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This postcard was sent to a Berkeley resident's [now blanked out]address.
This postcard was sent to a Berkeley resident's [now blanked out]address.


Alert: Police Activity in the 3300 block of MLK Jr Way. Avoid the area

Berkeley Police Department
Wednesday September 04, 2019 - 01:57:00 PM

h Martin Luther Jr Way is currently closed for all vehicle and pedestrian traffic between 61st Street and 62nd Street—northbound MLK Jr Way traffic is being held at Adeline Street. 

Officers are currently searching the 3300 block of Martin Luther Jr Way for a reported armed person.  


Please avoid the area.

Life before Vaccines: Growing up in the 1930s and 40s

Margot Smith, Dr.P.H.
Saturday August 31, 2019 - 11:05:00 AM

Medical science has profoundly changed our lives. I am sure that I would not have survived to this old age without antibiotics, advances in epidemiology and surgery.

I was a child in the 1930s. We lived in a flat across the street from my grammar school playground and I had friends in the neighborhood. It was a time when parents simply said “Go out and play” and we did. Our games were hopscotch, kick the can, jacks, tag, jump rope, handball and hide and seek. We cruised on roller skates and bikes, and built club houses out of boxes in vacant lots. We were supposed to come home at twilight, before dark. The milkman, bakery truck and iceman delivered to our doors. We felt safe in our neighborhoods.

But my parents were fearful of epidemics. At school In first through 8th grades, I had classmates who suffered from scarlet fever, mumps, measles, German measles, chicken pox and whooping cough. I had rubella and had to stay in bed for several days in a darkened room; they thought light bad for sick children’s eyes. Several of these diseases required the family to put a quarantine sign on their door; their children missed a lot of school.

As an adult, I knew survivors—men who could not father children because they had mumps as a child, a woman with a flail arm from polio, people with chicken pox scars, those deafened because of measles, a man who spent 3 years in a tuberculosis sanitarium and a woman whose child was retarded because she had German measles during her pregnancy. I have friends who had polio then who now have post-polio syndrome, that is, muscle weakness, fatigue, and pain, for which there is no known cure. They experienced their illnesses before vaccines and antibiotics. 

Understanding Disease 

In the 1930s germ theory was less than 100 years old. Although people from Biblical times knew that diseases were contagious, no one knew exactly how they were spread. In 1854 there was the famous moment when John Snow stopped an epidemic of water-borne cholera in London by removing certain water pump handles. In the 1860s, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch found that diseases were caused by germs--this led to both a new world of medical exploration and to new fears as to how epidemics originated 

All had heard of Typhoid Mary, the infamous cook in 1900 New York who was a typhoid carrier and infected her employers. She was finally quarantined and incarcerated. The well-known author Helen Keller was blind and deaf because of fever as a child; she was taught to communicate through sign language and later speech by her teacher, Anne Sullivan. A movie, The Miracle Worker, was made in 1960 about her life. 

The First Vaccine 

People long knew that exposure to certain diseases made them immune; one could get certain illnesses only once. This was known about smallpox, which killed about 30% of those catching it and often left facial scars on survivors. In Asia, India and Turkey, it was known that inoculation with smallpox scabs could lead to a mild disease that made one immune. 

In the 1790s, Edward Jenner, a country physician in England noticed that the faces of milkmaids, the young women who milked cows, were rarely scarred with smallpox. He found that their exposure to cowpox, an infection of cows, protected them. This led to the development of cowpox vaccination as smallpox prevention—the word vaccine is derived from the Latin, Variolae vaccinae (smallpox of the cow), 

My childhood vaccination for smallpox left a scar on my upper arm, a rarity now. (Although there is an internet site which shows actresses with vaccination scars.) Now that smallpox has been eradicated, smallpox vaccinations are no longer required. The last U.S. wild smallpox case occurred in 1949 and, after extensive vaccination campaigns, the last case of smallpox in the world occurred in 1977. 

Vaccines for Common Childhood Diseases 

Polio: For my parents, polio was a major fear. In summer, public swimming pools were closed because of polio which thrived in summer months. The consequences of polio were serious: children lost the ability to walk, to breathe, to use a limb. Hospitals had wards full of patients living out their lives in iron lungs. 

Our president, Franklin Roosevelt, was a victim of polio. He found relief from his symptoms with trips to Warm Springs, Arkansas. In 1955, Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine. The oral polio vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin and came into commercial use in 1961 

In 1963, I could give my children an oral vaccine in a sugar cube and was grateful that I did not need to fear this dreadful disease. In 1965 there were only 61 cases in the U.S. By 1994, Polio was declared eliminated from the Americas. In 2002, it was eliminated from Europe Today, only Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to have polio cases. 

Diphtheria: In my childhood, I was not aware of anyone having diphtheria. However, my mother was from eastern Europe (Chernowitz, Ukraine), born in 1893 and the youngest of eleven children. She knew only 8 of her sibs as her parents lost 3 sons to diphtheria in one week, years before she was born. At that time, 40% of children who caught diphtheria died. 

Measles: Measles were another real danger for us children. In 1912, U.S. healthcare providers and laboratories were required to notify the health departments of measles cases. In the first ten years of reporting, there were about 6,000 measles-related deaths each year and 48,000 were hospitalized. Complications from measles were difficulty breathing, ear infections and loss of hearing, seizures, hepatitis, eye infections, and neural and heart complications and pneumonia may be fatal. 

Before 1963 when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. I never caught measles and was glad to vaccinate my children. We feared measles, whooping cough, rubella, mumps and scarlet fever-- they might be fatal, or make us very ill and keep us out of school for weeks. Some parents arranged to expose their children to measles and chickenpox. These diseases were far more dangerous in adults. 

Preventing Childhood Diseases: 

The success of small pox vaccination and the identification of specific germs led to a search for vaccines for other diseases. In my lifetime, these vaccines now protect my children and grandchildren from devastating diseases: 

· 1923 diphtheria 

· 1924 tetanus 

· 1940 pertussis (whooping cough), 

· 1955 poliomyelitis (polio), 

· 1963 measles, 

· 1967 mumps 

· 1969 rubella (German measles) 

· 1994 hepatitis B 

1995 varicella (chickenpox) 

We no longer fear epidemics and deaths from these childhood dangers because vaccination prevents them and we have antibiotics to treat them. Because so many people are vaccinated, these diseases are no longer commonplace. Although not all children are vaccinated, these diseases are under control. Epidemiologists call this the herd effect--protection from infectious diseases that happen when most of a population is immune and protects those who are not immune. I for one am grateful that these deadly illnesses are no longer prevalent. . I look forward to further miracles in the future for my children and grandchildren. 

Press Release: Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin Launches Campaign for Re-Election

From Noah Finneburgh
Wednesday August 28, 2019 - 04:47:00 PM

Mayor Running on His Record of Progress on Housing and Homelessness, Announces Endorsements from Key Leaders

Today, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin launched his 2020 campaign for a second term. 

“With our nation in crisis, with worsening climate change, growing inequality, and a hostile administration in Washington, it’s critical for cities like Berkeley to take on the challenges facing America in the 21st Century,” said Mayor Arreguin. “Berkeley is showing how it’s done. We’re leading the way forward and can’t stop now.” 

Arreguin told supporters in an email he is running on his record of progress on key issues like housing and homelessness. He noted that during his first term, the City oversaw more housing production than at any time in decades, approved hundreds of affordable housing units, and became the first city in the county to provide universal legal defense for tenants facing eviction, keeping hundreds of renters from losing their homes. 

Mayor Arreguin emphasized the bold, compassionate action his office has taken on homelessness, doubling the City’s number of emergency shelter beds and moving hundreds of homeless people into housing. 

He also touted his work with the Berkeley Promise initiative to provide scholarships to low-income students, his promotion of green building, the City’s hiring of more police officers, his Small Business Package which has helped make it easier to open a small business, and the City’s progress in paving miles of roads. 

He also stressed Berkeley’s important role in pushing back on the Trump Administration. 

“We’re standing up to Trump,” the Mayor said, “by protecting our immigrant communities and defending our progressive Berkeley values.” 

Arreguin begins his campaign with endorsements from Governor Gavin Newsom, State Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, State Board of Equalization Chair Malia Cohen, Vice Mayor Susan Wengraf, former Vice Mayor Linda Maio, Councilmembers Ben Bartlett, Kate Harrison, Sophie Hahn, and Rigel Robinson, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, and many others. 

The Mayor will hold a formal kick-off for his 2020 campaign on October 5. 

About Mayor Jesse Arreguin 

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin has spent his life fighting for social and economic justice and delivering results. He was first elected Mayor in 2016, becoming Berkeley’s first Latino Mayor and its youngest in a century. 

A progressive leader from the start, Arreguin is the son and grandson of farm workers. Growing up in a working-class household, he was the first in his family to go to college, here at UC Berkeley. 

For 8 years, Arreguin served on the City Council, representing Downtown and portions of North Berkeley. In that role, he worked to expand affordable housing, raise the city’s minimum wage, and revitalize Downtown. On the Council, he authored more than 300 pieces of successful legislation. 

During his first term as Mayor, Berkeley has seen more housing production than at any time in decades, approved hundreds of units of affordable housing, and became the first city in the county to provide universal legal defense for tenants facing eviction, keeping hundreds of renters from losing their homes. Arreguin’s leadership on homelessness helped move hundreds of people off the streets and into housing. The Mayor has also promoted green building and a fossil fuel-free city, worked with the Berkeley Promise Initiative to provide scholarships to low-income students, helped make it easier to open a small business, worked with the Council to hire more police officers and promote community policing, helped make lasting investments in streets and infrastructure, and stood up to Donald Trump by protecting our immigrant communities and defending our progressive values.



Homes Become Commodities in
the Financialized Global Housing Market

Becky O'Malley
Friday August 30, 2019 - 02:18:00 PM
These [now blanked out] pictures from Google showed the street view and the view from above at the recipient's address.
These [now blanked out] pictures from Google showed the street view and the view from above at the recipient's address.
This postcard was sent to a Berkeley resident's [now blanked out]address.
This postcard was sent to a Berkeley resident's [now blanked out]address.

There has been a lot of discussion online and to a certain extent in print recently about what is commonly called California’s housing crisis. It’s easy to see widespread homeless tent cities immediately adjacent to multi-story apartment developments in progress and imagine that the problem will soon be solved. But it’s not that simple.

Albany City Councilmember Michael Barnes sets the scene this way:

“To focus exclusively on California’s “housing crisis” obscures as much as it illuminates. The issues are far broader, and require a more informed and democratic discussion of how much California should grow, and how it needs to change to adapt to its future. Those are the issues our legislators and all Californians should be discussing.”
Today we will try to shed some light on what’s happening by working our way through several illuminating recent attempts to explain what’s going on from the local government perspective.

Though there’s a lot of information, clicking on all the links below will be the best way of understanding the latest version of the perennial ongoing attempts to re-jigger California law to benefit developers and speculators.

Michael Barnes posted a detailed analysis of the imbalance between jobs and housing which is contributing to the situation, complete with excellent graphs, which can be found on his blog here.

From the perspective of local government, Susan Kirsch, founder and former president of Livable California, a statewide housing activist group, in an essay on the Cal Matters web site, says this:

Certain bills introduced by Sens. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, and Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco would weaken elected city councils’ planning authority and financial stewardship, and ultimately deepen the affordability crisis.”

How did we get where we are today? Is Nancy Skinner representing the interests of her district, or perhaps instead the interests of the Facebook dynasty as embodied in something called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative?

For a definitive in-depth analysis of one facet of the concerted effort to transform California housing policy which is backed by Chan/Zuckerberg among others, Berkeley commentator Zelda Bronstein has produced a comprehensive long report , which was first published in full on San Francisco’s 48hills.org.It can most easily be read in four parts on The Marin Post: 

Part 1, Part 2A, Part2B, Part 2C 

According to Bronstein, “AB 1487, a complex regional housing bill, is driven by tech and development interests with no concern for out-of-control office growth.” 

The bill’s principal author is San Francisco Assemblymember David Chiu, with Berkeley’s very own Buffy Wicks as a co-author. It’s been amended many times, most recently this week, but will probably be passed soon. The most recent version can be found here. 

There is a lot to digest on these topics. To understand the big picture, what’s being called the financialization of housing as commodity world-wide, you should watch this excellent lecture by UCLA Professor Michael Storper, posted on YouTube by 48hills, which sponsored his San Francisco talk: 





Here in Berkeley, long time family homeowners have been receiving all-cash no-strings-attached as-is offers both from large corporate brokers and small-time speculators. Glossy color postcards featuring Google photos of their homes are being sent to Berkeley residents, seemingly computer-generated from public address records. 

Instead of their houses being offered to other families through the traditional multiple listing service sponsored and monitored by local real estate companies,many of these homes are being bought by speculative international corporations, sometimes to be rented but often just left empty until they can be flipped as the market rises. One local broker told me that an international firm has been offering large bonuses to lure successful agents away from locally-owned companies, which has forced some small companies out of business. 

In brief, what’s happening is that international capital is acquiring much of the desirable urban housing all over the world, including here, and pumping up the price for resale to the new wealthy class as investments more lucrative than the conventional stocks and bonds. 

Is this just a bubble due to burst soon, or will all of the housing now just barely accessible to some Bay Area workers be swallowed up as wealth continues to flow up hill world-wide? Stay tuned, and watch the California Legislature to see who will come out on top. 







Public Comment

Council Watch: Jesse and Rigel's Climate Change Travel Adventure

Thomas Lord
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:29:00 PM

The proposed agenda for the September 10, 2019 City Council meeting includes an item titled Approval of One-Time Reimbursement for Sister City Visit to Gongju, Republic of Korea from Mayor Jesse Arreguín and District 7 Council member Rigel Robinson. The two Council members propose using up to $6000 of their "office budgets" to send a delegation to Berkeley's new sister city Gongju.

Apparently there has been some question as to whether or not the trip is a permitted and appropriate use of office budget funds and so the item appears on the "Action Calendar" for discussion before a vote.

What I'm struck by is that the Council member's agenda packet memo contains this section:


I wonder how the Council members think their entourage will travel? 

As I write this, climate activist Greta Thunberg is expected to arrive in New York City sometime on Wednesday. She has sailed across the Atlantic in a small racing boat called Malizia 2. The boat encountered rough seas south of Nova Scotia sending waves washing over the covered pilot area and aft deck as the boat roller-coastered across the water. Fortunately, with those waves came a stiff wind, driving them westward at 20-30 knots. 

Thunberg, well known for starting the School Strike climate movement, will be meeting with activists, attending the UN Climate Action Summit in September, and presumably joining fellow school strikers each Friday. 

Later, Greta will travel to Chile to attend the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as the 25th Conference of Parties (COP25). 

It was at the 2018 conference, coincident with the release of the alarming climate report IPCC SR-15, Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C that Thunberg rose to international recognition, and ignited a large and growing international school strike movement. Since then, in addition to striking, Greta has spoken at the Davos World Economic Forum and before a quite reluctant and some would say embarrassed European Council. Her message is consistent and simple: Adults, including governments, say they believe in climate science but neither speak truthfully or act accordingly about what climate science tells us. The demands of the strike movement on elected officials is that, at long last, they listen to the scientists, tell the truth, and act as if the truth were real. 

Sailing rather than flying across the Atlantic is one of the ways that Greta walks the talk, so to speak. Having some years ago convinced her mother, an internationally recognized opera singer, to no longer fly to performances - Greta herself declines to fly. The carbon footprint of flying is simply too large. Today's level of air travel is wildly unsustainable. 

Here in Berkeley, it is odd that Mayor Arreguín and Council member Robinson believe that the question of "environmental sustainability" is "not applicable" to their trip. If only the two council members fly, the round trip air travel will emit the equivalent of approximately 7.5 or 8 metric tons of CO2, according to various online flight emissions calculators. An entourage of 4, approximately 15 or 16 tons. 

To put that in perspective, scientists tell us that we must cap carbon emissions now, and that each year of delay makes it considerably harder to ensure the survival of anything like our current civilization. Under such a cap, the amount of emissions per capita available to provide people's basic needs (food, warmth, shelter, medicine) - while also trying to "go green", is about 4.9 tons. An entourage of 4 from Berkeley to Korea will - in air travel alone - consume the entire yearly carbon budget of at least three people. We shouldn't feel too smug, though. At 16 metric tons, the entourage's entire travel emissions would be almost as much as the emissions associated with the consumption of a single Berkeleyan over the course of a year. 

Council will have to judge for itself whether or not to fund the trip but meanwhile, when it's time to write those pesky "ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY" assessments for agenda items, our council members ought to learn to listen to the scientists and at least tell the truth. Then maybe we can work on acting as though the truth were real.

Anger over Trade Policies Intensifies

Jagjit Singh
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:37:00 PM

Farmers are voicing mounting anger over Trumps erratic trade policies. Many Midwestern farmers have slipped into bankruptcies unable to sell their products in established markets like China. Widespread flooding has killed cattle and left many fields waterlogged. Once again Trump has trapped himself and our nation into a proverbial cul-de-sac unable to admit his trade policies are a failure. Many fruit farmers in California have slid into bankruptcy unable to sell their products blocked by new tariff barriers. A chronic shortage of fruit pickers caused by Trump’s draconian immigration policies has driven up food prices. Unpicked fruit is allowed to rot on trees. 

Desperate to end the trade war he started, Trump falsely claimed that ‘China was ready to talk’ prompting several newspapers to headline ‘China blinks’. 

Farmers are left in the lurch unable to plan ahead with any degree of certainty. They make up the core of Trump’s constituency. If he loses their support his reelection prospects will likely fade. Nancy Johnson the executive director of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association echoed what many farmers are feeling “you can’t take hope to the banker to get loans for operating.” 

Many faRmers have become so desperate they are postponing their health coverage, others are demanding to know whether Trump is a master dealer or a master salesman. We have only to look at the litany of his business failures to know the answer. In act of desperation Trump has even waged war on Fox News.

Tweets, Tariffs & Turmoil

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:28:00 PM

It is becoming increasingly apparent to many Americans that Donald Trump is becoming more and more delusional. His bizarre tweets have little to do with market stability and everything to do with trying to project a “tough guy” persona. The wild gyrations of the market are a direct reflection of his trade wars with China which show no signs of abating. President Xi Jinping is unlikely to back down and appear weak to his domestic audience especially given the increasing turmoil in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Trump has flip/flopped repeatedly unable to cobble together a coherent policy. In a rare of truth he admitted having second thoughts about his trade policy but then abruptly changed his mind promising more punishing tariffs. 

Meanwhile Democrats have seized the opportunity and hammered his trade policy which is rooted in pure vindictiveness and anger.  

At the G7 meeting world leaders, with the exception of Prime Minister of Britain, Boris Johnson, shunned Trump uncomfortable with his unpredictable behavior. 

His relationship to world leaders follows a familiar pattern. Great admiration (Kim Jon Un of North Korea, President Macron of France, Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada, Teresa May of Britain, . .) quickly followed by harsh criticism. Apocalyptic with China’s response to his tariff wars, he ordered all U.S. companies to leave China citing an obscure law, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977.  

The law’s original intent was to isolate companies engaged in criminal activities not break economic ties with a major trading partner over a tariff dispute. Recently, the thin skinned Trump has ordered his staff to “dig dirt” and shame reporters critical of his policies, hallmark of an autocratic ruler.  

Medical professionals are expressing major concerns over Trump’s declining mental state summarized in the New York Times best seller, by Dr. Brady Lee “The dangerous case of Donald Trump.”

The Mysterious Death of Prisoner #76318-054

Gar Smith
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:14:00 PM

When it comes to conspiracy fodder, it's hard to abstain from the Epstein Rumor Feast. Even before Jeffrey Epstein's dramatic end on August 10, people were predicting his doom. 

Some examples: Epstein in Danger of Being Murdered by “Powerful People” Before His Trial, Says Victims’ Lawyer (July 30); Economist: Jeffrey Epstein Will Be Killed in Jail (July 30); Ann Coulter: Move Epstein to a Super Max Prison Before He is ‘Suicided’ (July 26). 

Another Mysterious Hanging 


Why did Epstein commission a portrait of Bill Clinton in a Lewinsky-blue dress to hand on a wall in his Manhattan townhouse? 

And now, after the demise of the perverted pedophile playboy, Epstein's lawyers (and other doubters, near and far) are claiming that he was murdered. Dr. Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist who has autopsied more than 10,000 suicide-by-hanging victims, claims he never encountered the kind of neck fractures Epstein had sustained in his alleged hanging. 

Epstein's lawyers claim he was in good spirits prior to his sudden death. Other critics claim that the Correction Center's cells are designed to prevent suicides-by-hanging (nine-foot-high ceilings; thin bedsheets that can't be used as ropes, no metal bunk beds, just flat slabs for sleeping). Some prisoners claim they heard screams coming from Epstein's cell the morning he died. Cameras pointed at Epstein's cell went blank. The eight guards entrusted with guarding Epstein have reportedly refused to cooperate with the Justice Department investigation. 

Epstein: A Master Manipulator 

Even in lock-up, Epstein was a master at winning special privileges. During his 13-month jail term in Florida in 2009, he was allowed to leave his cell for up to 16 hours each day, only returning to his cell for a good night's sleep. Under his special "work-release" program, Epstein was chauffeured from his jail cell to his Florida mansion where he reportedly spent some of his free time frolicking with young women. 

Similarly, Epstein gamed the system at New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center. He requested and received permission to be regularly released from his cell so he could spend up to 8 hours a day in the relative comfort of a special "attorney visiting room" in the facility. 

According to the New York Post, Epstein repeatedly commandeered the room while paying his lawyers to keep him company for hours. Epstein's privileged status angered other inmates and their lawyers, who complained of losing access to the "visiting room." 

On July 30, Epstein had a special visitor— a "mystery woman" who was granted lawyer-client privileges to spend time with Epstein alone in the room. She was admitted as a member of Epstein's legal team but witnesses reported that, unlike Epstein's other legal defenders, she carried no files or papers. One witnesses told Forbes magazine that "the optics were startling…. She was young. And pretty." 

In retrospect, it seems odd that prison authorities reported Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after a failed suicide attempt left him with a bruised neck on the floor of his cell. Prison authorities must have known what Epstein told his lawyers. He didn't attempt suicide. Instead, he claimed, he had been assaulted by his cellmate, a former Westchester Country cop named Nicholas Tarraglione. 

Naming Names 

Epstein's infamous "Black Book" remains mysteriously under wraps—it was stolen in 2009 by Epstein's house manager Alfredo Rodriguez, who was arrested while trying to sell it for $50,000. The book included the names of numerous A-list Hollywood celebrities, world political leaders, and even some top US news anchors. I won't list the names but you can take a glimpse inside the book by linking to this July 9, 2019 Zero Hedge article

Meanwhile, the flight logs for Epstein's private jet, the so-called "Lolita Express," contain a number of celebrity names. We all know by now that Bill Clinton's name appears 26 times in the flight log of Epstein's private jet. These records reveal that Donald Trump also fastened-his-seatbelt aboard Epstein's Boeing. 

Bill Gates' name even appears in a flight-log entry for March 1, 2013. Gates denies any personal or business relations with Epstein. But according to London's Daily Mail, in his last Will and Testament filed days before his death, Epstein named Gates' top scientific advisor, Boris Nikolic, as a backup executor for his $577 million estate. 

Other names that have shown up in Epstein's ledgers include New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and billionaire coal baron David Koch (recently deceased). 

So many dots, so little time. 

But the top conspiracy tale to come my way arrived back on July 9, nearly a month before Epstein's death. An email distributed by some Russian trolls circulated a twisted tale beneath the following headline: "Former FBI Director Comey Linked to Nuclear Material Plot to Assassinate Jeffrey Epstein." According to this convoluted plot, a deadly 18.1-gram container of radioactive californium-251 (worth $72 million on the underground market) was intercepted while being smuggled through Turkey. Had it not been discovered by Turkish police, it was to have headed for New York City where agents of America's "Deep State" planned to use it to assassinate Epstein—and point to Russia as the culprit. 


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: No One Hands You a Purpose - You Decide on it Yourself

Jack Bragen
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:09:00 PM

If you ask most mainstream Americans, what is their purpose in life, many would answer, "raising my kids." Some might answer, "Saving up money, going on vacations." Some might answer, "Just living." Many people have many purposes, and often they are related to family. In other instances, people have life ambitions related to their careers. There are some people whose life purpose is to practice their religion. And some might find purpose in accumulating wealth. These are all very valid purposes. 

However, the default purpose of people deemed "mental health clients" in the absence of anything chosen by us, includes taking medication, eating, asking one another for spare cigarettes, "milieu therapy" and being supervised. The treatment systems have their own agenda for what we should be doing, which is primarily to remain as passive as possible, to be treatment compliant, and not to inconvenience anyone. 

The mental health treatment system will not provide anything better than that for us. The mental health treatment system regards us as the material on which they perform their work. Some of this may be experimentation. Treatment practitioners aren't allowed to perform experiments considered cruel. However, it is clear that we are considered objects for study. 

(The concept that the treatment system uses consumers for experimentation could evoke skepticism and disbelief. Yet, I believe treatment practitioners may be performing experiments on us without our knowledge or consent. My belief could be wrong.) 

The mental health treatment systems aren't always our friends. They are here to prevent us from being nuisances to the greater public, and to identify and report any possible threats. They aren't here to help us do better in life--even if they say they are. 

On the other hand, we can't get by without treatment. If we try to buck the system, we end up in the revolving door of repeat hospitalizations. This is very bad and very destructive. When we have too many repeat hospitalizations because we think we can make things work without treatment, our condition steadily worsens. This prevents us from having a chance at acceptable living conditions, and it also ruins the brain, making it impossible to function at anything we might want to do in life. 

Nearly thirty years ago, I was once given bad advice by a counselor who believed I could "buck this thing." I took that as advice to go off medication. I confronted the same counselor later, following the resultant repeat hospitalization, and this counselor denied it. Some counselors are better than others. 

When I wanted to open small businesses doing electronic repair, I was strictly on my own insofar as "the system." Yet, the federal government, specifically the Social Security Administration, has a program that allows a possibility of funding a career objective. This can include self-employment. On the other hand, the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation will not help with a self-employment objective. 

It is not accurate to say, if a person produces enough effort, hard work, and good decisions, that success surely follows. My experience is that the more effort I employ, and the more I have ambition, it follows that people give me more interference with what I'm trying to do. When others have agendas for us that differ than what we want, a lot of difficulty is produced. 

However, if we try nothing, we will probably get nothing. If you believe in God, or in a higher power, it doesn't necessarily entail that this entity will give you a purpose. Additionally, people in your life may foist purposes on you that match what they want to see, and not so much what is good for you. 

If you do not know where you want to go, you are subject to the winds of chance, and/or the whims of others. If you know where you want to go, the journey isn't necessarily smooth or easy. I've made some decisions in my past that could be regarded as brave, as foolish, or as both. Some of these decisions continue to affect me. The effects are partly good and partly bad. 

Choosing a purpose can lead a person to places where they never thought they would be. It isn't as secure as always doing what is expected. But if you always choose the path of least resistance, there may not be as much of a reason to get out of bed in the morning. 

Purpose could be anything. Yet, choosing something attainable is wise. Once we've reached an attainable goal, we can set a higher goal that looks attainable from where we then stand. It is entirely up to the individual whether they would rather focus on getting well, on living under acceptable conditions, on something more, or on nothing in particular. 

If we are disabled and receiving benefits, there is probably a very good reason for that. Because of that, we must not punish ourselves for not becoming a city councilmember. 

Purpose should never become a means of self-punishment and should not be a way for others to criticize us. If we have a parent who criticizes what they see as lack of progress, this isn't helpful. 

Also, I'd like to add a hint: there are many adult school systems that offer self-paced classes. If you are a faster learner at some things, going to a self-paced school is good because you could get a certificate sooner. If you'd rather go slower and get it right the first time, a self-paced school is also good. There are also online schools, for those who would rather not go anywhere. And, as a third option, you could purchase textbooks and create your own curriculum. 

Having a brain malfunction should never be a judgment that your brain is worthless. Most psychiatric conditions affect specific areas of the brain and don't affect other areas. Therefore, the ability to learn academic material is often untouched by psychiatric conditions.

THE PUBLIC EYE:Dealing with the Trump Cult

Bob Burnett
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:12:00 PM

Four weeks have passed since the El Paso Walmart shootings and Donald Trump's incredibly insensitive response. During this period the nation has witnessed multiple episodes of Trump's bizarre behavior. His judgment -- always questionable -- has evaporated. As a consequence, many Americans have concluded that Trump is incapable of fulfilling the duties and responsibilities required of the President of the United States. But some, most notably the Trump cult, continue to support him. 

The latest 538 Summary (https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/) found that 54.2 percent of respondents disapproved of Trump, while 41.3 percent approved. It's a remarkably constant finding: Trump's disapproval seldom goes above 56 percent and his approval rarely dips below 40 percent. 

On the one hand these polls suggest that Trump will have trouble getting reelected in 2020 -- his recent swing-state polls have been terrible -- but on the other hand the polls indicate that Trump has a solid base of support. There are millions of Americans who either don't care about Trump's behavior or refuse to believe the mounting evidence of his incompetence. There are millions of Americans who belong to the Trump cult. 

In recent months, many have written about "the cult of Trump." A couple of months ago, Chris Hedges savaged Trump and his supporters (https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/10/cult-trump), noting that Trump shares the characteristics of cult leaders such as Adolph Hitler, Jim Jones, and David Koresh: 

"Cult leaders are narcissists. They demand obsequious fawning and total obedience. They prize loyalty above competence. They wield absolute control. They do not tolerate criticism. They are deeply insecure, a trait they attempt to cover up with bombastic grandiosity. They are amoral and emotionally and physically abusive... All those outside the cult are branded as forces of evil, prompting an epic battle whose natural expression is violence." 

Hedges continued: "Donald Trump has transformed the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult... Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned for a cult leader." Seeking to explain Trump's power, Hedges wrote: "Domestic terrorism and nihilistic violence are the natural outcomes of the economic, social and political stagnation, the total seizure of power by a corporate cabal and oligarchic elite, and the contamination of civil discourse by cult leaders." 

Let's start with the assumption that Donald Trump is, at best, incompetent, and, at worst, deranged, "a danger to himself and others." Nonetheless, when Trump is removed from office -- either by impeachment or as the result of the 2020 election -- those of us who are currently shouting, "the Emperor has no clothes," will be stuck with the toxic residue of his cult. Trump may go away but his cult members will still be with us. 

There are, at least, four major components of the Trump cult: The first constituents are conservative evangelical Christians. Many have been conditioned by their brand of Christianity, which teaches that the word of God does not come from revelation or studious Bible study but instead from the teachings of their minister -- typically a white male. Writing in The Washington Post, Elizabeth Bruenig (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1) observed that conservative evangelical Christians typically do not condone Trump's behavior. Rather, they see him as the means to an end: Trump is the only major politician who seems to stand up for their desire for a theocracy. Trump is, in effect, "God's mercenary," their agent in "spiritual warfare." Trump does what they want -- whether it's appointing ultra-conservative judges or opposing abortion or supporting Christian schools -- and they, in turn, ask no questions. "Trump is able, by being less Christian than your average Christian, to protect [evangelical] Christians who fear incursions from a hostile dominant culture." 

The second component of the Trump cult are white supremacists -- aka "white nationalists." (hpps://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/09/30/donald-trump-now-owns-white-supremacy) They are more supportive of Trump's day-to-day behavior -- this group pointedly eschews "political correctness." The white nationalists also see Trump as a means to an end: the establishment of an autocratic government run by white males. 

The third component of the Trump cult are the owners and employees of fossil-fuel companies. Like the conservative evangelical Christians, many members of this constituency do not condone Trump's behavior but see him as a means to an end: long-term job and profit security. Trump has gone out of his way to favor this group, whether by denying the reality of global climate change or by doing everything he can to keep coal mines operating. (There are similar industrial groups -- such as chemical companies -- that are seed beds for Trump supporters; I've noted the most obvious.) 

The common characteristic of these three Trump constituencies is that they are locked into a rigid anti-democratic worldview that does not have broad popular support. Among major politicians, only Trump supports them. 

The fourth component of the Trump cult are the large segments of America that have lost hope. This group was described in Arlie Hochschild's insightful "Strangers in Their Own Land." (https://thenewpress.com/books/strangers-their-own-land) From 2012-2016, sociologist Hochschild talked to residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana, a Tea Party stronghold. These residents felt they had lost their shot at the American dream. One of Hochschild's key insights was that these Americans no longer believed that "government" would help them; instead they placed their faith in "corporations" or "capitalism" or -- in the period leading up to the 2016 presidential election -- Donald Trump. 

My point here is not to vilify members of the Trump cult but rather to point out the obvious: these four groups are going to vote for Trump, no matter what, because they don't see an alternative. Whomever the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate turns out to be, the members of the Trump cult aren't going to switch sides to support them. 

Yes, American politics is deeply polarized. And, no, the Democrats aren't going to win because their choice of candidate caused some Republican voters to switch sides. If the Democrats win, it will be because their candidate energized their base and attracted a majority of true independents. The members of the Trump cult are going to stick with Donald to the bitter end. And beyond. 

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

ECLECTIC RANT: Trump, The Chosen One

Ralph E. Stone
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:19:00 PM

Playing politics along religious lines, Trump said, “Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people [Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) & Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.)] over the state of Israel?” 

And then, ” I think that any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” His language was reminiscent of the anti-Semitic smear that Jews have a “dual loyalty;” they are more devoted to Israel than they are to their own countries. Accusing Jews of disloyalty is an age-old anti-Semitic canard dating back not only hundreds of years in Europe but literally to the dawn of the Jewish people itself. 

Responding to his anti-Semitic rants, Trump embraced the title of “King of Israel” and claiming that Israeli Jews “love him like he is the second coming of God.” 

In the midst of answering a question about the ongoing trade war with China, Trump turned from reporters, looked to heavens and proclaimed, "I am the chosen one." Chosen by whom for what, you might ask? 

Psychology Today suggests that "Trump’s manifest grandiosity and disregard for facts, beginning with failure to accept clear evidence about the size of the crowd attending his inauguration, put mental health professionals in the spotlight from Day One of his presidency. Mental health professionals and commentators from all ideological camps early converged on a label of narcissistic personality disorder as the condition that explains Trump’s behavior."g

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:18:00 PM

Way to Go, Joe

When it comes to reducing polluting plastic in food packaging, Trader Joe's is making steady progress. TJ's groovy grocery gurus boldly announced plans to eliminate a million pounds of plastic from their 2019 waste stream and they are now on track to removing 4 million pounds of nasty plastics—annually.

Styrofoam trays for meat are being swapped out for recyclable PETI trays. Say goodbye to plastic flower bags; say hello to bags fashioned from compostable materials. And there's an on-going purge of plastics from TJ's Deli, Frozen, Fresh, Grocery, and Produce aisles. AOK, TJ!

A World without Forests, Rivers, and Chocolate?

A few years ago, I predicted "a sign of the approaching End Times": I'd know the end was near when I walked into a grocery store and found they were selling chocolate-covered potato chips.

Well, the Apocalypse must be near because Trader Joe's is now offering bags of chocolate-coated chips AND packets of chocolate-covered popcorn.

Meanwhile, scientists are warning that chocolate has joined elephants and tigers on the Endangered Species List. 

As the Climate Reality Project points out, the cacao plant (source of the world's chocolate) is threatened by equatorial climates that are growing steadily hotter and drier. According to John Mason of the Nature Conservation Research Centre, “In 20 years, chocolate will be like caviar. It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won’t be able to afford it.” They're calling it the "Chocopocalypse." Need another reason to become a full-time climate activist? How 'bout this: farmers note with alarm that soaring global temperatures have already begun to reduce the yield of coffee beans. 

A Few Choice Words 

So how do we make the world safe for chocolate-flavored espresso drinks? Here's a short prescription from author/activist Arundhati Roy: "The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling—their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability." 

A Few No-Cause-to-Rejoice Notes 

In a recent column, Berkeley Prof. Robert Reich observed that "most Americans have little or no influence on public policy" and underscored the fact by citing a report co-authored by two university professors from Northwestern and Princeton. They reviewed 1,799 policy issues before Congress and concluded that "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy." 

What!? You mean the clicks on those online petitions were all for naught? 

So who is Washington listening to? Reich again: 

"At the core of the American system are 500 giant companies headquartered in the US but making, buying and selling things all over the world. Half of their employees and contractors are non-American, located outside the US. A third of their shareholders are non-Americans." 

The take-away? Increasingly, many of our laws—like our electronic toys and tools—are no longer "Made in America." 

Nearly 1000% for the 1% 

Feeling the pinch? The Economic Policy Institute recently published a report revealing that "CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1973" while "typical worker compensation has risen only 12%." Meanwhile, as Reich writes, adjusted for inflation, "Americans have seen no significant gains in their incomes, for decades." 

The Amazon Fires Are Only Part of the Picture 

If it can be said that the Lungs of the Earth are in flames, so, too, are the Earth's kidneys, thorax, stomach, and spleen. It's not just the Amazon that's being consumed by man-made fires (more than 74,000 fires set just this year have incinerated 2.1 million square miles). But let's not ignore the massive fires burning on nearly every other continent. 

In the Arctic, fires in Russia's Siberian forests (more than twice as large as the Amazon) released clouds of smoke large enough to cover the European Union. In Africa, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo have seen more than 10,000 massive wildfires sweep through their forests. In March of this year, entire towns were wiped off the map by massive brushfires in Australia while New Zealand lost more than 5,600 acres of South Island forests in the worst forest fire since 1955. And, we all know what happened to California's trees and homes in 2018. 

No Laughing Matter 

Greenland recently lost 12.5 billion tons of ice in a single day. On August 25, the San Francisco Chronicle carried an installment of the WUMU comic strip that made light of this dark situation. The Danish writer/artist team of Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler (hence, "WUMO") pictured the Titanic on the open seas in the year 2025. A concerned sailor asks the captain: "Shouldn't we be on the lookout for icebergs?" And the captain replies: "What icebergs?" 


The Barbiefication of Rosa Parks 

The folks at Color of Change (CoC) are giving a half-salute to toymaker Mattel for creating a Barbie doll in honor of Rosa Parks. Unfortunately this "touching tribute to a civil rights icon" distorts Park's life and CoC is telling Mattel "We think they should fix it." 

CoC specifically criticized Mattel for depicting Parks as someone who “led an ordinary life as a seamstress” until an “extraordinary moment on December 1, 1955.” This mini-bio imprinted on the packaging ignores Parks’ decades of activism as a dedicated community activist. As Jeanne Theoharis reveals in her biography, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, this "ordinary seamstress" was a community leader, a labor organizer, and a civil rights activist. "She fought for justice for Black women who were victims of sexual violence. She pushed for voter registration for Black people. She pressed for the desegregation of schools and public spaces. We cannot allow Mattel to rewrite her story and minimize her life’s work." 

I shared this with a sociologist friend who sent back a scathing assessment: "I saw a story about this latest 'diversity' product from Mattel. I was turned off completely by the glaring commodification of a black resister of the US status quo to seduce young black kids and their families. This accuracy of the company's historical facts? Poof! That's tacit acceptance of their 'ethnic' capitalism." 

Color of Change is inviting people to demand a recall and a re-write. You can send Mattel a message at this link

Concerns Raised over City Consultant 

Members of Wireless Radiation Education and Defense (WIRED), a citizens' group thas been working with the City to craft an ordinance to regulate 5G wireless transmitter stations in Berkeley, had expected the City to hire an independent outside consultant to work on the regulations. They were surprised to learn that the City had hired attorney Jonathan Kramer to do the work. 

Kramer's objectivity was called into question when it was discovered that he works for an entity called "The Telecom Law Firm." 

In mid-July, WIRED sent a letter to the mayor and councilmembers warning that Kramer and his firm "represent the telecom companies much more than representing the residents in the cities with whom they've worked." 

WIRED suggested two other attorneys who had received community praise for writing wireless ordinances for Burbank and Glendale. (The same attorneys also filed an amicus brief for the League of California Cities in the T-Mobile v SF case that allowed San Francisco to prohibit 5G wireless towers and transmitters from the city on the basis of aesthetics.) 

Another critic called Kramer "the go-to person to represent telecom mantras" and forwarded a link to a video of Kramer "in action." (Note: If you wish to watch, Kramer's presentation begins at minute 8 of the video's fifth segment.) 

During Kramer's August 18, 2018 presentation before a council meeting in Coronado, California, he spoke about the inevitable arrival of wireless transmitters and made no mention of the health or privacy concerns associated with 5G wireless (other than to remind the councilmembers that the Federal Communications Act prohibits the public from challenging the installation wireless technology on health or environmental grounds). 

Kramer described the industry's goal of massive electromagnetic penetration with the memorable statement: "Bathroom coverage is the goal." In other words, the proposed new electromagnetic tsunamis would need to be powerful enough to send penetrating beams of radiation through the walls of a bathroom located deep inside a house. 

Kramer told the council the Telecom giants "would like to have the cell sites on every block." He presented the industry's guide for determining it's coverage needs in the form of a "math formula" that he flashed on a screen. 

The formula read: "Nsc=SqMi Cx (10…25)." 

Translated, this means the number of necessary cell-sites is equal to the square miles of coverage required times the number of major wireless carriers hoping to cash in on the Internet of Things. In Coronado's case this meant 316 to 790 small cell sites installed over the 3-5 years. 

Kramer told council: "I would expect, as an engineer, that the number of small cell sites that would be proposed for Coronado over the next 3 to 5 years would be closer to the 790 rather than the low end…." 

(With Berkeley covering nearly 18 square miles, Kramer's formula would require installing 720 to 1,800 cell-site transmitters.) 

Kramer reminded Coronado's councilmembers that their influence in writing an ordinance was limited: "We're in the aesthetics business," he said. "We're not in the technology business. We're not allowed to regulate their technology." 

After Kramer finished his presentation, the Council voted unanimously to approve the powerful wireless transmitters, just so long as Verizon, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Cisco and Huawei did their best to keep the transmitters "hidden." Residents within 300 feet of a proposed transmitter would be given an opportunity to express their concerns at a hearing but they could not claim an exemption based on health concerns and there were no guarantees that their objections would be sustained. 

On August 21, the City responded to WIRED's reservations with an email that stated: 

"Dr. Kramer is under contract with the City and is near completion of his work. When the amendments are finalized, hopefully in a few weeks, you will have an opportunity to comment on them." 

[Full disclosure: I have worked with WIRED and the City on the effort to craft a 5G ordinance. The preceding item is a personal note reflecting only the thoughts of the author.] 

Arts & Events

A Piano Recital at Berkeley’s Maybeck Studio

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:33:00 PM

As part of the 2019 San Francisco International Piano Festival, on Saturday afternoon, August 24, Berkeley’s Maybeck Studio for the Performing Arts hosted a piano recital featuring two artists — Jiyang Chen and Albert Kim. In the first half of the recital, Jiyang Chen performed an eclectic mix of works by Handel, Chopin, Mompou, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff. After a brief intermission, Albert Kim performed Serge Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 8 in B-Flat Major, Op. 84. 

Built by Bernard Maybeck in 1914 for piano teacher Alma Kennedy, the studio burned down in Berkeley’s 1923 fire. But Maybeck rebuilt it exactly as before in 1923; and once Anna Kennedy had passed away, the high-ceilinged, Gothic Revival studio has served as a venue for concerts of jazz and classical music.  

At the August 24 recital, Jiyang Chen opened the program with Handel’s Minuet in G Minor in a transcription by Volodos. Next came Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-Sharp, with its relentless theme thundering in fortissimo as performed by Jiyang Chen. In the absence of a printed program for his half of this recital, Jiyang Chen announced each piece from the piano. However, in many cases he limited himself to naming the composer but failing to specify which piece by that composer he would play. There followed a set of works by Frédéric Chopin that was comprised of Nocturnes 1 & 2 from Opus 27 plus the famed Fantaisie impromptu. The latter piece, with its lyrical theme that was later used for the hit song “I’m always chasing rainbows,” was the highlight of the first half of this recital. Jiyang Chen next performed a piece by Catalan composer Federico Mompu, “Damunt de tu només les flors,” followed by a Tchaikovsky Lullaby. The concluding piece of Jiyang Chen’s set was another highlight, a transcription for solo piano from Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata in G Minor.  

To open his half of the program, Albert Kim announced that Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 8 in B-Flat Major, Op. 84, was written during World War II but was dedicated to Prokofiev’s lover. As such, opined Kim, this piece is not exactly the war-weary, anguished work one might expect from Prokofiev, but rather a work that has some of the flavour of this composer’s Romeo and Juliet ballet music. I can’t say I found myself reminded of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet as I listened to Albert Kim’s intense interpretation of this sonata; but I was impressed by its various changes of mood, rhythm and tempo. The opening movement is a slow Andante dolce. The second movement is marked Andante sognando, in other words, “dreamy.” The third and final movement is marked Vivace, and it features a relentless theme that reminds me of someone running in place. There are occasional interludes of very agitated music interspersed with tranquil passages; and the work comes to an abrupt, surprise ending that leaves the audience breathless with its intensity. Pianist Albert Kim distinguished himself in an impressive interpretation of this difficult sonata. After the recital, a brief reception with wine was hosted in the courtyard by Jeff Eastman, the current owner of the Maybeck Studio.

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Sept. 1-8

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Friday August 30, 2019 - 05:19:00 PM

Worth Noting:

City Council September 10th Agenda is available for comment, list of agenda highlights follow upcoming City meetings.

3rd Annual Ride Electric Event is Saturday, September 14, 11 am – 3 pm, Event includes Electric vehicles and e-bikes, https://driveelectricweek.org/event.php?eventid=1630

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Labor Day Weekend - No City meetings or events found

Monday, September 2, 2019

Labor Day Holiday

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board – Eviction/Section 8 Committee, 4:30 pm, at 2001 Center St, Law Library 2nd Floor 


Closed Session - Berkeley City Council, Tuesday, 4:00 pm, at 2180 Milvia, Redwood Room, Agenda: 1. Public Employee Appointment Director of Health, Housing & Community Services, 2. Conference with Labor Negotiators for Berkeley Police Assiciation 


Personnel Board, 7 – 9 pm, 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Conference Room, Agenda: V. Recommendation to Ammend Classification of Occupational Health and Safety Officer of Health, Housing and Community Services 


Wednesday, September 4, 2019 

Board of Library Trustees, 6:30 pm at 1901 Russell St, Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch, Agenda: II.A. Berkeley Public Library Foundation Report – Kathy Huff, Executive Director, III.B. Contract Falk Construction $3,056,900 which includes contingency of $277,900 


Commission on Disability, 6:30 – 9 pm at 1947 Center, 4th Floor, Agenda: 5. Elevator Ordinance, 6. October Town Hall, 7. New Construction and Renovations – Accessibility Guidelines and Regulations, 8. Photos for Navigable Cities Item. 


Homeless Services Panel of Experts, 7 pm at 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor Cypress Room, Agenda: 5. Two budget recommendations for Measure P Funds, 6. Budget recommendation to Council, 7. Best Practices letter to Council, 8. Policy framework proposal, 9. Drafting a Workplan 


Planning Commission, 7 – 10 pm at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 9. Public Hearing – Zoning Ordinance Amendments for Cannabis Uses: Delivery-only Retailers, 10. Public Hearing: Tentative Tract Map #8490-739 Channing Way, 11. Referral to Facilitate Toxic Remediation. 


Police Review Commission, at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, 

Lexipol Subcommittee, 5:30 pm – 7 pm, Agenda: Surveillance Use Policy, Tactical Rifle Operator, Mental Illness Commitments, Cite and Release Policy, Rapid Response and Deployment, Field Training Officer Program, Foot Pursuits, Mobile Data Terminal Use, Disabled Vehicles 

Regular Meeting, 7 – 10 pm, 9. GPS Tracking Devices Use Policy, Automated License Plate Readers, Policy Complaint #2455, 10. Lexipol Policies – Use of Force, Major Incident Notification, Volunteer Program, Service Animals, Gun Violence Restraining orders, Off-Duty Enforcement Actions, Firearms and Tactics Unit, Second Response, Hostage and Barricade Incidents, Foreign Diplomatic and Consular Re[presentatives 


Thursday, September 5, 2019 

Housing Advisory Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 6. Draft PY Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER), 7. Resources for Community Development 2001 Ashby Predevelopment Loan Application, 8. N. CA Land Trust 2321-2323 10th Street Predevelopment Loan Application, 9. Transfer Tax Refund for 1638 Stuart St, 11. Recommendations to Council’s Draft Affordable Housing framework. 


Landmarks Preservation Commission, 7 – 11:30 pm at 1947 Center St, Multipurpose Room, Basement, Agenda Action:1440 Hawthorne Terrace – Landmark or Structure of Merit, 1450 Hawthorne Terrace – Landmark or Structure of Merit, 910 Ashby – Demolition referral, 1035 Heinz Demolition Referral, Discussion: 2012 Berkeley Way – Section 106 Referral 


Public Works Commission, 7 – 10 pm at 1326 Allston Way, Willow Room, City of Berkeley Corporation Yard, Agenda: 1. City Auditor Streets Audit, 2. Adopt-a-Spot Referral, 4. 50/50 Sidewalk Program. 


Friday, September 6, 2019 

Movies in the Park – LEGO® Movie 2 , 7:45 – 10 pm at Strawberry Creek Park, 1260 Allston Way 


Saturday, September 7, 2019 

BBQ and Community Day, 11 am – 4 pm, at San Pablo Park, 2800 Park St. sponsored by Covenant Church Social Work Ministry, Co-sponsors, BUSD Office of Family Engagement & Equity City Help Community Services 

Sunday, September 8, 2019 

Solano Stroll, 10 am – 5 pm 



September 10 City Council Meeting agenda available for comment, email Council@cityofberkeley.info, CONSENT: 1. Recess item - Reject all bids for John Hinkel Park Improvement Project – Negotiate in Open Market, 5. Increase contract by $175,000 to $541,004 with Konica Minolta Business Solutions for annual renewal, maintenance and updates thru Sept 18, 2024, 6. Updated Commissioners’ Manual, 7. $600,000 for On-call graphic design contracts, 9. $12,590,000 Formal Bid solicitations RFP, 10. P.O. Aramark Uniform Rental and Laundry Service, $468,067 thru Jan 4, 2022, 11. $828,170 to Toshiba Managed Printed Services for citywide print and copy services for 3 yr coverage, 12. $85,721 to Berkeley Drop-in to operate homeless storage locker program, 13. $159,000 Dental Health Services to BUSD thru June 30, 2022, 15. $100,000 for consulting services to ensure implementation of Easy Does It audit findings, 16. State Minimum Wage Increases – Camps Classifications, 17. Berkeley Minimum Wage Increases 18. Increase to $200,000 doe Computer Hardware and Software, 19. Add $99,700 for total $303,960 Geographic Technologies Group for Geographic Information System Master Plan contract Sept 14, 2016 – June 30, 2021, 21. $360,000 for 2 yr contract for portable toilets, with option to extend for 3-12 month periods thru Sept 30, 2024, total amount not to exceed $900,000, 22. $192,000 with Rincon Consultants, Inc. for Southside Initial Study and EIR for period of 16 months, 24. $250,000 to DC Electric, On-Call Electronic Traffic Calming Devices Maintenance Project, 25. Increase contract by $473,835 total $38,944,818 with C. Overaa & Co. for Center St Parking Garage, 26. Increase by $50,000 to $234,500 for On-Call Consulting with Northgate Environmental Management, 27. Game day Towing, 28. Agreement with East Bay Regional Park District for Tilden Park, 29. Green Infrastructure Plan Adoption, 30. Live Animal Sales disclosure requirements, 31. Provision of Wheelchair Charging for Homeless, 33. Outdoor Public Warning System, 35. 1281 University RFP for residential development for 50% on-site at 50% AMI or below, 36. 2019 Bi-annual report on Funding for Housing Programs, 39. Support AB 18 – Firearms Excise Tax. 44. Pavement Derby and Ward between Telegraph and Shattuck, 45. – 48. Budget referrals street repairs (Derby), lights (Sacramento/Oregon), crossing signals (Ashby/Fulton, Shattuck/Prince and Otis), 53. Voluntary Time Off for City Employees on Statewide Election Days, 54. Decriminalizing Entheogenic Plants, 55. Game Day Parking, ACTION: 56. Public Hearing Municipal Finance Authority Bond for Berkeley Way Affordable Housing, 57. Public Hearing CA Municipal Finance Authority Bond Financing for Berkeley Way HOPE Center, 58. Residential Parking McGee and Rose, 59. Preferential Parking fee increases, 60. Funding for Street Rehabilitation Capital Improvement Program, 51. Funding Street Rehab, 61. a.& b. Health Study on Health Disparities and Mortality of Berkeley Homeless, 62. a.&b. Analysis of Increasing Inclusionary Housing over Affordable Housing Mitigation Fee, 63. a.&b. Utilization of 1281 University for RV dwellers, 64. a.&b. Expansion of Adeline Corridor Plan to include in private component housing for extremely low-income persons, 65. Open Doors Initiative: City Worker and First Time Affordable Homebuyer Program, 66. Referral Response: Lava Mae Mobile Shower and Hygiene Services, 67. Wage Theft Program, 





Notice of Decision (NOD) With End of Appeal Period https://www.cityofberkeley.info/planning_and_development/land_use_division/current_zoning_applications_in_appeal_period.aspx 

180 B Alvarado 9-9-19 

999 Anthony8-21-19 

1533 Beverly 9-3-19 

1911 Fourth – 9-3-19 

1615 Francisco – 9-3-19 

2526 Hawthorne – 9-10-19 

2711 Mabel – 9-3-19 

641 Neilson – 9-16-19 

1727 Parker – 9-3-19 

1446 Scenic – 9-3-19 

1641 Seventh – 9-9-19 


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, 

Unscheduled – Cannabis Health Considerations 



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