A report of a vehicle burglary in Berkeley early Sunday morning led to the alleged discovery of methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana, as well as pills and an assault weapon during the subsequent service of a search warrant, according to police. -more-
The Directors of the FBI and the NSA were questioned by the Congressional Intelligence Committee on Russia's roll in subverting our democratic processes and influencing our national and international policies. Democrats focused on the actions and associations of people in the Trump campaign with Russian government agents and oligarchs, as well as the actions of Trump himself. Republicans, on the other hand, focused on the leaks to newspapers that reveal what we now know about Trump's people having questionable contacts with Russia. This distinction is profound. Republicans are more concerned with covering up the leaks than the consequences of what the leakers have revealed. Clearly, the partisan Intelligence Committee should not be the only investigator. America needs an independent, non-partisan investigation of this very serious threat to our national security. -more-
On 3/19/17 at 5:23am, the BPD responded to reports of a possible auto burglary in progress in the area of Durant and Telegraph Avenues. Officers and made contact with three people who were around a parked BMW. One of the car’s occupants matched the description provided by a witness of one of the suspects (later identified as Steven Manning 35, of Oakland). A computer check of Manning revealed he had several outstanding arrest warrants totaling $50,000. Manning was found in possession of suspected heroin. Manning was also found to be carrying over $2,000 in cash. -more-
Starting Sunday evening my Nextdoor neighborhood email list became busy with reports of a gang of bikers roaring around Berkeley this weekend. I saw about 30 of them on Saturday at about 5:30 PM coming up University Ave. and turning at the UC campus. A few wore black ski masks. One did some wheelies in the opposite traffic lane. They were mostly all in black. It was a bit alarming, particularly given our political environment nationally. -more-
Mayor Jesse Arreguín and Councilmember Sophie Hahn unveiled a bold plan today to address the city’s homeless crisis, creating a path towards permanent housing and services for the City’s approximately 1000 homeless individuals.
The Pathways Project implements both interim and long term measures to address the homeless crisis in Berkeley, for the benefit of homeless individuals and to mitigate impacts on Berkeley’s streets, parks, commercial areas and neighborhoods. Emergency Interim Measures include creation of a STAIR Center (Center for Stability, Navigation and Respite), modelled after San Francisco’s successful Navigation Centers, which will provide a period of respite from the streets, and will connect homeless individuals with housing, family reunification and services. A Bridge Living Community will also be established, similar to the STAIR Center, but designed as a communal village for extended stay. -more-
The Republicans have voted to replace the existing healthcare plan with a single payer plan. They think this is a good plan for all Americans. I hope they have replaced their own healthcare plan with the new replacement plan. I feel they are just playing party politics and want to repeal all, which helps poor, sick, young and elderly people. It seems they just want to please the Republican tea party groups. It also seems that they are helping the pharmaceutical companies. I don't see the poor and sick getting any benefit from repealing the ACA. -more-
Conflict of interest charges have been levelled against Donald Trump who has large outstanding loans estimated at $300m with the German Deutsche Bank, his largest creditor.
Deutsche has been accused of massive money-laundering violations of US law beyond its failure to establish adequate financial controls. It is estimated that $10B of Russian money has been transferred to the bank. -more-
It’s hard being a moderate in Berkeley, because people here think in extremes and like to label people accordingly.
When was the last time that a Berkeley activist was called a moderate, either as an insult or a compliment? I should know because that’s what I’m supposed to be according to a complicated test of political attitudes that I recently took on-line. The questions mostly concerned the role of government, which is the usual determinant of political categories. Conservatives want to limit the reach of government into the lives of the people and stress individual rights and responsibilities. Liberals think that government has a greater role in leveling the playing field, and progressives feel that the government should step in and ensure justice for all. In the test, put together by a professor of political science, I landed squarely in the middle. -more-
There is some good news. It's good news that Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmember Sophie Hahn's Pathways Project presentation acknowledged that chasing homeless people round and around the town and in and out of jail, Berkeley's approach to homelessness for the last three decades, is not just pointless but expensive.
It's good news that Councilmember Hahn noted aloud that people with nowhere to go were often previously saddled with the descriptor "service resistant" for passing on the opportunity to pack up everything they own to spend one and only one fitful night in loud, crowded circumstances without the comfort of pets and family before being booted back into the cold at the break of dawn. -more-
It used to be said that a man’s word was his bond. Not anymore! In much the same way Mr. Trump stiffed his building contractors, the world’s preeminent deal maker has reneged on his campaign pledge to provide “health coverage for all”. “Death panels” for many Americans may become a reality. Trashing Obamacare was a great campaign slogan but repealing it will dramatically increase bankruptcies and mortality rates. -more-
Berkeley Mayor leads City Council in Vote to Sign Off on Police Cooperation Agreements with Trump Regime
Here are some observations on Tuesday night’s vote (3-14-2017) on Police cooperation and aid agreements with various local, state and federal agencies. In summary, the Council passed the bulk of these agreements leaving further discussion regarding cooperation on the Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) and the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) for a later April 25 meeting. But the interesting thing is how this went down, and what they voted for – including cooperation with ICE. -more-
The Irish half of my byline was acquired by marriage, but I’ve always thought it was more interesting than my own thoroughly WASP birth name. Many of the nuns who taught me at the convent schools I attended were from Irish backgrounds. My firm grip on grammar, as well as the names of the capitals of all the states, and the ability to do arithmetic in my head without calculators are all thanks to Mother Katherine Walsh, R.S.C.J., my fifth grade teacher in St. Louis. On St. Patrick’s Day, I remember envying all the Irish-American girls in my classes at school who added some touch of green to their uniforms every year. You could almost say I’m Irish by adoption.
That’s why I’m so disgusted to see the coterie of rogue Irish that have popped up around the current federal czar. Take Bannon the Bully, for example. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
The library -- and by that, everyone knows I’m referring to the Berkeley Public Library system, what used to be our library -- isn't working in the best interests of seniors and Berkeley residents in general. -more-
After two months of Trump, there are clear winners and losers:
1.The Resistance: Individual resistance groups are springing up throughout America. (90 days after the publication of the Indivisible guide there are now more than 6000 Indivisible units; 1000 in California.) Traditional progressive issue advocacy groups -- such as ACLU and Sierra Club -- have grown fangs and are organizing direction action. Regardless of how they voted (or didn't vote) on November 8th, progressives are setting aside their differences and uniting in opposition to the Trump Administration.
Out here on the Left Coast, long-term activists cannot remember when there was so much activist energy. While non-Trump voters continue to be pissed off and depressed, the majority are ready to move out of the doldrums and into the streets. -more-
The Democrats elected Tom Perez for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairmanship. After winning the vote, Perez appointed Keith Ellison as the Deputy Chair. Perez and Ellison each pledged to rebuild state and local parties, including in Republican-dominated states. The Democrats have much work to do at the state and local level where laws are passed disfavoring Democrats. -more-
Trump's biggest weapon, in his quest to create a dictatorship, is his knowledge of how to manipulate people's perceptions. CNN has been unwittingly suckered into playing a supporting role. -more-
Arts & Events
Under the auspices of San Francisco Opera Lab, Francis Poulenc’s one-act opera La Voix Humaine, set to a text by Jean Cocteau, was given three performances March 11, 14, and 17 at Taube Atrium Theatre. Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, who was last heard here in 2015 as Cassandre in Berlioz’s Les Troyens and as Cesira in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women, sang the role of the never-named woman whose voice is the only one we hear in La Voix Humaine as she talks on the telephone with her lover of five years who is now breaking up with her, much to her distress. We hear nothing of the man on the other end of the phone line. The full weight of this opera must be carried by one singing actress who can make it work dramatically. -more-
The opera Atalanta by George Friederic Handel received a semi-staged production last weekend, March 11-2, at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Handel composed Atalanta for the events celebrating the 1736 wedding of Frederick, Prince of Wales, to Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. The story of Atalanta is drawn from the pastoral tradition of ancient Greek writers, who delighted in depicting the simple life of shepherds and nymphs. Here the story revolves around two couples: the shepherd Aminta and the nymph Irene, and the noble couple comprised of Meleagro, King of Aetolia, and Atalanta, Princess of Arcadia. To complicate matters, both Meleagro and Atalanta appear in disguise, he as the shepherd Tirsi, she as the huntress Amarilli. In a ‘back-story’, Atalanta had rebuffed the marriage proposal of Meleagro and had gone off instead to imitate the chaste goddess of the hunt, Artemis. -more-
One of the genuinely iconic pictures of modern Americana—and its discontents—is Edward Hopper's famed and oft-reproduced 1942 painting, 'Nighthawks,' depicting "Night + brilliant interior of cheap restaurant," as Hopper's wife Jo noted in the log they kept of each painting he did ... Four figures inside, glass all round, bathed in light as if on display to the lonely night streets of New York outside that offer stark contrast.
AROUND AND ABOUT Film: Rob Stewart Memorial Screening, Two Ecology Documentaries at East Bay Media Center
East Bay Media Center will present three memorial screenings of Rob Stewart's cology documentaries 'Sharkwater' (2008, which helped in the banning of shark finning, winning 22 international awards, and 'Revolution' (2012), receipient of 36 international awards, this Friday and Saturday, March 17 & 18, at 7, Sunday, March 19 at 2, at the Center, 1939 Addison, between MLK & Milvia, downtown Berkeley. Tickets: $6, at the door or online at www.eastbaymediacenter.com or email: maketv@ aol.com 843-3699 -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
Don't Miss This: Berkeley in the Post 03-17-2017
Republican party politics is hurting us Romila Khanna 03-17-2017
Conflicts of Interest Jagjit Singh 03-17-2017
Squeaky Wheel: Lament of the Moderate Toni Mester 03-17-2017
Housing First Without the Housing, or Parsing the Pathways Project Carol Denney 03-17-2017
Trumpcare Tejinder Uberoi 03-17-2017
Berkeley Mayor leads City Council in Vote to Sign Off on Police Cooperation Agreements with Trump Regime James McFadden 03-17-2017
Vehicle burglary report leads police to drugs, weapons Bay City News 03-20-2017
What is the purpose of the Intell hearing? Bruce Joffe 03-20-2017
Press Release: Community Tip Leads to Gun and Drug Arrests in Berkeley Berkeley Police Department via Nixle 03-20-2017
Dirt bikers arrested after Berkeley visit Sasha Futran 03-20-2017
Press Release: Pathways project for Berkeley's homeless From the offices of Mayor Arreguin and Councilmember Hahn 03-17-2017
SENIOR POWER: Sophie Hahn, fortunately. Helen Rippier Wheeler 03-15-2017
Two Months of Trump: There are No Neutrals Here Bob Burnett 03-17-2017
ECLECTIC RANT: Democratic Party has its work cut out for it at the state level Ralph Stone 03-17-2017
ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Psychological Warfare Jack Bragen 03-17-2017
Arts & Events
New: LA VOIX HUMAINE: “Can You Hear Me Now?” Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 03-19-2017
Handel’s Atalanta at San Francisco Conservatory of Music reviewed by James Roy MacBean 03-17-2017
Theater Review: 'Bus Stop' at Ross Valley Players Ken Bullock 03-17-2017