The Week

Hate Man offered to "push" tourists in People's Park for their money. If they won, he'd "pay" them. He would  pose for pics, as well, for a price. He may be a well-known philosopher (WIKI), but he was no cock-eyed romanticist.
Ted Friedman
Hate Man offered to "push" tourists in People's Park for their money. If they won, he'd "pay" them. He would pose for pics, as well, for a price. He may be a well-known philosopher (WIKI), but he was no cock-eyed romanticist.


Flash: Crash damages Berkeley gas line, residents evacuated

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Wednesday April 05, 2017 - 02:16:00 PM

Berkeley police are asking people to stay away from the area around San Pablo and Ashby avenues this afternoon because of a gas leak caused by a solo-vehicle crash. -more-

Hate Man, the Pathways Project, and the War on Eccentricity

Carol Denney
Monday April 03, 2017 - 03:55:00 PM

There comes a point in a local's life where you go to People's Park and you stop looking for a spectacle, a particular vision of all it has stood for over the decades, and begin instead to look for who is there.

The tourists often look for a museum experience that will quickly summarize the sixties so they can go shopping. University of California officials are looking for evidence that the sixties are still there so they can start another development machine. City representatives usually hope to minimize their connection to the park so they can get re-elected.

But park-connected people look for the people which, as much as the weather on a particular day, will predict the likelihood of some really good music, some rocking stories, a couple of good arguments and jokes. There might be an old friend you met in a holding cell you can borrow a couple bucks from or pay back. And usually there was Hate Man.

Hate Man, born Mark Hawthorne, was among many things a philosopher who encouraged people to confront negative feelings in themselves and others, which he saw as more honest. He was articulate, educated, and gentle. He usually dressed in creative attire unusual even for Berkeley's streets, which, like his philosophy, gave gentle permission to others to stretch their ideas of their own expression. -more-

Updated: Hate Man is Dead

Tom Lord, Dan McMullan, Ace Backwards
Sunday April 02, 2017 - 10:38:00 PM

Hate's sister and some friends of his indicate on Facebook that Hate has passed. Hate has touched and greatly helped many, many lives -- including, I think, his own. No reference material can do justice and none do more than scratch the surface, so this will have to do.

—Thomas Lord -more-

New: Concord residents arrested in Berkeley burglary

Kiley Russell (CN)
Saturday April 01, 2017 - 09:58:00 PM

Berkeley police arrested two people suspected of robbing a home on Thursday night, according to police officials. -more-

New: Trump’s curse (Public Comment)

Jagjit Singh
Tuesday April 04, 2017 - 07:16:00 PM

Contrary to his campaign pledge to hang up his golf clubs and work for the American people, Trump now spends an excessive amount of time golfing and vacationing at his Florida resort. Readers may recall how he mocked Obama for indulging in an occasional weekend golfing with his friends.

Sadly, Trump’s offspring have been cursed with the same lust for money capitalizing on the Trump name. Son-in-law Kushner is wobbling right on the edge of an ethical precipice. Swing state members of Congress are cursed with their support of Trump and may lose their seats in the mid-term elections. -more-

New: The Pathways Project won't work for Berkeley homeless (Public Comment)

Thomas Lord
Saturday April 01, 2017 - 02:55:00 PM

On Tuesday, April 4th, the Berkeley City Council will be voting on a controversial proposal that will further criminalize the homeless. The plan, called "The Pathways Project", promises to intensify enforcement of anti-homeless laws. At the heart of the Pathways project is a simple proposition: step up law enforcement against homeless people without providing the vast majority of them any alternatives to breaking the law. -more-

New: April 1, 2017--No foolin'

Helen Rippier Wheeler
Saturday April 01, 2017 - 03:32:00 PM

To the Berkeley City Council:

I urge you to vote 'yes' on the Fresh Start Resolutions. I am a long-time Council District 4 resident, a retired educator, professional librarian and author. I know what I'm talking about.. "Senior Power" is my occasional newspaper column.

I am unable to attend Tuesday, April 4, 2017's Berkeley Council meeting (8:30 P.M., 2134 MLK). -more-

New: Open letter to members of the Berkeley City Council regarding selection of the police chief (Public Comment)

Andrea Prichett, James McFadden et al.
Saturday April 01, 2017 - 03:01:00 PM

It is our understanding that the City Manager is preparing to appoint Andrew Greenwood to be the new permanent Chief of Police for the city of Berkeley. While we appreciate that he is well liked by the City Manager and many officers, we believe that the appointment of a chief requires a process that includes soliciting input from the people of Berkeley. The proposed hire has been done without the benefit of a hiring committee, feedback of any kind from the public or any input from the Police Review Commission. For a position that commands such power and influence over the quality of life in Berkeley and that is accountable only to the City Manager, it is especially crucial that there be a transparent process into which the people of Berkeley can include their comments. If the City Council wants the people of Berkeley to trust and support a new chief, then it is wise to withhold your approval of this hire until a process for making this hire can be created and communicated throughout the city. -more-

Berkeley City Council to consider $800,000 home loan to City Manager at special meeting on Tuesday

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 31, 2017 - 04:50:00 PM

At 4:10 pm on Friday afternoon, March 31, the Planet received a notice from the Berkeley City Clerk with a proclamation from Mayor Jesse Arreguin that there will be a special meeting of the City Council on Tuesday, April 4, at 4:30 pm, with the following item on the Consent Calendar:

1. Authorizing Home Loan Agreement with Dee Williams-Ridley

From: Mayor Arreguin

Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution authorizing a housing assistance loan to Dee Williams-Ridley of up to $800,000 for the purchase of a residence within a ten mile radius of the City of Berkeley, for a 20 year term with an annual interest rate equal to 3%, and repayment of the loan with interest required within 24 months of separation from the City, and authorizing the Mayor to execute the resulting loan repayment agreement and promissory note.

Financial Implications: See report

Contact: Jesse Arreguin, Mayor, 981-7100
No report was attached to the notice however. -more-

Two Weeks in April: California's Clean Money Campaign Races to Collect 50,000 Signatures

Gar Smith
Friday March 31, 2017 - 02:49:00 PM

Earlier this week, a group of dogged political activists gathered for a strategy session at the Urban Adamah farm's two-plus-acre site in West Berkeley. Sitting in a circle inside a large, round Mongolian-style yurt, 20 game-changers—some who had driven from as far as Livermore and Palo Alto—were drawn together by a shared interest in supporting AB 14, a California state bill designed to help get "dark money" out of politics by requiring all print and broadcast election ads to clearly identify whose money is being spent to promote legislation.

Are you frightened by dark money? Ticked off during elections dominated by spurious campaign advertising that floods (some might say pollutes) the media stream? Well, AB 14 could be your flashlight and your life-jacket.

The DISCLOSE Act would require the top three funders of political ads—be they for ballot measures or candidates—to be clearly identified on each and every ad. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that spending unlimited amounts of money to influence elections was a protected form of "free speech." Trent Lange, president of the California Clean Money Acton Fund, points out: "The vast majority of the unlimited money unleashed by Citizens United is spent on deceptive political ads. AB 14 will stop them from hiding who's really behind them." -more-

High Tech Layoffs In The Bay Area

Harry Brill
Friday March 31, 2017 - 02:45:00 PM

Because of a dip in the Bay Area economy, both generally speaking and in the high tech industry, job losses in January and February, were substantial. According to state data reported in the East Bay Times, the southern portion of the Bay Area, Santa Clara County, shed 8,100 jobs in these two months. Alameda and Contra Counties, which make up the East Bay, lost 5,600 jobs in January and February. These losses total 13,700 jobs. -more-



Fool's Errand, Fool's Gold or Fool's Paradise? Or some of each?

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 31, 2017 - 01:31:00 PM

Tomorrow comes yet another April Fools’ Day, remembered especially in the O’Malley family as the day in 2003 when we assumed responsibility for the Berkeley Daily Planet. Fourteen years is a long time, and yet it seems to have gone by in a blink. My chances of being around fourteen years hence are slim, so now is as good a time as any to consider what we’ve done with the last fourteen.

For insight, let’s first consider the beautiful essay contributed for our first issue by Peter Solomon. He popped up in our new office on South Shattuck as we were moving in. I’d known him somewhat during his distinguished and varied career as a typesetter, an editor of small papers including the Flatlands newspaper, the original independent Montclarion, and who know what else? His wit and wisdom were famous in certain rarefied circles that I’d moved in during a prior life in journalism so we asked him to accept the title of the Planet’s Eminence Grise. His major responsibility was to show up at staff meetings and set everyone straight as needed, which he did with humor and grace.
Here’s how he started out his piece, entitled Whose Berkeley? -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New: Don't miss this: changes afoot

Monday April 03, 2017 - 06:13:00 PM

From the East Bay Times: Assemblymember Tony Thurmond to run for state superintendent

And Berkeley City Attorney Zack Cowan will be leaving his position as of July, according to Yvette Gan, Secretary to the Berkeley City Manager, per a letter answering a citizen's inquiry. If you'd like to apply, details can be found by clicking here. -more-

New: Bad Boy Boobies threaten to come back to Berkeley on April 15

Saturday April 01, 2017 - 01:58:00 PM

The New Republic online chronicles the adventures of a far-right jerk who seems to have hit someone with a stick at the "March4Trump" which took place in Berkeley on (surprise) March 4. It includes a link to a video where the self-styled warrior puts together some armor-ish gear from spare parts bought at Home Depot and similar places. I know, Boys Just Like to Have Fun, but this adolescent claims to be 41 years old. He and his cronies are planning a reprise on April 15 in Martin Luther King Civic Center Park. The Berkeley Police Department did an excellent job of mostly ignoring them the last time, only arresting this over-age kid after he actually slugged a Black Blocker with a pole. -more-

Public Comment

The Nunes saga: a dead skunk

Jagjit Singh
Friday March 31, 2017 - 03:50:00 PM

The Nunes–Russia-Trump saga has all the intrigue of a spy thriller far exceeding anything Tom Clancy or John Le Carré could offer. The latest episode in this gripping story is Nunes, who imagines himself as a tough Jason Bourne, but behaves more like Inspector Clouseau (the inept protagonist of the “Pink Panther” comedies), leaping over the White House wall to meet “Deep Throat”. Nunes switched cars and ditched aides to “cover his tracks”. He then met his former boss to tip him off about possible incriminating information linking him to the bare chested boss at the Kremlin. But the story has taken another twist, “Deep Throat” has finally been unmasked— they were two White House aides who seem to have conjured up a fake story to cover Trump’s preposterous claim that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower! -more-

Oaths, Law and Consequences

Bruce Joffe
Friday March 31, 2017 - 03:43:00 PM

What consequences does a person face if he/she lies during sworn testimony to the Senate? Do the consequences for perjury apply to government officials, including the chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Jeff Sessions? During his confirmation hearing, under oath, he said he had no contact with Russian officials during Trump's campaign, to which he was an advisor. That was untrue. Subsequently, Sessions tried to minimize his perjury by saying he hadn't met with Russians as Trump's representative. Does subsequent redefining of untrue statements absolve the perjurer from culpability? If not, what is the Senate doing to seek just consequences? If Sessions can lie to the Senate under oath without consequence, then anyone's oath to tell the truth becomes a meaningless gesture.

Similarly, ex-National-Security-Advisor Michael Flynn broke the law when he failed to disclose his lobbyist arrangement for the Government of Turkey while also serving in an official U.S. government position. After this violation was uncovered, he belatedly submitted a disclosure form. Does post-factual disclosure absolve Flynn of criminal culpability? If so, then no one would be required to follow the law unless they were caught. If not, what is being done to bring Flynn to justice and consequence?

Berkeley's People's Park is in the news again

Lydia Gans
Thursday March 30, 2017 - 12:21:00 PM

On April 23, friends and neighbors of People's Park will be celebrating its 48th birthday. People's Park, a 2.8 acre green space east of Telegraph between Haste and Dwight, was created after massive protests to preserve that land as a park for the people of the community. And the community has continued to maintain the park in spite of periodic confrontations with the University of California. The latest threat to the park, the announcement, that the University is considering building student housing on the land, will not go unchallenged.

In the March 11 front page article in the Chronicle the reporter quotes Carol Christ, UC interim vice chancellor and provost on a committee to produce needed student housing. Talking about People's Park: “We own the land, but we're essentially running a daytime homeless shelter in the park.”

There's no question that housing is needed but so is open space, accessible places where people can sit peacefully and enjoy the fresh air or socialize with others in the neighborhood. That's why we have dozens of parks all over Berkeley centered in different neighborhoods, reflecting the various interests or needs of the people in the community. -more-

New: Our privacy has been stolen

Bruce Joffe
Saturday April 01, 2017 - 01:57:00 PM

To make a phone call, your phone company knows the phone number you are calling. Legally considered a "utility," phone companies are required to protect the privacy of your call information. Similarly, in order to connect to a webpage, your internet provider knows every website address you view, and every keystroke you enter on that website. Until now, that private information was similarly protected. -more-

New: Rex Tillerson

Tejinder Uberoi
Saturday April 01, 2017 - 03:07:00 PM

It was profoundly disturbing to witness Rex Tillerson’s effusive greeting and photo op with Turkey’s leader, President Erdogan. Perhaps, Tillerson is unaware that Turkey is rapidly sliding towards a dictatorship. He failed to raise US concerns over mass arrests of protestors, a purge of political opponents and a fierce crackdown on the news media. President Trump has shown an unhealthy fascination for dictators – Egypt’s General Sisi, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the gun-toting Duterte of the Philippines. Turkey is set to hold a referendum next month which may extend Erdogan’s presidency to 2029. -more-

NO TRUMPCARE: What This Means to Those with Disabilities (Public Comment)

Jack Bragen
Friday March 31, 2017 - 04:07:00 PM

That little bit of hope that many disabled people have, particularly those of us with a psychiatric diagnosis, is that at times we can supplement our income with a part-time job, or may even be able to return to work on a larger scale. This is not a huge ambition, nor is it usually unrealistic. However, it allows many persons with disabilities to have hope of someday having a better life. -more-

Understand the motive behind the agenda

Romila Khanna
Friday March 31, 2017 - 03:46:00 PM

Republicans have failed in their efforts to get the required number of votes to replace Obamacare. They have tried to repeal and replace this health care law for the past 7 years. Their vengeful attitude towards President Obama made them waste our tax dollars to try to repeal the healthcare law.

Their next agenda is to “improve” the Tax system to benefit a wealthy group of people and President Trump’s Cabinet. They don’t think, but just support the views of the President regarding every issue America is facing today. Lower the tax for the wealthy, and let others carry the burden of paying more to support their mission. They are hoarding more, and not paying their share of revenues to the government for improving the lives of low income and poor citizens of this country. -more-

National law needed to protect rights

Chuck Mann, Greensboro, NC
Thursday March 30, 2017 - 02:03:00 PM

The politicians that run my state (North Carolina) did the right thing by repealing the notorious ''bathroom bill''. Unfortunately they did the wrong thing by adding provisions that bans all cities in my state from creating anti-discrimination legislation until the year 2020. We need a national law that states that all adult citizens must have the same legal, political, and civil rights. -more-

April Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Wednesday April 05, 2017 - 01:07:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money.

This is a Very Good Deal. Go for it! -more-


Jagjit Singh
Friday March 31, 2017 - 04:44:00 PM

The recent debacle of Trumpcare, has provided impetus to Bernie Sanders’s new proposal of Single Payer for all. Several progressive groups are backing a single-payer system, including the Working Families Party, the Progressive Campaign Change Committee, CREDO, Social Security Works and National Nurses United. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Inside Devin Nunes

Bob Burnett
Friday March 31, 2017 - 02:28:00 PM

One of the bizarre consequences of the Congressional investigation into the connections between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia is the media attention given to a banal Republican congressman, Devin Nunes. As the chair of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Nunes has singlehandedly blocked the House investigation into the Trump-Russia affair. He's doing this because of political ambition.

43-year-old Nunes grew up on a dairy farm in Tulare, California, and earned a Master's degree in Agriculture. In 2001, Nunes entered politics when President Bush appointed him California State Director for the USDA's Rural Development section. In 2003, Nunes became Congressman for what is now California Congressional District 22, which includes Tulare. By 2010, Nunes was recognized as a rising Republican star; Time Magazine named him one of their "40 civic leaders under 40," characterizing Nunes as an ambitious "farm boy." Nunes admitted, "I like Agriculture," adding that if left politics, "I would be making wine and cheese." (Nunes' family owns a huge Tulare farm and Nunes lives nearby.)

Given his rural background, it's remarkable how quickly Devin Nunes has risen up the Republican food chain. Many attribute this to his book, "Restoring the Republic," published in 2010 by WND Books. In the 165 page polemic, Nunes staked out a far-right perspective, notably on environmental policy, describing Environmental lobbyists as "followers of neo-Marxist, socialist, Maoist or Communist ideals" and characterizing global-warming claims as "hysteria" spread by a "Doomsday cult." -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Failed GOP health care legislation

Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 31, 2017 - 03:39:00 PM

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) or ObamaCare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 20 million people are newly insured as a result of the ACA. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Not a Character Defect

Jack Bragen
Friday March 31, 2017 - 02:44:00 PM

When someone has cancer, people collectively furnish sympathy and support, and we often will at least give lip service to them being "brave," and we may say they are "battling cancer," which brings up images of an honorable knight battling a dragon. -more-

Arts & Events

SFFilm Comes to BAMPFA

Gar Smith
Friday March 31, 2017 - 04:14:00 PM

San Francisco International Film Festival Marks Its 60th Year

The SF Film Fest (SFFilm), the world's first and longest-running city-sponsored celebration of cinema, is a prodigious event by any measure. By my count, SFFilm will be offering 229 films in 38 languages in 11 venues in two cities over 15 days.

At 68 pages, the SFFilm program is 15 pages longer than Donald Trump's "America First" presidential budget (admittedly, the shortest budget on record; less than one-third the size of George W. Bush's first budget proposal).

The festivities begin with an Opening Night Party on April 5 and wind up on April 19 with the screening of The Green Fog: A San Francisco Fantasia with the Kronos Quarter and a closing party at the Mezzanine. Along the way, SFFilm will be staging a tribute to actor Ethan Hawke (who co-stars with Sally Hawkins in Maudie, a film that debuts at the SFFilm on April 8 before its theatrical release on June 23) and the presentation of the Mel Novikoff Award to UC Berkeley's own Tom Luddy, a pioneering film buff who went on to found the Telluride Film Festival. -more-

Nicola Benedetti Plays Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with San Francisco Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday March 31, 2017 - 03:44:00 PM

Born in Scotland of Italian heritage, Nicola Benedetti is hailed as one of the top violinists in the world. She won the 2012 prize for Best Female Artist given by the classical BRIT Awards. On Sunday afternoon, March 26, Nicola Benedetti joined with the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas in Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. A work noted for its soaring lyricism, this G minor Violin Concerto by Bruch was given a superb performance by Nicola Benedetti, who combined sumptuous tone and a keen sensitivity to the nuances of this music. Her delicate phrasing of the beautiful Adagio was matched by the fiery elegance of her interpretation of the Finale. Nor should we neglect her outstanding rendition of Bruch’s lyrical first movement. Playing a 1717 Gariel Stradivarius violin, Nicola Benedetti gave a ravishing account of Max Bruch’s gift for writing beautiful music for the violin. As an encore, Ms. Benedetti offered what she announced as a gift from her native Scotland, the original version of Robert Burns’ well-loved song, “Auld Lang Syne,” which she played with great feeling. -more-