The Battle for People's Park

Review by Gar Smith
Thursday October 17, 2019 - 09:54:00 PM

The Battle for People's Park: Berkeley 1969 is an awesome compendium, commemorating the founding, desecration, and resurrection of a plot of land that became known around the world as People's Park. This new book is a handsome and hefty collection of historic photos, personal testimonies, poems, and press accounts that fills 371 heart-pumping, gut-wrenching pages.

Berkeley's Heyday Books is the perfect publisher for this hardbound picture-book whose publication coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of People's Park. Tom Dalzell (whose long-running Quirky Berkeley column appears in Berkeleyside) is the perfect ringmaster to preside over this spectacular high-wire act of "people's journalism." -more-

Public Comment

Suggestions re communicating climate science

Thomas Lord
Thursday October 17, 2019 - 10:08:00 PM

To: Flight Free USA

CC: Berkeley Daily Planet

I noted with interest your op-ed in Berkeleyside ("Please don't fly in 2020: From Sweden to Berkeley, the 'flight shaming' movement takes off", October 14, 2019). Thanks for trying to raise awareness of the climate emergency and to encourage meaningful action.

I noticed in your Berkeleyside op-ed and on your web site that you significantly understate the urgency and scope of the emergency. In two cases you misrepresent the scientific consensus, at least as expressed in the "IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C" (aka "IPCC SR15").

In the op-ed: "At the same time, climate scientists are warning that we have less than 10 years to make a significant reduction in our carbon emissions in order to avoid catastrophic climate change." -more-

Is a Recession Coming, or Has It Already Arrived?

Harry Brill
Thursday October 17, 2019 - 10:05:00 PM

The main risk of asking the wrong question is that it most likely will yield the wrong answer. The headline caption in a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, for example, states that the "Nationwide jobless rate last month is at a 50 year low". The obvious question for those who view this as good news is how do we explain the favorable economic climate for working people. In the same article, a corporate VP provides his explanation. "We're still seeing strong demand, we're still seeing more job opportunities out there than candidates". Apparently this executive thinks that the economy is benefiting from the tremendous impact of spending by America's optimistic consumers.

But is the public really optimistic? Not according to the Conference Board, which is a business organization that surveys the public monthly on its views of the economy. The Conference Board's recent survey found that the percent of the public who expect business conditions to worsen has increased substantially. Surveys by the New York Federal Reserve and the University of Michigan also found a steep decline in public confidence.

Unfortunately, the public is right. Over 330,000 jobs were cut during the first six months of this year. Especially worrisome, this figure is a 35% increase from the same period last year. -more-

American Patriots, Where Art Thou?

Tejinder Uberoi
Thursday October 17, 2019 - 10:17:00 PM

American foreign policy continues to sink into a bottomless pit of policy blunders.

In 2003 President GW Bush, his hawkish Vice-President Cheney and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair (Bush’s poodle) crafted a fictitious tale of WMD’s, to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Following the “shock and awe” invasion resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and scores of Americans, Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority d unilaterally disbanded the Iraqi military and began a process of de-Ba’athification of the Iraqi government and police forces which coalesced into the armed ISIS insurgency. -more-


Jagjit Singh;
Friday October 18, 2019 - 05:39:00 PM

Incensed at being challenged over his “brilliant Syrian policy”, thin skinned President Trump lashed out at his critics calling Speaker Pelosi a “third-rate politician” and former Defense Secretary James Mattis “the world’s most overrated general.” He then sent a warning to President Erdoğan of Turkey “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” Americans should be most concerned of Trump’s rapidly declining mental state. He is behaving more and more like a purulent child than the leader of a powerful country. -more-


Berkeley's Just the Best, Isn't It?

Becky O'Malley
Friday October 18, 2019 - 05:09:00 PM

“Berkeley is a city in California with a population of 120,179. Berkeley is in Alameda County and is one of the best places to live in California. Living in Berkeley offers residents an urban suburban mix feel and most residents rent their homes. In Berkeley there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many young professionals live in Berkeley and residents tend to be liberal. The public schools in Berkeley are highly rated.”

It's #1 in Best Suburbs to Live in California

And not only that, it’s #3 among the Best Cities to Live In in America.

All this is from a web site I’ve never noticed before, niche.com, brought to my attention by an admiring story in the East Bay [formerly Contra Costa] Times.

Just think, I’ve lived in this paradise for about 49 years of my life altogether.

Not only that, twelve of my other years were spent in #2, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I’d argue that Berkeley is actually ahead of Ann Arbor, where at least three months of every year are cold and gray (though climate change may be fixing that). But on the other hand, no earthquakes, no wildfires. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:10 Impeachment Realities

Bob Burnett
Friday October 18, 2019 - 11:01:00 AM

Ready or not, the Impeachment of Donald Trump is coming. Before the end of 2019, the House of Representatives may vote on a variety of impeachment charges and the issue will be passed to the Senate. Here's what we've learned so far.

1. During the next 90 days, there will be an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives. The House Intelligence and Judiciary committees have already assembled enough evidence to call for a House vote. (It's not a matter of if, but when the vote will occur.) Trump appears to be guilty of multiple violations of the U.S. Government code including bribery, extortion, obstruction, and campaign finance misdeeds. (He's also guilty of obstruction and, quite possibly, conspiracy.) The House Dems are going forward, at a deliberate pace, to build the strongest case possible before year end. Some of the impeachment counts require information that will be provided only if ordered by the Supreme Court. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: We Cannot Take Our Faculties for Granted

Jack Bragen
Thursday October 17, 2019 - 10:14:00 PM

Many things can affect the amount, type, and quality of cognitive faculties. Environment is one of them. If the environment in which we live is excessively demanding, and if we do not get enough time of not being hassled, it can negatively impact faculties. In order to create and maintain mental faculties, we need peaceful time and space. If we can't get that, deterioration is the result.

Many people believe it is a waste of time to sit and ponder. Sitting and pondering is exactly what Albert Einstein did, allowing him to arrive at longstanding rules of physics. Sitting and pondering is exactly what the ancient Egyptians and Greeks probably did, when they first arrived at and improved upon Geometry, and many other areas of thought that are used to this day.

While we don't need to invent math or physics, there is a place in our lives for sitting and pondering. It can help us understand ourselves much more. It can help us reflect about things, including past behavior patterns or other relevant material, and the fruit of this is better actions. There is a place in our lives for clarity.

You normally can't get clarity without some level of pondering or reflecting. You can't deeply reflect when the environment is excessively demanding. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Thursday October 17, 2019 - 10:00:00 PM

Favorite Soundbite of the Week

KCBS and Chronicle commentator Phil Matier offered the following during a live radio discussion on the Fate of the Republic:

"On one hand, you've got the Democrats over on one side singing 'We Shall Overcome' and Trump's up there on center stage like Meatloaf, singing 'Like a Bat Outta Hell!'"

PS: For those unfamiliar with this deranged ditty, here's a sampling of the lyrics:

The sirens are screaming, and the fires are howling
Way down in the valley tonight
There's a man in the shadows with a gun in his eye
And a blade shining oh so bright
There's evil in the air and there's thunder in the sky,
And a killer's on the bloodshot streets
And down in the tunnels where the deadly are rising
Oh, I swear I saw a young boy down in the gutter
He was starting to foam in the heat

ECLECTIC RANT: Impeachment now or continue the inquiry?

Ralph E. Stone
Thursday October 17, 2019 - 10:02:00 PM

The impeachment inquiry should continue even though there is already enough evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors” to support impeachment. The evidence so far includes Trump’s admission that he solicited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, his possible opponent in the 2020 election, and his son Hunter Biden for corruption, in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. This alone is enough for impeachment.

Trump did not produce any evidence of this alleged corruption by Joe and Hunter Biden and none has emerged so far.

In addition, Trump conditioned the release of $391 million in mother relatives for Congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine and a coveted personal visit to the White House, on this asked for investigation of Joe Biden. A quid pro quo. Then the White House attempted to cover-up the whistleblower’s complaint about the solicitation. -more-

Arts & Events

Armenian Folk Singer Hasmik Harutyunyan Performs with Kitka

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday October 19, 2019 - 06:32:00 PM

In a series of concerts October 17-19 in Rohnert Park, Oakland, and San Jose, renowned Armenian folk singer Hasmik Harutyunyan teamed up with the Oakland-based women’s choral ensemble Kitka. I attended the Friday, October 18, concert in Oakland’s St. Vartan Armenian Church. The program was entitled “Gorani: Love Songs to Lost Homelands.” Between 1915 and 1923, Armenians lost much of their several thousand year-old homeland when the Turks committed genocide on the Armenian population, driving survivors into the Armenian diaspora. This October 18 concert in Oakland’s St. Vartan Armenian Church thus presented a celebration of the resilience of the Armenian diaspora. It also offered Armenian-Americans the opportunity to celebrate the 150th anniversary of their revered national composer, Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935, generally referred to simply as Komitas), who gathered centuries-old Armenian folk songs and composed his own music based on these folk traditions. Some of the folk songs Komitas transcribed were featured on this concert program. -more-

Around & About--Theater, Dance: Ancient Kathakali Theater from South India in Special Performances Through This Weekend in Oakland Studio

Ken Bullock
Thursday October 17, 2019 - 09:51:00 PM

Kathakali, the ancient South Indian theater, one of the very earliest theater forms still surviving, featuring great virtuosity in stylized acting, dance and mime by actors in lavish costumes and stunning, colorful make-up that's like a facial sculpture, taking hours to apply, like a big, animated storybook of episodes from India's mythic epic poems, often full of humor and charm, backed by percussion and singing ...
And an excellent visiting ensemble from South India will be here performing episodes from a Kathakaki epic, from Thursday, October 17, through this weekend, at an intimate private studio in Oakland (advance tickets only--see below), with Kalamandalam Manoj, the same principal actor who performed beautifully at the Berkeley Hillside Club three years ago, almost to the day. (See my preview then, http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2016-10-14/article/45016?headline=Around-About-Theater-Dance-Kathakali-Ramayana-in-Berkeley-Monday-through-Wednesday-at-Hillside-Club-Ken-Bullock )
The four performances, including a Sunday matinée with a reception with the artists & a special event, are presented by Graeme Vanderstoel, that indefatigable guide to world arts, in association with the Paul Dresher Ensemble, with support from SACHI ( sachi.org )
The artists are the splendid Kathakali principal Kalamandalam Manoj (from the most famous Kathakaki institute, Kalamandalam, founded 90 years ago by a famous poet, in Kerala state) supported by Roshni Pillai, Jan Zeitlin (who some will remember from Kathakali performances with the Kunhiramans' Kalanjali dance company) and Janhari Pillai, with introductions by a fine speaker, Kaladharan Vishwanath.
Three episodes from an old tale will be performed: the hunter in the forest (Thursday night), the hunter discovers an abandoned princess asleep (Friday night), and the princess meets the Golden Swan with its song of love.
Kathakali's a rare thing to see anywhere, especially the episodes Graeme and the artists have chosen for these performances. And Manoj is a particularly fine actor in this ancient style. This's a performing arts and cultural event of the highest caliber.
This Thursday through Saturday, October 17-19, 7:30, and Sunday the 20th at 3. Tickets $10, children; $20, students and teenagers; $30, general--at:


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, October 20-27

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday October 19, 2019 - 06:28:00 PM

Worth Noting and Showing Up:

The Update Report on Vision 2020 (racial equity in Berkeley Public Schools) which is to be presented Tuesday evening at City Council is quite startling and can be read online. https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/City_Council/2019/10_Oct/City_Council__10-22-2019_Special_Meeting_Agenda.aspx

The links and agenda highlights for the October 29 City Council meeting follow the weekly meeting list.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

City Open House, 11 am – 3 pm, Civic Center Park, Family oriented event to introduce residents to City Services and Staff https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventMain.aspx?calendarEventID=16335 -more-

Back Stories



Berkeley's Just the Best, Isn't It? 10-18-2019

Public Comment

Suggestions re communicating climate science Thomas Lord 10-17-2019

Is a Recession Coming, or Has It Already Arrived? Harry Brill 10-17-2019

American Patriots, Where Art Thou? Tejinder Uberoi 10-17-2019

Meltdown Jagjit Singh; 10-18-2019


The Battle for People's Park Review by Gar Smith 10-17-2019


THE PUBLIC EYE:10 Impeachment Realities Bob Burnett 10-18-2019

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: We Cannot Take Our Faculties for Granted Jack Bragen 10-17-2019

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 10-17-2019

ECLECTIC RANT: Impeachment now or continue the inquiry? Ralph E. Stone 10-17-2019

Arts & Events

Armenian Folk Singer Hasmik Harutyunyan Performs with Kitka Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 10-19-2019

Around & About--Theater, Dance: Ancient Kathakali Theater from South India in Special Performances Through This Weekend in Oakland Studio Ken Bullock 10-17-2019

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, October 20-27 Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 10-19-2019