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Suspect Arrested in Berkeley April Stabbing Case

Bay City News
Wednesday July 04, 2018 - 07:59:00 PM

Berkeley police last week arrested a 19-year-old man suspected of stabbing someone in April while he was visiting the police station to recover a car that had been towed in an unrelated matter.

Joshua Gertz, of Berkeley, allegedly stabbed a 20-year-old man in the 1700 block of McGee Avenue just before 7:30 p.m. on April 3.  

He was arrested on June 26 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, felony battery and violating the terms of his probation. 

Anyone with additional information about the case is asked to contact the Berkeley Police Department at (510) 981-5700

Smoke Advisory for Bay Area

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:26:00 PM

A smoke advisory has been issued for today for the San Francisco Bay Area because of smoke coming from the County Fire in Yolo County, officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said.

Air district officials suggest that area residents avoid outdoor physical activity and keep children inside if it's smoky outside.

Keep windows and doors closed unless it's really hot out. If it's very hot and the home has no air conditioning, seek alternative shelter where it's cool.

Home and car air conditioners should be run on recirculate.

Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean.

Anyone with asthma or lung disease is urged to follow their doctor's directions about taking medicine and following an asthma management plan.

People are urged to call their doctor if their symptoms get worse.

Anyone with heart or lung disease, older adults and people with children are urged to talk with their doctor about whether to leave the area.

Berkeley residents on social media have reported ash from the fires falling at their homes.

Activists to Visit Refugee Detention Facilities Today

Janis Mara (BCN)
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:28:00 PM

Activists from various advocacy groups will visit Bay Area youth refugee detention facilities this afternoon to bring stuffed animals, books and blankets and hold a candlelight vigil, organizers said.

A loose coalition of activists were to meet at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists in Berkeley at noon and a caravan was scheduled to depart at 1 p.m., according to Cynthia Papermaster, a coordinator with the Golden Gate chapter of Code Pink Women for Peace.

Concerned members of the public are welcome to show up as well, Papermaster said.

"We want the kids to know that we care and we are there," Papermaster said. "It's centered on the children. We are bringing stuffed animals, blankets and Spanish language children's' books."

Papermaster said the group had not yet decided which location they will visit. One of the possibilities is Southwest Key, a facility in Pleasant Hill. There are roughly two dozen children being held at Southwest Key, a shelter for immigrant youth in Pleasant Hill, and two of them are adolescent girls who were separated from their parents as a result of the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy.



Berkeley's Place in "the urban crisis of affluence"

Becky O'Malley
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 03:22:00 PM

San Francisco just elected a new mayor after a hotly contested race. I asked a friend who lives there what difference she thought London Breed would make.

“The candidates were all alike, just a few tiny differences,” she said. “But meanwhile, they’re locking up babies in Texas!”

She has a point. All the news, all day every day, is so appalling that it’s hard to get worked up about local controversies. Yesterday, locking up babies and the prospect of Alt-Right Supremes forever. . Today, a newsroom massacre. Tomorrow, what fresh hell will our nation’s rulers produce?

Saturday afternoon, I joined some thousands of Berkeley friends at an emphatic rally denouncing the baby-snatchers. Sometimes I feel that much of my adult social life has been seeing old friends at demonstrations, always a pleasure, but ultimately not preventing things from going from bad to much worse over time.

Against the backdrop of national catastrophe, thinking about local land use problems can seem almost recreational, kind of like watching the World Cup when you don’t really know the rules for futbol.

Meanwhile, however, the urban future is being dramatically changed, and not for the better. Our livable cities are being destroyed by moneyed interests while we’re occupied with the Big Picture.

This will be a long piece incorporating big quotes, but please be patient and read it all. At least the end is inspiring. 

First, the July issue of Harper’s Magazine has a terrific cover story by Kevin Baker, The Death of a Once Great City: the fall of New York and the urban crisis of affluence. Everyone who cares about the place they live, e.g. about Berkeley, should read it. 

The first few paragraphs sum up the thesis: 

“New York has been my home for more than forty years, from the year after the city’s supposed nadir in 1975, when it nearly went bankrupt. I have seen all the periods of boom and bust since, almost all of them related to the “paper economy” of finance and real estate speculation that took over the city long before it did the rest of the nation. But I have never seen what is going on now: the systematic, wholesale transformation of New York into a reserve of the obscenely wealthy and the barely here—a place increasingly devoid of the idiosyncrasy, the complexity, the opportunity, and the roiling excitement that make a city great. 

“As New York enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, it is in imminent danger of becoming something it has never been before: unremarkable. It is approaching a state where it is no longer a significant cultural entity but the world’s largest gated community, with a few cupcake shops here and there. For the first time in its history, New York is, well, boring. 

“This is not some new phenomenon but a cancer that’s been metastasizing on the city for decades now. And what’s happening to New York now—what’s already happened to most of Manhattan, its core—is happening in every affluent American city. San Francisco is overrun by tech conjurers who are rapidly annihilating its remarkable diversity; they swarm in and out of the metropolis in specially chartered buses to work in Silicon Valley, using the city itself as a gigantic bed-and-breakfast. Boston, which used to be a city of a thousand nooks and crannies, back-alley restaurants and shops, dive bars and ice cream parlors hidden under its elevated, is now one long, monotonous wall of modern skyscraper. In Washington, an army of cranes has transformed the city in recent years, smoothing out all that was real and organic into a town of mausoleums for the Trump crowd to revel in. 

“By trying to improve our cities, we have only succeeded in making them empty simulacra of what was. To bring this about we have signed on to political scams and mindless development schemes that are so exclusive they are more destructive than all they were supposed to improve. The urban crisis of affluence exemplifies our wider crisis: we now live in an America where we believe that we no longer have any ability to control the systems we live under.” 

Baker’s essay is mostly about Manhattan, with nods to similar situations in similar world class cities, but what many of us who live in the Berkeley cocoon don’t realize is that we’re undergoing a bush league version of the same conversion. Interesting streetscapes are being taken over by the same boring uniformity.  

Why is this happening? As often has been the case, it’s the money, honey. And it’s everywhere. 

John Lanchester has a long piece in the latest London Review about what’s been going on in the money world since the 2008 crash. He notes that “one of the things that happens in economic good times – a very clear lesson from history which is repeatedly ignored – is that money gets too cheap. Too much credit enters the system and there is too much money looking for investment opportunities. In the modern world that money is hotter – more rapidly mobile and more globalised – than ever before.” 

That’s what we’re seeing in Berkeley and San Francisco and all the other places that are simultaneous being colonized by “luxury” apartments and suffering from a lack of affordable housing. Too much money is feeding the bubble with predictable results. 

In addition to the world-class cities the Baker piece lists, smaller cities all over the world are being taken over by capital looking for a home. I’ve just been visited by a young environmental attorney, who reports that the downtown of her home town of Boca Raton, Florida, which used to be charming, is now wall-to-wall faceless new buildings, both tall and not so tall, but all boring. And it’s not just charm that’s being lost: The people that contribute to sense of place are being squeezed out by the new rich. 

Here, there and everywhere flight capital, often ill-gotten gains stolen in other countries, is looking for property to use for pieds a terre (places for owners to visit occasionally) or AirB’n’B type rentals for tourists.  

When we were in the pre-historic technology business, way back in the early ‘90s, our main customers were in Hong Kong, while it was still British. We asked them what they’d do when China took over. No worries, they said. At that point in history, if they needed a place to go, with a $500k investment they could become Canadians. A million dollars would buy them a place in the U.S. and a path to citizenship or at least a green card. 

I don’t know what the comparable figures are these days, but the principle still survives: money can buy love, and also buy property on which to park your flight capital. 

The outtakes from the Mueller investigations of the Russian interference with the 2016 elections, plus the stories spun off about Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort’s escapades, have given us a window on the shadowy world of Russian oligarchs, who seems to have a finger in every pie, large and small. They’re only one of the various sets of money movers, but they’re typical types. 

Often in these target cities there are what’s now called “flippers”, people who gain some legal hold on a tempting building site, perhaps an option, and then persuade local governments to grant them entitlements (permits) which then can be resold to actual developers to build. After that the “luxury residences” are resold to the rich with an additional layer of profit. Often the flippers are successful because of connections abroad who’d like a place in the U.S. 

A local example of a flipper transaction is the proposed development at 2902 Adeline, now the subject of a lawsuit by outraged neighbors. The developer is a company called Realtex, of which the president is Boris Fadeev. He’s identified on Zoominfo.com as “Director at Moscow Redevelopment Agency”—perhaps that’s his former job, or perhaps he still works there. But he’s also listed as “co-founder of Realtex … primarily responsible for overall development and acquisition activities in the Western United States.” The company’s website lists 3 current projects in the works in Berkeley and more in San Francisco, but has no information on where they are in the entitlement process. They don’t claim to have ever actually built anything. 

Often the finished product in these flipped projects ends up markedly different from what the Zoning Adjustment Board thought it was approving. The City of Berkeley’s Planning Department has the latitude to grant many concessions to builders who plead poverty, and often overlooks conditions on development and use which were supposed to control permits.  

An example of how this works is the Harold Way project next to the Hotel Shattuck, which threatens to demolish the building which houses the Shattuck Cinemas. The company which got entitlements for this project in the final act of the Bates administration has been trying to flip it ever since, with no luck. Word on the street is that they were expecting concessions from the previous administration which now look more dicey with the new council. The entitlements were supposed to expire at the end of 2017, but a former city planning director authorized an extension to this deadline on her way out the door. It might still be built. 

The sad thing is that most Berkeleyans don’t even know what’s hitting them most of the time, as evidenced by postings on the NextDoor site. 

There a distinguished academic lamented the loss of her favorite neighborhood business to an insupportable rent hike, and even went so far as to find out and post the name of the landlord. What she didn’t realize is that the greedy owner of that building has similar holdings all over Berkeley, and is involved with the conglomerate which is now trying to build a huge box on the Ohlone Shellmound site on 4th Street. A small number of commercial property speculators like this one now own a very large percentage of Berkeley’s rental properties, and they do as they please.  

It’s just like New York, and San Francisco, and all the rest. Bad money drives out good. 

Also posted on NextDoor recently has been a lengthy controversy about whether or not residents are entitled to complain about long-term parkers in the space in front of their own doors. What the disputants don’t realize is that many of the apartment buildings recently built in downtown Berkeley have been allowed to omit tenant parking. This is based on the fiction that downtown tenants won’t own cars since they live near BART. Common sense should tell you that they take BART to their well-paid San Francisco jobs during the week, storing their cars on residential streets to use for weekends at the beach or on ski slopes.  

More of these expensive developments are in the works. At least two are being proposed for the north side of Durant, west of Dana, one to demolish and replace Trinity Methodist Church and the other on the Berkeley City Club parking lot. Tenants there, many probably well-off students sharing bedrooms, might promise not to have cars, but they’ll be tempted to store them on Southside neighborhood streets. 

A new day may be dawning, slowly, in Berkeley. The word on the street, though the minutes and video have yet to be posted, is that the Zoning Adjustment Board on Thursday threatened (in a 7-2 vote) to revoke Honda’s permits for its recently occupied South Shattuck garage because neighbors showed up with well-documented video proof of violations of city conditions on its use permit. 

Amazing. Permits once granted are never revoked by the city of Berkeley despite flagrant breaches of conditions. Well, perhaps almost never? 

Small victories like this one, however, don’t disguise the evidence that the fight for a human-scale city with peaceful neighborhoods is far from won. But change could be in the air. We might still have the “ability to control the systems we live under” after all, at least here in Berkeley. 

Two City Council seats now held by people who favor pricey market-rate developers are up for election in November. The District One incumbent is retiring, and Zoning Adjustment Board Commissioner Igor Tregub, appointed by Mayor Jesse Arreguin, is running for her seat. In District 8, Planning Commissioner Mary Kay Lacey, appointed by Councilmember Kate Harrison, hopes to defeat incumbent Lori Droste, a reliable ally of luxury developers. Both challengers have already been endorsed by the Berkeley Progressive Alliance and Berkeley Citizens’ Action. Both endorse more affordable housing, but discourage excess luxury construction, 

And here’s the inspiring bookend on that topic, one last lengthy quote from another New Yorker about what’s happening to our cities: 

“Housing in the United States has become a playground for wealthy developers instead of a leg up towards the American Dream. In New York City specifically, money from luxury real estate developers have taken over our political establishment - leading to luxury rezonings that push out small businesses and working families, and leave a wake of empty units in their place. 

“Working New Yorkers can’t afford to stay in the communities their families have called home for generations. Families are rent burdened, and the city is experiencing the highest levels of homelessness since the Great Depression. While shelters go up, housing actually remains empty - there are three times the amount of empty luxury units as there are people experiencing homelessness in New York City. 

“So, what do we do? 

“Alexandria believes that housing is a right, and that Congress must tip the balance away from housing as a gambling chip for Wall Street banks and fight for accessible housing that’s actually within working families’ reach.  

“Congress has allowed most of our existing housing investments to go towards benefitting the wealthy. Alexandria supports extending tax benefits to working and middle-class homeowners, expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, housing (not sheltering) the homeless, and permanently funding the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund. 

“By refusing money from luxury real estate developers, Alexandria can be trusted to fight for fair, inclusive housing policies that upend the overdevelopment that real estate speculators have imposed on New Yorkers.” 

That’s right, that was a quote from the published platform of this week’s big winner, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat, Socialist and next Congresswoman from the Bronx and Queens.  

Which Berkeley candidates will match her pledge to refuse money from luxury real estate developers? Let’s ask them! 

Public Comment

Abuse of Migrant Children

Jagjit Singh
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:38:00 PM

At the Shiloh Detention Center children are over-medicated turning them into zombies. They are forced to line up to receive their daily dose of pills. Those who refuse are verbally and physically abused. In addition to the extreme drowsiness, the children experience other major side effects includes extreme weight gain as much as 40 to 50 pounds, in a few months. 

One Honduran child identified as D.M. in court filings, arrived at the secured Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Virginia diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and remained locked up for more than a year. The guards routinely referred to the migrant children as “wetbacks,” and using Trump’s disgusting insults accused them of being rapists or having HIV. 

Children who attempt to hurt themselves are handcuffed, have their chests and legs strapped to a chair and have a bag placed over their heads with small holes in it – for hours often soaking in their own urine and feces reminiscent of the appalling images of Abu Ghraib prisoners.

Maxine Trumps T-Rump!

H. Scott Prosterman
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:32:00 PM

Wow, the terms and boundaries of “civility” have been battered and bruised to a pulp. But don’t blame Maxine Waters. One might even argue that her directive to make t-Rump officials not feel welcome in public is overdue . . . like since the early 90’s when Newt Gingrich dispensed with common decorum on the House floor, weaponized Congressional investigations, and empowered Kenneth Starr to make a national issue over an Arkansas land deal. Wait a minute; that was about blow jobs in the White House, a grave matter of national security. And don’t forget Kenneth Starr became president and chancellor of Baylor University, where one of the ugliest rape scandals on any college campus occurred under his watch. 

More to the point, Maxine’s timing was impeccable, in the context of the recent SCOTUS decision about the right to refuse service. Let’s face it, Justice Roberts created a mighty slippery slope when he decreed that a business owner can refuse service if person offends the owner’s religious values. "WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE" cuts both ways. If a vendor can say, “I refuse to service you because I think your lifestyle is icky and you’re going to hell;” then one can just as easily say, “I refuse to service you because you have abused your standing to hurt the most vulnerable people in the world . . . because you have declared war on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for most people . . . because you have declared war on most living things; animal, vegetable and mineral. . . . because you have empowered the big losers of the Civil War and World War II to come out and act out . . . because you work for a con man whose foundation and properties are all about global money laundering and tax evasion . . . because your presence makes my staff fearful, and you forcefully argue that they are sub-human beings with no rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. So, no, HELL NO, you can’t eat here.” 

In response, right-wingers have demonized Maxine for her lapse in “civility.” NOT FAIR! I’m all in for Maxine Waters! Along with Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), they represent a well-articulated and thoughtful ray of light in the very dark chamber that is the House of Representatives. I hesitate to characterize their effort as “effective” because of the deep fix in play to undermine their agenda. 

Sure it makes a nice, feel-good bumper sticker to say, "When they go low, we go high . . . ", but that doesn't work on this playing field. I say, "WHEN THEY GO LOW, WE GO LOWER!" Maxine's comments were indeed provocative. But in the context of today's rules of engagement, it is well timed and on the mark. Go Maxine! 

She comes forth to finally mitigate a problem the Democrats have had since Reagan, trying to play nice when all the kids on the other side are playing mean and unfair! With t-Rump as President and Huckster-Sandy as his mouthpiece, it’s like the most obnoxious, spoiled and simple-minded boy in the 4th grade class has suddenly become principal of the school, and the meanest, nastiest girl in school speaks for him, issuing threats and invective towards any objectors or challengers. 

These guys love their big guns and the NRA. I think an armed presence of black open carry groups stationed at key RED precincts during the '18 and '20 elections is a good idea. Good guys can play voter suppression too – “when they go low, we go lower!” 

Waters, Cohen and Lee represent hope in the House. But the Senate is still waiting for Bulworth to shake up the old “gentlemen’s club.” Maybe one of the old guys will find himself in an after-hours club smoking reefer and having a political-social epiphany. Then one of his aides can say, "Senator, I'm concerned that we're in an after-hours club in Compton on the eve one of your most important speeches, with all kinds of illegal activities going on and you're smoking marijuana, Senator!" Maybe Warren Beatty will actually run. He’s more qualified than Reagan ever was, and his films are much better. I’d say draft Warren to replace DiFi, but it’s a bit late for that in this election cycle. 

Give t-Rump credit for this: He has blown up the myth that [we] Jews are smart people. I mean look at all the dumb Jews who worship this man, who has empowered the Nazis and far right in the US and Europe. He has empowered the Evangelical movement, which overlooks how spiritually vapid he is, and right-wing Jews who refuse to recognize that these people claim to love Israel, while brazenly manifesting their hate for Jews. Right-wing Jews refuse to believe that the only reason t-Rump and the End of Times Christians "love Israel" is to get us all in one place for the Apocalypse to get on with their “Final Solution.” We all know what that means. As I said, it's war on life. But it’s not all t-Rump’s fault. Reagan started it, Gingrich escalated it, and now comes t-Rump to complete the destruction of “civility.” Don’t blame Maxine. 



Trump: A Twisted Child

Alfred Waddell, Marstons Mills MA
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 09:18:00 PM

If the polls are right that 90% of the Republicans are still supporting Trump even though his administration is responsible for separating innocent children from their immigrant parents at our borders, something has gone terribly wrong with a large part of the conscience of America. Every human being came from a mother and a father; we all bleed and breathe alike no matter where we came from or how much money or material things we acquired in life. In my opinion, and from observing the behavior of President Trump, he strikes me as being a selfish spoiled 72 year old man who never evolved from a childhood bully. He is like a twisted, lying, crazy unruly child in a grown-up 72 year old body. We can’t expect him to have empathy or sympathy for other human beings; it is not in his DNA. And I suspect many of his die-hard followers share the same traits.


THE PUBLIC EYE: Telling the Truth About Immigration

Bob Burnett
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:06:00 PM

Donald Trump plans to make immigration and "border security" the dominant themes in the 2018 midterm election. On June 24th, Trump tweeted: "We need strength and security at the Border!... We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, [send] them back." To respond effectively, Democrats need to tell the truth about immigration; they need to respond to 10 questions.

(1) Why do immigrants want to come to the United States? Trump and his surrogates spin a consistent dark narrative: "Uncontrolled immigration... illegal immigrants being arrested for the most heinous crimes imaginable... Low-wage foreign workers being brought in to take your place at less pay."

The reality is more complicated. Most of the recent immigrants coming across the southern border are fleeing the "Northern Triangle" of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) because their lives are in danger; they're seeking asylum in the United States. There's no compelling evidence that these immigrants are criminals (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/30/upshot/crime-immigration-myth.html).

(2) How many are crossing the southern border? Trump routinely calls the influx of immigrants "a crisis" and implies it's a deluge. 

Actually, immigration has decreased since 2000. (https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/06/chart-of-the-day-our-crisis-at-the-border/) From a high of 1.64 million in 2000 to a low of 303,916 in 2017. (By the way, a report in the San Diego Union (http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-refugee-decline-20180621-story.html) indicated that the diminishing immigrant numbers are causing labor shortages in border states.) 

(3) Is this a crisis? From the moment Trump announced his presidential candidacy, he has used inflammatory immigration language to describe a border "crisis." In June of 2015, Trump blamed Mexico: "When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems... When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems... They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists..." Nonetheless, a recent Bloomberg article indicated that immigration from Mexico isn't a problem (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-06-26/what-immigration-crisis-the-u-s-isn-t-being-swamped) -- there are more Mexicans leaving the U.S. than there are those coming in. 

Early on, Trump also claimed that Islamic terrorists were pouring across the southern border; he's since dropped this assertion. 

On June 24th, the New York Times investigated whether there is an immigration "crisis" in the border town of Brownsville Texas (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/23/us/border-trump-immigration.html) and concluded there isn't. 

(4) Are undocumented immigrants a threat? Trump suggests that only gang members are coming across the border: "Crippling loopholes in our laws have enabled MS-13 gang members and other criminals to infiltrate our communities." A recent San Francisco Chronicle article examined this contention (https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/MS-13-is-scary-but-Trump-may-be-exaggerating-the-13020572.php?) and concluded it's false: "Although research on MS-13 varies, there is little evidence that young gang members are coming over the border in large numbers. [A government report] found that 0.02 percent of the 260,000 unaccompanied children who had crossed the southern border over the previous six years were suspected of being affiliated with MS-13." 

(5) Why are families in custody? Each year, thousands of immigrants make the arduous journey to the southern border (in 2017, about 25,000 per month). Once they cross into the United States and request asylum (http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-asylum-process-20180427-story.html), they are in protected status; that is, they get to stay in the country until their case is adjudicated. (And their children, if any, get to stay with them.) 

At the moment, the border is, in effect, closed to asylum seekers and so the vast majority of them have no legal way to enter the U.S. In many cases, they cross the border anyway. When they are apprehended they are taken into custody and charged with a misdemeanor and jailed. (That's the effect of the Trump Administration "zero tolerance" policy.) They are then held indefinitely until they appear before an Immigration judge. 

(6) Why are children separated from their parents? If an adult goes through the regular asylum process, they enter a civil proceeding and their children can stay with them. (An international treaty, which the U.S. signed, guarantees immigrants the right to seek asylum.) 

If an adult is arrested, they enter a criminal proceeding and go to jail; in this case, their children cannot stay with them. (The Trump Administration has recently reversed this decision.) 

The Trump Administration routinely alleges that immigrant children are gang members or are being manipulated by gangs. A recent New York Times article indicated there's no credible evidence of this (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/01/us/immigration-minors-children.html). 

(7) What rights do immigrants have? The Constitution guarantees basic rights to anyone who is in the United States -- whether or not they are citizens. Immigrants are guaranteed the right of due process (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/what-constitutional-rights-do-undocumented-immigrants-have); that is, they can have their day in court. 

(8) Do immigrants have the right to legal representation? Yes, but it's not free. There was a pro bono legal service but, on April 10th, it was suspended by the Trump Administraion (https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/11/politics/immigrant-legal-aid/index.html

(9) Do immigrants have the right to post bond? Yes, but most of them don't have the wherewithal to do this. A June 24th New York Times article (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/23/us/family-reunited-border-immigration.html ) described the case of a Guatemalan woman who was separated from her son but who was aided by the organization Libre by Nexus; they gave her legal advice, put up her bond, and instituted a lawsuit that resulted in reconciliation. 

(10) Can their children be held indefinitely? No. There's a 1997 court decision (Flores v. Reno) that requires the federal government to to place children with a close relative or family friend “without unnecessary delay,” rather than keeping them in custody. (In practice, it limits the custody to 20 days.) 

On June 23rd, the Trump Administration announced a process to reunite the 2053 "separated minors," it has in custody, with their parents. As part of this process, the Department of Justice will seek to revoke the Flores decision so that it can hold minors, and their parents, indefinitely. 

Summary: Not surprisingly, Trump has exaggerated and lied about the immigration situation. It's not a crisis. The vast majority of the immigrants are not criminals, they are unfortunates legitimately seeking asylum. The solution to the situation is to grant immigrants due process and, for legitimate asylum seekers, releasing families from custody until they can have their day in court. 

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer and activist. He can be reached at bburnett@sonic.net 

ECLECTIC RANT: The Case for Public Incivility

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:09:00 PM

On June 20, 2018, Homeland Security Secretary Kirsjen Nielson was heckled about the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy by about a dozen hecklers at the MXDC Cocina Mexicana in Washington, D.C. As she entered the restaurant, they shouted, “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace.” While she was eating, they heckled, "You’re eating a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting tens of thousands of people separated from their parents," and chanted "No borders, no walls, sanctuary for all.” Nielson left the restaurant shortly thereafter. 

On June 25, 2018, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia because for, as co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson, said, "Sanders worked in the service of an 'inhumane and unethical' administration. That she publicly defended the president’s cruelest policies, and that could not stand.”  

Some have called these protests against Nielson and Sanders “uncivil.” I disagree.  

“Civility” in public life is too often a mealy-mouthed word that has no clear meaning beyond social delicacy and the importance of not speaking up too aggressively. Protests, mean words, heckling, civil disobedience, boycotts, public shunning are entirely legitimate tools of political action and civic action. In these instances, the protests were legitimate protests and resistance to Trump and his minions who serve him too loyally. How can you be civil to a president whose modus operandi is incivility, who views civility in opponents as weakness and a reason to viciously attack.  

I expect more such protests.

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Brain Overload Should be Avoided

Jack Bragen
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:16:00 PM

It seems to me that my brain has various ways of signaling me ("me" in this case means my consciousness) when I am pushing it too hard. In some instances, I might have an inexplicable cough unrelated to either congestion or postnasal drip. In other instances, I might have coordination problems. There are also some other physical cues that my brain gives me, to tell me it has had enough, and it is time to rest. There have been a couple of instances in which I've fallen asleep while in the middle of writing. 

Effort is analogous to a muscle; the more you are accustomed to using effort, the more ability you develop to create more effort. However, too much effort directed at brain-intensive tasks can cause problems. 

People who've succeeded in their careers tend to err on the side of working excessively rather than not hard enough. However, this leaves them vulnerable to stress-related illnesses and injuries. Perhaps it is better to ease up a bit, and preserve the body's nervous system, rather than going full throttle all of the time, and causing repeated overload of the brain. 

An episode of severe mental illness overloads the brain to an extent far beyond mere mental strain. A full-blown psychotic episode, which can occur in some cases due to going off psych medications, overloads the brain to such an extent that we may have an impairment afterward. This impairment may be evident when we are back on medication and stabilized. It can take, not just years, but actually decades, to get back to square one; or we could be looking at some amount of permanent damage. 

A psychotic episode causes an entirely different type of overload compared to staying up until 2 a.m. reading a college textbook. In the case of a psychotic episode, the neurons are firing without any type of control, like a runaway train. The mind loses organization, and it becomes jumbled. It can be very hard to recover from this. The longer such an episode lasts, the worse the long-term damage may be.  

Once back in recovery mode, assuming that happens, the brain is like a sprained ankle. I have no idea if inflammation of the brain tissue occurs, but something analogous to that seems to happen. Then, as soon as things seem healed up, exercising the mind's capacities is usually a good thing. However, you shouldn't do this to extremes. 

Medications to treat psychosis have a tendency to shut down or slow down mental activity. The good news is that exercise of the mind's capacities is still possible, and can counteract the shutting down effect of the medication--in the area of the effort. (The medication will continue to be effective at treating the psychiatric illness, assuming that it was effective beforehand.) 

If you take antipsychotics, it may help your overall mental condition to perform brain-intensive, organized, constructive activities. Doing this, especially among other people who are doing the same, can do a lot for morale. I know that when I've worked or have been in school, this has done a lot to relieve depression that I've had in the past. 

For example, in my twenties, I went into electronics training, and this was about a year after my second psychotic episode. I excelled in the electronics class--among very bright students who did not have disabilities. The training was only four months, and it was intended to prepare students for entry-level electronic positions. The regimen of the class was demanding. Classroom time was six hours a day, and homework was another two hours. Before I took the class, I was depressed and had poor self-esteem. 

When I reached the point of completing the electronics class, my depression was gone, and I felt very good about myself. I even gained a bit of weight, which, at the time, was a good thing. 

Most of the time, academic effort won't hurt you unless taken to ridiculous extremes. However, the brain overload of a psychotic break or manic episode can do neurological harm. It is a great idea to be through with psychotic or other episodes of mental illness when young. When older, the brain isn't as resilient. 

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar

Kelly Hammargren
Sunday July 01, 2018 - 04:20:00 PM

Worth Noting:

With the Fourth of July in the middle of the week on Wednesday, most of the City meetings are either postponed, cancelled or rescheduled leaving a very light week. There are only two more regular City Council meetings before the summer recess (July 25 – September 10). The July 10 City Council agenda is available for review and comments. Any/all City ballot initiatives must be completed before summer recess to be on the November ballot.

Agenda for July 10 City Council meeting: Email comments to council@cityofberkeley.info Consent items, 11. Bike Station Agreement with BART City to pay $130,000 in new Center St. Garage, 19. Commercial Cannabis Retail Nurseries, 20. Permit Process for Scooter Sharing Companies on Public Streets, 21. Revisions to Short Term Rental Ordinance, 26. Request for Comprehensive Annual Report on Homeless Services (past reports in packet well worth reading), Action items, 24. ZAB appeal 840 Page Street, 28. Unlawful Nuisance Ordinance Residential Buildings vacant > 120 days and meeting 2 or more specified conditions 29. a.&b. Immediate Priorities for Fire Safety and Overall Disaster Preparedness, 30. Affordable Housing Bond Nov. Ballot Initiative, 31. Ballot Initiative Rent Ordinance, 31. Berkeley Waterfront Parking Restrictions, 32. a.&b. Charter Amendment Police Commission, 34. Auto Sales in Commercial South Area, Urban Agriculture Ordinance, 35. ADU Ordinance Updates, 36. Standards for Views, 37. CEAC recommendations City-wide Green Development requirements apply to 50 units or more, LEED Silver, 38. Ballot Initiative Increase Transfer Tax to fund Homeless Services. https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/City_Council/2018/07_Jul/City_Council__07-10-2018_-_Regular_Meeting_Agenda.aspx 

Sunday, July 1, 2018 

Affordable Housing Act – a proposed ballot initiative, Sun, July 1, canvassing in South Berkeley by East Bay DSA https://www.eastbaydsa.org/events 

Monday, July 2, 2018 


Housing Advisory Commission – RFP Subcommittee, Mon, July 2, 3:00 pm, 2180 Milvia, 2nd Floor 


Personnel Board, Mon, July 2, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Recommend Classification Resilient Buildings Program Manager, Meet Kathy Lee PRC Officier 


Tax the Rich Rally, Mon, July 2, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm, top of Solano in front of old Oaks Theater, 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 

No City meetings or events posted 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 HOLIDAY 

Fourth of July at Berkeley Waterfront/Marina – free event, Wed, July 4, 12:00 noon – 10:00 pm, Fireworks at 9:30 pm, live entertainment, food vendors, arts and crafts, kids playground, (park provided fire pits only, no alcohol, no personal fireworks) 


Thursday, July 5, 2018 

Landmarks Preservation Commission, Thur, July 5, 7:00 pm – 11:30 pm, 1901 Hearst Ave, North Berkeley Senior Center, 

1920 Allston Way – Berkeley High Community Theater – Review/Comment, rehab landmarked building 

1000-1010, 1014-1016, and 1020 Carleton, 2710 Tenth St – Demolition referral 

UC Upper Hearst – UC development, 2 buildings, academic building 32,000 gross SF and residential 132 units one and two bedroom, 

48 Shattuck Square - signage 


Friday, July 6, 2018 

Movies in the Park – Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Fri, July 6, 8:45 pm – 10:30 pm, 1260 Allston @ Acton, Strawberry Creek Park 

Saturday, July 7, 2018 

Berkeley Neighborhood Council, Sat, July 7, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, 2905 Shattuck, Art House, Agenda: not posted 

Sunday, July 8, 2018 

No City meetings or events posted 





The meeting list is also posted on the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition website. 



When notices of meetings are found that are posted after Friday 5:00 pm they are added to the website schedule https://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html and preceded by LATE ENTRY 


Indivisible Berkeley engage in local, state and national events, actions, town halls and election mobilizations https://www.indivisibleberkeley.org/actions