The Week



Press Release: Jewish Millenials at Senator Feinstein's Office Ask Her to Oppose Israel's Actions in Gaza

Illana Newman, IfNotNow
Friday April 13, 2018 - 10:02:00 AM

Watch the livestream here.

American Jewish millennials are demanding that Senator Feinstein condemn the killing of 31 Palestinian protesters and the injuring of over 1300 more by Israeli live fire near the Gaza border.

UPDATE: SAN FRANCISCO: Nine young Jews from IfNotNow Bay Area were just arrested for blocking Senator Dianne Feinstein's office, demanding that she join Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in condemning Israeli violence on protesters in Gaza. -more-

Around & About--Theater: Last Weekend for 'The Human Ear,' Anton's Well at the Berkeley City Club

Ken Bullock
Thursday April 12, 2018 - 04:17:00 PM

"Her brother ran away from home after their dad died ten years ago in Iraq ...

"Her brother just now returned home after their mother died in an urban atrocity ...

"Her cop boyfriend doesn't believe her brother's story ...

"Lucy isn't sure what to believe, including her own perceptions ... "

"After the shootings at Parkfield--and with everybody reacting to Trump--I thought Alexandra Wood's play 'The Human Ear' would make a good exploration onstage of the effects traumatic events have on an individual's perception, how they reverberate and change how we perceive," said Anton's Well Theatre Company founder, Robert Estes, of the latest play he's directed at the Berkeley City Club, running through this Sunday at 2, the end of an unusually short, two-weekend run.

'The Human Ear' is the latest Bay Area premiere (and a work staged very seldom so far, anywhere in the US) by Estes' troupe--six Bay Area premieres, including a Sam Shepard play, out of eight shows since December, 2014, all but one at the City Club--a remarkable achievement for a company of any size and funding, much less this thoughtful, self-reliant little theater project, a proverbially shoestring operation. -more-

Press Release: Richmond Successfully Resolves Point Molate Litigation

Richmond City Manager's Office
Thursday April 12, 2018 - 01:57:00 PM

The City [Richmond] is pleased to announce that the long-standing legal dispute concerning Point Molate has been resolved on favorable terms that will benefit the broad interests of the Richmond community for years to come. Here are some details: -more-

Press Release: Point Molate Litigation Settles

Received on behalf of Morrison & Foerster
Thursday April 12, 2018 - 01:37:00 PM

Morrison & Foerster is pleased to announce the resolution of long-running litigation concerning the future of Point Molate, a former navy fuel depot, in Richmond, California. Earlier today, Judge Yvonne González-Rogers of the United States District Court entered a judgment that concludes the City of Richmond’s involvement in Guidiville Rancheria of California vs. The United States of America. Morrison & Foerster represented the City of Richmond against plaintiffs Upstream Point Molate, LLC and the Guidiville Rancheria of California in a settlement that will begin a public process for development to generate revenue for the city, as well as preserve parks and open space. Richmond’s 2010 rejection of Upstream’s original plan to develop a casino on Point Molate sparked years of litigation in which Upstream was seeking more than $750 million in damages. -more-

New: All-Income Social Housing: the Solution to Berkeley's Affordable Housing Crisis

Thomas Lord, City of Berkeley Housing Advisory Commissioner
Tuesday April 10, 2018 - 11:48:00 AM

[This is an open letter to undisclosed recipients. It is just a snapshot of an interesting discussion developing in Berkeley, about housing.]

As you might know, more than half of the renter households in the state of California are paying more in rent than they can afford, according to the California Housing and Community Development agency (HCD).

Market rate housing in Berkeley, both rental and owner occupied, is unaffordable to a large majority of households in the City and region. Most of us are precariously housed and are threatened with displacement from the region.

As you may also know, Berkeley has three primary "affordable housing strategies", none of which were designed for this crisis. None of these strategies are adequate to the crisis. It is as if Berkeley has planned for housing affordability to fail, and has made gentrification and brutal displacement a policy goal. Our failed policies are: -more-

Berkeley Car-Jacking Suspect Arrested in Oakland

Supriya Yelimeli (BCN)
Monday April 09, 2018 - 08:54:00 PM

A female suspect was arrested after a carjacking and assault in Berkeley this morning, police said. -more-


Public Comment

Wiener and the YIMBYs Don't Speak for Gay Activists

Robert Brokl
Saturday April 07, 2018 - 10:56:00 AM

My husband and I were active in the effort to pass the Berkeley Gay Rights Ordinance in the late 1970s, getting encouragement from Harvey Milk. (Soon thereafter, we got to thank him at an event in Berkeley.) That successful effort led to the passage of similar ordinances in Oakland and then San Francisco (as depicted in the movie Milk).

As a gay rights, now neighborhood, activist, I hoped that the participation of gays inside the government would be a vast improvement. We’d be more compassionate, democratic, and inclusive, based upon our own history of marginalization and oppression. Unfortunately, we’ve seeing gay politicians can be just as wrong-headed and doctrinaire as their straight counterparts, and as susceptible to the powerful financial interests as those they’ve replaced. -more-

Debt or No Debt: That Is the Question!

Harry Brill
Friday April 06, 2018 - 02:50:00 PM

According to the Federal Reserve Bank which recently has officially encouraged banks to raise their interest rates, the economy is thriving. For the rich the economy is certainly doing well. But for the majority of the American public, their economic situation is very precarious. Here is one important, worrisome statistic. The majority of the public -- 56 percent -- have under $1,000 in their savings and checking accounts combined. And 39 percent of the public have no savings at all. That's up from 34 percent in the previous year. Too many households are living from paycheck to paycheck. -more-

RV Evictions Target the Poor: Don't Get Fooled Again,

Carol Denney
Friday April 06, 2018 - 11:56:00 AM

The RV community which has settled for months in a neat row along Marina Way just received eviction notices from the City of Berkeley.

If you're lucky enough to live somewhere with a locked front door and a mailbox, you're afloat right now in election mailers timed to begin familiarizing you with names and faces of candidates making promises. The promises you heard last time are probably a little fuzzy in your mind, but if you care about seeing faces of your old neighbors walking the streets with carts full of bedding you're wondering what happened. Didn't the previous bucket of candidates promise some kind of change? Wasn't sacrificing our skyline and open space supposed to be making a difference?

What happened to the promises made by Mayor Jesse Arreguin to the Coalition on Homelessness, which included rescinding anti-homeless laws like the one inspiring Berkeley to issue eviction notices to the RV dwellers on Marina Way? One would think the new city council would find a sweet spot of options before simply issuing eviction notices on the grounds of a technical violation taking place right now. If every sweep of a tent city or relocation of a homeless community is (a.) expensive and (b.) pointless, why is it still going on in a city which brags about having a PhD and/or a creative screenplay in every back pocket? -more-

Massacre in Gaza

Jagjit Singh
Friday April 06, 2018 - 02:49:00 PM

On March 30, Israel unleashed its firepower killing 18 Palestinians, and wounding as many as 1,700 in Gaza, one of poorest and most desperate people in the world. -more-

April Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Wednesday April 11, 2018 - 02:38:00 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-


THE PUBLIC EYE: What’s Wrong With Trump, This Time?

Bob Burnett
Friday April 06, 2018 - 02:56:00 PM

During most of Easter Week, Donald Trump was uncharacteristically silent. Then, starting on Easter Sunday, Trump tweeted that he would end DACA, "stop" NAFTA, and move troops to the Southern Border. What spurred this crazy talk? -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Reports of the demise of DACA are premature

Ralph E. Stone
Friday April 06, 2018 - 02:36:00 PM

Easter is a festival and holiday celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary. In the spirit of this important Christian holiday, President Trump tweeted that morning that a deal for Dreamers was dead. The next day he declared DACA “dead.” -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: "Psychotic" and "Schizophrenic" are Adjectives, Not Nouns

Jack Bragen
Friday April 06, 2018 - 12:02:00 PM

When someone is called "a schizophrenic," this strikes me as derogatory. It implies you are not really a person, but rather, you are an individual defined by a disease. The word is an adjective. In other words, I am "someone with a schizophrenic illness." If someone were in treatment for cancer, you would not refer to that person as "a tumor," or as, "a breast cancer." It might not seem like the same thing to you, but really, it is the same thing. "He was schizophrenic"... In that sentence, the word is used as an adjective, and it is used to describe a person's state, without calling him names. "He was a schizophrenic"... In the second instance, simply by adding the word "a," you are in the zone of name-calling. -more-

Tuesday April 10, 2018 - 01:23:00 PM

New: SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Monday April 09, 2018 - 12:13:00 PM

Wake Up! Your Home Has Just Washed Away!

With a powerful Pineapple Express bearing down on California this week, emergency officials sent out an alert advising residents in regions burned by last year's wildfires to keep their cellphones charged. It was critical, the officials explained, that people at risk of flood damage should be able to hear a call for an emergency evacuation.

A question: Does it make sense to issue a warning when (1) people are asleep in their homes, when (2) the rainstorm is at its worst, and (3) evacuation routes are likely to be blocked due to flooding?

Another question: Wouldn't it make more sense to take a pro-active approach: Evacuate people before the storm hits, when (1) people are awake, (2) the sun is out, and (3) the roads are dry?

Just asking.

The Chronicle Gets a Bad Wrap

The Chronicle recently ran a powerful front-page story on the impact plastic waste is having on the world's oceans. Unfortunately, the Chronicle's home delivery teams didn't get the message. Our newspaper continues to arrive wrapped in plastic—even on dry and sunny days. Makes the Chron look clueless. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Jeffrey Thomas Finds Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers Challenging

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday April 10, 2018 - 12:41:00 PM

Over the weekend of April 6-9, American Bach Soloists performed Claudio Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, also known as Vespro della Beata Vergine, at various locations in the Bay Area. However, due to the fact that Jeffrey Thomas, founder and music director of American Bach Soloists, maintains that it is almost impossible to reconstruct an ‘authentic’ version of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, what ABS performed this weekend was a jerry-rigged program of selections from Monteverdi combined with material by Giovanni Gabrieli. Of course, Monteverdi and Gabrieli are linked by the fact that Giovanni Gabrieli was Monteverdi’s predecessor as maestro di cappella at Venice’s Basilica of San Marco. Moreover, it is quite likely that Monteverdi’s decision to publish his 1610 Mass and Vespers at the Venetian press of Ricciardo Amadino, and to dedicate it to Pope Paul V, marked an ambitious move by Monteverdi in hopes of finding more lucrative employment in either Venice or Rome than he currently held at the Gonzaga court in Mantua, where he was poorly paid and overworked. -more-

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee at Herbst Theatre

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday April 06, 2018 - 04:19:00 PM

On Saturday, March 31, tenor Lawrence Brownlee gave a recital at Herbst Theatre accompanied by pianist Myra Huang. Already acclaimed as a leading interpreter of the operas of Rossini and Donizetti, Lawrence Brownlee introduced himself Saturday evening to the Herbst Theatre audience by saying that he also aspires to become a leading interpreter of German lieder, and he cited tenor Fritz Wunderlich and baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as his models. Tonight’s recital, Brownlee noted, might be thought of as his first step on a long voyage. -more-

National Ballet of Canada’s NIJINSKY A Wild Ride

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday April 06, 2018 - 02:34:00 PM

Attempting to do justice to the complex, charismatic dancer-choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky, whose own diary chronicled his slide into madness as well as his probing metaphysical ideas, is a tall order for anyone. Not long ago, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Robert Wilson grappled with this task and failed miserably, creating only a vacuous vanity show entitled Letters to a Man. However, veteran choreographer John Neumeier’s Nijinsky offers as good an overview of Nijinsky’s career and troubled life as one is likely to get. Neumeier’s Nijinsky premiered in 2000 with The Hamburg Ballet, then was reprised by The National Ballet of Canada in 2013, and came to San Francisco with the Hamburg company in 2013. Now it has reappeared at the War Memorial Opera House for a weeklong run by The National Ballet of Canada. -more-

Alexander Quartet Performs Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday April 06, 2018 - 02:32:00 PM

In 1785-86, Joseph Haydn received a commission from the Cathedral of Cadiz in Spain to compose music to accompany the reading – on Good Friday, 1787 – of the seven last words of Christ on the cross. Haydn completed an orchestral score that was performed on Good Friday, 1787, in the grotto Chapel of Santa Cueva beneath the Cathedral of Cadiz. Haydn’s score was also performed almost simultaneously in Vienna and Bonn. Shortly thereafter, wishing to give his score expanded accessibility, Haydn transcribed it for string quartet; and this version is the one most frequently heard today. On Good Friday, March 30, the Alexander Quartet performed Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. The Alexander Quartet is comprised of Zakarias Grafilo, violin, Frederick Lifsitz, violin, Paul Yarborough, viola, and Sandy Wilson, cello. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, April 8-15

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday April 07, 2018 - 10:53:00 AM

City Council is on spring recess. Next Council meeting April 24, 2018.

Worth Noting

  • The proposed agenda for April 24 City Council meeting deserves review and is posted with Monday’s Agenda Committee. For comment email:
  • The Police Review Commission, Homeless Commission and Parks and Waterfront Commission all meet Wednesday evening at the same time.
  • The Loan Administration Board (loans to local Berkeley small businesses) meets Thursday.
  • The Zoning Adjustment Board on Thursday lists 3 projects within the Hillside overlay.

The meeting list is also posted on the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition website. -more-