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A bad week for the Yimby narrative

Tim Redmond
Friday August 10, 2018 - 01:56:00 PM

New studies show that building more market-rate housing for rich people doesn't bring down rents for everyone else.

It is not a good week for the Yimby argument.

In a series of reports, studies, and articles, the claim that building more housing for rich people will bring down prices as been challenged, if not debunked. The new evidence suggests that the only falling rents are at the very top of the scale – for the rest of us, that new housing is not bringing any relief at all. 

See the rest on 48hills.com: 



The DNC Doesn't Speak for Me in Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Friday August 10, 2018 - 06:42:00 PM

Summertime, and the living is easy. I’m back from a week in the ever-interesting East, mostly the environs of the District of Columbia, and can reliably report, in the words of yet another classic song, that it’s Too Damn Hot. Otherwise, it’s fine.

The first couple of days were devoted to a family reunion of sorts, what started out as a memorial picnic for my aunt, who died this year in her late 90s. Something like 44 of us turned up, and those were just a subset of my 15-cousin generation and their descendants. I’m proud to report that every one of them more than met my standards for political correctness and right livelihood, and many of them had a sense of humor to boot. This includes both those born into the family and those who simply married into it, though there was a nasty rumor that one spouse had Republican relatives.

I’ve often heard anguished musings about Thanksgivings in other families marred by heated disputes between Trumpoids and Liberals, but I’m happy to say that we don’t seem to have any of the former. This causes me once again to wonder who those other people are, and how they got that way.

I did hear a few hints in my crowd that some had wished for a flashier candidate than Hillary in 2016, but if so they kept it to themselves this week. There’s a remarkable unity of purpose these days among anyone who’s ever voted for a Democrat: Just hold your nose, and pull the Democratic lever. 

My several hundred accumulated emails on my return were a good half of them appeals for funds from Democratic candidates for every November office. Most of what we can do for national candidates here in good ol’ Berkeley is send money, though a respectable number of us are also going to swing districts to ring door bells or making calls from home.  

It’s hard to choose amongst them to allocate my modest favors. I had intended to draw the line at supporting candidates who disavowed Nancy Pelosi, a stupid and even juvenile attitude toward a woman who’s a stone genius regardless of her age. But one of them is the guy who’s running against Devin Nunes, and as much as I deplore lesser-of-two-evil-ism, I can tell the difference between those two. 

Also in my inbox were various items relating to the last stand of the Derriere Garde, the die-hard Bernie-istas who are now enjoying the Jill Stein administration. I lived through the Ralph Nader administration, and I hope to survive this one, but I’m really, really tired of people who can’t do simple math and boast about it. This does not include the ones who concluded that in California a vote for the dippy doctor wouldn’t hurt, but many of those also gave money and encouragement toward contests in states where it did matter, like Michigan. 

Nevertheless, I can also sympathize with those who are pretty fed up with the Democratic National Committee. I did vote dutifully for the DNC presidential candidate in 2016, and I enthusiastically supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. That’s why I’m disappointed that he’s seen fit to reach all the way down into California Assembly District 15 and tell us how to vote.  


The candidate the former President decided to bless is opposed by all the other local Dems who ran against her. I understand that she was a very effective cog in his machine in those two previous elections, and I respect effective political operatives, particularly if they’re on my side, but at some point, sooner rather than later, the national Democratic Party should show some respect for the wisdom of the locals.  

Their relentless top-down style is one reason they lost in 2016. While I think those Michiganders were foolish to vote for Jill Stein, I have no doubt that the ham-handed national Democratic party alienated many left wing voters, as they traditionally have. 

(It probably isn’t as bad as it was when I lived there in the late 60s and early ‘70s, when as I remember a bunch of union thugs who dominated the party then locked a key leftish official in a hotel room to avoid an anti-war vote at the state convention. ) 

California’s insane top-two primary system was promoted by the same bunch of rich libertarian-leaning white guys whose private PAC is now endorsing Obama’s horse in AD15. Top-Two is going to go on wreaking havoc if it’s not changed, not easy to do since it was passed by a ballot initiative.  

What would work a whole lot better is ranked choice voting, which gives those who have a sacramental view of the importance of their personal vote an outlet for their passion. They could flourish their Nader/Stein/Whoever creds with their number one, and then go on to make a real choice that would actually matter with number two.  

It’s hard to imagine a post-November world, and even harder to imagine a post-Trump world, but life will go on here at the bottom regardless of what’s happening in DC. We still need the best government we can get at the local and state levels, and RCV is one tool that’s working in Maine and elsewhere. The time to start trying to change the voting system for this state is now.  

Meanwhile, Berkeley’s already got RCV for the November city elections, so check out all the candidates before you fill out your ballot. All your choices will make a difference. 



Public Comment

What's Berkeley Mayor Arreguin's Stand on BART Development Bill?

Zelda Bronstein
Friday August 10, 2018 - 01:43:00 PM

Ten Bay Area mayors signed the No on AB 2923 op-ed in the East Bay Times. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín wasn’t among them. Why not?

On August 5, the East Bay Times published a powerful critique of AB 2923, the bill that would remove zoning authority over BART stations in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties and land within a half-mile of those stations from the host cities and counties and give that authority to BART.

The signers included Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin, Albany Mayor Peggy McQuaid, Concord Mayor Edi Birsan, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, Dublin Mayor David Haubert, Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, Livermore Mayor John Marchand, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, and Antioch Mayor Sean Wright—plus Alameda County Supervisors Scott Haggerty and Karen Mitchoff, Pittsburg Councilman Salvatore Evola, and Pleasant Hill Councilman Michael Harris.

Why didn’t Mayor Arreguín join the other mayors? After all, the question of zoning authority over BART stations is presumably of great interest to the Berkeley public, given the huge turnout at the March 15 community meeting about development at North Berkeley BART; the substantial attendance at the August 2 community meeting about development at Ashby BART; and the heated public comment on AB 2923 at the Berkeley City Council’s May 29 meeting. 

At the May 29 meeting, the Mayor voted with the majority to oppose AB 2923 unless amended. The current text of the bill, which will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, August 13, does not contain any of the amendments proposed by the council. Presumably, then, Arreguín opposes the bill—and all the more so, because the original item on the council’s May 29 agenda, which he co-sponsored with Councilmember Maio, opposed unamended AB 2923. 

During the council’s deliberations, Arreguín cited his record of opposition to recent state legislation eroding local say in land use. “I was against SB 35 last year, I was against SB 827,” he stated, “and I’m against AB 2923, because it is going to take the power away from Berkeley to decide as a community what our built environment is going to look like.” The record shows, he said, that he and the council strongly support affordable housing and transit-oriented development. But AB 2923 “will shut the city out of the [planning] process” for housing at the Ashby and North Berkeley BART stations. “I think the state has overreached way too far…” 

Arreguín’s remarks jibed with points made in the East Bay Times op-ed: “As written, AB 2923 has numerous flaws”: 

  • Offers no guarantees that housing will be built faster or better
  • Reduces local input.
  • Ignores the success of recent transit-oriented development. Cities and BART already cooperate to build housing.
  • Expands BART’s “job” beyond transportation
  • Allows BART to acquire property using eminent domain and purchases—and invites speculation.
(These are the bullet points; for the full argument, read the piece). 

But Arreguín did not sign the statement. Was that because the other mayors go further in their opposition than he did? Their op-ed marked AB 2923’s additional flaws: 

  • Allows BART to eliminate parking
  • Prioritizes developer profits and BART revenue from land ownership over current riders.
  • Fail to address the East Bay’s need for more jobs.
The council has approved an August 25 public “visioning” event about development at the North Berkeley station. If AB 2923 becomes law, the city will be required to follow BART’s TOD Guidelines, which specify for North Berkeley BART a building or buildings at least seven stories tall, and the removal of all or most of the parking. So much for community input. 

Last Sunday evening, I emailed the Mayor’s office asking if Arreguín had been invited to sign the statement (it’s hard to believe that he wasn’t). If so, did he decline? And if he did decline, why? 

So far, no reply. 

The Berkeley public deserves to know where Mayor Arreguín stands on AB 2923, and why. All that talk about community empowerment—was it just hype? 

The Time is Now!

Romila Khanna
Saturday August 11, 2018 - 09:08:00 AM

The time is now for voters to think about voting for candidates who have developed social skills and those who respect the humanity in every person. In today’s chaotic world of despair and inequality, we need those in government who have the ability to hear people’s voices. It is very sad that we are watching the game of power play in all the three branches of our government. 

Democratic views are not cared for any more. Our government has divided us all on the basis of our race, religion, culture, language and economic status. 

I don’t know if the public is getting the correct message through media outlets like Fox News.  

Even in the year 2018, middle class and low-Income people are suffering. Even today, when “America becoming great again” slogan is chanted, human suffering is increasing. There is increased gun violence, increased prices for over the counter medicines and daily use household items. Transportation fees, health insurance and apartment rental charges are too high for ordinary citizens. This has become a real problem for both the poor and for seniors. And ordinary people who seek to have a roof over their head.  

I wonder when the Congress will stop supporting the private business-like of behavior of the current head of this great nation. 

What magic happened? Where did America get tons of dollars to give a “tax exempt” status to most of our richest citizens, but had ordinary people pay more into the government purse in taxes? Do we still need to trust more in today’s policies and dealing? 

We need to wake up from the dreamland of prosperity and success to the reality of the issues before us, else we would sadly have to accept the demise of our democracy.


THE PUBLIC EYE: Why is California Burning?

Bob Burnett
Friday August 10, 2018 - 01:47:00 PM

In case you missed it, California is beset with an unusual number of intense wildfires; the state is covered by smoke. In response, on August 5th, Donald Trump tweeted: "California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws..." Hmm, so California "environmentalists" are responsible for the fires? Or is someone else to blame?

Twelve years ago, I wrote "Global Warming? Not in My Back Yard" (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-burnett/global-warming-not-in-my-_b_19380.html ), pointing out that while most Americans are concerned about global warming (climate change), in general, they don't get excited about it, in particular, until there's evidence at the local level -- because they have a lot of other issues to worry about such as the cost of their healthcare or housing or jobs.

Two years of extreme wildfires has gotten Californians' attention. Waking up each morning worried about air quality -- because of the smoke -- or worse yet, wondering if you will be forced to evacuate, has made everyone in California aware that we have a problem. The issue is what to do about it. 

In Trump's full tweet, he said: "California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!" Even by Trump standards, this was an incredibly ignorant tweet. The wildfires are not being caused by lack of water or the absence of tree clearing. Most experts agree they are the result of dryness -- due to the state's prolonged drought, high temperatures -- July was the hottest month ever recorded, and -- in many cases -- ferocious winds. 

As a native Californian, I've learned a lot about wildfires. (If you've lived here for more than a couple of years, you have fire stories to tell.) In October of 1991, the Oakland Hills Firestorm occurred about 12 miles from my Berkeley residence. This fire killed 25 people, injured 150, and destroyed 3280 residences. It covered an area of approximately 3 square miles. In October of 2017, the Tubbs fire occurred about 15 miles from my west Sonoma County property. This fire (spanning Lake, Napa, and Sonoma Counties) killed 22 people, injured more than 100, and incinerated 5643 structures. The Tubbs fire covered a much larger area than the Oakland Hills fire; on its northern edge the Tubbs fire stretched 12 miles. 

Both fires were similar. They occurred in hot, dry conditions and were fed by intense winds from the northeast. The blazes started small and quickly became conflagrations; people in the path of the firestorms literally ran for their lives. (In both cases I knew folks who lost their homes.) 

In neither case was California water policy an issue. (Sorry, Donald.) A recent article by Alice Hill and William Kakenmaster (https://www.hoover.org/research/new-normal-californias-increasing-wildfire-risk-and-what-do-about-it ) reported: "Many factors contribute to [California] wildfires, but two in particular greatly contribute to increasing risk: climate change and growing development in the wildland-urban interface (WUI)." 

Many Californians attribute the violent wildfires to global climate change. (Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown called extreme fire conditions “the new normal” under climate change.) The most recent California poll (http://www.ppic.org/publication/californians-views-on-climate-change/ ) found that two-thirds of respondents believe the effects of climate change "are already occurring" and 81 percent believe it to be "a serious threat" to the state's future. Not surprisingly, the attitudes about climate change split along Party lines: only 24 percent of Republicans view climate change as a threat. 

One of the ongoing wildfires is the Carr fire, northwest of Redding, adjacent to Lake Shasta. It's the most Republican congressional district in Northern California, represented by Doug LaMalfa. a climate-change skeptic, who says he "doesn't buy" human-made climate change: "The climate of the globe has been fluctuating since God created it." (A recent Guardian article (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/31/california-wildfire-climate-change-carr-fire ) observed: "Like LaMalfa, the citizens of Redding are far more skeptical about climate change than the average American is. In 2016, a team from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that only 35% of Redding residents believed that global warming would harm them personally.") 

Notwithstanding climate-change skeptics, most Californians agree that we need to take action to mitigate climate change. One of these is to reduce fossil-fuel emissions. Notably the Trump Administration has just taken steps to reduce California's ability to do this; On August 2nd, Trump's EPA revealed plans to strip California of its right to set air-quality rules (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/07/climate/california-auto-emissions-trump.html ). 

Hill and Kakenmaster noted that in addition to climate change, where homes are placed greatly impacts the destruction wrought by wildfires; they pointed out the destructive potential of placing houses adjacent to wildland vegetation, the wildland-urban interface (WUI): "In 2010, California had more people and homes located in the WUI than any other state in the continental United States—close to 4.5 million homes and 11 million people... [according to] the U.S. Commerce Department, 'Fires within communities surrounded by natural areas [the WUI] are the most dangerous and costliest fires in North America.'" (The WUI was a factor in the Tubbs fire, but not in the Oakland Hills fire -- there the primary issue was housing density.) 

The catastrophic impacts of climate change aren't confined to wildfires on the West Coast, each state has its own unique disaster profile ranging from drought to megastorms. Each state, and each community, will have to develop their own particular response. 

At the national level, it's time to take climate change seriously. Trump isn't going to do this. It's time for Americans to elect leaders who have the intelligence and the resolve to deal with "the new normal." 

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

ECLECTIC RANT: Labor Movement Victory in Missouri

Ralph E. Stone
Friday August 10, 2018 - 02:24:00 PM

in a referendum on August 7, 2018, Missouri voters overturned a right-to-work law passed in 2017, giving organized labor a substantial victory. The vote was 64% to 36%. This vote reverses a trend of states passing right-to-work (RTW) laws. Presently, 27 states have such laws.

RTW laws are permitted by Section 14(b) of theTaft-Hartley amendments to the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C §141, which permits a state to pass laws that prohibit unions from requiring a worker to pay dues, even when the worker is covered by a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement.

Thus, workers in RTW states have less incentive to join a union and to pay union dues and, as a result, unions have less clout vis-à-vis corporations. In other words, RTW laws prohibit union contracts at private sector workplaces from requiring employees to pay any dues or other fees to the union. In states without such laws, workers at unionized workplaces generally have to pay such dues or fees. 

RTW laws tend to diminish union power and influence. Labor leaders say that allowing workers to opt out of paying any money to the union that represents them weakens unions’ finances, bargaining clout, and political power. 

In the U.S., the top one-tenth of 1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%. One of the contributing causes of wealth inequality is the labor movement’s diminished economic and political clout, caused at least in part by states enacting RTW laws. 

RTW laws are also a potent political symbol, causing serious adverse financial consequences for unions. The Democratic Party receives significant support from organized labor, who supply a great deal of the money, grass roots political organization, and voting base in support of the party. Thus, RTW laws are not only an assault on unions, but also on the Democratic Party, who rely on labor for support. 

Thanks to collective bargaining, union members have higher wages and better benefits. In addition, union membership actually raises living and working standards for all working men and women, union and non-union. When union membership rates are high, so is the share of income that goes to the middle class. When those rates fall, income inequality grows and the middle class shrinks. 

Corporations did not all of a sudden give workers two days off each week, which we now call weekends, or paid vacations and sick leave, or rights at the workplace, or pensions, or overtime pay. Virtually all the benefits we have at work, whether in the public or private sector, are because unions fought hard and long against big business who did everything they could to prevent giving us these rights. 

However, labor membership is shrinking. In 2017, union membership was 10.7% of the workforce down from about one-third in1945. Yet, in 2017, union workers reported higher median weekly earnings ($1,041) than workers not covered by unions ($829). 

As of last year, 61% of Americans had a favorable opinion of labor unions, up from an all-time low of 48% in 2009. 

Why do we need unions anyway? Because they are essential for America. Unions are the only large-scale movement left in America that serve as a countervailing balance against corporate power, acting in the economic interest of the middle class. But the decline of unions over the past few decades has left corporations and the rich with essentially no powerful opposition. You may take issue with a particular union’s position on an issue, but remember they are the only real organized check on the power of the business community in this country. 

RTW laws are anti-union and contribute to a shrinking middle class and wealth inequality. Hopefully, other states with RTW laws will follow Missouri’s example.

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Social Exclusion

Jack Bragen
Friday August 10, 2018 - 02:23:00 PM

People who take antipsychotic medication may be identifiable as "mentally ill" by members of the general public. It seems that the medications affect physical mannerisms, movements, and probably other aspects of our appearance. 

Some but not all persons in mental health treatment do not maintain grooming and dress as well as mainstream, well to do people. This additional factor could put us in a negatively perceived category. Mentally ill people often do not have the same level of weight control. We may not have a neat haircut. 

Some people whom I have never seen before have exhibited a negative attitude toward me, and I have overheard talk indicating they believe I am a mentally ill person. If this is accurate, it puts mentally ill people in a similar category to African American and other nonwhite people. And similarly to people of color, we do not necessarily know when someone is judging us based on appearance, or whether they would act that way toward anyone. 

Yesterday, a Caucasian, middle-aged, well-dressed woman was going to her car, and I happened to be nearby in the parking lot, having a smoke. (I'd driven my wife to an appointment at the mental health clinic in the adjacent building.) 

I heard the woman say something to another person, and it sounded like the name of the mental health clinic in the building. Then, she walked past me, presumably to get into her car. A few moments later, I realized that her vehicle was oriented toward me where I stood. My best guess--she was taking video of me with her dashcam or with a phone. 

Now, the above is subjective. However, at least I did not imagine the woman's vehicle facing me, at a moment when she really should have been driving out of the parking lot. 

All I can say is: Thank you, you've provided me with subject matter for my column. 

Presumably, the woman was going to show the video to police, of a mentally ill man smoking in a parking lot. Maybe she had ideas of cleaning up the streets of Concord, California. Unlike Berkeley there is no ordinance in Concord prohibiting smoking in a public place, so long as you keep a distance from an entrance or window of a building. 

However, this is not about smoking; this is about being identified as mentally ill in a public place. People's attitudes have become increasingly intolerant. 

We are witnessing social progress in retrograde. I've read other pieces in the Planet and elsewhere describing similar incidents, in which a large segment of the population is becoming more obviously bigoted. Perhaps people have been this way all along, and feel that it is now safe to go public with it. 

Yet, we are also seeing some forward social progress in some areas of society. I've said it many times: Mentally ill people should be considered a minority group. Instead, even many people espousing "liberal values" are still in the dark, and view mentally ill people as less then human. 

This has to change. It is harder for persons with psychiatric disabilities to stand up for our rights, partly because mechanisms in society, including but not limited to the treatment systems. Their objective is to keep mentally ill people "managed" and prevent us from becoming effective individuals. 

Now we wouldn't want those unclean psychotic people joining ranks with businesspersons, and writers and the like. 

This is not the same as how African American people have been treated--instead, it is subtler and it is highly systematized. Instead of us being lynched, mechanisms in society have put up walls. And if you try to climb those walls, trouble awaits.

Arts & Events

Merola Opera Performs Stravinsky’s THE RAKE’S PROGRESS

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday August 10, 2018 - 04:37:00 PM

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, which premiered in 1951, occupies a unique place in the composer’s career and, far more importantly, also in the history of opera and literature. In Stravinsky’s career, The Rake’s Progress marks the culmination and end-point of the composer’s neo-classical style. We’ll deal with that aspect of it shortly. Where literary history and opera history are concerned, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress occupies a very problematic, and I would even say, precarious place. Making reference as it does to Mozart’s Don Giovanni as well as to Goethe’s Faust, to mention only the most important of this work’s prestigious antecedents, Stravinsky‘s The Rake’s Progress audaciously invites comparison with two of the most profound works in western culture. In spite of a libretto intelligently fashioned by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, The Rake’s Progress comes off very badly in such an exalted context. 

The reasons for this are twofold. Stylistically, in The Rake’s Progress Stravinsky has reverted to a Mozartian 18th century formula of operatic conventions. In fact, not only Mozart’s music is invoked, but also that of earlier composers such as Monteverdi, Handel, and Pergolesi, as well as the music of later composers such as Rossini and Donizetti. In his own neo-classical vernacular, Stravinsky has made of The Rake’s Progress a veritable history of opera. This could be interesting; but it could also deteriorate into mere pastiche. (That this doesn’t quite happen, though it comes dangerously close, is a testament to Stravinsky’s ability to find his own voice in whatever musical style he chooses.) However, the second reason why I find The Rake’s Progress disappointing is that it comes perilously close to reducing to parody the major issues raised so eloquently, even tragically, by Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Goethe’s Faust.  

Put simply and straightforwardly, I can’t take Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress the slightest bit seriously in the way the composer treats the major issues first set forth by Mozart and Goethe. Where Mozart’s Don Giovanni is a heroic archetype of the male seducer, Stravinsky’s Tom Rakewell is, as Baba the Turk puts it, “a mere shuttle-head.” Where Goethe’s Mephistopheles is a heroic archetype of evil posing as good, Stravinsky’s Nick Shadow is, well, a mere shadow of the far more heroic original. And if you compare Tom Rakewell with Goethe’s Faust, well, there is no comparison. In The Rake’s Progress, Stravinsky is content to preside smugly and sardonically over a degraded version of the human issues explored so profoundly by Mozart and Goethe. To me, there’s a sardonic nihilism behind Stravinsky’s every gesture in The Rake’s Progress. I can’t take any of it seriously; and both musically and dramatically I find it long-winded (at a length of nearly three hours), and quite tedious.  

That much said, this Merola production, which opened Thursday, August 3, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and closes Saturday at 2:00 pm, August 5, at the same venue, gets A for effort. The Merola cast is good, led by the principals – tenor Christopher Oglesby as Tom Rakewell, soprano Meigui Zhang as Anne Trulove, and baritone Jacob Scharfman as Nick Shadow. Oglesby was especially convincing when, near the opera’s end, his Tom Rakewell is confined in an insane asylum but imagines himself as Adonis awaiting his Venus. Megui Zhang as Anne Trulove was bright-voiced throughout, nailing her high C at the close of her Act I cabaletta, and singing beautifully her lullaby to the dying Tom accompanied by a solo flute in Act II. Jacob Scharfman was sinister throughout, vocally maneuvering amidst Stravinsky’s violently dissonant arpeggios every time his Nick Shadow appeared and deviously granted Tom’s naïve expression of a wish.  

The secondary roles are also well delineated, beginning with bass-baritone Ted Allen Pickell’s punctilious Father Trulove, and proceeding through mezzo-soprano Alexandra Urquiola’s ribald portrayal of Mother Goose, the madam of a brothel; mezzo-soprano Anne McGuire’s Baba the Turk, a bearded lady Tom weds to demonstrate his freedom from all conventions; and tenor Addison Marlor’s Sellem, the glib Auctioneer. However, it must be noted that all of these characters, including even the principals, are mere stick-figures. They are Stravinsky’s straw men and women in a parody he elaborates relentlessly throughout this opera.  

The parodic element is most clearly revealed in the auction scene, in which Stravinsky’s raucous, uncouth music is a perfect vehicle for Baba the Turk’s dismissal of the multitude of buyers as “the pigs of plunder.” In the auction scene, as throughout this opera, director Robin Guarino emphasized the parodic nature of this entire endeavor. Conductor Mark Morash did yeoman duty leading the orchestra in presenting as fine an account of this neo-classical score as one might hope for, including its use of the harpsichord. Yet, nothing, I repeat, nothing, in my opinion, succeeds in raising Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress above the level of a mildly interesting, ultimately tedious, parody. In fact, it comes dangerously close to being a farce. As none other than Karl Marx pithily observed, “When history repeats itself, what first occurred as tragedy returns as farce.” 

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday August 11, 2018 - 09:05:00 AM

Worth Noting:

Very light week - City Council is on summer recess and most Boards and Commissions do not meet in August.

The Zoning Adjustment Board August 23 draft agenda is posted and available for comment ZAB@cityofberkeley.info,

2510 Channing – density bonus 8-story, 40 unit, mixed use, (consent calendar)

2120 Berkeley Way – modify Use Permit #ZP2015-0153, renovate 3-story building to 6 stories of offices (consent calendar)

811 University – Use Permit #2018-0038, change use from commercial to private school grades 6-12, maximum 65 students, 25 teachers/staff (consent calendar)

1155-73 Hearst – continued from August 2017, develop 2 parcels including substantial renovation existing 7 units, construct 6 new units (action – staff recommend approve),

1110 University – demolish existing mixed use with 8 rent-controlled units, construct 5-story mixed-use with 36 dwellings which includes 8 Very Low income and 1 Low income units (action – staff recommend approve)


August 10 was the deadline for submitting ballot initiatives. The Police Charter Amendment is dead for November 6, 2018 election. Mayor Arreguin did not call the special Council meeting for a Council vote on the Police Commission Charter amendment. 


Sunday, August 12, 2018 

No City events listed 

Monday, August 13, 2018 

No City meetings/events listed 

Tax the Rich rally – Mon, Aug 13, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm top of Solano in front of closed Oaks Theater,  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 

No City meetings/events listed 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 

Ad-Hoc Sub-Committee on Climate Emergency, Wed, Aug 15, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm, 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor, Cypress Room, Agenda: Forum planning 


Housing Advisory Commission – Student Housing Subcommittee, Wed, Aug 15, 6:00 pm, 2000 University Ave, Au Coquelet, Agenda: shortage student housing 


Thursday, August 16, 2018 

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board – Budget & Personnel Committee, Thur, Aug 16, 5:30 pm, 2001 Center St, Law Library, 2nd Floor, Agenda: Staffing Model, Deputy Director Search Process, Cultural Awareness Training Initiative 


Design Review Committee, Thur, Aug 16, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 

739 Channing Way – Final design review three new detached 3-story buildings, 10 dwellings, 4 live/work, 1 office, Committee Decision 

2501 Haste St – demolish 6950 sq ft retail at 2433 Telegraph, Construct 7-story mixed-use to include GLA for 254 persons, 11,201 Commercial, no off-street parking 

2701 Shattuck – Preliminary Design Review, 5-story mixed-use 57 residential units, 5 VLI, 600 sq ft café, 30 parking spaces, Majprity recommendations 


Open Government Commission, Thur, Aug 16, 7:30 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: City Manager report to Open Government Commission, public record requests 


Friday, August 17, 2018 

No City meetings/events listed 

Saturday, August 18 2018 

No City events listed 

Sunday, August 19, 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