The Week



Press Release: Bay Area mayors respond collectively to Trump administration immigration policy

Office of Mayor Arreguin
Wednesday January 25, 2017 - 09:56:00 PM

Today, the mayors of the Bay Area’s three largest cities, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose, and the City of Berkeley spoke out against President Trump’s executive order on immigration. They reaffirmed their commitment to working together to address the many challenges the region faces from growing income inequality, lack of affordable housing, better education outcomes, job creation and transportation infrastructure improvement. -more-

Couple found dead in Berkeley apartment identified

Scott Morris (BCN)
Tuesday January 24, 2017 - 10:36:00 PM

A Berkeley couple who were found dead in their apartment on Monday afternoon were identified today, but what killed them remains a mystery.

Berkeley police spokesman Officer Byron White said 35-year-old Roger Morash and his wife, 32-year-old Valerie Morash, were found dead together in their apartment in the 3000 block of Deakin Street. The couple's two cats were dead as well.

No cause of death was immediately clear. Police evacuated the apartment building and called in PG&E and the fire department's hazardous materials team to look for a gas leak or some other hazard but no contaminant was found. -more-

NOW READ THIS: Penis Power

Monday January 23, 2017 - 09:53:00 PM

Rebecca Solnit has completely nailed it. She knows all the people I know to whom I am still barely able to speak after the election. Her brilliant piece on why Hillary lost--or rather why we all lost--is in the issue of the London Review of Books which came to my house today. You can read it for free online. The title is Penis Power. Click on it. -more-

Berkeley District 4 Candidates speak at Forum

Video by Ken Bukowski
Monday January 23, 2017 - 08:05:00 PM

The video linked below shows candidates Kate Harrison and Ben Gould at a League of Women voters forum. They are contending for the seat vacated by new Mayor Jesse Arreguin in central Berkeley's District 7. The election will use mail-in ballots which must be returned by March 4. -more-

Flash: Advisory: Suspicious Circumstance on 3000 block of Deakin Street (Press Release)

Berkeley Police Department via Nixle
Monday January 23, 2017 - 03:10:00 PM

The Berkeley Police Department is currently investigating a suspicious circumstance on the 3000 block of Deakin Street where two persons were found deceased inside their residence. As their cause of death is not immediately apparent, the building has been evacuated out of an abundance of caution. In addition to the Berkeley Fire Department, PG&E personnel have also responded to location to make sure there are no hazardous conditions remain. -more-

Lies endanger democracy (Public Comment)

Bruce Joffe
Monday January 23, 2017 - 02:58:00 PM

No argument is too petty for little Donald when it comes to assertions about size. While photographic evidence confirms the crowd that witnessed his inauguration was half the size that celebrated President Obama's inauguration, Trump chose to claim the opposite and make a fuss about "media bias." His official representative, Kellyanne Conway, went even further, saying Trump's claim is based on "alternative facts." -more-

Police now estimate East Bay Oakland march at 100k

Scott Morris (BCN)
Saturday January 21, 2017 - 03:47:00 PM

An estimated 100,000 people turned out for the Women's March Oakland this morning, one of several protests held in the Bay Area and hundreds around the world for women's rights in response to the inauguration of President Donald Trump. -more-

Berkeley protesters on the move

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Friday January 20, 2017 - 02:06:00 PM

Hundreds of students from the University of California at Berkeley and Berkeley High School are marching toward Oakland this afternoon against the inauguration of President Donald Trump. -more-

About 1,000 Oakland protesters marching down Telegraph and Broadway

Kiley Russell (BCN)
Friday January 20, 2017 - 02:07:00 PM

About a thousand protesters are out marching in the rain in Oakland against the inauguration of President Donald Trump. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: It's Midnight in America

Bob Burnett
Friday January 20, 2017 - 08:45:00 AM

33 years ago, Ronald Reagan was elected President in large part because of his TV ad, "It's morning in America:" "It's morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder and stronger and better." For many Americans, the inauguration of Donald Trump foretells a period of darkness, "It's midnight in America." -more-



So, where do we go from here?

Becky O'Malley
Friday January 20, 2017 - 11:01:00 AM

Let’s start off with Paul Krugman’s summary of the inauguration, tweeted this morning:

“Takeover by a popular vote loser who squeaked through thanks to foreign intervention and blatant malpractice by the FBI. The system worked!”

That said, what can be done? Is there a way the system can be made to work better?

This week I was lucky enough to join a small group of supporters of newly re-elected Congressmember Ami Bera for a bit of “where do we go from here” discussion. He’s from the Sacramento area, from one of the state’s few potential swing districts. He noted wryly that it was not like ours, which has been represented for many years now by the indomitable and unbeatable Barbara Lee.

He told us he hoped someday to be in a race that was decided on election night, instead of having to suffer through weeks of tortuous counting before being declared the winner. He’s been in three races for this seat now—he lost the first one, won the second one after the district boundaries were redrawn, and this last time he actually tripled his victory margin, he said triumphantly: from about 2,000 votes to about 6,000. This is still mighty close.

In the last few weeks, my friends around the country report that they’ve been in standing-room-only meetings of their local progressive interest groups, packed with people who hope to figure out how we’re going to survive the “President” Drumpf regime. Pundits and public intellectuals of all stripes, including some erstwhile conservatives, have been wondering the same thing online and in print. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

DON'T MISS THIS: S.F. Comical Boss cracks down on thinking by staff

Becky O'Malley
Friday January 20, 2017 - 12:20:00 PM

If we didn't have enough to annoy us today, the East Bay Express reports, via the Cal Alumni Magazine, that the managing editor of the San Francisco Comical has banned, by fiat, participation by her slaves employees in the Women's March on Saturday. Huh? Does anyone really think that the likes of Leah Garchik or Caille Milner are impartial about this inauguration? I certainly hope and believe that they're not on the fence. Read all about it here:

SF Chronicle Editor Bans Newsroom Staff From Attending Saturday's Women's March

Non-Marching Orders: Newspaper Bars Employees from Women’s March


Public Comment

Statement on inauguration of president Donald Trump

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin
Friday January 20, 2017 - 01:29:00 PM

Many people across Berkeley and this country have expressed deep concern over the new administration’s agenda. As Mayor of Berkeley – a diverse city with a long history of political activism – I reiterate my strong commitment that Berkeley will continue to be a beacon of light during dark times. We will remain a sanctuary city, and we will protect the rights of our residents. -more-

Considerations for "step up housing": open letter to Berkeley City Council Members

Thomas Lord, Berkeley Housing Advisory Commission member
Thursday January 19, 2017 - 12:32:00 PM

As the elected leaders of one of the world's great small cities, you are confronted by a rush of awesome and rapidly evolving challenges.

Sometimes, as the actions taken by Council wend their way through the complex machinery of the City government and make their way out into the greater society, the weight of their effect grows. Your choices may acquire such profound human significance that every now and then it must take great courage for you to act decisively and quickly.

Or so one hopes. It is only appropriate, then, that sometimes your decisive hand should be stayed. There are times when contemplation should displace action. On certain problems, you must step back and try to see a bigger picture, and to seek out the the counsel of others who can help you find that greater perspective.

The human tragedies and the civic disruptions associated with homelessness are large, urgent problems. Even as urgent as the problems are, they are also persistent: Berkeley has had a significant homeless population for decades. You must feel under intense pressure to take bold steps quickly. Nevertheless, my counsel to you is to slow down and reconsider the "Step up housing" Initiative: -more-

Letter to the Daily Californian re: Milo Yiannopoulos free speech controversy

Board of Directors, Free Speech Movement Archives: Robert Cohen, Bettina Aptheker, Susan Druding, Lee Felsenstein, Barbara Garson, Jackie Goldberg, Lynne Hollander Savio, Steve Lustig, Anita Medal, Jack Radey, Gar Smith, Barbara Stack
Thursday January 19, 2017 - 09:07:00 PM

As veterans and historians of the Free Speech Movement, we are writing to comment on the forthcoming visit to Berkeley of Milo Yiannopoulos.

Yiannopoulos is a bigot who comes to campus spouting vitriol so as to attract attention to himself. His modus operandi is to bait students of color, transgender students and anyone to the left of Donald Trump in the hopes of sparking a speaking ban or physical altercation so he can pose as a free speech martyr. His campus events are one long publicity stunt designed to present himself as a kind of hip, far right, youth folk hero — sort of Hitler Youth with cool sunglasses. “Look at me, I’m so rad, the PC police won’t let me speak on campus.” That’s his whole shtick in a nutshell, along with bigotry.

Banning him just plays into his hands politically, which is one reason why we were glad to see the UC administration refuse to adopt such a ban. True to form, however, Yiannopoulos and his Berkeley College Republican sponsors nonetheless put on their phony free speech martyrdom routine when the administration asked them to pay for security needed to ensure that the incendiary bigotry of their event does not end in bloodshed. -more-

Almost Full Employment!!! What Planet Is The New York Times On?

Harry Brill
Friday January 20, 2017 - 01:59:00 PM

The New York Times is not only an informative newspaper. It is also an establishment newspaper. Accordingly, we are fed with a mix of truth and fiction. In a recent article on the front page of the business section, the NY Times reports "Recovery Finally Yields Big Gains for Average Worker's Pay. The article concludes that the "tighter labor market forces employers to pay more to hire and retain workers. But in reality, the gains of last year of 2.9% were paltry. For when the inflation rate of 1.7% is subtracted, the real wage increase was only 1.2%. That is by no means a major improvement. -more-

Trump’s infatuation

Jagjit Singh
Thursday January 19, 2017 - 09:05:00 PM

Trump’s ongoing infatuation with Vladimir Putin is extremely troubling. His stubborn refusal to release his tax returns has cast a dark shadow on his presidency and may well explain why he dismissed the findings of his intelligence agencies who blame the Kremlin for hacking DNC’s emails which tilted the presidency in his favor. -more-

WOW--A report from the field

Steve Martinot
Sunday January 22, 2017 - 03:31:00 PM

WOW!!! The women’s march in Oakland, on a Saturday called Jan. 21. At 1 pm, a march monitor tells me, “they estimate 60,000.” 7 pm, Channel 7 reports upwards of 84,000 people. Eighty Four Thousand. Please forgive me. I had to write it out in order to give my fingers a bit of the ecstacy that my mind feels. But then, 11 pm, Channel 5, “the police have revised their estimate, now up to 100,000.” WOW. -more-

A small group holds U.S. hostage

Ron Lowe
Thursday January 19, 2017 - 09:11:00 PM

A few hundred House and Senate Republican politicians are holding areas of the U.S. government and Supreme Court hostage with their extremest and negative agenda. It's beyond comprehension that the media, business community, Justice Department, Americans, and Democrat's can do nothing to stop the out of control Republican Party from turning the Constitution and it's checks and balances upside down. -more-


Updated: ECLETIC RANT:Should performance-enhancing drug use bar entry to Baseball’s Hall of Fame?

Ralph E. Stone
Thursday January 19, 2017 - 09:01:00 PM

On January 18, 2017, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum elected three new members to the Hall of Fame. Notably absent were home-run king Barry Bonds and star pitcher Roger "Rocket" Clements. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Recovery, Repairing Oneself, and Comparing Oneself

Jack Bragen
Thursday January 19, 2017 - 08:59:00 PM

Psychiatric medications often lessen symptoms of a mental illness, but usually do not eliminate the problems completely. A person with a psychotic disorder often must use a number of additional strategies to remain on an even keel. -more-

SQUEAKY WHEEL: The Citizen-in-Chief

Toni Mester
Thursday January 19, 2017 - 02:56:00 PM
Meeting Ken Small at the tank memorial July 2000

Troubled times are coming. Berkeley’s own Robert Reich has sounded the alarm in a recent column listing 15 warning signs that a tyrant is taking over.

People are frightened. For us old folks who have lived through so much, the feelings are familiar. I will never forget December 13, 2000, the night that Al Gore lost the election by fiat of the Supreme Court. Pulling into the driveway, I heard his concession speech on the radio, and I wept. I just knew that the presidency of George W. Bush would be a disaster, and it was.

Through those miserable eight years, through terrorist attacks, the Iraq War, and the financial implosion, I began to wind down a long career in public education. A bit pooped, I pensioned out at age 65 in 2008.

But the election of Barack Obama gave me the psychological boost to teach a reduced load for five more years. The Presidency touches individual Americans on an emotional level, and so many of us Californians are worried about Trump. In such times, we need to hold on to our values and each other. A whole lot of hugging is going on. -more-

OUR DAILY BIRD:Chestnut-backed chickadee

William E. Woodcock
Friday January 20, 2017 - 11:30:00 AM
Chestnut Backed Chickadee

Arts & Events

New: Island City Opera “Don Pasquale” —Great Voices, Great Laughs, Great Venue

John McMullen ATCA
Tuesday January 24, 2017 - 11:33:00 AM

Alameda’s thriving Island City Opera Company opened the comic opera Don Pasquale last Friday. The opera buffa was a relief from the angst of Inauguration Day. -more-

Early Mahler at San Francisco Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday January 20, 2017 - 12:03:00 PM

In a well-planned concert series devoted to early works by Gustav Mahler, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony performed over the weekend of January 13-15 the symphonic movement entitled Blumine, the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and Das klagende Lied. Two of these three works are rarely heard, so this program offered an enticing element of curiosity. Of the three works, however, only the best-known Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfaring Journeyman) lived up to what we have come to expect and cherish in Mahler. Beautifully sung by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, these songs of lament over a lost love were intensely moving, full of longing and bitterness. Cooke’s vocalism was unerring, her voice richly colored. My only note of qualification is that no matter how great a performance is given by a mezzo-soprano (such as Janet Baker, Brigitte Fassbaender, or Sasha Cooke), these songs were written for a baritone; and to my mind the greatest rendition of them is still the one by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on a recording with Raphael Kubelik conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. -more-

OUR DAILY BIRD:Chestnut-backed chickadee

William E. Woodcock
Friday January 20, 2017 - 11:30:00 AM
Chestnut Backed Chickadee