The Week



Tens of Thousands Expected for Women's Marches

Janis Mara (BCN)
Friday January 19, 2018 - 03:11:00 PM

Tens of thousands of people are expected to turn out Saturday in cities across the Bay Area for a series of Women's Marches as part of a grassroots political movement to get more women into political office. -more-

New: Amendments for Berkeley's Community Benefits Definition

Thomas Lord
Monday January 15, 2018 - 09:01:00 PM

Please amend and pass item 35, titled "Strengthening Provisions of Significant Community Benefits in the Downtown". I have offered two amendments below.

As you know, the proposed resolution provides for a more robust and deterministic implementation of the process for negotiating what community benefits will be provided in exchange for the privilege of building one of the few tall structures envisioned downtown.

The vagueness of the earlier resolution on this topic has created a climate of mistrust and contention among many residents who are interested in downtown land use. It has created substantial uncertainty for potential developers. Councilmember Harrison and Mayor Arreguín have laid the foundation for a less chaotic project review process that will, at the same time, do a better job of maximizing public benefits within the constraints of enriching investors.

I ask for these two amendments: -more-

"Sign My Name to Freedom"
A New Book by Betty Reid Soskin

Monday January 15, 2018 - 04:28:00 PM

In Betty Reid Soskin’s 96 years of living, she has been a witness to a grand sweep of American history. When she was born in 1921, the lynching of African Americans was a national epidemic, blackface minstrel shows that both mocked and denigrated black music were the most popular American form of entertainment, white women had only just won the right to vote in American elections through the 19th Amendment passed the year before, and most African Americans in the Deep South could not vote at all. From her great-grandmother, who had been enslaved until she was in her mid-20s, Betty heard stories of slavery and the times of terror and deep difficulties for Black Folk that followed. In her lifetime, Betty watched the nation begin to confront its race and gender biases when forced to come together over the Fascist and Nazi world threat of the World War II era, saw those differences nearly break apart at the seams again in the upheavals of the civil rights and Black Power eras, saw the defeat of the Southern-led white segregationists following the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and, finally, lived long enough to witness both the election of an African American president and the re-emergence of a militant, racist far right that rose up out of the ashes of the old segregationists. -more-

Collision Victim was Berkeley Historical Society Volunteer

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Monday January 15, 2018 - 08:47:00 PM

A 70-year-old woman who died in a collision with a Berkeley city vehicle on Friday afternoon was identified today by the Alameda County coroner's bureau as Shelley Rideout. -more-

New: Act Now to Make It Easier to Install Stop Signs

Charles Siegel
Monday January 15, 2018 - 04:20:00 PM

On Thursday, January 18, Berkeley’s Transportation Commission will consider forming a committee to develop criteria that let us install stop signs in more locations. This could make the city much safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, but we need strong community support to make it happen. For information about what you can do, see the Action section below. -more-

New: Berkeley Council Should Ensure that Developers of Tall Buildings Provide Significant Community Benefits

Charlene M. Woodcock
Monday January 15, 2018 - 04:15:00 PM

I strongly support Councilmember Harrison’s resolution, co-sponsored by Mayor Jesse Arreguín, to give more substance and more enforceability to our Significant Community Benefits program. -more-

New: Open Letter to Berkeley City Council in Response to January 16, 2018 Action Item 2018-2019 Strategic Plan

Kelly Hammargren
Monday January 15, 2018 - 04:12:00 PM

You are asked to direct the City Manager to resubmit the 2018 – 2019 Strategic Plan to include the Board and/or Commission that would be involved in each aspect of the Strategic Plan. It is an affront to the Commissioners and Board Members you appoint, Commissioners and Board Members who volunteer their time, to so deeply degrade their work as to not even note their contributions in the presentation of the Strategic Plan, and to ignore that Boards and Commissions are charged with and responsible for public hearings and digesting public input in developing resolutions, ordinances and recommendations. -more-

Berkeley Woman Dies in Collision with City Car

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Friday January 12, 2018 - 04:42:00 PM

A 70-year-old woman died in a collision with a city of Berkeley vehicle this afternoon, California Highway Patrol officials said. -more-

Dorothy Calvetti Bryant
February 8, 1930 – December 21, 2017

Lorri Ungaretti
Friday January 12, 2018 - 04:34:00 PM
Dorothy Calvetti Bryant February 8, 1930 – December 21, 2017

Editor’s Note: The Berkeley Daily Planet was the enthusiastic beneficiary of Dorothy Bryant’s many talents almost from our first print issue in the new millennium. . Searching the Planet archives on her name produces hundreds of links to articles by her and about her: click here to see them. She wrote book reviews, author profiles, and created a unique feature called My Commonplace Book, excerpts from favorite authors with her own comments added.

Most of her pieces for the Planet, written during her last two decades, explored the theme of how we should best exist in the world, including her own interior meditations on the topic as well as lessons drawn from the lives of those she admired. In the end, her own life, as recounted by her devoted daughter below, provides us with an outstanding example of how to live with honor and virtue in an age where bad examples unfortunately abound.

--Becky O’Malley

Dorothy Bryant, teacher, novelist, and playwright, died December 21, from complications related to cancer. Dorothy was born in San Francisco on February 8, 1930 Italian immigrant parents, Giuditta (“Judy”) and Giuseppe (“Joe”) Calvetti. Dorothy attended Mission High and San Francisco State, earning a B.A. in music and an M.A. in creative writing. She taught music and English for many years at Lick-Wilmerding High School, Continuation High School, and Contra Costa College.

First married in 1949, Dorothy had two children, John and Lorri Ungaretti. The marriage ended in divorce after about 12 years. Dorothy met Robert Bryant in 1968, and they were married after a few months. They loved each other very much and were married for 49 years.

Dorothy, real maverick, defied the “rules” of life and opened doors for others to do the same. She was first to create a “black studies” class at Contra Costa College in 1965. She participated in civil rights marches and demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. And she began self-publishing long before it was popular.

Dorothy began writing in her late 20s. She wrote reviews and essays for The Freedom News, published in Richmond, California, in the 1960s. Her first novel, Ella Price’s Journal, was published by Lippincott. After Dorothy married Bob, they worked together to pioneer self-publishing, founding Ata Books in the 1970s. The first book she self-published was The Comforter, which sold well through word of mouth and was eventually published by Random House under the title The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You. She went on to write and publish eight other novels, one nonfiction book, Writing a Novel, and a collection of essays and short stories. Some of her books are still available through Feminist Press.

Dorothy was a founding member of the Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley. Aurora’s first play, Dear Master, was written by Dorothy. Several of her seven plays were performed by various theatre companies.

Dorothy’s son, John, died in 1994. She is survived by her loving husband, Bob; her daughter, Lorri; her stepdaughter and long-term caregiver, Victoria Bryant; her stepson, Lorenzo Bryant; and her step-grandchildren, Robert and William. No services are planned, although a memorial will be planned for the future. (For more information, please contact Lorri Ungaretti, P.O. Box 640076, SF, CA 94164; or lorrisfATcomcastDOTnet.) To honor Dorothy’s life, enter a brick-and-mortar bookstore and buy a book! Or donate to your local library. -more-


Toni Mester
Sunday January 07, 2018 - 11:31:00 AM
Ken Alexander at Work

Over the holidays, I spent some time at the movies, catching up with the Golden Globe nominees to better share in the fun. But for great cinema, nothing beats the Pacific Film Archive, which is the best screen in Berkeley for quality of projection, sound, sightlines, and programming by astute curators. An attentive audience ensures a reprieve from date night muttering and the rustling of popcorn bags, and their appreciation of fine art often elicits applause at the end of the credits, when the house begins to empty, as it should. The price of a museum member ticket is $7 for the first film of the day and $5 for the second, and the cost of membership is quickly reimbursed for the avid cinephile. Upcoming series include perspectives on Ida Lupino, Liv Ullman in Ingmar Bergman films, Sergei Eisenstein and his contemporaries, and much, much more. Lucky us. -more-



SB 827 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) will destroy local land use control

Becky O'Malley
Saturday January 06, 2018 - 02:12:00 PM

State Senators Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) are again lusting after our remaining affordable neighborhoods on behalf of their developer patrons, who are fronted by the astroturf YIMBYs:

As reported by Liam Dillon in the L.A. Times:

“A dramatic increase in new housing near transit stations could be on its way across California under new legislation proposed by a Bay Area legislator. Subject to some limitations, the measure would eliminate restrictions on the number of houses allowed to be built within a half-mile of train, light-rail, major bus routes and other transit stations, and block cities from imposing parking requirements. Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author, said the state needs the housing to address affordability problems, maximize recent multi-billion-dollar transit investments and help the state meet its climate change goals.’
Here’s a link to the bill, authored by Scott Wiener and co-authored by our own State Senator Nancy Skinner:

SB 827, as introduced, Wiener. Planning and zoning: transit-rich housing bonus.

Transit-rich is the new buzz word in the title, and how ironically apt it is. This bill effectively removes all local planning controls in areas served by transit, opening up enormous swaths of our historically low-income urban neighborhoods (think southwest Berkeley) to gentrifying market rate development.

And no, it won’t make the current residents, especially renters, rich—but it will certainly make rich developers richer. That's who get the housing bonus.

This plan doesn’t seem to have been reported in the Bay Area press as yet, but Damien Goodmon, founder and Executive Director of Los Angeles’ nonprofit Crenshaw Subway Coalition, already has their number. He’s posted a stinging denunciation of the bill’s backers and its effect on low-income residents on the organization’s web site. I was intending just to link to it, but so much of the analysis also applies to the urban East Bay that I’ll quote most of it: -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Skeptics and Sex

Becky O'Malley
Sunday January 07, 2018 - 12:50:00 PM

In the last few months I’ve done a couple of pieces expressing a certain amount of skepticism about some reported cases of sexual misconduct: Setting All Kinds of Limits and Sexual Sins: Are Contrition and Redemption Possible?

It turns out that there’s a magazine for that. A Planet reader sent me a link to an interesting opinion essay, I, Too, Am Thinking About Me, Too by Carol Tavris, which was published in a publication I’d not been familiar with, eSkeptic. It’s the online newsletter of The Skeptics Society, whose announced goal is to “Make the world a more rational place and help us defend the role of science in society.” Tavris recounts another author‘s difficulty in finding a publisher for a defense of due process even when there are allegations of sexual transgressions. Some of the publication’s articles also appear in print as Skeptic Magazine.

The latest issue of eSkeptic features a book review, by Frederick Crews, a well-known Berkeley writer who is the author of several books and numerous articles about the weak scientific underpinnings of recovered memory theory and Freudianism, of The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment, by Mark Pendergrast. The book’s topic is even more explosive than sexual misconduct of men toward women: a pederasty conviction which the book’s author views as a miscarriage of justice. It seems that where sex is concerned, the rules about admissible evidence and statutes of limitations which usually apply in criminal prosecutions go out the window, especially if juveniles are the alleged victims. -more-


Trump Being Trump


Gar Smith
Friday January 12, 2018 - 05:57:00 PM

Public Comment


Tejinder Uberoi
Saturday January 13, 2018 - 12:15:00 PM

Once again the Republicans under the leadership of their self-proclaimed “genius”, Donald Trump, has issued a fatwa to deport 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States, many of whom have been living, working and raising families here for more than 20 years. This is excessively cruel and heartless, especially given our own dark history supporting the right wing repressive Salvadorian military rulers who adopted a scorched earth policy against the so called left-wing guerrillas, who were largely made up of peasants and farmers. -more-

Berkeley Zoning Board Gets EIR on Shattuck High Rise

John English
Friday January 12, 2018 - 05:49:00 PM

Released this Tuesday is the "Final Environmental Impact Report Response to Comments Document" about the egregious proposed vista-busting high-rise at 2190 Shattuck Avenue. And I believe the Final EIR will be on the Zoning Adjustments Board's January 25 meeting agenda— even for potential certifying then. -more-

Is Boycotting Charlie Hallowell's Restaurants a Good Solution?

Friday January 12, 2018 - 05:26:00 PM

The Bay Area is reeling from revelations about charges by employees of sexual harassment by several well known and successful businessmen, including chef and restauranteur Charlie Hallowell, owner of three popular Oakland restaurants, Pizzaiolo, Penrose and Boot & Shoe. All three continue to be open, though others in San Francisco have been closed, but Hallowell is taking a leave of absence. -more-

The Minimum Wage: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Bad

Harry Brill
Friday January 12, 2018 - 04:49:00 PM

A clear reflection of the disinterest and insensitivity of the federal government to the needs of working people is its refusal to raise since 2009 the deplorably low minimum wage of $7.25. Meanwhile prices have continued to climb. No government official has proposed limiting costs. So the federal minimum wage is worth 10 percent less since its last increase. Since 1968 its value after adjusting for inflation is 25 percent lower. Had the minimum wage over the years kept up to the increase in worker output, it would have climbed to about $22 an hour. -more-

The U.S. in Iran

Jagjit Singh
Sunday January 07, 2018 - 03:00:00 PM

Oh, how our political pundits love to waggle their fingers and lecture autocratic rulers on democracy that we have done so much to undermine. Like the US (Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, .) the Iranians have squandered their precious resources fighting proxy wars and impoverishing their people. -more-

What Is Your History Worth?

Carol Denney
Saturday January 06, 2018 - 06:57:00 PM

A conversation about the potentially imperiled view between the campus and the bay is happening right now. And there is still time to be part of it.

When city planning happens, it can seem small. It can even seem boring. Your extra six inches of roof height can block sunlight to my garden, which is no small matter to me and my tomatoes.

But the issue at stake in this case is decades of generations who have carefully planned the preservation of the iconic view of the Golden Gate from the Berkeley hills, a view so powerful that it's been celebrated by successive generations of artists, architects, planners, students, city and campus workers, residents, and visitors from all over the world.

The leading lights of voices for the preservation of historic landmarks spoke Thursday night at the Landmarks Preservation Commission on behalf of a petition to preserve Campanile Way, not just a setting one can see from the marina up to the campus as well as the hills above but also an irreplaceable, unforgettable view from either direction. The most compelling voices included former commissioners, architects, and historians who recognize, as have hundreds of petitioners, that it is our generation's obligation to honor the extraordinary efforts of previous generations to preserve the amazing intersection of both built and natural elements represented by this landmark petition. -more-

Stop an Impending Global Crisis

Mark Altgelt
Sunday January 07, 2018 - 02:35:00 PM

West Antarctica, Greenland and Arctic ice is melting because more than 90 percent of the heat from greenhouse gas emissions has been absorbed into the oceans and warm ocean currents are rapidly melting exposed ice.

In West Antarctica warm ocean currents 4,000 feet below sea level are carving canyons 30 miles long and 600 feet high at the base of three glaciers which is accelerating their unstoppable slow motion cascade into the Amundsen Sea.

When they are gone the ocean currents will begin dislodging and breaking up the West Antarctica Ice Sheet that is twice the size of Texas and two and half miles thick. That could take a thousand or several hundred years and would eventually raise sea level 14 feet. -more-

Puerto Rico: The High Toll of Being Colonized

Harry Brill
Saturday January 06, 2018 - 05:30:00 PM

An important indication that a government is disinterested in the basic needs of a population is almost always reflected in its statistics. An uncaring government underestimates the extent of a problem that really should have been and still should be addressed. Puerto Rico's recent major Hurricane, Maria --- shouldn't it be named Hurricane Trump! -- killed according to the official count 64 people. President Trump praised the low number of deaths, although he objected that its officials were asking the U.S. Government for more resources. He criticized local officials for wanting "everything to be done for them”. -more-

Call Lethal Injection the Vile Torture It Is

Stephen Cooper
Sunday January 07, 2018 - 03:43:00 PM

In a New Year’s Eve display of liberal newspaper death penalty abolition harmony – buoyed by the release of the Death Penalty Information Center’s (DPIC) annual report evidencing another year in the long-observable trend of capital punishment’s disuse and disfavor in America – both the Washington Post and New York Times’s editorial boards published opinion pieces arguing for an end to what the Times called a “cruel and pointless” practice; one that is “savage, racially biased, arbitrary,” and which “the developed world agreed to reject...long ago.”
On her well-followed Twitter account, intrepid anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean opined that the Times “opened the New Year with a bang: a full-throated exhortation against the death penalty. The editorial hit all the right notes.” While I hardly disagree with Sister Helen on anything concerning death penalty abolition – and, despite all the truthful and pointed invectives the Times’s editorial board did skillfully use to highlight capital punishment’s moral depravity – I still preferred when newspaper editors used the word ‘torture’ to describe to the American people what lethal injection really is.
For example, take the column titled “Lethal Cruelty” published by the New York Times’s editorial board over a decade ago, in April 2006: Its final paragraph, a frustrating-beyond-belief marker of the meandering, snail pace of the abolition movement in the United States, concluded: “But even justices who think the Constitution permits capital punishment should find that lethal injections that torture prisoners in the process of killing them are unconstitutional.” (Hello Justices? Hello!? Any Justices at home and awake at the high court? As Martin Luther King, Jr., once judiciously declared: “The time is always right to do what is right,” which the Supreme Court can and should do immediately by “[w]iping the stain of capital punishment clean.”)
It is precisely because of its stinging, far-reaching legal, historical, ethical, and moral implications – especially in the putative “land of the free and home of the brave” – that I respectfully submit it is increasingly more important for anti-death penalty writers to use the word ‘torture,’ as a censure, to describe the barbarity of lethal injection. Other than genocide and atrocity, perhaps no other single-word descriptor is capable of generating the same level of opprobrium, righteous indignation, and negative international press coverage as the word ‘torture.’ A not very humble example is a column I published in the Hill last year, at about this same time, called “Alabama's torture of Ronald Smith spotlights unequal justice under law.” (Others include an opinion I published a few months later in Alabama’s Montgomery Advertiser – not only about Mr. Smith’s patently botched execution, but about all of Alabama’s volatile executions by lethal injection – called “Is Alabama hiding that it tortured its citizens,” “Alabama’s Human Guinea Pigs: Burning People Alive on Death Row,” and, most recently in the series, “Alabama's ‘Baghdad Bob’ of Death Row.”)
Nevertheless, notwithstanding my hyper-technical, terminology-centric complaint about this year’s version of the Times’s perennial plea for death penalty abolition, it was a darned sight better than the Washington Post’s overly rosy outlook. Despite leading with the appropriately morose title, “[a]nother year in death,” the Post’s piece irrationally extols the significance of DPIC’s annual report, insipidly informing its readers there is “cause for celebration” because “[n]o matter the reason, it is heartening to see the country become steadily more humane.”
Horse hockey. Each and every year since the death penalty’s reinstatement over forty-five years ago, stern-faced state officials, particularly in the South, regularly trot out, for extra pay, withered, weakened, beaten-down – dying even – old men (and much more rarely, women) to torture them to death. This occurs many years, sometimes even decades, after their crimes of conviction. As I have written elsewhere decrying the “unacceptable racial bias [that] persists in capital punishment”: “[s]ometime soon in the 31 states that have not abolished the death penalty, leaders at the highest levels of state government, men and women – mostly men and mostly white – will hold private, closed-door meetings, in which they will discuss the most secretive, most cost-effective, most media-friendly way to go about killing one, or more of its citizens.”
And there’s nothing – not a damn thing – humane or celebratory about that.
Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California.

The Peril We All Face Due To Human Folly

Jack Bragen
Sunday January 07, 2018 - 02:54:00 PM

Soylent Green was a 1973 movie starring Charlton Heston, loosely based on the 1966 science fiction book "Make Room, Make Room!" by author Harry Harrison. The movie explored the effects of unchecked population, it predicted global warming (in 1973) and it concluded with the uncovering of a secret, that the ocean was dying, and with it, everyone would die.

Thus, human beings have known of global warming for more than fifty years. It was too inconvenient for us to find alternatives to fossil fuels.

Worse yet is how human beings treat our oceans. We've used them as a sewer, a garbage dump, a nuclear testing ground and nuclear waste sight, a platform for military battles. And worse. Recently there was the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear reactors, which released large amounts of radioactive material into the ocean. Additionally, we had the BP oil spill disaster in Gulf of Mexico. -more-

Force and Violence in a Can

Steve Martinot
Sunday January 07, 2018 - 02:32:00 PM

Pepper spray. (Oleoresin capsicum or OC). During Redwood Summer, back in the 90s, people went north in an attempt to keep the old growth redwoods from being killed (aka logged). A group of young people chained themselves in front of a timber industry office with their hands in pipes so their ties together could not be broken. The cops, seeing these protesters sitting there defenselessly, daubed pepper spray in their eyes – causing unimaginable pain, and ruining the eyesight of two of them. [] -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Psychotic Anger

Jack Bragen
Friday January 12, 2018 - 04:59:00 PM

There are some people with mental illness who must be supervised and who are unable to handle their own responsibilities. And at the other end of the spectrum, there are some persons with mental illness who do better at most things than most non-afflicted people. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:What to Expect in 2018

Bob Burnett
Friday January 12, 2018 - 04:54:00 PM

As we slosh into 2018, it's clear that while there are some negative carryovers from 2017, there's a lot that has changed for the positive over the past 12 months. We're still stuck with predator Trump and the associated madness. On the other hand, there has been a huge wave forming for -- lacking a better term -- a new women's movement. That bodes well for 2018. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: North Korea gave thumbs up to Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury

Ralph E. Stone
Friday January 12, 2018 - 04:46:00 PM

Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside Trump's White House, portrays an unflattering view of President Trump and much of his White House. Excerpts of the book had already appeared in New York Magazine.

Among the juiciest claims in the book:

* Trump's "ultimate goal” had never been to win the Oval Office. But he was excited about the exposure and opportunities to develop his brand;

* “I got as far as the Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head,” former aide Sam Nunberg told Wolff about the time he was sent to explain the Constitution to Trump early in the campaign;

* President Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, described a controversial meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” to Wolff;

* Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly called Trump a “moron” last year;

* “For (Treasury Secretary) Steve Mnuchin and (former Trump White House chief of staff) Reince Priebus, the president was an ‘idiot.’ For (former Goldman Sachs exec) Gary Cohn, he was ‘dumb as sh-t.’ For (National Security Adviser) H.R. McMaster he was a ‘dope.’ The list went on,” Wolff said;

* “It’s worse than you can imagine. An idiot surrounded by clowns. Trump won't read anything — not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored. And his staff is no better. Kushner is an entitled baby who knows nothing. Bannon is an arrogant p---k who thinks he’s smarter than he is. Trump is less a person than a collection of terrible traits ... I am in a constant state of terror and shock,” Gary Cohn said in an email, according to Fire and Fury; and so on. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Dispatches Awards for 2017

Conn Hallinan
Monday January 01, 2018 - 07:09:00 PM

Each year Dispatches From the Edge gives awards to individuals, companies and governments that make reading the news a daily adventure. Here are the awards for 2017.

The Reverse WEBBY Award to the Colsa Corporation based in Huntsville, Ala, a company that runs the multi-million dollar WebOps program for the U.S. Defense Department. WebOps, according to Associated Press, employs “specialists” who “employ fictitious identities and try to sway targets from joining the Islamic State.” But the “specialists” are not fluent and used the Arabic word for “salad” in place of “authority.” Thus the governing body set up by the 1993 Oslo Accords became the “Palestinian salad” (tasty with a light vinaigrette).

Runner up is the military’s Special Operations Forces (SOFs) that botched a raid in Yemen last February that got a Navy SEAL killed and destroyed a $75 million MV-22 Osprey aircraft. Desperate to show that the raid gathered valuable intelligence, U.S. commanders published a video on how to make explosives that they say were captured during the raid. Except the video was 10 years old and all over the Internet. The raid also killed several children, but the Trump administration called it “a success by all standards.” -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Congress, hands off Social Security

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday January 06, 2018 - 05:23:00 PM

Both my wife and I receive Social Security benefits. Yes, we are of that certain age. We pay taxes on part of our benefits. Luckily, we do not depend on these benefits to totally meet our daily retirement living expenses. Instead they supplement our employment retirement income. Many senior citizens, however, rely only on Social Security benefits to survive. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Method of Retasking the Mind

Jack Bragen
Saturday January 06, 2018 - 07:00:00 PM

Most people, I have observed, are generally unaware of what it is they are trying to do.

Some examples: What comes to mind when you hear someone say, "I'm not angry!" or, "I'm not jealous!"? What comes to mind when you hear someone say, "I don't do it for the money"? And, what comes to mind when you hear someone say, "I can take it or leave it"?

The human mind is constructed in a such a way that we may have a blind spot that may prevent us from understanding our own motives. This is so for a non-afflicted person's mind as much as it is for someone with a psychiatric diagnosis. -more-

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar
January 14-21, 2018

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday January 13, 2018 - 11:46:00 AM

The draft agenda for the January 25, 2018 Zoning Adjustment Board is available for review and comment:

Email comments to:

1734 Spruce – legalize 7th dwelling bringing total 13 bedrooms are parcel

2556 Telegraph – The Village 5-story, 22 units, 2-live-work, 3358 commercial space

2190 Shattuck Ave – Certification Final EIR, 18-story mixed use building which will obstruct the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Campanile Way

The City Council January 23 meeting agenda is posted for review and comment:

Email comments to: partial agenda listing:

16. Broadband Master Plan

30. Student Housing,

31. Ad Hoc Committees to be open to the public with minutes, 24 hour notice of meeting,

34 a. Surveillance Ordinance – Police Review Commission,

34b. Surveillance Ordinance – City Manager requesting delay to complete counter proposal

35. Significant Community Benefits

37a. Porta Potties – Homeless Commission, 37b. Porta Potties - City Manager,

39. Replace Berkeley City Limit signs to “Welcome to Berkeley”, LOVE LIFE!” “Sanctuary City” and “Ohlone Territory”,

43. Information Report – To Achieve Fairness and Impartiality-Report and Recommendations from Berkeley Police

Indivisible Berkeley's list of actions you can do from home:

The meeting list is also posted on the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition website:

Next week, day by day

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Protect Berkeley Shellmound, Sun, Jan 14, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, 1900 Fourth Street,

Indivisible Berkeley General Assembly, Sun, Jan 14, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm, 1970 Chestnut St, Finnish Hall, -more-

New: Emanuel Ax Does Double-Duty with San Francisco Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday January 15, 2018 - 04:26:00 PM

Veteran pianist Emanuel Ax returned to Davies Hall Thursday-Saturday, January 11-13, to perform with the San Francisco Symphony in two piano concertos -- Mozart’s 14th in E-flat Major, K. 449, and Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto Opus 42. Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas led the orchestra in this program. Bookending the two piano concertos were Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, which opened the concert, and Richard Strauss’s tone poem, Till Eulenspiegel and His Merry Pranks, which closed the program. -more-

San Francisco Early Music Society Presents VAJRA VOICES

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday January 07, 2018 - 03:02:00 PM

In a series of concerts throughout the Bay Area designed to ring in the New Year, the vocal ensemble Vajra Voices, led by their founding Director Karen R. Clark, performed medieval music ranging from ca. 1150 to 1377. I attended the Berkeley concert on Saturday evening, January 6, 2018, at St. John’s Presbyterian Church. Presented under the auspices of San Francisco Early Music Society, the concert featured selections from such musical and literary luminaries as Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Perotin (organist at Cathedral Notre Dame ca. 1200), and Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377). -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Weekly Calendar, January 7-14, 2018

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday January 06, 2018 - 05:17:00 PM

The first Berkeley City Council meeting of 2018 is January 23rd. You can get a heads up by looking at the planned agenda under Monday’s Agenda Committee Meeting. Agenda items are listed that warrant scrutiny and response. An email sent to will be distributed to all the Council Members and the Mayor. You can, of course, always address each Council Member and the Mayor Individually. The final agenda for January 23rd should be posted this coming Thursday, January 11. -more-