Full Text



New: Berkeley Police Investigate Assaults along UC's Greek Row

By Jamey Padojino (BCN)
Wednesday September 18, 2013 - 08:26:00 AM

Police are investigating three unrelated assaults along Greek Row at the University of California at Berkeley during the weekend, a police spokeswoman said. 

A 25-year-old man was transported for serious injuries after he was assaulted and robbed by four men near Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way around 11 p.m. Friday, Officer Jennifer Coats said. 

The victim was knocked to the ground and repeatedly hit and kicked, Coats said. 

The suspects are described as three Hispanic men and one black man in their early 20s, she said. One of the Hispanic men is about 5 feet 8 inches tall with a medium build and long black hair in a ponytail. He was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, she said. 

In a separate incident a man was attacked by 10 men after refusing to let them into a party in the 2300 block of Piedmont Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Coats said. 

Officers also responded to a possible fight in progress near Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way at 12:56 a.m. Sunday, Coats said. 

The 22-year-old man was assaulted by eight to 10 men but declined medical attention, she said. 

Police are investigating all three incidents and do not suspect a trend or specific group of people being targeted, Coats said. 

Officers advise people to travel with a friend or group of people, walk on well-lit sidewalks and stay alert of their surroundings.

Press Release: Berkeley Fair Campaigns Practices Commission to Consider Investigation of Oldest Democratic Club in Berkeley for Multiple Campaign Violations

From Bob Offer-Westort and Patricia Wall
Wednesday September 18, 2013 - 07:35:00 AM

Berkeley Democratic Club accused of not filing expenditure disclosures with City for nearly three years and hiring homeless clients of recovery services nonprofit to distribute fraudulent campaign materials in 2012

The Berkeley Democratic Club (BDC), founded in 1934, is facing serious questions about alleged violations of state and local campaign finance laws. On July 12, 2013, the Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC) received a complaint against BDC alleging violations of the Berkeley Election Reform Act (BERA) and state election law, including failure to file expense reports for false and misleading campaign materials that were distributed by homeless people during the November 2012 election cycle.

The BDC Political Action Committee spent a total of $26,781 in the November 2012 election cycle to produce a Berkeley-wide mailer and literature to be distributed at the polls, according to California filing records. While the BDC filed with the California Secretary of State, it failed to file with the City of Berkeley Clerk’s Office, as is required by BERA. A search of campaign filings in Berkeley shows that, despite actively expending funds in the last several election cycles, the BDC stopped filing with the City after August of 2010. 

The BDC was an avid proponent of 2012's Measure S, a ballot measure that would have criminalized sitting on most central city sidewalks. The measure failed to pass. In campaigning for Measure S, the BDC paid for and distributed campaign literature that falsely claimed to be the “official endorsements of the Democratic Party.” In fact, the Alameda County Democratic Party did not support Measure S. In several instances, the BDC also endorsed candidates that competed with those actually endorsed by the Democratic Party. BDC’s false and misleading literature prompted a letter of reprimand from the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. 

Written testimony that will be presented at the meeting shows that on Election Day the BDC hired numerous homeless or formerly homeless people to pass out their fraudulent literature at polling places in Berkeley. Many if not all of the homeless people passing out the campaign materials were current or former clients of a Berkeley drug and alcohol treatment center, Options Recovery Services, Inc. Eyewitness accounts state that Dr. Davida Coady, the Medical Director of Options and a spokesperson for the Measure S campaign, recruited the clients and John Caner, the CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association, coordinated the distribution efforts. The testimony further noted that these clients were paid $100 in cash by Mr. Caner to participate in election-day activities, but these payments were not disclosed to the city or state. 

“Hiring the homeless clients of a recovery program to campaign for their own criminalization is the opposite of harm reduction. Berkeley’s vulnerable populations deserve better,” said Patricia Wall, director of Berkeley’s Homeless Action Center.  

BDC’s failure to report its expenses – namely, printing false and misleading campaign literature and paying homeless people to distribute said literature – effectively kept from public view who gave money to BDC or how it spent that money. BDC’s violations could result in substantial fines and penalties from the Fair Campaign Practices Commission. 

Berkeley’s Deputy City Attorney Kristy van Herick, in a staff memorandum to the commission, writes that “...there are other issues discussed in the Complaint which may involve actions of one or more City committees within this Commission’s purview” and that “[t]he Commission may decide, after review of the Complaint, to request that staff initiate an investigation regarding the campaign compliance of one or more City committees.” 

The 2012 election in Berkeley saw an unprecedented amount of money infiltrate numerous local campaigns, largely from political action committees and corporate interests. Earlier this year, the Fair Campaigns Practices Commission issued the second largest fine in Berkeley history against the landlord-backed, so-called Tenants United for Fairness (TUFF) Slate Mailer Organization (SMO). Recently, the California Fair Political Practices Commission issued a warning letter to the East Bay Rental Housing Association PAC for failure to disclose an expenditure of $12,000 in support of the TUFF SMO. The Berkeley Democratic Club was the only Democratic organization in Alameda County to endorse Measure S and the TUFF Rent Board slate. 

When: Thursday, September 19, 2013, starting at 7:00 PM 

Where: North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave, Berkeley, CA (Look for “Fair Campaign Practices Commission” or “FCPC” signs) 

For more information on the Fair Campaigns Practices Commission and staff report regarding the Berkeley Democratic Club: 


For more information on the Fair Campaigns Practice Commission stipulation with the Tenants United for Fairness Slate Mailer Organization: 


For more information on the California Fair Political Practices Commission warning letter to the East Bay Rental Housing Association Political Action Committee: 


# # # 


Suspect Charged in Berkeley Murder

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:56:00 AM

A convicted robber was charged with murder today for the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Dustin Bynum in West Berkeley last month.

Krishna Ferreira, 23, of San Leandro, was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland on the charge stemming from the death of Bynum in the 1800 block of San Pablo Avenue at about 9:15 p.m. on Aug. 1.

Ferreira, who was arrested in San Leandro on Tuesday, is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without bail. 

In addition to murder, Ferreira was charged with discharging a firearm to cause Bynum's death, an enhancement clause that could add 25 years to his state prison term if he's convicted of murder. 

Prosecutors also charged Ferreira with having a prior conviction for second-degree burglary on Aug. 6, 2012, another enhancement that could add to his prison term if he's convicted. 



Michael Chabon Will Converse in Berkeley On October 2 to Benefit School

By Becky O'Malley
Saturday September 14, 2013 - 05:57:00 PM

Not too long ago I got an email from Michael Chabon’s PR firm asking if I’d like to interview him before an event described in an accompanying press release:

“Oakland’s Park Day School will host an evening in conversation with literary luminary and Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon, Wednesday, October 2, 7:00pm, at the beautiful Julia Morgan Theatre (2640 College Avenue, Berkeley.)”

How could I refuse? One of my daughters spent a couple of fine years at Park Day School, a welcome refuge in a period when her assigned Berkeley public elementary school was being earthquaked and all classes were jammed into vintage portables. We decided to temporarily jump ship from BUSD when her classroom teacher sobbed continuously throughout the parent-teacher conference about her many problems with this situation (and with no mention of our daughter).

Today Park Day School’s web site mission statement says “We believe a successful learner is one who is confident, caring, and creative. We believe success is measured by a student's ability to define his or her place in the world, guided by intellectual skills and a social perspective.”

From our experience, this philosophy worked then and it’s likely to be working now. It’s a fine objective, and one I’m happy to support.

And how about the famous author? Again, per the press release:

“Michael Chabon is known for continually reinventing conventional genres and entertaining readers while gently provoking self-reflection. His writings are widely considered the “cutting edge” of conventional fiction, with Time Magazine declaring “you can almost see the future of literature coming.” Called “An amazingly rich, emotionally detailed story” by the New York Times, his newest book, Telegraph Avenue, is a big-hearted and exhilarating novel that explores the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland, California families, one black and one white, delivering a bravura epic of friendship, race, and secret histories.”

What’s not to like about a guy like that? Wouldn’t it be fun to talk to him?

Here I must confess, shamefaced, that I haven’t actually read Telegraph Avenue, though I’ve been intending to. In fact, though Chabon seems to have written a whole bunch of novels, I haven’t read any of them—somehow contemporary fiction always slips to the bottom of my reading list, edged out for the most part by political journalism about the never-ending crises which seem to beset this country. I have read a couple of his magazine essays, and I did meet him at a candidate’s fundraiser co-hosted by his wife. He seemed like a nice person, Mr. Mensch himself. This could be a painless way to learn more, I thought, even perhaps an incentive to crack at least one of his books before the interview. 

Didn’t happen. In part, this is because the significance of the requested interview shrunk as the event approached. I happen to live three or four blocks from the Chabon family home in Berkeley’s Claremont neighborhood, and so I suggested talking at one of the many neighborhood cafes. But, per the PR person: “he's getting ready to go out on tour (Telegraph Avenue is about to be released on paperback) so we might not be able to do an in-person interview.” 

Fine, phone it is. His personal assistant will be in touch, the press agent said. And she was: “I can make Michael available but I'm afraid I only have ten minutes. He is going out on book tour and the schedule is rather packed.” 

As is my schedule, which is why I don’t have much time to read novels, but never mind. Ten minutes would be time for one or two questions, and clearly wouldn’t require any preparation.  

Last Thursday was the big day, so I did at least make a Googled attempt to figure out what I wanted to ask. The recent novel, soon to be in paperback, seems to celebrate the East Bay’s vigorous diversity, especially the Oakland version, as I read the reviews. But the experience which I share with Chabon, which hasn’t been talked about much in what’s been written about him, is bringing up kids in a complex urban environment and deciding how best to get them educated under the prevailing circumstances. 

My own daughters are by now in his age bracket, and I have a generation of grandchildren being educated. I was curious why Chabon’s a Park Day School parent, since he and his family live a couple of blocks into Berkeley, which still has well-regarded public schools which provided my own daughters with an excellent education in the last generation. Oakland schools have always faced many more challenges and don’t have as rosy a track record, which is why many desperate Oakland parents register their kids from Grandma’s Berkeley address. 

Turns out ten minutes is even less than I thought—I’ve never done a ten-minute interview before. I had just time for what turned out to be one question with variants: What’s the value of the kind of education your kids get at a progressive private school like Park? 

His answer: The entire institution knows the child at every level, keeps that individual child’s strengths and weaknesses in mind at every level. The school is always trying to strike a balance between the needs of the individual child and the needs of the community as a whole, he said. 

He and his wife, Ayelet Waldman, another writer, have four children, three of whom have attended Park Day at some point, and one is there now. He told me they’d gone to a lot of different schools with different education styles, all of which have their virtues. He called having the ability to choose among all of these, “a luxury, no doubt about it.” 

Asked what he thought about the Oakland schools, he blamed lack of money because Proposition 13 destroyed the tax base, not a surprising answer. In typical contemporary fashion, his cell phone died just as I was asking him why they had not chosen to send their kids to Berkeley schools, and by the time we re-connected the question was lost, never to return.  

But if you yourself want to ask a follow-up question, your big opportunity will come on October 2. 

Again from the press release: “The venue’s intimate setting will allow for a personal and authentic experience for those in attendance to hear from the accomplished author on a variety of topics and ask questions of their own. This incisive and candid conversation with Chabon and Park Day School’s Zach Wyner will benefit the school’s academic and financial assistance programs.” 

It’s a good cause. Park Day has always tried to provide as many kids as possible who couldn’t otherwise afford the tuition with the kind of excellent education that the Chabon-Waldman family have been able to choose for their own kids, and your ticket purchase will help. 

Tickets ($24 advance, $20 students) can be purchased online at www.parkdayschool.org or by calling 510-653-0317, ext 103.  



Odd Bodkins: It WAS a nice Saturday (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday September 14, 2013 - 05:23:00 PM


Dan O'Neill


Bounce: More Pie Chart (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday September 14, 2013 - 05:48:00 PM


Joseph Young


Bounce: Pie Chart (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday September 14, 2013 - 05:45:00 PM


Joseph Young


Public Comment

Sanderson Delivers Coup de Grace to "Protected Arts Uses" in West Berkeley, Rules Nexus institute was Illegal Squat, then Just a School

By Robert Brokl
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:43:00 AM

UPDATE: The Berkeley Kitchens will open soon at 2701-2707 Eighth St., at the location of the former Nexus Institute (1974-2006)R.I.P. The Berkeley Kitchens has no arts component nor was any arts replacement space provided within the district, as supposedly required by the zoning ordinance for "protected arts and crafts uses in West Berkeley. R.I.P. that, too.
Read this Eastbay Express article for more details:

Now Open: The Berkeley Kitchens
And for the back story, read below to find out how all this happened.

Remember the cliche about something looking, walking and talking like a duck, and therefore probably being a duck? Well, try telling that to Debra Sanderson, Zoning Officer and Planning Manager for the City of Berkeley, about arts uses at the former Nexus Institute complex in West Berkeley.

Nexus was a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, registered with the state of California in 1974 as a non-profit corporation from its inception and the beginning of its lease from the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society. (The lease ended in 2006, when the Humane Society put the building up for sale.) Nexus Gallery and adjacent studios and woodshop fit to a "T" the zoning description of "protected use, Category 2, Art Galleries, ancillary to Art/Craft studios and when located in the same building..." The City of Berkeley certainly agreed—the Civic Arts Commission awarded grants regularly to the gallery, which showcased local artists, craftspeople, dance and theater groups.

I maintained a long-time studio there, from 1982 until its end in 2006, and was the designated contact person from Nexus for its successful Berkeley landmark nomination.

Despite the evidence to the contrary, Nexus was disappeared by Sanderson as an official arts organization despite its 32 year history at that location, allowing the new owner developer to create 16 commercial kitchens instead, without recreating any artist spaces there or elsewhere in the district, as seemingly required by the zoning ordinance. 

Full credit should be shared in addition to Sanderson with Nathan Dahl, another planner now handling code enforcement with the City of Berkeley, and the retired Secretary to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Giselle Sorensen. All three have their names on the hitherto unknown letter from Oct. 7, 2008, "prepared by Dahl", and signed by Sorensen, "for Sanderson," then a zoning officer. The letter to the developer, Todd Jersey, waived the requirement for arts uses, stating that "It is our understanding...portions of this property may have been used for the above-mentioned purposes in the past, however, research indicated that these uses were never established legally, with either zoning permit or business license issuance. therefore, space within the building(s) dedicated to any of the above-mentioned uses is not protected and can legally be changed to another use..." Quite a windfall for the developer, who had unsuccessfully attempted to develop $500,000 live/work condos with owners providing up-front money. (I was invited to buy in on those terms, after I called the number listed on the sign posted on the building after its sale.) And the waiver of any off-street parking for the developer's commercial kitchens Plan B with was a priceless gift indeed—one very successful local developer told me the off-street parking requirement stopped him from even attempting a purchase from the Humane Society. But the emboldened developer now has an application for retail pending—shoot the moon! 

The "secret" letter, as far as I can discern known only to the three city planners and the developer, came to light only this year, when a neighborhood activist working with other local, large property owners was told of its existence by the developer, as the reason he wasn't providing any arts component in the complex that had been so widely known for arts uses. I, of course, was not contacted at the time to provide any documentation proving our bona fides nor, apparently was any other Nexan. So convenient—documents dispersed, artists and craftspeople scattered, neighbors assumed to be eager for the now long-vacant building to be spruced up. 


After I was asked by the local activist to provide Nexus documentation, I called Sanderson. She wanted documents, quite readily disclosed the City's record-keeping for business licenses in that period was "sloppy," and reassuringly mentioned that there was still time for reconsideration of her decision, since the certificate of occupancy hadn't yet been granted. (Of course, around-the-clock work on the renovation was occurring as we spoke...) Sanderson laid out my task: Prove there was a use permit from the City for Nexus, and business licenses from before July 6, 1989, when protected uses were established within the MU-R District. 

Quack, quack

My document hunt began in earnest, spurred on by the local activist also convinced lakes can be drained by spoons without bottoms, needles found in haystacks. The Proof! The by now dusty Nexus box came up from my basement. I dug out records that might have convinced even an Antonin Scalia: 

A copy of the original letter from the IRS in 1975 according Nexus non-profit 501 (c) 3 status; the Articles of Incorporation from 1974 signed by Jerry Brown (then Secretary of State—such a long career!); Business Property statements by the Alameda County assessor from 1983; a City of Berkeley business license RENEWAL from 2004, and, seemingly the most important of all, the statement by Assistant City Manager Jim Hyne that 19,000 sq. ft. of Nexus was a protected use, and the affirmation by then Planning Manager Mark Rhoades that "the new owner is required to replace 75% of the whatever the Nexus tenants currently have...either at the existing location...or any other site within the district." A June 20, 2006 declaration from former City Manager Phil Kamlarz also surfaced stating in no uncertain terms: "...The space currently occupied by Nexus Art Cooperative must be for arts use, or the applicant will need to have made available replacement arts space elsewhere." 

Quack, quack, quack

One would have thought the Asst. City Manager, City Manager, and Planning Manager statements might have impressed Sanderson, since all were at one time of higher or equal rank, but not so fast. Sanderson's response came on July 26, after a month's delay. It married mock sorrow—"If we could make the determination according to our hearts and not the code, the outcome would be different" and galling cheek, claiming credit for the unearthed documents that I provided as evidence—"You'll see that staff found additional documents (all listed at the end of the letter) not considered for the 2008 determination that unfortunately reinforce the previous determination. Let us know if you want copies of any of these...." 

Not a Duck

Sanderson's new tack avoided the business license issue and the lack of a use permit altogether. It's unclear whether a use permit was even required then, according to Berkeley zoning/planning experts. Moreover, the City issued a building permit in 1975, indicating a green light. No, instead Sanderson focussed upon the wording of the original description of the non-profit in the zoning permit, the description of the Institute as a "vocational school" to "train adults in various vocations, e.g. cabinet making, printing, arts..." To me, this sounds like typical non-profit/grant application/broad brush speak, not at all contradicted by what Nexus was for the next 32 years, but for Sanderson it was the ultimate smoking gun. Until the next one..... 

I have beaten the Nexus drum at open forums for the Landmarks Commission, the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB), and at a (bare) quorum of the Civic Arts Commission, emailed letters to planning staff, Councilmembers, and the City Manager. Tony Blount, Secretary to the ZAB, barely refused to share more then his name, rank, and serial number (OK, just the first one), declared the issue predated his tenure and that Sanderson was the only contact person. Sally Zarnowitz, the secretary for the Landmarks Commission after Sorensen, was frosty—unapologetic that I hadn't been noticed when the renovation came to the Commission—"Why, in the past, even owners didn't receive notice." The review then would have been for arts and crafts live/work spaces presumably; a subgroup of the Commission reviewed later changes like the door cut-outs that surely look like retail to me. But Zarnowitz told me she observes the separation between form and function, and the commissioners presumably didn't ask, nor were told, about the new and different uses. As my mother used to say, "Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies." 

So, a duck is NOT a duck, black is white, and Nexus Institute and Gallery was a mirage. And arts and crafts uses are truly protected in West Berkeley by an ordinance still on the books but as meaningful as a monument to the dodo birds. 

A footnote: this is not the first controversy involving Sanderson, as well as litigation. According to the Dec. 2012, Council of Neighborhood Associations (CNA) Newsletter, Sanderson and Greg Powell were "Machiavellian" in their handling of the pending demolition of the historic Copra Building at 740 Heinz, now the subject of litiigation. An application by Wareham Development was approved to save two facades of the structure, and as a mitigation allowed to exceed height limits and build to 74 ft. inside the preserved walls. Then Wareham gained permission to demolish everything but retained the right to the 74 ft. height! 

Her name also surfaces in connection to the $250,000 settlement to a former planning employee, briefly mentioned in a April 27, 2012 article in the Berkeley Daily Planet by Toni Mester entitled "May Day Public Hearing on West Berkeley Developments." Mester mentions the $250,000 out-of-court settlement awarded planner Alan Gatzke, against former Director of Development Dan Marks and Sanderson, over issues of discrimination. 

And there's my article, "Eric Angstadt—Will He Bring His Bad Habits from Oakland to Berkeley?" in the May 4, 2012 Berkeley Daily Planet about her boss, Planning Director Eric Angstadt, who, like Sanderson, seems the perfect fit for Bates Berkeley. 

Robert Brokl is an artist and Oakland resident. 



Think on Other Ways to Help Syria

By Romila Khanna
Friday September 13, 2013 - 05:11:00 PM

We can help the people of Syria by helping them get a good education. We know for certain that air strikes will create chaos. Real goodwill lies in helping neighboring countries improve education, health resources and food guarantees for poor people. America wants to stop the ruthless attack upon its own civilians by Syria's government. But due to the recession prevailing in Europe and Asia many countries do not wish to participate in a military action against Syria. 

Similarly, other Muslim nations may not like an attack on a sister nation. They may retaliate. This will make the USA fearful of revenge attacks from other Muslim nations. Let us focus on building bridges instead of throwing bombs.

New: Systemic Causation and Syria: Obama's Framing Problem

By George Lakoff, Reader Supported News
Friday September 13, 2013 - 11:14:00 AM

Every language in the world has a way in its grammar to express direct causation: a local application of force that has a local effect in place and time. You pick up a glass of water and drink it: direct causation. You bomb a hospital, destroying it and killing those inside: direct causation.

No language in the world has a way in its grammar to express systemic causation. You drill a lot more oil, burn a lot more gas, put a lot more CO2 in the air, the earth's atmosphere heats up, more moisture evaporates from the oceans yielding bigger storms in certain places and more droughts and fires in other places: systemic causation. The world ecology is a system -- like the world economy and the human brain.

From infanthood on we experience simple, direct causation. We see direct causation all around us: if we push a toy, it topples over; if our mother turns a knob on the oven, flames emerge. And so on. The same is not true of systemic causation. Systemic causation cannot be experienced directly. It has to be learned, its cases studied, and repeated communication is necessary before it can be widely understood.

The daily horrors in Syria are direct: shootings, bombings, gassings. When the media reports on "Syria" (as it should), it is reporting on the direct horrors. If "Syria" is the problem, the problem is the daily horrors, the 100,000 killed, the ongoing shootings and bombings, the persistent hatred and oppression. If the president is understood as addressing "Syria," and he proposes directly bombing Syria, the natural question is whether that eliminates the daily direct horrors. When he admits that it does not, when Secretary Kerry says correctly, "There are no good options in Syria," the question naturally arises, "Why bomb when it won't solve the direct problem, but might create other problems?" 

To President Obama, "Syria" is not primarily about direct causation. It is about systemic causation as it affects the world as a whole. It is about preventing the proliferation of poison gas use and nuclear weapons. It is about the keeping and enforcement of treaties on these matters. That is what he meant when he said that the red line is not his, but "the world's red line," "the international community's red line." The president has a broad perspective. To him "Syria" does not just mean Syria; it means the effects of the horrors in Syria on the world. "Limited" bombing in Syria is not about directly stopping the horrors there; it is about an attempt to prevent proliferation of gas and nuclear weapons and about an attempt to move toward a peaceful resolution. 

But the president has not made this clear, and he could not possibly do it in one speech, given that most people don't viscerally react to systemic causation, and many don't understand it at all. He could only do it by discussing it overtly, distinguishing what is systemic from what is direct, and repeating it over and over. Even then, it would be a hard sell for cognitive reasons -- even though he has good reasons to base his policy on it. 

Then there is Russia. In his September 10 speech, Obama addressed the Russian plan to take control of the poison gas in Syria from Assad's hands, which Assad has assented to. He discussed the plan, but never mentioned why the usual rational distrust of Russia should not apply here. It shouldn't apply because taking control is in many ways in Russia's interests: there are business interests, and there are many Russian citizens in Syria working on technology or going to college or married to Syrians. An American bombing could lead to gas falling into the hands of jihadists from Chechnya and elsewhere, who could use gas in terrorist attacks on Russia. Russia has a very strong interest in taking control of Assad's poison gas and we can trust Russia to act in its interests. But the president didn't say that Russia has a real interest in a peaceful diplomatic resolution in Syria, just as we do. Why not? Given the deep suspicion of Russia in the American psyche, that is a hard sell, too. 

Just as there are no easy direct options in Syria, so there are no easy direct short-run communication options for a reasonable policy based on systemic causation. The reason is that the communication of unfamiliar ideas like systemic causation is itself a systemic problem. You can't just mention it once and expect it to be widely understood. It has to be repeated over time by a lot of people in a lot of situations. 

As a result, the president's logic of limited bombing is not understood: he wants to bomb to prevent the systemic effect of the use of poison gas, not to stop the direct killing via other means, which we cannot stop. Obama has two hard sells, which for cognitive reasons lie beyond his immediate control. Systemic causation is not a natural concept that is automatically learned. In the September 10 speech, these ideas were mentioned, but they were not put front and center. And moreover, there has been no communicative groundwork over the past five years that would help citizens understand the logic of systemic causation versus direct causation and how it applies to Syria and other issues of our times.


The Obama Doctrine

By Bob Burnett
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:38:00 AM

Like a star basketball player, who delights in taking the last shot in a close game, Barack Obama typically gives his best speeches when he’s under the most pressure. True to form, on September 10th, the President gave one of his most effective TV presentations explaining his position on Syria and elaborating the Obama Doctrine

It helped that Obama’s address to the nation was short and to the point. He presented logical reasons why the US should care about Syria and its use of chemical weapons. He also answered Americans most pressing concerns: Won’t a US strike on Syria inevitably lead to a new war? Is the strike worth doing if the US doesn’t also take out the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad? Isn’t there a great danger of retaliation against the US? Why should the US be the world’s policeman? 

A CNN poll taken immediately after the President’s speech indicated it was well received: 

61% said they support the president's position on Syria, with 37% saying they oppose his response to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens.

The crux of Obama’s argument dealt with this foreign policy conundrum: in a situation that cries out for multilateral action, why would the US act unilaterally? Acknowledging that America “should not be the world’s policeman,” the President observed, 

for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements -- it has meant enforcing them. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them.

This maxim is the heart of the Obama Doctrine. The United States is exceptional because we are the “anchor of global security.” In many instances where there is multilateral diplomatic support it often comes down to the United States to initiate military action either because our allies lack the wherewithal or because Russia or China blocks action in the United Nations’ Security Council. 

The Obama Doctrine focuses on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The President had previously noted that it would be unacceptable for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Now he has extended this prohibition to the Syrian chemical weapons cache. By implication, Obama is also warning North Korea, a state reported to have nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. 

The President made it clear the Obama Doctrine does not extend to civil wars in general or incidents of genocide, no matter how egregious. And it does not imply that it is the role of the US to force other countries to adopt democracy. It’s far less broad than the Bush Doctrine that contended the US had the right to invade countries that harbored terrorist groups. 

The Obama doctrine has a narrow focus: keeping other nations from using biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons. It argues that we should always seek the support of the world community to enforce this prohibition. But, if they fail to respond, we should act unilaterally, because we are “the anchor of global security.” 

In his September 10th address to the nation, expounding the Obama Doctrine, the President made a strong case for military intervention in Syria. But it’s unlikely that he changed the minds of war-weary Americans or members of Congress. 

Fortunately for President Obama, he may not have to obtain Congressional support. During the week prior to his address, Obama learned that Russia is willing to negotiate Syria’s surrender of its chemical-weapons stockpile: 

Over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs. In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action, as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin, the Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use… It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.

If the diplomatic effort succeeds and Russia negotiates Syria’s surrender of its chemical-weapons stockpile, this action will be seen as a triumph for the Obama Doctrine. It will be said that by threatening US military action, the President goaded Russia, and the UN Security Council, into taking action. 

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

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Medication Versus Activity

By Jack Bragen
Thursday September 12, 2013 - 02:03:00 PM

A person with mental illness will do better in life if they have activity in their routine rather than inactivity. Being engaged in life is essential to recover functioning and to have quality of life in spite of these illnesses. 

I believe that medication and inactivity when put together may cause brain atrophy. The "use it or lose it" truism is especially applicable to people who take antipsychotic medication. While on antipsychotic medication, a great deal more effort is needed to become mobilized. This can be fairly uncomfortable, but is necessary if a person doesn't want to continually lose capabilities. 

Mental exercise should include both physical and mental activities, since, in order to use your body, you must use your brain. An example of the physical might be checking the oil on your car, cooking an omelet, or playing a game of ping-pong. An example of mental activity might be balancing your checkbook, reading a novel, or attentively watching news on television or on the internet. 

A psychotic or manic episode is quite a shock to the brain. When in the recovery phase and given medication, a person may be set up for brain atrophy. It is like having a sprained ankle, and then being put in a cast. While the splint allows for the tissues to mend, it also prevents movement, and this can cause weakness. Medication can be seen as such a splint, however, for the brain. Once past severe symptoms, it is important for someone with either bipolar or schizophrenia to make an effort. However, this does not come easily. 

I have seen mentally ill people who have become resigned to their seeming fate. They do not make an effort, they seem like immobilized blobs, and they function at an impaired level. The mental health treatment system assumes that mentally ill people will be this way. 

I know of a middle-aged woman who is not willing to walk a short distance to accomplish simple errands, who rarely gets up out of her chair, and who does not clean her apartment, nor properly take care of her cat. At one point, she fell and was wedged between pieces of furniture in her bedroom. She couldn't free herself, was trapped for three days, and was lucky that her neighbor, who was concerned, knocked down or opened the door. This person didn't learn from her folly, and to this day continues to be immobile. 

When computers became prevalent, and when I acquired a PC, it was very good for my mental condition. E-mail communication allows me to circumvent much of my shyness and to be in contact with people. When dealing with people through the internet, outward appearance is usually irrelevant, and this can be a good thing. In the process of solving computer problems that will inevitably, sooner or later occur, it gives the brain a workout. 

When I was briefly self-employed at helping people with their PC problems, it allowed me to run a zero overhead company in which I got out-and-about doing meaningful work. Many years before that, in the 1980's and early 1990's, I did repair of home electronics. This was good for me because it required a lot of focus. 

Relationships are also a source of stimulation, and are invaluable for a person's development. 

If someone has an episode of severe mental illness and is subsequently medicated, it is important to remain active, and to do so even if this is uncomfortable.

Arts & Events

Press Release: Riley, Monk, The Residents,Ono
Highlight New Sarah Cahill CD
at Other Minds Records CD Release Party
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 22, 2013,at Berkeley Arts Festival

Tuesday September 17, 2013 - 05:15:00 PM


Other Minds is excited to bring you a collection of new compositions about peace and war commissioned and performed by the pathbreaking American pianist Sarah Cahill. All eight selections are world premiere recordings. The project grew out of a sense of frustration and anger with the perpetuation of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The title, A Sweeter Music, comes from a line from Dr. Martin Luther King’s Nobel Lecture: “We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody, that is far superior to the discords of war.”  


We would like to invite those of you in the Bay Area to a special CD release celebration at Berkeley Arts Festival on Sunday, September 22nd from 2-5pm. Sarah will perform excerpts from the release at 3pm and 4pm. Admission is as a $5 - $20 sliding scale donation - a copy of A Sweeter Music is free with any donation over $15. Tickets will be available at the door. We hope to see you there! 

Eighteen composers known for their anti-war activism and strong political consciences were commissioned for the project. Out of those 18, Frederic Rzewski, Terry Riley, Meredith Monk, Yoko Ono, The Residents, Phil Kline, Kyle Gann, and Carl Stone appear in this release. From 2009 to 2012, Sarah took A Sweeter Music on the road for a series of performances around the US. London’s Financial Times callsA Sweeter Music “a unique commissioning programme that unites artistic aspirations with moral philosophy.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “the music, helped along by the impassioned force of Cahill’s playing, amounted to a persuasive and varied investigation of the subject.” The Village Voice wrote that the new commissioned pieces “will live as event-driven art long after this war finally ends, in the fashion of Picasso's Guernica.”

You can pre-order the release now on our webstore. Act soon - we're offering a discount for those who place their orders before the official release date of September 24th. 





8th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival
Festival Flamenco Gitano
September 21-October 6, 2013

Saturday September 14, 2013 - 11:11:00 AM

The Bay Area Flamenco Festival Invites you to experience deeply authentic Gypsy flamenco direct from Spain, first-hand in an intimate setting.

"Exhilarating..." The New York Times The 8th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival features world-class artists from Spain on three consecutive weekends in Berkeley. Festival opening night is this coming Saturday, September 21 and features a highly anticipated performance by living legend of Gypsy flamenco dance, Concha Vargas at La Peña Cultural Center. The show starts at 8pm and earlier in the evening Ñora Spanish Cuisine is taking over La Peña Café for a pop-up 5-course Andalusian-inspired dinner. Weekend two features a homecoming concert Sunday, September 29th at 8pm celebrating internationally renowned guitarist David Serva Jones’s 50 plus years in flamenco at the Freight & Salvage. And the Festival closing weekend features a performance on Saturday October 5th at 8pm by rising star Gypsy dancer Gema Moneo from Jerez de la Frontera at the Thurst Stage of the Berkeley Repertory Theater. The Festival has also arranged for a series of workshops and master classes on Saturdays Sept 21 — Oct 5 at the Ashkenaz and Berkeley's Casa Latina Bakery. Plus there will be a special event showcasing the acclaimed photography collection, Flamenco Project edited by guitarist/photographer Steve Kahn on Thursday, September 27th at 7pm at La Peña Cultural Center.


"These artists are bringing the Gitano essence of flamenco into the 21st century,” explains Festival director Nina Menendez. “They have an ease for improvisation that comes from living the art as part of everyday life. No choreography is required, only an intimate connection among the dancers and musicians who interact freely on the basis of a shared legacy and an insatiable hunger to find the spark of duende that transforms the mundane into the sublime.” 

THE BAY AREA FLAMENCO FESTIVAL/FESTIVAL FLAMENCO GITANO is recognized as one of the most vibrant flamenco festivals in the United States. Celebrating Spanish Gypsy music and dance as a living culture and a legacy of world stature, the Festival has presented some of the most important figures in the history of flamenco as well as prodigies from today’s generation of artists. Founded in 2005, the Festival has grown into a popular and vital annual Bay Area cultural event, drawing over 3000 world music and dance enthusiasts each year. 

“In recent years, the San Francisco Bay Area has become a major U.S. conduit for Spain’s greatest flamenco artists. […] There’s really a vibrant scene here and Nina Menéndez has become a major force [as] the producer of the Bay Area Flamenco Festival. - NPR The California Report 

Prices for performances start at $30 and tickets for all Festival events and workshops may be purchased at http://www.bayareaflamencofestival.org. For more information call (510) 444-2820 




CONCHA VARGAS, Icon of Gypsy Flamenco Dance Direct from Lebrija, Spain 

Saturday, Sept. 21 8pm : La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley 

An icon of Gypsy flamenco dance, CONCHA VARGAS has it all: flamenco essence, temperament, charisma, rhythmic creativity, expressivity, skill and absolute confidence on stage. Her dancing is rooted in improvisation and expression, revitalizing and reinventing her cultural legacy without an ounce of artifice, making each one of her performances an unforgettable experience for all audiences. 



Celebrating over 50 Years in Flamenco, DAVID SERVA Godfather of Bay Area Flamenco Guitar 

Sunday, Sept 29 8pm : Freight & Salvage, Berkeley 

This concert is a celebration of David Serva's foundational influence on the flamenco community of the Bay Area. A Bay Area native who has lived and worked in Spain as a professional flamenco guitarist for most of his life, David Serva has built a singular style on the artistic legacy of his maestro, Gypsy guitarist Diego del Gastor (1908-1973). Serva will be joined by a group of musicians and dancers from Spain including Jose Galvez "El Duende", Kina Mendez, Javier Heredia and Luis de la Tota. 



A slideshow & roundtable discussion

Thursday, Sept 26th, 7pm: La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley 

Vintage images from the acclaimed collection edited by guitarist/photographer Steve Kahn will spark discussion among a group of artists and flamenco aficionados who lived in Spain in the 1960s & 70s. Panelists include Steve Kahn, David Serva, Paul Shalmy, Jill Bacán, Mica Graña and Kenny Parker 


GEMA MONEO, Rising Star of Gypsy Flamenco Dance from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain 

Friday, Oct 4 8pm : Brava Theater, San Francisco 

Saturday, Oct 5 8pm : Thrust Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre 

Gema Moneo is from the legendary Moneo clan of Gypsy flamenco singers and guitarists in Jerez de la Frontera. Niece of the famed singer El Torta, she grew up in the middle of an ongoing flamenco fiesta with constant singing and dancing at home and at family gatherings. At the age of 18 she joined Farruquito's company and has appeared with him all over Spain and at festivals including the Bienal de Flamenco in Sevilla. Last year Gema debuted in the US with the all-star ensemble led by Diego del Morao, Fiesta Jerez at Festival Flamenco Gitano USA. 


Nina Menéndez, Festival founder & Artistic Director, has a life-long passion for flamenco. She has a PhD in Cultural Studies (Stanford University, 1993) and her paternal grandparents were from Spain where she has cultivated deep ties to the flamenco community. She serves as director of Bay Area Flamenco, organizing numerous flamenco concerts, workshops and cultural exchange opportunities throughout the year and sharing her profound respect for the art of flamenco. She is an active member of the Bay Area arts scene and maintains a lively network of community relations and volunteers. 

Around & About Music: Berkeley Symphony's New Season--Chamber Music Series Begins This Sunday; Opening Symphony Concert, October 3

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:41:00 AM

Berkeley Symphony's new season begins—in advance of its opening concert with Joana Carneiro conducting Edmund Campion's (of UC Berkeley) Ossicles, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto Number 2 (with Italian pianist Alessio Bax) & Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, 7 pm, October 3 at Zellerbach Hall—with a new series, Berkeley Symphony & Friends Chamber Music, the first program premiering this Sunday at 5 in the Piedmont Center for the Arts (801 Magnolia, Piedmont), with guest violinist Stuart Canin, former concertmaster of San Francisco Symphony & of Los Angeles Opera, accompanied by Berkeley Symphony musicians Rene Mandel (also the Symphony's executive director), violin; Tiantian Lan, Symphony principal violist; & Helene Wickett, piano, playing Mozart's Fuo for Violin & Viola in G Major, Martinu's Three Madrigals for Violin & Viola, Prokofiev's Sonata for Two Violins & Cesar Franck's Sonata for Violin & Piano in A Major. $25 berkeleysymphony.org Future programs on November 3, January 19, March 16 & April 13.

Around & About Poetry: Jack Marshall Reads from 'Spiral Trace' at Moe's on Thursday, with Poet Anne Winters

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:40:00 AM

Jack Marshall, well-known Bay Area poet, an El Cerrito resident, will read from his booklength poem, Spiral Trace, recently released by Coffee House Press, at Moe's Books on Telegraph this Thursday at 7:30, with poet Anne Winters also reading from her book, The Displaced of Capital. Admission is free. 

Marshall, who has produced over a dozen books of poetry and a memoir, has both concentrated his decades of experience of presenting " ... a narrative you/won't find/in the news" and expanded his own poetic horizons with this continuous, ongoing narrative of 85 lyric poems, sections of the book, which the poet's said is made up of "the cumulative effect of one poem on before and after poems, their echoes and resonance, propulsion, pause and turn-abouts, their rethreaded themes and music ... That make them a cohesive (if ragged) ensemble ... A lyric epic?" 

Quickly moving from the greater issues of the day to personal events and insights and back again, with even quicker changes in mood and attack, from lament to slangy humor, Marshall employs a supple three-line stanza, with terza rima (Dante's form in the Commedia) of often deliberate off-rhymes, summing up, then discounting a welter of impressions, then taking time to concentrate on some penetrating perception.  

"So in the passing speed of each other in order/to return with more/of what is alien to the other--//there's love? There is, if our fate/is to be tapped/and resonate//when darkness nears." 

There're jeremiads about the state of the world, war, ecological disaster, the strange distraction and indifference of whole endangered populations, side by side with tender eulogies for departed friends, like fellow poet Morton Marcus: 

"If poetry is near able to say/what's not heard in speech,/perhaps he'll hear what I didn't say--//here, in out of the unbound/stretch and reach and touch of/time in sound." 

Finally, after a whole book of rushing words amid idling thoughts, the poet makes his exit: 

"We live in, on,/through, traces of flow/before song sung, tongue stone ... //or strewn, then sown. I don't know,/song, stone, strewn, dumb--/I gotta go." 

Free. 7:30 Thursday, September 19, Moe's Books, 2476 Telegraph Avenue (between Haste & Dwight Way), 849-2087 or moesbiooks.com

A Spectacular “Bonnie & Clyde” at Shotgun Players

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday September 12, 2013 - 01:56:00 PM

Mark Jackson has taken a seemingly boring play by Adam Peck and made it spectacular. The highlight of “BONNIE & CLYDE” at SHOTGUN PLAYERS is the incredibly poignant choreography which is a collaboration of Director Jackson, Kimberly Dooley, and the two actors Joe Estlack and Megan Trout. Jon Tracy provides a lighting design of blinding bursts that imply the headlights of a posse or the rat-a-tat of a machine gun or the heavenly light to which Bonnie Parker reassures herself will be the next destination. Matt Stine’s sound design of combining the revving of the engine of a get-away car with a chorus of classical voices starts this dazzling production.  

At the heart of these theatrics is Megan Trout. She resembles Faye Dunaway, who created the cinematic icon of Bonnie, but with a Barbie Doll figure, a Dresden doll face, and long blonde tresses. Lithe and agile, her emotive and expressive dancing of the sometimes elegant, often angular, and always moving choreography is beatific. She rides the edge of danger by climbing the rafters of the barn they are holed up in—designed with immaculate geometry by Robert Broadfoot. Joe Estlack is a good partner and keeps up with her, showing his own dancing talent in muscular form, but it is difficult to disconnect one’s eyes from Trout. The ethereal dancing of this “gun moll,” this “tigress”—as the newspapers of the day portrayed her—is balanced with the most erotic moment I’ve seen on stage in a while when Clyde, upon her urging, brings her to the edge of orgasm.  

I hate to put a “but” in anyone’s face, BUT in between the spectacle and the dancing, the play is bloody boring. It’s not the actors fault, for they have chemistry and put their all into their portrayal and connection, and maintain a believable Appalachian accent. It’s surely not the director’s fault, whose staging is repeatedly the best we’ve seen in the medium-sized Bay area theatres. It seems that the same beat is played repeatedly, though the topics range from her momma not liking him, to views of the afterlife, to whether he killed her pet bird. Adam Peck is a lauded British playwright, but it reminds one of the reiterations of “Waiting for Godot.” It’s full of insightful speculation on what goes on the minds and conversations of two hunted robbers and killers who know they are doomed. In the Dustbowl, in the midst of the worst ecological disaster the world had seen, and in the bleakest years of the Depression, these two Texans seemed to have made a conscious choice to renounce society and visit their venom on it. They raged from as far north as Middleton Ohio and Dexter, Iowa, to Smackover, Arkansas, down through to Huntsville, Texas, and over to Natchitoches, Louisiana, in pursuit of their own egotistic outlaw legend (Parker even wrote her own heroic poetry about their exploits.) But both my partner’s and my eyes glazed until startled alert by the phenomenal extravaganza of lights, sound and dance.  

It is 80 minutes of beauty with award-winner written all of it, and an evening you won’t soon forget. 

(BTW—don’t confuse this with the musical “Bonnie & Clyde” nominated for a Tony in 2012.) 

“Bonnie and Clyde” by Adam Peck 

Directed by Mark Jackson 

At the Ashby Stage opposite Ashby BART 

Through September 29 


Theater Review: After the Revolution, at Aurora

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 13, 2013 - 05:12:00 PM

"I thought he was blacklisted because he was an ideological Commie—and now you tell me ... "

Opening with excited, overlapping dialogue by three generations of a staunchly leftist political family, gathered to celebrate the granddaughter's speech at graduation about the persecuted, heroic grandfather she's named an activist foundation after—and closing with a tense tete-a-tete between granddaughter and step-grandmother, keeper of the flame for her legendary late husband, and maybe the thorniest Jewish grandma onstage since Lost in Yonkers ...

Amy Herzog's After the Revolution, about the revelation of social and family myths and its devastating effect on those raised to believe them as gospel, seems the perfect play for Aurora to start a new season with. Joy Carlin has directed a fine cast—Jessica Bates, Ellen Ratner, Rolf Saxon, Pamela Gaye Walker, Victor Talmadge, Adrian Achondo, Peter Kybert and Sarah Mitchell—resolved into an ensemble. The background of its story, of the legacy of a political lion, pilloried by HUAC just after the execution of the Rosenbergs, tarnished by posthumous charges of espionage, is also a surprisingly current theme, with the Snowden Affair and the NSA scandal it brought about still being played out. 

Amy Herzog grew up in a family with a similar heritage, and is able to invest the action with something of the aura of familial warmth—and machinations. The squabbling can be hilarious or fraught, the togetherness—well, heartwarming ... 

Maybe it's the touching moments that point to a lack of depth to the proceedings overall. Characters—and they can be real characters! at least at the point of introduction—take the stage, questions come up, conflict begins ... and everything seems to eventually fall back in place, the mysterious package, once unwrapped, is tied back together again with a perfect bow. Emma, the family's golden girl, "processes" familial trauma and personal relationship with her live-in Latino boyfriend and foundation associate (who her leftist family reacts to as one or another face out of a stereotype); it's funny, charming, touching by degrees, but very predictable, "script-driven," like a shared game of solitaire at times, everything for the linear development of the plot, little to enrich or deepen what was so interesting at first blush. 

A particular example would be the character of Leo, played—in the little moments when it's possible—with distinction by Victor Talmadge. Drawn sympathetically, less boldly than the character of Ben, Leo's still-activist brother (and Emma's father), there's never any fleshing-out of an intriguing presence that never gets much past being onstage to provide a counterpoint to Ben's blustering, to give Emma a place to stay and a sympathetic ear, so the audience can hear what she—rather predictably, again—is thinking in the midst of a communication breakdown on all other fronts. 

Even the end, which seems to contradict, to leave the wrapped-up rest of the plot hanging in suspense, Emma's heart-to-heart talk with her scathingly hard line grandmother, becomes just a nod, a gesture of recognition towards what's too often irremediable in emotional and ideological misunderstandings. It would seem to certify a kind of sincerity, but unwittingly points to the absence of real conflict, how an unforeseen event also has unforeseen consequences that breed further anomalies—the heritage of our drama, from Euripides to Shakespeare, Strindberg and Pirandello to Beckett and Pinter, all very different playwrights, with very different ways of exploring the maze of human events ... 

After the Revolution, after its own promising premise, unfortunately follows the same old party line—that of the typical Problem Play on TV, or of the Sitcom—not involving its own characters or the audience enough in what makes theater a unique experience of collective self-consciousness. An exemplary production can bring out the script's very good points, a kind of schematic for a good drama, but it can't compensate for what that script was missing when it graduated from "development," bereft of the deeper note it promises to sound. 

Extended through October 6, Tuesdays through Sundays, various times. $32-$50. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, near Shattuck. 843-4822; auroratheatre.org

Press Release: Michael Parenti in Book Launch

Thursday September 12, 2013 - 02:01:00 PM

Come hear Michael Parenti speak about, and read from, his newly published memoir: Waiting for Yesterday: Pages from a Street Kid's Life. Michael will also sign copies (and crack jokes). 

You can choose from the following presentations Michael is giving: 

Berkeley: Friday, September 27 (Unitarian-Universalist Berkeley Fellowship Hall), 1924 Cedar St. @ Bonita; 7 p.m. doors open at 6.30. refreshments served; admission free. 

San Francisco: Wednesday, October 2 (Modern Times Bookstore), 2919 24th Street @ Alabama St; 7 p.m.; admission free. 

Sonoma: Sunday, October 20 (Readers Books bookstore), 130 E. Napa St. 2 p.m.; Italian appetizers and local wine; admission free.

Press Release: Tenants' Union to Hold Potluck

Friday September 13, 2013 - 09:28:00 AM

The Berkeley Tenants Union is alive and kicking. Come kick it with us at our special September 18 Potluck, which we are sharing with our friends from Berkeley Citizens Action. There are several alarming changes threatening protections Berkeley tenants have come to take for granted. Come to the Potluck to learn more, or visit our website at berkeleytenants.org. 

Wednesday, September 18, Grassroots House, 2022 Blake Street 

Counseling at 6 PM, Food and Conversation at 6:30