The Week



Flash: Earthquake Leaves Berkeley Undamaged

Bay City News
Tuesday October 15, 2019 - 01:20:00 PM

A 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Bay Area Monday night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. -more-



Stupidity is Alive and Well across the Nation

Becky O'Malley
Friday October 11, 2019 - 02:54:00 PM

A friend sometimes quotes her late father, complete with old-style Eastern European accent:

“The shtupids! Dey’re everywhere!

And indeed, this week’s news once again proves him right.

The stupids are everywhere.

First, let’s start with the cast of clowns that surround Donald Trump, now that all the putative adults have left the building, and with the clown-in-chief himself.

How can he/they possibly think that they can get away with it?

By “it”, we mean the whole megillah, but especially, not only withholding appropriated funds from Ukraine pending dirt on the Bidens, but also openly boasting about doing it.

Every day a new amazement. Yesterday, it was the appearance of two characters apparently acquired from Rent-a-Thug who set up a phony LLC to funnel money to Republican campaigns. Not only did they get caught, their prime candidates lost their elections.

But this show goes on daily, so by the time this is posted there will be a new outrage. So enough about that.

Instead, let’s consider the recent PG&E “event”. -more-

Public Comment

As Art Schools go the Way of Plant Stores in the 70s, CCA Launches Plans to Sell Off Oakland Campus for High Rise Development

Robert Brokl, Alfred Crofts
Friday October 11, 2019 - 04:21:00 PM

The historic California College of Art (the Crafts part of the name was excised years back) in Rockridge, on a 4+ acre wooded site, is threatened by sale, for a high rise housing development. The CCA board, chaired by artist Stephen Beal, is initiating an EIR process, to gain approval for entitlements for the project, before the sale to Emerald Fund and Equity Community Builders. CCA would shrink to a San Francisco campus only.

As an artist, who has regularly visited CCA over the years, both to see and participate in exhibits there, this potential loss affects me personally. Worse, loss of this arts school, where nationally and internationally-known artists like Viola Frey, Robert Arneson, Manuel Neri, Peter Voulkos, Raymond Saunders, David Ireland, Robert Bechtel, Squeak Carnwath, and M. Louise Stanley were alumni, would be devastating blow to Oakland's cultural heritage and patrimony.

The proposed project is also a terrible blow to the physical setting of the campus, with its mature landscaping, where the school has existed for 93 years. Nearly all the trees would be removed—some oaks will be “transplanted,” and only historic Mackey and Carnegie Halls, and some of the distinctive grand staircase and portion of adjoining wall along Broadway, would be saved.

The proposed project is environmentally disastrous: demolishing eminently repurposable buildings, some of relatively recent vintage, for a mammoth, high rise housing project is an incredible waste. -more-

Roadblocks to Democracy: Presidents, Senators, and Conference Committees

Gar Smith
Friday October 11, 2019 - 04:31:00 PM

As a child, I was taught that the US is a democracy and, I was led to believe, any country that holds elections to choose a president is, ipso facto, a democracy. When I was older, I was told that the US is actually a "Representative Republic" but we're still a free people because we are able to chose our own representatives and, of course, elect the president. -more-

Big Changes Are Needed at KPFA Radio in Berkeley

Doug Buckwald
Saturday October 12, 2019 - 11:20:00 AM

In its early days, KPFA functioned as a true community radio station, with vibrant community involvement and a sincere dedication to democratic principles, freedom of expression, multiple viewpoints, and strong opposition to militarism and war.

Now, if KPFA's founder Lewis Hill somehow returned and visited the station, he would be appalled to see what it has become. KPFA's current leaders have largely abandoned Hill's original vision and ideals and now operate the station as little more than a private radio club for the same handful of paid program hosts who have occupied the airwaves for 20, 30, 40 years or longer. KPFA's paid programmers are unionized, and their union, Communications Workers of America (Local 9415), is a consistent supporter of Democratic Party candidates. Quincy McCoy, KPFA's General Manager, likes to say that KPFA is a "community-powered" radio station. I think it may be more accurate to say it is a "union-powered" radio station. The listeners foot the bill, but the union members call the shots. -more-

October Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Monday October 14, 2019 - 03:24:00 PM

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-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Why it is Important to Stretch the Comfort Zone...But Not Too Much

Jack Bragen
Friday October 11, 2019 - 04:26:00 PM

Some mentally ill people have a lot of difficulty with things that non-afflicted people assume are easy. Consequently, when we complain or have a problem with one of these things, we are thought to be lazy or of bad character. People do not comprehend that we might find something to be very hard that they believe anyone can do with no problem. We may receive bullying over this. Family members or acquaintances do not understand our struggle and they believe we are being difficult without good reason. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday October 11, 2019 - 04:11:00 PM

Don't Despair. The Bureaucrats Are in Charge

During a live October 8 press conference conducted to prepare 800,000 California residents for power outages that might last up to a week, a portly PG&E spokesperson assured everyone that the giant utility (and bankrupt felon) was dedicated to "solutionizing" the situation.

It's looking like the abbreviation PG&E has come to stand for Performance Gaffes & Emergencies.

Gov. Gav Gives Public Banks a Boost

After a long legislative struggle powered largely by "grassroots people power," California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB 857, the Public Banks bill. Cities and counties across the state can now create their own, independent, locally-run banks free from the marketing mindset of Big Buck Banks like Citi, Chase and BofA.
AB 857, stewarded by Assemblymembers David Chiu and Miguel Santiago, won the support of more than180 organizations—including labor unions, environmental groups, economic justice advocates, the California Democratic Party, and cities and counties statewide.
As the California Public Banking Alliance proudly notes: -more-

Arts & Events

A Wishy-Washy Staging of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday October 12, 2019 - 09:25:00 PM

On Friday, October 11, San Francisco Opera offered the first performance of a new production of the Mozart-Da Ponte opera Le Nozze di Figaro. This production, staged by Canadian director Michael Cavanagh, is the first of three Mozart-Da Ponte collaborations that will be staged by the same director in succeeding years. Cavanagh sets all three operas in the same manor house in America, and he attempts to envision three stages of development-dissolution of America in his staging of Le Nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, and Don Giovanni. All I can say is, if this wishy-washy staging of Le Nozze di Figaro is any indication, we the audience — and we as Americans — are in for some sloppy thinking about our national culture, whatever that may be. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, October 13-20

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday October 12, 2019 - 09:22:00 PM

Worth Noting:

The list of meetings with agenda highlights is especially long with both the City Council Agenda Committee meeting and City Council Regular meeting on Tuesday. In fact, Tuesday is packed with City Council, Sunshares and the 4th Democratic Debate all running simultaneously. If you are interested in solar, consider attending the SunShares workshop.

If you don’t or can’t have solar on your roof you can still choose 100% renewable electricity thru Opt Up for 100% Clean Electricity through East Bay Community Energy by choosing Renewable 100 If your budget is too squeezed to pay a few more dollars a month for 100% renewable Brilliant 100% is carbon free (no nuclear) and the same cost as PG&E.

Plan Ahead:

November 12, City Council will be holding a special meeting on Traffic Circles. The Traffic Circle Task Force recommends retaining trees.” City staff/employees are preparing an opposition report to cut down trees. For more detail read the op-ed on threat to trees in traffic circles and Traffic Circle Task Force Recommendations as recorded in meeting minutes

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Bay Area Bee and Pollinator Fair, 10 am – 3 pm, at Berkeley Flea Market – Ashby BART parking lot, information for supporting bee and other populations through creating friendly gardens,

Alameda County Residents - Albany Golden Gate Fields Mattress and Box Springs Drop-off – follow link to fill out form to arrange drop-off, 1100 Eastshore Highway, Golden Gate Fields North Parking lot. Besides matresses you can drop off the usual hazardous waste

Monday, October 14, 2019 -more-