The Week



New: Berkeley Police Investigate Assaults along UC's Greek Row

By Jamey Padojino (BCN)
Wednesday September 18, 2013 - 08:26:00 AM

Police are investigating three unrelated assaults along Greek Row at the University of California at Berkeley during the weekend, a police spokeswoman said. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Fair Campaigns Practices Commission to Consider Investigation of Oldest Democratic Club in Berkeley for Multiple Campaign Violations

From Bob Offer-Westort and Patricia Wall
Wednesday September 18, 2013 - 07:35:00 AM

Berkeley Democratic Club accused of not filing expenditure disclosures with City for nearly three years and hiring homeless clients of recovery services nonprofit to distribute fraudulent campaign materials in 2012

The Berkeley Democratic Club (BDC), founded in 1934, is facing serious questions about alleged violations of state and local campaign finance laws. On July 12, 2013, the Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC) received a complaint against BDC alleging violations of the Berkeley Election Reform Act (BERA) and state election law, including failure to file expense reports for false and misleading campaign materials that were distributed by homeless people during the November 2012 election cycle.

The BDC Political Action Committee spent a total of $26,781 in the November 2012 election cycle to produce a Berkeley-wide mailer and literature to be distributed at the polls, according to California filing records. While the BDC filed with the California Secretary of State, it failed to file with the City of Berkeley Clerk’s Office, as is required by BERA. A search of campaign filings in Berkeley shows that, despite actively expending funds in the last several election cycles, the BDC stopped filing with the City after August of 2010. -more-

Suspect Charged in Berkeley Murder

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:56:00 AM

A convicted robber was charged with murder today for the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Dustin Bynum in West Berkeley last month.

Krishna Ferreira, 23, of San Leandro, was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland on the charge stemming from the death of Bynum in the 1800 block of San Pablo Avenue at about 9:15 p.m. on Aug. 1.

Ferreira, who was arrested in San Leandro on Tuesday, is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without bail. -more-



Michael Chabon Will Converse in Berkeley On October 2 to Benefit School

By Becky O'Malley
Saturday September 14, 2013 - 05:57:00 PM

Not too long ago I got an email from Michael Chabon’s PR firm asking if I’d like to interview him before an event described in an accompanying press release:

“Oakland’s Park Day School will host an evening in conversation with literary luminary and Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon, Wednesday, October 2, 7:00pm, at the beautiful Julia Morgan Theatre (2640 College Avenue, Berkeley.)”

How could I refuse? One of my daughters spent a couple of fine years at Park Day School, a welcome refuge in a period when her assigned Berkeley public elementary school was being earthquaked and all classes were jammed into vintage portables. We decided to temporarily jump ship from BUSD when her classroom teacher sobbed continuously throughout the parent-teacher conference about her many problems with this situation (and with no mention of our daughter).

Today Park Day School’s web site mission statement says “We believe a successful learner is one who is confident, caring, and creative. We believe success is measured by a student's ability to define his or her place in the world, guided by intellectual skills and a social perspective.”

From our experience, this philosophy worked then and it’s likely to be working now. It’s a fine objective, and one I’m happy to support.

And how about the famous author? Again, per the press release:

“Michael Chabon is known for continually reinventing conventional genres and entertaining readers while gently provoking self-reflection. His writings are widely considered the “cutting edge” of conventional fiction, with Time Magazine declaring “you can almost see the future of literature coming.” Called “An amazingly rich, emotionally detailed story” by the New York Times, his newest book, Telegraph Avenue, is a big-hearted and exhilarating novel that explores the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland, California families, one black and one white, delivering a bravura epic of friendship, race, and secret histories.”

What’s not to like about a guy like that? Wouldn’t it be fun to talk to him?

Here I must confess, shamefaced, that I haven’t actually read Telegraph Avenue, though I’ve been intending to. In fact, though Chabon seems to have written a whole bunch of novels, I haven’t read any of them—somehow contemporary fiction always slips to the bottom of my reading list, edged out for the most part by political journalism about the never-ending crises which seem to beset this country. I have read a couple of his magazine essays, and I did meet him at a candidate’s fundraiser co-hosted by his wife. He seemed like a nice person, Mr. Mensch himself. This could be a painless way to learn more, I thought, even perhaps an incentive to crack at least one of his books before the interview. -more-


Odd Bodkins: It WAS a nice Saturday (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Saturday September 14, 2013 - 05:23:00 PM

Bounce: More Pie Chart (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday September 14, 2013 - 05:48:00 PM

Bounce: Pie Chart (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Saturday September 14, 2013 - 05:45:00 PM

Public Comment

Sanderson Delivers Coup de Grace to "Protected Arts Uses" in West Berkeley, Rules Nexus institute was Illegal Squat, then Just a School

By Robert Brokl
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:43:00 AM

UPDATE: The Berkeley Kitchens will open soon at 2701-2707 Eighth St., at the location of the former Nexus Institute (1974-2006)R.I.P. The Berkeley Kitchens has no arts component nor was any arts replacement space provided within the district, as supposedly required by the zoning ordinance for "protected arts and crafts uses in West Berkeley. R.I.P. that, too.
Read this Eastbay Express article for more details:

Now Open: The Berkeley Kitchens
And for the back story, read below to find out how all this happened.

Remember the cliche about something looking, walking and talking like a duck, and therefore probably being a duck? Well, try telling that to Debra Sanderson, Zoning Officer and Planning Manager for the City of Berkeley, about arts uses at the former Nexus Institute complex in West Berkeley.

Nexus was a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, registered with the state of California in 1974 as a non-profit corporation from its inception and the beginning of its lease from the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society. (The lease ended in 2006, when the Humane Society put the building up for sale.) Nexus Gallery and adjacent studios and woodshop fit to a "T" the zoning description of "protected use, Category 2, Art Galleries, ancillary to Art/Craft studios and when located in the same building..." The City of Berkeley certainly agreed—the Civic Arts Commission awarded grants regularly to the gallery, which showcased local artists, craftspeople, dance and theater groups.

I maintained a long-time studio there, from 1982 until its end in 2006, and was the designated contact person from Nexus for its successful Berkeley landmark nomination.

Despite the evidence to the contrary, Nexus was disappeared by Sanderson as an official arts organization despite its 32 year history at that location, allowing the new owner developer to create 16 commercial kitchens instead, without recreating any artist spaces there or elsewhere in the district, as seemingly required by the zoning ordinance. -more-

Think on Other Ways to Help Syria

By Romila Khanna
Friday September 13, 2013 - 05:11:00 PM

We can help the people of Syria by helping them get a good education. We know for certain that air strikes will create chaos. Real goodwill lies in helping neighboring countries improve education, health resources and food guarantees for poor people. America wants to stop the ruthless attack upon its own civilians by Syria's government. But due to the recession prevailing in Europe and Asia many countries do not wish to participate in a military action against Syria. -more-

New: Systemic Causation and Syria: Obama's Framing Problem

By George Lakoff, Reader Supported News
Friday September 13, 2013 - 11:14:00 AM

Every language in the world has a way in its grammar to express direct causation: a local application of force that has a local effect in place and time. You pick up a glass of water and drink it: direct causation. You bomb a hospital, destroying it and killing those inside: direct causation.

No language in the world has a way in its grammar to express systemic causation. You drill a lot more oil, burn a lot more gas, put a lot more CO2 in the air, the earth's atmosphere heats up, more moisture evaporates from the oceans yielding bigger storms in certain places and more droughts and fires in other places: systemic causation. The world ecology is a system -- like the world economy and the human brain.

From infanthood on we experience simple, direct causation. We see direct causation all around us: if we push a toy, it topples over; if our mother turns a knob on the oven, flames emerge. And so on. The same is not true of systemic causation. Systemic causation cannot be experienced directly. It has to be learned, its cases studied, and repeated communication is necessary before it can be widely understood.

The daily horrors in Syria are direct: shootings, bombings, gassings. When the media reports on "Syria" (as it should), it is reporting on the direct horrors. If "Syria" is the problem, the problem is the daily horrors, the 100,000 killed, the ongoing shootings and bombings, the persistent hatred and oppression. If the president is understood as addressing "Syria," and he proposes directly bombing Syria, the natural question is whether that eliminates the daily direct horrors. When he admits that it does not, when Secretary Kerry says correctly, "There are no good options in Syria," the question naturally arises, "Why bomb when it won't solve the direct problem, but might create other problems?" -more-


The Obama Doctrine

By Bob Burnett
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:38:00 AM

Like a star basketball player, who delights in taking the last shot in a close game, Barack Obama typically gives his best speeches when he’s under the most pressure. True to form, on September 10th, the President gave one of his most effective TV presentations explaining his position on Syria and elaborating the Obama Doctrine. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Medication Versus Activity

By Jack Bragen
Thursday September 12, 2013 - 02:03:00 PM

A person with mental illness will do better in life if they have activity in their routine rather than inactivity. Being engaged in life is essential to recover functioning and to have quality of life in spite of these illnesses. -more-

Arts & Events

8th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival
Festival Flamenco Gitano
September 21-October 6, 2013

Saturday September 14, 2013 - 11:11:00 AM

The Bay Area Flamenco Festival Invites you to experience deeply authentic Gypsy flamenco direct from Spain, first-hand in an intimate setting.

"Exhilarating..." The New York Times The 8th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival features world-class artists from Spain on three consecutive weekends in Berkeley. Festival opening night is this coming Saturday, September 21 and features a highly anticipated performance by living legend of Gypsy flamenco dance, Concha Vargas at La Peña Cultural Center. The show starts at 8pm and earlier in the evening Ñora Spanish Cuisine is taking over La Peña Café for a pop-up 5-course Andalusian-inspired dinner. Weekend two features a homecoming concert Sunday, September 29th at 8pm celebrating internationally renowned guitarist David Serva Jones’s 50 plus years in flamenco at the Freight & Salvage. And the Festival closing weekend features a performance on Saturday October 5th at 8pm by rising star Gypsy dancer Gema Moneo from Jerez de la Frontera at the Thurst Stage of the Berkeley Repertory Theater. The Festival has also arranged for a series of workshops and master classes on Saturdays Sept 21 — Oct 5 at the Ashkenaz and Berkeley's Casa Latina Bakery. Plus there will be a special event showcasing the acclaimed photography collection, Flamenco Project edited by guitarist/photographer Steve Kahn on Thursday, September 27th at 7pm at La Peña Cultural Center.


Around & About Music: Berkeley Symphony's New Season--Chamber Music Series Begins This Sunday; Opening Symphony Concert, October 3

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:41:00 AM

Berkeley Symphony's new season begins—in advance of its opening concert with Joana Carneiro conducting Edmund Campion's (of UC Berkeley) Ossicles, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto Number 2 (with Italian pianist Alessio Bax) & Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, 7 pm, October 3 at Zellerbach Hall—with a new series, Berkeley Symphony & Friends Chamber Music, the first program premiering this Sunday at 5 in the Piedmont Center for the Arts (801 Magnolia, Piedmont), with guest violinist Stuart Canin, former concertmaster of San Francisco Symphony & of Los Angeles Opera, accompanied by Berkeley Symphony musicians Rene Mandel (also the Symphony's executive director), violin; Tiantian Lan, Symphony principal violist; & Helene Wickett, piano, playing Mozart's Fuo for Violin & Viola in G Major, Martinu's Three Madrigals for Violin & Viola, Prokofiev's Sonata for Two Violins & Cesar Franck's Sonata for Violin & Piano in A Major. $25 Future programs on November 3, January 19, March 16 & April 13. -more-

Around & About Poetry: Jack Marshall Reads from 'Spiral Trace' at Moe's on Thursday, with Poet Anne Winters

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 13, 2013 - 08:40:00 AM

Jack Marshall, well-known Bay Area poet, an El Cerrito resident, will read from his booklength poem, Spiral Trace, recently released by Coffee House Press, at Moe's Books on Telegraph this Thursday at 7:30, with poet Anne Winters also reading from her book, The Displaced of Capital. Admission is free. -more-

A Spectacular “Bonnie & Clyde” at Shotgun Players

By John A. McMullen II
Thursday September 12, 2013 - 01:56:00 PM

Mark Jackson has taken a seemingly boring play by Adam Peck and made it spectacular. The highlight of “BONNIE & CLYDE” at SHOTGUN PLAYERS is the incredibly poignant choreography which is a collaboration of Director Jackson, Kimberly Dooley, and the two actors Joe Estlack and Megan Trout. Jon Tracy provides a lighting design of blinding bursts that imply the headlights of a posse or the rat-a-tat of a machine gun or the heavenly light to which Bonnie Parker reassures herself will be the next destination. Matt Stine’s sound design of combining the revving of the engine of a get-away car with a chorus of classical voices starts this dazzling production. -more-

Theater Review: After the Revolution, at Aurora

By Ken Bullock
Friday September 13, 2013 - 05:12:00 PM

"I thought he was blacklisted because he was an ideological Commie—and now you tell me ... "

Opening with excited, overlapping dialogue by three generations of a staunchly leftist political family, gathered to celebrate the granddaughter's speech at graduation about the persecuted, heroic grandfather she's named an activist foundation after—and closing with a tense tete-a-tete between granddaughter and step-grandmother, keeper of the flame for her legendary late husband, and maybe the thorniest Jewish grandma onstage since Lost in Yonkers ...

Amy Herzog's After the Revolution, about the revelation of social and family myths and its devastating effect on those raised to believe them as gospel, seems the perfect play for Aurora to start a new season with. Joy Carlin has directed a fine cast—Jessica Bates, Ellen Ratner, Rolf Saxon, Pamela Gaye Walker, Victor Talmadge, Adrian Achondo, Peter Kybert and Sarah Mitchell—resolved into an ensemble. The background of its story, of the legacy of a political lion, pilloried by HUAC just after the execution of the Rosenbergs, tarnished by posthumous charges of espionage, is also a surprisingly current theme, with the Snowden Affair and the NSA scandal it brought about still being played out. -more-

Press Release: Michael Parenti in Book Launch

Thursday September 12, 2013 - 02:01:00 PM

Come hear Michael Parenti speak about, and read from, his newly published memoir: Waiting for Yesterday: Pages from a Street Kid's Life. Michael will also sign copies (and crack jokes). -more-

Press Release: Tenants' Union to Hold Potluck

Friday September 13, 2013 - 09:28:00 AM

The Berkeley Tenants Union is alive and kicking. Come kick it with us at our special September 18 Potluck, which we are sharing with our friends from Berkeley Citizens Action. There are several alarming changes threatening protections Berkeley tenants have come to take for granted. Come to the Potluck to learn more, or visit our website at -more-