The Week



Flash: Berkeley City Council to consider compromise on minimum wage once again tomorrow at another special meeting

Scott Morris (BCN) and Planet
Thursday August 25, 2016 - 08:24:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council will vote at a surprise meeting on Friday morning on a new ordinance that would raise the city's minimum wage to $15 in two years. Previously, a mayoral candidate and councilmember, realtor Laurie Capitelli, orchestrated a supposed compromise with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), but then failed to show up for a special council meeting he himself had called. -more-

Press Release: HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD: Council Special Meeting re MINIMUM WAGE, Tomorrow, Friday, Aug 26, 11:30am, Old City Hall, 2134 MLK Jr. Way.

John Caner, CEO, Downtown Berkeley Association
Thursday August 25, 2016 - 12:20:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council has called a Special Meeting for tomorrow morning, to revisit the Berkeley Minimum Wage. The meeting will be held at 11:30am in Council Chambers on the 2nd Floor of Old City Hall at 2134 MLK Jr. Way. -more-

Stairway to Heaven:
Pacific School of Religion might partner with Rhoades client for market-rate development on Holy Hill(Reportage? Op-ed?)

Fred Dodsworth (candidate for City Council, District 6)
Thursday August 25, 2016 - 10:20:00 AM

EDITOR'S NOTE: Council candidate Fred Dodsworth, a former Planet reporter, submitted this colorful piece with the above tag. You be the judge, but for a more conventional report from the excellent Tom Lochner in the East Bay Times, see

For extensive reproduction of the promoter's renderings which purport to show the proposed development, see

Tuesday night the latest iteration of grotesque and inappropriate over-development visited north Berkeley like the ghost of some nightmarish future. For the very summit of Holy Hill, just one block from CAL-Berkeley, the Pacific School of Religion AND Mather-Lifeways have proposed a “market-rate” (read obscenely expensive) senior living complex which would be best described as an undistinguished, ugly, five-story pile of stucco and concrete, —the sort of monolithic wall of office buildings (not homes) one finds a-plenty of in Sunnyvale or Walnut Creek. If Berkeley’s Bard, the fabulous Malvina Reynolds were alive today I’m sure she would quickly pen a new verse regarding these “little boxes made out of ticky tacky — they all look just the same.” Unfortunately, in the senior housing context such “little boxes” take on a much darker meaning.

Berkeley’s busiest developer mouthpiece, Mark Rhoades played wrangler for PSR/MLW’s proposal. In exchange for not taking the wrecking ball to the historic chapel on campus and the Maybeck designed home further down the hill, Mr Rhoades implied that the neighborhood owed PSR/MLW the right to cover more of the site than the city’s already over-generous zoning allows. Rhoades threatened the attendees with even taller buildings looming over their bucolic residential streets if the neighborhood didn’t quickly fall into line. Rhoades also insisted that no one was allowed to record the presentation (just because), and that they wouldn’t take questions out loud from the audience, a stricture that was roundly ignored by the 50 or 60 unhappy neighbors in attendance. After an hour of astonishingly dull explanations as to why and how this was the most important and best use of these historic structures and endangered open space, the Rhoades show broke up into a half a dozen stations where folks could speak directly to the various so-called experts in color and texture and transportation, which, as might be expected, led to a mass exodus of neighbors, affording the various consultants and PSR/MLW principals the opportunity to continue speak to each other. -more-

Police seek help in finding UC Berkeley Library vandals, thieves

Scott Morris (BCN)
Wednesday August 24, 2016 - 01:16:00 PM

Police are asking for help tracking down four suspects caught on video vandalizing and stealing from the University of California at Berkeley library in June. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Looking back ahead

Helen Rippier Wheeler
Wednesday August 24, 2016 - 12:03:00 PM

Women finally got a piece of the action in 1920. Passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution provided American women with full voting rights fifty years after all American men were enabled to vote. Sixteen other nations had already guaranteed women this right.

August 26th is designated as Women's Equality Day to commemorate this event. Women’s Equality Day is officially proclaimed in some locales. It was instituted by Congressional Representative Bella Abzug (1920-1998) when she was 60 years old. Women and girls have come a long way but there is still much work to be done to achieve true equity. Women’s Equality Day is not on the calendars of the Berkeley public library, the City of Berkeley, nor Berkeley senior centers. -more-

New: Armed robbery at Blake and Dana

Allison Levitsky (BCN)
Wednesday August 24, 2016 - 12:18:00 PM

An armed robbery took place at approximately 1:50 a.m. Wednesdy morning at the intersection of Blake and Dana streets, Berkeley police said. The victim described the two suspects as 25-year-old black men, about 6 feet tall, both wearing black hooded sweatshirts and black jeans. Both suspects reportedly had handguns. After taking the victim's cellphone, they fled north on Dana Street. The victim was not harmed. -more-

Berkeley Shooting Victim Identified by Police

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Tuesday August 23, 2016 - 09:37:00 PM

Police have identified a man who was fatally shot late Thursday night in Berkeley as 22-year-old Alex Goodwin. -more-

Berkeley Police investigate fatal shooting

Dennis Culver (BCN)
Friday August 19, 2016 - 10:11:00 AM

Police in Berkeley are investigating a shooting that occurred Thursday night and left one person dead. -more-



The Keystone Cops are running the Berkeley City Council. (So what else is new?)

Becky O'Malley
Friday August 19, 2016 - 02:09:00 PM

UPDATE: The do-over happened at a second special meeting on Friday. See story, August 26. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

They're at it again

Thursday August 25, 2016 - 12:44:00 PM

This just in: another city council meeting to tinker with the minimum wage proposals for the November ballot. Still nothing about the Black Lives Matter or the Brown By-Right proposals however. How do we know? From the DBA, of course. The city of Berkeley seems to pay someone to write press releases, which seem to go first to the campaign funders who make up the Downtown Business Association. -more-

Public Comment

War Crimes

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday August 19, 2016 - 06:39:00 PM

In a perverse twist to its stated reason for promoting “stability within the region," the U.S. continues to sell large numbers of weapons to Saudi Arabia, (a staggering $110 billion) — which the Saudis have been raining down on a predominantly civilian population in Yemen. President Obama bypassed Congress to facilitate the sales.

The State Department recently approved an additional $1.5 billion in arms sales. Our British and European cousins are also jumping on the bandwagon eager to participate in the bonanza.

Despite clear marking and GPS coordinates provided to the warring factions, a Doctors Without Borders hospital was recently attacked - again, killing medical personnel, patients, and civilians. -more-

Response to July 29 commentary

Mark DiPietro, Director of Marketing & Communications Landmark College
Thursday August 18, 2016 - 08:36:00 PM

The July 29 issue of the Berkeley Daily Planet included a Public Comment by Gar Smith titled “Has UC Berkeley become an Academic AirB’n’B?” Included in the commentary is a description of a five-day summer workshop for college students developed and sponsored by Landmark College, and taught by Landmark College instructors. The workshop was held at UC Berkeley from August 1-5.

While much of the information was factually correct, some was misleading. Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont, was founded in 1985 to serve students with dyslexia, and has since expanded to serve students with other learning difficulties. The phrase “students who learn differently” is not, as stated in the opinion piece, “the current politically correct phraseology,” but is an accurate description of the students served by Landmark College’s model. A learning disability is a neurological disorder that interferes with learning processes; “students who learn differently” is a broader phrase that can include other significant challenges to a student’s ability to process information. Landmark College serves students with many learning profiles, hence the use of the broader phrase, “students who learn differently.”

Students and adults with an LD are more prevalent than it might seem, as LD is “invisible.” The National Center for Learning Disabilities reports that 4.6 million Americans have a diagnosed LD but also notes that the actual number is likely higher. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Top 10 Trump Predictions

Bob Burnett
Friday August 19, 2016 - 01:22:00 PM

As Donald Trump stumbles towards the November 8th election, it’s clear that each week will bring a new Trump screwup. Here are my top ten predictions.

10. Trump’s tax returns will be hacked. Donald Trump has refused to release his tax returns. He called upon Russian hackers to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails and release them to the press. Trump’s remark has some hackers promising to make public Trump’s tax returns. On a recent Bill Maher show, the host asked WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange when they were going to release Trump’s returns; Assange replied, “We’re working on it.” It’s only a matter of time before someone releases Trump’s recent returns. They’ll likely show zero taxes paid, no charitable contributions, and scary ties to Russian oligarchs. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Homeless encampments may be here to stay until adequate shelters for all are provided

Ralph E. Stone
Friday August 19, 2016 - 01:16:00 PM

Homeless encampments are springing up in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and elsewhere in the Bay Area because local governments are unable to provide shelter, let alone permanent housing, to their homeless. The homeless are, therefore, forced to find their own self-help shelter in tents, under bridges, in doorways, and in our parks.

Courts and the federal government have said it's illegal to criminalize someone's status rather than their conduct, and therefore enforcing a no-camping ordinance when homeless people don't have viable alternatives is criminalizing their state in life. A shelter is a basic human right and efforts to remove the homeless self-help shelters are likely to run afoul of the law. Without shelter, the homeless are exposed to the dangerous condition of living on the streets. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Dangerous Seas: China & The U.S.

Conn Hallinan
Friday August 19, 2016 - 01:26:00 PM

A combination of recent events underpinned by long-running historical strains reaching back more than 60 years has turned the western Pacific into one of the most hazardous spots on the globe. The tension between China and the U.S. “is one of the most striking and dangerous themes in international politics,” says The Financial Times’ longtime commentator and China hand, Gideon Rachman.

In just the past five months, warships from both countries—including Washington’s closest ally in the region, Japan—have done everything but ram one another. And, as Beijing continues to build bases on scattered islands in the South China Sea, the U.S. is deploying long-range nuclear capable strategic bombers in Australia and Guam.

At times the rhetoric from both sides is chilling. When Washington sent two aircraft carrier battle groups into the area, Chinese defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun cautioned the Americans to “be careful.” While one U.S. admiral suggested drawing “the line” at the Spratly Islands close to the Philippines, an editorial in the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times warned that U.S. actions “raised the risk of physical confrontation with China.” The newspaper went on to warn that “if the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a U.S.-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea.” -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Is Antipsychotic Medication a "Chemical Straitjacket"?

Jack Bragen
Thursday August 18, 2016 - 08:30:00 PM

Author's Note: Just to remind the reader that this column is an opinion column only, and does not represent expert advice. It is up to the reader to judge whether the material presented is useful or not. The author does not assume any liability for mishaps attributed to reading this column. -more-

Arts & Events

New: AGRIPPINA: A Rollicking Handel Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday August 21, 2016 - 10:06:00 AM

West Edge Opera’s third and final production of this summer’s festival offered George Friedrich Handel’s Agrippina directed by Mark Streshinky and with sets designed by Sarah Phykitt. Streshinky states in program notes for Agrippina that he wanted sets to evoke Hieronymus Bosch’s famous painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. I suppose the sets provided by Sarah Phykitt satisfied Streshinsky, though I fail to comprehend how they added anything to an opera set in Nero’s Rome. I found the accordion-folding sets a distracting conceit that contributed nothing to this Handel opera. -more-

Lo and Behold: Will the Internet Save Us or Destroy US?

By Gar Smith
Friday August 19, 2016 - 06:14:00 PM

Opens August 19 at the Shattuck Landmark

Lo and Behold is a magician's-trick of the movie. It is metaphorical, metaphysical, metawhimsical, and metapocalyptic. It's a film by Werner Herzog, which is to say it is thoroughly "meta."

Herzog's new film doesn't feature man-eating bears (a la Grizzly Man), demented conquistadors on self-destructive quests (Fitzcaraldo; Aguirre: Wrath of God), or spelunking through 30,000-year-old art galleries (Cave of Forgotten Ancestors). In Lo and Behold: Reveres of a Connected World, Herzog trains his camera—and his quirky curiosity—on the world of computers. And the Internet. And social media. And robots. And solar flares. . . . -more-

Silk Road Ensemble Plays Berkeley’s Greek Theatre

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday August 19, 2016 - 02:38:00 PM

Founded in 1998 by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Silk Road promotes cross-cultural music performance and international collaboration. On Thursday evening, August 18, the Silk Road Ensemble performed an inspiring concert of world music at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. Performing with the Silk Road Ensemble, Yo-Yo was admirably self-effacing in this concert, as he allowed the group and its individual members to enjoy the spotlight. Yo-Yo Ma’s famed abilities as a cello soloist were only featured in one number in this concert, a Finnish folksong for piano and cello by Michio Mamiya, in which Yo-Yo Ma was accompanied on piano by Spanish artist Cristina Pato. Ms. Pato was also featured in the concert’s opening number, this time on Galician bagpipes. In this opening work, a Fanfare for Gaita and Suona, Cristina Pato was paired with Chinese pipist Wu Man; and the two musicians serenaded each other and the audience from opposite sides of the Greek Theatre’s stage, occasionally coming together at center stage only to retreat once again to the sides. This opener was exhilarating and exciting, and it foreshadowed the wonderful music to come. -more-