Public Comment

Mayor Arreguin's First 29 Days - Still Sweeping the Homeless, or Honey, This Ain't Camping

Carol Denney
Saturday December 31, 2016 - 05:25:00 PM

Excerpt from Mayor Jesse Arreguin's "First 29 Days" progress report with emphasis and underlining added:

..."Regarding the “First They Came for the Homeless” Encampment

I have received many emails from neighbors throughout Berkeley regarding the ongoing protest tent encampment which has moved throughout Berkeley. These encampments have not been sanctioned by the City and staff have taken enforcement action based on complaints from residents. Camping on public property, including medians, is illegal under the Berkeley Municipal Code. City staff can take complaint driven enforcement action regarding any violations of the Municipal Code. Unlike other cities, Berkeley’s Charter does not give the Mayor executive authority to hire or direct staff. As Mayor, my role is to shape city policy and work with the City Manager to implement city policies and initiatives. I do not alone have the unilateral power to direct staff to enforce, or not enforce, violations of the Berkeley Municipal Code..."

So, is the Mayor of Berkeley just a helpless pawn in a larger political game played by a city staff hoping to thwart his objectives and court losing their jobs? Are they a bunch of evil people hoping to snatch blankets from the poor because it's just such great sport on a cold winter night?

Berkeley's new Mayor just issued a self-congratulatory "progress report" claiming that the City Manager is impervious to his direction. It's true that Berkeley has a strong city manager form of government. but there are lots of things Arreguin can do both as mayor and as a citizen, especially under the emergency housing crisis declaration which the city council (under Mayor Tom Bates) passed last January.

The City Council under Mayor Arreguin, at its first meeting Dec. 12, 2016, had language stopping the homeless sweeps removed from a lengthy proposal doubling shelter space, among other things. Apparently somebody realized they only had four votes since District 7 Councilmember Kriss Worthington inexplicably pulled his vote away. They wanted to look unified at their first meeting, and the proposal still had some good stuff. Calling Worthington to express dismay (981-7170) is a good idea, but building wider support to stop the homeless raids and accept that we need immediate housing and several campgrounds is key, since people have concerns about people setting up tents all over the city anywhere they like, which is pretty much the state of things anyway. And which is legal, absent alternatives, under many readings of the law. This is not camping, as Mayor Arreguin's statement claims. It is survival.

The answer is having both immediate emergency housing within Berkeley city limits as well as sanctioned camping areas with port-a-potties, laundry facilities, garbage collection, etc., without which complaints are almost inevitable. The homeless people I know are not only better organized than most of the people I know with housing, they do a better job of taking care of indigent mentally ill on the streets than the city's current answer; the police, the court system and its pointless, expensive revolving door. -more-

January Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Thursday January 05, 2017 - 03:05:00 PM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money.

This is a Very Good Deal. Go for it! -more-


Let's put the J back in JOY!

Becky O'Malley
Saturday December 31, 2016 - 07:26:00 PM

A premature Happy New Year to everyone. Even though the holiday lights above our door say "Oy" instead of "Joy", it's really not as bad as it seems, trust me. As I've been telling my granddaughters, I can remember many, many years where we said that the exiting year was so bad, the next one couldn’t be worse: 1968, for example, when Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated. And yet it didn’t get unequivocally better…or worse…in 1969, just different.

Then there was 2000, the year the Supreme Court stole the presidency on behalf of the Bushes. We went to DC with our dear friend Patti Dacey to march on the Court in the snow and ice. The weather in DC is really nasty in January, and this was freezing rain. The good thing was that I ended up marching there alongside a woman from Detroit who has also marched with us in the Detroit version of the original March on Washington, and we agreed that some things had gotten much better since then in the civil rights arena. The bad thing, which we didn’t foresee, is that Patti died a few years later, too young, but isn’t it always too young?

And of course, W stayed, but the world survived him somehow.

A friend of German/Iranian background, with vulnerable family members both in Iran and here, asked me apprehensively if I knew what I would do if there were a real fascist takeover of this country, as some are predicting. She wondered what she would be able to do, and I wonder about myself too.

I’ve heard tales of what happened when Japanese-Americans were taken away by a not-even-fascist U.S. government, and I’ve also heard that some of us, though not most, did stand up for what they weren’t even calling then “America values”. My children had an African-American teacher at Berkeley High who told her students how her family took care of the property of Japanese-American neighbors while they were imprisoned, and a friend of my parents did something similar in Watsonville. Wayne Collins, the attorney father of a Berkeley lawyer with the same name, defended the civil rights of the detainees during and after World War II. If the next administration takes out after Moslems, would we be able to do as well as they all did back then? I hope so. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Don't miss these.

Sunday January 01, 2017 - 11:40:00 AM

These came in last week and are quite interesting. If you missed them amidst the holiday shuffle, be sure to check them out now.

The Play’s the Thing … (aka Capoeira Politics) Steve Martinot 12-28-2016

New: Something happened on the way to the book tour Carol Denney 12-26-2016 -more-

Patience Please!

Saturday December 31, 2016 - 07:33:00 PM

This issue is moving slowly. I still have some letters etc. to post, but I'm relaxing with family and friends until Tuesday. -more-


5 Resistance Resolutions

Bob Burnett
Saturday December 31, 2016 - 07:24:00 PM

As we enter a perilous new year, here are five resistance resolutions:

1.Practice resistance each day. Political resistance is an American tradition; "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Take a stand for democracy. Slow down and focus. Resist.

If you've experienced a life-threatening disease, the process will be familiar. Live one day at a time. Focus on the essentials: taking care of yourself and regaining your health. Trump is a democracy-threatening disease. Focus on taking care of yourself and regaining democracy.

Perhaps begin each day with an aphorism: "I am a patriot;" "Actions speak louder than words;" "It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end;” "I will not let Trump defeat me." Whatever works for you.

Follow with a simple act of defiance. For example, resolve to not listen to news for 24 hours. Resolve to add another name to your "Boycott Trump Donors" list. Join a march or demonstration. Send $ to the resistance. Etcetera.

Above all, resist the Trump propaganda machine that repeats lies over and over until many Americans believe they are the truth. Resist the "normalization" of Trump. What is happening is not normal; America is experiencing a right-wing coup. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Giving Oneself a Break from Self Persecution

Jack Bragen
Saturday December 31, 2016 - 05:30:00 PM

While many of us are making an effort at making our lives better and at living in a responsible way, none of us can control the outcome of our efforts. We ought to feel proud of ourselves when we make a good effort toward a constructive goal or endeavor. However, when our efforts seem to be futile, when the outcome isn't what we had hoped for, we ought not berate ourselves.

If mistakes are made, if we slip up on something, one hopes that at least that the intent was where it ought to be. If an error is made, we ought not punish ourselves with negative or self-derogatory thoughts.

If we have symptoms that get in the way of fulfilling expectations, whether these are self-imposed expectations or come from someone else, we ought not blame ourselves. Persons with psychiatric disabilities may often have days in which we do not feel good, or do not feel up to doing very many tasks. -more-

Is global warming a Chinese hoax?

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday December 31, 2016 - 07:21:00 PM

President-elect Donald Trump has called climate change a Chinese hoax, vowed to dismantle America's climate and clean energy policies, and appointed climate deniers with ties to the fossil fuel industry to his transition team and Cabinet.

For example, Trump is looking at quick ways of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement in spite of international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions. At the Paris climate conference in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal, which sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The U.S. signed the agreement on April 22, 2016. I fear this will be but the beginning of Trump's reversal of policies designed to curb global warming. -more-

Back Stories



Let's put the J back in JOY! 12-31-2016

The Editor's Back Fence

Don't miss these. 01-01-2017

Patience Please! 12-31-2016

Public Comment

Mayor Arreguin's First 29 Days - Still Sweeping the Homeless, or Honey, This Ain't Camping Carol Denney 12-31-2016

January Pepper Spray Times By Grace Underpressure 01-05-2017


5 Resistance Resolutions Bob Burnett 12-31-2016

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Giving Oneself a Break from Self Persecution Jack Bragen 12-31-2016

Is global warming a Chinese hoax? Ralph E. Stone 12-31-2016