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Berkeley's Redwood Gardens' continuing issues with management

Lydia Gans
Friday July 21, 2017 - 02:21:00 PM

It's been three years since we reported on problems at Redwood Gardens. Since then things have not improved. Redwood Gardens is a HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) subsidized 168 unit apartment complex for seniors and people with disabilities. It is located in Berkeley at 1951 Derby Street.

The complex has operated under various arrangements for more than 30 years. In 2013 CSI Support and Development took over management of the complex and they are having a very confrontational relationship with the tenants. They have been making major changes with virtually no consultation with the Residents' Council. In 2014 they proceeded with with a major renovation project causing huge disruption in people's lives. Some had to find temporary alternative accommodations while work was being done on their units. This was a particular hardship for people with disabilities.

In the ensuing years CSI has been receiving numerous complaints from the residents about hazardous conditions, barriers for mobility impaired residents, security issues, removal of community gathering space, a general deterioration in the quality of the living conditions. And they have refused to allow the on-site building manager to have meaningful communication with the tenants. In a recent meeting of some of the residents, Peni Hall, who has lived there for 30 years,describes their situation:

“We have out-of-town landlords who are very erratic and run the place like real estate and don't care much about the residents.” -more-

Press Release: Mountain Lion Sighting in Berkeley near Clark Kerr Campus

UCB Police Department
Friday July 21, 2017 - 01:55:00 PM

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at approximately 11:57 a.m. UCPD received a report of a mountain lion sighting east of the Clark Kerr Campus track.

Deer are a major food source for Mountain Lions. In the past couple of years, several sightings of mountain lions have occurred in the hills above the Berkeley campus and carcasses of animals suspected to have been attacked by mountain lions were also discovered.

To reduce the chances of encountering a Mountain Lion: -more-

Berkeley teacher charged in connection with 2016 Sacramento rally

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday July 21, 2017 - 01:53:00 PM

Veteran activist and Berkeley school teacher Yvette Felarca has been charged with assault, participating in a riot and inciting a riot for her actions in a faceoff between white nationalist groups and counter-protestors in Sacramento last year, prosecutors said today. -more-

Elisa Cooper Memorial Gathering on Monday

Kelly Hammargren
Friday July 21, 2017 - 07:17:00 PM

Elisa Cooper Memorial Gathering, Monday, July 24, 6:00 pm, 1817 Oregon St, Berkeley, In the garden at Elisa’s cottage. -more-

Two alarm Berkeley garage fire ended

Dennis Culver
Friday July 21, 2017 - 07:16:00 PM

Firefighters in Berkeley this morning have knocked down a two-alarm house fire. -more-


Just one vote: How women got the vote

Ruth Rosen
Sunday July 23, 2017 - 12:18:00 PM

For days, the fate of health care for twenty-two million Americans depended on the vote of one Republican senator. Think about it: one person would have decided whether millions of Americans, including children, the disabled and the poor would continue to have access to health care. Just one vote.

This is not the first time in our history that a decision of such momentous importance has been decided by one legislator’s vote. Ever since the first women’s rights convention took place in 1848, Americans had been bitterly divided over woman’s suffrage. After seven decades of fierce campaigns, American suffragists finally convinced Congress to pass the 19th amendment on June 4th, 1919, which granted women full citizenship and gave them the right to vote. But after 35 states had ratified the amendment, pro-suffragists still needed one more state to ratify the amendment.

All eyes now turned to Tennessee. The leaders of both the pro-suffragist and anti-suffragist movements descended upon the legislature to lobby its members. The anti-suffrage liquor interests flooded the House and Senate with free booze, leaving the legislators dazed and drunk. Tennessee’s Senate quickly passed the amendment. In the House, however, furious argument and heated debate created a 48-48 deadlock. Just one person needed to change their vote give all American women the right to vote. -more-

Public Comment

What did the YIMBYs do in Oakland this week?

Zelda Bronstein
Thursday July 20, 2017 - 01:31:00 PM

Editor's note: If you're curious about what happened at last week's YIMBY get-together in Oakland, this thorough account can be found in full on the web site:

Inside the Yimby conference

Nice civil discussion on the surface -- and some nastiness behind the scenes

Last weekend about 120 attendees from 17 cities gathered in downtown Oakland for the Yimbytown 2017 conference. Organized by East Bay Forward, the event was bankrolled by a $40,000 grant from Open Philanthropy, a project of Cari Tuna and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz that also funded the initial Yimbytown conference in Boulder. Chicago Cityscape also funded scholarships for a quarter of the conferees. Admission was $75.

The event featured 20 sessions and three keynote speakers, including State Senator Scott Wiener. For this reporter, the most memorable aspect of the proceedings was the contrast between the participants’ civility and collegiality at the event proper and the organizers’ incivility and paranoia behind the scenes. A close second was Wiener’s disingenuous put-down of his and other Yimbys’ San Francisco opponents

[for the whole story, click here.] -more-

Gaza under siege

Jagjit Singh
Friday July 21, 2017 - 02:31:00 PM

Determined to intensify the suffering of the Palestinians, Israel has imposed new draconian restrictions limiting electricity to barely 2 hours a day.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator for occupied Palestinian territory, Robert Piper, lamented “I see this extraordinarily inhumane and unjust process of strangling 2 million civilians in Gaza.”

60 percent of the youth are unemployed and see no future. Raji Sourani, the award-winning human rights lawyer, recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, said “Israel is fulfilling its promise to drive us into the Middle Ages.”

Gaza has suffered 3 brutal assaults leaving the city in complete shambles. Israel has refused to allow the importation of construction materials to rebuild their city. The sewage is untreated and the water undrinkable. People are unable to sleep because of the oppressive heat, food can no longer be refrigerated, many hospitals have ceased to function, dialysis patients have been turned away condemning them to a certain, painful death. Water pumps are unable to pump water beyond the second floor. Raw sewage cannot be treated and is dumped into the sea contaminating all sea life. -more-

We have lost our rights

Romila Khanna
Friday July 21, 2017 - 02:38:00 PM

The majority of the American people have lost faith in the current Congress. Most Republican members try to paint a rosy picture of how America has improved in every area. It is very frustrating to hear each day the same repeated words “Repeal and Replace Obama Care”. The suggested changes will make our poor and needy citizens suffer in every way. Their main goal seems to bring back the slavery era, where all manner of discrimination was present, with wide disparity in income, healthcare, and employment. I saw how President Obama’s desire to overrule the Congress and attempt to use executive privilege, to improve the public situation, was ignored. The Republicans and their members in the Congress always created a hostile attitude towards the African-American President. His views, his decisions, his way of thinking, was always considered wrong. They forgot that President Obama inherited the worst economy, due to prior War and hatred created by the previous President. He tried to create a friendly relationship with the International community. His rightful thinking was correct that war and hate does not bring peace within our hearts and on our planet. -more-


Will Worser make it Better? What can we do to help?

Becky O'Malley
Friday July 21, 2017 - 07:13:00 PM

UPDATE on JULY 28: The news today is just too weird to comment on this afternoon. I'll wait to have a go at it until the weekend, so I can publish other people's good new pieces promptly.

It’s hard for me to go anywhere these days, or to read anything serious, or to watch anything comic , without hearing the echo of one of the few Russian phrases that I still remember, Что делать?- What is to be done?

Its first incarnation was a novel by the Russian Utopian Socialist Nikolai Chernyshevsky, described by Wikipedia as advocating “the creation of small socialist cooperatives based on the Russian peasant commune, but oriented toward industrial production.” The name was later used by Tolstoy, who did not admire the earlier author, and then by Lenin, who did.

That would explain why my friend who grew up on one of the famous Petaluma chicken farms, part of a settlement which seems to have been organized sort of on the Chernyshevsky model , remembers one of her mother’s political aphorisms as being “the worser the better.” That slogan, in the more grammatical form “the worse the better”, is attributed to Chernyshevsky, and we hope it’s apt, don’t we? Because it certainly gets worser every day, and What is to Be Done to make it better, indeed, is the question of the day. -more-


ECLECTIC RANT: Opioid epidemic likely to continue unabated

Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 21, 2017 - 02:35:00 PM

Let's stop calling it a "war on drugs." Over the past four decades, federal and state governments have spent over $1 trillion into drug war spending and some would say much of this money was wasted. Drug abuse is a public health issue, not a war. By treating it as a war, our commitment to drug prevention has been too heavily weighted on the supply side. This is a short-sighted view. -more-

As Trump Decompensates, GOP Disintegrates

Bob Burnett
Friday July 21, 2017 - 02:13:00 PM

We're sailing in uncharted presidential waters. Donald Trump has moved beyond incompetency to the designation: "a danger to himself and others." One small solace, before Trump blows up the planet he'll probably first destroy the Republican Party. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Don't Oversimplify, &, About Hydration

Jack Bragen
Friday July 21, 2017 - 01:26:00 PM

Don't oversimplify mental illness

Many people in the general public have uninformed opinions about us; people in mainstream society incorrectly view mentally ill people with negative stereotypes. People do not understand mental illness. Even family members, some of the time, will tell us to "lift yourself by your bootstraps." They may be viewing mental illness with monochrome, oversimplified thinking.

Many have erroneous views about medication. Some people believe medication should not be taken, and we ought to just get over our problems without it. Others assume medication is absolutely needed in all cases. I feel that medication isn't good or bad. It helps millions of people to survive and to live somewhat normally. Yet, psychiatric medications have drawbacks.

If someone can get by okay without medication, they should. This is because psychiatric medications, aside from being useful, often have side effects that affect the human mind and body in awful ways. -more-

Arts & Events

Menotti’s THE CONSUL: An Opera Trump Should Be Required to See

Reviewed by James MacBean
Sunday July 23, 2017 - 12:29:00 PM

Berkeley Chamber Opera’s Artistic Director, Eliza O’Malley, followed up on the outstanding achievement of her company’s production last December of Vincenzo Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi with what seemed at first glance an odd choice for the company’s next production – Gian-Carlo Menotti’s 1950 opera The Consul. Menotti, an American-born composer of Italian origin, is hardly in the same league as Vincenzo Bellini. Menotti’s chamber operas The Medium (1946) and The Telephone (1947), and his television Christmas opera Ahmal and the Night Visitors (1951) have always remained marginal curiosities in the operatic world. Though I’ve seen these works, they never made much of an impression on me. Gian-Carlo Menotti’s main claim to fame, it seemed, was as founding director in 1958 of the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, which he later took to Charleston, South Carolina.

However, as staged by Berkeley Chamber Opera in two performances at Berkeley’s Hillside Club on July 14 & 16, Menotti’s The Consul was a revelation. Here is a serious opera written in a post-Puccini verismo style, full of angular, often dissonant music that alternates with occasional soliloquies and duets of a poignant lyricism. The plot revolves around a topic that is in the forefront of news today in Donald Trump’s USA – the fate of political refugees. Set in a fictional, unidentified European country, The Consul focuses on the plight of one John Sorel, his wife Magda, his infant son, and his aging mother. John, a political dissident in a totalitarian state, is wanted by the police for his political opposition to the government. When the State’s secret police come looking for John, he is hidden by his wife and mother. The police ask questions but don’t find John. Once the police have left, John bids his family goodbye and heads for the border. Taking his leave, John, movingly sung by tenor Michael Orlinsky, sings a poignant duet with his wife, Magda, ravishingly sung by soprano Eliza O’Malley. This duet, like most (but not all) of the music in this production of The Consul is sung in English. Earlier, as The Consul opens, a street-singer, sung here by mezzo-soprano Liliane Cromer, croons in French. Later, in a scene at the consulate, a foreign woman sings in Italian. -more-

Back Stories



Will Worser make it Better? What can we do to help? 07-21-2017

Public Comment

What did the YIMBYs do in Oakland this week? Zelda Bronstein 07-20-2017

Gaza under siege Jagjit Singh 07-21-2017

We have lost our rights Romila Khanna 07-21-2017


Berkeley's Redwood Gardens' continuing issues with management Lydia Gans 07-21-2017

Press Release: Mountain Lion Sighting in Berkeley near Clark Kerr Campus UCB Police Department 07-21-2017

Berkeley teacher charged in connection with 2016 Sacramento rally Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) 07-21-2017

Elisa Cooper Memorial Gathering on Monday Kelly Hammargren 07-21-2017

Two alarm Berkeley garage fire ended Dennis Culver 07-21-2017

Just one vote: How women got the vote Ruth Rosen 07-23-2017


ECLECTIC RANT: Opioid epidemic likely to continue unabated Ralph E. Stone 07-21-2017

As Trump Decompensates, GOP Disintegrates Bob Burnett 07-21-2017

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Don't Oversimplify, &, About Hydration Jack Bragen 07-21-2017

Arts & Events

Menotti’s THE CONSUL: An Opera Trump Should Be Required to See Reviewed by James MacBean 07-23-2017