The Week



New: Who Should Be Blamed for the Housing Crisis? Some Wrong Answers from Author of New Book

Thomas Lord
Wednesday November 28, 2018 - 04:10:00 PM

Randy Shaw is promoting his new book called "Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America?" Recently, he was interviewed on In a Nov. 26 interview by Frances Dinkelspiel, With zoning and neighbor veto power, Berkeley is pricing out the non-rich, says author of new book, Shaw reveals his thinking about housing policy in Berkeley. [Quotes in boldface are from that interview.]

I care quite a bit about housing policy in Berkeley. I even asked to be appointed to the Housing Advisory Commission where I try to work hard on these issues. (I represent District 2 and was appointed by Council member Cheryl Davila.) I read the interview with keen interest.

Frankly, Shaw's reported opinions disappoint and anger me. We have some very serious housing crises. In my opinion, we need less, not more, of the junk economics and false narratives Shaw is pushing. Just about everything he is says or is quoted as saying in this interview is wrong: -more-

New: Burglar Attacks Woman in South Berkeley

Supriya Yelimeli (BCN)
Sunday November 25, 2018 - 09:09:00 PM

A man entered a home in South Berkeley and sexually battered a female resident early this morning, police reported. -more-

East Bay Sanctuary Covenant Praises TRO on Asylum Ban

Julia Cheever (BCN)
Tuesday November 20, 2018 - 08:32:00 PM

A spokeswoman for an East Bay refugee rights group that sued President Donald Trump over a partial asylum ban said today the group is thrilled with a temporary restraining order granted by a federal judge.

The ban "would have had a huge impact" on the work of the Berkeley-based East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, said spokeswoman Lisa Hoffman.

Hoffman said 80 percent of the refugees served by the covenant group crossed the southern U.S. border illegally and would have been barred from applying for asylum by the ban announced by Trump on Friday.

The ban issued in a proclamation by Trump would have allowed asylum applications only from immigrants who crossed the border at designated entry points. Those entering illegally would have been barred from applying.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of San Francisco temporarily blocked the ban in an order Monday evening, acting in a lawsuit filed against Trump and other officials by the covenant and three other immigrant aid groups.

Tigar said the ban violated a "clear command" of Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act, which permits asylum applications from people physically present or arriving in the United States "whether or not at a designated port of arrival." -more-

RAIN Expected Late Tuesday or Wednesday

Bay City News
Monday November 19, 2018 - 11:45:00 AM

Confidence has increased that a storm front set to arrive late Tuesday or early Wednesday will bring much-needed relief to parched Northern California and improve poor air quality in the Bay Area caused by the Camp Fire in Butte County, according to the National Weather Service. -more-

Alameda County Ballot Count Completed—
Record Non-Presidential Year Turnout in Berkeley.

Rob Wrenn
Monday November 19, 2018 - 11:36:00 AM

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has finished its count of ballots cast in the November 6 election. A majority of those votes, 56%, were counted after election day, but, in Berkeley, votes counted after election day were similar to those that had been reported when counting ended at 2 a.m. on election night.

None of the local Berkeley races were close and votes counted after election night did not alter the outcome of any local races. The final percentage for the winning candidate in each of the four City Council races was within 3% of their percentage of the vote count as of the end of election night counting. Kate Harrison was at 52.7% at 2 a.m. on election night and finished with 52.9%. The biggest change, 2.2%, still not large, was in District 7 where Rigel Robinson was at 54.4% on election night but ended up at 56.6% when all the votes were counted. (Percentages were calculated without factoring in a very small number of write-ins.) -more-

The Berkeley Main Post Office Salutes Ashkenaz and Fantasy Films

Gar Smith
Monday November 19, 2018 - 12:00:00 PM

In 1973, when David Nadel founded the Ashkenaz music hall on Sacramento Avenue, he had a vision of fostering intercultural understanding through music and dance. This past September 15, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley's famous independent filmmaking ("One Flew Over the Coco's Nest") and recording studio (Credence Clearwater), closed its doors as a place where the magic of musician friendships created at Ashkenaz Community Center regularly came to life.

Karen Lile, a producer at both Ashkenaz and Fantasy Studios, joined with filmmaker Michael J Kofford to create a documentary tribute to the musicians who enlivened Ashkenaz and Fantasy Studios over the years. The resulting film brought together more than 60 musicians for 20 recording sessions inside Studio D, between September 17 to 29th. Kofford has turned these recording sessions into a 38-minute documentary called "Two Weeks in Studio B: Berkeley."

The film features interviews and music from recording sessions with Grammy-winner Jamie Dubberly (Dharma Brass Band), Rob Dehlinger (Alpha Rhythm Kings), Erik Jekabson, Kenny Washington & the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, Tammy L. Hall, Mimi Fox, George Winston, Allison Miller, Kendall Ross Bean and Taylor Eigsti. More information is available at"> this link. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Monday November 19, 2018 - 12:06:00 PM

Getting Money Out of Politics Could Start with This

The Blue Wave has erased the Red Tide in the House of Representatives. A new Congress means a new chance for change. It's time to clean House but, as The Intercept reveals: "Weapons makers are moving last-minute money to the Democratic congressman in line to chair the defense industry’s key House committee."

There's no defense for accepting money from companies that make a killing off killing. But now we have a chance to stop the weapons lobby from lobbing any more weapons. No more alms for arms.

World BEYOND War (WBW) has just launched an online petition demanding that the new House leaders (1) accept no further funding from the Weapons Lobby and (2) refund any donations they have already pocketed. The demand is especially urgent for congressmembers who may be chairing committees overseeing military spending and foreign policy. -more-

Bay Area Air Quality Expected to Worsen Sunday

Sam Richards (BCN)
Saturday November 17, 2018 - 08:18:00 PM

Smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County, which has cast a pall over the entire Bay Area for more than a week, isn't expected to dissipate significantly until at least Wednesday, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. -more-

Berkeley Big Game Rescheduled Due to Unhealthy Air

Kathleen Kirkwood (BCN)
Saturday November 17, 2018 - 04:32:00 PM

The Bay Area's poor air quality due to smoke from the Butte County wildfire has prompted Cal to reschedule today's Big Game. -more-

With Air quality Remaining “Very Unhealthy,” Outdoor City Services Impacted

Public Information Officer Matthai Chakko, City of Berkeley
Friday November 16, 2018 - 11:40:00 PM

With air quality remaining at very unhealthy levels in Berkeley, the City is following federal guidelines and the recommendations of the City’s health officer by curtailing various services requiring outdoor work by non-emergency staff. -more-



Election 2018: Who Won Here, and Why?

Becky O'Malley
Saturday November 17, 2018 - 04:20:00 PM

Yes, the midterm elections are ALMOST in the bag, so it’s time for the punditocracy to sharpen its teeth for the feast.

Almost the day after the election, I was amused to see that some of the nationally-oriented blogs posted by my fellow lefties were eager, as always, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Their handwringing started with “Not enough Dems were elected to make a difference.” As more and more districts came into the Blue fold this week, that lament seems to be dying.

So they went on to “ Anyway, Democrats in Congress won’t accelerate the Second Coming by more than a half decade.” Okay, I made that one up, but you get the drift.

Here’s a real example: Friday’s NY Times had the predictable letter from a Green Party functionary:

“Voting for the less terrible to prevent the more terrible when you really wanted to vote for someone else is like taking the slow route on the highway to hell. It will take longer, but you will end up at the same place either way.”

No. Poor analogy. The slower you go on the pathway to oblivion, the more time you have to find a better way to proceed. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Skipping Issue This Week

Friday November 23, 2018 - 12:57:00 PM

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm not creating a new issue this week. If anything comes in that MUST be posted, it will be in this issue. -more-

Public Comment

Hey, Harry, Keep Walking! People's Park Matters

Carol Denney
Friday November 16, 2018 - 09:36:00 AM

My friend Harry Brill wrote an opinion piece arguing that the housing crisis justifies destroying People's Park, our only monument to the anti-war movement. He's wrong. And a short walk will prove it.

Keep walking, Harry. Just a few blocks from People's Park's 2.8 acres is Smyth-Fernwald, 10 solid acres of UC-owned available land on Dwight Way already zoned and currently used for housing in dire need of upgrades. Housing with nothing behind it to stop 10 stories of dorms and apartments with views to die for if that's what the neighborhood wants.

Then look across the street, Harry, at 130 acres of Clark-Kerr campus- again, already UC-owned and zoned for housing and currently housing both students and seniors- but with room for thousands more units with that same view to die for. High-rise housing there will block nobody's view but the squirrels.

Neither of these sites have the landmark status, the international renown, the powerful resonance, nor play the active roles in community sustenance and connection that People's Park has for fifty years. And if you build five to seven stories on 2.8 acres, well, maybe a few of you can dance together, but the gathering place that made the park famous will be subtracted entirely. Which is, and always was, UC's game. Refusing to acknowledge People's Park's cultural significance is the only tradition that needs to be left behind.

There's no excuse, given the excess of options for housing, to fall for Chancellor Christ's game of pitting the obvious and lucrative policy of building only high-end, development-driven housing which manufactured the housing crisis in the first place against our city landmark in this, its 50th year of celebration. Not to mention putting our beleaguered town through the inevitable street battles construction will generate which last time lasted years and cost lives only a decade or so ago. There's even more nearby UC owned sites available on UC's handy online map, if you'll just take a look.

Let's go for a walk, Harry. I'll show you and anyone else interested through a park full of stories, and songs, and history, and wonder. I'll walk you through a park that looks scruffy from the outside, but which has changed lives when given the chance to manifest collective community projects through use-development. I'll show you a living miracle. -more-

Murder of a hero

Tejinder Uberoi
Saturday November 17, 2018 - 04:43:00 PM

In another tragic death, 26 year-old African-American, Jemel Roberson was shot and killed by a white policeman. Roberson was working as a as a security guard bar when a shooting broke out. He jumped into action to restrain the shooting suspect when several police officers arrived on the scene from the Midlothian Police Department in Chicago. Seeing a black man with a gun a white police officer shot and killed him in cold blood. -more-

New: Changes

Romila Khanna
Monday November 26, 2018 - 08:59:00 PM

Why have the changes happened to suit the Republican President? -more-

Israeli Terror Attacks

Jagjit Singh
Friday November 16, 2018 - 10:21:00 AM

The death toll in Gaza has risen to at least six after militant Israeli forces launched an unprovoked attack targeting scores of buildings, including the TV station, Al-Aqsa. Israeli airstrikes also pounded dozens of homes. Their forces drove into the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis in a clandestine operation. -more-

Didn't Vote? Don't Complain

Bruce Joffe
Friday November 16, 2018 - 10:13:00 AM

Nationwide, 85% of eligible Americans registered to vote, but only 49% actually voted in the 2018 general election. A majority of votes determines who runs our governments, yet that majority represented only 21% of eligible Americans.

If you didn't vote, don't complain about government policy. If you think all politicians are corrupt and you didn't vote your politician out of office, you are part of the corruption. -more-


New: THE PUBLIC EYE:Looking Forward to 2020

Bob Burnett
Friday November 23, 2018 - 01:02:00 PM

The 2018 midterm-election results are in and it's clear the anticipated "blue wave" happened; Democrats rolled to a convincing victory in the House of Representatives -- gaining at least 39 seats. But it's also clear that Republican voters didn't give up; where he needed to, Donald Trump turned out his base. As a result, Republicans held onto the Senate and won key governor's races. This sets the stage for a very competitive race in 2020. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation-- The New ECT?

Jack Bragen
Friday November 16, 2018 - 10:19:00 AM

lElectroconvulsive Therapy, abbreviated ECT, involves putting electrodes on a person's scalp and running electrical current through the brain. Since the 1950's, it has had an increasingly negative perception among the general public, and with good reason. However, many psychiatrists, to this day, remain enthusiastic about it. -more-

Thousand Oaks, California Mass Shooting

Ralph E. Stone
Friday November 16, 2018 - 10:29:00 AM

I had another sense of déja vu while listening and reading about the mass killing at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, where, on November 9, ex-marine Ian David Long killed twelve people including Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus, and then killed himself. As many as 15 others suffered minor injuries from jumping out windows or diving under tables. -more-

Arts & Events

New: The Berkeley Activist's Calendar:
Berkeley Public Meetings and Civic Events for November 25-December 1, 2018

Adolfo Cabral, for Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Sunday November 25, 2018 - 02:16:00 PM

Sunday, November 25 -more-

Berkeley Public Meetings and Civic Events for November 18-24, 2018

Adolfo Cabral
Friday November 16, 2018 - 10:51:00 AM

Sunday, November 18 -more-

Vivaldi the Teacher: A Philharmonia Baroque Concert

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday November 16, 2018 - 10:50:00 AM

One only had to listen well to Sunday’s concert, November 11, at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church to understand why Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra entitled its series of concerts celebrating Antonio Vivaldi’s music “Vivaldi the Teacher.” In his insistence on giving a distinct musical voice to a soloist or soloists over against an instrumental tutti, Vivaldi paved the way for the development of the concerto. In this respect, and in many others, Vivaldi was a key figure in the transition from late Baroque to early Classical style. -more-