Berkeley City Council Votes to Limit Police Doxing of Suspects

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) and Planet
Wednesday September 26, 2018 - 09:08:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council has voted by a narrow 5-3 margin to approve a resolution that orders the city's Police Department not to post photos of people arrested at protests unless they pose an immediate threat to the public's safety. -more-

Police Doxing Should Be Banned (Public Comment)

Dr. James McFadden
Tuesday September 25, 2018 - 12:08:00 PM

At tonight's Berkeley City Council meeting, I urge councilmembers to reject the mayor's wording on Item D (Supp 2) that only restricts police doxing for "First Amendment Events." -more-

Page One

California's “Yimbys”--
The Growth Machine’s Shock Troops

Zelda Bronstein
Saturday September 22, 2018 - 02:38:00 PM

Zoning used to be a total snooze. Arguments about building heights and density were the eye-glazing preserve of planning wonks and people whose next-door neighbors were contemplating two-story additions. In 2018, zoning got sexy.

The catalyst for the makeover was the fight over Senate Bill 827, introduced in the California legislature by San Francisco’s state senator, Scott Wiener, and drafted by Brian Hanlon, president of California YIMBY, an arm of the upstart pro-housing, market-friendly, millennial-led Yimby movement.

“Yimby” stands for “yes in my backyard,” a play on the better-known term “Nimby,” the “not in my backyard” tag applied to local opponents of development. Yimbys first appeared in the United States around 2014. They now have an international following. But it is in California and above all the Bay Area where they’re arguably most influential. YIMBY Action, a self-described “hub of membership” headquartered in San Francisco, claims nearly 2,000 members.

SB 827 drastically curtailed local authority over land use by restricting limitations on the height of residential development near major transit stops and suspending local parking minimums and density caps for such projects. The bill was endorsed by stalwarts of the state’s growth machine: the California Association of Realtors; the California Chamber of Commerce; the California Building Industry Association; the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; the Bay Area Council, which represents the region’s largest businesses; and more than 120 tech executives, including Nat Friedman (Microsoft), Dustin Moskovitz (Facebook cofounder), Marc Benioff (Salesforce), Logan Green (Lyft), Jeremy Stoppelman (Yelp), Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), and Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn cofounder).

Opponents included the Black Community, Clergy, and Labor Alliance; 96 cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles; and the Sierra Club; along with advocates for social equity, tenants’ rights, and local control. Though it died in its first committee hearing, SB 827 sparked a national debate over urban housing policy, transit-oriented development, democratic governance, and the neoclassical take on housing markets. -more-

The June 5, 2018 Primary Election in the 15th Assembly District and Its Aftermath

David Mundstock
Friday September 21, 2018 - 04:08:00 PM

Shortly after being re-elected for a second term Assemblymember Tony Thurmond surprisingly announced his candidacy in 2018 for California Superintendent of Public Instruction. He would become the heavy favorite to be elected statewide.

Thurmond left behind him an open Assembly seat, what looked to progressive Democratic elected officials in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties as a chance to move up. Six of them would be on the ballot:

Judy Appel - Berkeley School Board. She would be be the strongest Berkeley candidate, with endorsers such as former Mayor/State Senator Loni Hancock.

Dan Kalb - Oakland City Council. Only Oakland elected official running; a strong contender. Endorsed by the Sierra Club.

Andy Katz - EBMUD Board Member. Environmentalist background, Berkeley attorney.

Jovanka Beckles - Richmond City Council. Part of the Richmond Progressive Alliance that fights Chevron. Likely to do well in Contra Costa County.

Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto - El Cerrito City Council. Tony Thurmond's choice as his successor.

Ben Bartlett - Berkeley City Council (District 3). The third Berkeley candidate, with less than two years on the Council.

In a normal year these six would be competing to finish first or second, under the "Top Two" system, which replaced normal party primaries. The Top Two, regardless of party, move on to the November ballot and a final showdown.

2018 would not be normal, thanks to an outsider: Buffy Wicks. -more-

Public Comment

The Constitution and Homelessness

Steve Martinot
Friday September 21, 2018 - 05:06:00 PM


When the police violate the US Constitution, are they criminal? In what court can their conduct be judged illegal? For recourse against crimes against the people for violation of the Constitution, to whom can we turn?

We finally found out that it was illegal all along for the Berkeley PD to raid and disperse homeless encampments. It is a violation of the Constitution. So said the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 4, 2018. But it has been going on for years. All those former raids were illegal, and those former arrests and confiscations of property were also illegal. Now, the Court has made it official. Can this be turned into anything but a civil suit. Can past victimization be turned into anything but money?

We suspect that Berkeley city government doesn’t care. On Sept. 5, 2018, the very next day after the Ninth Circuit Court decision, the Berkeley PD raided another homeless encampment. It was the one in front of old city hall, on a street named after Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who transformed an entire social ethic through civil disobedience. Berkeley City Council had passed an ordinance a couple of years back that said it was illegal to sleep on public property. That ordinance does not supersede the Constitution. The reverse is the case – has always been the case, but is now officially the case. The Ninth Circuit Court said that a city could not prevent homeless people from sleeping on public land if the city could not provide shelter for them. To do so is a violation of the 8th Amendment.

But what does the 8th Amendment have to do with homelessness? -more-

Three Environmental Nightmares - Where is Democracy Hiding?

Harry Brill
Friday September 21, 2018 - 04:42:00 PM

Governor Brown recently issued an executive order to make California carbon neutral. That is, serious steps would be taken to prevent any increase of carbon dioxide into the air. If you are pleased with this new development, my advice is to hold the applause. The purpose of the executive order is only to avoid an increase but not a reduction in the already high level of current carbon dioxide emissions.

Moreover,- California is given until 2045 for the executive order to go into effect. This is 27 years from now. That is much too long a wait because many problems and barriers in the meanwhile can get in the way. But even if Brown's executive order survives and is taken seriously, it gives the business community 27 years to continue to spew even more carbon dioxide into the air.

A second recent environmental event is a federal court decision to throw out a California law that raises money for hazardous cleanups caused by accidents. The law allows California to charge railroad companies a fee per-car for carrying crude oil, gasoline, and other hazardous materials into the state -more-

Judge Kavanaugh

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday September 21, 2018 - 04:48:00 PM

The dark clouds hanging over Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination are growing increasingly menacing. His denial of attempted rape rings hollow given his conspirator, Mark Judge’s sensational book, Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk. The book describes being an alcoholic in high school and even features a cameo by someone he calls “Bart O’Kavanaugh” who vomited in someone’s car and passed out on his way back from a party. The attempted rape accuser, Dr. Blasey Ford, identified Kavanaugh’s friend as the conservative writer Mark Judge. -more-


The Universal and Unavoidable Consequences of Being Human, Even in Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Monday September 17, 2018 - 10:58:00 AM

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to figure out what the City of Berkeley’s policy on homelessness is. I’ve asked a lot of people: a couple of councilmembers, neighborhood activists in the areas with visible homeless populations, those invaluable civic watchdogs who go to all the meetings, some charitable souls who try to minister to the physical needs of those who live on the street with clothing, blankets and food… I’ve gotten the views of some of the thoughtful public citizens who think and then write about such problems, including some on this site. I’ve even been talking to a couple of friends who are part of the outdoor population. And now I’m more confused than ever. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE; Britain: The Anti-Semitism Debate

Conn Hallinan
Friday September 21, 2018 - 05:11:00 PM

Does the British Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, have an “anti-Semitism problem,” or has the Party’s left wing been targeted by the Israeli government for its support of the growing boycott and divestment movement that challenges Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land? A group of Israeli lawyers and social activists would like to know the answer to that question and have filed a Freedom of Information action in an effort to find out.

Spearheaded by Israeli human rights activist Eitay Mack, the request targets Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to “verify that these play no part in the de-legitimization waged in recent years on the UK Labour Party and Mr. Corbyn.”

The Labour leader has been called an “anti-Semite and a racist” by one of the Party’s members of Parliament, and in a recent tweet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Corbyn of honoring Palestinians who took part in the attack on Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE; Rape and Redemption: Trump and Kavanaugh

Bob Burnett
Friday September 21, 2018 - 05:03:00 PM

Presidential elections reflect voter concerns, as well as candidate personalities. In addition, national election results often reflect changing American norms. While the 2018 mid-term election has been touted as the year of the woman, it also mirrors our collective concern about violence against women -- the rape culture. This heightened awareness has impacted the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

It's useful to consider how we got to this moment. The 2016 presidential campaign pitted two unpopular candidates: Hillary Clinton with a reputation for lying and calculated ambition; and Donald Trump with a reputation for sexual abuse and bullying. Crooked Hillary versus "pussy grabber" Trump.

In retrospect it would have been better if voters had pushed the "none of the above" button and left the US without a president until two more acceptable candidates were presented. Sadly, that wasn't an option and Donald Trump narrowly won the election. One way to interpret this outcome is that voters disliked crooked Hillary more than "pussy grabber" Trump. Whatever the reason, Trump, in effect, got a pass on his sexist behavior. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Outdated "Morality" Should Not Be Applied

Jack Bragen
Friday September 21, 2018 - 04:30:00 PM

The concept of "good versus evil" is not unique to one culture. It is embedded deeply into Judaism, Christianity, and, apparently, a number of other religions. It forms the basis of much of the criminal justice system in the U.S., and it is incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. Also, most people think in terms of what is "right and wrong," albeit most seem to see themselves as right, and see those with whom they disagree as "wrong." -more-

ECLECTIC RANT; Trump’s Leaky White House

Ralph E. Stone
Friday September 21, 2018 - 04:53:00 PM

Juicy stuff about Donald Trump continues to leak like a sprinkler system gone crazy. While not full of Trump White House administration leaks, former FBI Director James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth Lies and Leadership, started the anti-Trump books. In his book Comey calls the Trump presidency a “forest fire” that is doing serious damage to the country’s norms and traditions. “This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey writes. “His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.” -more-

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Sept. 23-30

Kelly Hammargren
Saturday September 22, 2018 - 12:34:00 PM

Worth Noting:

Very busy week ahead. Besides all the City meetings, the League of Women Voters is sponsoring candidate forums Tuesday evening for the School Board and Wednesday for the Rent Board.


October 2, City Council meeting agenda posted and available for review and comment, 9. Parking, 10. a.&b. Cannabis Ordinance, 11. a.&b. Homelessness, 12. a.&b. Sanctuary Working group, 13. Whistleblower protection ordinance

https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/City_Council/City_Council__Agenda_Index.aspx -more-

Joshua Kosman’s All Wrong on CAV/PAG at SF Opera

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday September 21, 2018 - 04:33:00 PM

There’s a French saying, “à chacun son goût/each to his own taste.” While honoring this proverbial wisdom, I find Joshua Kosman’s review, (in the Monday, 9/10 issue of the Chronicle), of San Francisco Opera’s current duo of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci so wrong-headed that I have to register my profound disagreement. Of course, historically, there have been avid partisans and/or detractors of one or the other of this famed duo of operas. But never, I think, until Kosman, has a critic deigned to dismiss Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (“Rustic Chivalry”), as “a piece of second-rate motley, with its halting dramaturgy and dull digressions.” I simply couldn’t disagree more with this rude dismissal of an opera that, in case Kosman hasn’t noticed, never fails to move audiences, and even moves quite a few critics. -more-

Back Stories



The Universal and Unavoidable Consequences of Being Human, Even in Berkeley 09-17-2018

Public Comment

The Constitution and Homelessness Steve Martinot 09-21-2018

Three Environmental Nightmares - Where is Democracy Hiding? Harry Brill 09-21-2018

Judge Kavanaugh Tejinder Uberoi 09-21-2018

The Berkeley City Manager and the DBA's Flier Smackdown, or Defund the DBA Carol Denney 09-15-2018

Bolton trashes the ICC & PLO Jagjit Singh 09-15-2018

Hurricane Florence Tejinder Uberoi 09-15-2018

Northbrae: A Church that Grapples with Earthly Dilemmas Emily Hancock 09-15-2018

Sexual Abuse Is A Crime Of Violence Harry Brill 09-15-2018

September Pepper Spray Times By Grace Underpressure 09-15-2018


Berkeley City Council Votes to Limit Police Doxing of Suspects Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) and Planet 09-26-2018

Police Doxing Should Be Banned (Public Comment) Dr. James McFadden 09-25-2018

California's “Yimbys”--
The Growth Machine’s Shock Troops
Zelda Bronstein 09-22-2018

The June 5, 2018 Primary Election in the 15th Assembly District and Its Aftermath David Mundstock 09-21-2018

Affirm Capanile Way Landmarking on Thursday:
An Open Letter to the Berkeley City Council
Carol Denney 09-18-2018


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE; Britain: The Anti-Semitism Debate Conn Hallinan 09-21-2018

THE PUBLIC EYE; Rape and Redemption: Trump and Kavanaugh Bob Burnett 09-21-2018

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Outdated "Morality" Should Not Be Applied Jack Bragen 09-21-2018

ECLECTIC RANT; Trump’s Leaky White House Ralph E. Stone 09-21-2018

THE PUBLIC EYE: Suspicions Confirmed, Woodward on Trump Bob Burnett 09-15-2018

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Point of No Return Jack Bragen 09-15-2018

ECLECTIC RANT: Three cheers for Robert Mueller’s team Ralph E. Stone 09-16-2018

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 09-15-2018

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Sept. 23-30 Kelly Hammargren 09-22-2018

Joshua Kosman’s All Wrong on CAV/PAG at SF Opera Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 09-21-2018

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Sept. 16-23 Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 09-15-2018

Radvanovsky Sensational in ROBERTO DEVEREUX; Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 09-15-2018