Author Archives: Guest contributor

Bill Mandel, longtime KPFA broadcaster and Soviet expert, dies at 99

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William Marx “Bill” Mandel (born June 4, 1917 in New York City), a former Bay Area broadcast journalist, left-wing political activist and author, best known as a Soviet expert, died Nov. 24 at 1:15 a.m. Bill was 99.

Considered a leading Sovietologist during the 1940s and 1950s, Mandel was a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, but lost his position there due to the political pressures of the McCarthy era. He is perhaps best known for standing up to Senator … Continue reading »

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For some immigrants in Berkeley and beyond: What now?

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By Hana Boston

As the dust starts to settle after the presidential election, millions of immigrants all over the country are left wondering: what happens now?

No big surprise there. Listening to President-elect Trump’s campaign speeches, along with his recent appointment as attorney general of Senator Jeff Sessions, a staunch opposer of amnesty, one can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding and trepidation about what changes might be in store for the immigrant community after Trump takes office in January.

In the days after the election, my Berkeley-based immigration law firm has received what feels like non-stop calls from clients and their families wanting to know what they can do to protect themselves now against the wide, sweeping immigration reform that may take place under a Trump administration.

While still too early to predict exactly what changes will happen, there are things immigrants living and working in and around the Berkeley area can do now to protect themselves against potential changes in immigration laws and policies in the coming months. … Continue reading »


Op-ed: An open letter to Safeway about carrying the National Enquirer

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Dear Safeway,

I have been a longtime Elmwood resident who normally shopped at Whole Foods or Berkeley Bowl. I loved the quality of the food and the experience at both. I liked how I felt when I left the store: good, like I was nourishing my family and also my spirit. When the new Safeway opened up, at first I would only go there to shop dry-good items. But the obvious care in sourcing, the new organics line, the quality … Continue reading »


Op-ed: All parties agree… Vote no on BB and CC to preserve the City Council’s landmark minimum-wage ordinance

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The Berkeley City Council unanimously passed a new minimum-wage ordinance that is one of the most progressive in the country and is a significant victory for workers and the community. The new ordinance takes the best from both BB and CC. All stakeholders agree: vote No on BB and CC, enabling the superior council ordinance to prevail.

Berkeley’s minimum wage will increase to $15/hr in 2018 and, starting in 2017, workers will be entitled to up to 72 hours of … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Why I’m voting for Darryl Moore — The neighborhood grocery store that almost wasn’t

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When picking out organic produce or enjoying lunch at our neighborhood jewel, West Berkeley Bowl, it’s hard to believe how many people tried to block it from being built, and how very close they came to succeeding. Amazing, and yet true. And it’s just one of the reasons why I am happy to vote again for Darryl Moore for City Council, District 2.

Around 2003 the Yasudas, owners of the original Berkeley Bowl, purchased a long vacant lot in our … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Open letter to Mayor, City Council about homelessness in Berkeley

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Dear Mayor Bates and Berkeley City Council members,

Once again, as winter approaches, Berkeley is confronted with the inadequacy of our efforts to address the issues confronting our homeless population. In the absence of significant progress, the city has once again turned to police action, confronting and dispersing homeless encampments that have often been established as vehicles of protest.

I have a few observations to make, none of which are in any way original, many of which have been made … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: A response to Terry Roberts

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When responding to an opinion piece, as Terry Roberts purports to do, it is often quite useful to base your response on both on the opinions expressed in the original piece and also on actually relevant personal experience. The first makes it easier to follow your response and the second, of course, is more of a courtesy offered to logical argument. Evidently Roberts considers neither standard binding.

Isabelle Gaston and Patricia Mapps did not say that utility undergrounding … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: We get what we deserve

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Berkeley voters overwhelmingly support reducing the influence of money in politics. We also aspire to a political system marked by civil discourse focused on real policy differences. Everyone seems unhappy with the role of money and the tone of the discourse in this campaign, both nationally and locally. So how did we get here and why do candidates feel that negativity is a necessary element of campaigns? My argument is that Berkeley voters, just like voters in the country as … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Real progressives vote for housing

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Berkeley has a Downtown Plan. The path has not been smooth or simple, but thousands of hours, plus voter buy-in has solidly approved it.

It was a compromise – the outgrowth of hundreds of hours of public meetings that took place from 2005 to 2009 by a special Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission. This original plan, approved by City Council, was later overturned.

The 2010 ballot’s Measure R could only be advisory, but it gave Berkeley voters the opportunity … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: A solution to Berkeley’s political price tag problem

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Since 2008, I’ve had the privilege and responsibility of looking out for every Berkeley tenant and landlord while serving on the Berkeley Rent Board. Doing so has provided me a unique look at the skyrocketing cost of housing, the lack of affordable rental units, and the many other difficulties of Berkeley’s challenging housing market.

I’ve been elected three out of the four times I’ve run for office, and, while doing so, I’ve raised thousands and thousands of dollars. Even when … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Utility undergrounding must be considered in disaster planning

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I read Patricia Mapp’s Oct. 27 and Isabelle Gaston’s Oct. 26 Opinionater articles suggesting that utility undergrounding is not an important priority when considering public safety and disaster preparedness.

I totally disagree.

I have first-hand experience when it comes to utility undergrounding, emergency preparedness and public safety. I am a former public works director in Oakland, managing first-line emergency response in both the 1989 earthquake and the 1991 Oakland/Berkeley fire.

I was behind the fire lines in Oakland … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Why I’m supporting Cheryl Davila for City Council, District 2

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Walking around District two, I can’t help but notice the purple Cheryl Davila signs displayed in windows and poking out of front gardens all over the neighborhoods of West Berkeley. I’m thrilled that Cheryl has answered the call from the district for new leadership, and I’m proud to support her campaign.

In 2013 I was elected chair of Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission. Our plate was full — we were holding public hearings to regulate drone use by police, participating in … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Sophie Hahn is exceptional, and just what Berkeley needs

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For too long, Berkeley’s City Council has been mired in timid, incremental politics. The council majority has dragged its feet on important issues, to the detriment to those most in need, and to the frustration of all who want Berkeley to reclaim its place as a progressive and environmental leader. Luckily, in District 5, we have the opportunity to choose excellence, by electing a candidate with the experience, knowledge, dedication and vision to move Berkeley decisively forward: Sophie Hahn.

Sophie … Continue reading »

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