19 arrested at sit-in at UC regent's S.F. firm



protest at Richard Blum's office. He is on the University of CA bd of regents

University of CA service workers sit-in at Chairman of the Regents office, January 16, 2009. This was stricken from youtube within a few days but they never blocked it on IndyBay

Interview with Labor Video Project on privatization at University of California

Interview with Labor Video Project on privatization at University of California


What May Happen When Robots Do All The Work. Hearst's 1938 American Weekly Sunday Magazine

 What May Happen When Robots Do All The Work
Special Laws to Make You Responsible For Their Behavior,
The more they approach perfection the more likely to betray their masters...And probably will turn out to be nature's weapon of punishing man for trying to conquer her.



another Chapot family photo July 1970

Okay, one more family shot. I'm digitizing my pics, okay?

This photo was on my birthday, 7.22.70, our last summer in Millbrae. In October, Henry moved his family to Potrero Hill.

Henry's kids; Mary, Paul, Hank, Stephen, William and John.


A few years after our mother Mary Rita Chapot died, my father Henry...

A few years after our mother Mary Rita Chapot died, my father Henry remarried to Doris Morgan, a great beauty and artist. The local paper sent out a photographer for this pic, then they wrote the story as a "Parents without Partners" success story, and for the most part, it is.

top row; Henry, Doris. her daughter Sandra, my brother Bill,
front row; brother Paul, best-sister Vicki, dog Smokey, sister Mary, brother John, me with a front tooth missing and brother Steve holding his pet rat.


Can you identify this Photographer Club from the 1890s?

Just look at those cameras. Just look at them. Can you identify this photographer club? I found this photo at the Berkeley Ashby Flea Market a few years ago.


California Green Archives goes to Stanford's Hoover Library

Strange bedfellows is a cliche.but it works here. I've been volunteer archivist for the California Green Party since my beginnings in 1988, officially since 1999. Last week two nice archivists from the Hoover Library at Stanford came up to north Oakland and carted off my collection; 8 linear feet of metal-edge storage containers, 8 l.f. of records boxes full of candidate lit, publications, our first fifty press releases, videotapes, cassettes, three flat boxes of ephemera (buttons, bumperstickers, ancient storage media), full sets of voter guides and newsletters and three oversize folders of green candidate and global green posters.

It will be a few weeks in quarantine, a few months in processing and then its yours. I talked to archivists around the state. The Hoover Archives, being the largest political archives in the west and holder of a huge graphics collection, is an excellent, if incongruous, match.



What is this?

What is it?

This was once a useful tool, do you know what it is?





 H. Chapot - Oakland Ca.

Every few weeks the Chronicle publishes another weepy story about the Bay Bridge bike lane, its costs and delays, but the answer for the west side path is right under our noses, or rather, right under the road bed. Bridge authorities fed the Chronicle costs approaching half a billion dollars, a price tag that guarantees it may not be built in my lifetime.

 Yet, I will ride to San Francisco from my home in Oakland someday, but unless the motoring public gives up a lane, the only good answer is to hang the bike path underneath the roadbed in an industrial sized catwalk, built from high tech lightweight modular materials. Though my first choice would be a ribbon pathway high above the upper deck flying through the towers, I've decided the under the roadbed is the best real answer.

Besides being economical and fast, this design has other advantages; no exhaust fumes in your face like the east side, protection from the rain and wind, the pathway deck could be perforated steel so you could see the water below, and the whole thing could be wrapped in artistic cyclone fencing to prevent littering and suicide. The need for wind fairings and the deck replacement disappear.

They'll argue that the shipping channel would be obstructed, but there is plenty of room. Unless the Port of Oakland buys more monster cranes from China, finding ten feet of headroom would be easy. Even a boxy tube attached alongside the lower deck on the north side is better than current designs.

I must address a few side issues; coupling bikes with service vehicles is a very, very bad idea, anyone who endorses the cantilevered design is agreeing to have the path closed any time the bridge district needs it. It could be closed for weeks. That local bike coalitions agreed to roadbed replacement as part of the project is a huge fail, it justifies the half billion dollar scare. Plus, the "cantilevered" plan will not hold crowds during major events like the Blue Angels or World Cup.

 My idea is the cheapest, the easiest to build and would overcome Bridge authority and bike-hater intransigence. Instead of ten years for a faulty cantilevered path, we could have this one in two.

(I would also like to point out that my plan does not harm the architectural beauty of this great bridge).


long lost report on police graft in San Francisco published

The 1937 Atherton Report on police graft has been published for the first time in more than seventy years, after it disappeared from the county clerk's office in 1939. A remarkable snapshot of San Francisco when it was still a wide open.

Click on the title for a free download in multiple formats for e-readers and computer users.


my struggle with trash a UC Berkeley

I wrote a letter to the editor at East Bay Express and one reporter said it was worth a feature. Here it is. Click on the title.


Bordello Politique

(Click the title to sample the first few chapters or purchase the ebook for $2.99)

There is only one mob in San Francisco. The police. - Dolly Fine


San Francisco Examiner lists 135 long-established house of prostitution

San Francisco Examiner lists 135 long-established houses of prostitution in the city.
Was your house once a brothel? Is your house on the list?

The San Francisco Examiner reported in March 1937 that private investigator Edwin Atherton, hired by the city to investigate police graft, delivered a list of 135 long-term brothels, called "resorts," to the Grand Jury investigation police corruption, finding bordellos in neighborhoods from South of Market to North Beach. 

Read the story of the police investigation and the fall of the House of McDonough in the new historical novel, "Bordello Politique," based on the true story of Dolly Fine, San Francisco's most notorious madam.

Sample the eBook, Bordello Politique; smashwords.com/books/view/106571
Background on the 1937 investigation; Dolly Fine.com (under construction)
by Hank Chapot hchapot@igc.org


The Palm Avenue Improvement Club - white terror in San Mateo, CA, 1935

                                                 H. Leonard Richardson
by hank chapot

San Mateo California is a nice town. When Mrs. Julia Parker and her daughter Jennie Sisson moved to a small bungalow on Gum Street, life must have seemed good. But on the evening of August 8, 1935, they would have understood instantly what was happening when seventeen white men from the Palm Avenue Improvement Club came calling.

Consider Mrs. Parker’s fear, alone at the house, and Jennie's outrage when she arrived home in the midst of the mob action. The leader carried a blackjack. They manhandled the women, cut the wires to the home and moved the furniture to a vacant lot, telling the ladies to move to the negro side of town.

Rummaging through the papers of California Attorney General U. S. Webb on my way to another story, this one fell out. I’ve pondered it for years. I knew it was important but didn’t have a context. In September 2010, Isabel Wilkerson shared her epic story of the great migration in The Warmth of Other Suns and two other recent books, J. Loewen's Sundown Towns and Buried in the Bitter Waters by Elliot Jaspin describe towns both north and south where African-Americans were driven out or never allowed in. For me, an amateur historian, the context was set. The great migration included a sometimes violent reception.

The story is about the organized response by early civil rights leaders in California.

Days after the forced eviction, Oakland Attorney Harry Leonard Richardson received a call from Jennie Sisson. In a letter to Attorney General Webb, Leonard explains;

“She said she had been unable to secure any assistance from the police department of the city of San Mateo, and that he would (soon) accompany her to the District Attorney’s office.”

Richardson was an established attorney in Oakland, Mrs. Parker his client. As a Boalt graduate, he was a colleague of east bay NAACP president Walter A. Gordon, fellow lawyer, UC athlete and later, esteemed statesmen.

Judge O'Farrell summoned Jennie quickly, telling her not to bring her attorney. Handing her a sheet of court stationary, he had her enumerate her losses in dollars so as to pay her off and dismiss the case. When asked about it later, she said she made the offer to dismiss on the insistence of the judge. The DA, the judge and the lawyer for the defendants would later insist she was trying to extort the defendants.

A letter to the San Mateo DA from the lawyer for the Palm Avenue defendants assured the judge his clients are, "without exception, prominent citizens of San Mateo" adding, "I am informed that the criminal complaint was filed at the instigation of some negro organizations from the East Bay, and consequently there might be some trouble from them if the complaint is dismissed.”

Four days after the crime, With help of an activist east bay NAACP, the women made another call on the San Mateo DA. Jennie, Mrs. Parker, Richardson and a delegation of four or five colored people (the DAs words) arrived at the office to seek a complaint against four of the men; Arthur Johnson, Chris Naas, John Wessa and Hugo Hultberg. The DA settled on two misdemeanors, disturbing the peace and trespassing. The complaint was given to Mrs. Sisson and filed before Judge O'Farrell.

One man is arrested but the ringleader Russell, (alias Johnson) cannot be found. The police do little to pursue the case and the sheriff refuses to return the warrants. Thirty days pass.

Attorney Hoffman says his clients fear that even if they pay damages, the complaint will not be dismissed. Two defendants obtain a writ and charges are dropped due to the delay, or, according to Richardson, official neglect. The sheriff never returns the warrants.

On the next visit with the judge, Mrs. Parker and her lawyer say they are not interested in collecting damages and the idea of compensation did not originate with her. They are only interested in obtaining justice.

A half dozen NAACP chapters wrote the DA and Attorney General and sent delegations to the DAs office. Within days, the executive board of the Alameda County NAACP under Walter Gordon wrote the attorney general asking that another warrant be issued for Mr. Russell, who admitted that he gathered the men and directed them to the house on Gum Street. Gordon asks the AG to take up the case, arguing, "(the case)...vitally affects the rights not only of Negro citizens, but all citizens as well. Any group of citizens could take the law into their own hands and remove people from the premises whom they disliked if this case is allowed to go un-prosecuted.”

Webb was then contacted by the president of the Los Angeles NAACP, Thomas Griffith jr, who asks that everything possible be done to assist the women and arguing, in a hint at the militancy of the mid -1930s NAACP, "if there is going to be a deprivation of the civil rights of the Negro, then there is nothing for him to do but to protect himself.”

Attorney General Ullysses Sigel Webb is famous for prosecuting land transfers made by California land owners ineligible for citizenship to avoid the Alien Land Law of 1913. In the 1930's he pressured Fish and Game to arrest aliens with commercial fishing licenses and prevent offloading of fish at San Diego. Though Webb repeatedly appealed, this action was eventually ruled a violation of equal protection. The longest serving AG in California history, Webb was three years from retirement.

Gordon also wrote on the theme of self-defense, concluding one letter, "If the enforcement agencies do not protect the Negro citizens, no other alternative is left to the Negro than to protect himself by use of force.” He finishes, “We, as law abiding citizens, do not want such a condition to prevail, because we feel confident that the majority of people in the city of San Mateo and state of California do not condone such mob conduct, nor do they glorify in having such inefficient and apathetic public officials," he thanked the AG for his immediate attention to the case.

After first refusing to prosecute, the San Mateo County DA, for some reason as yet unknown, appointed lawyer Richardson Special Prosecutor. Richardson duly wrote the judge September 18, informing him of his new role.

What made the San Mateo DA appoint a black lawyer to prosecute a volatile case against a group of white thugs? Richardson at one point asked, "Why was it necessary that I be appointed Special Prosecutor, to perform work which should have been done by the District Attorney's office...? Why indeed. He took on the job against the ringleaders of the mob, in a town he did not reside in. Its a marvelous mystery. I hope he thought he could win it.

The DA washed his hands of the case, expecting Richardson to make arrangements. And he does, diligently writing the judge and sheriff asking subpoenas be reissued in time. No subpoena's are issued for the November trial date, and he is forced to search the county for any witnesses at all. The judge and DA will blame him for negligence.

Richardson requested in open court that there be a jury trial for the remaining defendants, but on the date of November 6, the docket shows neither a jury requested nor waived.

That same day Judge O'Farrell is killed in an automobile accident leaving no record for a court trial. Nass sought a dismissal because thirty days has expired, he is denied and the case is again set for trial. Russell is identified as ringleader in court by Mrs. Parker but the sheriff won’t arrest him; the warrant is for his alias, Johnson.

A few defendants go to trial, Richardson for the prosecution. The new judge Mullin forbids Mrs. Parker from using the word "mob", refuses to allow her to say Russell menaced her with a blackjack or that she was manhandled, and forbids Special Prosecutor Richardson from eliciting such testimony.

In an utter travesty, the un-arrested mob leader Russell is called as a witness for the defense. He states that upon the night in question, he and the members of the Palm Avenue Improvement Club met at a service station for the purpose of going over to Mrs. Parker's home to help her move to the Negro district and that she agreed to do so as soon as was possible, that they suggested they move her belongings and pay the expense thereof, and, if agreeable, they would move her that evening, loading her furniture onto a truck, store it overnight and then deliver it to another house when she found one, that they had promised to give her and her daughter lodging in a hotel, and that Miss Parker had assisted in moving numerous objects and that everything was peaceful until Mrs. Jennie Sisson arrived and commenced considerable agitation, strenuously objecting to the move.

Questioning Russell, Richardson asked what right he had to do this? The judge ordered Mr. Richardson to desist using the word "mob" in court, accuses Richardson of introducing information previously ruled inadmissible, says he made disparaging remarks upon the court in the presence of the jury by stating in substance, that the court was not a court of justice. Richardson later will deny this. The judge admonished Mr. Richardson three times and, blaming his "contemptible and contemptuous conduct," declared a mistrial. The remaining defendants walk.

The DA promptly dismissed Richardson as special prosecutor, claiming he was unfit to represent the people.

The judge decided the case had been fully presented and there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction because, in what Richardson describes as a deliberate and malicious distortion of the woman's testimony, Mrs. Parker had stated under cross-examination that she had assisted the defendant in moving some of her belongings, (a dubious claim; a woman who had no place to go agreeing at to evict herself, surrounded by seventeen men threatening violence), but these statements are repeated by the San Mateo DA's office in a six page letter to Webb, which Webb cites when responding to the various chapters of the NAACP. The list of damages extracted from Mrs. Sisson and Richardson's inability to get a trial date are the final excuses for dropping the charges.

The DA wrote on January 8, 1936 to secretary J. Stanton of the San Mateo branch of the NAACP that there was insufficient evidence in the case for the county to expend the time and money in the performance of "an idle act.” then he wrote AG Webb that evidence was not sufficient to warrant a conviction and another trial would be a "useless ceremony."

In early 1936, East Bay NAACP president Gordon again came to the cause. Writing Attorney General Webb that the police department of San Mateo had manifested no interest and the DA was seemingly afraid to prosecute. Gordon writes, “...the facts surrounding the case clearly indicate that the law enforcement agencies in San Mateo County have either broken down or they refuse to enforce the law and protect negro citizens. In either event, we (the NAACP) feel the case is one that your office should take in hand and prosecute under the authority given you by the State Law of California.”

AG Webb was very solicitous replying to Gordon in a letter six months after the crime. Webb heartily agreed with Gordon's condemnation of the persons involved, “Your statement shows such action to be nothing short of mob violence, absolutely unlawful, and a clear invasion of the rights of the persons against whom the action was taken. The fact that it was colored people who were removed from their home in no manner places the violators of the law in a better position, but possibly indicates that the action of the offenders was the more cowardly,” but Webb goes no further, deferring to the county.

In February 1936 the Northern California NAACP passed a resolution addressed to the AG protesting that normal channels afforded all citizens for redress of wrongs and protection of their fundamental rights had been closed to members of a particular minority group because of their color. Members of branches in Monterey, Stockton, San Jose, San Mateo, Vallejo and Sacramento join Alameda County's effort to respectfully request Webb, "use his good offices to the end that justice will prevail in this state.”
Signed; George M. Johnson President Northern California Council of NAACP branches.

In his next letter to Gordon, Webb refuses to take up the prosecution, blaming Richardson's conduct for the mistrial. He writes to other complaining chapters stating the facts upon which their communications were based were incomplete and he forwards the San Mateo DAs six page report blaming Mrs. Parker and Richardson for the failure of the prosecution.

The attorney general’s files fall silent about this case after March, 1936. There is a last letter from Gordon including letters Mr. Richardson sent to the judge, sheriff and DA, refuting claims reported as fact, showing that he made every deadline and responded every time a pertinent letter crossed his desk. Any further documents did not make it into this particular archives.

In the last letter from Richardson, sent to the NAACP chapters that had become involved, his anger is palpable. He wrote, "According to (the San Mate DA)..he would have you believe the she (Mrs Parker), voluntarily undertook to remove from the property and was apparently glad to do so, and that the presence of seventeen or eighteen men and their threats of violence had nothing to do with her removal.

Such a statement would be an insult to the intelligence of a child of fourteen years of age, much less the intelligence of even a semi-human being". He continues, "It was apparent from the letter from…(the DA's office to Webb) that they were looking for any loophole to avoid prosecuting the individuals for this dastardly and cowardly act upon two defenseless women; and that it is the reason for the clever attempt to use the solicitation of judge O'Farrell to Mrs. Sisson, as an excuse not to prosecute. What about Mrs. Parker's cause of action? She didn't sign any request for damages, yet, she is punished right along with Mrs. Sisson.”

This story needs further research. I have found no newspaper accounts and the San Mateo DAs office has no archives. The act was dastardly, but the organized response by the African-American community in the Bay area was direct, sustained and documented. Did this case change anything? The record is (so far) silent. I assume supporters of Mrs. Julia Parker and her daughter Jessie Sisson had strong feelings about this injustice. They put up a good fight.


Historic moment in Richmond, CA; A Rout of Corporate Power and Money

by Laura Livoti on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 12:50pm
from the Richmond Progressive Alliance

The power of the community and commitment to keep building a strong and healthy Richmond together prevailed in the polls yesterday!

Gayle McLaughlin was re-elected as mayor with an even bigger margin than four years ago. Close allies Jovanka Beckles and Corky Booze were elected to the city council, ousting two incumbents heavily funded by Chevron.

McLaughlin and Beckles, along with City Council candidate Eduardo Martinez, ran on a slate supported by the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) and it's dense network of volunteers and activists. None of them accepted a penny of corporate campaign donations. Martinez--a recently retired teacher, activist and relative newcomer to city council politics--had a very impressive showing at the polls, clearly a sign that his ideas and values had resonance with voters.

A majority of Richmond voters said no to the old ways of corrupt and negative politics. Love and truth carried the day, in spite of the million dollars Chevron spent on three candidates who lost, in spite of the malicious and unrelenting campaign against McLaughlin and Beckles by leaders of the Richmond police and firefighters unions that clearly backfired.

RPA had dozens and dozens of volunteers working on the campaigns for the last several months and 175 volunteers came out on election day to support our candidates by leafleting near the polling stations. If ever there was a collective effort, this was it.

Many thanks to all the wonderful activist allies in Richmond and throughout the Bay Area and beyond who are part of our movement!!


Richmond Progressive Alliance steering committee member


I note that Chevron dumped over a million in traceable $$ into this campaign to no avail. The company, the Democratic Party and much of labor all lined up behind the proChevron candidates (The company and labor have made agreements in the bruising battle around the refinery expasion that has been framed as jobs v. the enviornment issue---which didn't win them the day! The Democratic Party joined in support of the establishment candidates because Mayor Gayle is a Green Party member) and every one of them lost! Those fighting against the progressive slate turned the fight really ugly with the attempted character assasination on Gayle and Jovanka.

Overcoming these seemingly wildly insurmountable odds, this is the first time in history Richmond is not a company-owned town. Now My Question is how can we --you and me---support this new majoirty in building momentum for the transition to the new Green Economy as quickly as possible ????

And, how can we help the Richmond community build its voter engagement strategy---remarkably this feat was accomplished with simple shoe leather and dialog---no sophisticated voter id and targeted gotv. Laura


volunteer archivist for the California Green Party


To preserve your green materials for posterity, send them to me. I've been volunteer archivist for the California Green Party since its inception, formally since 2000. In the past decade I've received the papers of some pioneers in our movement; Charlene Spretnak, Danny Moses, Kent Smith, Bob Brister, along with my own obsessive collecting. Mike Feinstein has an important collection in southern California (not to be morbid, but Mike should be looking for Nancy Broyles' papers).

My collection is mostly archivally preserved, but I could use help. It will eventually reside in some public place. (Preilinger, Sutro Library, The Bancroft, State Archives, Claremont College or, get this, the Hoover Institute). I hope to sell it to the highest bidder for the glory of the party.

I collect everything related to green political activism, loco and globo, with an emphasis on real things; paper records from locals, candidacies, events, meeting minutes, paper docs, publications, photos, posters, artwork, buttons, CDs, disks, electronic records, memories, ephemera...



Anyone with a blog or website; please consider giving me a button link to these pages.

575 58th street Oakland CA 94609


letter to Oakland concerning cops on campus

Hello Oakland civic leadership;

Who authorized sending twenty-four Oakland cops, in riot gear, plus seven or eight city vehicles, to UC Berkeley in preparation for an assault against the latest free-speech claims of fifteen or so non-violent hunger strikers and their supporters at California Hall today, monday, 5.10.10 in the afternoon. Approximately 4:30 p.m.

If you people can't find enough work for Oakland police, or if the cops are just sucking-in overtime pay, billing the University, either way, you should stop this kind of crap. Mutual assistance? Poor excuse.


Christopher Columbus brand Trick Candy, wierd sense of humor

This product is labeled: Christopher Columbus brand Trick Candy.

500th Anniversary Collector's edition.

Looks like candy...but open one up and EEE! VERMIN!

"Hidden inside each wrapper is a quality rubber mouse, bug, spider or snake. This same joke was used during the voyage to the New World to keep the crew amused."

I was involved in the 500 year anti-celebrations of Columbus in San Francisco in 1992. Someone brought me this bizarre "Christopher Columbus" trick candy. It was purchased at Cliff's Hardware on Castro Street in San Francisco.

The manufacturer is still at it: "Accoutrements" in Seattle Washington.



Congratulations Green Party of California on twenty great years 1990 - 2010

peace - justice - ecology - democracy
 Green Party of California
0n twenty great years 1990 - 2010
Come Celebrate! Everyone invited...
This Saturday, February 6 • noon to 9pm • Berkeley
20 Year Anniversary of Founding of GPCA on February 4th, 1990
Where: Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists - 1924 Cedar at Bonita, Berkeley
Site of the East Bay Green Alliance founding meeting in 1985 - the first CA Green local
Socializing, Displays and Workshops all day. Strategy 2010 and beyond 1:00 pm / Press Conference 3:30 pm / Elders /discussion / recollections / videos 4:30 pm / Vegetarian dinner 7:00 pm - donations requested - Record your memories all day.

RSVP to strategyretreat at cagreens.org Sponsored by the GPCA's Campaigns & Candidates Working Group , Green Party of Alameda County and Green Ice


Pictures from UC Berkeley walkout 9.24.09

Hi friends,

I posted some pics of the Walkout at UC Berkeley 9.24.09 on indybay.org



Millionaire vigilantes, in 1930?

This clipping from the San Francisco Chronicle states - Chicago gunmen and racketeers, driven to flight by the "millionaire vigilantes," will find no haven in San Francisco, under orders issued to the entire Police Department last night by Chief Quinn.

I haven't found any other references. Could this be the inspiration for Batman?





Editors, Daily Planet:

A few weeks ago I wrote about plans to install artificial turf at the Sankofa Academy adjacent to Bushrod Park in North Oakland, a plan with numerous problems, not the least of which is a playing surface subject to disease transmittal that has barely an eight-year manufacturers guarantee.

Today I notice another gardening debacle: lovely three-foot-tall brown ceramic flower pots filled with plant material of varying hardiness installed along Telegraph Avenue below Ashby every few blocks into North Oakland, and perhaps further to the north and south.

I have been in the business of urban landscaping for nearly 30 years, beginning with my career at the old California Street Nursery, and I can tell you that raised street planters, unless the local merchants or nearby residents adopt them, are a waste. Even if the city or merchant group responsible assigns gardeners to water them, it won’t be long before the plants are gone and the barren planters are filled with trash and cigarette butts.

I hate to sound cynical, but this well-meaning project was recently completed in an area with acres of empty and weed-filled sidewalk tree cutouts and planting strips that would better support rugged trees and hardy perennials than large clay pots.

Hank Chapot


Artificial Turf in north Oakland?

Berkeley Daily Planet
3023A Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705

Dear Editors,

Three days before her February community meeting (on going green), Oakland City council President Jane Brunner announced she would spend 3.3 million dollars of measure WW park funds on an artificial turf soccer field to be placed on top of the blacktop play area behind the old Washington School, now Sankofa Academy. It appears from her announcement that Jane has the power over park expenditures in her North Oakland district.

Bushrod Park, perhaps the largest park in North Oakland, already has three baseball fields, a soccer field, tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts and a recreation center. In fact, nearly ninety percent of of the park is given over to organized sports. There is no dog run, no natural area, bare picnic facilities, a poor children's playground and little flat space for unorganized play. Now Brunner wants to cover, not remove, a large section of blacktop that in the winter floods onto Shattuck Avenue.

Artificial turf has become controversial across the United States for many reasons including; Friction between skin and artificial turf causes abrasions and/or burns to a much greater extent than natural grass, turf-toe is a medical condition often associated with playing on artificial turf pitches. A higher incidence of MRSA infections because pathogens are not readily broken down by natural processes and periodic disinfection is required. Artificial turf can become much hotter than natural grass when exposed to the sun, for cushioning it requires infill such as silicon sand and/or granulated rubber made from recycled car tires which may carry heavy metals. It has a short life span (10 year or less), can fail earlier and finally, artificial turf contributes to the loss of parks jobs and local funds are spent out of state for a manufactured petroleum product, and more petroleum is needed for shipping and installation.

Artificial turf is not guaranteed against accident, machinery, spiked shoes, animals, misuse, fire, flood, chemical reactions, acts of God, static or dynamic loads exceeding the manufacturers specifications at time of installation, improper or faulty subsurface preparation, failure of the subsurface after the installation including settling of the surface, and the use of dry cleaning fluids or other improper cleaning methods. Artificial turf is subject to vandalism and even if the up-front costs are said to be cheaper, there is little research on its costs versus benefits.

It is great that Councilmember Brunner is seeking to improve Bushrod Park, but there has never been a task force to analyze the wishes of the neighborhood and park users. In addition, Brunner will likely be forced to do spend additional funds for an environmental impact report on the project. Community members are invited to comment; jbrunner@oaklandnet.com (510) 238-7001



University of California controversies

some deltionist know-nothings at wikipedia rejected my page of UC controversies.

Here it is;

Big "C", a Cal fight song written in 1913, is appropriated by UCLA and renamed "Sons of Westwood. Copyright arguments continue until 1969 when it is discovered there was no copyright.

1936, Sir Francis Drake plate of brasse found near Point San Quentin and validated by UC Berkeley historian Herbert Eugene Bolton, a distinguished professor of California history and director of the Bancroft Library at the UC. He staked their careers on its authenticity, later found to be a hoax directed at him and made of contemporary metals.

1949-52. Regents require 'loyalty"oath, Earl Warren stands with the faculty who refuse to take oath. Over one hundred scholars depart system [1] [2] [3]

January 1954, Dr. Harold Winkler, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California is cleared by Regents of charges of communism for statements made in an off campus speech.

December, 1954. Regents pay claims of five former professors involved in a loyalty-oath controversy.

The suppression off free speech in the 1960s [4] [5]

January 1967. Clark Kerr dismissed as president of the University of California by the Board of Regents without advance notice [6] [7] [8]

October 1968. Regents Refuse to Back Governor Ronald Reagan's attempt to bar Eldridge Cleaver's course on racism on the UC campus, students sit-in over issue.

April 1969 defenders of People's Park in Berkeley assaulted by police and national Guard.

1969, Professor Arthur Robert Jensen claims IQ is genetically based

July, 1970 Harry Edwards granted tenure, ending six months of controversy.

1969 Angela Davis ordered by Regents dismissed because of her Communist party membership. A judge ordered her reinstated, and her association with the university is not severed until her one-year contract expired. [9]

October 1977, The anti-affirmative action lawsuit of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke goes before Supreme Court, decided in Bakke's favor.

1981 National Institutes of Health files disciplinary action against UCLA professor Dr. Martin J. Cline who violated Federal guidelines by attempting to treat two cases of a blood disorder through genetic experimentation involving two human patients without obtaining proper permission for the work from the appropriate university committees. [10]

1992, the university is harshly criticized when details emerged about a $1 million retirement package given to then-departing president David Gardner. The system also was criticized because Gardner had promised a $181,000 ``administrative leave package to his closest aide

1992 Tim White at UC Berkeley publishes analysis of bones found at an Anasazi site in Colorado. Concludes that the bones collected include remains of 12th century cannibalism.

1994 Many UC administrators unanimously oppose changing affirmative action policy. A majority of the regents vote to abandon Affirmative action.

Regent appoint Gordon Gee president in spite of the fact that a year after Gee left the president's job at the University of Colorado to assume the helm at Ohio State University, Colorado regents learned he had bypassed the board to grant hefty bonuses of $10,000 to $13,000 to his four top lieutenants. Gee also was criticized when a chancellor he had fired received a $232,400 golden parachute and that a $75,000 bonus went to a football coach for winning the Orange Bowl. The trustees were aware of the two deals but had not known about the full amount of the chancellor's package. Both deals, however, were initially kept from the public. [11]

1996 China scholars at the University of California at Berkeley scrap idea of naming a Chinese studies center after deceased Taiwanese leader Chiang Ching-kuo. [12]

1996 Passage of Proposition 209, University can no longer look at categories like race and ethnicity in admissions.

Late 1990s failure of a much-touted merger between UCSF and Stanford hospitals.

1996 Regents held a closed- door meeting in November that university sources admit violated the state's open meeting law, one of many. [13]

Late 90s University of California pressured to offer benefits to same-sex partners. [14]

2001 reports of increased corporate influence on University of California [15]

2001 Genetically engineered goats born at [UC Davis]], genes are supposed to increase the protein content of each goat's milk, which in turn would boost the cheese output at California dairies. [16]

2002 Dr. Ray Juzaitis, the leading candidate to take charge of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory drops out, citing the unwarranted linking of his name to the Wen Ho Lee case.

2005 Charges of mismanagement, financial scandal and security and safety issues at Los Alamos and Livermore, the national laboratories that oversee the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile leads to shared Lab Stewardship with Bechtel, the Washington Group and BWX Technologies.

November 7, 2005 UC Provost MRC Greenwood resigns as UC investigators probed her possible involvement in improper hiring practices.

October 13, 2005 Federal lawsuit filed against UC Berkeley over religious statements found on a UC Berkeley Web site.

Passage of [[Proposition 209, University can no longer look at categories like race and ethnicity in admissions.

2002 UC Merced to destroy vernal pools, endangered habitat. [17]

July 2006, in opposition of the funding from tobacco money, the Academic Assembly endorses statement, "no unit of the University should be directed (by faculty vote or administrative decision) to refuse to process, accept, or administer a research award based on the source of the funds; and no special encumbrances should be placed on a faculty member's ability to solicit or accept awards based on the source of the funds" [18]

2003, Los Alamos National Laboratory management scandal.

2004 Concerns raise that Regent Richard Blum has a conflict of interest due to his beingmvice chairman at URS Corp., the giant defense contractor

2005 Reporting on contamination in Mexican corn crop report leads to tenure fight for Natural Resources professor Ignacio Chappela

2005 DOE puts the Los Alamos laboratory’s management contract up for competition.

2005 Tenured UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo, while serving as deputy assistant attorney general during Bush's first term, authored memos that redefined "torture" very strictly.

2006 - Allan Dershowitz attempts to stop publication by UC Press of "Beyond Chutzpah" by Norman Finkelstein

2006 Unreported executive compensation packages are reported in a series in the San Francisco Chronicle. [19]

2006 University's plan to remodel the Memorial Stadium on the east side of campus garners two lawsuits and a group of treesitters in the grove of oaks that will be cut for the remodel. Neighbors oppose campus expandsion. [20]

2006 Colombian artist Fernando Botero's Abu Ghraib paintings shown at Berkeley Art Museum. [21]

July 2006, Denice Dee Denton, chancellor at UC Santa Cruz, in scandal over nepotism and housing expenses, commits suicide in San Francisco on Gay Freedom Day. [22] [23]

2006 -07 Democratic party politicians, celebrities including actor Danny Glover honor picket lines of lowest paid workers represented by AFSCME and decline to give commencement addresses.

2007 President Dynes resigns amid compensation controversy. [24]

2007 Labs contracts given over to private firms.

2008 University officials plan on increasing out of state and foreign admissions to increase income.

2008 Governor tries to cut funding for UC Berkeley Labor Program. [25]

March 2009 Reports that University of California continues hiring high-salaried administrative talent and awarding of pay raises, promotions and perks to a dozen executives. [26]

March 2009 Lawsuit against a UC Berkeley evolution Web site rejected without comment by the U.S. Supreme Court. One page on Cal's 840-page Understanding Evolution Web site says Darwinism can be compatible with religion. The 4-year-old suit by Jeanne Caldwell said the government-funded Web site amounts to a state position on religious doctrine that violates the Constitutional separation of church and state. [27]

2009 ASUC Senator John Mogtader is recalled from Berkeley Student Government


Berkeley Daily Planet editorial - click here

UC Service Workers Examine Settlement Offer
February 12 2009

Well, we accepted the offer UC calls fair, after eighteen months of negotiations, impasse, fact-finding, pickets, a strike and a sit-in at Regent Chair Richard Blum's private office, which I think was the clincher.

Click on the title to go to my Berkeley Daily Planet editorial.


video stricken from youtube

The video I shot (my first) at the action of AFSCME worker's sitting-in at the offices of Regent Richard Blum on friday the 16th was taken down at Youtube.

You can still see it and read more at;


watch the video

Invasion of the UC Service Workers


Friday 01.16.09 San Francisco.

Friday, 60 University of California (UC) workers and at least 10 UC student supporters stormed the San Francisco offices of UC Board of Regents Chairman Richard Blum at 909 Montgomery. Chanting, singing and posting images and words of impoverished UC service workers on the walls, they announced their intentions to occupy Blum's office until he and UC President Mark Yudof agree to end poverty wages at UC.

They made it into Blum's office by nefarious means, sixty strong! Clapping and chanting and singin' and dancin', Blum's employees didn't know what to do. Blum was not available but his very plush office was wide open.

Beneath pictures of Dianne Feinstein and the Dalai Lama, surrounded by Tibetan prayer flags, pictures of presidents and potentates and other knick-knacks of Blum's illustrious capitalist career, twenty people, including AFSCME members and student supporters, sat in and were arrested after Blum gave the SFPD his civil complaint. They were arrested. The cops were real nice and professional, after a ride to Central Station the protesters were booked for misdemeanor trespass.

With wages as low as $10/hour, 96% of UC service workers are eligible for some form of public assistance, including food stamps, childcare assistance, and housing subsidies. During the course of the past year- and-a-half of negotiations with UC service workers, the UC Board of Regents has approved raises and bonuses for highly-paid UC executives totaling $14.5 million, long before Thursday's decision to freeze executive salaries next year.

For example, just in the past year-and-a-half, UCLA Vice Chancellor of Medical Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine Gerald Levey received three salary increases, including one in September 2008 for over $154,000. UCI Chief Medical Officer Eugene Spiritus got three raises and two bonuses, bringing his 2008 cash compensation to $328,073. Finally, Nathan Brostrom, the Vice Chancellor for Administration at UC Berkeley received a 6.1% salary increase of $16,400.

It is shameful that UC has found the funds to give wage increases to its highest paid employees, but has not found the funds to raise its lowest paid workers out of poverty.

UC service workers have struggled in poverty for too long. Today is the day to set UC's priorities straight. UC President Mark Yudof, Regents Chairman Richard Blum and the other members of the Board of Regents have the power to end poverty at UC. It is time for them to step in and step up and end poverty at UC.


my screenplay - Bordello Politique: The Crimes of Dolly Fine

My Screenplay pitch made the top ten at the Storylink pitch-perfect contest. 


Link to my recent union activities, with friends! - AFSCME

Here is a link to a story I produced and photos of a warm September 27th Saturday spent working with my union brothers and sisters of the AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees). we were there representing the low-wage workforce of the University of California who  are still locked in a struggle over our expired contract.

We visited the new president of UC Mark Yudof, even brought him his favorite food, PANCAKES, but he didn't show.

read the post on IndyBay...


Goodbye Dona Spring

Dona spring died on Sunday the 13th of July, 2008.

she served Berkeley and represented the green party exceptionally well.
Here are some clips, the first from the Berkeley Daily Planet is the best, but many news reports failed to say she was a Green.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KCBS) -- Berkeley City Councilwoman Dona Spring has died, Dona Spring An Appreciation.
Berkeley Daily Planet, CA - Jul 14, 2008 By Becky O’Malley



Editorial in the Daily Cal responding to University of California Regent Blum and new President Yudoff

I had an editorial published on July 21, 2008 in the independent student paper at UC Berkeley, the Daily Californian, pg. 4, addressing the only comments to come out of the University during our five day strike uttered by Richard Blum and M. Yudoff. Most of the rest of the infrastructure has been silent about AFSCME's walkout.



Green party election wrap June 4, 08

I'm quoted in this press release from the Green Party of CA after the June primary.

"Low voter turnout, expensive advertising, out of control independent expenditure committees, special interest pandering and only two parties in competition. That is the state of elections in California these days," said Hank Chapot, a Green party member and union organizer.

"Without public financing, proportional representation and free media, we will remain stuck in the dysfunctional system and never get to peace, environmental justice and small d democracy," he lamented.


The history of tree sitting, since 1930

Tree-Sitting, Since 1930

By Hank Chapot

Thursday June 26, 2008

The Memorial Stadium oak grove standoff at the University of California is a dangerous and dramatic business, but tree sitting has a more prosaic origin. In the summer of 1930, when “endurance marathons” were the rage, schoolboys and girls across the country became tree-sitters for glory and prizes and a chance to get their picture in the paper.

In the first summer of the Great Depression, bicycle marathons, pole-sitting, even mustache contests were popular diversions. Very young kids across the nation took up the challenge, climbed up high in a backyard tree and built some great tree-houses. Newspapers and radio stations increased readership and announced prizes; bicycles, a wristwatch, savings bonds, a job. Local merchants supplied shoes and radios and tacked advertisements to the tree trunks and fences. Money boxes nailed to the trees jingled with coins dropped by the growing crowds. Feature stories followed: twins sitting, a mother of three, a boy scout and even a housewife with a bathing tub were going for the record in neighborhood trees. The story exploded; children across America took to the trees.

From Jersey to Georgia, Bremerton to Santa Barbara, the “tree sitting epidemic” spread. Sitters went on radio, took baths and had haircuts and doctor’s visits aloft. Radio stations updated hourly and interviewed 4-year-olds on the resupply teams. To the consternation of parents and property owners, the crowds increased by the week.

Twelve-year-old E. B. Landre of 5866 Shafter Ave., Oakland (gone beneath Highway 24) joined the challenge, completing 360 hours as Oakland’s “Human Apple” in his mother’s apple tree, inspiring a dozen imitators across the East Bay. Neighbors thronged to the Shafter Avenue house, and his mother was happy to know where her son was for once. Before alighting to join child star Billy Page on the NBC radio network, “Eebee” (his nickname) was assured of his standing, for the moment, as Bay Area champion. He then got ready for a new school year.

Some writers recommended cutting all trees. Will Rogers suggested they climb the giants in Yosemite.

One kid relocated to a new tree and was carried on a severed branch. Another was attacked with slingshots and gave up, one lit his tent on fire, others were chased from the trees by lightning, summer heat and rain. One was visited by a skunk, and some got homesick, like Lisa Simpson.

A Florida newsmen’s association passed a resolution against wasting more ink on tree sitters unless and until they fall and break their necks, with a view toward protecting children from reverting to their “ape-like tendencies.” The Bremerton tree sit lasted 518 hours, a Santa Rosa youth went 1,305 and one in southern California went 1,320 hours.

A year later, consensus seems to support Leslie “Rhubarb” Davis’ record of 107 days in Gibson City, Ill. When asked why he did it, Rhubarb replied, “I didn’t have to work the whole time I was up there.”

As the publicity spread, law-and-order citizens, juvenile courts, child welfare societies and police combined forces to end the nonsense. Cities declared public parks off-limits. A few sheriffs climbed ladders and grabbed kids by the belt or around the neck.

In late August, coverage ended abruptly when four hours shy of his goal of 500, 16-year-old Nelson McIntosh of Lexington, Ken., fell to his death while pulling up his lunch. Competitors quickly descended and requested Nelson be declared state champion. The fun quickly bled from the game. Before long, “tree sitting” and the marathon craze become fodder for propagandists as proof America had gone soft.

There is more. In Woodstock, Virginia, in 1935, Mrs. Lorraine F. Brown, denying she had a pistol or a pitchfork in hand, perched among the branches of her maple tree and secured a court injunction to save the tree in front of her house from street widening. In 1937, a London play called Climbing satirized a youth who climbed a tree as the first step in flying. In 1939, Mr. Bink sat in a tree in the movie On Borrowed Time. A one-act play called Sittin’, about a Guinness World’s Record, played at the Ensemble Studio Theater in 1980. (By the way, the Guinness website does not cover tree sitting). My favorite tree sitter is the uncle in Fellini’s 1973 film Amarcord.

Berkeley’s own Malvina Reynolds wrote a song after housewife Lois Knill in 1965 tried to stop the destruction of a row of pines on adjacent property in her wealthy Harbor Point subdivision on Tiburon. Mrs. Knill did not exactly sit in a tree, she took up residence on top of a stump, threatened the developer, whom she called a pig, talking about a .44. Originally titled, “The Lady and the Tree,” Reynolds’ song tells the story of a woman who “cried and cursed for the murder of a tree.”

Tree sitting has a single purpose now, and tree defense rages across the planet, there have been deaths, and every loss is permanent. But, take heart: young people not much older than Eebee are still climbing trees. As witnesses to the drama at Memorial Stadium, take a moment to ponder the young folk of 1930, children my father’s age, who jumped at the chance to spend some warm summer nights sleeping in a tree.

published: Berkeley Daily Planet 6.26.08


UC bereft of commencement speakers

Contact: Lakesha Harrison, President: 310-877-6878
Maricruz Cecena, Graduating Senior: 310-429-2207

Retired General Wesley Clark Latest in a Series of Cancellations by UCLA Graduation Speakers


Clark joins Former President Bill Clinton, and Congressmembers Waxman and Solis to refuse to cross the picket line of 20,000 UC workers

California – Retired General Wesley Clark is the latest of a growing group of speakers to cancel their scheduled appearance at UCLA’s commencement ceremonies this weekend unless 20,000 UC workers receive of a fair contract. Former President Bill Clinton confirmed his cancellation on Tuesday and was joined by Congresswoman Hilda Solis and Congressman Henry Waxman who were also scheduled at UCLA this weekend. Students, workers and community supporters are planning to picket at commencement ceremonies across the state this weekend.

"I am disappointed that I will not be able to be a commencement speaker, but I won't cross the picket line. The students who are graduating, along with their parents who support them should be congratulated on their achievement. My hope is this dispute will come to a resolution very soon."
– Retired General Wesley Clark

"Until the University of California and the 20,000 patient care and service workers resolve their dispute, I won’t be able to speak at the commencement ceremony for the U.C.L.A. School of Public Health. I will not cross the picket line and hope this is resolved as quickly as possible."
– Congressman Henry Waxman

The 20,000 patient care and service workers do everything from assisting in surgeries to cleaning dorm rooms in the University of California’s ten campus/five hospital system. They have been negotiating for a fair contract since August, 2007.

Graduations at other UC campuses have also been affected by this show of solidarity with UC workers, including Speaker Emeritus of the California Assembly Fabian Núñez’s cancellation on Wednesday at UC Davis. Robert Kennedy Jr., Assemblyman John Laird, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, Angela Davis and many notable professors have also pledged to cancel unless the contract is settled. This represents speakers at nearly all UC campuses where graduations are scheduled.

At issue are UC wages, which are dramatically behind other hospitals and California’s community colleges where workers are paid an average of 25% higher for the same work. Patient care workers are concerned this is contributing to high-turnover, staffing shortages, and over-reliance on temps which can affect patient care as extra time is needed to train the constant flow of new staff.

For service workers, wages are as low as $10 an hour, and 96% of UC service workers are income eligible for at least one of the following public assistance programs: food stamps, WIC, public housing subsidies, and reduced lunch. Many work 2-3 jobs to meet their families’ basic needs.

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299, AFL-CIO represents
20,000 patient care and service workers at UC including licensed vocational nurses, medical techs and assistants,
respiratory therapists, custodians, cafeteria workers, and security officers.
2201 Broadway Ave, Suite 315
Oakland, CA 94612, (510) 844-1160, media@afscme3299.org


Man in the Moon kite

I've saved this kite since I was a teen age kite flyer. We used to go up on "Moron Hill" and smash our kites into each other, kind of a kite dogfight.


UC, the Wal-Mart of higher education?

published in the Berkeley Daily Planet February 1, 2008

If you love the University of California, you may be interested in a study released Jan. 15 by the Center for Labor and Community Research, titled, “Failing California’s Communities: how UC’s low wages affect surrounding communities.”

For those who pay attention to UC’s labor issues, the story is depressingly familiar. This study of zip codes and census data for roughly 20,000 low paid UC service and patient care employees at ten campuses and five hospitals asked the question; if UC paid market-rate wages, what would be the economic impact, or “multiplier effect,” and where would it show? It was produced with help from AFSCME local 3299.

The conclusions were clear, UC’s lowest paid workers are concentrated in low income communities most in need of economic improvement and UC is failing those communities by paying wages significantly below other colleges and hospitals in California (25 percent below overall). Comparisons were made to wages at regional hospitals and large community colleges. Citing a 2005 study by the National Economic Development and Law Center, one-third of UC’s 124,000 employees do not earn sufficient wages to pay for food, rent and other basic necessities and many are eligible for public assistance. Nearly half of UC patient care and service workers live in neighborhoods with a poverty rate 50 percent higher than those surrounding the campuses. In the Bay Area, the percentage is probably higher.

That study recognized that compensation practices of large employers affect entire communities. CLCR researchers note that as one of the largest employers in the state, if UC paid prevailing wages, it would have significant direct economic impact on struggling communities, including Oakland and Richmond, Inglewood and Hawthorne, plus 55 other working class communities near the UC system, where incomes run 15 percent lower than average. CLCR researchers conclude that, “the economic impact of UC matching prevailing wages is estimated to add $147 million in spending on local goods and services in those communities, create nearly nine hundred new jobs, add $9 million in state and local taxes and contribute $23 million in local business earnings.” Obviously, if UC were to provide market-rate wages, the social returns in low and moderate income communities would be far greater than any increase in sales of luxury goods in upscale districts adjacent to UC campuses from payoffs and perks lavished on top management.

Old-timers tell me UC used to say, “it is a privilege to work for the greatest university in the world, and because of our interest in public service and the egalitarian mission of the university, you will gladly accept a little less.”

More recently they said, “the economy is bad, we have to raise fees, tuition, health care costs, and no, no equity increases this year.” Seems every year, good or bad, UC’s primary customers, students, classroom educators and hospital patients take the hit.

This year the mantra is, “Arnold won’t give us the money, $14B deficit you know.” But the state budget slice for service workers at UC is just 8.6 percent, the rest comes from hospital revenues, the feds and non-governmental funding such as food services and parking. While tuition costs explode, students fees, the ultimate battering ram of UC’s excuses, provide barely 1 percent of service costs.

And I’m talking about unionized workers here, usually the most stable members of working class communities, whose wages UC is keeping down. People end up taking second jobs, putting their teen-aged children into the workforce and even collecting cans during breaks for a little extra cash.

Sources in current contract negotiations say the university has acknowledged that it is not about money, rather, they claim it would be “fiscally irresponsible” to raise workers pay to prevailing wage. That from a public entity with 22 billion dollars in net assets(assets minus expenses), up 18 percent in the last two years, a university system that is the largest recipient of Federal R&D funding in the nation, $4 billion last year alone. Current Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau recently cited low turnover at the bottom as justification for underpaying workers, and it is true that we need our jobs and UC can be a good place to work. However, we have less employment mobility than UC’s elite and are therefore ripe for exploitation.

Readers will be unsurprised that labor contracts within the UC system are in flux. One of the largest employers in every jurisdiction where it resides, UC seems determined to continue depressing wages, in contradiction of its stated ideals.

From the study’s conclusion; “What is at stake is the economic future of West Sacramento, San Pablo, Watsonville, El Cajon, East Oakland and other poor communities that would greatly benefit if UC made a greater economic investment in California’s communities.”

A PDF version of the study “Failing California’s Communities: how UC’s low wages affect surrounding communities” is at www.clcr.org/index.php.

letter on Campus workers, UC Berkeley


Editors, Daily Planet:

As Richard Brenneman highlights events and issues at UC Berkeley in 2007 (BDP v.9, #77) he omitted some good stuff concerning workers on campus. Local 3299 of AFSCME chalked up important achievements this past year, we won a pay equity struggle to bring the lowest paid food services and custodial pay up from poverty wages a dollar or so and established protection of workplace language rights and restitution of faulty pension calculations for employees at the International House.

Numerous commencement speakers honored our request to stay away from graduation when informed of the equity dispute, and some Democrat candidates for president refused to come on campus. We would like to thank them for their solidarity.

In other news, UAW-represented academic student employees won wage and contract improvements while the coalition of UC labor unions—including UPTE Professional and Technical Employees, CUE clericals, UC-AFT lecturers and librarians, UAW Academic student employees, AFSCME service workers and patient care employees and CNA—successfully blocked pension-withholding increases for all 10 campuses, took up the struggle of toxic pollution at the Richmond field station and are working across boundaries to help the unions that are currently in or soon entering in to contract negotiations.

Hank Chapot, Oakland

UCB central campus gardener


Chancellor's comments, UC Stadium project

Chancellor's comments, UC Stadium project,

Editors, Daily Planet:

Don’t be fooled by the recent UC offer to downsize the garage under the Maxwell Field (Daily Planet, July 3). The offer came on the heels of Chancellor Birgeneau’s annual meeting with the Staff Assembly Committee at which, in his opening remarks, he mused about why the city would waste all that money (on a lawsuit) because, as he stated in typical UC arrogance, “the sports facility is only delayed. It will be built.” Ignoring the issues, Birgeneau dismissed critics by claiming there is only one reason for the project; “to get our athletes out of an unsafe structure.”

Appealing to our sympathies, he used “safety” to obfuscate the real issues; traffic, night-light pollution, the views from Strawberry Canyon, the reduced landscape, the trees. Besides, I work in another of UC’s “unsafe structures,” the Edwards Track, built of concrete pillars that may fall in the next quake, but I guess a bunch of gardeners are a lower priority than a bunch of marketable footballers.

Hank Chapot

Bikes in Berkeley CA - letter to Editor

Berkeley Daily Planet


Editors, Daily Planet:

I understand Michelle Lerager’s consternation over Berkeley police actions toward bicyclists (Aug. 7). It is strange that they would crack down on erratic cycling when there are thousands of irresponsible, dangerous and selfish automobile drivers on our streets.

The bicycle is only a threat or traffic nuisance if you drive a car. Few pedestrians will complain about bicycles, and those only because some cyclists are so intimidated by cars that they ride on sidewalks, an activity cycling activists condemn. The truth is, most bicyclists have drivers licenses, most know how to drive a car and are aware of the rules of the road.

In fact, bicycle advocates in the late 1890s went to court repeatedly to gain recognition as vehicles. Even the Supreme Court decided that yes, bicycles are entitled to the road, and are subject to all rules therein. So, why do we ride so crazily? Well, first, we aren’t given our rights by the steel and glass monsters we share the road with, and second, we have this little problem of maintaining our forward momentum.

I demand cars give up road space to everyone else, and if I could have one exception to the rules of the road governing bicycles, I would fix the state vehicle code and solve Michelle Lerager’s problem by passing legislation that says STOP equals YIELD for bicycles.

Hank Chapot



letter to editor BERKELEYAN concerning Chancellor's statements



Letter to the Editor

22 August 2007

Your front-page report on the “chancellor’s chat” sponsored by the Berkeley Staff Assembly (July 12) repeated remarks Chancellor Birgeneau made concerning the recently concluded wage settlement between UC’s lowest-paid workers and the Office of the President (UCOP).

Birgeneau said that he had been “quite vocal” in his opposition to the settlement and that he’d made his opinion known to UCOP. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) members in the audience found it discomfiting that Birgeneau expressed his disagreement with the settlement before a largely non-unionized audience.

In writing that the settlement included special raises for custodians, the Berkeleyan reinforced the chancellor’s division of staff from unionized workers. In saying that he “didn’t think it was fair” that one group of workers got the pay hikes while others in similar ranges did not, you and the chancellor both ignored the so-called “compensation crisis” at the top of the system and the fact that Birgeneau could yet join efforts to bring the entire workforce up to market.

Unmentioned in the Berkeleyan writeup, but of concern to our members, the chancellor said that 60 percent of the cost of the raises would be borne by students (except those on financial aid) in the form of increased housing fees, even though, in an Oct. 12, 2006, letter to UC President Robert Dynes, state legislators Don Perata and Fabian Núñez stated that the Legislature had set aside “additional funds [AFSCME estimates the amount as $9 million] to address pay equity for U.C. custodians and groundskeepers at Berkeley, Irvine, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz.” Why the discrepancy, only the chancellor knows.

That AFSCME successfully lifted the poverty wages of staffers who keep the campus safe, clean, and well-fed is something to celebrate. We at AFSCME are sorry the chancellor does not agree.

Hank Chapot
UC Berkeley gardener/AFSCME steward

Carbon Credits? Not!

Here is a link to an article about Carbon Credits from the Monthly, an East Bay (California) magazine. I am interviewed as someone opposed.



Boell Foundation Green Party poster archives

Link to the Boell Foundation Green Party poster archives

Click title


old photo

John Chapot home page (my Bro)

My brother John has a webpage, click his name for link

greens without borders

worst case scenario: Global warming=universal destruction

Let's talk worst case scenario: Global warming=universal destruction
Scientist have come to the conclusion that yes, global warming is real and, yes, we need to act. However, science, being conservative, sends much of its predictions into the far future and limits scenarios to forseeable problems such as; three degrees of warming in a hundred years, a few feet of sea level rise in fifty, bigger storms, crop damage, population displacement, glacier retreat, etcetera.

Nobody wants to discuss the possible scenario that it is too late to prevent the complete elimination of life on earth...

The atmosphere of terrestrial planets is rich in heavy gases and gaseous combinations, CO2, Oxygen, Nitrogen and trace elements like Ozone and Argon. The atmosphere of gaseous planets is more problematic. Any available water is evaporated into the atmosphere and all the byproducts (perhaps oif previous ecosystems), such as methane and nitrogen are volitized into a soup of indigestible products hugging the surface and killing off any possibility of life(as we know it). Most other planets could never have supported life.

Sad but true. So I am asking, what if the planet Earth, lucky to find itself in a gentle zone, (called Goldilocks by planetary scientists "not to hot, not too cold", and I might add, not too filthy), is in bigger trouble than any one has contemplated?

What if the project of human industrialization has, in less than two hundred years, converted the prevailing atmosphere of the planet Earth into a soup of the byproducts of fossil fuel imolation and set the planet on an inexorable course towards a methane + nitrogen atmosphere that cannot, and will never again, sustain a form of life any ways near the highly structured human species, let alone frogs and butterflies?

Posted by Hank Chapot at May 13, 2006 06:29 PM




WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green leaders spoke out against efforts by law enforcement to target Critical Mass, defending cyclists' right to assemble.

Critical Mass, which holds mass bicycle rides to celebrate the bicycle as a healthy alternative to the automobile, has been the target of recent mass arrests and confiscation of bicycles.

"Police could easily allow Critical Mass rides to proceed without incident, instead of disrupting them and arresting riders," said Henry Lawrence, past President of the Florida Bicycle Association and Florida Green Party candidate for Bay County Commissioner in 2004. "Cities should make every attempt to accommodate bikes. Cities face increasing traffic demands, the effects of car exhaust such as asthma epidemics among children, and global warming. Bicycles represent one of the best hopes for clean urban transportation."

At least 37 Critical Mass participants were arrested in New York City on Friday, March 25; riders claim frequent harassment by police and city officials in New York and other cities.

"If bikers need a permit in order to gather in a public space, why isn't a similar permit required for cars?", asked Hank Chapot, archivist for the Green Party of California who has participated in Critical Mass rides in San Francisco, Berkeley, and London. "The permit requirement allows arbitrary arrest of bicyclists, including those who aren't involved in Critical Mass events but happen to be nearby."

Greens called the suppression of Critical Mass and a recent New York City lawsuit to gag Times Up, a nonprofit organization that has mentored Critical Mass, part of a larger campaign to criminalize protest.

Photo of broken hydrant, Berkeley CA

Bancroft Avenue Waterworks
A Berkeley garbage truck hit a fire hydrant on Bancroft Avenue below Dana Steet around 7 a.m. Tuesday creating a huge geyser of water that took about 20 minutes to contain.

Photograph by Hank Chapot.

Save the old San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge!


Editors, Daily Planet:

Now that the bids for the final section of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge are being considered, perhaps we should start a campaign to preserve the existing eastern span, for logistic as well as historical reasons. It would be a backup bridge in the event the new one is a failure and it would be a nice place to walk or ride bicycles and picnic. Saving the old bridge would be a nice homage to the builders of the 1930s and a prudent effort perhaps, considering the problems we’ve had building a new one.

Hank Chapot


Freedom of Assembly? Not!


Editors, Daily Planet:

I agree with J. Douglas Allen-Taylor that it is bad public policy for Oakland police and the CHP to harass drivers in east Oakland just because the sideshow thing is out of hand, but how far does his freedom of assembly argument go?

On Saturday night, Oct. 1, we had a little activity of the unneighborly kind on my block of 58th Street near Shattuck, that spoke volumes about the lack of space for Oakland’s teenagers to hang out and to the inability or unwillingness of the Oakland Housing Authority to supervise its property, which happens to be across the street from my (rented) house. Perhaps I am being overly sensitive, but this is the site of two border dispute murders within five weeks in the summer of 2003.

There were no deaths this time but lots of broken bottles, a few car windows smashed and a lot of police time wasted because a 13-year-old’s birthday party, perhaps turned into a flash crowd by the ubiquitous cell phone, spread out into the OHA parking lot, then the street with cars blocking the street, fighting, drinking, loud music and waves of youths running away from the eventual swarm of Oakland police.

Adding insult to injury, my call to the housing authority police dispatcher was answered by, “we only have one officer tonight, and he’s busy.” (This on a warm Saturday night for an organization with more than a thousand units). I waited on hold for 10 minutes, hung up and called back, very angry this time, and finally got her supervisor, a corporal named Jerry Williams. He said “I only have one officer and what am I supposed to do about it?” Continuing, he said, “What can one guy do against a crowd?”

While many homeowners on this block want the place shut down, even considering a nuisance lawsuit against the housing authority in the wake of the murders, I am one of the few who’ve supported keeping the place open because people need housing. But now I have realized that the OHA can’t control its own property and can’t keep the peace on 58th Street.

How would J. Douglas Allen-Taylor answer this freedom of assembly issue?

Hank Chapot

Wheelchairs in Berkeley?

Editors, Daily Planet:

The current discussion about access for wheelchair riders is another reason Berkeley is such a great city. The fact that sidewalks are in worse shape than many roadways suggests nirvana has yet to be achieved. But we limit ourselves by focusing solely on wheelchairs.

Cities across the U.S., from Arizona to Maine and now Berkeley, are struggling to assimilate all kinds of new personal transportation devices. Local governments are confronted with retirement community residents, fully capable disabled, skatepunks, golfers, cyclists, eco-activists and users of slow, non-internal combustion transport machines demanding a fair share of the road for urban golf carts, electric and gas-powered scooters, EVs, three-wheeled bicycles, bikes with trailers, small and large motorcycles, mopeds, skateboards, roller skates, those wheelie things with the handle, children on hotwheels, rickshaws, pedicabs and even the ill-fated Segway riding machine. And it’s obvious they can’t all be on the sidewalk.

American tradition and court rulings have affirmed the right to travel. City streets have never been the sole province of automobiles. Public roads serve multiple purposes beside transit; unloading groceries, pouring concrete, walking your dog, riding your wheelchair. Those who do not own a motorized vehicle retain

the civil right to mobility. In addition, legal precedent affirms the right to go slow on all public roads except those with controlled access or minimum speed limits like freeways. Municipalities are only allowed to enforce traffic requirements such as periodic yields. Many of these laws come from rural areas where farm machinery and horses maintain the right to the road and include legal precedent from Amish country.

Unfortunately, some localities dealing with electric and human-powered vehicles try to fashion laws giving slow vehicles a “little access,” amounting to second class citizenship, even requiring counterintuitive traffic gestures confusing to car drivers. But special rules setting apart various classes of vehicles are not the solution. Accident statistics prove what traffic engineers and bicycle scientists say. Full integration of bicycles in traffic is not only necessary for the cyclist’s right to travel, but is safer than segregation. Adding other classes of small personal vehicles will have similar minimal impacts on traffic if automobile users decide to share the road.

Of necessity and inkling, wheelchair users are social pioneers, but we will all benefit from emerging forms of personal transportation and must support them, and we all must take cues from bicyclists who have struggled for access for more than one hundred years. Some day in Berkeley’s future is a city crisscrossed with trees and multi-purpose public spaces where automobile users are expected to yield to little children, EVs and Wheelchairs. The automobile will have it’s place, but so will the rest of us.

Hank Chapot


Bicycle commuter, employed in Berkeley