Parsing the Obvious

Carol Denney
Thursday December 22, 2016 - 01:08:00 PM

"Our wonderful Mayor Arreguin has announced ending homeless as his first priority. At our first regular Council meeting we made enormous progress.

We doubled the number of winter storm shelter beds.
We extended shelter hours to twelve hours per night.
We increased daytime Warming Centers.
We started work to create our first Navigation Center.
We rescinded the anti-homeless two foot law adopted last year.
We reinstated funding cut in June to the Berkeley Drop In Center
We reinstated funding cut in June to Youth Spirit Artworks.
All of these are being implemented immediately.

We also appointed a four person committee to come up with additional solutions.
They will explore possible encampment locations and policies.
Also will look at property recovery practices and policy.

One encampment keeps refusing to accept any services, even though their whole group could be inside all day and all night. They pick campsites that break multiple laws and create health and safety problems, but insist they have a "right" to camp even though they are causing numerous problems.
Some of them keep verbally attacking Mayor Arreguin and our wonderful City Manager who are both working very hard and coming up with faster solutions than I have ever seen any government do.
I have fought fiercely to defend homeless people from repressive politicians and laws.
I have been arrested protesting anti-homeless laws from Frank Jordan and Gavin Newsom. I fought against measures N and O in Berkeley, and against Measure S.

I am still trying to work with this group despite their outrageous insulting and false statements, Please do not accept their false portrayal of the situation in Berkeley..
We have accomplished much and are working on so much more."

Kriss Worthington
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 7

The continuing raids on the group known as First They Came for the Homeless, a years-long protest of the unfair treatment of the poorest of the poor, would have stopped at the last City Council meeting ...but for one vote. And the most peculiar behavior that night wasn't from any of the people with mental challenges attending that December 13th meeting - it was from Kriss Worthington, District 7 representative, who introduced a hand-written proposal at the last minute which did not mention the raids, did not second a motion from District 2 representative Cheryl Davila regarding the raids, and most obviously had nothing to say about the raids. -more-

Berkeley evicts homeless protesters: an eyewitness report

Shane Brodie
Wednesday December 21, 2016 - 10:27:00 PM

On Tuesday night after meditation at my temple, I walked over to the Homeless Protest encampment near Berkeley Bowl (on the grassy median). A spokesperson gave me one of the paper eviction notices from the police and said they thought the police would be coming between 4 and 6 AM on Wednesday morning. They said the police like to roust them in the dark and as they are sleeping. -more-

Flash: Merry Christmas from the City of Berkeley to the Homeless

Marcia Poole
Wednesday December 21, 2016 - 10:17:00 AM

They did it again. I got there before 5 AM and at 5 around 20 police and additional staff from public works came to make sure the plot of ground was taken away from the homeless. FTCFTH has now relocated to the grassy area in front of old City Hall. This was the Berkeley City Manager's way of saying "Merry Christmas" to the homeless. -more-

Page One

New: Parker Place, now "Parker", an Investor's Dream? (or not)

Gale Garcia
Friday December 16, 2016 - 12:04:00 PM

The project formerly known as Parker Place consists of two big boxes at 2598 and 2600 Shattuck Avenue, with smaller structures under construction behind them. Only 2598 Shattuck, containing 38 rental units, is complete so far. Its ads proclaim "Parker is that thrill you feel when inspiration strikes." These ads have been repeated multiple times per day on Craigslist since June, with asking rents of $4,150 for two-bedroom apartments, and similarly stratospheric rates for the smaller units.

Apartment seekers appear to be less than thrilled. At night, the building still looks spooky dark. Other than lights in the stairwells and hallways, and in the chicly-staged unit featured in the ads, I have only seen a few lights on, ever. -more-

Identity theft suspect sought by Berkeley Police

Kiley Russell (BCN)
Friday December 16, 2016 - 10:45:00 AM

Police are looking for a woman they say stole a Berkeley woman's identity in order to open several fraudulent lines of credit in businesses around the Bay Area, according to Berkeley police. -more-


Berkeley books for the Berkeley reader, Holidays 2016

Steven Finacom
Friday December 16, 2016 - 07:26:00 AM

If you are looking for a last minute holiday gift for one of Berkeley’s intelligent readers, or winter time reading for yourself, here are three suggestions. All are books published earlier this year. They are also all unconventional and extensively illustrated local histories by local authors.

Radical Booksellling: A Life of Moe Moskowitz, Doris Jo Moskowitz, 2016. $18.95.

San Francisco’s Exposition Year: the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, Anthony Bruce, Trifoil Press, 2016. $39.95.

Quirky Berkeley, Tom Dalzell. Heyday Press, 2016. $15.00. -more-

Public Comment

An open letter to Mayor Arreguin and the Berkeley City Manager

Marcia Poole
Friday December 16, 2016 - 10:49:00 AM

I am concerned that immediately upon the launching of your proposal to deal with the critical nature of our homeless crisis, you have met resistance from that very community and perhaps, you do not understand why. I would like to give you my take on their oppositional position and a solution.

The First They Came For the Homeless camp (Tent City) has been leading the public movement to end the suffering of homelessness by their adherence to being a self-governing, clean and sober community that helps anyone in a similar condition. I have been extremely impressed with their community, by their spirit of generosity and commitment to the “other”. I have gone there several times just to visit and am almost overwhelmed by the fraternal lovingness of it.

Mike Lee and others have endured great hardship living in their camps. First, the City with its predilection to move them every time they get established and structured, is a blow from which they have had to recover eleven times. The raids by the police department, at the instruction of the City Manager’s office, have resulted in their having almost all of their possessions (tents, sleeping bags, mats, clothing, medicine, & food) removed and they have been left stranded over and over again in the cold and the rain with nothing. It has put their lives is jeopardy and has resulted in everyone at the camp getting physically weaker and sicker. True, after a week or so, many of the items are replaced through the kindness of the Berkeley citizenry, but each moment they have to endure such awful circumstances spirals them further downward. I have been out there with them when all that was left after a raid were two large tarps that they had to string up to trees to shelter their people from the rain. They were freezing, wet, unmedicated (hypertension, asthma, antibiotics, etc medicines taken.) and despondent. It is this despondency that you are now encountering in their anger and outrage. -more-

Fauxgressives skitter out the back door after council chamber betrayal

Daniel McMullan
Friday December 16, 2016 - 07:07:00 AM
Berkeley activist legend Charlie Pappas speaks out for the homeless.

In their very first council meeting our new Mayor and City Council (With the exception of Sophie Hahn and Cheryl Davila) backtracked on just about every promise made to the people who voted for them after accepting a bizarre illegible hand scrawled set of amendments from a double talking and purposely delaying and confusing Kriss Worthington, that stripped away any protections for our most vulnerable and gave Czar status to the very person who went behind that same council's back to call out the police under false pretenses to take the blankets off of the disabled and elderly on a freezing, wet night in a pre-dawn raid. One of 12 in two months. Then they hightailed out the back way to avoid looking their constituents in the face. -more-


Updated: Are the Berkeley raids going to stop?

Becky O'Malley
Friday December 16, 2016 - 10:13:00 AM

Wednesday morning UPDATE: Another pre-dawn raid on the homeless by the City of Berkeley. See

Flash: Merry Christmas from the City of Berkeley to the Homeless

UPDATE on Tuesday night, Dec. 20: Well, I guess we’ve got the answer. The raids will not stop. In fact, there might be one in the morning.

Contrary to the express wishes of what looked to me like a majority of the Berkeley citizens who worked to get the new councilmembers elected, most of whom also supported incumbent Kriss Worthington for his current council seat, it looks like city employees are yet again planning to evict the homeless people who have settled on the median strip where Adeline and Shattuck come together.

Reports the Planet has received from multiple reliable sources tell us that the inhabitants of the tent village received a “notice to vacate” last evening. If past practice is any indication, that means that many thousands of dollars of police overtime will be devoted sometime soon under cover of darkness to snatching tents, sleeping bags and blankets and turning these hapless souls out into the cold one more time. And a Merry Christmas to all—god bless you every one!

The City Council had the opportunity at their first meeting on December 13 to instruct the city manager to stop doing this, and they did not do so. Rumor, widespread, is that Councilmember Worthington indicated before the meeting that he was not willing, for reasons incomprehensible to me, to supply the fifth vote for what was supposed to be a progressive majority, and three of the other four were loath to proceed since they might lose.

Previous raids have taken place before dawn. Tomorrow is the winter solstice, so dawn’s a bit later than usual, at 6:52 a.m., just in case you’d like to show up in solidarity with the settler community. But be careful not to mouth off to the city officials—they’ve got the power in Berkeley these days, and also the guns.

Tom Lochner of the East Bay Times had the story here: -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Don't Miss This

Friday December 16, 2016 - 12:54:00 PM


THE PUBLIC EYE:From Russia With Love: Donald Trump

Bob Burnett
Friday December 16, 2016 - 07:02:00 AM

As Donald Trump's inauguration looms, there's been a lot of speculation about the nature of his relationship with Russia. Trump has frequently spoken of his admiration for the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin; Trump refers to Russia as a "partner" rather than an "adversary." Meanwhile, the CIA believes that Russian hackers helped Trump win the election. In addition, Trump nominated ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State largely because of Tillerson's good relationship with Russia. What's going on? -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:What do Trump voters want?

Bob Burnett
Friday December 16, 2016 - 10:28:00 AM

Election exit polls tell us the typical Trump voter was white (non-Hispanic), male, older, rural, and had no college degree. But that doesn't explain why they voted for Trump. There were four types of Trump voters; each having different expectations. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT; Trump inc. goes to Washington

Ralph E. Stone
Friday December 16, 2016 - 10:27:00 AM

Donald J. Trump and his family have business interests in at least 20 countries in addition to extensive hotel and real estate holdings in the United States. The full extent of his holdings is unclear as Trump has refused to release his tax returns or provide a list of his lenders. Could Trump administration actions around the world be shaded even slightly by his ties to foreign players? Would his overseas holdings be targets for terrorism? -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: You Are Not Merely Your Brain

Jack Bragen
Friday December 16, 2016 - 07:10:00 AM

There are at least two ways that a person can dis-identify with oneself. One of the two of which I know is a symptom of mental illness that psychologists call "disassociation." This is usually due to emotional trauma. It is often triggered by something in the environment of the past or present, and the individual is effectively unplugged or disconnected from oneself and one's surroundings. Usually, someone in this state is nonfunctional (e.g., she or he would not be able to go to the store and buy a loaf of bread). Or, for some, an alternate personality takes over, in which case the individual has a "multiple personality disorder." Either way, the individual has temporarily lost his or her normal identity. -more-

Arts & Events

Voices of Music Perform Corelli, Vivaldi & Telemann

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Thursday December 22, 2016 - 10:26:00 PM

Voices of Music, a Bay Area ensemble headed by Hanneke van Proosdij and David Tayler, gave a series of holiday concerts in San Francisco, Berkeley and Palo Alto featuring virtuoso concertos by Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1753), Georg Phillip Telemann (1681-1767), and Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). I attended their Berkeley concert at the Church of St. Mary Magdalen on Sunday evening, December 18. The concert opened with Corelli’s ever-popular Christmas concerto, the Pastorale, Opus 6, No. 8. Featured soloists in this Corelli concerto were violinists Carla Moore and Lisa Grodin, and cellist Elisabeth Reed. One of the themes used by Corelli is based on a tune traditionally played in Rome on Christmas Eve by shepherds on the Zampogna, a rustic bagpipe. -more-

Theater Review: Anton's Well Theater Company & the Bay Area Premiere of Sam Shepard's 'Ages of the Moon'

Ken Bullock
Saturday December 17, 2016 - 09:01:00 AM

Two men sit on a moonlit porch, somewhere out in the country, but God knows just where. One of the pair, we discover (after the dying strains of Hank Williams singing "Have You Ever Been Lonely?") has just traveled "across the country" by bus (again, from God knows where) to sit it (whatever "it" is) out with his old buddy who called him in the middle of the night for his company ... -more-

Around & About--Theater: Indra's Net Finds 'Darwin In Malibu'

Ken Bullock
Friday December 16, 2016 - 01:34:00 PM

Indra's Net has been presenting plays about science the past few years, and their latest, coming up next week through the holidays till January 15 is the provocatively-titled 'Darwin in Malibu,' by Crispin Whittell, directed by founder Bruce Coughran, with Blake Street Hawkeyes alum Robert Ernst in the cast, performing with two of his longtime colleagues, George Killingsworth and Hal Hughes, as well as Leandra Ramm and Stuart Hall at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue (between Ellsworth & Dana), on a holiday zigzag of a schedule: previews at 8 p. m. Thursday & Friday, December 22nd & 23rd & the 26th & 27th, Monday & Tuesday at 8; opening Wednesday the 28th at 8 and running Thursday and Friday the 29th & 30th--& in January, Thursday the 5th through Saturday the 7th at 8 & Wednesday the 11th through Saturday the 14th, also at 8, with 5 p. m. matinees Sunday the 8th & (closing) the 15th ... -more-