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Michael Storper on Housing

Tim Redmond
Friday June 14, 2019 - 04:10:00 PM

Watch the video of the eminent economic geographer talking about housing in SF -- and other American cities.

There were so many interesting moments in the presentation by eminent economic geographer Michael Storper April 30. One of the more remarkable things he said: For the richest 30 percent of the population, housing costs as a percentage of income have actually gone down in San Francisco. That’s right: The issue isn’t a “housing crisis” for the top third of the population; it’s an affordable housing crisis for everyone else.

Storper talked about why he doesn’t think the theory of “filtering” — that is, the idea that if you build high-end housing prices will eventually fall at the other end of the spectrum — doesn’t work.

Watch the videos via 48hills.org. at https://48hills.org/2019/06/michael-storper-on-housing/



Donald Lee Warren

Richard Hylton
Friday June 14, 2019 - 11:04:00 AM

Berkeley lost one of its most inspired raconteurs and a longtime fixture in the African-American community with the sudden death of Donald Lee Warren, the longtime owner of Don’s Headquarters barbershop on Shattuck Street. Warren, who was 68, was known for his quick, acerbic wit and social commentaries. He was a barber for more than 50 years and served several generations of men and boys in many local families. He was also an entrepreneur and property owner who built deep ties to the local community in Berkeley as well as his hometown of Richmond. He died at home of natural causes on May 29th.

Walking into Don’s Headquarters was often like entering a television talk show that focused on the politics and social changes of the day. “Don,” as he was fondly known by customers and friends, was the sharp-tongued host of the show. His knowledge of American history, politics and African-American history regularly astonished the assembled customers, who ranged from UC Berkeley professors and researchers to city workers or terrified little boys brought by their fathers for their first haircut. He was a remarkably well-read interpreter of American political life. What kept his customers coming back to the Headquarters was not only excellent barbering, but Don’s cutting and humorous commentary and the startling honesty often expressed by the men gathered in his shop. With Don at the helm, the Headquarters sometimes seemed the Platonic ideal of a black barbershop: On any given day the place was loud with blunt truth telling and filled with peals of laughter and verbal fireworks. Several longtime customers noted repeatedly after his passing that Don ministered to much more than their grooming needs. His was also a social ministry that offered men and boys an open space for honest expression and conversation about the black experience in America. He also used his property and businesses to strengthen the local community, from giving young kids their first jobs to allowing an international charity to store donated books and educational equipment for South African schools in his building. 

Donald Warren was born on August 2, 1950, in Martinez, CA. He was the eighth of the nine children of Harvey and Rosie Mae Warren. The family moved to Richmond, CA, where Don was raised and attended Richmond High School, graduating in 1968, before barber college. He is survived by several siblings and a host of nieces and nephews.



Just Call Him Mafia Don

Becky O'Malley
Friday June 14, 2019 - 04:27:00 PM

Our President is fond of giving nicknames to anyone he dislikes, which is almost everyone respectable people like.

No, delete that “our”. My late friend Joe Agos used to sit at the table in the front window of the Caffe Mediterraneum on Telegraph during the regime of Bush the Elder and scowl at the morning’s New York Times.

“So”, Joe would say. “What are The Americans doing today?” He preferred to disassociate himself from the manifest wrongdoings of his elected officials. And yet by today’s standards Bush One looks almost like a minor secular saint.

Let’s just say, then, that “the so-called” President gives derisive nicknames to his adversaries. But today I’ve thought of the perfect name for him: “Mafia Don”.

I realize there might be some pushback from the originals, who could feel that using this name insults their ancient brotherhood, and they could even be right. But Mafia Don has obviously patterned his own business dealings after the original Mafia’s management style.

This has seldom been more clearly demonstrated than when George Stephanopoulos asked him if he’d report advances from foreign governments to the FBI. 


“Who would ever call the FBI?” 

Not me, buddy, he said, never called the FBI in my whole long career. 

Wasn’t there a line about this in one of the Godfather movies, or in The Sopranos? We take care of our own problems in our own way, don’t we? Was that what the guy said? 

No one should be surprised at this behavior from a man who openly expresses his admiration for a person he’s often cited as a mentor, one of the sleaziest characters in the whole 20th century, Joe McCarthy’s counsel and later Mob lawyer Roy Cohn.  


There’s a lot of angst in the chattering classes about globalization, much of it deserved. However there’s less talk about the special kind of globalization presided over by Mafia Don and members of his family both by blood and by adoption.  

Clearly, they have allies in mobbed-up circles all over the world. It’s not just the oligarchs in the Slavic countries, where now-defrocked consiglieres Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort used to hang out. This week’s revelations about Mitch McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, reveal administration ties to the Chinese elements who inhabit the twilight zone where gangsters and capitalists overlap, memorialized in many kung-fu movies. 

And let’s not forget the rest of the sordid stories from the Trump cabinet, a parade of some of the crookedest people ever to hold high office in a country where we’ve historically had our share of corruption. These run to the good ol’ boy model, the courthouse gang if you will (Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Rick Perry, Sonny Perdue) with a bit of Tammany Hall on the side (Mike Flynn, Rudy Giuliani). Let’s also remember the smalltime operators who like just a little graft thrown their way: e.g. Ben Carson’s fancy furniture caper. 

The lingering stench of corruption has been hanging over the White House for the last two years, and over Mafia Don himself for even longer. Unfortunately similar political corruption stories can now be found all over the world, with or without Trump ties. He seems to admire any kind of strong man in any kind of country, unabashed dictatorship or putative democracy: North Korea, Hungary, the Phillipines, Italy…you name it, if a government is crooked and someone’s making money from that, Mafia Don cheers. 

Governments come and go, but corruption persists. 

Here’s a little story. Forty years ago, more or less, I was commuting to San Francisco to work at the Bay Guardian while I was in law school. I generally took the E bus, which ended at the Transbay Terminal. Somehow I got wind of the fact that semi-dubious elements in the development industry had their eyes on the terminal, an interesting though not ideal 1939 Moderne building in a key location.  

At that time, believe it or not, magazine distribution was still a lucrative industry (Olden Days for sure). One rumor had it that The Mob controlled magazines, especially “dirty” magazines, which were big before the Internet put them out of business. A major feature of the terminal lobby was a huge magazine stand. 

Lowell Bergman, now a distinguished professor at UC’s Journalism School, was in those days the acknowledged expert in local freelance reporting circles on organized crime. I asked Lowell what he thought was happening with the terminal, and he confirmed, based partly on some legislative hearings he referred me to, that shady Mafia-type elements were likely to be involved in both real estate development and magazine distribution, and getting ahold of the terminal site would be a logical goal for them.  

With his encouragement, I wrote a modest story which the Guardian ran. The next day as I walked through the terminal to catch my bus home I was accosted by a little guy with a heavy accent. 

“I wanna talk to you,” he said. “Come into my office. I’m the manager of the magazine stand.” 

I was young and fearless (=foolish) so I met him there. He turned the deadbolt in the lock after me. 

“We never wanna see another story about that again,” he said, glowering. 

I told him I really had to leave, because a friend was waiting for me outside the office, which fortunately was true. And as it happens, even though his threat confirmed my speculation, I couldn’t find out anything else about the topic, so I never did write another story about him and his associates. Now they’re long gone, but their influence lingers. 

Fast forward to recently. Magazines are dead or dying, but the development industry lives on. In the interim, “the interests”, whoever they are, have finally managed to privatize the terminal site for an enormous building project, the Salesforce Transbay Terminal with adjacent Salesforce Tower, which includes a dysfunctional nod to the public purpose of mass transit which may never materialize as promised. Completion and occupation have been delayed because structural defects have been discovered, attributable to Chinese suppliers.  

Does any of this point to the same kind of organized crime participation anticipated 40 years ago? Maybe yes, maybe no. How would I know? 

It does not yet have a magazine stand, so there’s that. 

But what I do know is that the pattern and practice of corruption in the development industry, where the Mafia Don got his chops with help from Roy Cohn, not only lingers but has spread worldwide. The federal government is now dominated by the kind of sleazy stuff previously associated with cities like Chicago and countries like Italy.  

Does the electorate know or care? If you believe the polls, some do and some don’t, and the polls differ in their tallies. A lot of this country has learned to tolerate and even expect corruption, so might not hold it against Trump in 2020. Sad. 



Public Comment

Scott Wiener is the Housing Industry's Pied Piper

Robert Brokl
Friday June 14, 2019 - 04:48:00 PM

You have to hand it to Senator Scott Wiener, he never gives up flogging for the housing industry. Last year, SB-827, this year, in slightly modified form, SB-50. Wiener's bill has stalled in the Senate, but his mantra and methods haven’t changed much. Cite a manifest problem, in this case homelessness and a lack of affordable housing, relentlessly posit the same, and only, solution over and over--just build more housing, and the problem will be solved. Repeat.

But why should he change? The California Building Industry Associ9ation (CBIA) has picked Weiner as Legislator of the Year, and the bulk of his campaign contributions come from builders. (from an article entitled “Scott Wiener’s SB 50 is a WIMBY Bill.” (Wall St. in My Back Yard.)

As Naomi Klein explained in Shock Doctrine, even crisis and calamities can be opportunities, for consolidation and amassing of power and profit.

SB-50 and SB-827 before that would preempt local zoning "near transit and jobs," eliminating local controls or input, to allow up to 85 feet high condo and apartment buildings. In San Francisco, this definition would mean almost all local zoning control would be eliminated, by state dictat, to solve the housing “crisis.”

But there are reasons why the bills have so many skeptics, including the very groups and people that might seemingly benefit. More market rate housing is NOT going to get housing for people sleeping on the streets or in cars, nor assist the working poor (those with "low-mod” income levels in the Bay Area would be considered wealthy in many parts of the country) who could really benefit from affordable housing. According to the June, 2018 Fortune, households of four people in San Francisco, San Mateo or Marin counties earning $117,000/yr. are considered “low income,” according to HUD guidelines.

Wiener and his developer allies make the simplistic argument that building more housing, even all luxury housing, will ultimately bring down the cost of all housing, the-supply- and-demand solution. Never mind that “trickle down” originated with Reagan and that Trump's single-minded pursuit of the recent tax cuts, supposedly to lift all of us up, disproportionately benefited the wealthy. Surprise, surprise. 

Investment is flooding into parts of California, and parts of cities, because of profits to be made. If profits diminish, the wealth will go elsewhere, or parcels will be land-banked for another day. Developers are not in the social service industry. 

Tenants will likely lose out if SB-50 passes, since existing apartment buildings, constructed before 1978 and under rent control where it exists, and affordable homes in low-income neighborhoods, will likely be demolished, since new construction of multi-unit buildings is exempt from rent control under state law. (Wiener’s new bill did have some fig-leaf “protections” for existing buildings with tenants, with vague language calling for bureaucracies to be set up by cities, for said buildings to be identified. Take that to the bank, as my mother used to say.) 

At least San Francisco has some provisions for inclusionary zoning. As mayor, Jerry Brown opposed it, and, since Brown’s tenure, Oakland never discourages developers. If SB-50 passes, it couldn’t stop demolitions even if it wanted to. 

As many have pointed out, the housing crisis is basically job creation, job concentration, and income inequality problem. The tech boom in the Bay Area has dramatically distorted the economy. The problem is concentrated in the three tech-centric counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, and SB-50 was rightly seen by Democratic legislators from outside these counties as a local “fix” imposed state-wide. For contrast, check out low-rise, laid-back downtown Bakersfield sometime. 

As a long-time North Oakland resident I’ve seen the dramatic changes first hand: modest bungalows bought up by flippers for as much as $800K, blown up for maximum square footage and number of bathrooms and bedrooms, often with an auxiliary “nanny” unit added on the same lot, and then resold in the neighborhood of $2 million. And counting. Often all cash offers, quick SOLD signs voiding the need for PENDING ones. 

Numerous market rate, 5 story rental unit projects are under construction in my “neighborhood shopping district” of Temescal, but Telegraph Ave. is jammed. BART, having perfected providing safe, clean, affordable mass transit, and acquisition of new train cars, has graduated to the developer business big-time, including the construction of a 24 story market rate condo project at the MacArthur BART station. All on land acquired by eminent domain in the 60s and early 70s. 


For starters, cities need to stop subsidizing tech industries. Yes, Twitter comes to mind. Subsidies, if there are any, should go to creating truly affordable housing, not just a few of the least desirable units with sunset provisions in otherwise market rate projects. 

Spread the tech blessings. Why obliterate the unique character of our cities, why we moved or stayed here in the first place, to accommodate more tech with high wage workers, when there are so many less expensive areas of the country with affordable housing and workers with skills that would welcome the opportunities? Amazon should reconsider places like Cincinnati that it passed over for the Bronx. 

A new Homestead Act, providing incentives for people to own a house in under-populated parts of the country. As Elizabeth Warren has pointed out, families owning their own house has been the classic American strategy of getting a financial foothold—the house just doesn’t have to be in Hillsborough. 

Wiener himself is an unlikely spokesperson for truly changing the status quo, and his sympathy for the needy seems faux. He opposed San Francisco’s Proposition C to address homelessness. As the Nov. 4, 2016 Truthout noted, he has opposed funding for homeless LGBT youth, and supported punishing homeless people by separating them from their belongings. 

In this dark period, with so much being lost or threatened under the warped presidency of Trump, Weiner’s relentless cheerleading and promotion of more market rate housing as a magic bullet to fix the manifest problem of the yawning divide between rich and poor is disheartening, and cruel to those who want to believe. The accompanying chorus of YIMBY chants of “more housing, any housing, everywhere” is acrid theater. 

There IS a crisis, but Wiener’s a Pied Piper. 

For more information: check out livablecalifornia.org for an analysis of SB-50 and its impacts. One surprise for me: the AARP, exceedingly cautious when it comes to advocating for saving Medicare ands Social Security from unrelenting attacks, quietly endorsed SB-50. When their representatives refused to return phone calls, we dropped out of the organization. 


Robert Brokl is an artist/community activist. He and his husband, Alfred Crofts, were married in 2004 and 2008 in SF City Hall, and both were leaders in the successful effort to pass the Berkeley gay rights ordinance, before being approved in Oakland and then San Francisco, as depicted in the movie, Milk. 


Berkeley Needs Extreme Heat Response

Kelly Hammargren
Friday June 14, 2019 - 06:39:00 PM

The City of Berkeley Draft 2019 Hazard Mitigation Plan on page ES-8 included the following projection of extreme heat events in Berkeley.

Projections indicate that the number of extreme heat days, warm nights, and heat waves will increase exponentially: by 2099, the City of Berkeley is expected to average 18 days per year with temperatures over 88.3 degrees F.

It is not even officially summer and Berkeley has already had three days of extreme heat, June 9 - June 11, we may not have to wait until 2099 to have 18 days per year of extreme heat. 

In fact, even before the current heat wave the Policy Paper by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop from Australia published in May 2019, projected that without immediate aggressive response, catastrophic climate warming of 3º C may arrive as soon as 2050 

A Climate Emergency Declaration and a resolution to be Fossil Fuel Free by 2030 does not make Berkeley a climate leader when follow through is tepid at best and absent more often. 

Response to climate and being fossil fuel free needs to be the top priority in every decision, every vote, every plan.


Jagjit Singh
Friday June 14, 2019 - 06:54:00 PM

Congress is becoming more and more irrelevant. Their prime responsibility is to exercise due diligence when waging war. This has been completely usurped by the White House who declared an “emergency” to fast-track arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The emergency authorization allows Raytheon, a prime American Defense Contractor to build highly secret smart bomb parts in Saudi Arabia. In a wonderful Christian gesture, all is forgiven for the high crimes of 9/11 and the killing of Khashoggi. I can hear the loud cheers from Trump supporters and Evangelicals eager to share US weapons secrets with our great Saudi friends.  

I wonder whether Jared Kushner received payment for his efforts or was this a gesture of unselfish patriotism. These are the same Saudis who imprisoned women’s human right activist Loujain Al-Hathloul for her demands on lifting the kingdom’s ban on female drivers and overhaul its suffocating male “guardianship” system. She has been held in solitary confinement and faced abuse, including electric shocks, flogging and threats of sexual violence. 

These are the same Saudis who along with another of our great UAE partners pledged $3bn aid money to prop up Sudan’s murderous militias fearful that the winds of democracy might reach Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Super Christian, Vice President Pence must be so proud of our ongoing support for the Saudis who continue to kill Yemeni men, women and children in large numbers which I suppose dovetails with our own great Christian values. 

Jesus must be so proud!

Tell Me No Lies

Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia
Friday June 14, 2019 - 06:48:00 PM

Politicians of the world, Rejoice for you can still tell lies during elections. 

The High Court of Britain has thrown out the case against prospective Prime Minister Boris Johnson. During a recent election he had made claims that withdrawing from the European Union would save £350m (US$400m). The figure was challenged by his opposition at the time and subsequently in a legal action. The action was apparently 'politically motivated and vexatious', an unusual occurrence in any honest election. 

The real concern is how honest are politicians, and especially prospective politicians, during elections. It's not just a matter of kissing babies, shaking hands with people you will never speak to again or pledging monies to marginal electorates but to the themes they propose, better education, less poverty, freedom from drugs and in some countries just freedom itself. These are the things everybody wants and yet no one can seem to deliver them despite many honest attempts. Perhaps politicians should only promise what they can actually deliver. 

A relatively recent change has been the rise of fake news and attacks on the freedom of the press. If the truth is not known as shown with the Chinese Government's description of the Tianamen Square's massacre as 'Justifiable' then it disappears into the mists of times. There have been many attempts to remove or at least cleanse history with even some people claiming that horrors of the Holocaust did not occur. Fortunately there still are people who tell the true stories even if the cost is their own lives. 

We all need to tell the truth but especially our leaders.

How KPFA Hides its Corporate Ties

Doug Buckwald
Friday June 14, 2019 - 04:27:00 PM

One of the frequent promises made by the program hosts on KPFA Radio (94.1 FM) is this: "We don't allow corporate advertising on our airwaves, so corporations have no influence on the issues we cover." If that were true, it would certainly justify KPFA's claim to be a "fiercely independent" radio station – but unfortunately, it is not. 

KPFA's paid programmers actually welcome a great deal of corporate involvement in their broadcasts, by consistently featuring guests on their shows who are supported by think tanks or foundations that are funded directly or indirectly by corporations. 

The Center for American Progress (CAP) is a Democratic Party think tank that has sponsored a significant number of guests who have appeared on KPFA's airwaves over the years. The name of this think tank makes it appear that it is liberal and socially responsible in its activities.  

Actually, CAP is funded by some of the most socially irresponsible corporations in the world, and they exert considerable influence on its positions and actions. In short, whenever KPFA features a guest from CAP, it promotes the interests of the global business community. 

Initially, CAP kept its list of corporate donors secret so it could obscure their influence. CAP was criticized for this by the Sunlight Foundation and other open government groups because it wields considerable influence over legislation in Washington DC. It has recently been revealed that CAP's corporate donors include:  

Walmart, CitiGroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Comcast, General Motors, and PG&E, as well as military contractors Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and BAE Systems.  

This is only a partial list. CAP has many other corporate donors as well. Many of CAP's corporate members contribute thousands of dollars per year to be part of its exclusive "Business Alliance" – which guarantees them special access to important officials in Washington DC.  

However, this clear corporate connection does not trouble KPFA's management or program hosts. Apparently, it is sufficient that the positions taken by CAP slant decisively towards establishment Democratic Party policies.  

During Obama’s tenure as president, from 2008 to 2016, the Center for American Progress was so beholden to Democratic Party interests that it became known informally as “the second White House.” It is unlikely that this characterization was ever mentioned on KPFA radio. After all, KPFA must maintain its fiction of being "non-partisan" in order to maintain its nonprofit tax deduction. 

You may have heard that the CAP recently sponsored a number of hit pieces that were critical of Bernie Sanders – because he is decidedly not a centrist corporate Democrat. In response, Sanders issued a statement about CAP's disingenuous actions: 

“The Center for American Progress is an organization whose massive annual budget is bankrolled by billionaires and corporate executives that profit from finance, pharmaceutical companies, fossil fuels, and sending American jobs overseas ... I worry that the corporate money CAP is receiving is inordinately and inappropriately influencing the role it is playing in the progressive movement.”  

The fact that these insidious corporate influences may effectively undermine legitimate leftist movements does not seem to concern any of the KPFA hosts who feature CAP spokespeople on the air.  

Why does this matter? 

Kris Welch, a 45+ year radio host on KPFA, recently claimed on one of her programs that the station provides its listeners with the "free flow of information that the public needs so people can be informed and make up their own minds." That sounds good on its face, but the "free flow of information" should certainly include informing listeners of the affiliations of guests who are interviewed and indicating their potential conflicts of interest. Otherwise, how can a listener reasonably evaluate the information that is being presented?  

Later on during the same program, Welch declared that KPFA is "different from the Koch brothers, because they don't trust the intelligence of the American people." Yet David Brock, the Democratic Party strategist who helped start a number of the corporate-dominated think tanks that provide guests to KPFA, openly stated his desire to be "just like the Kochs" in his fundraising and advertising practices. Apparently, Welch and others at KPFA regard certain activities to be unacceptable if they are done by the right wing but entirely acceptable if they are done by the left wing. 

We can judge how much KPFA trusts the intelligence of its listeners by paying attention to how callers are treated when they phone in during the public affairs broadcasts. If a caller expresses agreement with the guest and the program host, he or she is typically treated politely and respectfully and is allowed ample time to comment or ask questions.  

But woe to the callers who are brave enough to try to challenge a statement that is made on the air -- or draw attention to hidden financial ties. Such callers rarely have an opportunity to finish their remarks because they are often cut off before they conclude. If they do finish, they are typically treated dismissively.  

And after their calls have been dropped and they cannot respond, they are sometimes even insulted. This is a disconcerting practice of programmers such as Philip Maldari, who hosts "Sunday Show" every weekend. His condescending approach is an insult to the community. Why should Maldari be the self-appointed gatekeeper of the ideas that KPFA's listeners are permitted to hear? 

The disrespectful and dishonest behavior that KPFA's program hosts sometimes exhibit is exactly the opposite of trusting the intelligence of the listeners. This issue has been brought to the attention of Quincy McCoy, KPFA's general manager, many times, but he either fails to respond or simply backs up the actions of the hosts. It appears that McCoy, too, fails to trust the intelligence of the listeners. 

By featuring guests who are members of organizations like CAP, KPFA actively promotes the interests of the corporations standing behind these guests. But don't think CAP is unique. Other corporate Democratic think tanks and foundations whose spokespeople have appeared on KPFA include Campaign for America's Future, New America Foundation, and numerous others. 

Is KPFA free of direct corporate advertising? Yes. Is KPFA free of corporate influence? Certainly not. But the station goes to great lengths to hide this from its listeners. 

Worst of all, listeners who try to point out these hidden corporate connections are silenced on KPFA’s airwaves and summarily dismissed by management. It seems clear that a radio station that resorts to censorship and stonewalling to hide the conflicts of interest of the guests on its programs is not operating with integrity. 

KPFA claims to be a beacon of free speech; the "flagship of the Pacifica Radio Network"; and a model for community radio stations across the country. Shouldn't it place its highest value on integrity, rather than considering this approach a last resort – to be tried only if all else fails? 

Listeners who have concerns about KPFA's unacknowledged corporate connections, consistent Democratic Party bias, and chronic lack of transparency – should share their thoughts with Quincy McCoy, KPFA's general manager.  

Listeners may also want to ask Mr. McCoy why he felt justified in deleting more than 16 years of archived programs for one of KPFA's most popular programs, "Guns and Butter", formerly hosted by Bonnie Faulkner. Community donations paid for the permanent preservation of these programs in KPFA's archives. McCoy's unilateral decision to destroy these recordings was a violation of the public trust. 

Of course, it should have been the community's choice – and not McCoy's – to determine the disposition of these valuable historical records. Instead, he flushed them all down the "memory hole", just as happened in the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's dystopian horror novel, 1984.


THE PUBLIC EYE: Elizabeth’s Time to Shine

Bob Burnett
Friday June 14, 2019 - 04:05:00 PM

The walls of my high-school gym were covered with pithy aphorisms such as: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." The most memorable was: "Life is a grindstone; whether it wears you down or polishes you up, depends upon what you are made of." Certainly, a presidential campaign is a grindstone; in the process most candidates get ground up, while a few thrive. Somewhat unexpectedly, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has adapted to the arduous 2020 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and is beginning to shine.

Warren was the first Democrat to enter the presidential campaign -- December 31, 2018 -- and, ever since, has been campaigning non-stop. I like Elizabeth, but initially had some concerns about her as a presidential candidate: I thought she would come across as an academic or a scold. This hasn't happened; instead. as she slogged though non-stop campaign events, Elizabeth has gotten more confident and, to my eyes, softened. She's still smart as a whip, but her intelligence hasn't gotten blocked her message; she's found a way to communicate with her supporters without dumbing down her ideas. (So far this year, Warren has held more than 80 town-hall meetings.) 

(By the way: I'm struck by how smart the Democratic candidates are, in general; whether it's Elizabeth Warren or Pete Buttigieg or Kamala Harris or Amy Klobuchar or Corey Booker... Trump is going to have a tough time debating any of these candidates -- if he participates in the debates.) 

Six months after entering the presidential campaign, Elizabeth Warren has found a way to differentiate herself from the other candidates: her now familiar refrain "I have a plan for that." If Joe Biden's shtick is "I'm everybody's Uncle Joe... I'm likable and electable" and Bernie Sanders is "I may look like someone's grandfather but I'm actually a revolutionary," Warren's political identity is, "I may be a woman but I'm the smartest person in the room." 

Warren has blended her personal story -- impoverished single mom who becomes a Harvard Law School professor-- together with intelligence and liberal populism. This has produced a potent political cocktail. Elizabeths's brew showed up at the April "She the People" candidate forum in Houston. Many expected Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Corey Booker to dominate the event, but it was Warren who stole the show. Since then Warren has played to increasingly enthusiastic crowds. (And she's sold a lot of "Warren has a plan for that" t-shirts.) 

As a consequence, Warren's poll results have improved. A recent Des Moines Register poll(https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/iowa-poll/caucus/2019/06/09/iowa-poll-biden-leads-democrats-bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-pete-buttigieg-caucus-2020/1360801001/) of prospective Democratic Iowa caucus-goers found Senator Warren was in third place (15 percent) after Joe Biden (24 percent) and Bernie Sanders (16 percent). But another question indicated that Warren is close to a tie with Biden: "Among those who plan to caucus in person, 61% say Biden is on their list in some way... Just as many — 61% — say Warren is on their list. That includes 15% who choose her as their first choice, 14% who pick her as their second choice and 32% who say they are considering her." 

The Warren presidential campaign is experiencing a surge. The latest Economist/YouGov poll (https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/4etmv6wq62/econToplines.pdf) asked prospective Democratic voters: "If the Democratic presidential primary or caucus in your state were held today, who would you vote for?" 26 percent responded "Joe Biden;" 16 percent responded "Elizabeth Warren;" 14 percent were not sure; and 12 percent responded "Bernie Sanders." All other candidates were in single digits. (By the way: the same poll indicated that while Sanders is the best known candidate, he has the highest unfavorable rating at 33 percent.) 

Writing in Mother Jones, David Corn (https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/06/elizabeth-warren-plan/?) pointed out another reason for Warren's momentum: "In February [Senator Warren] announced she would not raise campaign cash via high-ticket dinners and receptions or through dialing-for-dollars calls to wealthy would-be donors. The campaign promoted this as a move demonstrating that Warren would not grant access to rich contributors; she would not be selling influence and would instead rely on small-dollar donors... This decision that burnished her reformist credentials had a critical impact on the campaign: It unshackled her schedule." 

So, what will it take for Senator Warren to win the Democratic presidential nomination? 

The Iowa caucuses occur on February 3, 2020. One the next 8 months, Warren should keep doing what she is doing. ("Nevertheless she persisted.") At the moment, only she has found a winning formula. 

Of course, Joe Biden is the frontrunner, but If Warren maintains her current pace she'll differentiate herself from Joe Biden on the basis of personal energy. And most Democrats will realized that Warren has more depth than Biden. 

Many believe that Warren's primary competition will come from Bernie Sanders. From here it seems that Warren has two advantages: First, she can "out wonk" Sanders; Bernie has a lot of ideas but Warren has more and they are better elaborated. Warren's second advantage is that she is a woman. Right or wrong, a lot of female Democratic voters blame Sanders for Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss -- remember the "Bernie Bros." 

It's a long road ahead, but from here the ultimate winner will probably be Elizabeth Warren. She's emerged from the grindstone with a clear campaign message and identity. 

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

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Aging with Schizophrenia

Jack Brageni
Friday June 14, 2019 - 06:34:00 PM

I am fortunate that I've made it as far as I have--I'm in my mid-fifties. Many people with similar psychiatric illnesses don't live this long. This is despite the commonly held expectation among non-afflicted that most people should live into their eighties or nineties. 

The average life expectancy for people with schizophrenia is about sixty years. I hope to live longer than that, but no one can predict the future. Meanwhile, I am experiencing the numerous ramifications of being older and having schizophrenia. 

In the past, I've done essays about people with mental illness having short and tragic lives, and how healthy living habits aren't promoted by treatment practitioners. Institutionalized mentally ill people are often provided with a poor diet, high in fatty and sugary foods. The medications we are mandated to take often block the ability to exercise the body. These medications are often harmful to the organs. Additionally, physicians don't try as hard to help mentally ill people have a long, healthy lifespan; this could be due to the presumption that our lives are not valuable. 

However, the focus on this week's column is that of living as a somewhat older person with this disease. And there are many aspects to that. 

Economic deprivation, (stemming from not having participated in the workforce for thirty to forty years and therefore not having retirement money to live on) is a huge limitation. Economic factors force numerous seniors into difficult circumstances and living situations. If you are disabled on top of that, it only worsens the scenarios. 

We could be forced into institutionalization by economic factors. Institutionalization changes everything, and generally not for the better. Living in restricted, deprived conditions ruins the lives of numerous mental health consumers. 

If living independently, an older, disabled person is at the mercy of the supposed safety net. We must conform to all of their mandates (such as paperwork and income verification) if we hope to receive needed money and services. 

The life of a later middle-aged, chronically mentally ill woman or man often isn't enviable. Sometimes, it is a struggle just to remain housed and to have some amount of the basic comfort we deserve and need. We aren't living "the good life"-- which many people with professional careers enjoy at this age. 

If we outlive our parents, we may need to learn additional, basic survival skills. Many adults with mental illness rely on help from parents. Some live with parents, even into their forties and fifties. 

I got kicked out of my parents' house at twenty-four. Yet, if I could have lived with parents longer, I would have done so. If we have a significant impairment affecting employability, it becomes a lot harder for us to meet our basic needs. And this difficulty doesn't go away just because of the harder circumstances of getting older. 

When older, it is usually too late to get a job at the bottom rung of the employment ladder. Such jobs usually require young people, who are able and willing to push hard to fulfill the requirements of physically demanding jobs. Imagine trying to do this when middle aged and having been heavily medicated for decades. When we get older, we need a job that requires brains and not the capacity to work really fast. Most psych meds, in my opinion, do much more to impair a patient physically, and don't do nearly as much to impair one's mental capacity. 

When we get to fifty years, we are looking more at throwing in the towel, and not so much at embarking on a new career. When we've had a lifetime of being medicated, going through episodes of severe mental illness, and possibly being institutionalized, the chances of blending into the corporate world aren't promising. 

Then, we are looking at what we want to do with our remaining time. I'm not saying you should give up. But I will say that we should do things that are within reach that we can enjoy, and/or that can give meaning to life. 

There are people with mental illness who have evaded the dismal conditions I've described above. Some have established marvelous careers and wondrous lives. But many of us with severe psychiatric disabilities are disappointed at how our lives turn out. 

When older and having been medicated longer, it adversely affects the brain, as does the progression of an underlying brain condition. Because of this, it may be harder to enjoy certain things as time goes forward. 

If we have a survivable situation, we should be thankful. Beyond that, we are better off if we can have some good moments. Life is still worth living. 



ECLECTIC RANT: Trump continues his anti-immigrant politics

Ralph E. Stone
Friday June 14, 2019 - 06:36:00 PM

Continuing to play his anti-immigration politics, Trump announced a series of tariffs on Mexican goods starting at 5% and growing to 25% to compel Mexico to stem the flow of migrants to this country. It didn’t matter to him that the tariffs would disrupt a critical marketplace.  

At the eleventh hour, Trump suspended the tariffs saying that Mexico had agreed to new and broader concessions to curb migration, which included deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border, and an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. 

In the announcement of the tariff suspension, Trump failed to disclose that Mexico had already agreed to these “new and broader” concessions last December. With much fanfare, Trump “solved” a problem that didn’t exist. His loyal supporters probably cheered anyway. 

Remember, Trump began his anti-immigrant politics during the 2016 presidential campaign when he promised voters a "big, beautiful" concrete wall along the southern border, that Mexico would pay for. He believes his anti-immigrant policies will help his chances for reelection in 2020.  

Trump calls the influx of undocumented immigrants an “invasion,” using one of the oldest anti-immigrant fear-mongering metaphors. Then it was employed to oppose Irish Catholics, Asians, Latinos, Germans, Jews and just about everyone except white Protestants of English ancestry.  

Trump uses the metaphor to oppose asylum-seekers from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Asylum-seekers are not “animals and criminals,” but individuals and families escaping poverty, drought, corrupt authoritarian governments, and gang violence. 

It doesn’t seem to matter to Trump that the best evidence of a lack of a threat to the nation at our Southern border with Mexico is the January 29, 2019, Worldwide Assessment of the Intelligence Community, which notably does not include any threat to the nation.  

We can only hope Trump’s fear-mongering anti-immigrant policies hurt, rather than help him in 2020.

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday June 14, 2019 - 07:07:00 PM

Good Deeds with Your Old Duds

The world and its waters are awash with plastic. Big problem. And you know what else is a big pollution problem? Old clothes. Torn pants, "out-of-fashion" dresses, shirts with missing buttons or ink-stained pockets are all winding up in dumps and landfills and causing problems. 

Turns out there is a solution for clothing that is too worn or damaged to be donated to Good Will or Out of the Closet. Old duds can be donated to companies that turn the threadbare goods into new fabric. These fabric saviors accept any wearables that are fashioned from cotton, silk, and wool. (Polyester is not negotiable.) 

It's easy. There are a number of places where you can simply drop of your old closet-zombies. Here are a few: H&R in Emeryville (5630 Bay Street), the El Cerrito Recycling Center (7501 Schmidt), and Royal Robbins (841 Gilman in Berkeley: 527-1961). Bonus: If you donate to Royal Robbins, they will reward you with a card that's good for a 25% discount on a future purchase. 

How to Straighten Out SF's Crooked Street Mess 

Has anyone else made this proposal? There may be a simple way to iron out the congestion that currently defines Lombard Street's crowded and chaotic crookedness. 

No more tourist cars allowed. Instead, invite tourists and visitors to traverse Lombard on foot. Slow down and smell the roses. 

Instead of heading off in autos, visitors and tourists would board small buses in, say, the downtown area near the Powell St. turntable. The busses would drive to the top of Lombard where the passengers would disembark and proceed to amble down the street at their own pace. 

At the bottom there would be other small buses/vans waiting to take visitors back to the starting point. 

How to enforce this? Simple, and not too costly. Place an automatic gate at the top of Lombard—a gate that could be opened only by Lombard residents, using a remote, electronic signal activated from inside their own cars.

Arts & Events

The Einaudi Cult Phenomenon

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday June 14, 2019 - 04:56:00 PM

Ludovico Einaudi, a sixty-four year old Italian pianist whose compositions show the influence of the American minimalism he first encountered at age thirty-two when he won a scholarship to the Tanglewood Music Festival, has over the years developed a cult following. His worldwide appearances, now as often in sports arenas as in classical music venues, attract fans of all ages and of diverse musical tastes. But Einaudi fans are extremely devoted, even happy to pay the stratospherically high ticket prices demanded. (For the June 12 concert at Davies Symphony Hall, tickets were far higher than for even the most expensive San Francisco Symphony events this season.) 

Attending an Einaudi concert is like attending a séance. Simple, repetitive music creates a mood, one that is almost paranormal. The audience enters into a kind of trance. At the Davies Symphony Hall concert I attended on Tuesday, June 12, some audience members, specifically, four middle aged women seated in the row in front of me, drank shots of tequila with lime out of plastic cups before the concert began to get in the mood. They said they had heard Ludovico Einaudi several times before and assured us we were in for a treat. During the two hour-long concert, however, some people’s attention seemed to wander. The guy seated two seats to my right kept surreptitiously checking his cell phone to see if anyone had emailed or texted him. Here and there, some audience members seemed to fall asleep. Minimalism can indeed put you to sleep. 

Before attending this concert, my experience of Einaudi’s music was limited. I had heard individual tracks of his music played on KDFC, the Bay Area’s classical music radio station. A friend had given me one of Einaudi’s early CDs, and although I rarely played it through from beginning to end, I usually played only the lovely piece entitled “Due Tramonti/Two Sunsets,” a duet for piano and cello. This piece, and this piece alone, it seemed to me, broke out of the mold of minimalism that characterized the rest of Einaudi’s compositions on that CD.  

Thus, I was pleased to note, on seating myself in Davies Hall, that a cello, a violin, and a viola were set up onstage awaiting the musicians who would accompany Ludovico Einaudi. For this concert, which bore the enigmatic title, “The Seven Days Walking Tour,” there was no printed program. Only by going online after the concert did I learn that the cellist was Redi Hasa, and that Federico Mecozzi played violin, and, on some pieces, viola. Online, too, I read that the inspiration for this music came to Einaudi while taking long walks in the mountains in winter, always following more or less the same trail day after day for seven days. “It snowed heavily, and my thoughts roamed free inside the storm, where all shapes, stripped bare by the cold, lost their contours and colors. Perhaps that feeling of extreme essence was the origin of this album…. Seven Days Walking is divided into seven episodes…. Each episode is focused on several main themes, which are recurring in different form: seven variations following the same imaginary itinerary. Or the same itinerary, retraced in seven different moments.” 

Listening to this concert, I couldn’t possibly have told you there were seven episodes. All I could say was that each extended piece seemed like every other extended piece. They all seemed very much alike. Each piece or “episode” had varying dynamics that went from soft to loud and back to soft, but often ending on loud. Endings were, for the most part, a surprise. The piece or “episode” just suddenly ended, usually on a loud ensemble phrase that just got chopped short. 

The faithful in the audience called out their enthusiasm after each piece or “episode.” One Italian woman shouted “Bravo, Ludo!” Another woman shouted “We love you!” Ludovico Einaudi acknowledged these shouts of appreciation with a hand held high and a bow from his piano bench. When all seven pieces or “episodes” had been played, the three musicians took their bows standing together at the front of the stage. For an encore, Ludovico Einaudi returned to the stage alone to play a solo piece that sounded very much like everything else we had just heard. Then, in a parting gesture, he brought back the other two musicians who played -- what else? – a climax from one of the seven pieces or “episodes” we’d heard earlier. I knew it sounded familiar. The audience, or at least most of the audience, gave Ludovico Einaudi and his accompanists a rapturous ovation combined with enthusiastic whoops and whistling.

Mad Scenes in Opera? Handel’s ORLANDO Has A Doozy

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday June 14, 2019 - 06:52:00 PM

The 2019 summer season of San Francisco Opera presented George Frideric Handel’s Orlando in a new production on Sunday, June 9. Opera plots are often convoluted; but Orlando takes the cake in this regard. There are only five characters in Orlando, and one of them, Zoroastro, is a quack physician, But of the other four characters Handel and his anonymous librettist manage multiple love triangles, betrayals, near murders and near suicides. To make matters worse, there’s a mad scene that almost puts Lucia di Lammermoor to shame. Orlando, you see, has been wounded in war, then fallen in love with the woman who nursed his wounds. But when he discovers she loves another man, Orlando goes stark, raving mad. I was surprised the hospital orderlies didn’t put him in a strait jacket when he tried to kill first Angelica, then Medoro. But the quack physician gives him some sort of electro-shock treatment, and he awakens from this treatment miraculously cured. Orlando blesses the woman he thought betrayed him and whom he tried to kill, blesses her lover, whom he also tried to kill, and blesses another woman to whom, in his madness, he proposed marriage. Supposedly, if you can believe it, everyone is happy at the end. 

However, some in the audience apparently were not all that happy. When I asked one woman what she thought of Orlando, her answer was “It was long.” Yes, at three hours and twenty minutes, Orlando is long. Moreover, given that it’s Handel, it seems even longer than it is. Why? Because Handel utilizes the ABA pattern of da capo composition, which means we hear every musical number three times. This can be tedious. 

Though the plot intrigues are drawn from the Romantic Italian epic Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto, San Francisco Opera’s staging, by British director Harry Fehr, sets this Orlando in a London hospital for wounded soldiers during World War II. Orlando, a downed RAF pilot, has been tended by an American volunteer nurse, Angelica, for whom he has fallen in love. Angelica, however, loves another wounded soldier, Medoro. Dorinda, a British nurse, has also fallen in love with Medoro. Complications arise, and some tempers are short. All four of these characters experience a great deal of stress as the opera develops. 

A fine cast was assembled for this Orlando; and there were a few surprises, some good and some not so good. In a role-debut, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke sang the trousers role of Orlando. Sasha Cooke has been glorious in almost every role she has sung here, beginning with her local debut in the title role of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalen in 2013. Now, however, in the title role of Orlando, Sasha Cooke was surprisingly lacking in vocal power. She sang well, as always, but she simply did not project her voice except in rare moments. At least this was the case at the opening performance I attended on June 9. 

There was no surprise coming from soprano Heidi Stober, who sang just as gloriously in the role of Angelica as she has in everything she’s performed here since her local debut in 2010. Nor was the fine singing of countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen a surprise. This young singer, still an Adler Fellow, came on strong as Medoro, though he doesn’t have a great deal to sing in this opera. The real surprise, though – and a truly glorious one – was the U.S. opera debut of Austrian soprano Christina Gansch as Dorinda. Christina Gansch has a bright voice with a lilt to it. The highlight of the whole show may well have been Christina Gansch’s performance of Dorinda’s Act III aria “Love makes the head spin.” The audience certainly appreciated her singing, and they gave her the longest and most enthusiastic applause of the opera for this aria. Finally, another pleasant surprise was the singing of bass-baritone Christian Van Horn as Zoroastro. A tall, commanding figure, Van Horn was convincing as the doctor in charge of Orlando’s case at the hospital. 

Conductor Christopher Moulds, from England, led the orchestra in his local debut in Handel’s Orlando. He ran a tight ship, and the results were crisp and well-paced, even if the da capo repetitions occasionally got tedious. But that’s Handel’s fault, not the conductor’s. The hospital sets were designed by Yannis Thavoris; and the lighting was the joint product of Original Lighting Designer Anna Watson and Revival Lighting Director Tim van ‘t Hof. Andrzej Goulding was responsible for the video projections. Orlando will receive four more performances, June 15, 18, 21, and 27, all at 7:30 pm at the War Memorial Opera House. 


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, June 16-23

Kelly Hammargren, June 16-23
Saturday June 15, 2019 - 11:28:00 AM

Worth Noting:

The June 25 City Council Agenda is available for review and comment (agenda follows list of meetings)

Monday – 1 pm - The proposed ordinance for prohibition of natural gas in new construction and developments is before the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee

Tuesday – 7 pm - The Adeline Corridor Plan is being presented at the Planning Commission Adeline Corridor Subcommittee

Thursday – 10:30 am – Creating a qualified Opportunity Fund is being considered at the Land Use Committee

Sunday – 11 am - EV Workshop at the Ecology Center is free and requires pre-registration

Sunday, June 16, 2019 – Father’s Day

Juneteenth Festival, 11 am – 7 pm,


Monday, June 17, 2019  

City Council Facilities, Infrastructure, Transportation, Environment & Sustainability Committee – Special Meeting, 1 pm, at 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor, Redwood Room, Agenda: Ordinance adding new chapter to Berkeley Municipal Code Prohibiting Natural Gas Infrastructure in New Buildings, 3.a. Recommendations for Fossil Fuel Free, b. City Manager Companion response to Fossil Fuel Free Berkeley, 4. Transition to Zero-Emission Refuse Trucks  


Tax the Rich Rally, with music by Occupella, 5 – 6 pm at the Top of Solano in front of the Closed Oaks Theater, Extreme Heat Cancels  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019  

Berkeley City Council, 1231 Addison Street, BUSD Board Room,  

4:30 pm Special Closed Session, Agenda: Conference with Labor Negotiators (City Manager, Deputy City Manager, Director Human Resources, Police Chief) for Berkeley Police Association  

6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Special Meeting, Agenda: 1. City of Berkeley Green Infrastructure Plan, 2. a. Mandatory and Recommended Green Stormwater Infrastructure in New and Existing Redevelopments or Projects from Facilities, Infrastructure, Transportation and Environmental Sustainability Committee, b. Mandatory and Recommendations from Community Environmental Advisory Commission (CEAC), c. City Manager Companion Report recommending to make no change to current practices, 3. Strategic Plan Proposed FY 2020-2021, Projects and Programs and Planning Commission Work Plan from City Manager  


Planning Commission Adeline Corridor Subcommittee, 7 - 10 pm at 2939 Ellis, Henry Ramsey Jr. South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Focus on Land Use and Affordable Housing (Ch. 3,4 and appendices A,C) https://www.cityofberkeley.info/adelinecorridor/  


Commission on the Status of Women – Subcommittee on Reproductive Rights and Domestic Violence, 3 pm at 2180 Milvia, Chinquapin Room https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Commission_on_the_Status_of_Women_Homepage.aspx  

Mental Health Commission, at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center  

6 pm, Site Visit Subcommittee,  

7 pm, Mobile Crisis Response Subcommittee,  


Wednesday, June 19, 2019  

Animal Care Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 1 Bolivar Drive, Berkeley Animal Shelter, Agenda: VI. Number dogs (4 to 8) walked by single person, VII. Animal sales, VIII. Large dog exercise area at Aquatic Park https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Animal_Care_Commission_Homepage.aspx  

Commission on Aging, 1 – 3 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 7. Homelessness among the elderly, 8. Risks to Seniors and Disabled during Wildfire-Safety related power outages  


Human Welfare & Community Action Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 1. Community Action Plan Public Hearing 2019 Draft Community Services Block Grant and Needs Assessment, 3. On-Site Monitoring Report, 4. Review of Berkeley Funded Agency Program and Financial Reports, 5. 1000 - Person Plan to Address Homelessness, 6. City of Berkeley Baby Bond, 7. Update Air Quality, 8. Update Closure Alta Bates,  


Thursday, June 20, 2019  

City Council Land Use, Housing & Economic Development Committee, 10:30 a, 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor, Cypress Room, Agenda: 1. Berkeley Qualified Opportunity Fund, 2. Amnesty Program for Legalizing Unpermitted Dwelling Units, 3. Prioritizing Affordable Housing for Homeless  


Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, 7 – 11 pm, 1231 Addison St,  


Design Review Committee, 7 – 10 pm at 1947 Center St, Basement Multi-purpose Room, https://www.cityofberkeley.info/designreview/  

2628 Shattuck – Final Design Review – to demolish single-story care facility and build 6-story mixed use with 78 dwelling units, parking 25 vehicles, 65 bicycle spaces  

2352 Shattuck – Preview – to demolish two commercial buildings, split lot in two, construct two 8-story buildings with 209 units (including 15 very low income units), 12,000 sq.ft. commercial space, 86 ground level parking, 20,690 sq ft usable open space  

Fair Campaign Practices Commission, 7 pm at 2180 Milvia, Cypress Room, Agenda: 6. Negotiated stipulation with Greg Magnofna, 7. Election Reform Act to Prohibit Officeholder Accounts, 8. Proposals on Independent Expenditures  


Open Government Commission, 8 pm at 2180 Milvia, Cypress Room, Agenda: Reports Democracy Project, Ombudsman,  


Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Product Panel of Experts, 6:30 – 9 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, No Agenda posted, check before going  


Transportation Commission, 7 – 9:30 pm at 1326 Allston Way, Corp Yard, Building A Willow Room, No Agenda posted, check before going  


Friday, June 21, 2019  

Mental Health Commission Accountability Subcommittee, 7 – 9 pm at 2180 Milvia, 2nd Floor, Dogwood Room, https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Commissions__Mental_Health_Commission_Homepage.aspx  

Saturday, June 22, 2019  

No City meetings or events Found  

Sunday, June 23, 2019  

EV (Electric Vehicle) 101 Workshop, 11 am, - 12:30 pm, 2530 San Pablo, Event is free, but pre-registration needed – space limited, 350 Bay Area, Sponsored by Ecology Center and City of Berkeley, also offered Tuesday, June 25 at 6 pm  





June 25 City Council Meeting Agenda available for comment,  

email: Council@cityofberkeley.info  

Consent: Items 1. – 12. 2nd reading Tax rates for FY 2020, 14. $224,064 YMCA City Employee Memberships, 19. Revision Investment Policy, 20. $2,091,305 to extend Pathways STAIR operations to June 30, 2020, 21. $30,000 Block Grant Discretionary Funding June 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020, 22. $832,000 DDorthy Day House to Operate year-round Shelter at Veteran’s Building FY 2020 and FY 2021, 23. $233,835 Aging Services Programs for FY2020, 25. Extend contract by 2 yr - $276,000 with TruePoint Systems LLC for Accela Professional Services, 26. $65,000 NextRequest for Public Records Response Software System, 27. $225,000 Governmentjobs.com, Inc. DBA NEOGOV for Performance and Learning Management System, 28. Add $418,359 to Contract Accela, Inc. for Software Maintenance and Professional Services, 29. Add $35,000 and extend term for on-call landscape architecture, 30. Add $360,000 for new contract for the WETA MOU Planning Phase for potential ferry service and public recreation pier at Berkeley Marina, 31. Letter of commitment to affirm City of Berkeley participation in 2019 Bay Area SunShares residential solar and zero-emission vehicle program, 32. $80,000 contract with Rincon Consultants, Inc to develop Berkeley Pathway to Clean Energy Buildings Report, 33. $19,000,000 On-call Planning Services Contracts. 34. $140,875 Tanko Lighting for Street Light Luminaire Retrofit Project, 35. Educator and Educational Staff Housing - Amend Housing Trust Fund Guidelines to foster workforce housing for educators and educational staff by extending eligibility to include up to 120% AMI and provide $150,00 to BUSD for predevelopment planning,  

Action: 36. Request City Manager and Dept of Public Works Collaborate to create and Action Plan by June 2020 to aggressively accelerate electrification of City’s Municipal Fleet and Phase out Fossil Fuel in municipal vehicles by 2030 with an update every 6 months, 37. Refer to Planning Commission Zoning Ordinance for Elmwood District to allow for amusement arcades, 38. Budget Referral: $150,000 Remediation of Lawn Bowling, North Green and Santa Fe Right of Way FY 2020-2021 for alternative affordable housing, 39. Adopt FY 2020 and FY 2021 Biennial Budget, 40. Adopt FY 2020 Annual Appropriations Ordinance $520,227,935 (gross and $454,517,219 (net), 41. FY 2019-2020 Borrowing of Funds $35,000,000 Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes, 42. Waiver of Encroachment Fees for Trash Corral Pilot Program for Telegraph BID and Downtown Berkeley Assoc.  

Information Reports: 43. Voluntary Time Off Program for FY 2020, 44. Audit Status Report Response: Code Enforcement-Improvements needed in Case Management and Oversight Jan1, 2019-April16, 2019, 45. FY 2020 Civic Arts Grant Awards, 46. FY 2019 2nd qtr Investment Report, 47. Referral Response: Community Microbond Initiative, 48. LPO NOD 2140 Shattuck Ave, 49. goBerkeley Parking Management Program, 50.&51. 2019 Commission on Disability Work Plan and Outreach Efforts, 52. Mental Health Commission 2018 Annual Report  




City Council Policy Committees Unfinished Business Items for Scheduling  

Agenda Committee  

Use of U1 Funds for Property Acquisition at 1001, 1007 and 1011 University Ave and 1925 Ninth Street from Housing Advisory Commission and City Manager  

Increase Compliance with Short-Term Rental Ordinance  

Disposition of City-owned Redevelopment Properties at 1631 and 1654 Fifth Street  

Vehicle Dweller Program  

Land Use Planning Permit Fee Amendments  

Residential Preferential Parking Program for Football Game Day Enforcement  

Land Use  

Adopt an Ordinance adding a new Chapter 9.50 to the Berkeley Municipal Code Requiring Legal Rights for Legal Tender  

Facilities Infrastructure  

Consider Multi-year Bidding Processes for Street Paving  



Public Hearings Scheduled – Land Use Appeals  


Notice of Decision (NOD) With End of Appeal Period  

2072 Addison St – eliminate off-street parking – 6-5-2019  

2004 Cedar – residential addition – 6-14-2019  

2001 & 2031 Fourth St – modify use permit for beer tasting room – 6-14-2019  

3206 – College Ave – establish pet store use – 6-14-2019  

2325 Sixth St – single family residence – 6-17-2019  

Remanded to ZAB or LPC With 90-Day Deadline  

1155-73 Hearst (develop 2 parcels) – referred back to City Council – to be scheduled  

2701 Shattuck (construct 5-story mixed-use building) – ZAB 6-30-2019  




Sept 17 – Arts and Culture Plan, Zero Waste Rate Review, Adeline Corridor Plan  

Oct 22 – Berkeley’s 2020 Vision Update, Census 2020 Update, Short term Rentals  

Nov 5 - Transfer Station Feasibility Study, Vision Zero Action Plan,  

Dec 5 – Measure T1 Update  

Unscheduled – Cannabis Health Considerations  



EBMUD presentation  

Referral Response: Explore Grant Writing Services  



To Check For Regional Meetings with Berkeley Council Appointees go to  



To check for Berkeley Unified School District Board Meetings go to  





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

http://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html and in the Berkeley Daily Planet under activist’s calendar http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com  


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