Full Text

Traffic Circle Design Specifications from Bicycle Plan
Traffic Circle Design Specifications from Bicycle Plan


Flash: Police Arrest about 20 in Political Clash

Craig Lazzeretti (BCN)
Sunday August 05, 2018 - 07:11:00 PM

Berkeley police have made at least 17 arrests today as protesters clash around Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. 

The "No to Marxism in America 2" rally this afternoon has drawn rival anti-fascist and anti-Marxist protesters, some of whom are carrying weapons and throwing fireworks, police said. 

Amber Gwen Cummings organized the rally, which started at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park at noon. Cummings held a "No to Marxism" rally in the same park in August 2017 at which a man was beaten to the ground, among other violent acts. 

A counter-protest was also planned. Police were urging all who planned to attend either event to separate themselves from violence and, if it can be done safely, report any violence to police. 

As of 3 p.m., police had arrested the following people on suspicion of possessing a banned weapon: Javier Cruz-O'Connell, 27, of Berkeley; Jamie Louise Hill, 30, of Emeryville; Ericka Sokolower-Shain, 28, of Berkeley; Andres Gonzalez, 35, of Oakland; Jason Wallach, 49, of Oakland; Kate Brenner, 69, of Oakland; Kristin Edith Koster, 50, of Berkeley; Sarena Lynette Perez, 39, of Oakland; David Siegfried Chou, 26, of Santa Cruz; Bella Podolsky, 27, of San Francisco, and Maria Lewis, 29, of Emeryville. Lewis and Chou are also suspected of working with others to commit a crime. 

Additionally, Blake Griffith, 29, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of vandalism; Freddy Martinez, 31, of Berkeley, was arrested on suspicion of battery; and Thomas Parker, 22, of Berkeley and Caitlin Boyle, 27, of Oakland were arrested on suspicion of working with others to commit a crime. 

A group of several hundred people were marching on University Avenue, eastbound from Martin Luther King Jr. Way, early this afternoon. Police are advising those traveling in the area to plan for delays and consider alternate routes. 

Police on Saturday released a lengthy list of items prohibited at the rally, noting, "These rules are intended to assist those wishing to peaceably express their First Amendment rights." 

Sticks, pipes, poles, lengths of lumber or wood, baseball bats, bricks, pepper spray, knives and firearms are some of the items banned at Civic Center and Ohlone parks. 

Anyone violating the prohibition will be subject to citation and arrest, authorities said. 

"There are concerns that the motivation behind some of the Aug. 5 events is to mark and revive violent conflicts that occurred during protests in Berkeley in 2017, both on the University of California campus and in city parks and streets," police said in a statement. 

At least 10 people were arrested in Cummings' 2017 event. A fistfight took place between two people on Martin Luther King Jr. Way near Allston Avenue. A person dressed in black, the hallmark of the infamous Black Bloc, which advocates violence, destroyed another attendee's camera.

Taking a Break This Week

Becky O'Malley
Saturday August 04, 2018 - 11:18:00 AM

We are taking a break this week, along with some of our regulars. Wi-Fi permitting, I'll try to post what I can whenever I can without starting a whole new issue this week.


Jack Bragen
Saturday August 04, 2018 - 07:32:00 PM

The ability to feel emotions, both happy ones and painful ones, is a sign of health. While someone may suffer from mania, psychosis, depression, and so on, the ability to feel emotions that are considered normal, and not just symptoms, could mean that we are healthy beings who suffer from a brain disorder. 

When I am "doing well" in my life, it is more likely that I will experience sadness, as opposed to paranoid fear or excessive anger. Paranoid fear has the potential to block out most of the other emotions. When the fearfulness wanes, I may have a gamut of other emotions that emerge. 

Once we get past the yoke of fear, one of the first emotional needs that emerge may be the desire to like ourselves. Yet, almost any types of emotions could emerge. When we get beyond fear, often we will have less anger--sometimes more anger. 

In some spiritual and self-help philosophies, the idea is that we are supposed to evolve beyond painful, negative, fearful, and angry emotions. However, most people, not just those with mental illness, must do a lot of preliminary exercises and "inner work" before we can realistically get close to this stage. Too many self-help philosophies espouse being sweet and loving, well before an individual can genuinely get to that stage. The result is someone who bristles beneath a phony front of spiritual advancement. Usually, the main person being fooled, is oneself. 

Especially for those with mental illness, we must access the emotions first. You can't let go of your anger before you get to your anger. The same goes for fear, and the same goes for grief. 

I was recovering from an acute episode of psychosis in Kaiser, about three decades ago, and a counselor wrote on a chalkboard, "Feel what you're feeling." Long before we can rise above the painful, difficult, "unevolved" emotions of an average person, we must get to the stage of fully experiencing those emotions, without blocking them with some form of suppression, or perhaps "neurosis." 

Having a psychiatric disorder is not an indicator of being unevolved. A person can have a psychiatric disorder, the origin of which is largely physical (it is a brain illness), and at the same time, we could be otherwise emotionally healthy, and ready to practice meditation, and/or mindfulness, and through this, become evolved.  

Not everyone is interested in meditation. They may prefer Christian practices, or practices of other religions. Regardless of what spiritual preferences a person has, it probably helps to be able to feel emotions without running away from them, without blocking them, and without resorting to forms of escapism, such as narcotics, alcohol, excessive food, or perhaps even video games. 

Psychosis can be akin to a drug. It is generated directly by the brain, but in some ways, it may have similar characteristics to taking a substance. This is one reason why compliance with treatment in some ways resembles sobriety. 

However, taking psychiatric medication isn't easy. It can cause a lot of suffering due to the side effects. It can block the levels of functioning necessary for performing at most jobs. Psychiatric medications can sometimes block the ability to read books for long periods of time. 

Psychiatric drugs may sometimes prevent us from fully experiencing emotions. If the dosages are excessive, or if they are being used to block valid yet uncomfortable emotions, it might be time to talk to one's doctor to get those meds straightened out. 

Persons in treatment for mental illness may mistake some painful emotions for symptoms, and might seek to solve all anguish with more pills. On the other hand, if the emotional state is so bad that we can't function and do the necessary things to live, such as go to the store "and buy a loaf of bread," then medication is likely to be part of the answer--either adding or subtracting a medication, or adjusting a dosage. 

However, if someone in your family, and/or whom you love, dies, it would be unhealthy not to be filled with grief and sadness. If you lose a job that you have had for years, it would be unhealthy not to feel some sadness or loss over it. If your car breaks down when you are driving through the Mojave Desert, it would be appropriate to worry. Medication should not be sought as the solution to all discomfort. 

If we are unable to be upset about anything, it is a sign that something is wrong; it is not a sign that we have achieved the pinnacle of higher consciousness. Even the most esteemed of Zen masters are capable of occasional anger. Christian monks are capable of anger. This is the human condition, and this is the design of the human brain. 

Some amount of emotional pain and happiness are normal. If we are incapable of this, we should seek more help. 

Berkeley Activist's Calendar, August 5-August 12

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday August 04, 2018 - 11:09:00 AM

Worth Noting:

White supremacists announced plans to rally in downtown Berkeley on Sunday, August 5. There is a broadly sponsored counter rally Sweep Out the Fascists: A Festival of Resilience. 3 links for more information are given below.

August 10 is the deadline for submitting ballot initiatives and the watch is on as to whether Mayor Arreguin will call the special Council meeting this week to vote on the Police Commission Charter amendment. The final version co-authored by Arreguin was built on endless hours of community work.

Wednesday evening Traffic Circles are on the Parks and Waterfront Commission agenda. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018 

Sweep Out the Fascists: A Festival of Resilience, Sun, Aug 5, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Civic Center Park, Ohlone Playground and Greenway to MLK Park, Festival of Resilience is counter rally to announced rally by white supremacists, white nationalists, Trump supporters in downtown Berkeley at Civic Center Park,  




Monday, August 6 2018 

Ad Hoc subcommittee on Small Business, Mon, Aug, 6, 10:00 – 12:30 pm, 1947 Center St, 3rd Floor, Magnolia Room, Agenda: Presentation Sustainable Economies Law Center on Worker Cooperatives, Succession Planning, Mitigating impacts during contruction 


Public Works Commission T1 Subcommittee with Parks and Waterfront Commission Subcommittee Capital Projects, Mon, Aug, 6, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, 1901 Hearst, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Phase 1 and Phase 2 updates 


Tax the Rich rally – Mon, Aug 6, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm top of Solano in front of closed Oaks Theater,  

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 

Stop the Violence Block Party - Berkeley National Night Out, Tue, Aug 7, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, McGee @ Stuart, https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventMain.aspx?calendarEventID=15522 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 

Parks and Waterfront Commission, Wed, Aug 8, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, 2800 Park St, Frances Albrier Community Center, Agenda: Traffic Circles, Ferry Service, Marina Plan, Capital Projects https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Parks_and_Waterfront_Commission.aspx 

Thursday, August 9, 2018 

No City meetings scheduled 

Friday, August 10, 2018 

Movies in the Park – Paddington 2, Fri, Aug 10, 8:15 pm – 10:00 pm, 1201 Euclid Ave @ Eunice, Codornices Park 

Saturday, August 11 2018 

Music in the Park – Jazz + R&B, Sat, Aug 11, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Ohlone Park, Hearst @ Grant/McGee 

Music in the Park | Family Concerts, Sat, Aug 11, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Ohlone Park, Hearst @ Grant/McGee 


Sunday, August 12, 2018 

No City events listed 



The meeting list is posted in the Berkeley Daily Planet under Berkeley Activist’s Calendar 



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


When notices of meetings are found that are posted after Friday 5:00 pm they are added to the website schedule https://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html and preceded by LATE ENTRY 

Indivisible Berkeley engage in local, state and national events, actions, town halls and election mobilizations https://www.indivisibleberkeley.org/actions 



Update on Traffic Circle Clear Cutting: A Brief Reprieve, Continued Uncertainty

Steven Finacom
Wednesday August 01, 2018 - 11:21:00 PM

Last week, as earlier reported, the City of Berkeley abruptly announced new “policies” for traffic circles in Berkeley, including a City takeover of all maintenance from volunteers and cutting of all trees in the circles.

The announcement came in the form of a brief and bland directive from the Assistant Director of Public Works that was emailed to some people but didn’t directly go to many of the people who have been maintaining the traffic circles for years or decades. (In my neighborhood I checked with five people who maintain different circles. None of them received the email from the City, and neither did the longtime neighborhood association.)

On Tuesday July 31 many people, including children, came to the City Council meeting on short notice to protest. The Council and City staff, earlier deluged with calls and emails objecting to the new directive, drew back a little bit, promising that there would be consultation with neighborhoods before cutting. 

Why did the City abruptly implement its new circle policies? It appears to be in response to a lawsuit about an accident more that two years ago at one intersection where a circle is located. (The official City statement issued on Tuesday says “due to some recent legal challenges, the City is working to ensure visibility at all traffic circles.”) 

The City has made no further detailed reference to this in public but Councilmember Lori Droste, in an email to a Berkeley resident that has now been further circulated, said “Unfortunately, we (the Council) had a closed session on this particular issue last week. We have been advised by our legal counsel that if any injuries occur at traffic circles, the City is liable.” 

Amazingly, during the past two years no one in the City staff leadership seems to have thought to broadly consult with the volunteers maintaining the circles or the surrounding neighborhoods about any safety or visibility concerns and possible solutions. 

At the July 31 Council meeting Mayor Jesse Arreguin asked the Council to let community members speak for ten minutes about the circles. There were many supporters in the audience who had shown up for this issue.  

Several individuals spoke, starting with Robin Grossinger, a respected environmental scientist who is part of a group of neighbors who maintain a circle at Russell and Fulton.  

Grossinger pointed out, among other things, that other cities including San Francisco encourage the planting of trees in traffic circles and that the clear-cutting policy of Berkeley runs contrary to environmental practice and climate action efforts and the City’s adopted ordinance preventing the removal of live oak trees. A single live oak of modest size can remove 400 or more pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year. 

Others noted that the Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Commission hasn’t been consulted, even though it’s usually in the loop on street tree and landscaping policy, and the new policy of banning volunteers goes against the City’s long time policy of encouraging volunteers to work in parks and other spaces. It’s not clear, either, than anyone talked to the Transportation Commission which advises on street and traffic safety issues. 

What are the next steps? 

The City has simply asked that anyone involved in volunteer maintenance of the traffic circles email the Assistant Director of Public Works and that “each circle will be assessed on a case by case basis”. The Mayor also publicly promised last night that there would be a meeting with City staff and circle volunteers before any further action.  

In the meantime, however, City staff have been going around the City lowering the signs in traffic circles. Some trees have also been marked with the symbol that the City uses to designate street trees that are going to be cut down. And City staff have not said what criteria they will use to assess whether a tree should stay or go. 

City staff may have publicly backed off clear-cutting the circles at Tuesday’s Council meeting but that does not mean that the same result—cutting of all the trees—won’t happen on a “case by case basis” as the City statement says. 

And a truly big bureaucratic problems with the City’s current stance is that staff have promulgated an “approved list” of plants for circles. The list has only six plants on it, all of them apparently taken directly from a CalTrans list used for freeway plantings.  

There are other “policies” such as this bizarre statement: “Water may be delivered or supplied by hoses run from private properties. Any hoses may not cross traffic lanes…” Since the circles are completely surrounded by traffic lanes, that seems to say yes you can water with hoses, but if you do you are in violation of city policies. Huh? 

What can you do? 

At least one Facebook page has been set up by concerned neighbors. You can go there to see any updates and also “like” support for the Circles. Look for “Save Fulton Street’s Oak Tree”. Those neighbors have also wrapped their tree with banners and posted informational signage. 

If you are involved with a particular traffic circle—there are supposedly 60 in the City—please email pwworks@cityofberkeley.info and state clearly that you want to be on the City’s contact list for all meetings and other information about the traffic circles. Do that ASAP. Send a copy to the Mayor and his community assistant. jarreguin@cityofberkeley.info, and jmccormack@cityofberkeley.info 

Please also send me your name and email address and the circle you’re connected to / interested in, so a list of community volunteers can ultimately be put together, connected to each other. You can email me at berkeley1860@gmail.com 

Tell your Councilmember firmly and directly in person or by email that you want to see neighbors fully consulted before anything is done to the traffic circles in their neighborhoods and you oppose banning neighborhood volunteers from maintaining the circles.

Removal of Trees From Traffic Circles

Blane Beckwith
Wednesday August 01, 2018 - 11:27:00 PM

I have been following this debate and one thing that bothers me is the lack of mention of people with disabilities who use wheelchairs. We are adversely affected by traffic circles and the overgrowth of vegetation that is allowed in them. We are in danger of being hit by cars when crossing these intersections with overgrown traffic circles.

As a wheelchair user, traffic circles scare the hell out of me. The primary reason for this fright is because the traffic circle renders me practically invisible, especially since many of them are overgrown with vegetation that is far too high.  

As I recall, there is a City of Berkeley ordinance that governs the height of which vegetation is allowed to grow. When the traffic circle ordinance was first being considered, I attended the Commission on Disability (COD) meetings where this issue was discussed and I personally gave my input. 

I expressed the concern that if people were allowed to plant whatever vegetation they wanted, people in wheelchairs would be put in danger because it is very hard for us to be seen if vegetation is too high. If people would have stayed within the height limits of the city ordinance, there would be no problem with traffic circles. 

Since that time, many people who are responsible for planting have not taken people in wheelchairs into consideration when planting. We have been overlooked, and in some of these traffic circles, people have gone so far as to plant trees and other large plantings, making it next to impossible to see a person in a wheelchair who has a lower profile than someone walking. 

I have nearly been hit on several occasions by people who didn't see me because I was hidden behind overgrown vegetation that was not trimmed to the proper height. This problem needs to be solved in some other way than to overlook the numerous people in wheelchairs in the City of Berkeley. 

Either people need to start planting these traffic circles the needs of people with disabilities into consideration, or the City of Berkeley needs to force them to consider our right to safe access on the streets of our city.

The History and Value of Volunteer Gardening in Berkeley's Traffic Circles

Nancy Carleton
Tuesday July 31, 2018 - 10:02:00 AM

Honorable Mayor and City Councilmembers:

I'm shocked and outraged to learn of the message received by neighbors living in the Le Conte neighborhood from Andrew Borzyna, Deputy Director of Public Works, announcing "the removal of any and all trees in traffic circles along with other vegetation that does not meet the required standards." The communication also apparently states that the city will "take over maintenance" and ban volunteers who have spent years caring for the traffic circles, often fundraising for the original and replacement landscaping over the past two decades. Existing mature landscaping would, under this draconian plan, presumably be removed to be replaced with bland and generic urban landscaping, destroying the community efforts of many years and stealing many of the much-loved trees and unique plantings that neighborhood residents have nurtured as part of ongoing efforts to beautify the city where we live. What a waste of our precious parks funding, which should be going to planting more trees, not cutting them down! 

This would be contrary to the multi-decade cooperation between the Parks Department and various "adopt-a-park" and "adopt-a-green space" groups across the city, whose volunteer "sweat equity" has allowed the city to stretch limited funds and to "green" underserved parts of the city. This cooperation goes back at least as far as the early 1990s, when I and others co-founded Berkeley Partners for Parks (BPFP) to encourage such partnership approaches. At the time, founders and members of BPFP met extensively with cou! ncilmembers, city staff, and members of the legal department to find ways to encourage, not discourage, volunteerism to enhance Berkeley's parks and green spaces. 

I'm sure many of you are aware that South Berkeley and parts of Central Berkeley are significantly lacking in terms of adequate green space and parks in comparison to North Berkeley and general urban standards, especially given the greater population density in these parts of town. The landscaped traffic circles in Le Conte, and landscaped features in other neighborhoods, including my own Halcyon neighborhood, where we created a park where there was once a parking lot -- Halcyon Commons -- and funded and created several nearby landscaped features, have represented a small gesture to redress this imbalance. It's absolutely unacceptable for a city that claims to have a green climate plan favoring increased planting of trees to treat mature landscaping, especially trees, so cavalierly. It's the antithesis of everything Berkeley claims to stand for. As someone who has chaired a couple of successful campaigns to secure and increase funding for Berkeley's parks, I can assure you that Berkeley's citizens are not interested in seeing a bland, cookie-cutter, suburban approach to our city's beloved landscaping! If you wish Berkeley voters to continue to vote to tax themselves to pay for parks and public landscaping, it's crucial that you respect the volunteers who help create and maintain them! Those should be your chief allies rather than be treated with the ultimate in disrespect and contempt! 

I ask the mayor and each city councilmember to make a referral to the city manager to place a moratorium on any destruction of landscaping and trees in the city's traffic circles and other landscaped features in our neighborhoods, especially those with a long track record of citizen i! nvolvement. Any new policies should be referred to the Parks Recreation and Waterfront Commission prior to substantive changes, with adequate notification of the public and the chance to hold public hearings prior to any such changes. This is definitely NOT a decision to be made at the staff level by Public Works. (Some of you may lack the historical knowledge that the Parks Department came into being when involved citizens refused to accept it merely being considered a subsidiary of Public Works; our Parks and urban landscaping deserve departmental status; they are not mere subsets of Public Works.) The relevant staff and associated commissions (Parks, Forestry, Public Works, Traffic) should be working directly with, at minimum, representatives from Berkeley Partners for Parks and the Le Conte Neighborhood Association, before any action is taken with regard to the much-loved plantings in the Le Conte traffic circles, especially the trees. I would also expect that the city's protection via ordinance for live oaks would be respected regardless (there are live oaks with greater than six-inch diameters in various plantings in Le Conte, Bateman, and Halcyon public landscaping, among others). 

Thank you for your prompt and urgent attention to this matter.

Circle Gardens of LeConte (& BERKELEY)

Karl Reeh, LeConte Neighborhood Association
Tuesday July 31, 2018 - 10:25:00 AM

The first traffic-calming circles in Berkeley were requested by the LeConte Neighborhood Association in the mid to late 1990s. The main goals were beautification and traffic mitigation on Ellsworth Street. It was our district’s widest street and had NO street trees. After working closely with Traffic and Fire, we designed a circle which allowed the maximum width that the Fire Department would approve with an interior size of 17 feet. A three-foot “collar” of paving blocks added width without further driving restrictions. 

We did not request irrigation due to the significant added costs and increased City responsibility. Instead we agreed to plant, water and maintain each circle with the voluntary help of people living close to the intersections involved. The Park Department agreed to provide and plant trees. 

The neighbors around the first two circles raised $350 to purchase five boulders for Ellsworth/Stuart in memory of five residents who had recently died. Three other boulders were installed at Ellsworth/Parker. After completion of the first two circles, we began the process for getting the third circle built at Ellsworth/Carleton.The next phase began when grants were given to Berkeley for “Safe Routes to School” and “Bicycle Boulevard” plans. This included two traffic lights on Telegraph (at Stuart and Russell.)The Traffic Department mailed out ballots to all households to vote on which, if any, traffic controls would be acceptable. Residents were allowed to vote regarding the intersection that was closest to them. Fulton/Stuart got the highest vote for a permanent circle. 

Both Russell intersections got the next highest votes.Ward (at Fulton and Ellsworth) got the next two highest votes. The minimum number of votes to win a circle was 65 percent. 

In the summer of 2004, all five of the additional traffic circles were completed and volunteers began planting and maintaining the Circle Gardens. These 16to 20 feet wide areas serve as “breathing holes” for the street surface below. With watering and abundant plant life, these small but conspicuous gardens can play a major role in both the quality of life above ground, and the quantity of biological life both above and below. 

Since then about 50 more circles and planting areas have been constructed in Berkeley.  

Circle notes: Marin Circle, the very first in Berkeley, was built in 1911 in a failed attempt to relocate the StateCapitol here.  

Seattle, which has more than 600 of these traffic-calming devices, reports a reduction in accidents of more than 90%. (www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/JIMM5.pdf.) 

Traffic Circles 

Traffic circles are effective at reducing collisions and the severity at intersections, as well as speeds. Especially when installed in a series, traffic circles also provide an overall traffic calming effect along the entire street corridor. Over the last 30 years, the City of Seattle has installed over 1,000 traffic circles on city streets.

Due to high demand and limited funding, we have developed a process for prioritizing traffic circles. Because the primary purpose of a traffic circle is to reduce collisions at intersections, SDOT evaluates collisions City wide and prioritizes intersections based on the highest number of collisions.. 

Because traffic circles are popular traffic calming devices as well, communities are interested in installing them to calm traffic. Generally, if there are not at least two reported collisions in the intersection for the last three years, SDOT will not support their installation unless there is some other obvious safety need. 

Design & Construction Overview 

Traffic circles are designed according to the existing geometry of the intersection. For example, if each street at the intersection is 25' wide, the diameter of the traffic circle will be 16'.

The traffic circle is made up of a 2' wide concrete ring and reflectors are installed on the ring.. The concrete ring is less than four inches high next to the road so fire trucks or other large vehicles can drive over a portion of the traffic circle without harming the landscaping. There are also reflective object marker signs in the center of the traffic circle so that the traffic circle is more visible at night. For more information on traffic circle design, see Traffic Circle Typical Design

SDOT encourages landscaping in all traffic circles that are of sufficient size to support landscaping. Maintenance of the landscaping is the responsibility of the community, and several volunteers must be identified before the traffic circle is designed and constructed. If there are not enough identified volunteers, SDOT will eliminate the landscaping component from the traffic circle, and pave the interior of the circle instead. 

It generally costs $20,000 to completely construct a traffic circle. SDOT staff designs the circle, and construction is normally completed by SDOT crews. Costs are kept down by not installing irrigation. Water must be brought from nearby residences to help establish the landscaping in the traffic circle. 

Removal of Trees from Traffic Circles

Rob Wrenn
Monday July 30, 2018 - 11:05:00 AM
Traffic Circle Design Specifications from Bicycle Plan
Traffic Circle Design Specifications from Bicycle Plan

Dear Mayor Arreguin and members of the Berkeley City Council,

I was shocked to learn that city staff, with little notice and no public discussion, are planning to remove all trees from the city’s traffic circles and take over maintenance of the circles.

I ask that the Council take action to put a halt to this rash, ill-considered and draconian plan and instead undertake a careful review and evaluation of traffic circles with an eye to setting reasonable standards for their maintenance. Neighbors of the circles should continue to play a role in their maintenance, wherever there are neighbors willing to do so.

Any plan for traffic circles should first be referred to and reviewed by the Transportation Commission, which advises the Council on traffic calming policies. To evaluate the impact of traffic circles, collision data should be collected and analyzed. I have seen no evidence that the city staff’s plan to remove trees is based on any data. Individual anecdotes about accidents should not be the basis for staff action, which should instead be based on comprehensive data and analysis. 

Comparing collision data from a ten-year period before installation of a traffic circle with data from ten years following installation would be helpful. The City has assembled collision data for various studies and plans and it’s not hard to do. Traffic circles are intended to slow down traffic and should reduce collisions. Has this occurred overall? Do trees make a difference? Intersections with traffic circles and trees could also be compared to other intersections with similar traffic counts and no circles. To the extent that any baseline data exists, it would be useful to know whether traffic circles result in reduced volumes of traffic or lower travel speeds. 

The City staff should also look at the effect of stop signs at traffic circles. Some circles have four-way stop signs, some have two-way stops. Confusion can be caused if one traffic circle has a different stop sign set up than the next circle on the same street. 

Properly maintained trees in traffic circles do not significantly interfere with visibility (see photo above). In some cases, lower branches need to be trimmed, but it is definitely not necessary to remove the trees. The city’s newer signs, put in to replace the signs originally in use, are more of an obstacle to visibility given their height and placement, than the tree trunks are. Tree branches and leaves shouldn’t be an obstacle if trimmed to an appropriate height. 

The City’s recently adopted bicycle plan calls for more traffic circles. The plan contains an illustration of a circle (on page f-35 and above) that includes a “broad canopy tree”. The plan calls for circles to be “maintained to preserve sightlines”, but this clearly does not preclude having a tree in the circle. San Francisco’s guidelines for traffic circles actually encourage planting trees in circles. 

Trees have enhanced the appearance of traffic circles and of the streets where they are located. They are a neighborhood amenity. Removing all trees because some trees may need trimming to improve visibility is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Don’t throw the tree out with the branches that need to be trimmed. 

The traffic circles in my neighborhood were installed at the request of neighbors, after votes were taken showing majority support. Most included trees. In 2005, the City did a survey, asking: “The City has installed 30 new traffic circles in residential neighborhoods around town to calm traffic. Do you think they are an effective tool to slow traffic and improve safety?” 43% answered yes; 23% said somewhat; 23% said no; and 9% didn’t know. 

The city should have a goal of ensuring that circles with trees and other landscaping are designed, signed, and maintained to work well for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. This is something the Transportation Commission and staff could work on. 

I also don’t think it’s realistic to think that the city staff could fully assume responsibility for maintenance of circles. It would be appropriate for staff to check circles periodically to ensure adequate visibility, but city staff are not able, as it is, to keep up with the maintenance of all the public right of way, landscaped areas and green spaces that they are responsible for. Things will work better if wiling neighborhood volunteers continue to help with maintenance. I think traffic circles, esp. those without trees, would look shabby before long if the city were solely responsible for their maintenance. 



Ron Dellums Has Died at 82

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Monday July 30, 2018 - 02:09:00 PM

National, state and Bay Area leaders are paying tribute to former Congressman, Oakland Mayor, Berkeley Councilmember and lobbyist Ron Dellums, who has died at the age of 82.

Dellums was elected to the House of Representatives in 1970 and served for 27 years before retiring on Feb. 6, 1998, during the middle of his last term. 

Dellums endorsed Barbara Lee, who was elected in a special election in 1998 to fill the rest of his term and still represents the East Bay district that Dellums served. 

Dellums then worked as a lobbyist for nearly a decade before being elected as Oakland's mayor in 2006 and serving one term from 2007 through 2011. 

"The contributions that Congressman Dellums made to our East Bay community, the nation, and the world are too innumerable to count," Lee, D-Oakland, said in a statement. 

"I feel blessed to have called Congressman Dellums my dear friend, predecessor, and mentor. I will miss him tremendously, and I will hold dear to my heart the many lessons I learned from this great public servant," Lee said. 

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Dellums' death means that "the city of Oakland and our country lost a true American hero." 

Schaaf said, "Ron Dellums governed from a place of morality and compassion and his political activism shed light on injustices within our country and all over the world." 

She said, "His progressive values set the bedrock for Oakland values and his life of public service will continue to inspire all of us to fight for a more just and equitable society." 

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, said Dellums "faithfully served Oakland and his community throughout his life." 

Former President Bill Clinton, who appeared with Dellums at an event in Oakland shortly before he was re-elected president in November 1996, said, "Ron Dellums was intense and intelligent, fearless and philosophical." 

Clinton said Dellums "spoke truth to power and appealed to America's conscience in championing those who were left out and left behind, whether in the East Bay, across the nation, or around the world."

Upward Migration

Jagjit Singh
Monday July 30, 2018 - 02:06:00 PM

The court-imposed deadline of reuniting all migrant children with their parents has passed with 711 children remaining separated. More than 400 parents of these children have already been deported. It’s hard to imagine a more sadistic policy separating extremely vulnerable children from their parents. I wonder how Republicans will explain their silence in the wake of these grotesque lapses of morality and basic decency to their children and grandchildren.  

Perhaps, a larger question to ask is why migrants are desperately fleeing from the Northern Triangle countries—Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador? According to the renowned historian Noam Chomsky, the upward migration is a direct impact of decades of gross interference by the US which helped to destabilize these countries. For example, back in 1954, the US sponsored a military coup in Guatemala overthrowing a reformist elected government plunging the country into spasms of violence. Hundreds of thousands were killed and many tortured. Genocide took place in the Mayan areas by General Ríos Montt described by President Reagan as “a stellar of democracy, a really good guy.” In El Salvador, about 70,000 people were killed during the 1980s, by security forces, armed and trained by the United States.  

In Honduras, the refugee flow started to peak after a military coup overthrew the democratically elected Zelaya government, condemned by the entire hemisphere and the world with the exception of President Obama. Hillary Clinton refused to designate it a military coup, because that would have meant terminating military aid to the junta, which the U.S. continues to support. Honduras has now become the homicide capital of the world, and refugees started fleeing after sham elections which were mocked by the whole world with the exception of the US. The exception to this horror story is Costa Rico which resisted US interference. The other country that partially survived is Nicaragua which was assaulted by Reagan’s contras funded by elicit arms sales to Iran (an impeachable offence). In light of the blatant interference in the domestic affairs of these countries, the US has a moral obligation to make amends for past and current misdeeds. For more, go to http://callforsocialjustice.blogspot.com/

Man Jailed for Stabbing at Berkeley Park

Sam Richards (BCN)
Monday July 30, 2018 - 11:45:00 AM

A 19-year-old man was hospitalized Sunday night with stab wounds to the torso and a 22-year-old man is in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin following a fight at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on Sunday, Berkeley police said. 

It wasn't certain what triggered the stabbing that left the younger man being treated at Highland Hospital in Oakland, said Berkeley police Lt. Dave Lindenau. 

The call came in to police at 6:50 p.m. Sunday. Civic Center Park is close to the main police station, Lindenau said, "So a lot of police like me just walked out and started going over there." 

Officers saw the 22-year-old man running west from the park along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and captured him a short time later. 

The victim was found lying in the Civic Center parking lot. Lindenau said he is expected to survive, but was unable to provide much information to police Sunday night. 

The suspect was arrested and charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon - a knife that was found near the scene. His name was not released.

Berkeley Woman Found Dead at Dublin BART Shortly After Release from Santa Rita Jail

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Monday July 30, 2018 - 03:22:00 PM

A woman who was found dead at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station on Saturday morning shortly after she was released from Santa Rita Jail was identified by the Alameda County coroner's bureau today as 26-year-old Jessica St. Louis of Berkeley 

St. Louis' body was discovered near the passenger pick-up/drop-off area at the station at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday, according to BART officials. 

BART officials had said on Saturday that she had a bump on her head and investigators were trying to determine whether she had it when she was released from the jail. 

Alameda County sheriff's officials said today that a medical exam of St. Louis showed no signs of homicide or assault and they suspect that she died from a drug overdose. 

The results of a toxicology report are still pending, according to the sheriff's office.

Fantasy Studios in Berkeley Will Close September 15

Sam Richards (BCN)
Monday July 30, 2018 - 11:49:00 AM

Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, perhaps best known as where the El Cerrito band Creedence Clearwater Revival made music in the early 1970s, is set to close in September. 

An email sent out Friday, signed by seven Fantasy employees, said the building hosting the studios is being sold, and that Fantasy's run that started in 1949 will end with the sale. Its last day in business will be Sept. 15. 

Many musicians - a stylistically varied group, ranging from CCR to Journey and Santana to Tony Bennett, Counting Crows and Green Day -- made recordings there. Fantasy was first a mostly comedy label, and later primarily a jazz label before CCR released its first album on Fantasy Records in 1968. 

According to a biography on Fantasy's website, it was CCR's huge success that allowed Fantasy to build its Berkeley studio in 1971. Before that, it had operated out of a building at 30th and Peralta Streets in Oakland. 

Fantasy Studios is also a well-known post-production center for movies, TV and video. "Toy Story," "Good Will Hunting," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Psycho" were among the movies to have some production work done at Fantasy.

Want a "Green" City? First, Let's Cut Down the Trees and Destroy Plantings...

Steven Finacom
Saturday July 28, 2018 - 01:17:00 PM

The City of Berkeley's Public Works Department has released a sudden edict stating that all trees in traffic circles in Berkeley will be cut down, the circles will be denuded of most existing plantings, and the City will "take over maintenance", banning the volunteers who have maintained many of the circle plantings at their own expense for years or decades. The only plants allowed will be from a very short list prepared years ago by CalTrans for freeways.

Apparently the tree cutting will happen "within the month". Neighbors are already organizing to stop this, save the mature trees in several of the circles (including California buckeyes and Coastal Live Oaks) and get the policy revised to something more sensible, that will also keep the volunteer component and not unnecessarily add tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the City's maintenance budget.

Check back here for more details on Sunday or Monday. We'll have a more complete report. A key moment will be at the Council meeting on Tuesday, July 31.

Shopping While Black: Still Dangerous

Carole Davis Kennerly, MSW/LCSW, Vice Mayor, Berkeley, Ca. (retired)
Saturday July 28, 2018 - 11:30:00 AM

A story in the newsletter NewsOne entitled "This Too?! Police Called on Black family for Trying on Clothes in the Store" rang a bell with me. Reportedly, this incident happened in the Bay Area. Something similar happened to me in downtown Berkeley at the large department store called Hinks. That was in the late 1960's. I had only recently moved to Berkeley and did not yet know the unwritten color codes AKA Jim Crow laws in Berkeley. While perusing women's hats, a firm voice from a determined Hinks employee sternly advised me that I could not try on a hat. I could purchase a hat but if I did try one on I would be forced to purchase it. The clear implication was if I violated the code, the police would be called. The Hinks employee stood close to me, kept her eye on me to make sure I adhered to the "Color Code". 

Not having been confronted with this directly before, I momentarily thought it was a store-wide policy for all customers. However, a quick glance at the other (white) shoppers plus my verbal clarification with the Hinks Store employee, made it clear the policy applied only to me and by implication to other African American customers. So, to see that this racism is still going on as per the story in this newsletter; reminds me how dangerous the times still are. It is also a reminder of the PTSD suffered by Blacks/communities of color and why racism is increasingly seen as a public health risk. Talking about stress and its direct relationship to chronic illnesses!
Thanks to the Berkeley/Bay Area citizens who later demonstrated and protested Hinks' policies directed toward Blacks and by implication others of color--changes were made. The protesters were from all walks of life and backgrounds. However, I do remember the late Honorable Maudelle Shirek who was one of those determined protesters. She later ran for Berkeley City Council and was the first Black to serve under the new system of District elections in 1986. She served as Councilmember and Vice Mayor for 20 years. We became friends and allies on various issues of the day. She was elected after I retired from the City Council and she became the second African American woman to serve Berkeley as Vice Mayor. I was the first.
History/Her-story is repeating itself.
As Maudelle would frequently say, "the struggle continues"....May she rest in Peace........

Janet Power Bonaparte

​ Robert E.L. Bonaparte
Wednesday August 01, 2018 - 11:22:00 AM

Janet Power Bonaparte, age 91, died peacefully surrounded by family on July 22, 2018, at her home on Lummi Island, Washington following a recent diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia. 

Janet’s great grandfather Michael Power left Waterford County, Ireland in 1848 for the California gold rush, and founded the Hidden Treasure Gold Mine near Auburn, California. Her grandfather Harold Power served as a California state senator. Her father Edward James Power was a founder of the University of California at Irvine. Her mother Ruth Janet Visel was one of the early graduates of Stanford University. 

Janet followed in the footsteps of her accomplished Power ancestors. She was a sailing champion in her youth in Newport Beach, California, and raced with future America’s Cup winner Bill Ficker. She became the first woman to win Southern California’s Flight of the Snowbirds, and her photograph with Humphrey Bogart was plastered in the newspapers. Janet graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA degree in Political Science and was a member of the Prytanean Honor Society. Before attending UC Berkeley she graduated from the Anoakia boarding school in Arcadia, California. She earned her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Portland, and served as the circulation librarian at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. 

Janet met her fiancé on a ship to Europe, when both were leaders of student groups volunteering to rebuild democratic institutions in Europe after WWII. After an entirely epistolary courtship, on July 8, 1950, she married Robert Lee Bonaparte, a forest products executive who became vice president of Boise Cascade Corporation. The family lived in Palo Alto, California, Vancouver, BC, San Marino, CA, Boise, ID, and Portland, OR. 

Janet, along with her husband Robert, and Jack and Jamie Davies, co-founded Schramsberg Vineyards in the mid-1960s in Calistoga, California, and was a lifetime ambassador for California sparkling wine. 

Janet moved to Lummi Island in the early 1980s, and created a family refuge overlooking Bellingham Bay and Mount Baker. She was a lifelong environmentalist both in word and deed. Along with family and friends, she helped spearhead a successful campaign to acquire the recently abandoned quarry near Abner Point on Lummi Island and to preserve the land for public use following restoration. Part of the property will forever be known as Bing’s Beach, using the affectionate name she was called by her nine grandchildren. 

Janet resisted the temptation to settle into familiar rhythms when she moved to Lummi Island for her next chapter. Her curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit accelerated as she joined writing groups, and created and sold a myriad of island-themed designs. She was an avid fly fisher, and admirers exclaimed that “fish trembled at the sound of her name.” 

Janet’s circle of friends and admirers bridged several generations. Her youthful enthusiasm was a beacon for all who loved the way she embraced the best that life had to offer. 

Janet and her husband had four children. Renee Erickson (Rolf), age 64, of Fairfield, IA; Robert Bonaparte (Nell), age 62, of Portland, OR; Anne Bonaparte (Judd Williams) age 60, of Mill Valley, CA; and Ruth Mohanram (Narayan) age 57 of Sunnyvale, CA. Janet was a proud grandmother of nine grandchildren, each of whom visited Lummi Island alone for a week at the age of six. Bobby, age 31 of Portland, OR; Ian, age 28, of New York, NY; Lucy, age 28, of Pittsburgh, PA; Josephine, age 26 of Berkeley, CA; Margaret, age 26 of San Francisco, CA; Scott, age 26 of Honolulu, HI; Angele, age 24 of Denver, CO; James, age 23 of Portland, OR; and Kevin, age 22, of Houston, TX. Janet was a delighted great grandmother of Darius Woika of Pittsburgh, PA. 

Janet’s family is appreciative of all of her friends who embraced her with their love and who made time to say thank you and good bye to Janet. A life well lived. 

Remembrances may be made to Lummi Island Heritage Trust, PO Box 158, Lummi Island, WA 98262. 

The family anticipates arranging a celebration of life in the fall. 

Remembering Ron Dellums

Carole Davis Kennerly, MSW/LCSW, Vice Mayor, Berkeley, Ca. (retired)
Tuesday July 31, 2018 - 04:10:00 PM

Ron Dellums was a force to be reckoned with. He was always engaged with, listening to and heard the people. And, as a leader always willing to help form consensus. Highlights over the span of his life and career indicates his involvement with the community he loved and served. He held a masters degree in social work, Howard University School of Social Work lecturer, Berkeley city Council-member, Oakland Mayor, member of Congress and lobbyist. Dellums was the first African American elected to Congress from Northern California. He served 13 terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971 to 1998. He was the second Black elected to the Berkeley City Council in 1967. After my historic election as Berkeley's first African American woman elected to the City Council in 1975, Congressman Dellums was very helpful in my orientation and learning the "ropes". He understood what it meant to be the "first" as an elected official. He reached out to me which I will always appreciate. The Dellums staff arranged and Mr. Dellums personally conducted my Washington DC political orientation tour as a locally elected official. During my political career, I was able to put to good use the persons and information to which I was introduced. The Dellums local staff and volunteers were always supportive and helpful to me as Council member and Vice Mayor. Ron Dellums was fearless, committed, always speaking truth to power. May he rest in peace; his legacy will live on. My condolences to the Dellums family, his loved ones and friends.

Ron Dellums, My Friend and Mentor

Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Tuesday July 31, 2018 - 04:15:00 PM

I was lucky to call Congressman Ron Dellums not just my predecessor, but also my mentor and dear friend. Today, I share my deepest condolences with his family and remember the impactful legacy he left behind. 

Congressman Dellums was the father of coalition politics. He co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus, advocating for social and economic justice for his community and communities across the country. 

His principles and values were evident in not just his policies, but also his actions. He was proud to be a feminist, way ahead of his time, ardently supporting women’s rights before it was the norm. His anti-apartheid work, anti-war efforts, civil rights advocacy and historic chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee improved countless lives. 

He was a social worker, which was evident in the way he tackled challenges and fought for the most vulnerable among us. Congressman Dellums always said that when constituents came to his office asking for help, we must ask ourselves “Is this the right thing to do?” He said if the answer is yes, you help that person. No doubt about it. 

Simply put, Congressman Dellums was a progressive warrior. A caring, courageous, and bold leader who gave it his all to truly represent and help the people of East Bay while fighting for peace and justice not just throughout the country but across the world. His legacy lives on in our hearts and in the lives he’s changed, forever.

On the Passing of Former Oakland Mayor and Congressman Ron Dellums

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond
Tuesday July 31, 2018 - 04:13:00 PM

"It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of former Oakland Mayor and U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to learn from him and discuss our shared experiences as social workers before entering politics. He was a trailblazer who committed his life to peace as well as economic and social justice. His renowned strength and advocacy for disadvantaged communities inspired me and other African-American politicians to run for office. 

Ron Dellums dedicated his life to public service and we in the East Bay were very fortunate to have him represent us both locally and in Washington DC. My condolences are with the Dellums family and friends during this difficult time."

Statement on Ron Dellums's Passing

Jovanka Beckles,Richmond City Coumcil
Tuesday July 31, 2018 - 04:11:00 PM

We mourn the passing of brother Ron Dellums, a pioneer in African American progressive representation for the East Bay, a civil rights leader for the nation, a statesman in opposing apartheid, a leader in the Democratic Socialists of America. Starting as a Berkeley City Councilman, he rose to eloquent representation of all Americans and devotedly served Oakland and the East Bay.  

He was a guiding star in fighting for human dignity, peace, and equality. 

We honor his memory.

New: A Critique and Evaluation of the CPE Police Report, Part 3

Steve Martinot
Monday July 23, 2018 - 12:09:00 PM

In evaluating this report on Berkeley Police racial profiling, we have examined in Part 1 some of the failures of inclusion in the data that would have produced a clearer picture, and in Part 2, some of the implications of the actual racial disparities in the practices of the BPD. Not only were those disparities gross, but they raised certain questions about the “recognition factors” with respect to drivers that the police use which have resulted, whether intentionally or not, in significant differences in which racial groups get attention in traffic stops. Part 1 is to be found here . Part 2 is to be found here.


On black people being singled out

There is another statistic given in the report that suggests a different view of race itself, and in which this “recognition factor” lurks.

The CPE report has been successful in providing evidence that there is significant racial bias and inequity in police practices and behavior. The equality of stops across three populations of vastly different sizes (approximately 13,500 of each) testifies to a huge disparaty in police practices. If, as the CPE researchers say, Berkeley PD has a much better record than most other cities they have studied, it implies that those other cities must have fallen on truly apartheid conditions. The problem that emerges in terms of this "equality" of three groups of traffic stops is how the police are able to pick out black people for traffic stops at a rate far beyond the black fraction of the population. We have concluded that there is a search involved, but it must also be associated with a focused recognition factor. 

Inside the recognition factor

To begin with, let us make note of a graph in the report whose title is “Percentage of Stops Resulting in an Arrest, by Driver’s Race, 2012-2016.” (fig 7, p.25) This graph has already generated some questions here as to why an infraction might result in more than just a ticket? 

For Asians, almost 3% of stops result in arrest. For black drivers, 1.9% result in an arrest. For Latino drivers, 2.1%. For whites, 1.2%. These are small numbers. But as a percentage of all the stops over a 5 year period for each racial group, the number is far from trivial. For whites, it amounts to 160 arrests over the 5 year period (from a population of around 65,000). For black people, the number is 260 (from a population of 9,500). For Latinos, it comes to 106 (pop. 13,000). Once again, black people are bearing the brunt. As figures, they don’t particularly stand out from the others. Another graph shows the percentage of traffic stops that result in a search. For whites, that comes to 5.3%, for Black drivers, it is 20.2%, and for Latino drivers it is 15.1%. Again, these figures affirm what we have encountered, that black people are subjected to inordinate demands by the police, beyond what their population would warrant. 

Since the arrest numbers over a five year period are small, it raises the question, why couldn’t the nature of the arrests be specified in the data given the CPE? Could there have been something in that list that might have been incriminating, such as those video-ed acts of officers pulling drivers out of their cars and throwing them to the ground? Is that far-fetched? 

But let us turn to the companion graph entitled “Percentages of stops resulting in a citation without an arrest by driver race, 2012-2016” (Fig 6, p. 24). And this one seems to break the pattern. 

While 46% of white stops resulted in a citation, the number of black stops that resulted in a citation was only 24%. Presumably, if a traffic stop did not result in a citation (nor in an arrest), then the driver was simply told to travel on. For white drivers, this apparently happened 54% of the time, while for black drivers, it happened 76% percent of the time. Given the total number of stops of drivers from each of these two groups (which are essential equal in total number of stops), white drivers appear to have been ticketed at twice the rate of black drivers. 

But we are left with the fact that three quarters of the time, black drivers were stopped and then not cited for anything. Given the high degree of attention paid to black drivers by the BPD, what does this low citation rate mean? It does not relate to group population size, nor to the percentage of black stops. It simply states there was no good reason for the traffic stop. One can say the same for white stops. Half the time, when they are stopped, no reason is found for a citation. 

Let us use this fact of white stops as a norm. Inventing a measure based on white experience as a norm for other races is clearly a mistake. But in this case, it will be useful as a way of measuring what happens to black drivers. What the white case provides, as a norm, is one in which roughly 50% of the stops result in no citation (or arrest). That is what happens to white drivers. Let us apply it to black drivers. If 24% of their stops result in citations, then it would be "normal" that 24% of the time no citation would be issued (in equivalence with white citation rates). But that leaves 52% of the black stops for which there was no reason at all, except the desire to stop a black driver. That implies that 52% of the black stops were purely gratuitous. 

To stop a driver is to inconvenience them, and to subject them to an unexpected break in their daily routine or social plans (although in some cases maybe not so unexpected). It is to take an active stance toward (against) the person the officer has noticed (regardless of the reason). To act against a person for no reason is to harass. In its gratuitousness, it is similar to stalking or bullying. It is to do something to another person without the other having had any participation in bringing it about. To render another an object in that sense is to assume a lesser social status for them. And concomitantly, it is to assume an entitlement on the part of the stalker or harassing person. Or rather, to aggress actively out of a sense of entitlement is to produce that lesser social status. The call for equity by social justice movements is a call for undoing the inequity that such procedures (of harassment) produce. 

We can define a “harassment quotient” for each racial group, namely, the degree to which gratuitous action is taken against them. The harassment quotient for black people in Berkeley (with respect to traffic stops) would be 52 (representing the 52% of gratuitous stops beyond the "norm"). Since Asians and Others were cited in 40% of their traffic stops, their harassment quotient is 20 (representing the excess over twice their citation rate). For Latinos, cited 33% of the time, the harassment quotient is 34. These are liberal estimates, because we are using police behavior toward white people as a standard. But they provide a kind of ball park figure by which to measure the harassment that people of color experience when driving. 

This notion of a harassment quotient (HQ) is further affirmed in the graph on the percentage of stops resulting in searches (Fig 8). Black people are searched 4 times more often than white drivers when stopped. To harass signifies a deep-seated desire to harass. This is not just racial profiling. It is part of a structure of harassment, which is both intentional and desired by the police. 



Racial profiling is harassment, but only a single dimension of it. Though spoken in a sardonic tone, “driving while black” is essentially a euphemism for harassment. It represents a procedure involving singling out certain people for harassment, which means to adopt an active stance toward (against) their existence, and for no other reason. 

It is black existence that is the core of the "recognition factor" with respect to black people, that singles them out from an environment of other people of color. In effect, it is not just color to which the police are responding. We are not just dealing with prejudice here, though that is part of the driving force of harassment. Black people are being "recognized" for their existence as African Americans, at a different rate and for a different purpose than other people of color. And the degree to which this is the case, given the small size of the black population in Berkeley, implies that there is a policy dimension to police harassment practices. Unfortunately, the CPE researchers had to assume implicitly that this could not have been the case. 

Harassment is not a goal in itself for the one who harasses. Harassment is a result of a desire to actively aggress. As an element of policy, it exists as both an individual desire and an institutional desire. As an institutional desire, it indicates pre-meditation, a pre-meditated desire to aggress, for which the harassment of its target is the result. As pre-meditated, each act of harassment by a police officer is a criminal act. And so is every act of racial profiling, as a dimension of harassment. 

Fifty years after Jim Crow was torn down, and the type of behavior that made Jim Crow work had been declared illegal, we are still only doing studies. Studies may be necessary, but there is also an element of deferral inherent in their nature. It focuses on an unspecified future for what should have been resolved in the past. 

When the police look for black drivers to stop, it is to act toward them in a way that, as an act of harassment, will reduce them to lesser social status. People have a lesser social statuts (are de-privileged) only to the extent they are actively subjected to a reduction in social status by others. It is not inborn. It is produced by those who have the power to produce it. 

If race is one of the concepts under which entire groups of people are subjected to lesser social status, then "race" is produced by that process of reduction. That is, it is the result of a process of racialization. All racialization signifies the production of “lesser social status” because it generalizes, and thus reduces individuals to de-individualized state. This is true even when the generalization is intended to be complimentary. In the US, the real political conflict is not between racists and anti-racists; it is between the racializers and the racialized. Racialization is more than "racism." It is a deeper social process than that. 

In harassing black drivers, and thus black people, as a gratuitous activity, the police are playing a role as racializers through their harassment. Police harassment of black people establishes the police as agents of that process of racialization. When white people act in a similar way toward black people, we have to recognize that they do it fundamentally as their way of being white. After the civil rights movements, it is primarily the police who have been able to do that because black people are unable by law to respond, to defend themselves, to equalize, or to object or refuse. To do so, it has been shown, can get one dragged out of one’s car. 

Let us sum this up. "Race" is something that one group of people does to others. White people are not born white; they are made white by white supremacist society. Black people are not born black; they are made black by white supremacist society. In other words, "race" is not a noun. It is not something inherent in people. It is verb. The verb is “to racialize.” It is something that white people do to others, making "others" “non-white” in order to be "white" as not-them. Race is not only a verb, it is in all aspects relational. 

One component of this process of reduction of "others" to lesser social or cultural status is to see them as threats in order to exercise gratuitous hostility and harassment against them – often covered up by patronizing and objectifying attitudes. One becomes white then by adopting a self-defensive posture. 

If "race" is a verb, then in the US it is white people who occupy the subject position of that verb, thrusting those they racialize into the object position of the verb. It is through inhabiting that subject position that white people obtain their sense of entitlement over POC. And it is on this basis that true subjectivity and autonomy, when encountered in the behavior of a person of color, is punished in the US. We have seen the suppression of the Panthers, the bombing of the MOVE organization, and the continuance of racial profiling by the police, as elements of this rejection of the other’s autonomy and subnectivity. When Breaion King or Rebecca Musarra were dragged out of their cars for speaking or not speaking, they were being assaulted for their sense of autonomy and subjectivity. 

We know the struggle against racial profiling is a political struggle. It means that we are up against an organized political interest and a political project. It is in those terms that the federalization of urban policing extends beyond the reach of mere reform. 

There is a difference between accepting remnants of the old Jim Crow structure that continue to lurk in US institutions, and the idea that government agencies have decided to build a new one. It marks the difference between completing a process of rectification through reform and sensitivity training, and a future-oriented intentional sense of purpose whose goal will mock all such training and reform. 

Racialization is not "racism." "Racism" as such may be the socio-pragmatic appearance that racialization takes, but it is a result of the racialization process, not a cause. It is not just that the police are racist. They are an active part of societal machinery that produces "race" through its processes of racialization. And in functioning as part of that societal machinery, the police (and white people to the extent they do) racialize themselves as white. 


Berkeley Shooting Injures One

Bay City News
Sunday July 22, 2018 - 10:43:00 AM

At least one person was injured following a shooting in Berkeley early this morning, according to police. 

Berkeley police said gunshots were first heard by officers in the area of 1000 block of Delaware Street around 1:20 a.m. today. Soon after, calls from residents also reported the shooting. 

According to Berkeley police Sgt. Chris Bonaventure, the victim suffered injuries not considered life-threatening and was transported to a hospital for treatment of what appears to be a gunshot wound to their toe. 

The bullets from the shooting also struck two homes, Bonaventure said. 

The shooting is under investigation. Police didn't name any suspects.



Berkeley Councilmembers Cave on Urban Shield after SWAT Team Threats

Becky O'Malley
Saturday July 28, 2018 - 11:50:00 AM

Watching Monday’s special meeting of the Berkeley City Council was dispiriting, to say the least. All I could think, seeing the tortured rationale that the majority of councilmembers used to justify caving in to the Berkeley Police Department’s embarrassing display of blatant blackmail, was “What chumps!”.

For a good conventional news report of what went down on Monday, start by reading this accurate account from the East Bay Times:

Berkeley to stay in controversial Urban Shield, By Ali Tadayon

The reporter captured the essential points of what I saw played out at excruciating length by waffling councilmembers pretending they weren’t being hijacked.

Urban Shield is a glorified trade show, folks, the expensive high-tech version of those notorious gun shows so deplored by Berkeleyans of almost all stripes. 

True, it’s financed by the Department of Homeland Security. That’s not a plus, is it? That’s the same department that has managed to mislay the parents of several thousand migrant kids. Doufless at best, criminal at worst. And the icing on the poison cake is that they’re cooperating with ICE. 

Well, then, it’s run by the Alameda County Sheriff’s office. Again, not a plus. 

Here’s a rundown on what the electeds in the county think of how the Sheriff’s been running the event: 

Alameda County Supervisors Vote to End Urban Shield as 'Currently Constituted' by Darwin BondGraham. 

If the supervisors, some of whom come from places more conservative than Berkeley, are down on Urban Shield, why does Berkeley lag behind? 

Ali Tadayon’s story picked up what I thought was the most depressing aspect of the whole dreary discussion: one councilmember’s dismissal of the effect of pulling out of Urban Shield as “symbolic”. 

Of course it’s symbolic! And what exactly is wrong with that? Here we are in the home of one of the world’s great universities, of which said councilmember and several of her colleagues are graduates, and they don’t understand the virtue and power of symbolic gestures. When I was at UCB more than a half century ago, symbolism was a big-time topic, but perhaps times have changed, and students study marketing instead. 

Let me spell it out for you. 

In the long line of public commenters on Monday were several of the most articulate spokespeople for Berkeley’s diminishing African-American community. There was at least one self-identified Muslim. There were resolute civil libertarians, and other highly visible neighborhood progressive activists. 

All of them deserve to get at least one symbolic bone from the “newly progressive” Berkeley City Coumcil, in a society where the constituencies they represent are under constant attack in matters small and large. 

That very same day, as it happens, I heard that a visitor to the Bay Area, a family friend, a well-brought-up young woman with impeccable demeanor, was pulled off BART by hostile enforcers who accused her of not having bought a ticket, which of course she had. Oh, did I mention that she’s Black? 

And then I got an email from a contemporary, a distinguished woman who’s a former vice-mayor of Berkeley, connecting a current Bay Area incident with something that happened to her years ago, topic Shopping While Black. Times change, but not that much. 

You may say that neither of these incidents touches on Urban Shield, but they both do, because they’re all about suspicion: who’s suspected of what, and why. And also, how are police supposed to deal with situations where suspicion translates into action, as for example the recent killing of a Trader Joe’s employee in LA by police chasing a suspect? 

After my UCB education in the power of symbolism I got in-the-field training in the role of marketing as an executive in the family tech enterprise. That’s what makes it possible for me to see that Urban Shield is nothing more than a trade show for pre-conceived technical solutions in search of profitable “problems”. 

When I was in business, I used to say, not always with anyone listening, let’s define problems before we suggest solutions. That’s the Urban Shield vendors in a nutshell, prepackaged solutions which actually create problems. 

I stood in my company’s booth at trade show after trade show: Comdex, the Consumer Electronics Show, the Hanover Fair in Germany, the one in Manhattan for phone technology and many more, and saw innumerable technical fixes that were totally unneeded pushed by inept companies that eventually vanished. I see the same pattern in the vendor-run Urban Shield enterprise, spiced up by games masquerading as adrenaline-fueled training exercises. If it weren’t sexist, I’d say that boys just love to have toys, but some women have caught the bug too. 

What actually pays off is the skill of talking down a tense situation: patience, tenacity, persuasion—virtues traditionally attributed to women, but also available for men. 

Berkeley police have done pretty well recently with this stuff. I went into the thick of things when the white supremacists were in town, and was impressed to see how well the men and women of the BPD were able to do nothing when that was the best response. Nothing that Urban Shield offers would help them keep up this good work. 

On the other hand, we should all be ashamed of the report that some members of the BPD’s swat team hijacked the votes of Mayor Arreguin and his colleagues by threatening to quit. I believe that’s called the “I’ll Take My Marbles and Go Home” strategy, unbecoming in a third grader and inexcusable in grown men. Whoever these childish fellows are (sorry, I’d be surprised to hear women were involved) Berkeley really doesn’t need them on our swat team, and in fact shouldn’t trust them there. 

Almost every day, right here in Berkeley, I hear stories from African-American friends and family members of encounters with hostile, self-important members of the law enforcement profession. Symbolism isn’t nearly as good as action, but it’s much better than doing nothing. 

The Berkeley City Council should have used this opportunity to reinforce the idea that police officers should be, first and foremost, peace-keepers, experts above all in the power of persuasion. The two African-American councilmembers got it, as did Kate Harrison and Kriss Worthington. As for the rest of them, Monday’s vote represents a colossal failure of nerve. Several of them should know better. 




Who's This "We", White Woman?

Becky O'Malley
Monday July 23, 2018 - 12:21:00 PM

Well, the political season has started in earnest now. An outraged citizen just forwarded to me a letter signed only “Buffy”. Here’s how it starts:

I’m incredibly proud to announce my endorsement of R*** K***for Berkeley’s City Council District 1. R** brings exactly the kind of progressive and practical leadership we need on City Council.”

Say what? Who’s this we, White Woman?

The fair Buffy is the very exemplar of chutzpah: a recent buyer of a $2 million house in Oakland’s Rockridge daring to tell us strong-minded Berkeleyans what “we need” on our own city council.

As the lynch-pin of the Stop Bernie campaign in the 2016 California Democratic primary, she has some nerve(and I say that as one of the minority of Berkeleyans who did vote for Clinton.)

We don’t do things that way around here.

Just this week, most of the several credible candidates for the AD15 State Legislature seat that Buffy's been trying to buy her way into announced their support for her opponent, Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles: 

  • Dan Kalb, an Oakland councilmember who got almost as many votes as Jovanka, has strong environmental expertise and was endorsed by the Sierra Club.
  • Judy Appel (whose roots in Berkeley go way back) has concentrated on education as a Berkeley School Board member, was endorsed by the teachers’ union, and has effectively critiqued Wicks’ ties to wealthy charter school proponents. She won the support of many old-line Berkeleyans.
  • El Cerrito Vice-Mayor Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, a nurse endorsed by the nurses’ union, has also endorsed Jovanka,.as did her powerful union.
Beckles, Kalb, Appel, and Pardue-Okimoto all together received 60,157 votes in the primary, as compared to Ms. Wicks total of only 37,141. 

Another candidate, East Bay MUD Commissioner and attorney Andy Katz, another Sierra Club environmental activist, came out unequivocally, as did Beckles, against the ongoing attempt by some developer-funded Democratic state legislators to pre-empt local control of land use, as exemplified by bills sponsored by Senators Scott Wiener and Nancy Skinner such as the much-reviled SB827. 

Wicks, on the other hand, has whole-heartedly joined the pro-developer team and taken their money, so it was very unlikely that Katz would endorse her. 

I talked to Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett, who hadn’t announced an endorsement at the time this was written, at a South Berkeley block party on Saturday, and he strongly hinted that he was leaning Beckles' way. As a fellow African American in the June race, it would be very surprising if he did not jump on the Beckles band wagon.  

In an ideal world, Jovanka Beckles would enthusiastically invite all of these well-qualified progressive former rivals to advise her campaign and form a sort of “kitchen cabinet” if she wins. As a start, I saw her posing for a photo op with Andy Katz at the Berkeley Progressive Alliance campaign kickoff in Berkeley yesterday. 

Even better, legislative aides in Sacramento have traditionally been very powerful and important, and it would be to her great advantage (and to ours as constituents) if Jovanka could persuade one or more of these excellent people to join her staff. 

The national political situation is so dire that it’s hard to focus on state and local politics, I know. 

California is so much better in every way than Rest of Nation that we are tempted to become complacent, but national problems have a way of trickling down to the local level. 

When the DNC’s troglodytic establishment inserts their operative Buffy Wicks into our local race for the state legislature, and when she in turn attempts to control Berkeley City Council choices , we’ve got problems right here in River City.  

There are already at least two good candidates with a wealth of Berkeley experience vying to succeed Linda Maio in District 1, and there’s no earthly reason for an Oakland Rockridge resident to jump into the fray. 

Is she the vanguard of a Democratic machine takeover of the Berkeley City Council? Will her endorsements in our other November Berkeley council races be forthcoming? 

More on this later. 









The Editor's Back Fence

Updated: Why is the City of Berkeley Going After Our Traffic Cirles?

Becky O'Malley
Tuesday July 31, 2018 - 10:45:00 AM

What's up with the city plan to destroy the volunteer gardens in the traffic circles, about which the Planet has received a lot of mail? Incumbent Councilmember Lori Droste told one inquiring resident: "...we had a closed session on this particular issue last week. We have been advised by our legal counsel that if any injuries occur at traffic circles, the City is liable. For that reason, the City has decided to take responsibility for maintenance in the circles."

This new policy recommendation from city staff is rumored to have been based on a judgment against the City of Berkeley in a 2016 lawsuit by a pedestrian who was hit by a car in an intersection with a traffic circle. However sources close to the decision tell me that Ms. Droste's characterization of the judgment is inaccurate. The suit did not result in any requirement for all traffic circles. It appears that the new plan results from staff's overactive risk aversion reflexes, an excessive abundance of caution to solve a problem which doesn't need such an extreme solution.

There's no reason for them to panic. Simple data-driven safety standards for design of circles and occasional inspection should be more than enough to prevent future liability.


The editor’s brief piece on the traffic circles seems to assume a “judgement” has been rendered in the suit against the city (and the driver of the car that hit a pedestrian), but that’s not the case. The city has decided to settle the case for north of 2 million bucks. But on the substance I agree with the editor 100%: the city’s hasty decision to cut down all the trees is ridiculous. If the city’s lawyers told Lori Droste that any accident near a traffic circle would be the city’s fault, the city needs new lawyers. But even the inexperienced crew in the City Atty’s office can’t be that stupid. Lori Droste must be misreporting what they said.

--Ernest Machen

Public Comment

Circles, Trees, and Responding Without Thinking

Kelly Hammargren
Saturday July 28, 2018 - 01:14:00 PM

Once again the City of Berkeley is acting in a knee jerk response, in the absence of public input, neighborhood engagement and thoughtful planning. A letter from Andrew Brozyna, Deputy, Public Works Department (510-981-6496) informs “Neighborhood Representative” that trees in circles will be removed, vegetation lowered to 2 1/2 feet and that any sign will be no higher than 3 1/2 feet. Just for reference the stop sign at my nearest corner is 7 feet 5 inches to “ALL WAY” and 10 feet to the top of “STOP.” 

The City has made some sort of settlement behind closed doors: A settlement which we are not supposed to discover over an incident that we are not supposed to know, but yet as residents of Berkeley we will pay for it through our taxes and we will pay for it through the impact to our neighborhoods. 

The City blanket response ignores the fact that different locations need different solutions and guarantees an unsatisfactory outcome further exacerbated through select recipient notifications.
Email, call and then show up Tuesday, July 31, 6:00 pm, City Hall 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way for the open comment period and inform the City:
  • Sustainable / green cities don’t cut down trees precipitously
    • San Francisco and Seattle both encourage tree planting in circles
  • Neighbors some of whom have worked on the circles for decades are a ready resource
  • Replanting needs to support bees, butterflies, birds not a check list
Public engagement can be messy and frustrating, but that is how we get a City that represents all of us 

Notes from West Virginia; How Many Homeless People Under the Overpass Does It Take to Change a Strategy

Carol Denney
,in WV
Friday July 27, 2018 - 03:55:00 PM

After a week spent playing music with and meeting people from all over the world with a unified voice about the need to work together in this next election I woke up to an email from a respected friend with an invitation to join a third party’s effort to, in my view, keep Trump in office by weakening the Democratic Party with another third party challenge. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. How many homeless people under the overpass does it take to change a strategy.

If the Nader numbers in Florida in 2000 and the nearly perfect 50-50 split in 2016 didn't educate people about the perils of a third party it's clear that even having the planet itself at stake isn't going to matter in the next election to the Green party or the others contacting me. I'm someone who used to be in the Green party until it became clear that the leadership was in complete denial about the math. I’ve been in several parties all of which seemed more concerned about their own purity and identity - and their organization’s longevity - than policy.

I’m passionate about policy. When Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin decides that accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, should be exempt from rent control, I don’t need a political party to slam his desk and tell him he’s an idiot. I can do it myself, and encourage my friends to do the same. And I need a political party in Washington that can get in the game. The Green Party is like a bunch of bridge players at a gun show.

We need every last voter to flip this Congress. California could contribute a lot more to reducing the Republican stronghold by simply registering voters and getting them to vote. If even the registered voters would vote that would be enough to flip several districts. Many other states don't have this kind of margin. But we do, if we can get our heads out of our asses. 

California owes the nation and the world for producing $120 billion dollars in secretive exploitation by Facebook alone, its sudden stock drop being only the tip of an iceberg of looting- not just of our money but our community sense of what it means to even be a friend, let alone what is actually news. Californians often excuse their third party flirtations with the observation that since we’re such a blue, Democratic state that they can afford to subtract themselves from the game without doing any harm. And they’re wrong.

I'm writing from West Virginia where the turnaround and the willingness to unite behind honest policy change without duplicitous slogans ("corporate bribes") is everywhere. About the only thing that can ruin this moment is the Green Party and its cousins’ reductive, repetitive strategic mistake of thinking that basic math is beneath them and forgetting that, as my family would have put it, “you’re only as good as your local.” I got nothing against purity. But elections are not religion, or they shouldn't be. The Green Party is just dumb not to work positively with the Democrats. And that'll be the day. # # #

Agent Orange threatens Iran with all CAPS

Jagjit Singh
Saturday July 28, 2018 - 10:44:00 PM

Iranians must be shaking in their “chappels” after being threatened by “tough guy” Trump. It is the latest distraction and histrionic threats that the world has become all too familiar following the “treasonous” debacle in Helsinki. The wise diplomats in the state department have been sidelined by the broadside Tweets of a deeply insecure POTUS. 

Foreign policy “du jour” is dictated by what nourishes his oversize ego. 

The sordid history of US-UK interference in Iran’s domestic affairs is well documented by historians. Here is a short history. 

In 1913 the British stole Iran’s oil and declared it a vital British asset. Six years later the British looted Iran’s treasury and commandeered its army. During the Second World War, the British diverted food from Iran (and India) to feed its troops leading to widespread famine and disease in both countries. Following the Second World War MI6-CIA orchestrated a covert operation to crush Iran’s burgeoning, nascent democracy under the leadership of Prime Minister Mosaddegh. The British rebranded Iran’s oil as British Petroleum (BP). Mosaddegh was replaced by Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, a US-British puppet, a despot deeply hated by his own people. 

For more, go to ttp://callforsocialjustice.blogspot.com/

Trump’s Trade Wars

Tejinder Uberoi
Saturday July 28, 2018 - 10:43:00 PM

Iowa farmers must be suffering from buyer’s remorse. Trump’s initial foray into launching a trade war has been a big flop. The “man who can do no wrong” rushed to Iowa with a promised bailout of $12 billion to provide emergency relief to farmers caught in the trade crossfire, a problem that he created. If he was so sure of the wisdom of his trade policies he should have persuaded farmers to be patient not bail them out with taxpayer money. 

Senator Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, aptly described President Trump’s $12 billion as “gold crutches.” Stung by Trump’s trade war, our former trading nations are seeking more reliable partners. Canada is negotiating an alliance with China Mexico and the European Union which in turn is enhancing its trade with Japan and Russia. Farmers should remember the old karma adage, “what you sow so shall you reap.”

New: Officers Should Defer to City Council

Thomas Lord
Sunday July 22, 2018 - 12:13:00 PM

Where's my Berkeley cop? The majority of the Subcommittee on NCRIC and Urban Shield has gone to great lengths to craft a report and recommendation that respects the officers of the Berkeley Police Department. Contrary to some accounts, the subcommittee has charted a course that takes very seriously the training needs of the department, including the need to participate in Urban Shield tactical scenario training. Berkeley police officers must now defer to City Council's role in the political reform of Urban Shield. 

Tactical scenario training is important

SRT - the Berkeley Police Department's Special Response Team - is a valuable community asset. Their record shows that they bring life-saving and peace-keeping value to the community. Chief Greenwood has written eloquently of SRT's importance both for the community, and as a career option for officers. 

In Urban Shield Tactical Scenario training, SRT and other City of Berkeley responders have practiced critical skills and learned new ones. Berkeley's reponders have benefited from observation and critique of their performances. Bringing Berkeley-specific training and policy to the competition, Berkeley's team is even prize-winning. 

Chief Greenwood has told us that there is a profound risk that if the City Council orders a one year suspension of Berkeley's participation in the tactical scenario training, the Special Response Team will suffer attrition and possible dissolution. This would be a quite significant loss for the City of Berkeley. 

I acknowledge that there is some risk - nobody has argued that it is a large risk - that not participating in this training in 2018 will decisively harm the team's and department's readiness. This risk is not enough to justify the ultimatum Chief Greenwood, acting as messenger, has conveyed from certain officers. 

The Supplemental majority report of the Berkeley City Council Ad-Hoc Subcommittee on Urban Shield documents many problems with Urban Shield. There is no room here to adequately summarize the extensive report; here are a few highlights: 

The problematic political messaging in some scenarios is well reported. Perhaps less appreciated is how it distracts from training for the kinds of emergencies that are more likely to occur here. The training might be improved by contemplating the tactical problems of post-earthquake mass homelessness and panic rather than, say, the possibility of a Hezbollah invading over the border with Mexico and setting up camp in Northern California (an actual Urban Shield tactical scenario). 

Deeply worrying is that in some instances, tactical scenarios have been designed for product placement sold to the highest bidder from among the trade show vendors. By analogy, how would we feel if medical schools were selling out their curriculum design to the highest bidding pharmaceutical companies? 

For a long litany of reasons like these, the subcommittee majority is recommending that Berkeley withdraw from the tactical exercises in 2018, and review the possibility of participation in 2019. In the meantime, Council would continue to call for significant reforms to Urban Shield's corporatized structure and strangely militarized agenda. 

Berkeley's withdrawal from tactical exercises and the trade show in 2018, should Council enact it, would represent an action taken by one body of elected officials (Council) towards another elected official (the Sheriff). The Urban Shield reforms the subcommittee recommends - some of which the sheriff, under pressure from other sources as well, is already implementing - are part of a political process. Officers of the Berkeley Police Department should not interfere with this political process. 

The path forward

If the subcommittee majority's recommendation is adopted, Berkeley will withdraw from the tactical exercises and trade show in 2018, and review the possibility of rejoining in 2019. 

If certain officers will quit rather than defer to City Council's role as Berkeley's political authority, that is tragic for the City, but it is less tragic than allowing police department employees to dictate what are, ultimately, political and legislative choices.

A Treasonous Performance

Bruce Joffe
Sunday July 22, 2018 - 11:29:00 AM

The President of the United States capitulated beside the Russian president when asked what he said to Putin about Russian interference in our elections. Trump said he believed Putin's denials and blathered irrelevantly on and on about Hillary's email server. He dismissed the deep and detailed evidence compiled by our security agencies - NSA, CIA, FBI - and by the Special Council's investigation, calling them "witch hunts," deferring instead to Putin.  

He publicly called our closest trading partners and military allies "foes" in the presence of a real foe. His wimpy performance is worse than disgusting; it is treasonous. He is weakening our alliances while supporting our adversaries.  

In a democratic nation of law, impeachment is the appropriate remedy.

Israel sinks into an apartheid state

Jagjit Singh
Monday July 23, 2018 - 12:18:00 PM

The sham that Israel is a democracy has once again been exposed with the announcement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel that “his” country’s existence as the “nation-state of the Jewish people.”  

Israel cannot claim to be a nation of the Jewish people and a democracy, - the two are incompatible. A true democracy affords equal rights to ALL its citizens, Christians, Jews and Palestinians. 

What about the rights of the indigenous people, the Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed by the Israeli terror groups Hagana, Irgun and the Stern Gang? This inconvenient truth was confirmed by Israeli Jewish historians Ami Pedahzur, Arie Perliger, and Benny Morris. 

The new law declares “Jewish settlements as a national value” and that the state will “encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation” – code language which will be used to further colonization of Palestinian lands throughout all the territories occupied or controlled by Israel. 

The law’s endorsement of Jewish settlements removes any geographic limits, which means it encourages Israel’s ongoing colonization of the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. 

There are currently more than 65 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens in Israel and Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories. 

Here are a few examples: 

Israel forbids Palestinians from mourning the loss of their country, called the Nakba, when 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homeland.  

The Israeli finance minister reduces funding to any institution that commemorates the Nakba. 

Israel stipulates “Israeli lands” can only be leased or sold to Jews. 93% of the land belongs to the state and Palestinians are virtually locked out of any land purchase. 

Ban on family unification plan prevents family unification when one spouse is an Israeli citizen and the other is a resident of the occupied territories. 

The draconian Absentees' Property Law confiscates the land, homes and personal assets of Palestinian refugees who were driven from their homes in 1950. At the same time, the Law of Return (1950) gave Jews from anywhere in the world the right to automatically become Israeli citizens. 

According to the Interior Ministry. since 1967, nearly 15,000 Palestinians from East Jerusalem have had their residency rights revoked. The remaining Palestinians, can have their residency rights revoked if they leave Jerusalem for an extended period. According to Human Rights Watch revocation of residency rights is a clear violation of International law.

Excerpts from stories in Thursday, July 19, 2018 Daily Californian

Wanda Warkentin
Sunday July 22, 2018 - 10:47:00 AM

Former art museum to be turned into scientific research hub

"The Woo Hon Fai Hall building, previously home to the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, or BAMPFA" (2626 Bancroft Way), "is a city landmark that will be part of a new research center called the BioEnginuity Hub."

......"While the final designs for the building are in development, 40,000 square feet of wet laboratory -- where experiments involving highly dangerous substances can take place -- and office spaces will be available by the time of completion...."

8-story, 122-unit housing complex planned for Bancroft Way (2580 Bancroft Way)

"The planned development, which will be named 'The Standard', will replace several local businesses and will target students who wish to live near campus."

UC wins management contract for Los Alamos laboratory

"The Management and operating contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory was awarded to the UC Board of Regents, the Battelle Memorial Institute and the Texas A&M University Systen last month by the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration......"The UC will take a leading role in the management partnership among the three institutions, which will operate as Triad National Security, LLC or Triad, according to UC President Janet Napolitano"....We have been involved in the management of Los Alamos for 75 years and I am pleased to say that we will continue that involvement," Napolitano said at the Wednesday regents meeting." 


Overturning Roe v. Wade: The Prospects?

Harry Brill
Sunday July 22, 2018 - 10:44:00 AM

Will the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade? Of course the job of the prophet is far more difficult than the job of the historian. So until that decision is made it seems that the majority vote could go either way. For those who support the right of women to have abortions, there are reasons to be both hopeful and worried. Consider the 1973 Supreme Court decision, when the justices approved the right to abortion. Surprisingly, among the seven out of nine justices that voted in favor of abortion, five were Republican appointed justices. Moreover, four of these five justices were conservatives! They did so despite the strong opposition of the Catholic Church. 

The Supreme Court almost twenty years later, in 1992, reconsidered Roe v. Wade. The court voted to reaffirm the right of women to have an abortion. Three of the justices who voted to affirm Roe v. Wade were appointed by Republican presidents. Two of the Justices, who were chosen by Ronald Reagan, had been critical of Roe v. Wade. But it was a close vote of five to four. Actually, the original informal count was five to four to abolish Roe v. Wade. But one of the justices, Anthony Kennedy, got cold feet and changed his mind at the last moment. Although Roe v. Wade was saved by a majority vote the number of judges who voted in 1992 to retain Roe and Wade has declined since 1973 by two votes (from 7 to 5 votes in favor). 

Among the reasons that Roe v. Wade is still alive is that public opinion probably played a role. On many political issues, one sector of the public often benefits at the expense of another sector. However, the right to abortion serves the interests of virtually all members of the public regardless of class, race, and ethnicity. According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly two thirds of Americans want Roe v. Wade to stand. Only thirteen percent of Democrats favor repealing the decision. Also a small percentage of Independents oppose the right to abortion. Although most Republicans support abolishing Roe v. Wade, it is by a very slim majority of fifty-one percent. So even a substantial number of Republicans oppose eliminating the right of women to have an abortion.  

It can be argued that public opinion is irrelevant. After all, since these judges enjoy lifetime appointments, they are politically invulnerable. However, their interests are not only personal. As members of a political party, many are likely to be concerned with the larger political implications of their decisions. Overturning the right to an abortion can adversely impact the Republican Party. Over forty percent of voters claim that they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports abortion services. In other words, the decision of the Supreme Court could have a spillover effect. In particular, a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade could benefit the Democratic Party at the expense of the Republicans. 

But those justices who have a strong ideological position, such as a commitment to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, may not be moved by pragmatic considerations. In fact, President Trump's nominee of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court is a religious Catholic who was schooled by Jesuits. As a D.C. appeals court judge, he was the only justice to vote against allowing a pregnant 17-year-old girl who was here illegally to have an abortion. If his Catholicism will mainly shape how he votes on Roe v. Wade, which seems very likely, shouldn't he recuse himself from voting on this issue? h About how the justices will eventually vote on Roe v. Wade. we have been surprised before and may be surprised again. Admittedly, the control of the Supreme Court by the undemocratic majority makes the task of retaining Roe v. Wade very difficult. Nevertheless, It is immensely important to convey to the Supreme Court that it would be unconscionable and unreasonable for a handful of justices to violate the democratic rights of millions of Americans.


THE PUBLIC EYE:Trump Supporters, Hiding in Plain Sight

Bob Burnett
Friday July 27, 2018 - 12:40:00 PM

In the wake of Donald Trump's disastrous July 16 meeting with Vladimir Putin, many Democrats thought, "At last Republicans will open their eyes and see Trump as a traitor and charlatan." But as the days passed, it became clear that Trump supporters weren't going to let a little thing -- such as collaboration with Russia -- dilute their adoration for the Donald. Republican inflexibility left Democrats scratching their heads, wondering what it will take to shake up the relationship between Trump and his base. The answer is hiding in plain sight. 

After the Putin meeting, and Trump's epic waffle about whether or not the Russians had interfered with the 2016 election, Democrats expected Trump's approval rating to go down. Surprisingly, it hasn't. (https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

The latest Wall Street Journal (http://www.newser.com/story/262328/trumps-approval-among-republicans-is-unusually-high.html ) poll indicates that Republican approval for Trump is at 88 percent. (Meanwhile, among independents, Trump approval declined to 36 percent -- among Democrats it's 8 percent.) While only 53 percent of Republicans approved of his handling of Putin and Russia, the vast majority supports him overall. Why? 

To understand the Republican paradox -- they trust Trump to defend the U.S.A. -- we have to dive deep into GOP Demographics. Pew Research, and other pollsters, tell us that Republicans are overwhelmingly white (non Hispanic), male (although a surprising number are female -- mostly uneducated), rural, and "Christian." 

Last September, the Public Religion Research Institute (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/06/the-stark-racial-and-religious-divide-between-democrats-and-republicans-in-one-chart/?) reported: "Roughly three-quarters (73%) of the Republican Party is white Christian... 35 percent are white evangelical Christians, 18 percent are white members of other Protestant denominations, and 16 percent are white Catholics." 

Gallup says Republicans are 27 percent of the electorate, Democrats are 29 percent, and the remaining 43 percent are (technically) Independents. Other pollsters suggest there are fewer Independents, explaining that many poll respondents don't want to share their Party affiliation with poll takers. Pew Research (http://www.people-press.org/2017/10/24/political-typology-reveals-deep-fissures-on-the-right-and-left/) says that when you include leaners, among registered voters there are 45 percent Republicans and 55 percent Democrats. 

According to Pew, Trump's "base" consists of two groups -- "Core Conservatives" and "Country-First Conservatives" -- that support Donald for slightly different reasons. 

"Core Conservatives" (15 percent of registered voters) are: "about a third (31%) of all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents... This financially comfortable, male-dominated group overwhelmingly supports smaller government, lower corporate tax rates and believes in the fairness of the nation’s economic system." That is to say, Core Conservatives' basic issue is economics. They want lower taxes and fewer regulations; they want to maintain the status quo. 

Core Conservative support Trump because he's giving them what they want. 

In contrast, "Country-First Conservatives" (7 percent of registered voters) are about one-sixth of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents. They are, "... unhappy with the nation’s course, highly critical of immigrants and deeply wary of U.S. global involvement. Nearly two-thirds of Country-First Conservatives (64%)... say that 'if America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation.'" Country-First Conservatives' basic issue is immigration and (behind the curtains) race. They believe that people-of-color threaten their way of life. 

Country-First Conservative support Trump because he's giving them what they want: a commitment to a white Christian nation. 

Pew observed that white evangelical Christians constitute 34 percent of Core Conservatives and 43 percent of Country-First Conservatives -- about 8 percent of of registered voters. (Pew reports that 77 percent of white non-Hispanic evangelical protestant voters identify as Republicans, as do 54 percent of white non-hispanic Catholic voters.) 

Whatever their percentage in the Republican Party, it's clear that white non-Hispanic Christians are a powerful force in Trump's base. And they are single-minded; they want a theocracy. 

Trump has catered to his Core Conservative and Country-First Conservative base. He's given the former tax cuts and business-first regulations; and he's given the latter a series of actions -- draconian immigration enforcement, support for "religious liberty," and ultra-conservative judges (such as Brett Kavanaugh) -- that indicate Donald's on their side. And so Trump's base sticks with him despite damming revelations from the Mueller probe or evidence of Trump's collaboration with Putin. 

From an ethical standpoint, it's clear that Trump's base, en masse, has adopted the morality that the ends justify the means. That's not a surprise for the portion of the Republican Party that is non-Christian -- roughly 20 percent. We can safely assume that these are Core Conservatives whose moral code is defined exclusively by Capitalism: dog eat dog, triumph of the fittest, winner take all, etcetera. (They subscribe to Ayn Rand's Objectivism.) 

The ethical problem lies with the 75 percent of the Republican Party that identifies as Christian. For them to say they support Trump because he's going to promote a Christian nation, or he's going to put people-of-color in their place, or he's going to take away a women's right to make her own medical decisions, means that they believe the ends justify the means. And that's not Christian ethics. The Trump "Christians" are not following the ethical teachings of Jesus. (https://www.npr.org/2017/12/03/568206452/evangelical-leaders-say-christians-who-support-trump-face-an-ethical-challenge

What will it take to shake up the relationship between Trump and his "Christian" base? Have them read the New Testament and consider whether they are actually practicing the ethics of Jesus. It looks like a lot of Trump's supporters are actually faux Christians. Just like Donald. 

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer and activist. He can be reached at bburnett@sonic.net 

ECLECTIC RANT: Fox News is here to entertain you, not to inform you

Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 27, 2018 - 01:00:00 PM

Fox News is not, and never has been, a legitimate news network. They began as a project by right-wing propagandist Rupert Murdoch and Republican media strategist Roger Ailes (1940 – 2017) to spread disinformation and promote GOP politicians. (Ailes, as you may remember, resigned in 2016 from Fox News amid allegations of sexual misconduct.) 

Ailes, the late Fox News chairman and CEO, once confessed that his network, despite its name, is not actually in the news business, stating: “We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN.” In short, Ailes regarded channels that are plainly entertainment and sports as Fox News competition, not other news outlets. 

Now Fox News provides Trump and the GOP with a television channel to distribute their “alternative facts” to entertain their loyal followers. To further this symbiosis, Trump looks to Fox News personnel for his staff and advice. 

For example, National Security Adviser John Bolton is a former Fox News talking head; state department member Heather Nauert is a former Fox News anchor; communications adviser Mercedes Schlapp and Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh are former Fox commentators; and, of course, on-air personalities Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are favorites of the president, who also speaks to them privately. And this month the former Fox News executive Bill Shine, who was pushed out over his handling of sexual harassment scandals at the network, was named the White House deputy chief of staff for communications. 

How do we distinguish real news from fake news, speculation, and rumor mongering that seem to proliferate our lives? Perhaps we should start by heeding Ailes’ advice and look to Fox News only for entertainment, if that’s your idea of entertainment, but look to MSNBC or CNN or other reputable news outlets for actual news.


Conn Hallinan
Tuesday July 24, 2018 - 03:47:00 PM

The outcome of the July11-12 NATO meeting in Brussels got lost amid the media’s obsession with President Donald Trump’s bombast, but the “Summit Declaration” makes for sober reading. The media reported that the 28-page document “upgraded military readiness,” and was “harshly critical of Russia,” but there was not much detail beyond that. 

But details matter, because that is where the Devil hides. 

One such detail is NATO’s “Readiness Initiative” that will beef up naval, air and ground forces in “the eastern portion of the Alliance.” NATO is moving to base troops in Latvia, Estonia Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Poland. Since Georgia and Ukraine have been invited to join the Alliance, some of those forces could end up deployed on Moscow’s western and southern borders. 

And that should give us pause. 

A recent European Leadership’s Network’s (ELN) study titled “Envisioning a Russia-NATO Conflict” concludes, “The current Russia-NATO deterrence relationship is unstable and dangerously so.” The ELN is an independent think tank of military, diplomatic and political leaders that fosters “collaborative” solutions to defense and security issues. 

High on the study’s list of dangers is “inadvertent conflict,” which ELN concludes “may be the most likely scenario for a breakout” of hostilities. “The close proximity of Russian and NATO forces” is a major concern, argues the study, “but also the fact that Russia and NATO have been adapting their military postures towards early reaction, thus making rapid escalation more likely to happen.” 

With armed forces nose-to-nose, “a passage from crisis to conflict might be sparked by the actions of regional commanders or military commanders at local levels or come as a consequence of an unexpected incident or accident.” According to the European Leadership Council, there have been more than 60 such incidents in the last year. 

The NATO document is, indeed, hard on Russia, which it blasts for the “illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea,” its “provocative military activities, including near NATO borders,” and its “significant investments in the modernization of its strategic [nuclear] forces.” 

Unpacking all that requires a little history, not the media’s strong suit. 

The story goes back more than three decades to the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventual re-unification of Germany. At the time, the Soviet Union had some 380,000 troops in what was then the German Democratic Republic. Those forces were there as part of the treaty ending World War II, and the Soviets were concerned that removing them could end up threatening the USSR’s borders. The Russians have been invaded—at terrible cost—three times in a little more than a century. 

So West German Chancellor Helmet Kohl, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev cut a deal. The Soviets agreed to withdraw troops from Eastern Europe as long as NATO did not fill the vacuum, or recruit members of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact. Baker promised Gorbachev that NATO would not move “one inch east.” 

The agreement was never written down, but it was followed in practice. NATO stayed west of the Oder and Neisse rivers, and Soviet troops returned to Russia. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991. 

But President Bill Clinton blew that all up in 1999 when the U.S. and NATO intervened in the civil war between Serbs and Albanians over the Serbian province of Kosovo. Behind the new American doctrine of “responsibility to protect,” NATO opened a massive 11-week bombing campaign against Serbia. 

From Moscow’s point of view the war was unnecessary. The Serbs were willing to withdraw their troops and restore Kosovo’s autonomous status. But NATO demanded a large occupation force that would be immune from Serbian law, something the nationalist-minded Serbs would never agree to. It was virtually the same provocative language the Austrian-Hungarian Empire had presented to the Serbs in 1914, language that set off World War I. 

In the end, NATO lopped off part of Serbia to create Kosovo and re-drew the post World War II map of Europe, exactly what the Alliance charges that Russia has done with its seizure of the Crimea. 

But NATO did not stop there. In 1999 the Alliance recruited former Warsaw Pact members Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, adding Bulgaria and Romania four years later. By the end of 2004, Moscow was confronted with NATO in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to the north, Poland to the west, and Bulgaria and Turkey to the south. Since then, the Alliance has added Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, and Montenegro. It has invited Georgia, Ukraine, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to apply as well. 

When the NATO document chastises Russia for “provocative” military activities near the NATO border, it is referring to maneuvers within its own border or one of its few allies, Belarus. 

As author and foreign policy analyst Anatol Lieven points out, “Even a child” can look at a 1988 map of Europe and see “which side has advanced in which direction.” 

NATO also accuses Russia of “continuing a military buildup in Crimea,” without a hint that those actions might be in response to what the Alliance document calls its “substantial increase in NATO’s presence and maritime activity in the Black Sea.” Russia’s largest naval port on the Black Sea is Sevastopol in the Crimea. 

One does not expect even-handedness in such a document, but there are disconnects in this one that are worrisome. 

Yes, the Russians are modernizing their nuclear forces, but the Obama administration was first out of that gate in 2009 with its $1.5 trillion program to upgrade the U.S.’s nuclear weapons systems. Both programs are a bad idea. 

Some of the document’s language about Russia is aimed at loosening purse strings at home. NATO members agreed to cough up more money, but that decision preceded Trump’s Brussels tantrum on spending. 

There is some wishful thinking on Afghanistan—“Our Resolute Support Mission is achieving success”—when in fact things have seldom been worse. There are vague references to the Middle East and North Africa, nothing specific, but a reminder that NATO is no longer confining its mission to what it was supposedly set up to do: Keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down. 

The Americans are still in—one should take Trump’s threat of withdrawal with a boulder size piece of salt—there is no serious evidence the Russians ever planned to come in, and the Germans have been up since they joined NATO in 1955. Indeed, it was the addition of Germany that sparked the formation of the Warsaw Pact. 

While Moscow is depicted as an aggressive adversary, NATO surrounds Russia on three sides, has deployed anti-missile systems in Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and the Black Sea, and has a 12 to 1 advantage in military spending. With opposing forces now toe-to-toe, it would not take much to set off a chain reaction that could end in a nuclear exchange. 

Yet instead of inviting a dialogue, the document boasts that the Alliance has “suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia.” 

The solution seems obvious. First, a return to the 1998 military deployment. While it is unlikely that former members of the Warsaw Pact would drop their NATO membership, a withdrawal of non-national troops from NATO members that border Russia would cool things off. Second, the removal of anti-missile systems that should never have been deployed in the first place. In turn, Russia could remove the middle range Iskander missiles NATO is complaining about and agree to talks aimed at reducing nuclear stockpiles. 

But long range, it is finally time to re-think alliances. NATO was a child of the Cold War, when the West believed that the Soviets were a threat. But Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and there is no way Moscow would be stupid enough to attack a superior military force. It is time NATO went the way of the Warsaw Pact and recognize that the old ways of thinking are not only outdated but also dangerous. 


Conn Hallinan can be read at dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com and middleempireseries,wordpress.com 

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Most Stress is Internally Generated

Jack Bragen
Friday July 27, 2018 - 03:48:00 PM

Excessive anxiety, excessive upset, or a "fight or flight" response, are all things generated by the human mind and body. And these create a great deal of biological stress. 

Anxiety, fear, anger, and many other stressful emotions, as a whole, seem to be an outmoded coping mechanism left over from earlier versions of "homo sapiens" that once provided people with additional energy to deal with a threat. And they produced emotional prods that drove people to do the things needed to survive and procreate. 

In modern times, there isn't always an agenda to pass along our genes. There isn't always an agenda to be the dominant female/male in your group. Many people have for the most part moved beyond these primitive instincts. When the remnants of these instincts come up, the associated emotions can be very inconvenient and sometimes inappropriate. Furthermore, many of the strong instinctive type emotions that people have, are counterproductive, and make situations far worse than they would be otherwise. 

An extreme fear response, or almost any emotional response, are on a hair trigger in the human nervous system, and come up in response to thoughts and perceptions. A person can perceive a threat when there really is none at all. A person's emotional responses can not distinguish the validity of a perceived threat.  

I am getting you to the concept that a lot of human stress is internally generated. People become upset based upon abstract reasoning. Most other creatures do not. Human beings, in the thinking mind, generate stress-causing emotions. 

Secondly, as a formerly psychotic person, when one's intellect has lied to them enough times, because of psychosis, one will begin to doubt the validity of one's intellect--and this can be an additional problem. 

In the mind of a psychotic person, false, delusional ideas can bring about very strong emotions, ones that are not appropriate for the actual situation. This is a combination of an intrinsic human design vulnerability, (getting upset over abstract thoughts) along with the illness.  

People with mental illness are more prone than average to have stress-induced health problems. We are more accident-prone than average. These are two of the many reasons that people with mental illness have a shortened lifespan. 

If we have mental illness and receive disability benefits to live on, we ought not waste our time and energy on things that produce excessive stress and that do not have a lot of benefit. For example, there is no reason for us to go get a job emptying trash. We are better off economizing without the extra income, and going to a museum with a friend. 

In my past and continuing, the concept of "lighten-up a bit," is well-advised. 

According to one psychiatrist, valium is good for schizophrenics. His premise was that getting well from schizophrenia is supported by calming down. He also espoused meditation and other "new age" philosophies. I saw him in the 1980's and early 1990's, after Kaiser dropped me. 

The main points of this piece are this: Too much stress is bad; most stress is generated on the inside; we need to do things that mitigate stress--usually things we enjoy. 

For example, I enjoy going to Dollar Tree once a month and picking up microwave food and essential supplies, and hardly paying anything for them. A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum for a short visit, and it was a good getaway. If your life is like wading through a cesspool, take breaks from it and let yourself dry out. 

We cannot always prevent our minds from generating stress, which is sometimes actually caused by a disorder. However, anything we can do to distract ourselves from the stress, and take a vacation from it, is well-advised.

THE PUBLIC EYE: Why Do Republicans Hate America?

Bob Burnett
Sunday July 22, 2018 - 11:09:00 AM

Most Americans were outraged by Donald Trump's performance at his July 16 press conference with Vladimir Putin. Trump's collaboration with Russia is the latest evidence that he's determined to ruin the United States of America. Why don't congressional Republicans stand up to him? Do they hate America, too?

After 545 days in the White House, Trump is emboldened to say and do, and Tweet, whatever he feels like. There's no evidence that anyone can restrain him -- certainly not his daughter, Ivanka, or his beleaguered Chief-of-Staff, John Kelley.

There's a plethora of arm-chair psychoanalysts with opinions about why Trump behaves like he does. However, we've travelled miles beyond the point of trying to understand why Trump acts out; whether it's because he is crazy or a Russian collaborator or obsessed with becoming the anti-Obama. What's most important is that Trump endangers the United States of America.

If the American people are going to stop him, we're going to need the assistance of Republicans. Are they going to help us or are they going to pretend that Trump's behavior is okay? When will Republican members of Congress stand up to Trump? 

Consider the critical issues and what the Republican response should be. 

1.Russia is at war with the United States. During the October 22, 2012, presidential debate, Mitt Romney called Russia America's "biggest geopolitical threat." At the time, many observers scoffed, but it turns out that Romney was right. David Corn and Michael Isikoff's book, Russian Roulette, indicates that Russian Premier Vladimir Putin has declared cyberwar on the United States and its allies; the 2016 political campaign was the most evident manifestation of the new Kremlin offensive. 

On July 13th, Trump's director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats (a Republican), said: "The persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks today was akin to the warnings the United States had of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. 'The warning lights are blinking red again.'" (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/13/us/politics/dan-coats-intelligence-russia-cyber-warning.html

It's clear from his July16 Putin press conference that Trump does not believe Russia is waging cyberwar on the U.S. In the run up to the 2018 midterm, Republican candidates have to take a stand: either they believe Russia is at war with us, or they don't. Either they are willing to take steps to protect us, or they aren't. 

2.Trump is undermining America's traditional alliances. At the same time that Trump is cozying up to Putin and Russia, he is weakening our relationships with our traditional allies. During his recent trip to Europe, Trump denigrated NATO -- our strongest military bulwark against Russia. He also belittled the European Union -- the United States' largest trading partner -- calling it "a foe." 

While in Europe Trump insulted German Prime Minister Merkel -- Germany is our 5th largest trading partner -- and England's Prime Minister May -- England is our 7th largest trading partner. In May, during the meeting with the G7, he insulted Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau -- Canada is our second largest trading partner. (For the record, Russia is our 30th largest trading partner.) 

Republican candidates either have to side with Trump -- America goes into the world alone -- or support our traditional allies -- America is part of a coalition opposing Russia. Republican candidates have to be asked if they support Trump's foreign policy. 

3.Trump's trade war threatens the U.S. economy. Trump has verbally attacked our largest trading partners (European Union, China, Canada, Mexico...) and levied tariffs on their products. The resulting trade war is causing domestic job losses and raising prices. 

By the way, Trump's trade war helps Russia. Because of Trump's actions, China (our second largest trading partner) has stopped buying U.S. soybeans and has tripled purchases from Russia. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-17/china-buys-record-amount-of-russian-soy-as-it-shuns-u-s-growers ) Incidentally, Trump's sanctions on Iran are also helping Russia sell oil. (https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/09/trump-iran-sanctions-give-saudi-arabia-and-russia-more-clout.html

Republican candidates should be asked: How are Trump's trade policies affecting your state/district and what do you plan to do about it? 

4.Trump tax cuts have not revived the economy: Trump's massive tax cuts were supposed to raise wages. According to a recent Bloomberg article (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-18/trump-s-tax-cut-hasn-t-done-anything-for-workers), "The tax reform hasn’t yet resulted in appreciably higher wages for American workers. Real average hourly compensation actually fell in the first quarter after the tax reform was passed." In addition, "[The] tepid rate of [GDP] growth means that the tax cut is unlikely to pay for itself." 

Incidentally, the Republican tax plan dramatically raises the national debt. An April Reuters article (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fiscal-deficit/republican-tax-cuts-to-fuel-historic-u-s-deficits-cbo-idUSKBN1HG2RW) reported a CBO finding, "The massive tax cuts signed into law in December, which Republicans said would pay for themselves, will balloon the U.S. deficit in years ahead." 

Republicans candidates should be asked: What's your plan to raise wages for American workers?  

5.Trump has not drained the swamp. Trump ran for President as an outsider, harnessing voters concerns about Washington dysfunction. But instead of fulfilling his promise to "drain the swamp," he has fomented an unprecedented culture of corruption. Besides his collaboration with Putin, Trump has engaged in an orgy of self-dealing. His cabinet members -- most recently EPA head Scott Pruitt -- have resigned because of ethics concerns. 

Republican candidates should be asked: What are you doing to end the Trump culture of corruption? 

In the 2018 election, Republican candidates should be asked: Which side are you on? Do you support Trump or the United States? 

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer and activist. He can be reached at bburnett@sonic.net 

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Computers; Efficacious or Not?

Jack Bragen
Sunday July 22, 2018 - 10:52:00 AM

It is easy for someone with psychotic tendencies to be paranoid about their computer, because cyber-spying does sometimes exist, and because it is compelling to imagine someone spying on us. Years ago, I've met someone with mental illness whose paranoia was made worse by her computer. At the time, I was offering computer assistance in the homes of customers, as my small business. 

(Such a business model wouldn't work anymore. There is the chance of being mugged, if the customer turns out to actually be a robber. There is the factor of the techie field being extremely competitive. There is an increase in the costs of licensing and insurance. Additionally, when I went to the homes of strangers, some had ulterior agendas--I won't elaborate about that.) 

Despite this, my technical background (which, in comparison to most techies, is moderate) helps me a lot, in what I do. I am not paying someone to maintain my computer. I'm able to self-publish books without paying for any literary or technical services. I help relatives and friends with their PC issues. I am able to take full advantage of affordable software and hardware. As a poor person wanting literary success, I have the skills I need. And I would be unable to pay someone to do what I can actually do for myself. 

If we go back in time three or four decades, I read college level electronic textbooks starting at the age of twelve. I did electronics as a hobby throughout my teens. I worked in electronic repair shops in my twenties as a technician. I took classes in computer repair in my twenties and early thirties. 

For me, computers are therapeutic. However, I also know that I reach a point where I have to "step away" from the computer. 

However, given that we take enough breaks and get enough rest, use of a computer to accomplish constructive tasks could have a good effect on brain structure. 

For some people with mental illness who are cognitively severely impaired, computers probably do not help their situation. Computers can trigger people's paranoid symptoms. Additionally, they can cause people to get all of their money taken by a scam artist, who in some instances may be in a foreign country. 

If you are on a computer and lack enough practical understanding, there are all kinds of traps on the internet that can do harm to you. If you write a book manuscript and would like to have it published, the waters are full of sharks. 

Thus, for mentally ill people who might be "low functioning"--who have a cognitive impairment in addition to their primary diagnosis, computers may not help the situation. However, if you are well into recovery, and would like to try anything whatsoever in the vein of a career, you must have decent computer skills. You must also have professional boundaries concerning what the uses of your computer are and aren't. 

Email is a great way to conduct business and friendships. This is because you are able to think through what you'd like to say before sending it. Secondly, if, like me, you are not good in situations that have immediate pressure, working in the home at a computer opens up a door that beforehand didn't exist. 

Computers can be efficacious for mentally ill people, or could be risky. It is necessary to know when to stay off the computer for a while. 

Any sort of "reintegration" (which in the past was a buzzword in the realm of mental health--what happened?) into society will require computer literacy. Some amount of social media should be done, and the consumer should have basic competency in use of a PC or Mac. 

Speaking of those in the mainstream, non-mentally ill public, computers have partly made conditions better for many people, yet they have also made a number of things worse. It was inevitable that we would discover this technology, and now it is here. 

As we try to grapple with some way of holding the destructive aspects of computers in check, the technology continues to progress. Any regulatory legislation is at risk of being out of date by the time it goes into effect, during the time lag after being enacted by Congress or at state levels. 

For persons with mental illness, the best prevention of being harmed by a computer is to be informed. Computers can potentially change lives for the better. Taking classes that cover this technology can only help.

ECLECTIC RANT: Trump’s twisted foreign policy

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday July 22, 2018 - 11:15:00 AM

By constantly belittling our European allies, recently undermining British Prime Minister Theresa May, threatening trade wars with them, Canada and China, undercutting NATO, failure to honor international agreements, Trump’s “America First” foreign policy is becoming an “America Alone” policy. 

On the heels of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking the Democrats and the Clinton campaign, Trump went to Helsinki for a cozy two-hour one-on-one meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. When asked if he would publicly condemn Putin for the hacking, Trump instead proceeded to bash the Democratic National Committee, the FBI, and the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. 

In short, Trump believes Putin over the U.S. intelligence community when it comes to Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Of course, Trump is the beneficiary of that meddling. 

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, summed up best President Trump’s meeting and press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki: 

“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake. 

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world. 

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.  

“Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency. That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisors makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable. 

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.” 

Except for Senator McCain, Republicans were mostly silent or issued only muted criticism of Trump’s disgraceful performance in Helsinki, putting politics oner country.  

Someday America will need a friend and may find our traditional friends gone. And then Trump "may" finally realize that Putin is, and always was, a false friend. But right now Trump is doing Putin’s work for him.

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, July 29 - August 5l

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday July 28, 2018 - 10:19:00 AM

Worth Noting:

The number of City meetings is very light as summer vacations ensue.

Berkeley City Council did not finish this last Tuesday so instead of leaving on summer recess, they are meeting again this Tuesday July 31 at 6:00 pm. Only 12 items are listed on the agenda, but with several contentious items don’t expect an early finish. All items are listed below with the link. 6. Rent Ordinance and 7. Police Commission Charter Amendment are likely to bring the most discussion.

Political campaigns are starting with lots of opportunities to be involved. With a little travel or phone banking you can help unseat a Republican in one of the vulnerable Congressional Districts. There are many involved organizations. Here are three:

Indivisible Berkeley https://www.indivisibleberkeley.org/

Indivisible East Bay https://indivisibleeb.org/

Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club http://wellstoneclub.org/

When it comes to elections think about this: only 62.64% of eligible Alameda County voters actually voted in 2016. That is only slightly better than the national average of 60.2%. Since such a large number of eligible voters were not registered or if registered didn’t vote, Trump in final tally was elected by 27.26% of eligible voters. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018 

Indivisible East Bay, Sun, July 29, 1:00 pm, Sports Basement, 2nd Floor 


Monday, July 30, 2018 

Tax the Rich rally – Mon, July 30, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm top of Solano in front of closed Oaks Theater,  

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 

Berkeley City Council, Tues, July 31, 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, 2134 MLK Jr Way, City Council Chambers, Agenda: Consent: 1. revision meeting schedule, 2. MOU Fire Fighters Association/AFF Local 1227, 3. Mou Berkeley Police Association, Action: Urgency Ordinance Rulles for Street events without Permits, 4. Affordable Housing Bond, 5. Transfer Tax Ballot Measure, 6. Amend Rent Ordinance Ballot Measure, 7. Charter Amendment to Police Review Commission Ballot Measure, 8. Ballot measure 50 cents/ride tax on Transportation Network Companies (i.e. Lyft, Uber), 9 Lobbyists Registration and Regulation Ordinance, 10. Allow indigent to do Community service in lieu of penalties, 11 Accessory Dwelling Ordinance updates, Commercial Retail Cannabis Nurseries. 


Wednesday, August 1, 2018 

Disaster and Fire Safety Commission, Wed, Aug 1, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, 997 Cedar St, Fire Department Training Center, Agenda: GG Funding, Urban Shield, 5-year Plan for expanded Disaster Preparedness, Learning from report on Tubb’s Fire 


Thursday, August 2, 2018 

Landmarks Preservation Commission, Thur, August 2, 7:00 pm – 11:30 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, 


1920 Allston Way – Berkeley Community Theater – partial rehab 

2628 Shattuck Ave – demolish commercial building 

2434 San Pablo – demolish commercial buildings 

UC Upper Hearst Development Project 

2901 Benvenue – Mills Act Contract 

1440 and 1450 Hawthorne Terrace – consider adding to list of potential Initiations 

Friday, August 3, 2018 

No City meetings scheduled 

Saturday, August 4, 2018 

No City events listed 

Sunday, August 5, 2018 

No City events listed 




The meeting list is posted in the Berkeley Daily Planet under Berkeley Activist’s Calendar 


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


When notices of meetings are found that are posted after Friday 5:00 pm they are added to the website schedule https://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html and preceded by LATE ENTRY 

Indivisible Berkeley engages in local, state and national events, actions, town halls and election mobilizations https://www.indivisibleberkeley.org/actions 



Mozart’s Rarely Seen IL RE PASTORE A Hit at Merola Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday July 22, 2018 - 11:27:00 AM

Mozart wrote Il Re Pastore/The Shepherd King in 1775, shortly after Lucio Silla (1773) and La Finta Giardiniera (1775). Set to a late libretto by the famed Metastasio, Il Re Pastore is officially an opera seria, though Mozart termed it a drama per musica. However, it is so full of the 19 year-old Mozart’s wit and ebullience that it hardly sounds, or plays, like an opera seria. This is especially true in the lively, highly diverting production of Il Re Pastore given by the company of young musicians of Merola Opera, who opened this show on Thursday evening, July 19, at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. A second performance of this opera is set for 2:00 pm Saturday, July 21, at the same venue. 

For some reason, Il Re Pastore is rarely performed. I last saw this opera perhaps five years ago at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, where a counter-tenor sang the role of Aminta, the shepherd king. In the current Merola production of Il Re Pastore, the lead is sung as a trousers role by soprano Cheyanne Coss. Interestingly, Mozart wrote this opera for three sopranos and two tenors. In the original production in Salzburg, the lead role was sung by a secco castrato. Here, Cheyanne Coss sang with a voice that was at home in the lower register of a soprano; and in the duet that closes Act I, Cheyanne Coss’s voice sang below that of Patricia Westley, who was fetching in the role of Elise, Aminta’s beloved.  

Patricia Westley was, in fact, the star of this show. Singing with a bright, bell-like tone, Patricia Westley depicted Elise as a flirtatious lass in a pink dress and sporting a sun-hat with a pink ribbon down the back. Elise is head over heels in love with the humble shepherd Aminta, whom she has charmed ever since she was a young child. Aminta returns her love, and the two can hardly wait to be married. They need only the consent of Elise’s father, and though Aminta worries that his lowly status as a shepherd might not meet Elise’s father’s approval, Elise assures him that her father will consent. As for herself, Elise says, she admires Aminta’s simple but healthy way of life and needs only his love to be happy. 

Il Re Pastore is set in Sidon, the Phoenician city on the Mediterranean coast. In Metastasio’s libretto, Alexander the Great has just conquered Sidon, and with the help of his general, Agenor, Alexander seeks to restore rule of Sidon to the city’s missing heir. Agenor and Alexander believe that the humble shepherd Aminta is indeed the missing heir. So Agenor approaches Aminta and asks politely if Aminta would like to meet Alexander. Thinking it over for a brief second, Aminta answers, “No.” Taken aback, Agenor asks why, especially since it might help Aminta move up in the world. “I’m happy with my life as it is,” replies Aminta. “With my sheep and my beloved Elise by my side, I have everything I could want.” On hearing this reply, both Agenor and the disguised Alexander are impressed with the noble thinking of Aminta, and they secretly plan to offer him the kingship of Sidon.  

Alexander, or Alessandro in Italian, is sung by Chinese tenor Zhengye Bai, and Agenor is sung by Canadian tenor Charles Sy. In the witty, playful stage direction by Tara Faircloth, Alexander is depicted as quite the narcissist, forever having a hand-mirror at the ready to admire his countenance, smooth his hair, and tweak his mustache. Alexander is served by four men in suits, ties, and sun-glasses who look for all the world like American Secret Service agents assigned to guard the President. As Alexander, Zhengye Bai sang with fervor the Act I aria about his ability to calm every storm and win every battle. In the role of Agenor, Charles Sy played it mainly for laughs, depicting Agenor as an inept flunkie to Alexander’s conquering hero. However, the one thing Agenor cares about is his hidden love for Tamiri, daughter of Sidon’s previous king who was recently killed in battle. When the disguised Tamiri appears before Agenor, he quickly reassures her of his love. Tamiri is here sung by Canadian mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh, who possesses a lush, full voice with enormous range. Her one big aria was a highlight of the show, and as the opera went on I kept hoping for another extended opportunity to hear Simone McIntosh sing. Sure enough, one arrived in Act II, when, outraged that Alexander has decreed that Tamiri shall wed Aminta and be his queen, she upbraids Agenor for failing to disabuse his boss of this notion. When in reply Agenor calls her cruel, Tamiri asks incredulously how he can call her cruel when he has cruelly acquiesced in allowing Alexander to betroth her to Aminta?  

Agenor is non-plussed at this outburst from Tamiri; and when she departs in a huff Agenor launches into an aria full of pain and hurt. Here Charles Sy almost literally chewed the scenery while pouring out his pain. He threw chairs, he dumped clothes on the floor, and he tore a bouquet of flowers to shreds and threw them all over the place. When he left the stage in a rage. Alexander’s four flunkie guards had to use a broom and dust pan to gather up the detritus.  

Similarly, when Elise got wind of Alexander’s plan to wed Aminta to Tamiri, Elise was confused, offended, and above all, furious. So she took her fury out on Agenor. Singing like a spitfire, Elise berates Agenor and literally ties him up and gags him with a hankerchief over his mouth. As Elise, Patricia Westley really did herself proud in this aria. She was outstanding!  

Things get sorted out in the end. When Alexander realizes the depth of love that binds Aminta to Elise and Agneor to Tamiri, the magnanimous conquering hero presides over a double wedding, making Aminta and Elise king and queen of Sidon, and promising that Agenor and Tamiri will rule over the next city he will soon conquer.  

Mozart’s music in Il Re Pastore is noteworthy for its purity of melodic line. The orchestration makes good use of wind instruments, especially the flute, which accompanies one of Alexander’s heroic arias. Aminta’s lovely Act II aria, “L’amerò, sarò costante”/”I’ll love her always and be faithful,” features a fine violin solo accompanying the voice in concertante style. Conductor Stephen Stubbs led the orchestra from the harpsichord. Scenic Designer was Laure Fine Hawkes, Costume Designer was Callie Floor, and Lighting Designer was Eric Watkins. When a rarely performed opera receives such a marvelous production as this one of Mozart’s Il Re Pastore, one has to wonder why it is so rarely encountered on the stage? 


ERRATA: In my July 6 review of Merola’s Schwabacher Summer Concert, I mistakenly wrote that Acts 1 and 3 were performed of Puccini’s Il Tabarro. What was performed were Scenes 1 and 3 of Act 2.

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, July 22-29

Kelly Hammargren
Saturday July 21, 2018 - 10:05:00 AM

Worth Noting:

City Council is scheduled for two days of public meetings/hearings before taking off for summer recess on Wednesday, July 25. Monday is Agreements with other Law Enforcement Agencies or Private Security Organizations, NCRIC (Northern California Regional Intelligence Center) and Urban Shield. Meeting starts at 4:00 pm at City Hall, Tuesday the regular Council meeting starts at 6:00 pm and promises to end late. Bring rations (food and water)

Wednesday – Body Worn Cameras are on the Police Review Commission agenda. The body worn cameras were purchased months ago and still not implemented – this might be interesting.

Election campaigns are heating up, while city meetings are slowing down. If you are not involved in the local campaigns, look to helping in one of the vulnerable Republican Congressional Districts. You can connect through:

Indivisible Berkeley https://www.indivisibleberkeley.org/

Indivisible East Bay https://indivisibleeb.org/

Wellston Democratic Renewal Club http://wellstoneclub.org/

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Campaign Kickoffs, Local and State Ballot Measures, Meeting open to all, BTU/BPA/BCA, Sun, July 22, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, 1939 Addison, East Bay Media Center,

Monday, July 23, 2018

Berkeley City Council, Mon, July 23, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, 2134 MLK Jr Way, City Council Chambers, Agenda: 1. Approval agreements with other Law Enforcement Agencies, 2. a. Adopt Subcommittee recommendations on NCRIC and Urban Shield (Arreguin, Harrison, Davila), 2 b. Urban Shield – continue 2018 and work with Alameda Co. Supervisors to reconstitute focus 2019 (Wengraf).


Children, Youth and Recreation Commission – Special Meeting, Mon, July 23, 7:00 pm, 2800 Park St, Frances Albrier Community Center at San Pablo Park, Agenda: 2020 Vision Supplemental Questions for Community Agency Grant RFP


Civic Arts Commission – Arts Education Subcommittee, Mon, July 23, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, 2180 Milvia, Cypress Room 1st Floor, Agenda: education work plan


Homeless Commission – Site Visit Subcommittee, 6:30 pm, 2000 University, Au Coquelet


Zero Waste Commission, Mon, July 23, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Single Use Foodware and Litter Reduction, plastics #1-#7 recycling,


Tax the Rich rally – CANCELLED - please attend 4:00 pm Urban Shield NCRIC meeting, Mon, July 23, at City Hall 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 

Berkeley City Council, Tue, July 24, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, 2134 MLK Jr Way, City Council Chambers, https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/City_Council/City_Council__Agenda_Index.aspx 

4:30 pm - Closed Session – Conference with Labor Negotiators  

6:00 pm – Regular Session – Action Agenda: 60. 1446 Fifth Street Appeal, 61. a.&b. U1 Funds to repay Worker’s Comp 1001, 1007, 1011 University and 1925 Ninth Street, 62. Density Bonus, 63. Transfer Tax Ballot Initiative, 64. Rent Ordinance Ballot Initiative, 65. Emergency Preparedness 66. ADU Ordinance Updates, 67. Cannabis Nurseries, 68. Short Term Rental Ordinance, 69. Lobbyists Registration Ordinance, 70. Police Review Commission Charter Ballot Initiative, 71. Community service in lieu of Parking Penalties, 72. Use Nextdoor for Real Time BPD updates, 73. Allow City Staff to Serve as Commissioner, 74. Ballot measure 50-cents per ride tax on Transportation Network Companies, 75. Gender ID on public records, 76. Expanded National Night Out to campus event to reduce crime in campus area, 77. Wildfire App for BPD to provide real time updates 


Mental Health Commission – Diversity Subcommittee, Tue, July 24, 6:00 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center 


Peace and Justice Commission Subcommittee: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Tue, July 24, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm, 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Peace_and_Justice_Commission_Homepage.aspx 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

Civic Arts Commission, Wed, July 25, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: BART Plaza update, change location to So. Berkeley Library, time 8:00 pm 


Commission on Disability, Wed, July 25, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Single use foodware and litter reduction, MCPD Bike Share – no accessible bikes, Elevator enforcement ordinance, Visitibility, Bikes on Sidewalks, Seeking place on DRC, ADU amendment for accessibility, https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Commission_on_Disability_Homepage.aspx 

Energy Commission, Wed, July 25, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: EV Update, BESO, EDCE, Deep Green, BAAQMD 2018 Climate Protection Grant Awards, Fossil Free Berkeley, Climate Emergency 


Police Review Commission, Wed, July 25, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: General C-64, Homeless Encampment, Lexipool Policies, Request for Information, After Action Reports, Body Worn Cameras, June 20. 2017 Police Response, July 23, MOU and Urban Shield Exercises, Charter Amendment, 


Thursday, July 26, 2018 

Community Health Commission, Thur, July 26, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, 2939 Ellis St. South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda not posted https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Community_Health_Commission_Homepage.aspx 

Mental Health Commission, Thur, July 26, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: MHSA Innovations Trauma Informed Care Plan, Pathways STAIR presentation, HOTT and Mobile Crisis, By-Laws 


Zoning Adjustments Board, Thur, July 26, 7:00 pm – 11:30 pm, 2134 MLK Jr. Way, City Council Chambers https://www.cityofberkeley.info/zoningadjustmentsboard/ 

2129 Ninth Street – demolish 2-story duplex and construct two new 2-story new 2-story dwellings 

2701 Shattuck Ave – 5-story, 61 foot-tall, mixed use, 57 dwelling (including 5 VLI units) 

1798 Scenic Ave – Change use of existing Pacific School of Religion from higher education to middle school 

Friday, July 27, 2018 

Movies in the Park - Mulan, Fri, July 27, 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm, James Kenny Park 


Saturday, July 28, 2018 

Music in the Park \ Kidchella Concert Series, Sat, July 28, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm, Live Oak Park, 

Sunday, July 29, 2018 

Indivisible East Bay, Sun, July 29, 1:00 pm, Sports Basement, 2nd Floor 




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



When notices of meetings are found that are posted after Friday 5:00 pm they are added to the website schedule https://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html and preceded by LATE ENTRY