individual human has a unique background with a particular a set of experiences that guides his or her current attitudes and views. Should one or two individuals be allowed to present their unique perspectives on a community radio station for 40 years or longer? Is there really any KPFA listener who cannot anticipate how Kris Welch or Philip Maldari will react to a certain event or issue? Isn't it time for some different perspectives from the community to be heard?  

Every weekday morning, Brian Edwards-Tiekert occupies two hours of KPFA's key drive-time broadcasting from 7 am to 9 am, along with co-host Cat Brooks. These two appear to represent the latest dynasty of program hosts at KPFA, likely to continue in their roles for decades. They exhibit the same perspective that the other long-time hosts have held. This is not surprising, because they are supported by the same insiders who have dominated the station for decades. 

In order to mask the reality of this ossification, KPFA has adopted an aggressive public relations campaign to retain community support. KPFA's program hosts repeat, like a mantra, that KPFA is "listener-sponsored, independent, free-speech, community radio". Sadly, it turns out that only one of these four things is true. KPFA is certainly listener-sponsored – which means that they view you not as a person but principally as a bank account to supply funds for their own benefit. 

Indeed, fundraising is the primary way in which KPFA interacts with the community now. KPFA no longer has any interest in the community's views on program hosts, program content, reliability of news sources, scheduling, expanding listener call-ins, explaining management decisions, budget transparency, on-air bias, or a multitude of other issues. They mainly just want your money. Once they get it, the doors are again slammed shut on community interaction, and the KPFA insiders decide which issues -- from the narrow ideological range that they will allow -- will be presented on the air. 

Longtime listeners have noticed that the size of KPFA's donation requests has increased dramatically. Some years ago, the standard request was $35. Now, it is more likely to be $100, $250, $300, $500, or even $2,000. This skews towards a demographic that is high-income and more well-off, one that is more in line with the donor base for National Public Radio (NPR). There is little doubt that this fundraising strategy affects KPFA's decisions on programming and coverage of issues.  

Unfortunately, there is a very limited range of opinion that is allowed on the air, and most of it echoes the viewpoint of the corporate Democratic Party. It has been this way for at least the past 15 years. In particular, progressives and independents who hold views that are further left than those of the official Democratic Party are largely excluded from KPFA's airwaves. This curtails a presentation of the full political debate that the community deserves. 

KPFA has a mission statement, but I’ve never heard any program host read it on the air. 

Here is one of its key tenets: 

“To promote freedom of the press and serve as a forum for various viewpoints.” 

It's not really fair for KPFA to expect financial support from the community if it does not even follow its own rules. 

Listeners who have concerns about KPFA's restricted range of viewpoints -- as well as its lack of community involvement, lack of accountability, and lack of transparency -- should share their thoughts with Quincy McCoy, KPFA's general manager.  

Isn't it time to put the community back into our community radio station? 

Quincy McCoy may be reached at: gm@kpfa.org or by phone at (510) 848-6767, ext 203 


Response to UC Berkeley's People's Park Development Update

Thomas Lord
Tuesday May 21, 2019 - 03:54:00 PM

These criminals must be stopped. Their deceit should not be allowed to stand.

Lizardo glosses over, here, the fact that (like Blackwell Hall), the student housing they hope to build will be privately developed and operated for profit. In other words, they plan a theft of public land and a perpetual gouging of students.

The not-for-profit component Lizardo mentions -- "supportive housing" -- will apparently be by a conventional non-profit developer using low income tax credits. That is a slippery way of saying that the supportive housing will ALSO be a theft of public land to provide perpetual private profit (to the tax credit bond holders and lenders). 

The University has land on which it could break ground quickly and build housing quickly -- for example the northwest and southwest parking lots on Clark Kerr. Another example - and if the University really wants to combat crime they could do worse than starting here - they can raze and build more than two Blackwell-size buildings on the site of the parking structure between Channing and Haste, and between Ellsworth and Dana (the lot with the tennis courts on a slab above). 

There are other sites, as well.  

The University is attacking the Park for no other reason than that it has been their long term goal to do so. They want to harm people and they are going to rip off the public wealth to do it. 

The University has homeless students and could, at any time, put up emergency shelters for their students on, for example, Clark Kerr. They don't. They are not trying to help students. They are trying to hurt people and to exploit public land for private gain.

People's Park Development Update

Ruben Lizardo, Director, Local Government and Community Relations, Office of the Chancellor
Tuesday May 21, 2019 - 02:02:00 PM

At the Le Conte meeting & forum held last Autumn, I mentioned that the campus efforts at People's Park would pick up with the hiring of several leaders in our Capital Strategies Group and subsequent steps they will take identify and secure our development partners.

Michelle Starratt, who has a lot of experience working on affordable housing in the Bay Area through the Alameda County Housing and Community Development, was hired to serve as our Director of Housing Development and Leasing. She is taking the lead on all the housing projects that were identified in the Student Housing Task Force Report the campus released about two years ago. As such she will be the principal leader of the development project at People's Park.

One of the first steps in all of this to identify and select a Non-Profit Developer that will partner with university on the development of the Supportive Housing Component of the multi-faceted development project at People's Park. See the attached the RFQ for more details of the role the Non Profit Developer will play.

The public planning process for the Supportive Housing Component and the other elements of project (smaller park, student housing, commemoration of the park's history) will be get underway once the NonProfit Developer is on board. As I mentioned at the forum, the campus planning process for development projects will include opportunities for community input and review by city staff and leaders.

(Please direct any replies directly to Ruben via email or phone.)

Ruben Lizardo

Director, Local Government and Community Relations
Office of the Chancellor
510-643-5296 Office

Good Samaritan faces 20 years in prison

Tejinder Uberoi
Tuesday May 21, 2019 - 12:47:00 PM

On 17 January 2018, US Border Patrol agents arrested Dr. Scott Warren, a 36-year old Human Rights Defender and humanitarian aid volunteer with an organization called “No More Deaths.” His crime - coming to the rescue of two undocumented migrants providing them with humanitarian aid in the desert town of Ajo, where he lives. He faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted on all charges. The arrest came hours after the release of a report documenting the willful destruction by border agents of humanitarian aid supplies at the USA–Mexico border areas. His trial begins on 29 May 2019. I ask concerned readers to demand all criminal charges be dropped and the immediate release of this Good Samaritan so he can continue his vital humanitarian work. Please send an email to Mr. Michael Bailey, United States Attorney, District of Arizona, United States Courthouse 405 W. Congress Street, Suite 4800 Tucson, Arizona 85701 - Email Michael.bailey@usdoj.gov

Measles Exposure at Berkeley Bowl

Annie Steuart (BCN)
Sunday May 19, 2019 - 09:51:00 PM

The city of Berkeley announced Friday that a resident has contracted measles.

While the person is no longer contagious, city officials have advised anyone who visited Berkeley Bowl at 2020 Oregon St. May 7 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. who is not immune to look for the first stage of symptoms: runny nose, red eyes, cough, and fever. 

The next stage involves a rash that typically appears on the face before spreading down the body. 

Measles symptoms start to show seven to 21 days after exposure and infected people do not show symptoms during the first four days of their most contagious period, city officials said. 

According to the city, the virus is easily transmitted, usually through a cough or sneeze that can linger in the air for up to an hour-at which time the risk of infection dissipates.  

Inhalation of the airborne virus reportedly infects up to 90 percent of those not immune.  

City officials are urging certain groups to be particularly aware of potential symptoms, including unvaccinated children, unvaccinated adults born in 1957 or later, and those with weakened immune systems.



Round Up The Usual Liberals

Becky O'Malley
Friday May 24, 2019 - 05:43:00 PM

Received from a friend who lived many years in the Bay Area, but now lives in North Carolina:

“You might want to take this guy on.

From the New York Times:

America’s Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals.
The demise of a California housing measure shows how progressives abandon progressive values in their own backyards.

Here’s the link she sent to the story, which was posted online on May 22 but just appeared in my print paper this morning, May 24:


The title of the print version is even dumber than the online original: Nimby Liberals Make Cities Unlivable.

Don’t bother to try to comment on the Times site, because comments are already closed, with a sizable majority branding the piece as nonsense. You’re welcome to submit your rants instead to opinion@berkeleydailyplanet.com.

This op-ed is part of a long tradition in Manhattan-based publications of viewing California from the perspective of the old New Yorker magazine’s Map of the World as Seen from 9th Avenue. To this we can now add “Map of the Bay area as Seen from Silicon Valley”, in the perspective of one Farhad Manjoo, who for many years produced sycophantic coverage of the latest Valley tech gimcracks for the Times, but has now graduated to doing gee-whiz op-eds on other topics. 

He himself has said “As you know, I’m a sucker for technology” in a Slate piece about using high-tech gadgets to apply makeup, Men Should Wear Makeup. It's not just technology he's a sucker for. 

The easiest way to characterize the thesis of this piece is with the hoary Borscht Belt joke punchline: “It’s gotten so crowded nobody goes there anymore.” 

Well, no. The Bay has not been made unlivable by The Curse of the Nimby Liberals. The real problem is that too many fat cats, not by any means predominantly liberals, are finding San Francisco all too livable, and they have enough newly minted tech cash to buy their way in and push others out. 

But how would Manjoo know? A moment of online search discloses that he appears to live in Mountain View in a low-rise four bedroom townhouse condo, Zillow-estimated as being worth $1,781,127, with possible rent “Zestimated” at $5,475/mo. (This is not doxing—all of this is public information.) 

Some Mountain View highlights per Wikipedia: in the 2010 census it was 56% White, 25.7% Asian, 2.2% African-American. The population density is 6,034.8 people per square mile. For comparison, Berkeley’s population density is 11,322 per sq mi. Mountain View is a lovely suburb, perhaps, but not a city. 

Manjoo’s view of San Francisco: “…the streets there are a plague of garbage and needles and feces, and every morning brings fresh horror stories from a “Black Mirror” hellscape: Homeless veterans are surviving on an economy of trash from billionaires’ mansions…” etc. etc. etc. The scary links are self-referential, to equally myopic NYT articles. The Horror! 

Oh, come on. Really? 

We just got back from a college reunion in Pasadena, driving for the first time in many years down Highways 101 and 1 instead of flying. The wife of another alumnus I met at the event, who’s recently moved from Oklahoma to a small town in Washington, told me she’s horrified by her new town’s homeless population, and was sure that most places wouldn’t allow it. 

But I can report that the kinds of woes that she and Manjoo decry exist pretty much everywhere—well, maybe not in Mountain View, but certainly in Pasadena and Santa Monica and Morro Bay, just to name three places where we stayed a night in vintage old-school motels on this trip. And at the same time, California is as alluring as it ever was, green and golden and floriferous, with a beautiful ocean and stupendous mountains, and therein lies the problem. 

Everyone who can afford it, and many who can’t, want to live here. There are too many well-paying tech jobs which drive up housing market prices, yet not enough housing the poorly-paid service worker underclass can afford. 

Those of us who have been covering California’s development politics for decades quickly spotted State Senator’s Scott Wiener’s SB 50 (which was aided and abetted by Senator Nancy Skinner and Assemblyperson Buffy Wicks) as a naked power grab by the big bucks building industry, an attempt to do away with environmental protection and open up older lower-income neighborhoods to lucrative development pitched at the booming upper end of the market. There’s real money to be made in building luxury condos for people like Manjoo, not so much in developing housing for low-income families. 

Manjoo excoriates progressives for not supporting SB 50. He seems to be totally ignorant of the strong opposition to SB 50 from tenant activist organizations. He’s completely unaware of the increasing number of academic critics of the kind of meat-axe upzoning which this bill and its ilk would like to inflict, one size fits all, from Sacramento on California’s disparate cities. He displays a touching belief in the efficacy of markets, vintage Econ101 from 20 years ago. 

He should have read, for example, Tim Redmond’s neat summary on 48Hills of the new publication on this subject by UCLA economic geography Professor Michael Storper and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose. 

He might even read the new study itself. As a start, here’s the abstract: 


“Urban economics and branches of mainstream economics – what we call the “housing as opportunity” school of thought – have been arguing that shortages of affordable housing in dense agglomerations represent a fundamental barrier for economic development. Housing shortages are considered to limit migration into thriving cities, curtailing their expansion potential, generating rising social and spatial inequalities, and inhibiting national growth.
“ According to this dominant view within economics, relaxing zoning and other planning regulations in the most prosperous cities is crucial to unleash the economic potential of cities and nations and to facilitate within-country migration. In this article, we contend that the bulk of the claims of the housing as opportunity approach are fundamentally flawed and lead to simplistic and misguided policy recommendations.
‘We posit that there is no clear and uncontroversial evidence that housing regulation is a principal source of differences in home availability or prices across cities. Blanket changes in zoning are unlikely to increase domestic migration or to increase affordability for lower income households in prosperous regions. They would, however, increase gentrification within prosperous regions and would not appreciably decrease income inequality. In contrast to the housing models, we argue the basic motors of all these features of the economy are the current geography of employment, wages and skills. “
Simplistic and misguided policy recommendations: That’s what the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle have been dishing up in their editorials and op-eds since Wiener and Skinner launched their campaign to free up older neighborhoods like West Berkeley for their developer patrons. They should all know better. They should sit in on a couple of upper division Econ classes. 


If you’d like to hear more from the source, Professor Storper will be speaking on SB 50 in San Francisco next Thursday, May 30. His topic sounds like fun: “Why Scott Wiener’s SB 50 will not get us affordable housing: The new trickle-down economics – build for the richest 30 percent and cross your fingers for everyone else.” The free event starts at 6:30pm in the Rainbow Room at the LGBT Center, 1800 Market. 

And yes, I did want to take this guy on because I'm pretty bored with having the Bay Area seen from the wrong end of the telescope by the parochial corporate media. But what else is new? They've been doing this since I was an undergraduate, and longer.

The Editor's Back Fence

Planet Vacation Continues

Becky O'Malley
Sunday May 19, 2019 - 08:37:00 AM

We're still on break here, but some valued contributors have sent good things, so I've posted at least some of them. See you soon!

Public Comment

Building Peace in People's Park

Carol Denney
Friday May 24, 2019 - 05:08:00 PM
Smith-Fernwald dorm site
Smith-Fernwald dorm site
Skate Park
Skate Park

On May 8th of 1978 the University of California's Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs J. H. (Ted) Chenoweth signed a Letter of Agreement with People's Park's neighbors, gardeners, project participants and users affirming the use of the park as "primarily reserved for educational, research and recreational purposes." It included a suggested mechanism for disputes resolution, maintenance, and additional issues. It was the first of three agreements over 1978 to 1979. In his outgoing letter to Vice Chancellor Kerley, Chenoweth stated "I expect to remain active as a member of the People's Park Council" to assist with "communication and coordination." He is not the only original signer who lives nearby, ready to assist with a framework for the park's future. 

All parties wanted peace. In the late 1980's, after the 1984 declaration of People's Park as a city landmark in for its historical and cultural significance, the university and the city coordinated to create a special committee populated with park and university representatives to assist with decisions about the park. But since then neither the City of Berkeley nor the University of California has shown much interest in assisting the gardeners, project coordinators, neighbors, park users and neighbors who meet regularly to address the issues which arise in a park which feeds the hungry, maintains a community garden, and puts on events and concerts under a 1987 legal court decree by famed Judge Henry Ramsey affirming the park as a quintessential public forum and legally binding the university and the city to respect it as such. 

Peace grows more easily in fertile ground, and we have plenty. The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) voted unanimously to support and affirm the necessity of the newly-rebuilt freebox created on the second People's Park 50th Anniversary concert April 28, 2019 - a week before a university crew tore it out in the middle of the night. The Peace and Justice Commission voted unanimously to affirm People's Park's unique history, a resolution affirmed by a unanimous City Council on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019. 

Even the Faculty Senate voted against the university's plans for the northeast corner of campus which includes cutting down redwoods, losing 150 parking spaces, unaffordable $3,000/month faculty studios but special perks for Goldman School of Public Policy bigwigs; an unadulterated affront to those who recognize "public private partnerships" as privatization of public resources, a favorite Trump mechanism which should offend anyone interested in protecting the public's land, space, universities, and interests. There's no real educational benefit for students in the plan rejected by the Faculty Senate. And there's no real housing benefit in the plan for housing in People's Park, just another shovelful of public land offered up to private interests out of Texas or Alabama who salivate over the opportunity to feast off of the manufactured housing crisis with guaranteed turnover - "students", a temporary population, who are housed by semester, and "homeless" people on the popular three to six month timeline where the rent or grant money can go up with every resident's exit. At UC Santa Cruz students are offered only two years of housing; after that they are on their own. 

Peace can be nurtured, planned for, and built. The university seems determined to vandalize our community trees, gardens, park projects and our community's prospects for a peaceful, respectful, and inclusive future in favor of the conflict it currently has in store. Our parks, our neighborhoods, our peaceful enjoyment of what little crucial urban open space we still have, our respect for the internationally renowned confluence of civil rights and anti-war movements which gave birth to not just People's Park but the force for ethnic studies, the recognition of free speech's imperative role in anti-war efforts, disability rights, women's rights, let alone avoidance of conflict should inspire us to come together - now, while there is still time to build the opportunity for "discussion and resolution of issues" memorialized in the still extant agreements of 1978, 1979, and 1987. 

Let's build the peace. The moment is right for all parties with an interest in and concerns about People's Park's future and the future of its neighborhood, the most landmark-saturated neighborhood in Berkeley where, from the park, you can enjoy architectural gems and significant cultural heritage sites in every direction. Just imagine. Whether you're a policymaker, a neighbor, a student, or a business owner, imagine for a moment that we take this time to plant peace together in People's Park's 50th year as surely as we planted the original garden. 

There are 10 acres at nearby Smyth-Fernwald's campus. Seven post-war dorms on property originally donated in 1926 to the university by inventor William Henry Smyth were only recently razed, while other buildings are currently in use. Re-building the dorms with additional stories on land already IMG_3863 Smyth Fernward dorms captioned.jpggraded for construction and dedicated for more than 70 years for student housing is common sense. And just across the street, the spacious 130 acre Clark-Kerr campus has numerous low-rise, derelict buildings which would add hundreds of units without disturbing the landscape or blocking any neighbor's view. The university builds up there, to be sure; skateboard parks and sandpit volleyball, its former crucial plan for People's Park. 

People's Park was community land before the university exercised a dubious use of eminent domain in 1967 destroying housing, ironically, for a mix of students, workers, and families. It was then abandoned, left a muddy, rebar-studded blight of old foundations. Neighbors restored to the block to community use in 1969 for a much-needed park. That park is even more crucial now simply as open space. It's the only park in the most densely populated area in Berkeley, and probably the best-used urban park in town. It is certainly the only park protected not only as a city landmark but as a "quintessential public forum" by the late Judge Henry Ramsey's still operative court order requiring the university to allow amplified concerts, a judge whose own civil rights legacy is also a renowned part of California history; 

Among his many contributions as a member of our board was his persistent push for the foundation to invest in criminal justice reform, decrying the over-incarceration of young Black men, which he deemed a national crisis. When talking about the work to transition formerly incarcerated people back into communities, he often said that, “the best reentry is no entry.” -- The Rosenberg Foundation 

Our city leaders are currently negotiating with the university over its over-enrollment and impact on city resources. It's appropriate for them to include a serious concern about the proposed destruction of an internationally respected city landmark in that discussion. 

We can build housing and protect our parks and landmarks. Building peace is an active process. If you're a city councilmember, a neighborhood association, or just a neighbor, let the People's Park Committee know you support building peace together rather than cowering in the shadow of the chancellor's plan. A jubilee year, a fiftieth year, is traditionally a year of joy, restitution, and the pursuit of long-awaited justice. Our town has suffered extraordinary, blood-soaked tragedy for planting flowers, and if we come together we can actively build a lasting peace. 


Open Letter to the New York Times

Alfred Crofts
Friday May 24, 2019 - 04:50:00 PM

Editor, New York Times:

The opinion piece by your recent appointment to the editorial section, Mr. Manjoo, misses the point entirely in his support for SB 50.

The housing crisis in California is caused by gross imbalance in high paying tech jobs overwhelming the area’s resources. Normal incomes simply can’t compete with tech salaries.  

Yes, there are many housing units being built, with international funds chasing high profits, but these are overwhelmingly market rate and will do nothing to solve the housing shortage for those with regular incomes.  

Until the tech industry spreads out beyond California, we will continue to suffer from the environmental and financial distortions of the latest Gold Rush.

U.C's. Authoritarianism vs. People's Park Participatory Democracy

Harry Brill.
Friday May 24, 2019 - 04:54:00 PM

I hope you read the recent Planet article by Thomas Lord for exposing the basis of UC Berkeley's antagonism to People's Park. As he noted, the University is quite willing to hurt students and people generally to exploit public land for private gain. The University claims it wants to build housing for students in People's Park. But as Lord reminds UC there are plenty of other spaces on the campus to provide student housing. 

UC's Board of Regents, which include many investors and business people, clearly favor providing developers with an opportunity to make big money. But there is an additional, very significant motive that accounts for the University's antagonism toward People's Park. In short, the University, despite its claims that it is committed to the free and open exchange of ideas, is contemptuous of open political dialogue and debate, particularly if the dialogue welcomes radical ideas. ideas. People's Park has been a venue for healthy, open discussion, including radical and socialist perspectives. 

Although People's Park is the property of the University of California, it has operated since the early 1970s as a free public park. From the perspective of many community members, they wanted a free speech area that was not controlled by the University. Very important, the park also provided a place to organize rallies. Not least, it became a wonderful gathering place for unconventional persons and homeless individuals. Many of the organizers who were committed to developing people's park as an eclectic, down to earth environment were the same people and politics of the Free Speech Movement. 

When Reagan was governor, he viewed UC the Berkeley campus as a haven for communist sympathizers. Reagan is now gone but Reaganism is still alive at UC Berkeley. With the tacit support of the University's Board of Regents, many of those who have gathered at People's Park have met with tear gas , police violence, arrests, and other repressive measures. But the truth is that the Park is a memorial to the free speech movement, and the values that the movement represents. And those who have been active in People's Park activities, are proud that the Park has been a haven for the poor, who could not afford the high, obscene tuition that UC students are paying. Most important, the Park is a wonderful example of participatory democracy. As one commentator observed, "People's Park belongs to everybody"

Housing at North Berkeley & Ashby BART Stations Should be 100% Green and Affordable.

BCA Steering Committee
Friday May 24, 2019 - 05:33:00 PM

The letter below was sent to Berkeley City Council members:

The BCA Steering Committee is writing you to support plans to develop affordable housing on Berkeley's BART stations and minimize the carbon footprint of these dwellings.

The for-profit housing market has built and continues to build abundant market-rate housing in Berkeley. However, in many cases, this market-rate housing is not housing Berkeley’s residents but is rented out as short term housing. 

We support the use of affordable housing developers who have built or are now building the non-profit below-market housing at more than a half dozen BART stations. At some of these stations, 100% of the housing is below-market affordable and we recommend the same for housing at Berkeley’s BART stations. 

We of the Berkeley Citizens Action Steering Committee would like to voice our concern that this public BART land not be used as a land-grab for profiteers but as a place to house our vulnerable and gentrified communities. The city of Berkeley has a duty to provide middle-income and low-income residents with housing. This is just the opportunity to show that Berkeley is an inclusive community. 

A non-profit developer should be chosen for building at North Berkeley and Ashby BART, and the units should be 100% low income, green and affordable. Berkeley needs a green affordable housing scenario for the Berkeley BART sites. 

We urge councilmembers to take this opportunity and do the right thing

Trump, a Clear & Present Danger

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday May 24, 2019 - 05:30:00 PM

The President acting the role of “bad cop” warned North Korea with nuclear destruction, boasting about “a fury like the world has never seen”. Excited by the possibility of being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, if he could reach a peace accord, the President abruptly changed his role to “good cop,” claiming he and the North Korean leader were “in love” but sadly Kim Jong-un rebuffed his advances. 

He soon lost interest in North Korea and turned his attention to Iran, threatening with them with complete annihilation. Are we to witness another failed military adventure another “shock and awe, “Iranian Freedom” with botched intelligence to justify military actions resulting in the death of millions of innocent civilians – just to appease Iran’s enemies, Israel and Saudi Arabia? 

Threatening “the end of Iran” from his Twitter Pulpit implied that President was seriously considering using nuclear weapons. Was this pure theater, Trump acting the tough guy assuming a John Wayne swagger to impress his base? Fortunately, the Iranians have been far more diplomatic in their responses. 

In any event what is particularly disturbing is the erratic and incendiary nature of the President’s rhetoric. We have squandered close to $6t on failed military adventures. The President’s wild mood swings exacerbated by the possibility of further revelations of his tax records makes him a clear and present danger to the US and the world at large. The deafening silence of the Republicans only amplifies the danger.

Save Our Historic Downtown

Carol Denney
Sunday May 19, 2019 - 08:20:00 AM

"Signs are an extremely visible part of the streetscape, and should reflect the quality of goods and services begin offered Downtown. They should communicate an image of excellence, distinctive craftsmanship, and creativity, and should reinforce the unique and historic character to Downtown." --City of Berkeley Sign Ordinance

The city's sign ordinance is a monument to an earlier commitment to avoiding garish flashing, blinking, ugly signage warring with an historic downtown. Which is why Mayor Jesse Arreguin decided to exempt the IKE "wayfinding" digital kiosks from the entire ordinances careful restrictions and design review. They look like giant cell phones, taller than a human being, they require ripping up the sidewalks wherever they are installed, it takes two years to "uninstall" them by contract if merchants are unhappy with them, and your only opportunity to "provide input" regarding their placement is next Thursday at 11:00 am at the Brower Center, a time when most merchants, workers, and residents are otherwise occupied.

Write to the city manager and express concern (manager@cityofberkeley.info) if tearing up the sidewalks is not your idea of an appropriate use of scarce public funds. We're supposed to have a say in the location of these monstrous giant flashing cell phone-like monoliths, and my personal request is the 4th Street Denny Abrams plan - just say no. Apparently the city has decided to agree to leave 4th Street out of this electronic, data-mining imposition. Speak up for your downtown and your nearby commercial district and ask for the Denny Abrams plan. In the meantime consider that, for instance, in the historic town of Raleigh, North Carolina, the citizens just flatly said no. Other towns did the same, for aesthetic reasons or because data- mining is just, well, at least rude.

And if a sizeable amount of us are honestly so lost that we require (despite having a lot of cell phones around) "wayfinding", I would suggest a magical technological innovation: a map. 

The Immigration Issue & The Politics of Deceit

Harry Brill
Sunday May 19, 2019 - 08:14:00 AM

It is certainly a challenging problem for progressives on how to address the gap between themselves and conservatives. The difficulty is not just due to the immense ideological differences. Progressives have to confront the considerable deception employed by many conservatives. 

Apparently, conservatives have persuaded a substantial number of Americans that illegal immigration is bad for Americans. According to the polls, not only Republicans accept this rhetoric. So do a majority of Independent and Democratic Party voters In fact, about two-thirds of the public believe that the U.S. military should defend the southern border from the "invasion" of immigrants. Not only Caucasians, but a majority of Blacks and non-white Hispanics share the same perspective. Generally speaking, a CBS poll found that 72 percent of those who watched President Trump's State of the Union address agrees with his ideas on immigration. 

President Trumps interest in building a wall on the southern border of the U.S. is not only wrong. It is a deceptive effort to convince working people that he wants to protect their interests, which includes doing what he can to save their jobs from being stolen.  

Yet according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, at least 60 Percent of the country's farm workers are undocumented. The Trump administration has not made any serious effort to crack down on the Agricultural industry's employment of illegal immigrants. In California, there are about 2 1/2 million undocumented immigrants. They too work on the farms and also in construction and manufacturing.  

But hasn't the Trump administration engaged in raids of enterprises that employ undocumented workers? Yes. but the intent is not to discourage their use. The purpose of these raids is to discourage their efforts to engage in labor action. Also, these raids convey the impression that the government is seriously attempting to curtail the employment of undocumented workers. 

In reality, for many years, while Trump urged that a wall be built to discourage illegal immigration, he employed undocumented workers at his Golf Course. He was forced to fire them because of the bad publicity his hypocrisy earned him. 

What elected officials in both the Democratic and Republican parties have failed to acknowledge is the important role government has played in encouraging illegal immigration. For example, soon after the North American Trade Agreement was adopted, the federal government subsidized American corn growers so they could sell corn in Mexico at an artificially low price. As a result, Mexican corn growers could not compete and went out of business. So not as a matter of choice but to survive, they attempted to cross the border to find jobs. Also, the massive attempt by people from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to migrate to the U.S. is in large part a result of their dictatorial regimes that were installed or supported by the United States. Yet the Trump administration claims that their decision to flee from many of these countries has been entirely voluntary. 

Because of the conservative dominance of the media, the public is mainly showered by deceptive perceptions of reality. It is immensely important that progressives continue to find opportunities to reach out to the public. The bottom line is that the public wants the truth and deserves nothing less. 


THE PUBLIC EYE: Joe Biden’s Presidential Strategy

Bob Burnett
Friday May 24, 2019 - 05:17:00 PM

On April 25th, former Vice-President Joe Biden launched his 2020 presidential campaign. On May 18th, Biden gave his first campaign address in Philadelphia (http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1905/18/cnr.05.html), making clear what his strategy will be. His campaign is not policy based, it is personality based. Joe has taken the role of the anti-Trump. 

Where other Democratic presidential candidates are focussing on policies -- improved healthcare, student-loan forgiveness, confronting global climate change, etcetera -- and mention Trump in passing, Biden focuses on Trump and mentions policy in passing. In Philadelphia, Biden said that one of the three reason he's running for President is "to unite this nation;" adding: "If American people want a president to add to our division, lead with a clenched fist, a closed hand, a hard heart, to demonize your opponent, to spew hatred, they don't need me. They have got President Donald Trump." Biden laid out his three reasons for running: "The first is to restore the soul of the nation, the essence of who we are... And the second is to rebuild the backbone of this nation. And the third, to unite this nation, one America." 

Biden used this triumvirate to reinforce his credentials: "I know how to make government work. Not because I've talked or tweeted about it, but because I've done it. I've worked across the aisle to reach consensus, to help make government work in the past. I can do that again with your help... I'm going to do whatever it takes to make progress on the matters that matter most -- civil liberties, civil rights, voting rights, women's right to choose, national security, personal security, health care, an economy that rewards work, not just wealth, a climate change policy that will save our children and grandchildren and this planet... We need to set the most aggressive goals possible. But folks, we have to work together to get it done." 

It's not obvious that Biden's personality-based strategy will garner the Democratic nomination. An April 22nd, ABC News/Washington Post poll asked registered Democrats (and leaners) this question: "What's more important to you -- that Democrats nominate the presidential candidate whose positions on the issues come closest to yours, or the candidate who seems most likely to defeat Donald Trump in November 2020?" 47 percent responded that being "closest on the issues" was most important, while 39 percent opted for "most likely to win." 

Here on the left coast, some Democratic activists have dismissed Joe Biden as a lightweight, citing his kickoff as evidence that he lacks policy "cred." Nonetheless, at this stage of the presidential campaign, Biden's likability numbers are daunting. The most recent Quinnipiac Poll (https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2622 ) indicates that, among the major candidates, only Biden has a positive likability score. 

Quinnipiac found: "President Trump begins his reelection campaign in a deep hole as 54 percent of American voters say they 'definitely' will not vote for him... Today, 31 percent say they 'definitely' will vote for Trump and 12 percent say they will 'consider voting for him'... American voters give Trump a negative 38 - 57 percent favorability rating." 

With regards to Democratic Presidential contenders, Quinnipiac found: "With a 49 - 39 percent favorability rating, former Vice President Joseph Biden is the only presidential contender, Democrat or Republican, with a clear positive score. Favorability ratings for other Democrats are negative or mixed: 



  • 41 - 48 percent for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont;
  • 32 - 41 percent for Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts;
  • 27 percent favorable for Sen. Kamala Harris of California, with 30 percent unfavorable;
  • 20 - 32 percent for former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas;
  • 23 - 31 percent for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey;
  • 23 percent favorable for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, to 19 percent unfavorable."
Towards the end of his Philadelphia speech, Joe Biden talked about climate change: "[Working together] is the only way we're going to deal with the existential crisis posed by climate change. There's not much time left. We need a clean energy revolution. We need it now. We have to start now... But folks, we have to work together to get it done. Look, we're never going to convince the climate deniers or those special interests. But even now, some of those special interests, the traditional polluters, are realizing, gas and oil industry, automobile manufacturing, guess what, they're saying on television the other day, Mr. President, you have got to do something about global warming... Folks, we need a president who is willing to lead, who insists on dramatic change for the sake of our children... 

Folks, as long as Donald Trump is in the White House... none of these things... are going to get done. So if you want to know what the first and most important plank in my climate proposal is -- beat Trump." [Emphasis added] An April 29, Morning Consult poll ( https://morningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Political-Intelligence-4.29.19.pdf) found that Biden led Senator Bernie Sanders -- second in most polls -- in all Democratic demographic categories except voters between 18 and 29. Interestingly, Biden has a strong lead over Sanders among women voters (38 percent to 20 percent) -- and carries black women by a margin of 47 percent to 18 percent. A May 2nd Philip Bump column in The Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/05/02/other-electability-problem-voters-arent-great-determining-electability/?utm_term=.fdc90c278105 ) noted that female Democratic voters are 10 points more likely to support a male candidate than is a male Democratic voter. Bump speculated that some "middle-aged women" are convinced that the 2016 presidential election proved voters aren't ready to elect a female President and, therefore, in 2020 are being "strategic." 

Whatever his logic, Joe Biden is running as the anti-Trump. He's basing his campaign on his likability. So far, this strategy is working. 

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






Jack Bragen
Friday May 24, 2019 - 05:09:00 PM

People with psychiatric disabilities cannot take for granted that we will always have our full faculties. While most people seem to assume their minds aren't playing tricks on them or failing them in other ways, people with mental illness cannot make that assumption, for numerous reasons. 

In the aftermath of a psychotic break, especially one that happens beyond a person's twenties, we've probably lost significant ground, mentally. We probably could carry an intelligent conversation and we may present as rational and competent, once we are stabilized. Yet there are some mental functions that probably don't work as well as they did before. This is something where it can take several years to get back to square one. 

I've interacted with people whose minds are somewhat burned out by a string of repeat episodes of psychosis. Repeatedly going off and on antipsychotic medication has very bad effects on the brain. This is probably as bad as the effects of hard narcotic use. Either way, the person may have lost fifty percent of their wits. This becomes apparent when having a conversation with them. They may not enunciate clearly, and their sentences could be badly structured. Additionally, their eye movement may appear different, and so could their body language. They may have excessively wrinkled skin on their face, more so than would be expected for their chronological age. They may have poor grooming and poor or no teeth. 

I apologize if the above paragraph adds to stereotypes--that isn't my intention. Rather, this week's manuscript is intended to warn mental health consumers of the dangers of not taking a psychiatric condition seriously. 

Being in a psychotic state without treatment has very bad effects on brain tissues. When schizophrenia is allowed to run its course, eventually the patient reaches a "burnout" phase. The brain gets what is called 'enlarged ventricles." Ventricles are the spaces between parts of the brain. The person's brain has lost mass. Full functioning will never return. 

I've had a total of three relapses, the most recent one in 1996, and I find that I just cannot do many of the things that I once could. I've worked very hard at writing, and this has caused development in some types of mental functioning, such as intellect. 

Yet, at one time, I was capable of driving in San Francisco. I can't do that any more. I have difficulty in social environments, especially at crowded restaurants--it is difficult for me to tune out the larger surroundings and to enjoy the restaurant visit. Working at a full-time job, which I did when young, is now out of the question. 

The term "use it or lose it" is applicable. If I'd maintained more activity other than sitting at home and writing, I might have retained more capacity for that. 

The psychiatric illness and the medication, both, can affect faculties. Putting effort into mental and physical activity can help counteract these effects. Even something as simple as washing dishes can help brain condition. 

Being medicated and not monkeying with meds, and a regimen of brain-intensive activities are probably the best solutions available. Also, and this is basic, but we all need to eat and sleep. If sleep or food deprived, the brain doesn't get what it needs. 

The term "compliance" has bad undertones to it and brings up bad connotations. I wish that the term would be replaced with something friendlier. "Cooperation" might work better as the term representing that we are voluntarily accepting treatment. 

Also, it would be obliging if treatment practitioners and authorities in the mental health treatment system would cooperate whenever possible with the wishes that we express. 

Jack's books are available on Amazon. 

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Sunday May 26, 2019 - 10:32:00 AM

Weed Culture Goes Straight

We knew this day would come, 'way back in the Sixties. That was when the Underground Press revealed a major tobacco company had taken out a patent on the name "Acapulco Gold" (a widely popular variety of pot). Now, in the Tens of a New Century, we have alternative weeklies that are filled with pot news and weed ads celebrating the availability of a growing range of commercial marijuana products.

Even so, a recent two-page spread in the East Bay Express has raised the bar for ad firms working to engage new customers with targeted print media "pot spots." The pioneering hippies and potheads of yesterday would surely be appalled, but there it was: A photo of a clean-shaven, white Millennial, dressed in a neatly pressed business shirt and tie, contemplating a well-rolled reefer clamped firmly in his right hand. The high-minded ad copy read:

"Smoke for the job you want… Not the one you have.

Unlock your creativity with our CBD-rich daytime flowers, designed to get you into that successful headspace without the overwhelming high."

So forget that cup of morning Joe and dispense with the post-work mug of brew.

It you want to succeed in today's competitive business world, just inhale, get high, and get hired!



Notes of Note 

Over the years (most of them before the rise of email), I've acquired a number of personal, hand-signed notes from notable Americans. My trophies include autographed letters and memos from Charles "Peanuts" Shultz, Herb Caen, Pete Seeger, conservative columnist William Safire, and political powerbrokers ranging from Elliott Abrams to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. 

An aside: Abrams, then an evil presence in the George W. Bush administration, responded to one of my written critiques of US foreign policy by accusing me of "naivete" and enclosing an example of anti-US "Chinese propaganda." It was a tabloid containing dozens of reports denouncing US racism, crime, poverty, imperialism, and economic inequality. Abrams apparently failed to notice that—while the newsletter was, in fact, produced by intelligence agents in China—all of the criticism had been reprinted verbatim from articles published by The Washington Post, The New York Times and other mainstream US news agencies. 

Back to the present: A few weeks ago, I received another Notable Note—one that stands apart from the others. 

On March 18, Senator (and Presidential Candidate) Kamala Harris took the time to address my concerns about Donald Trump's decision to abrogate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. 

Sen. Harris agreed that Trump's action only "increased the probability of nuclear war" and she promised to continue seeking "nuclear nonproliferation with an international coalition." 

But the best part of the letter was Sen. Harris' salutation. It read: 

"Dear Mr. Sith." 

So I'm typing this note to (1) thank Sen. Harris for her reply and (2) to assure her that I'm not really a rogue Jedi seeking "galactic conquest after a millennia of plotting." 

War of Words 

Our militarized American vocabulary continues to dive-bomb even the most earnest pleas for peace. CREDO Mobile just emailed an alert headlined: "This Memorial Day, Follow These 5 Twitter Accounts Fighting for Peace." (For the record, the five peace-seeking accounts were: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Rescue Committee, Win Without War, and Mercy Corps.) 

And then there was a feature article in Relevant Magazine titled "How to Fight for Peace in a World Addicted to Violence." 

As one x-rated wag once observed: "Fighting for peace is like f—ing for virginity." 


On May 14, CREDOActon, the online campaign branch of CREDO Mobile, made activist history when one of their petitions topped 10 million signatures—an all-time record. 

What issue drew so much support? A petition calling for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. The co-petitioners included MoveOn, Women’s March, Need to Impeach, Free Speech for People, and By the People. 

The petition was delivered to Congressmembers Rashida Tlaib and Al Green the steps of the US Capitol. As Rep. Tlaib puts it in the following video: "This is how movements start." 


Judi Bari Day 

Friday, May 24, was Judi Bari Day in Oakland. In honor of the heroic, fiddle-playing forest defender, her friends and fans gathered for a "Speak-Out and Sing-Out" at the intersection near Oakland High where Judi and her companion, fellow musician/activst Darryl Cherney were targeted for assassination in 1990. 

The two Redwood Summer activists were riding in Judi's car—en route to an organizing event to protect the state's forests from clearcutting by powerful lumber barons—when a pipe bomb planted under Judi's seat blew the car apart, seriously injuring both occupants. 

Curiously, the first to arrive at blast were the Oakland Police and agents of the FBI. The Feds promptly announced the arrests of Judi and Darryl, branding them "ecoterrorists" and falsely accusing them of planting the bomb that nearly killed them. 

Strangely, the FBI were never able to discover the identity of the real bomber. It remains a hotly contested "cold case." 

Judi's humor survived the bombing. At an outdoor gathering in Oakland, she offered the crowd a riddle: "What do Wall Street and the FBI have in common?" 

She paused a moment before supplying the answer: "Both have a history of Boom and Bust." 

It was subsequently discovered that the FBI had conducted a training course for agents that involved detonating a car bomb. Perhaps, it was only coincidental that the training was conducted on the property of a logging company threatened by the Redwood Summer anti-logging campaign. 


Judi and Darryl took the FBI to court in 2002, charging seven agents and officers with false arrest, slander, and conspiracy. They won a $4.4 million settlement. Judi, whose body was torn apart by the blast, died of cancer in 1997. 

Darryl used a portion of his court settlement to produce an award-winning two-hour documentary called "Who Bombed Judi Bari." The documentary can be viewed here

Here is a recording of Judi and Darryl performing onstage, a month before the assassination attempt that nearly claimed their lives. 


US Fibbing about Iran "Threats" 

Prepare to be suspicious. In a reprise of a now-familiar Pentagon trope, we are being "warned" about unspecified "credible threats" that "Iranian proxies" could be planning to attack US forces. 

Not everyone is buying it. Not even Washington's allies. 

On May 14, NBC News reported that "a top British General yesterday directly contradicted US warnings of a new threat from Iran." According to Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika: "There has been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria." 

Richard Engels (NBC Nightly News, May 15): "Germany and The Netherlands made clear they want no part in a possible conflict, suspending military training missions in Iraq. Spain went so far as to pull a warship from the US aircraft carrier battlegroup sent to the region earlier this month while, tonight, the US is still investigating those mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf. Iran has denied responsibility. 

"Responding to the skepticism, State Department officials tonight insisted that the threats are real and came within the last week. But it also shows how this crisis with has become a real test of the Trump administration's credibility among our allies." 

An Update on The Boys  

This is a follow-up to a previous note about The Boys Who Said No, an in-progress documentary by prizewinning local filmmaker Judith Ehrlich. Producer Christopher Colorado Jones writes: "We still need over $200K to finish by September when we can apply to Sundance, which would take the resistance story to a world stage. About $147K of that is for video, photo and music rights and permissions . . . . While it is daunting to raise all these funds, overall, we are fashioning a wonderful film with 1,300 different archival segments woven together." 

Volunteer Sara Wood Smith provides addional background on the lingering question: "Why is the film taking so long to complete?" She writes: 

The initial goal was modest: to preserve video interviews from a draft resistance reunion in 2013. But the film team realized that no film portrayed this historic and powerful resistance movement, and its profound impacts. So, it was agreed to create the current version—a 90-minute documentary of the highest quality for TV broadcast, festivals, community screenings and classrooms. That meant also finding and purchasing the rights to essential archival footage, over 1,300 clips and images, as well as to music of the era. 

The scope of the film has expanded at least twice to make it a more inclusive, stronger film—now including draft resistance on the East Coast and in the African-American community. These additions . . . required new interviews and new archival footage, and additional edit time . . . . 

BOYS! is a true grass-roots effort, a labor of love, with no big studio behind it. Our film has blossomed because of our donors—more than 1,400 individual donations from twelve countries—who know resistance is relevant to today. 

According to Jones: "Our fiscal sponsor is the Eschaton Foundation, so donations are tax-deductible." If you would like to become a funding angel, here's the link to the films "magic donation portal." 

The Boys team has provided this three-minute trailer: 


Film Clip #10 “BWSN 3min Tease” from Boys Who Said NO! on Vimeo


A Carmody of Errors 

I'm a reporter and a First Amendment absolutist and I condemn the SF cops for requesting a warrant as a prelude to busting into Bryan Carmody's apartment. But I can't support the argument that the incident was a focused attack on the Free Press

Let's be clear: In this instance, what Carmody was doing was not journalism. He was apparently engaged in trafficking purloined goods for profit. 

Journalists report the truth. Reporters reveal secrets to the public. Reporters don't sell juicy stories to the highest bidder. That's not the job description of a "freelancer." (In Carmody's case, he actually sold the same story to several bidders—for a reported $2,500 each. That's worse than "simultaneous submissions," another journalistic no-no.) 

Consider Julian Assange. He posted his trove of purloined data online at Wikileaks for all to see. He didn't offer to auction his archives to the National Enquirer or Democracy Now! He even exercised discretion on deciding what not to release. Dan Ellsberg didn't demand a six-figure check from the Washington Post in exchange for access to the Pentagon Papers. 

Perhaps the best part of this story involves the surveillance video of the police "break-in." It shows a team of three cops trying to "storm" a suspect's apartment. But the storm proves to be a sprinkle. The police spend more than two minutes unsuccessfully pounding and twisting the metal door with an oversized crowbar. (At one point—about 45 seconds into the video—an officer becomes so frustrated with his failed attempts that he appears to pause and push the door buzzer.) When that fails, they bring in a sledgehammer. Which also fails to breach the gate. 

The following video clip is best viewed with a piano-playing soundtrack from a Keystone Kops episode. 


Consider the Options 

Last week I received an email solicitation to purchase a life insurance policy. In addition to the opening pitch, I was invited to "consider these alternative options." Sorry, but I prefer to consider my optional alternatives. 

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Sunday May 19, 2019 - 09:18:00 PM

PG&E Profiteering

California Public Utility Commissioner Michael Picker and CPUC spokeswoman, Terrie Prosper recently laid down some bad news: If PG&E is allowed to burden customers with the estimated $30 billion in liability costs for the 2017 wildfires linked to the company's equipment failures, we can expect average utility rates to rise by $25 per month.

Here's why: In the aftermath of the company's declaration of bankruptcy, many PG&E stockholders are starting to move their investments elsewhere. So, in order to "encourage investors" to provide PG&E with more capital, the CPUC has proposed raising the guaranteed return on equity to stockholders from 10.25% to 16%. To many, it looks like more evidence that the CPUC is in the pocket of PG&E. 

And with Picker in their pocket and PG&E set to Prosper, who else at the CPUC is doing PG&E favors? Teddy Profitt? Cory Plunder? Mal Feacense? Robin Steal? (Help me out here, Carol Denney.) 

What's on Your Plate? 

Here's another reason not to toy with your Smartphone while driving: You'll miss out on spotting all those intriguing bumper stickers and baffling license plates. 

For example: The Uber driver in a Subaru who was recently observed sporting a rear-window sticker that read: "Don't Follow Me. I'm Lost Too." 

That was straightforward. License plates, however, can be tricky to decipher. 

There's a GMC Yukon out there that has a Raiders frame wrapped around a plate that reads "8GRAM415." 

Is that an encoded weed reference? As in: "An eighth of a gram for $15"? (Probably not: Too good a deal.) 

What else? Is someone celebrating a close-knit family that includes eight grandmothers, all living in the 415 calling area? 

Then there was the Mercedes-Benz with a Fly Navy frame and an encoded plate reading: "OK3INKY". Meaning it's OK to be three-years-old in Kentucky? Or: three Oklahomas would fit inside one Kentucky? Or just: OK Stinky? 

No question about the meaning of the plate on a dusty black Honda, however. It read: UUGHH. 

On a happier note, there was a sedan bearing a plate that read: URLOVLY. 

And recently, while returning from nose surgery in Walnut Creek, we found ourselves stuck in traffic behind a vehicle with the plate: BELABRD. 

For mile after mile we tried to decode the hidden message: Bela Bird? Belle Abroad? Be LA-Bred? Or just Belabored? 

Songs of Resistance from Joan Baez, the Stones and Cassius Clay 

Judith Ehrlich, director of the powerful Daniel Ellsberg bio, The Most Dangerous Man in America, is looking for help to finish The Boys Who Said No, her new, long-awaiting documentary about draft resistance during the Vietnam War. 

The filmmakers need another $168,000 to complete the 90-minute feature film. They've already paid for the rights to 1,357 archival film clips and now they need to buy the rights to a slew of Sixties anthems—including classics by Joan Baez, The Rolling Stones, Nina Simone, and the Mamas and the Papas. But the one piece of music I'd be happy to pay for has got to be a recording of "Stand by Me" sung by Muhammad Ali! 

A 45-minute preview of the film is available at https://vimeo.com/321590259 (Password: boyz2). Donations can be made to the Eschatton Foundation dba The Resource Center for Nonviolence

And now, here's Muhammad Ali singing "Stand By Me." 


All Lives Are Sacred: Do You Have Any Final Words? 

Abortion is now outlawed in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Utah, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio. According to ProCon.org, a total of 30 US states have approved or introduced abortion bans—with legislation pending in Oklahoma, New York, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. The common argument is: "All lives are sacred." 

So how is it that so many of these supposedly life-loving, anti-abortion states still impose the death penalty? What's with that, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina? 

This announcement has been brought to you by your friends at Right-to-Lifers for the Death Penalty. 

Former Free Speech Activist Scores a Stunning Election Win 

According to the independent news platform, L.A. TACO, former Berkeley Free Speech Movement activist and State Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg has won "a blowout victory" in a runoff for a critical seat on the Los Angeles Unified School Board (LAUSB). Goldberg, 74, enjoyed the solid backing of the teachers union for campaigning as a critic of charter schools. Goldberg won a whopping 71 percent of the vote. 

Goldberg’s victory shifts the LAUSB majority. Now only three of the seven members are charter-friendly. Goldberg will replace LAUSB president Ref Rodriguez, a pro-charter advocate who was forced to resign after pleading guilty to felony conspiracy charges. 

Evoking her Berkeley past, Goldberg told a room of cheering supporters in Echo Park: “This is not the end, this is the beginning. We need a movement to make the changes we need.” 

A Chronic Condition 

A few weeks ago, my Sunday morning run ran longer than usual. When I jogged into the CVS at Shattuck and Rose to pick up the five-star edition of the Sunday Chronicle, all I could find was the two-star edition—which is basically the Saturday news edition with a few pre-printed supplements (Datebook, Style, etc) tucked inside. The Chronicle boxes on the street also had nothing but the two-star edition. 

After running-and-stopping for another 30 minutes, I finally found a copy of the five-star edition at the small Indian market across from FatApples on MLK. But there was something odd afoot. For some reason, the Chronicle's usual comics were missing. In their place: the Sunday Comics from the Bay Area News Group/Mercury News

Interesting to compare the two. Both featured Doonesbury, Peanuts, Zits, Dilbert, Bizarro, Candorville, Lio, Mutts, Pearls Before Swine, Baby Blues, Garfield, Luann, Sherman's Lagoon, Sally Forth and The Family Circus. But there was no Blondie, Foxtrot, Curtis, no Hagar the Horrible and no Wizard of Id. (Also missing, but not missed: Wumo, Non Sequitur and Get Fuzzy.) Instead, the BANG gang included strips called Pickles, JumpStart, Red & Rover, Rose Is Rose, Wallace the Brave, and a recycled appearance of Lynn Johnston's late, great For Better or Worse

The Mutant Cnronicle, Pt. 2 

In another bizarre twist, this mutant edition of the Chron included a previously unknown Sunday-stuffer called Sportstars, a 32-page once-a-month tabloid devoted to (1) local sports news and (2) lots of advertising. 

One oddity immediately stood out. Of the 31 athletes appearing in news story photos, only one was a player of color. Of the 66 athletes portrayed in the ads, all but 7 where white. 

The only prominent photo of a black athlete appeared in a full-page ad on the back cover. It showed a serious-looking ball player alongside the slogan "Give it everything you've got." It was placed by the California Army National Guard and offered a $20,000 signing bonus for qualified recruits who were looking to "earn money for college." 

Not to be outdone, the US Air Force had its own full-page ad on the inside of the issue. It showed two faceless silhouettes parachuting out of the back door of a huge cargo plane above the headline: "World Travel and 30 Days of Vacation. Any Questions?" 

The USAF also appeared to be looking to snag cash-strapped would-be students, promising "tuition assistance [and] … a great job right out of school." 

Behind the Historic FSM v. UCB Face-off 

In Tom Dalzell's dazzling new book, The Battle for of People's Park, he describes the birth of the Free Speech Movement thusly: 

It began spontaneously on October 1, 1964, when Jack Weinberg was sitting at a CORE [Congress on Racial Equality] information table on campus. He was arrested when he refused to show identification and placed in a police car in Sproul Plaza. Up to 3,000 students and supporters surrounded the police car; speeches and the Free Speech Movement began. 

Some FSM vets recently questioned the characterization that the confrontation was "spontaneous." One FSM vet who now serves on the board of the Free Speech Movement Archives (www.fsm-a.org) offered the following footnote to history: 

[Y]ou're absolutely right about the "non" spontaneity of October 1.  

The CORE chapter met the night before and decided to put out an extra large table in the hopes that the Deans might try to take our names for violating the rule against tabling. We intended not to give them our names.  

There were other groups that felt it was dishonorable to "hide" your name. But we were tired of the administration taking our names then disciplining us at a time of their choosing. The idea was to make them leave us in peace or to forcibly and publicly remove us. They chose the later course by arresting Jack and putting him in the Police Car.  

Obviously this was after organizing that started from the moment we returned to campus in the fall and discovered the ban.  

So yes, Tom Dalzell was wrong to say the FSM started on October 1…. [H]e might have said it burst into the headlines that day.  

Another FSM vet added: 

Yes: planned provocation and escalation, by moving the tables to the Sproul Steps and the like. On the other hand, no one had planned for the UCPD to actually bring a car into the plaza, just at lunchtime. The sit-down around the car was totally spontaneous, unplanned, and marvelous. 

The Voter Protection Project 

The Voter Protection Project (VPP) is campaigning to grant the full rights of citizenship to 713,224 Americans who are forced to pay federal taxes but are not allowed to vote. I'm referring to the residents of the District of Columbia. Washington, DC is a political anomaly that retains the status of a foreign US colony (like Guam or Puerto Rico) while remaining firmly embedded inside the continental US. 

The VPP claims "the foremost legal experts in 20 states are in favor of DC finally receiving full federal representation" based on the following bullet points: 

• The number of Americans living in the District of Columbia exceeds the populations in Wyoming or Vermont. 

• Despite not being a state, DC residents are still required to pay federal taxes 

• DC's voters lack representation in the House or the Senate 

• DC isn't allowed to have its own governor 

• DC can’t pass budgets or local laws without Congressional oversight and approval—an indignity unknown in any state 

So who could object to the campaign to finally grant DC statehood? Well, Republican politicians. The GOP is vehemently opposed out of fear that the District's younger, racially diverse residents might vote to send more Democrats to the House and Senate. 

Want to cast a vote for Democracy in DC? Here's a petition

ECLECTIC RANT: State Anti-Abortion Laws

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday May 19, 2019 - 08:24:00 AM

Alabama became the eleventh state to pass anti-abortion legislation. Now eleven of the 22 states with both a Republican governor and legislature have passed anti-abortion laws. I expect it to be eventually 22 of 22. 

rhe Republicans know or should know that these laws are unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s earlier decision in Roe v. Wade, but hope one or more of these state laws will reach the Supreme Court where they hope Roe v. Wade will be overturned. 

If a state anti-abortion law does reach the Supreme Court, how will Justice Kavanaugh vote as he might be the swing vote? During his confirmation hearing last year, Kavanaugh said that Roe v. Wade is "an important precedent of the Supreme Court" that had been reaffirmed many times. He further said that the 1992 Casey v. Planned Parenthood ruling upholding Roe was "precedent on precedent." The Supreme Court, however, can always overturn precedent. 

And the Republican war on women continues.

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: What it Feels Like to Take Antipsychotics for 35 Years

Jack Bragen
Sunday May 19, 2019 - 08:16:00 AM

In my first months of taking antipsychotic medication, in 1982, the side effects made me incredibly miserable. I took Stelazine and then Prolixin. The dosages at the time were not huge, yet, it was bad enough that it resembled a chemical straitjacket. 

How can I describe the side effects? Functioning to do even simple tasks, things that nearly everyone takes for granted, required massive effort, if they were doable at all. The simple act of reading was painful. It was difficult to brush my teeth. Carrying on a conversation was painful. It was miserable to live within my own body. 

Compounding this, I had post-psychotic depression. A mental health worker told me of this, when I was an inpatient. When you've just had a psychotic episode, there are numerous reasons that you can come out of that depressed. There are brain-related reasons, and there are the circumstances in which a patient finds oneself. Circumstances are different for everyone, however, many of us have just been informed that our diagnosis is Schizophrenia. 

Psychiatrists don't paint a rosy picture for the future of patients given the above diagnosis. They may believe that a patient will be limited. There is no encouragement to try going to college to obtain a degree. Instead, their suggestion is to try jobs that don't involve much thinking. 

When I got hired as a janitor following my first psychotic episode, it was the same kind of work that I'd done before I became ill. I was surprised when my outpatient psychiatrist had suggested that I do the same kind of work that I'd done before. 

I'd expected that I'd be advised to do something completely different, since it seemed to me that it was partly the jobs that had made me become ill. Yet, the psychiatrist believed I became ill strictly because of a brain malfunction. He believed that I should do what I'd already done because it would be more within my grasp. 

Trying to make my body function as a janitor while taking antipsychotic meds was agonizing. I was depressed and the side effects impacted freedom of movement. I became noncompliant with medication after a few months on the job. I worked at my job and asked for more hours. I rented a room so that parents would not be able to insist that I take medication; it had caused me to be miserable and interfered with work. I relapsed a year later, at age nineteen. 

Then, I was back on antipsychotic medication, and my situation had been set up such that I did not have a choice about it. Eventually, the side effects were less, because my body adjusted. 

By age 21, I didn't notice the side effects as much from the fluphenazine I was prescribed. By then, I'd gone to electronics training and I was employed in television repair. It was more respectable work than pushing a floor-polishing machine. 

(Not that I knock janitors--it is genuine, honest work, and it is a necessary service.) 

(In my present life, people seem to remember me more as a former janitor as opposed to my career repairing electronics. I would do electronics now, except that my skills are at least thirty years behind the current technology, and you must continually go back to school. If I did electronics now, I'd have to be fully into it. My current circumstances and needs don't permit that.) 

In recent years, my medication side effects have again increased. It comes at a time that I'm trying to taper off the nicotine use. Maybe the nicotine masked side effects. I've read somewhere that if mentally ill and quitting smoking, it is appropriate to have the meds adjusted. 

I know that antipsychotics affect ability to concentrate some of the time. At other times, it is painful to carry on a conversation. The sensations in my body are physical stiffness, and a numbed out, yet painful sensation. I believe that the supply of neurotransmitters gets used up, and frequent breaks are needed when attempting activities that use certain brain capacities. 

I will say that the suffering induced by antipsychotics is a hundred-fold less severe than the suffering of being psychotic. That makes it a worthwhile tradeoff. 

Side effects of medication are high on the list as causes of medication noncompliance among mental health consumers. The medication is like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly. Unfortunately, not enough research has been done to find a better set of medications. 

People should not assume that a mentally ill person can't do tasks that require brainpower. The collective assumption that mentally ill people are unaware in comparison to normal adults has a bad effect on us. The medications introduce limits. Yet, some of us have found ways to maneuver around these limits. The brain condition, whether it is paranoia, bipolar, depression, or other, often does not indicate absence of awareness or intelligence. A mental illness does affect how these faculties manifest. And that is why treatment is usually a non-negotiable necessity. 

Books by Jack Bragen can be found on Amazon and through other vendors.

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, May 26-June 2

Kelly Hammargren
Saturday May 25, 2019 - 10:33:00 AM

Worth Noting and Showing Up:

Tuesday – 2:30 pm Agenda Planning committee for June 11 City Council meeting and 6:00 pm City Council Regular meeting

Wednesday – 6:30 pm Adeline Corridor Draft Plan presentation

Saturday and Sunday – 16th Berkeley World Music Festival noon – 8:00 pm

Sunday, May 26, 201

Roses in Bloom Acoustical Series, 3 – 5 pm at Rose Garden


Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day Holiday

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 28, 2019 

Civic Arts Commission – Special Meeting, 6 – 8 pm at 1901 Russell St, Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch Library, Agenda action items 8. a. Telegraph Walking Tour, b. revised design carved stone wall inserts for North Berkeley Senior Center, c. Civic Arts Grant Awards, on City website link to agendadoes not open, direct link here 



Agenda and Rules Committee, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm, 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Conf Room, Draft Agenda for June 11, Regular City Council Meeting, Consent: 2. Bid Solicitations, items 3. thru 14. FY 2020 Tax Rates, 15. Temporary Appropriations $50 million from July 1, 2019 until effective date of FY 2020 Annual Appropriations ordinance. 16. Contract with Bay Area Community Resources for $56,000 for placement of AmeriCorps Members, 17. Contract BUSD for $26,694 for Workplace Skills Training for YouthWorks Employment Program,18. RFP to sell Single Family Home at 1654 Fifth St to Operate as Homeless Housing, 19. Increase Contract No. 9149B by $121,538 Telephone System Support and Service, 20. $1,017,509 Contract: NEXGEN Asset Management for Computerized Maintenance Management System & Enterprise Asset Management System, 21. Increase Contract No. 10350 Technology, Engineering and Construction, Inc by $100,000 for Tank Maintenance and Certification services, 22. $4,065,906 Contract Gallagher & Burk, Inc for Measure T1 Street Improvement Project Adeline, Hearst and Milvia, 23. $940,000 Contract for Preparation of Sanitary Sewer Master Plan, 24. $278,698 Contract: Zonar Systems, Inc. for Global Positioning System Telematics Program, 25. $296,475 Purchase Order: National Fleet Group for 10 Toyota Prius Prime Plus (PHEV – Plug-in Hybrid) 26. Amendment to Commissioners’ Manual regarding submission of revised or supplemental Agenda Material must be made available to the public, 27. Fire Prevention Inspections Insufficient – from Auditor – Fire Dept had 2500 open violations, over 500 properties not inspected, new large projects not in data base for inspections – staffing has not kept pace with city growth, code enforcement requirements, 28. Support AB 1487 – Housing Alliance for Bay Area, 29. Use Measure O Affordable Housing Bonds for Berkeley Way and 1601 Oxford, Action: 31. Zoning Ordinance Amendments Inclusionary Housing Regulations to Contiguous Lots under Common Control or Ownership, 32. FY 202 Street Lighting Assessments, 33. Budget Referral: Remediation of Lawn Bowling, North Green and Santa Fe Right-of-Way FY 202-2021 Affordable Housing, 34. Resolution No U.S. Intervention in Venezuela, 35. FY 2020&FY 2021 Proposed Biennial Budget, 36. a.b.&c. Code Enforcement and Mr. Leonard Powell, 37. Law Enforcement Use of Restraint Devices in City of Berkeley, 38. Transit Improvements at MacArthur Maze, 39. BMC. Chapter 13.104, Wage Theft Prevention, 40. Opposition to Revision of Title X, 41. FY 2020-FY 2023 – Funding for Berkeley Drop-in Center, 42. FY 2020-2023, Funding Youth Spirit Artworks, 43. FY 202-2023 Funding for Intercity Services, 44. Berkeley Opportunity Zone Displacement Mitigation Zoning Overlay, 45. Prohibit City Use of Face Recognition Technology,  


Berkeley City Council, Tuesday, 1231 Addison Street, BUSD Board Room, https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/City_Council/City_Council__Agenda_Index.aspx 

Closed Session 5:00 pm, Agenda: existing litigation Alameda Superior Court, a. Robertson v. City of Berkeley RG17851346, b. Jonathan and Sally Francis v. City of Berkeley RG 17880940 

Regular Session 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Agenda:  

Consent: 2. One Way Car share transition from pilot to baseline program, 3. Residential Parking football game day – 2nd reading of ordinance, 5. Contract with Townsend Public Affairs for Legislative Advocacy 6-9. Assessments – Business Districts, 10. Bid Solicitations, 11. Appropriations Limit, 12. Security Patrol, 13. 4th July Fireworks/events, 14. Tree Service Contracts, 15. Parks Playground Surfacing and Pathway Repairs, 16. Bus Transportation for Berkeley Day Camp and Recreation Programs, 17. Reject bids-open market Public Safety Building repair 18. Support SB 48 – Right to Shelter, 19. Support HR 40 – Reparation Proposals, 20. Budget referral: Expand School Supply Distribution for low-income students, 22. Budget Referral Technical Assistance for Succession Planning for Conversions to Worker Cooperatives, 23. West Berkeley Service Center Development, 25. Stop signs Carleton-Fulton, 26. Funding Traffic Safety Alcatraz Ave, 27. Street Lights MLK and Stuart, 28. Study to achieve Equity in City Contracting, 29. Lighting William Byron Rumford Sculpture, 30. Increase Staffing for Vision Zero, 31. Budget Referral Traffic Calming or Traffic Circle at 62nd Street and King, 32. Resolution Full Parity Mental Health Patients, Clinicians at Kaiser, 33. Budget Referral Solano Revitalization, 34. Oppose AB-1356 Cannabis, 35. Budget Referral Paid Internships, 36. Support Renters Rights Bills, 37. Support SB 212, SB 641 Rank Choice Voting, 38. Support ADA-6 Voting Rights Parolees, Action: 39. Proposed Budget 2020-2021 Hearing #2, 40. Council recommendations for proposed budget, 41. Hourly Fee Increase Traffic Engineering & Transportation Divisions, 42. Economic Dashboards, 43. Fee Increase Rental Housing Safety Program, 44. Tax Exemption on Federal Research Grants, 45.Direct City Manager to Place a Moratorium Shared Sidewalk Policy until homeless response system designed, created, implemented, 46. Referral to Public Works to Rename Harold Way to Dalai Lama Way, 47. ZAB Appeal 1444 Fifth St. Information Reports: 48. Short term Rentals, 49. IT, 50. Kiosks and Accessibility Obstacles 



Zero Waste Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 1326 Allston Way, Willow Room, City of Berkeley Corporation Yard, Agenda: Transfer Station Feasibility Study, Carpet Recycling, Single Use Foodware Ordinance Implementation, Workplan 


Wednesday, May 29, 2019 

Community Meeting - Adeline Corridor Specific Plan (Draft Plan) and Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), 6:30 - 8:30 pm at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center 


Board of Library Trustees Special Meeting, 2:00 pm at 1125 University at West Brach Library, Agenda: II. A. FY Library Tax Rate, B. Biennial Budget FY 2020 & FY 2021 



Thursday, May 30, 2019 

Community Environmental Advisory Commission – Bird Safe Subcommittee, 7 pm at 2000 University, Au Coquelet 


Friday, May 31, 2019 

No City meetings or events found 

Saturday, June 1, 2019 

16th Berkeley World Music Festival, noon – 8 pm, outdoors and Telegraph Avenue venues, Continuous Performances, Saturday features People’s Park Concert headliners – ­Fula Brothers (West Africa), Sang Matiz (Afro-Latin Funk) & Baraka Moon (Sufi Trance); plus Georges Lammam (Arabic violin) & French Oak Gypsy Band. Crafts, children’s activities each day 


Sunday, June 2, 2019 

16th Berkeley World Music Festival, noon – 8 pm, outdoors and Telegraph Avenue venues, Continuous Performances, Sunday Streets provides dance areas for Mixta Criolla (Puerto Rico), Bollywood Gharana (Rock ‘n Raga), Dan Cantrell (New Balkan), belly dance, klezmer & zydeco. Evening performances are Cornelius Boots (Shakuhachi flute), Netto D’Souza (Brazilian) & Dance Party Finale, La Mandanga (Spanish Rumba). Crafts, children’s activities each day 


Roses in Bloom Acoustical Series, 3 – 5 pm at Rose Garden 





The Adeline Corridor Specific Plan (Draft Plan) and Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) are available for review and comment https://www.cityofberkeley.info/AdelineCorridor/ 

Two in person public meetings on the plan are scheduled.  

Community meeting - May 29, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at the South Berkeley Senior Center 2939 Ellis. Planning Commission - June 5, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm at the South Berkeley Senior Center 2939 Ellis 

To comment email adelinecorridor@cityofberkeley.info on or before July 1, 2019, 5:00 pm. 





*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. Referral to City Manager and budget for creation of “vehicle dweller program” 5. Land-use Planning Permit Fee Amendments, 6. Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) Program Reform & Expansion Phase II: Recommendations for Increased Staffing, Enhanced Football Game Enforcement and Expansion. 





Public Hearings Scheduled – Land Use Appeals 

1444 Fifth St – 4 single family dwellings - 5-28-2019 

Notice of Decision (NOD) With End of Appeal Period 

2325 Sixth St (Single-family residence) – 6-5-2019 

2072 Addison (eliminate off-street parking) – 6-5-2019 

Remanded to ZAB or LPC With 90-Day Deadline 

1155-73 Hearst (develop 2 parcels) – referred back to City Council – to be scheduled 

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




June 18 –Green Stormwater Infrastructure, Mandatory and Recommended Green Stormwater Infrastructure in New and Existing Redevelopments or Projects (Policy Committee), Council Budget and Strategic Plan Procedures 

Sept 17 – Arts and Culture 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, 

Dec. 5 – Measure T1 Update 

Unscheduled – Cannabis Health Considerations 



June 11 – tentative EBMUD presentation 

Explore Grant-Writing Services from Specialized Municipal Grant-Writing Firms 




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 


Peter Sellars & Los Angeles Master Chorale Present Orlando di Lasso’s LAGRIME DI SAN PIETRO

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday May 19, 2019 - 08:29:00 AM

Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594) was a prolific and renowned composer in the international style of Renaissance polyphony. So international was this style that Orlando di Lasso himself was known by several versions of his name: He was called Roland de Lassus in French, Orlando di Lasso in Italian, and Orlando Lassus in Latin. Born in what is now Belgium, he seems to have traveled to Italy early in life; and in his early twenties he worked for Ferrante Gonzaga of Mantua, traveling with his patron to Sicily and Milan. He also worked in Naples and Rome, serving as maestro di capella in Rome’s St. John Lateran Church in 1555-6. Then he went to Munich, where he resided at the court of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria, whose family he served as a singer-composer for over thirty years.  

Musically, Orlando di Lasso follows in the tradition of composers such as Nicholas Gombert, Adrian Willaert, and Jacob Clement, who themselves were exponents of the polyphonic style created by such great Franco-Flemish composers as Guillaume Dufay, Johannes Ockeghem, and Josquin des Pres. Orlando di Lasso wrote vocal music in various forms: madrigals, motets, liturgical works, and even songs in German. Interestingly, his known works include no instrumental music. His oratorio Lagrime di San Pietro/Tears of St. Peter came at the very end of the composer’s life.  

For his Lagrime di San Pietro he chose a text by Luigi Tasillo (1510-1568), from which the composer set 20 stanzas for his madrigal cycle or choral oratorio. Sung in Italian, the text recounts the harrowing guilt and shame experienced by Christ’s disciple Peter, who, as foretold by Christ, betrayed his Lord three times ”before the cock crows.” For the rest of his long life, Peter could never forget the look in Christ’s eyes as he gazed upon the beloved disciple who, to save himself, thrice denied even knowing Christ much less being among his disciples.  

In preparing Lagrime di San Pietro for performance, stage director Peter Sellars worked closely with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and its Artistic Director Grant Gershon. As conceived by Peter Sellars, Orlando di Lasso’s Lagrime di San Pietro is more than a period piece by the last of the great composers of polyphonic vocal music. It is also a psychologically probing and intense meditation, a universal one, on finding oneself, after a long life, despairing of the false and ephemeral successes of life and feeling in old age only pain and torment as one awaits a welcome death. The figure of St. Peter, of course, who carries his immense burden of guilt and shame, represents a particularly harrowing examplar of this despair as one nears death.  

As the twenty-one member Los Angeles Master Chorale took the stage at Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on Friday, May 17, the stage itself was bare, with only chairs arranged in a vast semi-circle. The members of the Chorale were dressed in nondescript clothes of various shades of grey. Grant Gershon, who conducted the Chorale, came onstage in grey pants and grey shirt, with bare feet. As the a capella singing began, Chorale members gave physical expression to each stanza’s tale of Peter’s betrayal of Christ. They reached out, they clasped hands over their heart, they staggered and fell to the ground. They covered and uncovered their eyes to emphasize the power of the look that Peter experienced when Christ transfixed him with his gaze. At one point the text boldly affirms that humans can speak with their eyes, as in a lover’s gaze upon the beloved. This too was acted out by the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  

Occasionally, the acting out became all too literal, as when the text sings of a snowflake falling in a deserted valley in winter, then receiving the warmth of the sun’s rays in spring, which melts the ice and causes it to dissolve into water. Fluttering hands represented the falling snowflake. The rays of the sun were likened to the rays of light from the eyes. The text then sang of the ice in Peter’s heart melting into tears. Here pathos nearly descended into bathos.  

The most psychologically penetrating moments came in the latter stanzas of Lagrime di San Pietro when Peter, now old, wants only to die. He curses life as vicious and cruel. He says that outer pain is unbearable, but inner pain is worse. He blames himself, like so many others, for in younger days seeking pleasure and thereby denying true life for false life. “Life, go away!” he cries. “You linger on even though I don’t want you. I have experienced such ingratitude from you.” For the final madrigal, Orlando di Lasso went outside the text of Luigi Tasillo and chose a 13th century Latin motet by French poet Philippe de Greve representing the final word from Jesus himself (“Vide Homo, quae pro te patior”/”See, O man, how I suffer for you.” 

The lighting by James F. Ingalls emphasized the contrast between light and darkness. The uniformly grey costumes were designed by Danielle Domingue. As conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon moved restlessly around the stage, now facing the singers from one side, now from another. This, too, emphasized the multi-faceted aspects of this music, as conceived by Gershon and Sellars.

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, May 19-26

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Sunday May 19, 2019 - 08:07:00 AM

Worth Noting:


Monday Malcolm X is a City Holiday. The rest of the week is packed.

Tuesday evening – At 7 pm two meetings Wildfire Preparedness at Northbrae Church and Adeline Corridor Plan Presentation at South Berkeley Senior Center

Wednesday evening – 5 pm Redesign of the Transfer Station (Recycling Center) and I-80 Interchange at 6:30 pm

Thursday afternoon – 2 pm City Council Budget and Finance Committee – proposed budget FY 2020 & FY 2021

Saturday afternoon – 2 pm, If you missed the May 14 presentation on Fire Evacuation, it is repeated May 25.

Sunday, May 19, 2019


Roses in Bloom Acoustical Series, 3 – 5 pm at Rose Garden – no notice of cancellation yet


Monday, May 20, 2019 – Malcolm X Day City Holiday

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 21, 2019 

Wildfire Preparedness Forum - Defensible Space, Fuel Mitigation, Fire Breaks, Evacuations and Household Preparedness, 7 – 9:30 pm, 941 the Alameda, Northbrae Church 


4x4 Joint Committee on Housing City Council/Rent Stabilization Board, 3 pm, at 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor Cypress Conf Room, Agenda: 5. Trust-Owned Golden Duplex, 6. Prohibit Housing Discrimination Based on Source of Income, 7. Update Enforcement BMC 19.50 – Elevators, 8. Update Short-Term Rental Ordinance, 9. Update Demolition Ordinance. 


Community Environmental Advisory Commission – Subcommittee Departmental Coordination for Environmental Protection, 6 pm at 2000 University, Au Coquelet, Agenda: Letter to request environmental disaster prevention officer 


Mental Health Commission, at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center 

5 pm - Diversity Subcommittee - Workplan 

6 pm - Site Visit Subcommittee – Discuss Sites & Review Priorities 


Planning Commission – Adeline Corridor Specific Plan Subcommittee, 7 – 10 pm at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Draft Adeline Corridor Plan and DEIR 


Solano Avenue Business Improvement District Advisory Board, 11 am, at 1821 Catalina Ave, Thousand Oaks Baptist Church. NO Agenda Posted 


Wednesday, May 22, 2019 

I-80/Ashby Interchange Improvement Project, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: public input to planning upgrades and changes to improve interchange efficiency, safety and accessibility 


Cannabis Commission – Ordinance Subcommittee, 3 – 5pm, 2180 Milvia St, 1st Floor Cypress Conf Room https://www.cityofberkeley.info/MedicalCannabis/ 

Commission on the Status of Women, 6:45 – 9 pm at 2180 Milvia, Cypress Room, Agenda: 5. Presentation by Leslie Berkler, Executive Director, Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center, 9. Update Equal Pay Independent Audit 


Disaster and Fire Safety Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 997 Cedar St, Fire Department Training Center, Agenda: 3. Recommendation Measure GG Tax Rate Adjustment, 6. Cal Fire Reduction Priorities Report, 7. Outdoor Public Warning System, 8. Local Composting of Vegetative Fuel Sources to Mitigate Fire Hazard, 9. Fire Prevention and Fire Hardening of Structures 


Energy Commission, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at 1947 Center St, Sika Spruce Room, Agenda: 4. Natural Gas Ban, 6. Fossil Fuel Report Supplement and Climate Action Fund, 8. BESO evaluation, 8. EV Roadmap 


Joint Subcommittee for the Implementation of State Housing Laws, 7 – 9 pm at 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Room, Agenda: 9. Presentation on Density Study, 10. Presentation on existing build-out conditions, 11. Local Density Bonus: Incentives to Provide On-site Affordable Housing, 12. Objective Standards https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Joint_Subcommittee_for_the_Implementation_of_State_Housing_Laws_Homepage.aspx 

Police Review Commission, 7 – 10 pm, at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 9. a.Consider endorsing SB 233, b. Stop Data, 10. a. Review Lexipol Policy 415 Immigration Law, b. Surveillance Use Policies https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Police_Review_Commission_Homepage.aspx 

Public Works Commission – Undergrounding Subcommittee, 4 pm at 1947 Center St, 4th Floor, Agenda: 3. Work to date and future work https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Public_Works_Commission_Homepage.aspx 

Zero Waste Redesign Transfer Station Workshop, 5 - 7 pm, at 1125 University, Berkeley Public Library – West Branch 


Thursday, May 23, 2019 

City Council Budget & Finance Committee, 2 pm, at 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Conf Room, Agenda: 2. City Manager’s Budget Funding Recommendation FY 2020-2021 


Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board – AdHoc Committee on Rent Board technology Issues, 5 pm, 2001 Center St, 2nd Floor Law Library, Agenda: 5. Paperless Agenda Program, 6. City-issued iPads 


Community Health Commission, 6:30 – 9 pm at 2939 Ellis St. South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Presentation 1. City of Berkeley Public Health Division – Dr. Lisa Hernandez, 2. Homelessness – Mary Behm-Steinberg, 3. City of Berkeley, Planning & Development Cannabis Ordinance Phase II – Elizabeth Greene, Discussion Clifford Fred on Air Quality https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Community_Health_Commission_Homepage.aspx 

Mental Health Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 1947 Center St, Agenda: 3. Presentation Bonita House, 4. Role of Police in providing mental health services using crisis intervention and de-escalation methods 


Police Review Commission, 7 – 10 pm, at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Police_Review_Commission_Homepage.aspx 

Public Works Commission – Paving Subcommittee, 8 - 9 am at 1947 Center St, NO Agenda posted 


Regional Climate Emergency Mobilization, 5 pm at 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Conf Room 


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

2031 Fourth Street – Modify Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Use Permit to expand/add service, outdoor patio, low-level music, food service, hours of operation - Consent 

1940 Haste Street – relocate 3-story single family residence from 2028 Bancroft to 1940 Haste and move relocated 5-unit residential building to rear of lot and waive 5 parking spaces – Consent 

2004 and 2006 Cedar – excavate basement and convert to habitable space, expand dwelling unit from 1 to 2-stories – consent 

2198 San Pablo – demolish existing single story commercial building and construct 6-story mixed use with 3-live/work, 57 dwelling units (including 5-low income)20 parking spaces, 48 bicycle spaces, staff recommend approve 

3206 College Ave – establish pet store use including grooming, staff recommend approve 

Project Preview - 2352 and 2390 Shattuck – demolish 2 existing commercial buildings, split lot in two, construct 2 8-story mixed use buildings with 209 units (including 15 very low income) 


Friday, May 24, 2019 

Board of Library Trustees, 12 noon at 2090 Kittredge, Central Library, Agenda: I.A. FY 2020 Library Tax Rate, B. Proposed Budget FY 2020-2021, https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/about/board-library-trustees 

Saturday, May 25, 2019 

Meeting to Prepare for Wildfire Evacuations and Household Preparedness, 2 - 3 pm, 2940 Benvenue, Claremont Branch Berkeley Library 


Sunday, May 26, 2019 

Roses in Bloom Acoustical Series, 3 – 5 pm at Rose Garden 





Scheduled Construction Activities for Week of May 20, 2019 




Berkeley City Council Agenda for May 28 Council meeting is available for comment. Email council@cityofberkeley.info Consent: 2. One Way Car share transition from pilot to baseline program, 3. Residential Parking football game day – 2nd reading of ordinance, 5. Contract with Townsend Public Affairs for Legislative Advocacy 6-9. Assessments – Business Districts, 10. Bid Solicitations, 11. Appropriations Limit, 12. Security Patrol, 13. 4th July Fireworks/events, 14. Tree Service Contracts, 15. Parks Playground Surfacing and Pathway Repairs, 16. Bus Transportation for Berkeley Day Camp and Recreation Programs, 17. Reject bids-open market Public Safety Building repair 18. Support SB 48 – Right to Shelter, 19. Support HR 40 – Reparation Proposals, 22. Budget Referral Technical Assistance for Succession Planning for Conversions to Worker Cooperatives, 23. West Berkeley Service Center Development, 25. Stop signs Carleton-Fulton, 26. Funding Traffic Safety Alcatraz Ave, 27. Street Lights MLK and Stuart, 28. Study Equity to achieve City Contracting, 29. Lighting William Byron Rumford Sculpture, 30. Increase Staffing for Vision Zero, 31. Budget Referral Traffic Calming or Traffic Circle at 62nd Street and King, 32. Resolution Full Parity Mental Health Patients, Clinicians at Kaiser, 33. Budget Referral Solano Revitalization, 34. Oppose AB-1356 Cannabis, 35. Budget Referral Paid Internships, 36. Support Renters Rights Bills, 37. Support SB 212, SB 641 Rank Choice Voting, 38. Support ADA-6 Voting Rights Parolees, Action: 39. Proosed Budget 2020-2021, 40. Council recommendations for proposed budget, 41. Hourly Fee Increase Traffic Engineering & Transportation Divisions, 42. Economic Dashboards, 43. Fee Increase Rental Housing Safety Program, 44. Tax Exemption on Federal Research Grants, 45.Direct City Manager to Place a Moratorium Shared Sidewalk Policy until homeless response system designed, created, implemented, 46. Referral to Public Works to Rename Harold Way to Dalai Lama Way, 47. ZAB Appeal 1444 Fifth St. Information Reports: 48. Short term Rentals, 49. IT, 50. Kiosks and Accessibility Obstacles 





The Adeline Corridor Specific Plan (Draft Plan) and Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) are available for review and comment https://www.cityofberkeley.info/AdelineCorridor/ 

Two in person public meetings on the plan are scheduled.  

Community meeting - May 29, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at the South Berkeley Senior Center 2939 Ellis. Planning Commission - June 5, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm at the South Berkeley Senior Center 2939 Ellis 

To comment email adelinecorridor@cityofberkeley.info on or before July 1, 2019, 5:00 pm. 





*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) – referred back to City Council – to be scheduled 

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 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