The Week



It's a Two-fer on the Carpet-bag Express, with Mr. YIMBY Himself On Board

Friday May 18, 2018 - 03:19:00 PM

With only 3 weekends left until the June 5 Primary Election, I need your help talking to voters now more than ever! That's why Senator @Scott_Wiener is joining me THIS WEEKEND to canvass AD15. Will you be there too? RSVP - #TeamBuffy

More about the Bufferola

Friday May 18, 2018 - 04:08:00 PM

Flash: Gas Leak on La Loma in Berkeley

Berkeley Fire Department
Thursday May 17, 2018 - 04:32:00 PM

This is AC Alert Berkeley at 4:10 pm. Due to a gas leak in the 1300 block of La Loma, the Berkeley Fire Department recommends that community members avoid La Loma between Glendale and Buena Vista until further notice. PG&E is on scene. For more information, check 1610 AM every 30 minutes. -more-

Two Men Arrested in Berkeley after Police Find Gun During Vehicle Search for Marijuana Cigarette

Supriya Yelimeli
Thursday May 17, 2018 - 03:30:00 PM

Berkeley police arrested two men early Monday morning on suspicion of weapons offenses after police found a gun in their car following a search. -more-

Judge Rules for Berkeley in Post Office Suit

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday May 16, 2018 - 11:31:00 AM

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the city of Berkeley in its lengthy and complicated effort to stop the U.S. Postal Service from selling the historic main post office building in the city's downtown to someone who would use it for commercial purposes.

The saga began in 2012, when the Postal Service said it wanted to sell the building at 2000 Allston Way-which was built in 1914 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places-as part of a plan to sell hundreds of post offices across the country because it faced financial problems.

The city filed suit to stop the Postal Service from selling the building but a judge dismissed the suit.

In 2014 the city countered by creating what it called the Civic Center District Overlay, which restricts the use of nine buildings clustered around Civic Center Park, including the post office, Old City Hall, the Veteran's Memorial Building, the YMCA and other buildings, to civic or nonprofit uses.

The Postal Service fought back by filing a lawsuit against the city, claiming that the city had singled it out, thereby violating the supremacy clause of the Constitution, and that the creation of the overlay made the post office building impossible to sell by significantly reducing its value.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup rejected the Postal Service's arguments, ruling that it "had established no entitlement to relief on its claims." -more-

How Not to Plan for Housing at North Berkeley BART

Zelda Bronstein
Tuesday May 15, 2018 - 10:26:00 AM

Here we go again. The city council is poised to initiate another major planning process that sidelines the people whose lives will be most affected by the project at hand. Worse yet, it’s doing this with only the vaguest notion of a project.

I’m referring to Item 28 on the council’s Action Calendar for today,May 15: “Visioning Event to Present and Share Ideas on Creating Housing at the North Berkeley BART Station Parking Lots.” Councilmember Maio and Mayor Arreguin are recommending that their colleagues ask the City Manager to provide a meeting and room and “props” for an exhibition of “sketches of what appropriate housing on the site could look like. Interested persons could submit their sketches, presented on easels or on the walls, for the public to review and ask questions of presenters.” The stated goal would be to enable the “lay public” to contemplate “the possibilities” for housing on the BART property, as imagined by “design professionals or others who wish to participate.” -more-

Flash: Berkeley Wins in Post Office Lawsuit

Monday May 14, 2018 - 12:08:00 PM

The City of Berkeley has been declared the winner in the lawsuit filed by the United States Postal Service which sought to overturn the city's Zoning Overlay which restricted uses in the downtown Berkeley Historic District.

From the decision by Federal Judge William Allsup: "...the USPS has not carried its burden to prove that either intergovernmental immunity or conflict preemption renders the Overlay unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause. It has therefore established no entitlement to relief on its claims. Accordingly, judgment will be entered in favor of the City." -more-

New: By Their Friends Shall Ye Know Them...

Monday May 14, 2018 - 10:13:00 PM

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Berkeley Property Owners Association <>
Date: Mon, May 14, 2018 at 2:43 PM
Subject: Meet & Greet with Buffy Wicks- candidate for 15th Assembly District


Mim Hawley
August 20,1928 – April 12, 2018

Seena Hawley
Friday May 11, 2018 - 05:15:00 PM

Miriam "Mim" Hawley, one of the most beloved city council members in Berkeley history, died suddenly in her home at Piedmont Gardens, Oakland, on April 12 at age 89.

Long active in local politics, she lived by her strong beliefs, from being an activist PTA President to protesting injustices to running for and winning a seat on the Berkeley City Council in 2000. -more-



The Berkeley Daily Planet Endorses...Not Quite

Becky O'Malley
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 10:24:00 AM

So, the mail-in ballots are out, and many early birds are wondering who to vote for. I’m definitely old-school myself, preferring the sacramental act of walking into the neighborhood polling place to cast my ballot. I’ve seen enough last-minute hit pieces to want to wait until all the electioneering is really truly over—who knows what might change before election day.

But my friends and acquaintances, or at least the nervous nellies among them, have been badgering me to tell them whom the Planet will endorse.

In the first place, that’s a “categorical error as it pertains to the historical record.” When it’s at home, what that pretentious phrase means is that “we’ve never done that”. Never? Well, hardly ever.

I have enough trouble making up my mind who will be the lucky recipient of my one vote, let alone telling tens or hundreds or thousands of readers what to do with theirs. Opinions expressed in this space are strictly mine, though my partner and I have never to my knowledge disagreed on a political decision.

This electoral season is especially vexing, because I seem to be able to find something to question about every candidate for every office. On the other hand, many seem good enough for government work.

Let’s start with the top job in the state, Governor. I’ve found both of the top two Democrats, Newsom and Villaraigosa, equally creepy in different ways. I don’t have a television, so I’m not influenced by their ads, which the print press informs me are numerous and awful. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Updated: Saturday Night Special--Again This Week

Becky O'Malley
Friday May 18, 2018 - 12:00:00 PM

This week we've again moved the new issue publication date to Saturday to make sure the Activist's Calendar can be ready in time. And also, I'm going to try to post new editorials mid-week instead of on Fridays, so regular readers should look for them then. If you want to get an emailed reminder of new content, you can sign up by emailing -more-

Public Comment

Speech in British House of Lords on Syria

Lord Singh of Wimbledon
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 11:08:00 AM

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Earl, Lord Attlee. I speak from a Sikh perspective and I offer my apologies if what I say is out of sync with today’s 19th and 20th-century power-bloc politics.

Sikh teachings on the prevention of conflict almost parallel the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, formulated after the horror of the ​Second World War, and they stress the dignity and equality of all members of our one human family. They also legitimise the use of military force only as a last recourse when all other means have failed. I believe that we and other great powers have pushed the declaration—the key to true peace and security—to one side in our pursuit of supposed “national interest”, using smaller countries as pawns in power-bloc politics. The conflict in Syria is a case study of the futility and cruel effect of such policies on innocent lives.

Following his election, US President Donald Trump made clear his desire to withdraw from international conflicts. Anxious to preserve our special relationship with the USA, our Prime Minister dutifully echoed him, saying that we will have to stop being the world’s policeman. A few weeks back, President Trump made clear his desire to extricate the US from the conflict in Syria and was expected to do so with an impressive military flourish. -more-

Fossil Fuels Are Harming Us

Harry Brill
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 05:33:00 PM

To protest Chase Bank's commitment to investing in fossil fuels, a national day of action was held this past Monday (May 7) against the Bank, which is a subsidiary of J.P. Morgan. Chase bank is one of the largest investors in the dirtiest fossil fuels. Although some European banks have been restricting their lending on behalf of fossil fuels, JPMorgan Chase has instead quadrupled its financing. -more-

The People in the Park

Cecile Leneman
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 10:48:00 AM

Please consider discussing the larger picture: why are People down and out and taking drugs as you say and drinking? Why are they unemployed? Why are they unwashed and smelly, as you describe them? Can you discuss America’s happiness coefficient? -more-

Art and Venture Capital Really Do Go Hand in Hand

Carol Denney
Thursday May 03, 2018 - 12:09:00 PM

Our neighborhood hardware store went out of business recently and has been replaced by "Neyborly", a fund-raising enterprise which hosts events for ...causes. I'm not sure how worthy the causes are, but whatever they are, "Neyborly" takes a cut out of their fundraiser to pay rent in the empty space which used to be our hardware store. -more-



Conn Hallinan
Monday May 14, 2018 - 10:02:00 PM

When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a presidential and parliamentary election June 24—jumping the gun by more than a year—the outcome seemed foreordained: the country is under a state of emergency, Erdogan has imprisoned more than 50,000 of his opponents, dismissed 140,000 from their jobs, jailed a presidential candidate, and launched an attack on Syria’s Kurds, that is popular with most Turks. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:Mueller Inquiry Status

Bob Burnett
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 11:18:00 AM

On February 16th, the Justice Department unveiled the first of four pillars of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into interference in the 2016 election: the indictment of 13 Russians for Internet-based meddling. Since then the Mueller investigation has been quiet but there's new evidence that they are moving forward with the other three pillars of their inquiry: collusion, obstruction and hacking.

On April 30, the New York Times published the roughly fifty questions that the Mueller probe wants to ask Donald Trump, under oath. These questions are primarily about campaign coordination with Russia -- collusion -- and about possible obstruction of justice.

The collusion aspect of the Mueller probe explore the possibility of illicit cooperation between Russian operatives, involved in election interference and hacking, and the Trump campaign. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Painful Emotions; Don't Wallow, But Don't Fight Them

Jack Bragen
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 10:46:00 AM

Acceptance of painful emotions, and reinterpreting emotions as non-painful, are two of many variations on the same basic idea. This is a basic idea that comprises a large part of the "meditation" that I have practiced for more than the past three decades. The basic idea is a bit hard to put into words. Yet I'll venture this: emotions carry the weight that we voluntarily or involuntarily give them. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT:Trump pulls out of Iran Nuclear Agreement

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 11:12:00 AM

On May 8, 2018, Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union, which severely limited Iran’s ability to enrich uranium fuel and other activities necessary to make nuclear weapons. -more-

Arts & Events

No Local Atmosphere Needed for Gautier Capuçon

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 05:47:00 PM

In a San Francisco Symphony program chock full of post card evocations of Mediterranean land-and-sea-scapes, the best music, the Cello Concert No. 1 in A minor by Camille Saint-Saens, offered nothing in the way of local color but everything in what counts most – beautiful music. Cellist Gautier Capuçon was in top form here, spinning out the lovely melodies of Saint-Saens with his burnished low register, and reaching up into the utmost heights of the cello’s register for the occasional stratospheric notes. Both sides of Capuçon’s expressive capabilities were on display here – the robustly physical attack and the delicately refined nuances. All told, guest conductor Stéphane Denève had little to do in this work aside from allowing Gautier Capuçon to have his way, a strategy that ensured success. Likewise, Capucon’s encore, the Swan, from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, was an exquisite gem that highlighted this cellist’s magical touch. -more-

Berkeley Arts Calendar

Tom Hunt and Bonnie Hughes
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 10:45:00 AM

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-

New: The Musical Magic of Katja Heuzeroth in Santa Clara

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday May 14, 2018 - 10:00:00 PM

Repeating her brilliant success as Kashcheyevna, daughter of the evil sorcerer Kashchey in Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Kashchey, The Immortal, German-born mezzo-soprano Katja Heuzeroth sang excerpts from this opera on Sunday, May 13, at the Triton Art Museum in Santa Clara. Once again, the magic of Katja Heuzeroth’s voice had its way with this glorious music, which was performed here by Cal Arte Chamber Orchestra led by conductor Dr. Michael Shahani. Singing much of the Scene II music of this opera, Katja Heuzeroth opened with Kashcheyevna’s aria while picking herbs in her garden for her magic potion, then launched into the sword-sharpening aria, and, finally, was joined by baritone Kiril Havezov as Prince Ivan, whose entrance soon led to the magically inspired love duet between a besotted Ivan and the seductive Kashcheyevna. Once again, the magic of this scene was as much in Katja Heuzeroth’s rapturous voice as in any magic potion. Her voice has richly burnished low notes and bright, clear high notes. Moreover, Katja Heuzeroth is a highly expressive singer who endows her performance with passion and intensity. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, May 13-20

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday May 12, 2018 - 10:38:00 AM

Worth Noting:

  • Sunday – Bike tour of Cohousing and Coop communities, RSVP to participate
  • Monday - Town Hall with Barbara Lee is sold out
  • Tuesday – City Council – long agenda with 32 items on consent, important agenda items are highlighted with bold type
  • Wednesday – Planning Commission holding public hearing on urban agriculture
  • Thursday – Transportation Commission has Bike share contract (FORD bikes) amendment on the agenda, packet does not contain substance of amendment.

Poor Peoples Campaign – A National Call for Moral Revival starts Monday with six weekly themes, Week one May 13 – 19, Child Poverty, Women and the Disabled -more-