The Week



Dropping the Police Accountability Ball and the Pre-trial Scarlet Letter

Carol Denney
Wednesday August 22, 2018 - 11:24:00 AM

bBerkeley Police arrested twenty demonstrators at the most recent August, 2018 "alt-right" rally and posted their photographs and personal information on the Police Department's Twitter account. The information was picked up by other publications, including Fox News and international outlets, and caused a stir as the new "scarlet letter" of creative police abuse. -more-

Poet Tom Clark Dies after Being Struck by Car in Berkeley

Craig Lazzeretti (BCN)
Sunday August 19, 2018 - 11:11:00 PM

Local poet and author Tom Clark died after being struck by a vehicle on The Alameda near Marin Avenue in Berkeley on Friday night, according to authorities. -more-

Understanding the San Pablo Park Shooting (Public Comment)

Thomas Lord
Monday August 20, 2018 - 11:22:00 PM

"The shooting was horrifying and unacceptable. BPD is increasing patrols in the area, my office will be exploring instillation [sic] of cameras and other security measures, and we will be convening a community meeting. We are limited in staffing but having a task force is a good idea." -- Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Sunday, August 19.

The San Pablo Park area where Saturday's shooting occurred is a complex, diverse, and from my standpoint, an increasingly fractious community.

A new wave of gentrifiers have brought with them a wave of racism and displacement. As Black-owned property is liquidated, often under duress, as Black-occupied apartments are relinquished and rents nearly double overnight, as elders leave because their networks of social support from family and friends moves away - in that context - we have new arrivals who openly, proudly boast of avoiding Black people "for safety". We have new neighbors for whom the process of gentrification and displacement is not some accidental market dynamic -- it is instead a playbook of strategies actively taken up colonizers like them. We have new community members who see police harassment of Black people as a community amenity. We have new neighbors for whom the sight of a large Black barbecue or a busy Black basketball game is a problem to be solved. -more-

Help Plan for Climate Change with Vision 2050

Councilmember Kate Harrison
Monday August 20, 2018 - 11:31:00 AM

The City of Berkeley is holding an information session on August 29th regarding an exciting new project. Berkeley is committed to fighting climate change and guaranteeing high quality of life for all residents. As our infrastructure continues to age, we must ensure that our streets, sidewalks, sewer pipes, and buildings are resilient enough to withhold flooding, wildfires, and other natural disasters, while being as environmentally and financially sustainable as possible. -more-

Berkeley Police Still Investigating San Pablo Park Drive-By

Craig Lazzeretti (BCN)
Sunday August 19, 2018 - 11:13:00 PM

Police continue to investigate an apparent drive-by shooting at San Pablo Park on Saturday afternoon that left three people injured. -more-

West Edge Opera Performs Luca Francesconi’s QUARTETT

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday August 19, 2018 - 10:22:00 PM

Stage director Heiner Müller, hailed as the most important theatre director since Bertolt Brecht, at least in Germany, wrote a highly intense, extremely concentrated play, entitled Quartett, based on the incendiary 1782 French novel Les liaisons dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos. In the mid-2010s, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala approached composer Luca Francesconi, inviting him to write an opera based on Müller’s text. Francesconi acknowledges that he found this invitation daunting. However, he accepted the challenge, and, once into it, discovered it was quite a compelling opportunity. The result, Francesconi’s 2016 opera Quartett, has been performed throughout the world, and it now arrives at West Edge Opera in a newly designed staged version by Elkhanah Pulitzer. -more-

Three Shot in Berkeley's San Pablo Park

Sam Richards (BCN)
Sunday August 19, 2018 - 11:08:00 AM

Two people were seriously injured and a third suffered a minor gunshot injury Saturday night when an unidentified suspect fired a weapon into a gathering at San Pablo Park in Berkeley, police said. -more-

BPD Wants to Use Your Cam

Dennis Culver (BCN)
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 03:27:00 PM

The Berkeley Police Department is inviting residents to register their security cameras and let the police department know if they would be willing to voluntarily share footage when the department is investigating a crime. -more-

Tom Clark (1941-2018)

Larry Bensky
Sunday August 19, 2018 - 11:09:00 AM

Tom Clark lived, for decades, as his health declined, on a busy street in Berkeley, in a house with many steep stairs. Crossing, haltingly, one of those streets he was struck by a car and killed on August 17.

One of the last times I saw him he made fun of himself for his frailty at having to pause while walking in the neighborhood, and even more when he tried to get to his front door. But, although he could have, he refused to move. His surroundings – mainly an enormous trove of books, magazines, newspapers, and his own voluminous works and manuscripts would have been too hard, and time consuming, to go through alone. And aside from his wife, Angelica, he trusted no one to help.

I asked Tom if he would be interested in being interviewed. We both knew we didn’t have forever to think about it (I’m 81; he was 77). My pitch was: “You’re probably the least best known person in this country to have written, and published, over 40 books. There’s a great diversity in subject and mode in what you’ve written. And you keep up, obsessively, with the literary and political world around you. Got to be some wisdom to communicate, no?”

Tom was polite, but obviously totally uninterested. He listened to me, and without responding, said he had to go lie down. Some time later, when he hadn’t returned, Angelica – who I’d known since their first days together in Bolinas in the late Sixties – came and told me he was asleep, and there was no telling when he’d get up.

We e-mailed occasionally after that, but never saw each other again. I liked him a lot and had always felt a bond with him. In fact, as I write this, I sense how nice it would be to have him here, as we would be watching the A’s (to whose fate he was emotionally linked) about to achieve what was thought to be an impossible climb to first place. -more-



All the News about the News:Mostly It's True

Becky O'Malley
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 11:22:00 AM

This is the week that the Boston Globe and its corporate sister the New York Times are exhorting everyone in the newspaper business (and even some that don’t qualify as businesses like this site) to use their editorial pages to affirm the value of a free press in the face of assaults from You Know Who.

While we sympathize with this goal, we also understand the reluctance of the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial page to join the effort. When newspapers are (unfairly of course) accused of speaking with one voice, it’s arguable that speaking with one voice is not the best way to counter that accusation.

More than a century ago, in 1902, editorial writer Finley Peter Dunne, in his fictitious voice as Mr. Dooley, launched the widely accepted definition of the role of newspapers, usually rendered as “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. I first heard this slogan, I think, in I.F. Stone’s Weekly, and then again in my first newspaper job, from Bruce Brugmann at the Bay Guardian.

But the original was gamier. (Trigger warning for the sensitive Irish: It’s rendered as an attempt to recreate Irish dialect with English spelling, a tricky technique which caused trouble for Zora Neale Hurston and others when applied to African-American speech).

“Th' newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th' ligislachure, baptizes th' young, marries th' foolish, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim aftherward.”--Mr. Dooley (Finley Peter Dunne). -more-

Public Comment

What's Wrong with AB2923

Zelda Bronstein
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 04:02:00 PM

State Senator Steven Glazer, a Democrat representing the Seventh Assembly District in Contra Costa County, has sent a strong letter opposing the BART development bill, AB 2923, to the measure’s authors, Assemblymembers David Chiu (D, San Francisco) and Tim Grayson (D, Concord). The bill would take zoning authority over BART stations in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties and land within a 1/2 mile of the stations from the host municipalities and give it to BART.

Glazer highlighted five outstanding issues. Here’s a summary of his argument. -more-

War crimes

Jagjit Singh
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 04:09:00 PM

As many of our young kids are planning a return to school, the hopes and dreams of some kids in faraway places have been shattered forever, victims of Saudi-US-UK airstrikes. -more-

August Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Thursday August 23, 2018 - 11:32:00 AM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money.

This is a Very Good Deal. Go for it! -more-

Monsanto & Roundup - BEWARE

Tejinder Uberoi
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 04:13:00 PM

California jurors deliberated for 3 days before awarding $289 million to a school groundskeeper, who developed cancer after using its weed killer, Roundup. Doctors say Dewayne Johnson, the plaintiff, is unlikely to live past 2020. The 46- year-old man was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging Roundup causes cancer. Filed in 2016, it was fast-tracked due to the severity of Dewayne’s illness. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Will the Economy Determine the Midterms?

Bob Burnett
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 03:47:00 PM

By many indicators, the US economy is strong. As Donald Trump travels around the country campaigning for Republican candidates, he touts the economy as evidence that his policies are working. Will this be enough to determine the outcome of the November 6th midterm elections? -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 03:55:00 PM

Ron Dellums, Presente!

Remembering the Marine Vet Who became an Antiwar Congressman

"If it's radical to oppose the insanity and cruelty of the Vietnam War, if it's radical to oppose racism and sexism and all other forms of oppression, if it's radical to want to alleviate poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, and other forms of human misery, then I'm proud to be called a radical."

-- Representative Ron Dellums

Here's a video clip of Ron Dellums speaking truth about power onstage at UC Berkeley in 2016. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Binding Effects of Antipsychotics

Jack Bragen
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 03:37:00 PM

"Muscle Rigidity" is one of the many documented side effects that are probable in all antipsychotic medications. We also get "motor restlessness," as well as dry mouth, tremors, and, in instances more frequent than doctors would like to admit, there is "Tardive Dyskinesia." Tardive Dyskinesia is a syndrome of disfiguring, crippling, involuntary movements of the mouth, face, and upper body. Some of the militant pro-medication advocates have tried to assert that TD is a symptom of the illness. This is one of the more bogus things I've heard someone say. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Pennsylvania Report on pedophile priests

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 03:44:00 PM

On August 14, 2018, the Philadelphia Grand Jury Report was released to the public identifying more than 1,000 children were molested by hundreds of Roman Catholic Church priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses, while senior church officials up to the Vatican itself, took steps to cover up the abuse. The Grand Jury report indicted there might be thousands more abused children as some records were lost and some victims were afraid to come forward. Most of the perpetrators if still alive will not be criminally prosecuted because of statutes of limitations.

According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, "Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of god who were responsible for them not only did nothing, they hid it all for decades."

The Vatican expressed “shame and horror” at the scathing report and said the Pope is on the victims’ side. -more-

Arts & Events

American Bach Soloists Perform Handel’s SEMELE

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 04:14:00 PM

Ever since its premiere at Covent Garden in 1744, Handel’s Semele has mystified audiences, who can’t decide whether it is fish or fowl, opera or oratorio. As the 20th century musicologist Winton Dean noted, “the public [in 1744] found [Semele’s] tone too close to that of the discredited Italian opera and set it down as an oratorio manqué”…. Like the ‘discredited’ Italian opera seria, Handel’s Semele adheres to the da capo format whose ABA structure of arias many English audience members were beginning to tire of due to the format’s tedious repetition. (I have often said that when one hears a Handel opera, even for the first time, one hears it in fact three times, due to the repetitions of the ABA da capo format.) -more-

An Enigma Inside A Conundrum: PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 03:58:00 PM

West Edge Opera opened its 2018 summer season with Claude Debussy’s remarkable Pelléas et Mélisande. At its premiere in 1902 at Paris’s Opéra Comique, Pelléas et Mélisande created quite a stir. Some loved it, and some hated it. Unquestionably, it offered opera-goers something entirely new. Here there were no arias, no set numbers at all. Instead, there was an immensely fluid musical current that involved, in almost equal proportion, both orchestra and singers. Moreover, in an opera where every sung word is meant to be heard and understood, what dialogue there is often involves non sequiters. When Golaud, a man of forty-some years already getting some grey hairs, gets lost in the woods while hunting and happens across a beautiful young woman weeping beside a well, among the many questions he asks her is, “Quel âge avez-vous? / “How old are you?” To which the young Mélisande answers, “Je commence à avoir froid./”I’m beginning to feel cold.” -more-

The Berkeley Activist’s Calendar, August19-26

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 03:30:00 PM

Worth Noting:

The emergency Homeless Shelter which houses 95 people per night at 9th and University closes at the end of the month. There is an emergency meeting Tuesday evening 6:00 pm at the South Berkeley Senior Center.

The 1155 – 1173 Hearst project is back after a year on Thursday evening at the ZAB meeting. This project met with resistance with concerns for displacement of persons in 6 rent-controlled units and inadequate drainage plans. Soil borings have not been done.

The agenda for the LeConte Neighborhood August 29 meeting will include traffic circles and Peoples Park. Look for more information in the next weekly summary. Location will be the Art House.

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