The Week



New: Berkeley City Council Resumes Oversight of Police Use of Military Hardware

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday November 15, 2017 - 08:53:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council has approved a resolution that restores the Council's oversight of transfers of excess U.S. Department of Defense materials, such as weapons and vehicles, to the city's Police Department. -more-

Berkeley Councilmember Kate Harrison Wants City Oversight of Military Hardware Sought by Police

Jeff Shuttleworth
Monday November 13, 2017 - 10:05:00 PM

Berkeley City Councilwoman Kate Harrison said today that she thinks the council should be given the power to review and approve any surplus military hardware that the city's Police Department seeks from the U.S. Department of Defense. -more-

New: Police Reform is Possible - and Crucial

Carol Denney
Saturday November 11, 2017 - 07:17:00 PM

Now and then you go to a city meeting and walk out afterward thanking your stars you were there. It doesn't happen often, but it happens; crucial information presented clearly, well-informed speakers treating the crowd and each other with respect, interested, well-informed attendees making powerful observations and asking powerful questions. And a clear map toward a more just world. -more-

The Lexus Lanes and Why They Won't Work

Zelda Bronstein
Friday November 10, 2017 - 01:04:00 PM

One of the hallmarks of neoliberalism is the application of market solutions to market-generated problems. It’s an approach that’s bound to fail, because market-generated problems can only be solved by non-market solutions; but to the neoliberal mind, no-market solutions are anathema. Unfortunately, this approach is guiding city and regional planning in the Bay Area. -more-

The Real Plight of the Homeless Told by Homeless

Mike Zint
Friday November 10, 2017 - 01:01:00 PM

Housing is not a reality. How many years do you have to wait? So, until then, you are a target. No stability at all. Keep your gear close. They are coming for you. No place to hide, no place to go, no choices left. Except drugs or insanity. -more-

Why I don’t need a psychotherapist – even with Trump: the Pastry Plan

Marty Schiffenbauer
Friday November 10, 2017 - 11:59:00 AM

Many of my friends are in psychotherapy, perhaps a majority. And my guess is only a handful have never been to a shrink. As for myself, I’ve been to a psychotherapist twice in my life. Each session took place decades ago, in my 20s, and was at the insistence of my mom. To my mom’s dismay, both psychotherapists refused to take me on as a client following our initial session. The first declared my lack of ambition and aversion to work were untreatable. The second, a rabbi as well as a shrink, told me he was threatened by my atheism. From then on, I considered myself “non-shrink” material.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no rap against shrinks. To the contrary, a number of my close friends are psychotherapists as is my wife’s wonderful daughter. I’m sure most mental health healers are fine human beings, do much good for their clients and prevent even more violent mayhem by our gun-worshiping citizens. And, recently, 27 psychiatrists and mental health professionals felt duty-bound to publish “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” raising the alarm that our malignant, narcissistic president seriously endangers not only the United States but the entire planet. Hopefully, the powers that be will heed their urgent warning.

Yet, despite my nightmarish fears that our tweeter-in-chief poses a threat to all living creatures, not to mention being a lifelong hypochondriac, I’m still able to preserve my sanity without psychotherapy. That’s because I can allay my anxieties, dulcify my depressive thoughts and mellow my mood by employing a far less expensive, efficacious method to maintain my mental health: I make it my top priority to consume one yummy pastry every single day!

For those who’d like to try my therapeutic protocol, the list below will provide a head start. It highlights seven of my favorite pastries, one for each day of the week. But I definitely do not want to give the impression that only my listed pastry picks can serve as a substitute for seeing a shrink. The East Bay is blessed with a plentitude of delectable pastries and pastry purveyors and any pastry one loves is virtually certain to soothe a psyche in distress. -more-



U.C. Berkeley Puts Beans in Its Ears Again

Becky O'Malley
Thursday November 09, 2017 - 02:52:00 PM

It’s either the good news or the bad news that if you’ve been around as long as I have you get to say “I told you so” more and more often.

The good news is that it’s satisfying to find out that you’ve been right all along.

The bad news is how long it takes for being right to make a difference in what happens—and sometimes it turns out to be never. -more-

Public Comment

General Kelly

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday November 10, 2017 - 02:30:00 PM

The White House chief of staff, General Kelly, the administration’s so called disciplinarian, has been a huge disappointment defending slavery, the dark stain of American history. The Civil War was an effort to maintain the status quo, to preserve the enslavement of African Americans. Contrary to Kelly’s false depiction of General Lee as an “honorable man” Lee fought to preserve slavery. During the civil war, captured free blacks were incarcerated in chains. After the war ended Lee campaigned to evict black people from his native Virginia. -more-

Texas Shooting

Jagjit Singh
Friday November 10, 2017 - 02:34:00 PM

Another mass shooting, prayers, flowers, sober speeches, lowering the flag . . . heaven forbid this is not the time to discuss gun control. After the Las Vegas shooting the consoler in chief, said “we are not going to talk about that today.” -more-

re: Let's Move to Alamo

Dave Brower
Friday November 10, 2017 - 12:43:00 PM

Toni Mester, responding to Kevin Burke's comment on her earlier piece suggests that people in Alamo, "probably all have an opinion about Berkeley."

I live there now, liked living in Berkeley before. When I was looking to buy, we couldn't afford Berkeley and ended up in a Walnut Creek condo, then to Alamo. My opinion is that Berkeley is great, and in many ways preferable to Alamo, especially if you value culture. -more-

Trump Rejects Gun Control, Blames It on the Mentally Ill -- My Take on This

Jack Bragen
Thursday November 09, 2017 - 11:13:00 AM

Numerous friends and acquaintances whom I know are unhappy over President Trump's remarks about the Texas massacre being a mental health problem rather than a gun problem.

Only a small portion of gun violence in the U.S. can be attributed to a mental illness. Persons with mental illness, by and large, are good people with bad illnesses and are not out to do harm to anyone.

Trump is grasping at straws, and he is bullying mentally ill people, many of whom don't have a voice and cannot defend themselves against such trashing. Next, we're going to see Trump try to take away hard fought rights of psychiatric consumers.

If the shooter happened to be African American, or Jewish, or Latino, would it be fair to blame all African American people, all Jews, or all Spanish-speaking people? This is the same thing. Persons with psychiatric disabilities aren't officially recognized as a minority. However, the fact that many people in the general public vilify us, are afraid of us, hate us, and attribute all manner of evil to us, means that we should be recognized as a minority, similarly to LGBTQ people, and nonwhite people. -more-

Republicans' Benghazi

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday November 10, 2017 - 02:32:00 PM

A leading Africa analyst, Horace Campbell, shed new light on the role of U.S. Special Forces in Africa. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the U.S. and France are in fact protecting their commercial interests. The death of four U.S. Special Forces follows six years after the U.S., France and Britain invaded and destroyed Libya. -more-


SQUEAKY WHEEL: Reprieve for Aquatic Park

Toni Mester
Friday November 10, 2017 - 06:43:00 PM
600 Addison Site

Instead of holding an EIR scoping session on a proposed 475,000 square foot development on the north east corner of Aquatic Park, the Zoning Adjustments Board sent the property owner Jason Jones and his architect Joe DeCredico packing with instructions to come back with a more sufficient plan. Acting Chair Denise Pinkston called the submission “woefully inadequate” and not worthy of CEQA review.

600 Addison Street is the first time that the City has received an application under the current chapter 23B.36 of the Zoning Ordinance, the Master Use Permit, described as a building allowance somewhere between a use permit and a development agreement like Bayer. The applicable zoning is MULI, mixed-use light industrial, developed by the West Berkeley Plan that was finalized in 1993. Ms. Pinkston said that the application did not approach the level of specificity required for a use permit, and other Board members backed her up with a motion demanding building elevations and massing, pedestrian circulation plans and connectivity, topography, and the phasing of construction, which could take ten years: in other words, everything short of the architectural details of individual buildings that each would have to go through design review, which is a subcommittee of the ZAB. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: One Year Later: Ten Lessons Learned

Bob Burnett
Friday November 10, 2017 - 12:05:00 PM

On election day in 2016, Donald Trump surprised most of us by defeating Hillary Clinton (although he garnered only 46.1 percent of the popular vote). One year later, what have we learned? -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Texas Church Shooter, Domestic Violence and Guns

Ralph E. Stone
Friday November 10, 2017 - 12:30:00 PM

Devin Patrick Kelley, the Texas church shooter, while in the Air Force was convicted at General Court Martial in 2012 on two charges of assault. He was convicted of fracturing his baby stepson's skull and assaulting his first wife. Because of the conviction, Kelley shouldn't have been able to legally own a gun. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Avoiding the Revolving Door

Jack Bragen
Thursday November 09, 2017 - 11:15:00 AM

Schizophrenia is a pernicious illness and should be treated aggressively. It is important to note that being "compliant" with treatment doesn't make a consumer immune to a relapse. I am currently dealing with a lot of depression, despite being completely medication compliant, and I am dealing with some psychosis. No one can be blamed for this. Depression, mania, hypomania, or a relapse of psychosis, can happen to any of us in spite of our best efforts. -more-

Arts & Events

See Opera Live in Berkeley This Sunday Afternoon and the Following Saturday Night

Thursday November 09, 2017 - 03:39:00 PM
Rodolpho (Salvatore Atti) meets Luisa Miller (Eliza O'Malley)

There’s probably no place in the United States except New York City that offers more live opera performances of all kinds than the Bay Area. The commendable broadcast presentations of the Metropolitan Opera in movie theaters have increased public awareness of opera, and now fans who are ready for the next step in the opera experience have ample opportunity to see this art form up close and personal, in small houses for reasonable prices.

The list of local companies is long and getting longer: Island City, West Bay, Verismo, West Edge and Bay Shore Lyric are just a few.

Now Berkeley Chamber Opera, a relative newcomer (third season) on the scene, is gearing up for its second production this year, following its very successful production of Menotti’s The Consul in August.

Verdi’s Luisa Miller will be performed in Berkeley’s intimate Hillside Club on Sunday afternoon, November 12, and Saturday night, November 18.

The title role will be sung by Eliza O’Malley, a company founder who is a veteran of many Bay Area productions and a fervent advocate of what she calls “locally sourced opera”.

Locally-sourced food has been all the rage for a while now, but locally-sourced opera?

Berkeley Chamber Opera hopes to provide just that—productions which showcase the work of the Bay Area’s wealth of resident professional talent in accessible settings, at a price which is affordable for a wide range of opera fans. -more-

Valery Gergiev Leads Mariinsky Orchestra in All-Russian Concert

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 10, 2017 - 02:51:00 PM

The Mariinsky Orchestra, formerly the Kirov, presented two concerts under the auspices of Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall, Saturday-Sunday, November 4-5, with their General Director Valery Gergiev conducting. I attended Saturday evening’s concert featuring an all-Russian program. Leading off was Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 70. This symphony, written in 1945 as World War II was coming to an end, was hardly the epic victory celebration the Soviet Union’s musical watchdogs wanted. Instead, it was a cheerful, effervescent symphony that stands out as one of Shostakovich’s most accessible works. Initially nominated for a Stalin Prize, Shostakovich’s 9th Symphony was later banned from performance for a few years, thereby mirroring the on-again off-again treatment Shostakovich received over and over throughout his career from Stalinist-era bureaucrats. -more-

Solid Singing in a Dreadful Staging of Massenet’s MANON

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 10, 2017 - 12:47:00 PM

After the brief orchestral prelude to Manon, the curtain rises on what is supposed to be the courtyard of an inn in Amiens, France. At this year’s San Francisco Opera production of Manon, all we saw was a bare stage and silhouettes of chairs lined up against a bare wall. So, we thought, this will be an abstract production. However, we soon found out that it was merely a bad, indeed, a very bad production. Its foibles were too numerous to recount, but one bit of absurdly miscalculated stage direction must be mentioned. It occurred in the opening minutes of Manon. Once Lescaut, sung by baritone David Pershall, has greeted his young cousin, Manon, sung by Ellie Dehn, and Manon has sung her delightfully breathless aria about making her first trip away from home, “Je suis encore tout étourdie,” (“I’m all in a tizzy”), Lescaut leaves Manon alone briefly while he deals with her luggage. An old roué, Guillot de Morfontaine, makes a pass at Manon and insinuates that his coach is at her disposal for an assignation. Lescaut reappears and puts Guillot to flight, warning his cousin to be on guard. Then off he goes once again. Alone, Manon daydreams about a life of pleasure. Then she pulls herself together with the aria, “Voyons, Manon, plus de chimères.” (“No more daydreaming, Manon.” She accepts, albeit with some remorse, that she must enter a convent. -more-