Saturday, December 25, 2010

Strummer Show & Clash City Covers shows now on-line!

For a limited time you can download this year's Strummer show, and as a bonus, the Clash City Covers show too!

It's all free!

Jesse Luscious spins 3 hours of Clash & Joe Strummer covers, mixed in with covers of songs the Clash covered, and a special segment, "Songs The Clash Taught Us"!

"Songs The Clash Taught Us" will be some of the original tunes covered by the Clash, like Junior Murvin's "Police & Thieves" & Vince Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac."

SPECIAL THANKS TO THESE KALX DJS, without their help it would've been a VERY short show!
Mack, Cuppa Joe, Citizen Zain, Madame X, & Rubberband Girl!

Clash City Covers mp3 download (247MB, 3 hours)
Clash City Covers playlist

It's the 9th Annual Strummer Show celebrating the music of Joe Strummer and his bandmates in The Clash around the 8th anniversary of his death on December 22, 2002.

Jesse Luscious was on the air in 2002 when the news of Strummer's death became known, and immediately began what's now an annual celebration of his music, from the 101ers to the Clash to the Latino Rockabilly War to the Mescaleros, with some surprising stops along the way (Janie Jones & the Lash, Ellen Foley, & the Pogues, to name just a few).


9th Annual Strummer Show mp3 download part 1 (249MB, 3 hours)
9th Annual Strummer Show mp3 download part 2 (243 MB, 3 hours)
9th Annual Strummer Show playlist

Don't forget to tune in to KALX every day at 90.7 FM or on-line! The weekly Jesse Luscious program is Wednesday 6-9am (Pacific).

Friday, December 17, 2010

NYC coverage of Berkeley Rent Board!

From NYC's Tenant/Inquilo newsletter (from the Metropolitan Council on Housing, or Met Council) comes this write-up of our Rent Board campaign!

Berkeley Elects Pro-Tenant Rent Board

What happens when a city elects its rent guidelines board?

In Berkeley, California, it means that a pro-tenant slate won all six seats on the city’s Rent Stabilization Board this month, easily outrunning their three rivals.
The six—five incumbents and one new member—were nominated at the Berkeley Tenants Convention, a gathering of more than 100 people in late July, after 12 potential candidates had been interviewed by a coalition of local liberal and leftist groups. They each garnered more than 10,700 votes; their top rival got about 6,800.

“The point of the slate is unity among tenants and tenant-friendly property owners,” says Jesse Townley, a punk-rock record-company manager who was the top vote-getter. The slate included two tenants, one homeowner, and three small landlords.
This coalition, says Townley, was needed to overcome “the super-anti-rent-control property owners, organized by the Berkeley Property Owners Association.” When the BPOA’s pro-landlord slates won a majority for a few years in the mid-1990s, he says, “rents went up 45 percent during that time under rent control. They basically did everything they could to raise rents as much as they could while staying within the letter of the law.”

The main opposition candidate, George Perezvelez, “ran as neither pro-tenant nor pro-landlord, whatever that means,” says Townley. Perezvelez was endorsed by Mayor Tom Bates and six members of the City Council. Tenant activists believe he was encouraged to run “to drive a wedge into the slate process,” Townley adds.
California law bans cities from limiting rents on vacant apartments, but it lets them reregulate the new tenant’s rent. As Berkeley, a city of 100,000 that’s home to the University of California’s flagship campus, has gentrified significantly, market rents are dramatically higher than regulated rents. However, city residents voted in 2004 to limit annual rent increases to 65 percent of the increase in the federal consumer price index for the San Francisco Bay Area. Thus, the maximum increase for tenants renewing their leases in 2011 will be 0.7 percent.

The board also adjudicates landlord-tenant disputes and works on code enforcement, such as requiring buildings to be earthquake-proofed.
— Steven Wishnia

(Steve Wishnia is a founding member of 1980s NYC art-punk band The False Prophets)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Election results!

Thanks to you all, I was reelected to the Berkeley Rent Board, along with my 5 fellow candidates on the Progressive Slate. As of tonight the totals (which are pretty much final) are:

Jesse Townley 12,632
Pam Webster 11,660
Dave Blake 11,432
Lisa Stephens 11,037
Kathy Harr 11,005
Asa Dodsworth 10,772

As for the rest of my election suggestions, it was a mixed bag. On the local level almost everything passed, but I was much less accurate at the state level. (Although Alameda County hewed closer to my suggestions than the state- not surprising considering our Bay Area bubble!)

Here's a quick list of who I endorsed, followed by the winner in CAPS.

City Auditor – Ann Marie Hogan HOGAN
City Council District 1 - Linda Maio MAIO
City Council District 4 – Jesse Arreguin ARREGUIN
City Council District 7- Kriss Worthington WORTHINGTON
City Council District 8 - Jacquelyn McCormick, Stewart Jones WOZNIAK

Berkeley Measures:
Measures H & I (schools)- Yes YES
Measure R (downtown)- No YES (don't worry, it'll be back, sigh...)
Measure S (tax on marijuana sales)- Yes YES
Measure T (medical marijuana zoning)- Yes YES

Alameda County:
Superior Court Judge, Seat 9- Victoria Kolakowski KOLAKOWSKI
EBMUD, Ward 4- Andy Katz KATZ
Measure F - $10 Vehicle Fee - Yes YES

State Propositions:
19 - Legalize Marijuana - Yes NO (booooo!)
20 - Congressional Redistricting - Yes YES
21 - Vehicle Fee for Parks - Yes NO (smacks forehead)
22 - Local Government and Transportation Funds - Yes YES
23 - Gutting of Greenhouse Gas Laws - No NO
24 - Repeals Business Tax Loopholes - Yes NO (smacks forehead)
25 - Approval of State Budget by Majority Vote - Yes YES
26 - Extends 2/3 Vote Requirement to All Revenue Items - No YES (this'll be a treat in the next few years!)
27 - Returns Redistricting to the State Legislature - No NO

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jesse's November election picks!

Berkeley Rent Board- Progressive Slate:
Dave Blake, Asa Dodsworth, Katherine Harr, Lisa Stephens, Jesse Townley, Pam Webster
(remember, vote for the candidates whose last letters of our last names spell SHERRY!)

City Council races are ranked choice voting this year, which means you can rank up to 3 people in order of preference for the seat. You can choose 1, 2, or 3 names. I've listed who I would rank (not in all races), in descending order (choice #1, choice #2, choice #3).

City Auditor – Ann Marie Hogan
City Council District 1 - Linda Maio, Jasper Kingeter
City Council District 4 – Jesse Arreguin only
City Council District 7- Kriss Worthington only

City Council District 8 - Jacquelyn McCormick, Stewart Jones

Measures H & I- YES- these reauthorize existing property taxes that support Berkeley schools.

Measure R - NO- this is kind of a waste of time. It's not an actual plan, just a guide for the City Council. There was a 5 year Downtown planning process that had mostly things that everyone liked. Drama ensued. Instead of putting forward the detailed compromise put together by this 5-year planning process, a majority of the City Council put this nice-sounding ballot measure up instead. Send a message that they should either send the full plan to us OR find some courage & vote to approve it or another plan themselves, which they can do.
Not only that, but $25,000 of the $32,000 raised so far has come from one major downtown property owner, Equity Residential, founded & run by by zillionaire investor Sam Zell. If this measure had major green credibility, the lion's share of its money wouldn't come from a slash-and-burn investor like Zell & other major downtown property owners like Lakireddy Bali Reddy. Yes, THAT Lakireddi.
More on Zell:
More on Reddy (this IS an incredibly biased site, but even so the facts pretty much conform to this site's retelling of the incredibly tragic saga):
No matter what happens, this will come back to voters in one form or another.

Measure S - YES Tax on Cannabis Businesses- legalize it, tax it, help pay for services with it!
Measure T- YES Medical Cannabis Ordinance Amendments- cleans up & clarifies existing zoning language & treats dispensaries like other legal businesses.

Alameda County:
Superior Court Judge, Seat 9- Victoria Kolakowski
EBMUD, Ward 4- Andy Katz

Measure F - County $10 Vehicle Registration Fee - Yes. The state's been stealing- er, appropriating- money from the counties, who've in turn appropriated money from the cities. This is a start to ending that vicious cycle (but only a start).

State Propositions:
19 - Legalize Marijuana - Yes. Legalize it, tax it, regulate it, make $$$ off of it, just like we've done with the much more dangerous and deadly drug called alcohol.
20 - Congressional Redistricting - Yes. Makes the non-partisan commission that redistricts state legislature seats also responsible for redistricting House of Representatives seats. The reason I supported the 2008 prop that created this commission (and won, barely) is the then-current gerrymandering & creation of "safe seats" in the dysfunctional state legislature has inherently undemocratic results.
21 - Vehicle Fee for Parks - Yes. The state's been stealing- er, appropriating- money from the counties, who've in turn appropriated money from the cities, all of whom promise to pay it back with interest (with what money?). This is a start to ending that vicious cycle (but only a start), and the funds stay within the park & wildlife conservation systems.
22 - Local Government and Transportation Funds - Yes. This says that the state cannot steal- er, borrow- money designated for counties & cities in order to balance the state budget. This is a big step forward in stopping the vicious cycle mentioned in Prop 21 & Measure F.
23 - Gutting of Greenhouse Gas Laws - No. Hole in sand, meet head.
24 - Repeals Business Tax Loopholes - Yes.
25 - Approval of State Budget by Majority Vote - Yes. Holy moly, our state budget process is an annual embarrassment and a major impediment to getting incredibly necessary work done at the state level.
26 - Extends 2/3 Vote Requirement to All Revenue Items - No. This would make the current situation even worse.
27 - Returns Redistricting to the State Legislature - No. The whole point of removing redistricting from the legislature is because it was corrupted by both parties gerrymandering ridiculous "safe" districts.

Statewide and Congressional races:
First: Why are the 2 major party candidates excluding Green party Governor candidate Laura Wells from the debates and having her arrested when she tries to enter the hall? It's business as usual from the 2 parties that have a stranglehold on US politics.

Second: Meg Whitman & Carly Fiorina are disasters-in-waiting and I shudder to think what harm they'll do to California. These are excellent examples of why Ranked-Choice Voting is great- vote your heart and vote strategically at the same time- unfortunately that's not available state-wide (yet).

Third: Last election's horrendous Proposition 14 excludes all but the top 2 vote-getters in November elections, meaning future state elections will be all Dem-Dem, Dem-Rep, or Rep-Rep. No Green, no Libertarian, no Peace & Freedom- no way to express dissatisfaction with the 2 major parties.

Even so, you all are on your own for these races- while I'm a proud Green Party member since 1992, the state-wide Green races strike me as quixotic and a huge drain of energy and resources. I'd rather see the excellent Green candidate Laura Wells become a Green mayor (like Mayor Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond who's up for reelection, hint hint!) and move up into state-wide office that way. Real political power as a party comes from having... real power. Local race by local race, we and other 3rd parties ought to be battering down the barred doors of the 2 major parties until they cannot refuse us entrance anymore because we are already inside due to voter support.

I'm torn on whether to recommend the excellent Green candidates for these races (Governor, US Senate, US House, State Legislature, etc) or to recommend the mainstream Democrats running against creeps like Whitman & Fiorina.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Tomorrow night!

It's the 2nd KALX DEATH MATCH!

Jesse "The Liquidator" Luscious in a head-to-head musical throwdown with "The Hammer"- wait, she just cancelled- can't stand the heat? Hmm... anyway, The Liquidator will take on all comers, from 6pm- 7pm Friday May 28th on KALX streaming here & broadcast in the Bay Area at 90.7 FM!

(tune in 6-9am for the regularly scheduled Jesse Luscious program on KALX too!)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

June 2010 Endorsements!

Short version:
Measure C- Yes
Prop 13- Yes
Prop 14- No
Prop 15- Yes
Prop 16- No
Prop 17- No

Superior Court Judge Office #9- Victoria S. Kolakowski
Board of Education, 1st Trustee Area- Joaquin A. Rivera
State Superintendent of Public Instruction- Larry Aceves

Contested Green Partisan races
Governor- Laura Wells
County Committee- Patti Marsh, Dave Heller, & Greg Jan

Long version:
Since this is a primary election, many of the candidates are party-specific & often unopposed. For this reason I'm only mentioning contested races & non-partisan races.

Superior Court Judge Office #9:
Victoria S. Kolakowski - She's a long-time administrative law judge who is transgendered & progressive.

Board of Education, 1st Trustee Area
Joaquin A. Rivera- He's been an effective member of the Berkeley School Board for the past 12 years- the county needs more hands-on people like him.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Larry Aceves- He's been a local Superintendent, teacher, and school principal, & is endorsed by many progressives & major newspapers.

Contested Green Partisan races
Governor- Laura Wells. Of the 2 running, she has the most realistic approach to this perennially unrealistic campaign.

County Committee- 10 are running for 9 seats. All would do a good job, so I'll just highlight the 3 I've worked closely with on both Berkeley & county-wide issues: Patti Marsh, Dave Heller, & Greg Jan.

Berkeley Measure:
C- Yes!
This is a small property tax to replace the warm water pool that's being torn down, as well as renovate & fund the existing municipal pools. This replaces an earlier tax (Measure R in 2000) that was never collected. The collected tax can only be spent on the pools & will ensure a dedicated funding source in perpetuity. The warm water pool is vital for the disabled, people in physical therapy, infants, and children, and all of the pools will be brought up to the highest Green building standards.

State Propositions:
13- Yes!
This gives unreinforced masonry buildings the same existing tax break for earthquake retrofitting as other types of buildings. These are generally brick buildings & susceptible to catastrophic collapse, so this incentive to retrofit is very welcome.
LA Times endorsement

14- NO!
This is a power grab by the 2 major parties & would restrict the general election to the top 2 vote-getters in the primary. For instance, if 2 Republicans are the top 2 gubernatorial candidates, then we'll have no other choices- write-in votes are also banned under this Proposition. Even more expensive state-wide campaigns will be necessary to run a successful state-wide campaign, and third parties will be shut out of the elections and be completely devastated. Less choice, more corruption, atrocious proposition.

15- Yes!
It's a baby step towards public financing of elections- qualified 2014 & 2018 Secretary of State candidates would be given $ collected from increasing state fees on lobbyists.
League of Women Voters Endorsement

16- No!
One of 2 clearly corporate giveaways on the ballot, this is funded by PG&E and is an attempt to squelch the spread of non-profit public power systems (see: Alameda, Anaheim, Palo Alto, etc) which are cheaper & greener than PG&E's system. 16 is all about crushing competition to one of California's most powerful (pun intended) corporations.

17- No!
The other corporate giveaway is just as ridiculous. Mercury Insurance Company is funding this law that would allow insurers to jack up rates on anyone who hasn't had car insurance at any point in the previous 5 years- even if it's because they haven't owned a car or they were overseas in the military. In addition to ensuring more profits for major corporations from us, it'll also force financially strapped drivers to drive without insurance, since public transit is not a viable option in much of the state.

P.S.- I've donated money to Measure C, Proposition 15, & Joaquin Rivera.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bye bye inline hockey - hello ice!

Last night was my last roller game for a while. Concentrating on ice & Summer BASH- yes!

Edit: Friday 5/14 My Silver B ice team gave me MVP for last season (during which we beat the #1 & the #2 teams in the playoffs before losing the finals 3-0). I was shocked & happy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Champeen rematch

Tonight we had a rematch in the Bronze league from the championship game (a 0-0 tie we lost in a shootout)- turns out their starting goalie & a ton of their players moved up a league leaving half a team and half new players to begin from scratch. We won 5-0, but there's no doubt that as they get used to each other that they'll become, again, a team to be reckoned with.

For instance, their goalie (who was the 3rd best in the league last season behind their starting goalie & myself) was rusty- he's gonna be on top of his game in a few weeks. They also picked up at least one player who has a bullet of a shot.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

West Oakland Toxic Tour coverage = award winning!

Hot damn, the project of Independent Arts & Media just won "Best Digital Media Presentation" from the Society of Professional Journalists. Congrats!

INDIANAPOLIS - The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for excellence in journalism.

Judges chose the winners from over 1,300 entries in categories covering print, radio, television and online. The awards recognize outstanding work published or broadcast in 2009.

Digital Media Presentation (Independent)
"The Bay Area Toxic Tour: West Oakland," Kim Komenich, Kwan Booth, Josh Wilson, Arts & Media

Monday, April 19, 2010

Turned in my Gilman keys for a reason.

I turned in my keys Friday & resigned from the Board of Directors & as Secretary. It's the 1st time since 1989 that I haven't had keys there & I am completely unaffiliated with 924 Gilman now. I feel a huge wave of relief, although it wasn't an easy decision to make.

Short version:
Gilman's always been a half non-profit, half-tax paying entity. It's been operating as a non-profit under the umbrella of another non-profit for a couple of years, and it's finally really close to being a legally independent 501(c)3 non-profit. This means it can go out & raise funds & in-kind donations from individual donors & foundations.

Part of Gilman becoming a non-profit involves having a Board of Directors (who would probably organize fundraising efforts) and restructuring it's governance structure to accommodate this, as well as rewriting the by-laws to add some tweaks & some major changes. It has been a collective that is run by the 2xmonth collective meetings since 1986, open to all. Before this weekend's by-law changes, anyone who had attended at least one meeting in the past was allowed to vote. I believe that the new by-laws (at least the last version I saw) requires voting members to do at least 1 task a month (which is completely reasonable).

I have a lot of experience with writing by-laws for non-profits & egalitarian entities, reorganizing governance structures, and planning fundraising efforts for these types of places. Doing this for Gilman was my main reason for attending the twice-monthly collective meetings again.

The recent by-law revision that happened showed me that the super-close coordination & collaboration that these HUGE efforts require wasn't going to happen, at least not with me involved. I reached out to the main regular volunteers & asked for us to collaborate, to work together, but was mostly rebuffed.

It's kind of crazy to me that a group of regular, hard-working volunteers would shine on legitimate offers of help to lighten their already heavy load. I was always up front with what I could offer & that I was not interested in personal drama. Unfortunately personal drama created by some of the current volunteers definitely played a part in their reluctance to collaborate.

So I said, fine, here's my keys, here's my resignation, good luck.

I'm ambivalent, because while I feel strongly about Gilman's history, I am very worried by the statements & actions of some of the current volunteers. "Gilman hasn't been run as a collective for 2 years" is one that is factually wrong but fervently expressed by the current Head of Booking. No doubt the recently-passed by-law changes will move the place further in his preferred direction. (By-laws that I happily helped re-write, by the way- I don't think a place should stay sacred & unchanging, especially when a lot of the changes are good ideas)

There's a sense of "us" (the people who can give many hours a week) and "them" (the larger community, including many Gilman veterans who have previously given many hours a week for years- decades- at a time). There's a contempt for the worth of the contributions of "them," even though "they" will be some of the main targets for any successful fundraising effort.

Additionally, there are issues of volunteer retention & volunteer relations- another out-going volunteer said that they were always afraid of being yelled at by their "parents," i.e. some of the main volunteers, if they did something those main volunteers disagreed with.

This disapproval of dissent by the main regular volunteers is not healthy for a community-organized space. I ran into this myself over the past few months when I refused to leave my experience & knowledge at the door & get in line, and instead have a discussion about pros & cons of various things. Nothing I have done is any different than what I or hundreds (thousands?) of past Gilman volunteers have done over the decades. Advocate for a position, go to a vote, & win or lose a collective vote. Rinse, wash, repeat. Democracy sucks, get used to it- or change the rules.

While I will not say that donating to Gilman is a bad idea, I can't recommend it either. That sucks to write after all of these years of being a huge booster, but that's where it is.


Okay, non-sports people skip this.

I play in 2 ice hockey leagues- Silver B & Bronze. The teams are Sardogs & Gulag, respectively. (Silver B is the more skilled league)

These past 3-4 weeks have been playoff season @ Oakland Ice, and both teams made it to the finals with me in net.

Sardogs came in 7th (out of 8) for the season, but we went on to beat the #1 & #2 teams in the 1st 2 rounds of the playoffs in tough games. We went to the finals against the #4 team, the Cross-Czechs (made up of Czechs, Slovaks, & some north americans). They were really tough, having 4 high level players, and beat us 3-0. It wasn't for trying though, we just couldn't get through their defense to score. I'm really happy with how I played, considering the # & caliber of shots I faced (25 shots to 10 by us).

Gulag came in 2nd for the season, and we beat the Bronze league Cross-Czechs (they have 3 teams in 3 different levels @ Oakland) 4-0 in the semi-finals. The finals were last night against the #1 team, Gang Green who we've dueled with throughout the season, losing or winning by 1 goal. Their goalie & I were neck & neck for best GAA & Save % throughout the season too. I ended up squeaking out the #1 spot. It was kind of a perfect matchup- #1 & #2 teams, #1 & #2 goalies, a 1-game final.

We played to a 0-0 tie in regulation, then a 0-0 tie in overtime. Both of us were strongly tested by the opposing shooters throughout the game. Unfortunately, I blinked in the shoot-out & let one in. That was literally the game & we lost. It was the best frickin' finals I've ever been involved in, and one of the best games I've ever been a part of. A real goalie battle that was a lot of fun & a lot of work.

Sardog playoff run
Gulag playoff run

Bronze goalie stats GP shots GA GAA Save%
Jesse TownleyGulag 22 458 33 1.50 0.928
Matthew PowersGang Green 16319231.440.928