West Berkeley Head Start School
West Berkeley Head Start School


Proposed Mix-Used Projects at 2801 Adeline, 2821 and 2900 Shattuck

Rose Ann Cochran
Saturday January 25, 2020 - 07:48:00 PM

Page One

Vaping Lounge, Marijuana Dispensary Proposed Near Head Start

Carol Denney
Saturday January 25, 2020 - 07:59:00 PM

Neighbors to the proposed marijuana dispensary and "vaping lounge" at University and San Pablo discovered their local school was left off the map which, if included, would have precluded the dispensary's zoning certification. The Planning Department says the Berkeley Patients Group certification has been granted. They had no explanation for the omission of the school.

Teachers at the YMCA Headstart School were baffled when shown the map, which they claim leaves out not only their 10th Street location but three locations of Headstart programs as well. Headstart Schools serve families, pregnant women, and children from three years old through kindergarten. Educational services include "language development, literacy, mathematics, science, creative arts" among additional services.

The proposed marijuana dispensary has already caused concern because it is next to the West Branch Public Library. Most California cities with dispensaries include libraries in their buffer zones. -more-

Berkeley City Council Approves Emergency Shelter Plan

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday January 22, 2020 - 08:24:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday night to direct City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley to develop an emergency shelter somewhere in the city to try to ease the city's homeless crisis.

The plan by City Councilwoman Kate Harrison lists one possible site as being a homeless camp for up to 120 tents below a bridge on University Avenue that connects Fourth Street and the city's waterfront, but asks for Williams-Ridley to investigate other locations as well.

Harrison, whose plan was supported by Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmembers Cheryl Davila and Rigel Robinson when it was presented to the council, says, "Ideal locations would be owned and/or managed by the city of Berkeley in non-residential zones and be accessible by public transit."

The City Council voted 7-0 to approve the plan, with Councilmembers Lori Droste and Rashi Kesarwani abstaining. -more-



Glen Kohler
Saturday January 25, 2020 - 08:03:00 PM

Organizing folders and files, continued….

Instead of littering the desktop with endless files and folders, you can create special icons that often-used folders inside of Documents or Pictures. Such icons are called aliases, and they are really easy to make.

Navigate to a folder in your user account that you use frequently. Say it’s in Documents. Click on it while holding down the Control key to invoke a drop-down menu. About halfway down the menu is the command ‘make alias’. Click on it and a duplicate icon will appear just below the folder you are interested in, named ‘yourfoldername alias’.

The new icon will have a small arrow in the lower left corner, which tells you it is an alias and not the actual folder.

Drag the alias icon onto the desktop. Then when you want to work with the contents of that folder, double-click on the folder’s alias to open the actual folder—which still resides in your Documents folder.

Tech Notes

The State of the Internet

FCC chairman Ajit Pai was formerly Verizon Corp.’s lead counsel before the fool in the Oval Office put him in charge of rules governing America’s communication giants. At the top of Pai’s to-do list was axing the ‘Net Neutrality rule: the 2015 Open Internet Order, which said the Internet is a Public Utility, and that providers of fixed and mobile broadband cannot blocki, throttle, or create paid prioritization—so-called fast lanes. It reclassified broadband as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, and in so granted itself the authority to regulate broadband service nationwide. Pai vacated this order in 2017. -more-

Public Comment

The Business Party Syndicate

James McFadden
Friday January 24, 2020 - 02:34:00 PM

Each year Leftist Democrats, Socialists and Radicals are asked to hold their noses and vote for the lesser-of-two-evils. This is a false choice because we live in a rigged One-Party state – a plutocracy run by the Business Party, a Syndicate with Democratic and Republican wings. “Syndicate” is the proper word for our corrupt One-Party system because there is no real choice – only the appearance of choice. We are onlookers cheering for the villain or the babyface in a pro-wrestling spectacle we call elections orchestrated by a complicit mass media. We must open our eyes to this facade for “the first revolutionary act is to call things by their true name.” (Rosa Luxemburg) -more-


Supporting Workers in Gig Professions is Complicated

Becky O'Malley
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 11:36:00 AM

The law of unintended consequences is alive and well and living in Sacramento. A well-intended bill which seemed to be designed to correct inequities affecting drivers of on-demand car services like Uber and Lyft is causing an uproar among small arts production organizations among others.

An onine posting from one of the Bay Area’s excellent small-scale low budget professional production companies, Alameda’s Island City Opera, tipped me off:

“It is with a heavy heart that, due to circumstances beyond our control, we must postpone our current plans for the March 2020 production of Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers. “As of January 1, 2020 the State of California put into effect new regulations. Island City Opera (ICO), with the guidance of legal counsel, has determined that these new rules apply to ICO and present significant new administrative and financial requirements. The ICO management team is investigating exactly what is required to meet the new rules and developing a plan for the future.”
The villain is Assembly Bill 5, which was authored by California Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 18th, 2019, to take effect on January 1, 2020.

Groups like Island City recruit performers from an itinerant contingent of professional actors, singers and other musicians who need to assemble a lot of different jobs to create something like a living wage. That’s where the term “gig economy” originated—jazz musicians back in the day called their engagements “gigs´. Wikipedia claims that the word originated in the 1920s and is short for “engagement”. That might just be folk etymology, but regardless of origin, this term has been adopted for all kinds of short-term work.

Some musicians and actors at some points in history have achieved the goal of steady work with the aid of Actors’ Equity and the American Federation of Musicians, but the vast majority of those who entertain us in the Bay and elsewhere must go it on their own with no union to back them up. Many go back and forth between managing productions and appearing in them. Professionals usually get small fees and they are supported by a lot of unpaid volunteers. -more-



Conn Hallinan
Saturday January 25, 2020 - 07:41:00 PM

Each year Dispatches From The Edge gives awards to individuals, companies and governments that make reading the news a daily adventure. Here are the awards for 2019

Life Imitates Art Award to the US Border Control and the Trump administration that are currently holding between 11,000 and 14,000 immigrant children under the age of 18 in internment camps. According to the London Review of Books, a Border Patrol agent gave a three-year old the choice of being with her mother or her father. When the father was being taken away the child began to cry, only to be scolded by the Agent: “You said with Mom.” The child’s name: Sofi.

Dr. Strangelove Award to the US Defense Department for its unique solution to the problem of supplying troops in war zones. Between 2001 and 2010, US soldiers escorting fuel convoys in Afghanistan and Iraq accounted for more than half the casualties suffered by American forces. The solution? Portable nuclear power plants that would generate between 1 and 10 megawatts and service up to 1,000 troops. The “micro-nukes” would be “semiautonomous,’ that is, they wouldn’t need on-site operators. Even small reactors contain significant amounts of highly radioactive and long-lived isotopes, like cesium-137. I mean, what could go wrong? -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:Defending Donald Trump

Bob Burnett
Friday January 24, 2020 - 02:26:00 PM

As Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial began on January 16th, many of us wondered how Trump's legal team would respond to the serious accusations contained in the two articles of impeachment. It didn't take long to realize that these lawyers serve as an extension of Trump; they are responding in the manner we have come to expect from Trump whenever he is confronted with his misdeeds.

Trump is accused of (1) abuse of power and (2) obstruction of Congress. The abuse of power charge concerns Trump's conduct with regards to Ukraine: "President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States presidential election. He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his re-election, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States presidential election to his advantage. President Trump also sought to pressure the government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations."

The obstruction of Congress charge concern's Trump's unprecedented "stonewalling" of the House of Representatives inquiry: "Donald J Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its sole power of impeachment."

These are serious charges -- much more serious than those charges levied against Bill Clinton, twenty years ago -- and deserve serious consideration. Therefore, it's reasonable to expect Trump's legal team to behave professionally. That's not happening. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Important Role of Mindfulness

Jack Bragen
Friday January 24, 2020 - 02:29:00 PM

Psychiatric medication, in the opinions of many psychiatrists, is the primary, often only response to a mental illness, especially in the case of schizophrenia. For many of psychiatrists, this is a very well-defined thing. They believe that most mental illnesses are produced by brain malfunctions. It follows that you must do something medical to modify the brain, and thus address the problem.

And, to a large extent, they have a point. You can't think your mental illness out of existence. You can't cure mental illness with meditation. You can't address it with exercise. (If you run ten miles a day hoping that it fixes the problem, you will be physically very fit, and you will also be psychotic.)

In a mental health treatment venue, particularly a psychiatric ward, doctors will try the cheapest, easiest, most effective way toward solving a problem, a remedy that works quickly and has easily observable results. Medication, in most instances, is all the above. For decades, or even centuries, there were no known effective treatments that could help severely mentally ill people. Patients were locked away under cruel conditions, and little or nothing was done, could be done, to get them back to a semblance of a normal state of mind. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: U.S.-Iran Relations: From Mosaddegh to Trump

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday January 25, 2020 - 07:52:00 PM


In November 2002, my wife and I took a 16-day tour of Iran. We visited Tehran, Shiraz, Kerman, Yazd, Esfahan, Persepolis, and Bam. (Tragically, Bam was severely damaged a year later in an earthquake, killing over 26,000 and injuring more than 30,000 others.) We walked around without fear; everyone was extremely friendly and curious about us, and about America. We have found in our many travels that it is usually U.S. foreign policy, not individual Americans, that many foreigners object to.


Why did we visit Iran? Because according to a 2015 study, there are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, representing about 24.1% of the world’s population. Most Muslims are either of two denominations: Sunni (80–85%, roughly 1.5 billion people) or Shia (15-20%, roughly 240–340 million people).

Although Shiites are the majority in Iran, they make up a minority in the rest of the Muslim world. Shiites believe that Ali, Mohammad’s first cousin and son-in-law, succeeded Mohammad at his death in AD 632, because that’s what the Prophet decreed. The Sunnis believe that after the Prophet died, the leader must be selected in the pre-Islamic way, i.e., through consensus among the community’s elders, and do not recognize Ali as the Prophet’s successor.

Not all Muslims are Arabs and not all Arabs are Muslims. Only about 20% of practicing Muslims live in Arab countries. However, Iranians prefer not to be called Arabs. They are Persians. The Persian language is Indo-European; it is barely related to Arabic. The official language of Iran is Persian (Farsi). -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday January 25, 2020 - 08:09:00 PM

Head-on Collusion

The following two headlines collided head-on in this week's news-lanes:

Trump Demands Taliban Curb Violence Before Meaningful Talks

US Airstrike Kills 15 Civilians in W. Afghanistan

And so, this week's Award for Cognitive Dissonance goes (once again) to Donald John Trump.

The Candidates' Cavalcade of Campaign Come-ons

It's not enough to hit the campaign trail if you're a contender in this year's Presidential Race. Nope, you've got to connect with the people. In our electronically connected, always-on culture, it's necessary to do more than hit the stumps, rattle the hustings, and push your merch. Candidates need to reach out with tantalizing promises of personal contact.

This frequently takes the form of invitations to take an all-expenses-paid jaunt to join the candidate at a critical campaign rally or even a presidential debate. Operators are standing by.

Elizabeth Warren has stepped out in front of the crowd by offering to make personal phone calls to as many of her followers as possible.

Warren also sends out personal thank-you notes to supporters. (Full disclosure: After I sent Warren a letter with some hand-drawn anti-Trump cartoons, she responded with an autographed reply that ended with the P.S: "Persist!") -more-

Arts & Events

An Amazing Staging of Handel’s ACI, GALATEA E POLIFEMO

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday January 25, 2020 - 08:52:00 PM

Imagine a Handel opera staged in such a way that the sexual politics of today’s Me Too movement against the sexual predations of powerful men are not only evoked, they also lead us to indict predatory men like Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and Jeremy Epstein. This is exactly what happens in the current Philharmonia Baroque production of George Friedric Handel’s Italian opera Aci, Galatea e Polifimo, which runs from January 24 to February 1 at San Francisco’s ODC Theatre. The idea behind this amazing production began with countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, an innovative arts institution in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. In 2017 they approached the Bay Area’s Philharmonia Baroque and proposed a collaboration to produce a Handel opera, written in Naples in 1708, about the mythical sex-triangle of Acis, Galatea, and the monstrous, one-eyed Cyclops, Polyphemus. Their collaboration bore fruit in the 2017 production of Aci, Galatea e Polifemo in Brooklyn, which drew rave reviews from New York critics. Now they have brought this same “radical production of a Handel rarity” to Bay Area audiences; and make no mistake about it, this show, as New York’s critics noted, “wrings every bit of unsettling darkness from this curious work.” -more-

New Century Chamber Orchestra Offers Beethoven’s Triple Concerto

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday January 24, 2020 - 02:32:00 PM

As part of the worldwide celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, New Century Chamber Orchestra presents concerts January 23-5 under the rubric “Beethoven at the Presidio.” Most of the concerts will take place in the newly-renovated Presidio Theatre in San Francisco. However, on January 23 a preview concert was given in Berkeley’s First Congregational Church, and it was this performance I attended. Highlighting the program was Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56, for Violin, Cello, and Piano. Featured soloists were Daniel Hope on violin, Lynn Harrell on cello, and Simone Dinnerstein on piano. A more high-powered group of soloists for this Triple Concerto could hardly be imagined. -more-


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Jan.26-Feb.1

Kelly Hammargren,Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday January 25, 2020 - 08:44:00 PM

Worth Noting and Showing Up:

For a week that should have been quiet other than City Council on Tuesday, it is packed with workshops, speakers and interesting looking meeting agendas.

Sunday – Free Workshop – Electrify Everything, If you have a gas furnace or water heater on its last leg, the electrification workshop is a must. We must get off natural gas and now we can do it.

Monday – Check the proposed agenda items for Feb 11 City Council meeting.

Tuesday – If you can’t show up or tune into the 4 pm City Council session on the Fire Department, take a quick scan of the report – link is included below. Surveillance and Safe Overnight RV Parking are agenda items in the City Council Regular meeting agenda.

Wednesday – The Planning Commission subcommittee is presenting the Adeline Corridor Plan

Thursday – Seminar on preparing for power outages - Are You Prepared for the Next Power Outage,

Saturday – The evening event Climate Disruption, Migration and Border Walls with journalist Todd Miller is high on my show-up list after listening to a YouTube interview with Todd Miller. There is an all-day workshop on the Adeline Corridor from 9 am – 5 pm.

If you are interested in looking at the building projects that have been approved and are in the appeal period, that list with links follows the weekly list of meetings.

Sunday, January 26, 2019

Electrify Everything Albany, 11am-1 pm, free workshop at 1249 Marin Ave, Albany, Albany Community Center, on how to electrify everything including electric heat pumps and water heating


Register https://www.eventbrite.com/e/carbon-free-workshop-electrification-2020-carbon-free-albany-challenge-registration-86849520253

Monday, January 27, 2019 -more-

Back Stories


Public Comment

The Business Party Syndicate James McFadden 01-24-2020


Proposed Mix-Used Projects at 2801 Adeline, 2821 and 2900 Shattuck Rose Ann Cochran 01-25-2020

Vaping Lounge, Marijuana Dispensary Proposed Near Head Start Carol Denney 01-25-2020

Berkeley City Council Approves Emergency Shelter Plan Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) 01-22-2020

FROM THE DESKTOP Glen Kohler 01-25-2020


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:2019 News Awards Conn Hallinan 01-25-2020

THE PUBLIC EYE:Defending Donald Trump Bob Burnett 01-24-2020

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Important Role of Mindfulness Jack Bragen 01-24-2020

ECLECTIC RANT: U.S.-Iran Relations: From Mosaddegh to Trump Ralph E. Stone 01-25-2020

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 01-25-2020

Arts & Events

An Amazing Staging of Handel’s ACI, GALATEA E POLIFEMO Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 01-25-2020

New Century Chamber Orchestra Offers Beethoven’s Triple Concerto Reviewed by James Roy MacBean 01-24-2020

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Jan.26-Feb.1 Kelly Hammargren,Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 01-25-2020