Extra

Sidewalk Laws Redux - Speak Out Thursday Night -

Carol Denney
Monday April 23, 2018 - 05:52:00 PM

Sidewalk laws are a political stunt. But that's not stopping the Berkeley City Council from breezing past common sense and heading straight for a plethora of fresh regulations aimed at people with all their belongings with them and nowhere to go, including:

  • the invention of a "path of travel" which varies from six to 10 feet wide depending on the width of the sidewalk
  • a prohibition on objects on sidewalks "except for authorized objects and objects in transit"
  • special rules for those parklets once described as open to anyone that preclude having any "unauthorized" objects there
  • prohibitions on having any objects within three feet to either side of a building entrance or from the building wall to the edge of the sidewalk "except between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am
  • prohibitions on lying down in a BART access corridor
  • prohibitions on lying down "on sidewalks in all residential and mixed use residential districts[1] which vastly expands the prohibited area to most of downtown
  • Prohibitions on lying down on sidewalks in all commercial districts and in the manufacturing, mixed manufacturing and mixed-use light industrial zones (MULI) between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm Monday through Saturday, 10:00 pm and 6:00 pm on Sundays and holidays
Are you following this? Because most people won't be able to. If they don't fit the preferred profile, they'll get ticketed, bench warranted, jailed, you know the game. This city council got into office promising not to do this, while the entire Homeless Coalition watched.

The proposal is on the City of Berkeley website here. -more-



Page One

Press Release: BAHA Sponsors House Tour of Berkeley Woods

Daniella Thompson
Friday April 20, 2018 - 03:32:00 PM

The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) will hold its 43rd annual Spring House Tour and Garden Reception on Sunday, May 6, 2018, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.

Twelve open houses in a variety of architectural styles will be open on this year’s house tour in Berkeley Woods, the bucolic, village-like neighborhood at the top of Marin Avenue, adjoining Tilden Regional Park. -more-



Press Release: Community's Assistance Sought with Sexual Assault Investigation

Berkeley Police Department
Friday April 20, 2018 - 03:40:00 PM

The Berkeley Police Department is asking for the community’s assistance with a sexual assault which occurred on April 19, 2018 between 11:00 and 11:30am. The victim (a lone high school-aged minor) was walking on the 1500 block of Addison Street when she was grabbed from behind. The victim said the suspect covered her mouth and pressed a gun into her side while telling her not to scream. The victim said the suspect walked her eastbound on Addison Street and into the side yard of a residence where he sexually assaulted the victim. After the assault, the victim sought help and Berkeley Police were notified and the investigation began. -more-



Public Comment

No Experiments on Kids- Just Say No to a Taxpayer-funded Tiny Homes Proposal

Carol Denney
Friday April 20, 2018 - 03:47:00 PM

A friend of mine caught the mayor of Santa Rosa on the radio talking about the fire that ravaged through the area last fall "without respect for boundaries" of race, wealth or class. My friend then wrote a song quoting the mayor which then goes on to wonder who - which class, which race, which group - could possibly deserve the monstrous experience of burning to death or watching one's life or family go up in flames.

People probably knew what the mayor meant; fire is indiscriminate, wind-driven, unpredictable. The rich are just as likely, in an explosive 80 mile an hour wildfire, to suffer as the poor. But the housing policies which follow in the wake of such a disaster are unlikely to be so. They are much more likely to be riven with bizarre human prejudices.

Berkeley's tiny house obsession is a case in point. Although "tiny" houses are not cheaper, or greener, than renovated apartment buildings, and although they violate California habitability standards if they don't have heat, or windows, or a place to wash up, they remain the darling of a crew that often doesn't care that they're being used as a front group for developers hoping for a code-free world. -more-


Gang Rape

Jagjit Singh
Friday April 20, 2018 - 01:30:00 PM

The brutal rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl from a semi-nomadic Muslim community has sent shock waves in India. What caused such outrage was not only the heinous crime but the attitude of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party who defended the men accused of the crime. -more-


Editorial

Berkeley Must Wait for Data from SF's Tall Building Study Before Authorizing Any New Highrises

Becky O'Malley
Friday April 20, 2018 - 03:52:00 PM

“San Francisco lives with the certainty that the Big One will come. But the city is also putting up taller and taller buildings clustered closer and closer together because of the state’s severe housing shortage. Now those competing pressures have prompted an anxious rethinking of building regulations. Experts are sending this message: The building code does not protect cities from earthquakes nearly as much as you might think.”

Talk about your scary nut graf!

For those of you who aren’t news junkies, that’s the paragraph that tells you why you should really, really care about finishing reading this story. The article in question where this appeared was a big front page splash in the New York Times, San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble, by Thomas Fuller, Anjali Singhvi and Josh Williams .

It was scary in print, and it’s even scarier online with interactive graphics showing all the Very Tall Buildings which have been built on shaky fill subject to liquefaction when the big one hits.

The picture is frightening for San Francisco, and in light of a just-released study from the United States Geologic Service it might be even worse for Berkeley. We need to act now to avoid catastrophe. -more-


Columns

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: The Great Game Comes to Syria

Conn Hallinan
Tuesday April 17, 2018 - 01:33:00 PM

An unusual triple alliance is emerging from the Syrian war, one that could alter the balance of power in the Middle East, unhinge the NATO alliance, and complicate the Trump administration’s designs on Iran. It might also lead to yet another double cross of one of the region’s largest ethnic groups, the Kurds.

However, the “troika alliance”—Turkey, Russia and Iran—consists of three countries that don’t much like one another, have different goals, and whose policies are driven by a combination of geo-global goals and internal politics. In short, “fragile and complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

How the triad might be affected by the joint U.S., French and British attack on Syria is unclear, but in the long run the alliance will likely survive the uptick of hostilities.

But common ground was what came out of the April 4 meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meeting in Ankara, the parties pledged to support the “territorial integrity” of Syria, find a diplomatic end to the war, and to begin a reconstruction of a Syria devastated by seven years of war. While Russia and Turkey explicitly backed the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva, Iran was quiet on that issue, preferring a regional solution without “foreign plans.”

“Common ground,” however, doesn’t mean the members of the “troika” are on the same page. -more-


ECLECTIC RANT; The Allied Strike on Syria

Ralph E. Stone
Friday April 20, 2018 - 01:39:00 PM

On April 12, 2018, the U.S., Britain, and France launched a strike against Syrian research, storage, and military targets to punish Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of his air power to drop chemical weapons in an attack in the Damascus suburb of Guouta, where between 40 and 70 people were reported to have been killed by banned chlorine and sarin gases. The key word here is “suspected.” Assad and Russia have vigorously denied the allegations. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Where’s the Strategy?

Bob Burnett
Friday April 20, 2018 - 01:27:00 PM

Many Trump supporters voted for Donald because they believed he was a successful businessman -- rather than a reality TV star. These Trump adherents thought he would bring business acumen to the White House. Trump backers believed Donald had a strategic vision to "make America great again." Turns out they were mistaken. -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: More Effort is Not Always the Solution

Jack Bragen
Friday April 20, 2018 - 01:55:00 PM

f we do not make an effort in life, and fail to act when needed, we will either not survive, or we will be considered mentally defunct, and people might "take care" of us in a manner that suits them. If we do not do the basics that are expected, people might be good enough to place us in a special home. -more-


Arts & Events

Berkeley Arts Calendar

Tom Hunt and Bonnie Hughes
Saturday April 21, 2018 - 05:03:00 PM

To learn what's happening on Berkeley's arts scene, you can now reach the Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar directly from the Planet. You can then click on an individual date for a full description of every event on that day.

To reach the calendar, click here. -more-


Ravel & Debussy: Orientalism & Exoticism

Reviewed By James Roy MacBean
Saturday April 21, 2018 - 04:59:00 PM

It is no secret that Debussy first, then Ravel, were greatly impressed with music from the Orient -- Debussy with Javanese gamelan music, and Ravel with Gypsy music, gamelan music, and the musical possibilities of the tales in Arabic of Sinbad the Sailor. Ravel, of course, was also greatly influenced by music from his mother’s Spanish roots, involving a musical tradition dating from the Moorish conquest of Spain in the 1400s. So it was that Maurice Ravel, already having achieved his first success with the poignant Pavane pour une Infante défunte (1899), became intrigued with the idea of composing his version of the tales of Shéhérazade. Using Tristan Klingsor’s poems as a base, Ravel chose to compose music in three parts: the first, a long poem of orientalist evocations of Asia; the second, a brief evocation of a magic flute; and the third, a tribute to the mysterious indifference of the East toward westerners. -more-


Souad Massi’s Set at Fort Mason

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday April 21, 2018 - 04:59:00 PM

It’s almost hard for me to write objectively about Algerian-Berber singer and songwriter Souad Massi. Her voice moves me at a very deep, instinctual level. I can’t find words to describe why this is so. All I can say is that I find her voice deeply moving. So it was with great pleasure that I finally encountered Souad Massi in person on the day of her April 20 performance at Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason. We had already spoken by phone while she was on tour in Boston, and we had arranged to meet at Fort Mason between 3:30 and 4:00 on the day of her performance there. Arriving a bit early on Friday, April 20, I walked out to the end of the Fort Mason pier, hoping to spot a seal or two. At the end of the pier, I found Souad Massi and her tour manager, Manu Kirinek, sitting with their backs against the wall enjoying the view of the Golden Gate Bridge while eating a pizza. I introduced myself and was invited to share their pizza, which I gratefully declined, and sat down beside them. “This view is the gift of our tour in America,” Manu exclaimed. I mentioned to them that seals are occasionally seen swimming along these piers. And, sure enough, in the course of our conversation, a seal suddenly appeared in the waters below us; and Souad, leaping to her feet, squealed with delight and proceeded to throw bits of pizza to the seal, who remained indifferent and soon dove out of sight. Thus was the auspicious beginning of my personal encounter with Souad Massi. -more-


Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, April 22-29

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday April 21, 2018 - 04:42:00 PM

Worth Noting - A lot going on this week April 22 – April 29, 2018.

  • Sunday the Berkeley Tenants Union selects candidates for the November elections.
  • Monday Assembly District 15 Candidate forum. Sponsored by Contra Costa League of Women Voters at San Pablo Public Library in San Pablo. This is getting critical. There are 12 candidates anything could happen and we need the best 2 to go to the November election.
  • Tuesday and Thursday City Council meetings
  • regular meeting 6:00 pm Tuesday council chambers
  • special meeting 6:00 pm Thursday on encampments (homeless camps) and sidewalk policies (at Longfellow Middle School).
  • Wednesday Police Review Commission votes on charter amendment written by the PRC Reform subcommittee
  • Sunday April 29 BPA-BCA endorsement meeting for City Auditor and Council Districts 1,4,7,8


City Council May 1 meeting available for comments, Council@cityofberkeley.info Agenda: 18. Investment report Oct1-Dec 31, 2017, 20. Continue banking with Wells Fargo thru 2020, 21. Recommendation from Disaster and Fire Safety Commission Fire and Health Departments to Participate in Urban Shield and UASI trainings – anticipate referral to Urban Shield subcommittee, 22. Microbond Blockchain Initiative, 25. Referral to Planning allow 4 Temporary Zoning Amendments to increase student housing, 26 a&b Emergency Outdoor Shelter for the Homeless

https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/City_Council/2018/05_May/City_Council__05-01-2018_-_Regular_Meeting_Agenda.aspx



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

http://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html -more-


Back Stories

Opinion

Editorials

Berkeley Must Wait for Data from SF's Tall Building Study Before Authorizing Any New Highrises 04-20-2018

Public Comment

No Experiments on Kids- Just Say No to a Taxpayer-funded Tiny Homes Proposal Carol Denney 04-20-2018

Gang Rape Jagjit Singh 04-20-2018

News

Sidewalk Laws Redux - Speak Out Thursday Night - Carol Denney 04-23-2018

Press Release: BAHA Sponsors House Tour of Berkeley Woods Daniella Thompson 04-20-2018

Press Release: Community's Assistance Sought with Sexual Assault Investigation Berkeley Police Department 04-20-2018

Columns

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: The Great Game Comes to Syria Conn Hallinan 04-17-2018

ECLECTIC RANT; The Allied Strike on Syria Ralph E. Stone 04-20-2018

THE PUBLIC EYE: Where’s the Strategy? Bob Burnett 04-20-2018

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: More Effort is Not Always the Solution Jack Bragen 04-20-2018

Arts & Events

Berkeley Arts Calendar Tom Hunt and Bonnie Hughes 04-21-2018

Ravel & Debussy: Orientalism & Exoticism Reviewed By James Roy MacBean 04-21-2018

Souad Massi’s Set at Fort Mason Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 04-21-2018

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, April 22-29 Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 04-21-2018