The Week



Disruptive Berkeley City Council Meetings

Margy Wilkinson
Wednesday April 17, 2019 - 02:41:00 PM

Recent City Council meetings have seen strong reactions from folks there. I know that the council would prefer that everyone behaves nicely, patiently waits his or her turn at the mike and does not speak out of turn. But I think the Mayor and the Council by their own actions have made this almost impossible.

The point of public comment is that the people who pay taxes and vote get a chance to try to influence council members before the council votes. What has happened in Berkeley is that public comment has become a joke. It started during the Bates administration and unfortunately has reappeared with the new “progressive” council majority. Time after time when a vote is taken on an important issue, what has been said in public comment plays no role in how the majority of the council votes – most of the time there is not even an acknowledgement that anyone said anything. This leads to anger and cynicism – and when people’s very lives are at stake – as in the case of the vote on the RV policy -- the public has no way to express its concern, anger, outrage except to become loud.

In the matter of the RV policy if the Mayor and the City Manager had spent a few days or even several hours meeting with and talking to the RV dwellers and those of us who consider ourselves to be homeless advocates and had shown some tiny amount of comprehension of our concerns, much of the stormy rhetoric at Council might have been avoided.

In the meeting itself the Mayor turned a deaf ear to what the people in the chamber wanted. What in the world was he thinking when he repeatedly insisted that Item 21 had to go after other things on the agenda? It made no sense.

Unfortunately it becomes clear day by day that the leadership of this city has little interest in dealing humanely with homelessnees and is focused rather on just making those who are unsheltered go away.

Orderly conversations start with those who have the most power, not the other way around. -more-

Press Release: Joseph Young Named Berkeley Symphony Director

Contact: Maggie Perkes, Berkeley Symphony
Wednesday April 17, 2019 - 02:08:00 PM

Berkeley Symphony is pleased to announce that Joseph Young has been named Music Director of Berkeley Symphony beginning with the 2019-20 Season through 2021-22.

In recent years, Joseph Young has made appearances with the Saint Louis Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Bamberger Symphoniker, New World Symphony Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, and the Orquesta Sinfonica y Coro de RTVE (Madrid); among others in the U.S. and Europe. -more-

48hills sues MTC over secretive housing policy operation

Tim Redmond,
Monday April 15, 2019 - 02:51:00 PM

We want to know how much public money went into funding a pro-developer operations aimed at promoting more market-rate housing with few protections for vulnerable communities.

48hills filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court today asking a judge to order the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to release full reports of how much public money was spent on the Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA).

The lawsuit demands all documents that show MTC funding going to CASA from the first day the regional transit agency helped create that group, which was chartered with finding a “grand solution” to the Bay Area’s housing crisis. -more-

Police Check Gunfire Reports Near UCB

Kathleen Kirkwood (BCN)
Friday April 12, 2019 - 12:25:00 PM

Police at UC Berkeley were investigating after reports early Friday of 10 gunshots heard near the campus in three different locations. -more-

Cyclist Hit by Car Dies at Home

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday April 12, 2019 - 12:27:00 PM

A 75-year-old bicyclist who was injured when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Berkeley last month has died, according to the Alameda County coroner's bureau. -more-

Peace and Justice Commission Passes Unanimous Resolution Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of People's Park

Carol Denney
Thursday April 11, 2019 - 08:32:00 PM

The Peace and Justice Commission unanimously passed a resolution commemorating the 50th Anniversary of People's Park at its Monday, April 8th, 2019, meeting in City Hall's Cypress room. The resolution from Commissioners Igor Tregub and Denny Han is extensive, honoring People's Parks origins, history, founders, and values, describing it as "significant" and noting that, "the founding ideals of the Park remain critically important today." -more-


Public Comment

Comments on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR)
for the Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) Upper Hearst Development project
and Minor Amendment to the 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP)

J M Sharp
Saturday April 13, 2019 - 03:22:00 PM

Welcome to another chapter in Berkeley’s GOWN SWALLOWS TOWN saga. My comments below address the Proposed Project’s deficiencies with two-dozen narrative “nuggets.” Most of my questions are tossed into a “caboose” at the end.

Though the Upper Hearst Development is exceedingly complicated, I think it can be reduced to a relatively simple formula:

DVP > P3 > ASM > $

where: DVP = dean’s vanity project

P3 = public private* partnership

ASM = aerial strip mine

* with outsource partners ACC and CHF

My recommendations to the authors of the CEQA draft document are also uncomplicated:

First, SCRAP the Minor LRDP Amendment concerning density in the Campus Environs Housing Zone. The changes advocated in Appendix B (DSEIR, p 251) rest on the flimsiest of assertions concerning “an exception” needed in support of university “excellence.”

Second, SEVER the updated population baseline discussion from the DSEIR. The relationship of existing campus headcount with 2020 LRDP projections is sufficiently important to merit its own independent CEQA document. The City of Berkeley agrees. -more-

Safety of Boeing's 737 Max 8 Questioned

Jagjit Singh
Thursday April 11, 2019 - 09:35:00 PM

Serious questions have been raised regarding the airworthiness and safety of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8. -more-

Evangelical Now Means Hypocrite

Ron Lowe
Thursday April 11, 2019 - 09:25:00 PM

One of the most extraordinary developments of recent political history--is the loyal adherence of religious conservatives to Donald Trump. Trump won four-fifths of the votes of white evangelical Christians. This was a higher level of support than either Ronald Reagan or George W, Bush, an outspoken evangelical himself, ever received. -more-

New: Livable California and CVP send BART cease and desist letter for Brown Act violation

Bob Silvestri
Sunday April 14, 2019 - 11:22:00 AM

Senate Bill 50 (Wiener, San Francisco) is the most sweeping anti-local control legislation in California’s history. It represents the result of years of well-financed efforts by major banking, real estate development and corporate interests, and opportunistic Sacramento politicians pushing to remove local control of zoning and planning. The true purposes of SB 50 are disguised by a carefully crafted marketing campaign, which claims that unlimited growth will result in housing affordability. -more-

Moral Banking: From North Dakota To the Bay Area

Harry Brill
Thursday April 11, 2019 - 09:26:00 PM

The banks in California deposit the state's tax revenue in the large private banks, which often invests these funds out of state. The earnings from these investments are not generally emitted to the State's treasury. This practice weakens the state economy, and deprives the public of an adequate budget for its various programs. This pattern characterizes how the big banks do their business in other states as well. -more-

New: Welcome to the Company Town - Housing for Teachers, But Not for You

Carol Denney
Sunday April 14, 2019 - 11:21:00 AM

They can't say it worked in West Virginia. When employers - the coal companies - owned the housing and the stores where workers bought equipment, food, and clothing, all it took was a whiff of union talk for management to whistle coal miners right out of a job, and sometimes coal miners' families out of a home. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Diego Garcia: “Unsinkable Carrier” Springs a Leak

Conn Hallinan
Thursday April 11, 2019 - 08:55:00 PM

The recent decision by the Hague-based International Court of Justice that the Chagos Islands—with its huge US military base at Diego Garcia—are being illegally occupied by the United Kingdom (UK) has the potential to upend the strategic plans of a dozen regional capitals, ranging from Beijing to Riyadh. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Prognoses and Prospects

Jack Bragen
Thursday April 11, 2019 - 09:00:00 PM

The norm of adult males with schizophrenia appears to be a lot of difficulty, sometimes to the point of disaster. I have heard numerous stories of tragedies befalling men with schizophrenia. The least of these is when we live peacefully and pass away relatively young, due to chronic health problems. Other individuals are not as fortunate. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: 25TH Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide

Ralph E. Stone
Thursday April 11, 2019 - 08:42:00 PM

April 7, 2019, marked the 25th anniversary of what we now know as the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. It was just one episode in the 20th century Hutu-Tutsi conflict in that part of the world, from the slaughter of 80,000 to 200,000 Hutus by the Tutsi army in Burundi in 1972, to the 1994 Rwandan Genocide of more than 800,000 to 1 million Rwandans — both Tutsis and Hutus — in just 100 days. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday April 12, 2019 - 12:04:00 PM

Trump and Free Speech

Donald Trump recently threatened to cut UC Berkeley's federal funds if the campus administration failed to honor Trump's concept of "free speech" on campus. But Trump's decree was basically an exercise in empty rhetoric because (1) UC Berkeley already has long-standing policies to protect free-speech and (2) already allocated federal funds cannot be withheld by a decree from the Offal Orifice . . . . ummm, excuse me: I meant Oval Office.

Irony, thy name is Trump.

At the same time DJT pretends to be an advocate of "free speech," he continues to silence and muzzle the government's own research scientists. From NASA and NOAA to the EPA, professional scientists have been ordered not to speak or write the words "climate change" or "global warming." Those phrases—and any research addressing these existential planetary threats—have now been officially scrubbed from government websites and reports. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Emanuel Ax Excels in Brahms’ 2nd Piano Concerto

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday April 17, 2019 - 03:24:00 PM

In concerts this weekend, April 11-14, pianist Emanuel Ax joined the San Francisco Symphony in performances of Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Opus 83. Paired with this work was the tone-poem Die Seejungfrau /The Mermaid by Alexander Zemlinsky. Conducting was Andrey Boreyko, the new Music and Artistic Director of Warsaw Philharmonic. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, April 14-21

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday April 13, 2019 - 03:27:00 PM

Worth Noting:

City Council is on Spring Recess until April 22. City Council Agenda for April 23 is available for comment (agenda highlights and link follows calendar)

City Council 1000 Person Plan scheduled for April 30 at 4:30 pm,

General information including the Land Use Calendar, tentative schedule of City Council work sessions, boards and commissions delinquent in posting meeting minutes and links to BUSD and regional meetings are posted at the bottom after the summary of next week’s meetings.

Sunday, April 14, 201

Egg Dyeing and Water Games – Ages 3-12, 12 – 1:30 pm, at King Pool, -more-