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Letter to Berkeley Planning Director Tim Burroughs re 2211 Harold Way

Erin Diehm
Thursday January 16, 2020 - 12:34:00 PM

Dear Mr. Burroughs,

I believe the entitlement for 2211 Harold Way will expire this coming Monday, January 20th. In the name of fairness, transparency and precedence I am writing to urge you to NOT grant this project yet another extension. The fourth, if I'm not mistaken - a shocking possibility. The investor has had ample time, four years, to secure funding and move ahead. Our city has been inordinately accommodating, granting three extensions already, behind closed doors and without public process or hearings. The granting of yet another, a fourth, would violate public trust and the goals of our permitting conditions, which were established to make sure projects move forward in a swift, timely fashion. To this end, I believe you stated when granting the prior, third extension:

"August 31, 2018. We are granting your extension request, but the project team will need to move swiftly to demonstrate to the City and the broader community that this third extension will result in a different result and that the project will get built consistent with City approvals."

Well, it's 16 months later. We are counting on you to honor your words. In the letter you stated that "a different result" was expected, that is, the project would move ahead quickly in 2018-2019 and there would be no more requests for an extension. And yet, here we are again. This simply must not stand.

To reiterate, in the name of precedence and fairness, I urge you to refuse any additional exceptions or extensions to this project. We've lost precious time with this investor. Granting yet another exception would amount to favoritism and essentially nullify the results of the democratic process we struggled and fought for in the community. In addition, offering yet another extension would set a very bad precedent for the future of our city, encourage other investors to request special treatment, and detract from our ability to enforce the construction of entitled housing in a timely fashion. I urge you to do the right thing. No more extensions.

From the Desktop

Glen Kohler
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:28:00 PM

Empty the Photos Trash

Most Macintosh users I encounter use the Photos program to store and organize photographs. But no photographer bats a thousand, so a lot of pictures wind up in Photos’ trash folder—which is a different place than the System trash found in the Dock. Picture files in the Photos trash are out of sight and therefore out of mind, sometimes for years. It is not uncommon to find hundreds, even thousands, of image files in the Trash folder inside of Photos. 

Then one fine day, someone decides to empty the Trash in Photos. Maybe the hard drive is getting full. Or the Photos library is being moved to an external hard drive to free space on the internal drive. If there are too many files in the Trash, the program may not be able to get rid of them. That’s when the fun begins. 

When the Trash cannot be emptied the animated status bar gets about half-way, then stalls. So you wait. Try to be patient. The status bar doesn’t move. Well, that’s a lot of pictures. Make coffee—or lunch. Let it work. The status bar still doesn’t change. Repeated attempts to Force Quit, re-start, and empty the trash go back to the same state. Resorting to advice on the Internet from others who have faced this problem is tried, but some recommended commands are not available. Shit. 

The best solution is to empty the trash before there are 300 files inside. If the number of unwanted files is more than 400, trouble is likely to occur. If there are more than 1,000 files you will probably be calling me. 

Tech Topic

Internet scams range from mild to wild. There’s a flavor for every web user. Best practice is to Stop, Look, then Decide Whether to Click, pretty much all the time. 

Identify Misleading Links

Searching for printer drivers or help with computer-related problems can turn up sites that resemble something by Canon or HP or Epson, but aren’t. The way to tell is to read the URL, either in the Google or DuckDuckGo search listing, or in the top of the browser after navigating to the site. The word Canon may be there, but it may not be in the right order or accompanied by the right words as real Canon sites. Take a moment to check where you are about to go. 

Expensive ‘Free’

Free software distributed on the web should be viewed with suspicion. Software that sounds and looks like something you might want can be a Trojan horse that ushers unseen applications past your Mac’s security check. There are several fake Mac maintenance applications, so it pays to exercise caution towards programs that make alterations to the operating system. If an application is not from the App Store, you will be asked by macOS if you want to install it anyway. If you are not 100% confident about the source, it is better not to install some minor application or utility that has the potential to harm your system. 

Free games are especially suspect, as they are aimed at children and teens who often act without caution. Allowing administrative access to your computer to a young person who is addicted to games invites the unwitting installation of malware. This is not a guess. I have seen it. Cleaned up after it. You don’t want it. 

The Classic Scam Phone Call

India seems to be scammer central. Almost everyone I know has been called by someone with an Indian language accent saying that their Windows operating system is defective and must be repaired to avoid a catastrophic crash. I play with them, feigning amazement that they can tell what hardware I have and which version of Windows. They always cite some flavor of PC and the latest Windows, whereupon I ask them how my Macintosh computer happens to be running Windows instead of OS X. 

Hard Core Scammers

Some of the worst scams involve installing Team Viewer and giving control of your computer to an unknown person. It could be for an alleged repair; installing a piece of software; or as one client ruefully reported, in answer to an e-mail alleging that a payment would be taken from their bank account if not stopped by calling the provided phone number. The person on the other end of the line insisted that payment could only be stopped on my client’s computer, by installing Team Viewer and assuming control. 

That client is an attorney. Highly intelligent people can be induced to abandon caution if they think they are having an emergency. 

Apple will never call to tell you about your computer or ask you to install Team Viewer. 


Here is a humorous reply to a scammer’s e-mail: 


In this video a scammer makes the mistake of calling a savvy, well-prepared software engineer: 



Why We Wash Our Hands

Margot Smith, Dr.P.H.
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:59:00 PM

Recently I spent time with a relative in the ICU, the Intensive Care Unit at my local hospital. In the ten days I kept vigil until his recovery, the hospital staff kept his room sterile. Every time the room was entered a new pair of gloves was put on. Blood pressure and other monitors were wiped down when entering and leaving the room. The floor and bed rails were cleaned often. For the short time he was considered contagious, we all put on paper aprons when entering, discarding when leaving. There were four trash receptacles—one for needles and sharps, one for soiled linen, one for bio-contaminated equipment like tubes and wipes, and one for plain refuse. Staff efforts at keeping the room sterile were impressive. 

Poor Dr. Semmelweis would have been very pleased. In 1847 he tried to convince doctors in his Viennese maternity ward to simply wash their hands. He was convinced doctors were inadvertently carrying infection into the ward where mothers were dying of puerperal fever. It is thought that Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII was possibly the most famous victim of puerperal fever. In 1537, she died two weeks after giving birth to Henry's only surviving son, the future Edward VI of England. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (who wrote Frankenstein), also died of this disease shortly after giving birth. Ignaz Semmelweis’ idea of hand washing was considered bizarre for decades. Doctors then believed that infections were due to “miasmas” or “bad air,” or to the imbalance of humors within a patient's body that could be relieved by bloodletting. Doctors who performed autopsies were revered because they were considered to be actively investigating the causes of sickness. Their colleagues believed that the dirtier the doctor, the better the doctor; doctors were proud to display their coats stiff with blood from the last autopsy or surgery they performed as they headed for the maternity ward. The idea that the doctor could be the agent of disease transmission was considered preposterous and wholly rejected. 

But others besides Semmelweis advocated hand washing. British nurse Florence Nightingale at a military hospital in Turkey in 1854 was shocked to discover that nearly ten times as many soldiers fighting the Crimean War died from infections and diseases than in battle. Nightingale brought in soap, towels, fresh sheets, and she insisted on hand washing. “Every nurse ought to be careful to wash her hands very frequently during the day,” she later wrote in her book Notes on Nursing (1859). 

In the United States in 1855, Oliver Wendell Holmes also found that physicians with unwashed hands were responsible for transmitting puerperal fever from patient to patient. He was promptly attacked by the leading Philadelphia obstetrician, Charles D. Meigs, who declared that “Doctors are gentlemen, and gentlemen’s hands are clean…any practitioner who met with cases of puerperal fever was simply “unlucky…I prefer to attribute them to accident, or Providence.” Unfortunately, Semmelweis was dead for 20 years before his findings on hand washing gained acceptance. 

Hand washing: Not a New Idea 

As early as 2800 BC ancient Babylonians used soap; Egyptians (1500 BC) bathed with soap-like substances made from plants combined with animal and vegetable oils. In ancient Greece, hands were cleaned using mud and ashes. In developing countries today where soap is not available, mud and ashes are still used. Among American Indians, yucca root was used for soap as it forms a lather. Many religions require hand and foot washing before entering religious sites and at certain rituals. 

The discovery of germs 

From long before Biblical times, it was known that diseases were contagious. In the 1860s, however, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch showed that microbes could cause diseases such as tuberculosis and smallpox; their germ theory explained how diseases were transmitted and they developed vaccines that could prevent disease. Pasteur also connected his germ theory of disease with Semmelweis’ data and worked to making hand washing more popular. In 1865, Joseph Lister demonstrated that hand washing with antiseptic carbolic acid improved the outcome of surgeries. 

As germ theory took hold, hand washing became a cause celebre. Homes had wash basins and ewers holding water in their bedrooms; houses built in the 1890’s had basins with plumbing built into every bedroom with the water closet (toilet) down the hall. In one very old restaurant in Hawaii, there still is a wash basin at the front door for people to use before entering the dining room. Lifebuoy, a carbolic soap, was introduced by Lever Brothers in 1894 in Victorian England to combat cholera; it advertised its soap with a picture of a sailor rescued by a life buoy and the slogans “For Saving Life” and “Ending infections.” Nurses stationed in public schools taught children to wash their hands before meals. Fear of germ contamination generated laws that prevented food handlers from touching money which was known to be dirty. Even books in the public library were thought by some to be possibly contaminated because of use by many people. 

Today it is known that diseases most often transmitted and prevented by hand washing are flu, colds and diarrhea. In developing countries, hand washing with soap also protects against pandemic flu, SARS, trachoma and parasitic worm infections. Hand washing keeps children in school; it reduces infections that mothers and babies may contract during delivery and postnatal care. Hand washing by parents and midwives is found to prevent infant mortality. 

Dr. Myriam Sidibe of Mali, Africa, founded International Hand Washing Day, Oct 15. She partners with organizations such as UNICEF, the World Bank, PSI, Oxfam, MCHIP and USAID to educate people about the importance of hand washing with soap because washing with soap and water can save lives. She recently gave a TED talk on how washing with soap, a simple public health measure, prevents childhood diseases. (https://www.ted.com/talks/myriam_sidibe_the_simple_power_of_hand_washing) 

Now when entering many health facilities, supermarkets and restaurants, alcohol wipe dispensers are often available. Public lavatories provide soaps and hand drying. Portable toilets at events often include hand-washing basins.  

The Center for Disease Control lists times that hands should be washed: 

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage
Among the great public health achievements of the 20th Century are control of infectious diseases, improvements in maternal and child health, and improving food safety. Hand washing was important to these successes. Public health achievements that we enjoy every day are 

  • Vaccinations to reduce infectious diseases
  • Control of infectious diseases
  • Food Safety
  • Improvements in maternal and child health
  • Decline in death from cardiovascular disease
  • Family planning
  • Fluoridation of drinking water to reduce dental cavities
  • Reductions in prevalence of tobacco use
  • Improved motor vehicle safety
  • Safer workplaces
These public health successes have increased our life expectancy from about age 40 in 1850 to age 78 in 2019. Infant mortality rates have declined from 181.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1900 to 5.8 in 2017. 

Today, we expect people to wash their hands frequently. Laws regarding food handlers include hand washing before, after and during food preparation. By washing their hands properly with soap, people can prevent the spread of diseases and infections and live longer and healthier lives. Soap up, everyone! 




Supporting Workers in Gig Professions is Complicated

Becky O'Malley
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 11:36:00 AM

The law of unintended consequences is alive and well and living in Sacramento. A well-intended bill which seemed to be designed to correct inequities affecting drivers of on-demand car services like Uber and Lyft is causing an uproar among small arts production organizations among others.

An onine posting from one of the Bay Area’s excellent small-scale low budget professional production companies, Alameda’s Island City Opera, tipped me off:

“It is with a heavy heart that, due to circumstances beyond our control, we must postpone our current plans for the March 2020 production of Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers. “As of January 1, 2020 the State of California put into effect new regulations. Island City Opera (ICO), with the guidance of legal counsel, has determined that these new rules apply to ICO and present significant new administrative and financial requirements. The ICO management team is investigating exactly what is required to meet the new rules and developing a plan for the future.”
The villain is Assembly Bill 5, which was authored by California Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 18th, 2019, to take effect on January 1, 2020.

Groups like Island City recruit performers from an itinerant contingent of professional actors, singers and other musicians who need to assemble a lot of different jobs to create something like a living wage. That’s where the term “gig economy” originated—jazz musicians back in the day called their engagements “gigs´. Wikipedia claims that the word originated in the 1920s and is short for “engagement”. That might just be folk etymology, but regardless of origin, this term has been adopted for all kinds of short-term work.

Some musicians and actors at some points in history have achieved the goal of steady work with the aid of Actors’ Equity and the American Federation of Musicians, but the vast majority of those who entertain us in the Bay and elsewhere must go it on their own with no union to back them up. Many go back and forth between managing productions and appearing in them. Professionals usually get small fees and they are supported by a lot of unpaid volunteers.  

Soprano Eliza O’Malley, who is also Executive Director of Berkeley Chamber Opera and a voice teacher at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts and elsewhere, has been hearing from colleagues in other companies, including Island City, about the problems that AB 5 has created for small arts organizations like the ones she works with. [Full disclosure: she’s my daughter.] 

Here’s what she posted on the BCO Facebook page: 

“Thanks to Janos Gereben for shedding light on the effects of putting AB5 into place without full consideration of the ramifications for the arts. I contributed [this] statement to his article in San Francisco Classical Voice as someone who contracts artists for my opera company: ‘The music community in the Bay Area is very tightly knit, and in our little microcosm Berkeley Chamber has already felt the effects. BCO plans to present Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites in April. Many of the people we contracted to work in the show, such as our conductor and several singers, were also engaged to work for Island City Opera for their March production of Wreckers. ‘We very carefully crafted a rehearsal schedule that would enable people to work for both companies without conflict. Collaborations such as this are one of the reasons small companies and independent artists can survive. ‘Collectively we offer full employment to local artists. It is unfortunate that ICO has had to weigh the risk of violating AB5 and withdraw their production. It is a shame that after all of the effort people have put into nurturing the community, that the structure could crumble so quickly’ 

On the web, she continued the discussion: 

“ I’ve also been thinking about this in relation to myself as an employee. While I agree with the bill’s sponsors whose goal is to provide needed basic health coverage and worker’s comp for all workers- especially the most vulnerable, I just don’t think this is a practical solution that reflects the realities of today's workforce. “In my own case being an “employee” at one of the many places I am paid to sing or teach singing gave me very little benefit last year when I suffered an injury to my vocal cords. I didn’t for a minute think that I could claim that my injury happened during one of the 7 hours a week I was on the clock for that employer. It could have or couldn’t have. Who knows? It wasn't something I wanted to spend a second thinking about at the time. I was preoccupied with researching the best treatment options for my injury. Imagine if each of the many organizations I work for had had to duke it out over who would cover the sick leave and surgery I eventually needed? In actuality, I was able to get treatment through Medi-Cal. I qualified because my contract work allowed me to file a schedule C and my taxes accurately reflected my low cobbled together income. “This kind of coverage is what Democrats in California should be fighting for for everyone. Healthcare should be a right regardless of who your employer is or how many jobs you do or don't have. Accident insurance should be a right no matter who your employer is. Social Security and retirement should be a right no matter who your employer is. 

“I don’t even buy the argument that they were just trying to make Uber and Lyft pay their fair share anymore. If that were the case, they would tax the company’s eventual profits, and put the money back into these social services. The gig economy isn't the problem. Artists benefit from the flexibility of gigs like Uber and Lyft. Lots of singers drive for these companies on breaks between rehearsals and the work provides the on-demand flexibility they need to make ends meet. Why use workers as pawns and give us even more red tape to wade through in order to get services that should simply be a human right?” 

There are many kinds of work that never produce profits but are socially beneficial none the less. Believe it or not, in some countries citizens not only have single-payer national health insurance provided by the government but governments also support the arts in numerous direct ways. Why can’t we do it here? 

Journalism is another necessary endeavor that isn’t fully self-supporting anymore. Some workers in the top tier of the corporate media benefited historically from unions like the Newspaper Guild, but as print media vanishes steady union jobs do too. In my youth I was involved in founding two organizations which hoped to negotiate on behalf of freelance writers for adequate pay and benefits and equitable treatment in what at that time was called alternative media. Sadly, though those writers’ organizations still exist in altered form, their alternative outlets have disappeared. Many of my freelancer colleagues from the ‘70s and ‘80s have moved on to other fields as the print publications they wrote for have vanished or shrunk. .I got to the point where I could sell every word I wrote, and I’m a pretty fast writer, but I still couldn’t call it a living--luckily I had other options. 

And the pay still sucks, where there is any. When I tried to be an employer of journalists for the print Planet, we paid barely respectable salaries, but still never broke even. Other area print news publications have shut down or laid off most of their reporters. 

I happen to like music, especially opera and other classical music, jazz and folky stuff of various kinds, none of which have huge affluent audiences. In all of these fields, full time conventional employment is scarce for anyone but international superstars, but some musicians can collect enough smaller gigs supplemented by other kinds of work to keep afloat. It would be a shame to lose the underfunded small arts companies like Island City Opera because AB 5 has targeted Lyft and Uber—kind of like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 

The Sacramento office of AB5’s author, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, told me that she’s working on amendments which would correct the unintended consequences to the arts, but her office worker couldn’t tell me where or when the public would have input on what changes are needed. They said the clean-up bill has been introduced as AB 1850, but they could tell me nothing about hearings or committee assignments. 

If you care about this, call Assemblymember Gonzalez’s Sacramento office and raise hell. The number is (916) 319-2080. 

The Editor's Back Fence

Speak Truth to Power in Berkeley on Wednesday: For a Price

Saturday January 11, 2020 - 11:29:00 AM

There are lots of important topics being dealt with, for the most part out of the public eye, in Sacramento these days. Besides the need to clean up the sloppy drafting of the former A.B. 5 (see the editorial above), we need to drive a stake through the heart of SB 50, Sacramento’s attempt to snatch land use planning away from local governments, which must be killed before the end of January if at all.

If you’d like to bring your concerns to our local Assemblyperson Buffy Wicks, you might be interested in this invitation forwarded to me by a reader:

“Join Team Buffy in Berkeley on Wednesday, January 15th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm for an evening reception hosted by Honorable Tom Bates & Honorable Loni Hancock, Honorable Laurie Capitelli, Honorable Lori Droste, Honorable Rashi Kesarwani, Linda Schacht & John Gage, Elizabeth Echols, Ben Gould, George Perezvelez, and Honorable Susan Wengraf.

Let’s keep the momentum going as we approach the primaries in March! Please join us Wednesday, January 15th? 

That’s quite a powerful cast of local luminaries. Maybe someone on this illustrious list could get these crucial decisions moving in the correct direction, though Buffy is currently a backer of the noxious SB50 plan. But you could go to the reception and talk to her about it, if you have the price of admission. Ticket levels range from $100 to $9,400. Just click on the underlined link above for access. 

Public Comment

“Wag the Dog” - again

Jagjit Singh
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:57:00 PM

Our political leaders have an annoying habit of repeating failed survival strategies. They also feed the American public with mega doses of false information to mask embarrassing political blunders. Remember the New York Times story 1998 headlined “Impeachment Vote in House delayed as Clinton Launches Iraq Air Strike, Citing Military Need to Move Swiftly” started to circulate on social media. This picture was widely shared by those who argued that Trump, like Clinton, was attempting to “wag the dog,” a colloquialism that means to distract attention away from a political scandal (in this case impeachment), often through military action. 

Trump has told approximately 15,000 lies in his disastrous presidency. The sycophant Republicans and his advisors, most notably the morally challenged Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has stubbornly defended their sociopathic boss. Pompeo used the age old defense claiming actionable intelligence to justify the killing of General Qasem Soleimani. Trump and his aides seem to be very selective in relying on intelligence. They rejected claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election but lauds intelligence when it suits their political agendas. As Lau Tzu’s maxim reminds us, “all wars are based on deception, the first casualty is truth.” 

The erratic Trump, paralyzed with fear over his impeachment is distracting the public with a bogus national emergency. 

“When a man deceives me once, says the Italian proverb, it is his fault; when twice, it is mine.”".

Do We Really Want War with Iran?

Margot Smith, Dr.P.H.
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:48:00 PM

President Trump’s plan to increase US conflict with Iran and engage in nuclear war is outrageous. War with Iran would have unimaginable political and humanitarian consequences. It could not only lead to Iran’s devastation but result in nuclear fallout over many countries of the Middle East.

Iran has 14 nations on its borders. By land, Iran shares borders with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. Across the Persian and Oman Gulfs lie Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. And to the north, beyond the Caspian Sea are Russia and Kazakhstan.

All these countries could be affected by a nuclear event in Iran. The nuclear bombing of Nagasaki, Japan (1945), testing in Nevada (1951) and the Marshall Islands (1946–58), the accidents at Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011) have shown us that nuclear emissions and fallout affect people living more than a thousand miles away. In the United States, people as far as Chicago, 3,000 miles away from the Nevada tests, were exposed to nuclear fallout. 

Nuclear bombs used today would have more serious consequences than those used in the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan in 1945 or the Nevada tests of the 1950s. These bombs were much less powerful than those in today’s nuclear arsenals. 

A nuclear attack on Tehran, the capital of Iran, would not only result in nuclear emissions and fallout for the people of Iran, but expose the people of its 14 neighboring countries and the people of nations a thousand miles from Tehran—Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Cyprus, Georgia, Russia,Turkey and even China could also suffer nuclear exposure. Jordan, Oman and Israel are only about 950 miles from Tehran. 

Iranians are well aware of the consequences of war. In the 1980s Iran and Iraq were at war and its people experienced chemical warfare.. They still have hospitals housing those affected and permanently disabled. 

Although one may disagree with the politics of Iran, one must respect its people, history and culture. Iran has 21 Unesco World Historical Sites, including those in Tehran, Qom, Esfahan, Persepolis and Shiraz. Persepolis alone is impressive, founded in 518 BCE.  

The countries of the Middle East were relatively calm when President George Bush authorized the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, like the Monarch crying “Havoc!”, he unloosed the Dogs of War. He showed that any power may invade another at will without repercussions. And they did. In Syria, Ukraine, Sudan, Gaza, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan…and we have refugees seeking asylum everywhere as a result. 

It is critical that we Americans show that we value diplomacy over military might in dealing with others. Our leadership should seek to secure peace and end ongoing warfare. Before it is too late.

What They Promised v. What We Got; Vape Lounges by Libraries

Carol Denney
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 08:42:00 PM

Item VII.A.1. Cannabis Commission June 7, 2018, Page 10 of 37, Draft of Cannabis Advertising Proposal: Advertising: "The proposed Berkeley Municipal Code states that no billboards would be allowed within the Berkeley city limits advertising cannabis or cannabis products." 

You'd be forgiven if you drifted off before the tenth page of the rough drafts of Berkeley's cannabis dispensary rules in June of 2018. Those rules were oriented toward precluding what the children in my apartment building see every day out their windows and on their way to school (Photo: Billboard cannabis promotion at the corner of University and San Pablo Avenue). What happened? Big Cannabis is what happened. 

The dispensary regulations are over 90 pages long these days, and apparently don't preclude plunking a dispensary and "vaping lounge" exactly 417 feet from a public library, specifically the West Branch Berkeley Library. Big Cannabis throws a lot of money around. But it can't vote like we can. Vape-Loung&Librarywords.jpg 

Please help our struggling neighborhood oppose this proposal. We support decriminalization, safe access, and both recreational and medical marijuana. But we were promised discrete locations compatible with residential and commercial neighborhoods. Our neighborhood, the oldest in Berkeley, is both, and deserves more respect. 


Call Councilmembers Rashi Kesarwani (District 1, (510) 981-7110) and Cheryl Davila (District 2 (510) 981-7120). They need to hear from you. 


Just Another Little War Crime

Steve Martinot
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 01:09:00 PM

Shall we add Suleimani to the list of people assassinated by the US government? They include, despite some on-going controversy, JFK, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, RFK, Fred Hampton, Karen Silkwood, Louis Lomax, Patrice Lumumba, Che Guevara, and many more. That is an auspicious list of people who, in one form or another, fought for democracy, justice, and national sovereignty in the world. Trump is adding Suleimani to that list. 

Trump is not defending US interests in Iraq, howewver, by committing this act of assassination. He is defending US aggression. Well, that statement contains an interesting internal grammatical contradiction. It should be restated. Trump is furthering and fostering US aggression. 

The US invaded (aggressed against) Iraq in 2003 unprovoked. The US gave reasons for its aggression at the time, all of which proved to be false and fabricated. It was simply a case of “might makes right.” The US is responsible for 53% of all military spending in the world. That is, it is higher than the rest of the world put together. “Might makes right?” 

The real reason for invading Iraq was to seize Iraq’s oil resources. There was a map drawn up in 2001 that actually specified which EuroAmerican oil corporations would get rights to which specific oil territories in Iraq. This map was presented to the oil corporations by Cheney in a secret meeting in February, 2001, a few weeks after that administration had been sworn into office. Though Cheney refused to disclose what that meeting had been about (in violation of public records law), it was revealed by other sources several years later. 

When the US began logistic preparations to invade Iraq (in 2003), there was world-wide opposition. 15 million people demonstrated in the streets around the world against it. Never before had there been such an outpouring of popular international outrage to stop a war-mongering power from engaging in yet another aggression. The US invaded Iraq anyway. 

However, the invasion never really succeeded in gaining control of the oil, or of Iraqi society, because Iraqi resistance to the US occupation turned out to be too widespread and too complex for the military mind. What did happen was that 5 billion dollars sent to Iraq from the Pentagon around 2004 to support the US effort got "lost.” If you can’t kill ‘em, then at least make some money off it. 

Over the last 8 years, the Iraqis have been slowly putting together a form of national sovereignty for themselves. National sovereignty is not only the basis of international law (whoever nullifies or eradicates another nation’s sovereignty violates international law, something which is now known as a “crime against humanity”), it is also the fundamental basis for democracy. There is no possibility of democracy if a foreign power is making decisions for you. 

Since the Iraqis have been facing occupation by a foreign power (the US), whatever they do against this occupying foreign power to expel it from their country is therefore an act of national defense. It is an act of national defense because the US is the aggressor. It has aggressed against Iraq, and it is seeking to aggress against Iran. Whatever those countries do to defend themselves against this or any foreign aggression has to be seen as legitimate national self-defense. 

For Trump to order the murder of a foreign government official is a war crime. No war has been declared against Iran. And Iran has done nothing to provoke a war. It has only taken steps and measures to defend itself against US economic aggression. This aggression occurs in the form of sanctions, trade embrgoes, extraterritorial procedures against companies and governments that continue to trade with Iran, violation of treaties signed with Iran and ratified by the US congress, and the placing gunboats near Iranian waters. For a conqueror, any act of self-defense is seen as an attack. Like when a cop hits a demonstrator with his nightstick, it is the person hit who gets charged with assault on an officer. 

The difference between a war and a conquest is that in a conquest, only one side does the dying. 

The assassination of an Iranian official signifies a desire for war. Nothing less. Beyond bullying, it amount to an act of terrorism. And as an act of terrorism, by US standards, it suggests that we as humans must now include the White House in the extant list of international terrorist organizations. 

The irony, of course, is that, despite Trump’s endless gaffing against Obama, this tactic of assassination by drone was a procedure experimented and perfected under the Obama administration. Obama would sign off on the list of individuals that the army proposed for assassination, and they would go ahead and do it. As a technological operation, it was clearly perfectible. 

What this means is that, given the surveillance technology being developed in the US, with its cameras and GPS’s, none of us can escape the possibility of being killed without warning if the government ever decides to target any of us. 

Trump is not defending us by his act of terrorism. He is making us all complicit in his war crime. If that doesn’t sit well with you, then you better get active to bring the White House into compliance with international law. Start with the Nuremberg Decisions (1945). 





LETTER FROM AUSTRALIA: Addressing the Cause of Fires

Dennis Fitzgerald
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 01:24:00 PM

Sometimes it's the small events that brings home an issue to you, as the saying you can't see the trees for the forest can be so true. At the usual Friday coffee catch up one of our group mentioned in passing that they had lost their holiday house in the fires that are attacking so much of Australia at the moment. 

When you are safe and the fires are nowhere near you, the losses of life and property shown on TV and discussed on the radio seem distant and unconnected to your comfortable life. There is of course a feeling of regret and sadness over the tragedies, but the realities are not so clear. 

Like most young people who grew up in a farming community I contributed to fire risk reduction exercises clearing breaks and reducing the fuel loads around houses by burning them off before they accumulated too much material. It was hot, uncomfortable and actually boring but it had to be done each year and it was just a part of the farm routine. It was also effective. 

Their beachside holiday house was empty as they wouldn't allow any of the family to go there while there was danger. The house and all of its contents including the new table and fridge were gone although insurance will help cover loses. It has been a part of their annual holidays from before their children and grandchildren were born although it's not likely to be replaced as the fires are likely to become more common due to climate changes. It might now become a camping ground for the younger family members. All that really has been lost are some memories. 

The country needs to look at why these fires are becoming bigger and more frequent and find a solution before more lives and property are lost although at present the Politicians are mostly offering words and handshakes, many of which are refused. 

One house out of hundreds lost and fortunately no lives is a small item in a massive issue, but we all need to address it.


THE PUBLIC EYE: 2000-2019: What Hath the Internet Wrought?

Bob Burnett
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:39:00 PM

While I usually write about politics, I'm also interested in technology. And, of course, technology is political. So here are a few observations about the social and political impact of the Internet in the first twenty years of the twenty-first century.

THE INTERNET turned fifty in October. The modern era of the Internet began in 1989 with the invention of the "world-wide web" and the first web browser. The past twenty years has seen rapid deployment of the Internet throughout the world -- although in some locations, such as central Africa, it's difficult to read your email without a satellite phone.

The vast expansion of the Internet has impacted all aspects of our lives, from our daily personal rituals to the conduct of our businesses. It's been facilitated by the develpment of high-speed telecommunication networks, LTE (long-term evolution) -- mostly 4G in the U.S. And by the advent of the PDA (personal data assistant) and e-commerce (electronic commerce). 

DOMESTIC INNOVATION: It's hard to believe, but twenty years ago, none of us sat in bed in the morning, checking our cellphones for email or text messages or Facebook posts. The fact we can do this is due to several developments. 

Ipod, Iphone, Ipad: The Ipod launched in 2001, followed by the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010. Of course, cellphones have been used for forty years. But the modern era, the "smart" phone, began with the delivery of the iPhone in 2007. This was the first phone that allowed you to make voice calls, send text messages, read your email, and surf the web. 

Multiple factors contributed to the ubiquity of the PDA. Communications companies built national LTE networks. And, beginning in 1992, there was a rapid deployment of wireless network technology -- WiFi. 

Of course, it's very convenient to be able to have a full range of communications on your phone. But there are social consequences. Email has been around since the advent of the Internet and came into widespread use in the 70s. That was when social observers first noted that people will say things in an email that they would not say in a text. 

There's no doubt that over the past 20 years there's been a "coarsening" of social dialogue. The Internet has promoted worldwide rapid communication, but it's also made it more likely that citizens will fire off thoughtless hostile comments. 

Social Networks: In 2004 Facebook was launched at Harvard; in 2006 it became generally available. (That same year, Twitter came out.) Social networks are now part of the American social landscape. (Millions of Americans wait for the next Trump tweet.) 

We can debate about whether this is good or bad. There's no doubt that the social networks have both contributed to the coarsening of social dialogue and increased the amount of "fake news." (Millions of people now get their news via Facebook.) 

Hacking: With the rapid expanse in the use of the Internet there's been a corresponding increase in computer crime of all sorts. Most of us have had experiences with various sorts of hackers: stolen (digital) credits cards, viruses or worms.... There's a lot of wealth on the Internet and its ubiquity has spurred a new breed of thieves. It's estimated that there is one hacker attack "every 39 seconds."(https://hostingtribunal.com/blog/hacking-statistics/#gref

BUSINESS INNOVATION: At the same time that the rapid deployment of the Internet has facilitated personal communication, new Internet tools have been a boon to business. 

E-Commerce: 1995 saw the formation of both Amazon and eBay. (Shortly thereafter Paypal was formed.) These companies made it possible to purchase a wide variety of new and used goods without having to travel to a "bricks-and-mortar" store. Soon the public's buying habits had dramatically shifted. 

Streaming: Although there were earlier music streaming services, the first significant service was iTunes in 2001. A comparable service for videos was provided by YouTube in 2005. Although Amazon had been selling books over the Internet since 1995, it was not until 2007 that it introduced the Kindle and the notion of the eBook -- streaming books, magazines, and other documents. 

In 1997 Netflix was formed to facilitate renting DVDs over the internet. In 2010 it refocussed and began delivering DVD content as streaming media. (In 2012 it also began delivering original content.) 

New forms of Service Delivery: Entrepreneurs noted that where you could deliver goods via the Internet you should also be able to deliver services. This led to the 2008 launch of Airbnb followed by ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, and freelance labor exchanges such as Taskrabbit. 

Cloud Computing: Although the notion of "cloud computing" -- the on-demand use of shared computers and data storage -- had been discussed since 1996, it first became widely available via a 2006 Amazon offering. What this means is that businesses, of various sizes, do not have to have their own dedicated computer facilities; they can purchase these resources from Amazon, or the like, as they need them. (Nor do these business have to have other specialized facilities such as accounting, human resources, and marketing; they can also be purchased from companies such as Salesforce.) 

Personalization: As e-commerce developed, massive amounts of consumer data were collected. This has permitted vendors, such as Amazon, to personalize offers to their customers; that led to messages such as, "based on your recent purchases, we recommend the following products..." Personalization expanded beyond e-commerce to news services that began delivering tailored messages and articles. 

Microtargeting: Since 2004, U.S. political parties have used a form of personalization, "micro targeting," to tailor political messages to specific audiences. (In 2016, this practice included information obtained via Facebook.) 

SUMMARY: By any measure, the Internet is a gigantic resource (https://www.livescience.com/54094-how-big-is-the-internet.html

"According to Cisco's Visual Networking Index initiative, the Internet is now in the "zettabyte era." A zettabyte equals 1 sextillion bytes, or 1,000 exabytes. By the end of 2016, global Internet traffic will reach 1.1 zettabytes per year, according to Cisco, and by 2019, global traffic is expected to hit 2 zettabytes per year.... According to Cisco's research, 8,000 petabytes per month of IP traffic was dedicated to video in 2015, compared with about 3,000 petabytes per month for Web, email and data transfer. (A petabyte is a million gigabytes or 2^50 bytes.)" 

There are more than 100,000 e-commerce sites with significant revenue. 

But big is not synonymous with good. The Internet is a gigantic resource that is available -- at least in rudimentary form -- all over the world. But it is not necessarily a trustworthy resource. 

in 2020, Internet users do not have to be "techies;" they do not have to a deep technical understanding of how the Internet works and where Internet data comes from. But these users do have to be skeptics because they are being bombarded with misleading information; and they do have to be wary because their privacy is under daily attack. Sadly many Internet users are not skeptical or wary and, therefore, they are subject to manipulation on a scale not seen before. 

It's not surprising that Trump's base -- with a disproportionate number of uneducated white men -- has proven easy to manipulate. Daily, they are bombarded with Trump tweets and false news from related Internet sources. The formation of the Trump cult is one of the unsavory side affects of the massive deployment of the internet. 

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

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Antipsychotics: A Chemical Straitjacket?

Jack Bragen
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 01:12:00 PM

Although I've taken antipsychotics for more than thirty years, and I swear by them, they are not an ideal treatment. This is because an ideal treatment for a psychotic disorder hasn't yet been discovered. We have medications, counseling, and, to augment these, training oneself to recognize delusional thoughts. None of these three alone are enough; we need all three.

Medication causes a lot of problems for the patient. Antipsychotics depress the central nervous system. They restrict the flow of information in the brain. Everything is affected by this. It is harder to brush your teeth. It is harder to get up out of your chair and do calisthenics. Any attempt at connecting with, and/or exerting the body is harder.

Antipsychotics make it harder to concentrate. They make it harder to read. They make it nearly impossible to work competitively at most jobs. They can make life a miserable experience.

Antipsychotics are like a chemical straitjacket.

How many readers have been in a straitjacket? I have a vague memory of being in one once. I've also been "four-pointed." This is where you are tied to a restraint table with a leather strap at each limb. When four-pointed, California state law mandates that staff must check on you every fifteen minutes to make sure you are still breathing.

(Anything that resembles restraint to me triggers a lot of anger. This is because mental health treatment has given me PTSD. If my path is blocked, especially when I have no exit route from a space, I become very upset. This has happened to me in my kitchen.)

The alternative? There is none. Trying to go without medication doesn't work. I tried that several times, and each time, I barely got through it alive and intact. 

Not only do people with schizophrenia do well because of medication, we may do well in spite of medication. Sometimes producing a higher level of effort can get us past some, not all, of the limitations of being medicated. Medication introduces misery. However, trying to do without it means that the disease goes unchecked, and progresses into successively worse stages. 

Before medications were discovered, people with psychosis apparently were locked up in "insane asylums." From my best understanding of them, which is very limited, the conditions were horrendous. Eventually, the disease progresses past the stage of a patient being delusional and of hallucinating, to what is termed "the burnout stage." This can mean catatonia. Or it can mean complete inability to grasp reality, complete inability to function, except for maybe lifting a spoon to one's mouth, talking in no better than gibberish, and becoming a broken woman or man. 

I have been very fortunate. I've had three episodes of medication noncompliance. The first try almost worked, but the disease caught up with me following a life-threatening situation at the job I'd had at the time. I'd worked and practiced mindfulness for a year, had some level of delusional thinking, and might've been able to overcome that. However, by the time of the life-threatening situation (an armed robbery at a supermarket in East Oakland where I mopped and polished the floor), I was already beginning to relapse. The harrowing experience (I was locked in the store with the two gunmen overnight) may have only hastened my relapse--which may have been inevitable. 

If you have taken antipsychotics for a year or more, my layman's guess is that your chances of going off medication successfully are next to nil. If you suffer from severe psychosis, you might have one chance to get off medication and this should be under psychiatric supervision. Unfortunately, the vast majority of psychiatrists are unwilling to try this. And to try such a thing on your own is a very bad idea. This is because a trial off medication, to have even a small chance of working, must be accompanied by supervision and support from professionals. 

Medication is not a bad thing. It is not good or bad. It is necessary. However, taking medication can feel like either a splint that you wear permanently, or like a chemical straitjacket. Antipsychotics restrict the mind and body. Is this a good thing? No, it is not. Yet, unchecked psychosis is the alternative, and this is a waste of a potentially good life. And that is something you should take seriously. 

Until medical science invents something better than the current treatments for schizophrenia and bipolar, we need to avail ourselves of the current treatment. Meanwhile, there is limited investment in brain research to discover a better way. 

ECLECTIC RANT: Trump versus Iran Over Assassination of General Soleimang

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:45:00 PM

The assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Suleimani, Iran’s top security and intelligence commander, must be considered violations of international and humanitarian law.

Assassinations are unlawful under an executive order signed by Ronald Reagan in 1981 (which updated those by Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter). Because the ban on assassinations is set forth in an executive order rather than an act of Congress, numerous methods circumventing the prohibition exist. 

Constitutionally, only Congress can declare war, so the president needs Congressional approval for sustained military conflict. That’s the gist of the War Powers Act of 1973, passed after the Vietnam war. But are we at war with Iran? It is really unclear what Congress can do at this point, and whether both the House and Senate would agree on any curb on the Executive. 

However, any government operating under the "rule of law” should not permit assassination of foreign officials under any circumstances. Assassination is a brutal, cowardly, and inhuman act. Looking back at Trump’s three years in office, it could be persuasive argued that Trump does not recognize the “rule of law.” 

“Immediate” and “imminent” are key words used by the Trump administration to justify the assassination of Gen. Soleimani, reminiscent of the controversial 2002 National Security Strategy or “the Bush doctrine,” which seeks to justify the unilateral strategy of "preemptive strikes" as a defense against an immediate or perceived future threat to the security of the U.S. Ergo, under the Bush doctrine, the U.S. had the right to secure itself against countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups; it was used to justify the 2001 war in Afghanistan. And remember, those fictional weapons of mass destruction used as a justification to invade Iraq?  

Consider that unlike the killing of stateless terrorists Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Gen. Soleimani was an accredited combatant general of a foreign state which the world – including the U.S. – recognizes. He traveled to Iraq on a diplomatic visa as a guest of the Iraqi government, a U.S. ally. Gen. Soleimani had blood on his hands but so does the U.S. 

It seems that an attack may be deemed “imminent” even if you know no details of it or when it might occur. The White House briefing on the reasons for the assassination was described by one Republican Senator Mike Lee (R-UT),“Drive-by notification or after-the-fact, lame briefings like the one we just received aren’t adequate.” 

The fact that Iran’s ballistic missiles did not result in any U.S. casualties and the U.S. did not respond to the missile attack, may indicate a window for negotiations. That is, if Trump is up to the task. 

Instead of fighting terrorism, we are fast becoming the terror. 

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar: Jan. 12-19

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:28:00 PM

Worth Noting and Showing Up:

The summary below is good reason not to have confidence in the City’s Community Calendar as a source as many of the meetings found by going through every board and commission were not listed in the Community Calendar.

The agenda for the January 21 City Council meeting follows the list of next week’s meetings and there are lots of important items that could use your comment either with an email, phone call or showing up on January 21 including 43 .a&b 5-year paving plan, 44. Outdoor Emergency Shelter, 46. Purchase order for trucks

Monday: The Agenda Committee planning for January 28 City Council meeting #8 prohibiting cell phones, text, email, etc during Council meetings under items to be reviewed deserves comment. Some of the Council members are constantly texting during meetings along with receiving “coaching” on how to question/comment, expect resistance of the prohibition from those who depend on these tactics the most. Also note Surveillance reports due and RV parking in City lots,

Tuesday: Council Worksession note the $ 95 million estimate for Veterans Building and Old City Hall 

Wednesday: Be sure to check Human Welfare Commission’s full interesting agenda. Animal Care Commission is addressing again the number of dogs per walker. This has been on the agenda off and on for 3 maybe 4 years. Sophie Hahn has recommended making the City Manager or designee the lead for the Library Director search. 

Thursday: The Youth Commission Gender Neutral Bathroom subcommittee is meeting. You can experience family gender neutral bathrooms at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland. 



February 1, Climate Disruption, Migration, and the Rise of Walls, 7-9 pm, 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, $5 admission – no one turned away for lack of funds 


February 20, Berkeley 2020 Census Town Hall with Supervisor Keith Carson, 5:30 – 7 pm, Ed Roberts Campus 

Sunday, January 12, 2019 

No City meetings or events found 

Monday, January 13, 2019 

Agenda and Rules Committee, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm, at 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Room, Planning for January 28 City Council meeting. Items to be reviewed for inclusion or referral: 8. Prohibiting Councilmembers from using of cell phones, email, text, instant messaging during public meetings on matters under consideration, 9. Updating Berkeley Telecom Ordinances, 10. Referral to Zero Waste to develop plan for compulsory composting and edible food recovery, 11. Potential Revisions to City Council Rules of Procedure and Order, CONSENT: 1. $75,000 Contract with Lake Research Partners for 2020 Registered Voter Survey, 3. Enter Participation Agreement with Pension Stabilization Trust for IRS Section 115 Trust Fund, 4. Add $50,000 (total $100,000) with Albany Community Access Resources and Services (Albany CARES) for Mental Health Services, 5. Apply for Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) for 1601 Oxford, 6. Sell 1631 Fifth St, 7. Cost Sharing Agreement with EBMUD not to exceed $855,264 (includes 20% contingency) for pipeline and paving Ellsworth and Stuart, 8. Allocation Discretionary Funds for Dorothy Day, 9. Letter supporting dedicated bus lane on Bay Bridge, 10. Letter Supporting revival of Berkeley Bus Rapid Transit, ACTION: 11. Cannabis Ordinance, 12. Cannabis Ordinance Revisions, 12. Surveillance: Technology Report, Acquisition Report, Use Policy for License Plate Readers, GPS Trackers, Body Worn Cameras, 13. goBerkeley Residential Shared Parking Pilot Project Update, 14. Housing - Amending Source of Income Ordinance to enforce anti-discrimination on basis of income (subsidies/vouchers)15. 2020 Regional Body Appointments, 16. Resolution ”New Border Vision” migrants are part of human family deserving dignity and respect, 17. Resolution for Safe RV Parking at Designated City-Owned Parking Lots during overnight non-business hours, INFORMATION REPORTS: 18. Public Health Division Recommendations on Cannabis, 19. Report on Regional Leadership and Goals. 


Youth Commission, 6:30 pm at 1730 Oregon St, Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Services Center, Agenda: 8. Environment Initiatives, 9. Climate Issues 


Tax the Rich Rally, with music by Occupella, 4 – 5 pm at the Top of Solano in front of the Closed Oaks Theater, Rain Cancels 

Tuesday, January 14, 2019 

January Democratic Debate, 5 – 8 pm, watch on CNN or livestream on Cnn.com 

Berkeley City Council, Tuesday, 1231 Addison Street, BUSD Board Room, Agenda: 

Closed Session, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Agenda: Public Employee Appointment Director of Health, Housing & Community Services 

WorkSession, 6:00 pm, Agenda: 1. Civic Center Vision and Implementation Plan, Basic Seismic Performance Objective (BPOE) Immediate Occupancy (IO) Old City Hall - $13,030,311 BPOE, $32,844,985 IO, Veteran’s Building - $17,707,538 BPOE, $61,886,725 IO, Civic Center Park) 2. goBerkeley Program Update 


Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board – Landlord 101 Workshop, 6 – 7:30 pm, at 2090 Kittredge, Berkeley Central Library, Please Register http://www.cityofberkeley.info/rent/ 

Commission on the Status of Women Equal Pay Subcommittee, 6 pm at 2000 University, Au Coquelet, Agenda: 4. Equal Pay Audit, 5. Salary Negotiation Workshop 


Wednesday, January 15, 2019 

Animal Care Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 1 Bolivar Drive, Berkeley Animal Shelter, Agenda: V. a. Recommendation from Parks and Waterfront Commission to increase number of permitted dogs from 4 to 6, b. Enforcement, signage and new Off Leash Area Boundary markers at Cesar Chavez Park, c. Update on establishing large dog exercise area at Aquatic Park, VI. a. Spring Loaded Traps 


Board of Library Trustees, 6:30 pm at 1901 Russell St, Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch Library, Agenda: II. B. Contract $105,000 with AMS.Net for network of firewall hardware and software for Jan 9 2020 – Jan 31, 2023, III. A. Appointment of Berkeley City Manager as Staff Lead for Board of Library Trustee’s 2020 Library Director Search. 


Commission on Aging, 1 – 3 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 6. Letter to Transportation Commission regarding concerns about Vision Zero Plan 


Commission on Labor, 7 – 9 pm at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Updates/possible action, 1. Local Construction Workforce Development, 2. Fair Workweek, 3. Paid Family Leave, 4. Equal Pay audit, 5. Race Wage Gap, 6. Homeless Youth Policy 


Human Welfare & Community Action Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 6. Housing issues impacting the poor, 7. Presentation on gentrification, 11, Disabled accessibility in high-density corridors, 13. Lack of phone charging stations, 14. Encampments, 15. Rent Control Recommendation, 16. Presentation on making Berkeley Sanctuary City for Black people 


Planning Commission, 7 – 10 pm at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 9. Public Hearing Proposed Zoning Ordinance related to SB 234 Family Daycare Homes, 10. Public Hearing Tentative Tract Map Application 1500 San Pablo, 11. BART Community Advisory Group, 13. Parking Maximums 


Thursday, January 16, 2019 

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, 7 – 11 pm, at 1231 Addison St, Agenda: 5. Presentation on 2020 Census, 6. 8 pm appeal Case No. RWN-1645 1326 Oxford, 7. 8:30 pm appeal Case No. IRD-145 1921 Delaware #5, 8. Oppose SB 50 Weiner (pro development with upzoning mandates https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-06/sb-50-changes-single-family-zoning-california


Community Health Commission Policy Tracking Subcommittee, 5 pm at at 2000 University, Au Coquelet, Agenda: 3. Assessment recent projects 


Design Review Committee – meeting cancelled 

Fair Campaign Practices Commission, 7 pm at 2180 Milvia, Cypress Room, Agenda: 6. Revising COLA amounts for candidate eligibility to receive public funds 


Open Government Commission, 8 pm at 2180 Milvia, Cypress Room, 


Youth Commission Gender Neutral Bathroom, 5:30 pm at 1730 Oregon St, Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Services Center 


Transportation Commission, 7 – 10 pm at 1326 Allston Way, Corp Yard, Building A Willow Room, Agenda: B. 1. Undergrounding Utilities Subcommittee, 


Friday, January 17, 2019 

January 17, Oakland Climate Strike and Resilient Village, 10 am – 1 pm, Hosted by Youth Vs. Apocalypse https://www.facebook.com/events/573190676790237/ 

California on Fire – Toyota protest rally, 3 – 5 pm, at 2400 Shattuck, Toyota Dealership, rain or shine, can’t come call Toyota USA CEO Jim Lentz @ 800-331-4331. 


Concert for Climate Series – 2nd Concert, 6 pm, at Classic Cars West Beer Garden, Oakland 


Saturday, January 18, 2019 

January 18, Women’s March 2020 Oakland, 10 am – 4 pm, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-oakland-2020-tickets-81218483671 

Sunday, January 19, 2019 

No events or meetings found 




City Council January 21 meeting available for comment, email council@cityofberkeley.info CONSENT: 1. Ratify license agreement for Jazz School to use 1947 Center for 3-month term ending March 31, 2020, 2. Ratify $150,000 contract with Capoeira, 6. $675,000 total 3 yr Contracts Copying Services, 7. $112,000 Contract with Venture Tactical for Firefighters Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), 8. $47,000 Contract with First Spear of California (FSOC) for Firefighters PPE, 9. $166,680 Contract with Michael Brady for Emergency Management Training for City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Department of Operations Center (DOC), 10. Designate line of succession in disaster, 11. Grant Application for funding from Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) for $56,472 Emergency Medical Training Equipment and $53,134 purchase Polaris Fire/Rescue Utility Vehicle, 12. Grant Application for funding from CA Dept of Forestry and Fire Protection for $800,484 for 3-year vegetation mitigation program in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) in Berkeley Fire Zones 2 and 3, 13. Add $25,000 (total $100,000) and extend current contract by 4 months with Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), 14. Add $24,000 (total $78,500) to contract with Resource Development Associates (RDA) to provide evaluation consulting services for the Homeless Outreach and Treatment Team (HOTT), 15. Release of Resale Restrictions on Redevelopment Homeowner Loans, 16. Grant Applications total $2.625 million for 2527 San Pablo (SAHA) and 2001 Ashby (RCD) and $4.047 million in state AHSC funds for project-related transportation and infrastructure improvements, 17. Ordinance for 2012 Berkeley Way Partial Assignment and Third Amendment to Disposition and Development Agreement, Ground Leases, 18. Removed, 19. Establish Mental Health Nurse Classification Series, 20. $285,609 payment to State of CA Self-Insurance Fund (Worker’s Comp) for Fiscal Year 2020, 21. Add $225,000 (total $621,000) to Contract with Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc (ESRI) for Enterprise Graphical Information Systems (GIS) for software license maintenance and support July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2023, 22. Add $73,658 (total $329,061) May 1, 2016 – June 30, 2021 with ThirdWave Corporation for Digital Strategic Plan Refresh and RapidWorkFlow® Process Modeling Certification Training, 23. Add $28,620 (total $128,620) to Contract with Presidio Network Solutions to develop a Cyber Resilience Plan (CRP), 24. Michael H. Weiss Memorial Bench at Cesar Chavez Park, 25. Add $60,000 (total $384,335) to Contract with Bellingham to replace damaged finger docks at Berkeley Marina, 26. Add $90,000 (total $190,000) to contract with Epic Recruiting for Police and professional staff recruiting, 27. Add $13,600,000 (total $26,661,930) withRecology, Inc Blossom Valley Organics – North facility for hauling and processing organic compostable green and food waste, terms thru Feb 28, 2025, 28. Mental Health Commission Appointments of Maria Moore, Edward Opton, Farzaneh Izadi, 29. Oppose new US base in Henoko-Oura Bay of Okinawa, 32. Short Term Referral to City Manager on Climate Emergency Response and Environmental Sustainability to 1. Improve and increase Community Engagement, 2. Identify Funding resources to implement 1 & 3. And 3. Require all City Council items and staff reports to include Climate Impacts in addition to Environmental Sustainability. 33. Budget Referral Equal Pay Audit, 35. Small Business Listening Sessions, 36. Code Enforcement on Receivership, 39. Reaffirm Roe v. Wade, 40. No War with Iran, Items 30, 31, 34, 38, allocation of Councilmember discretionary funds, ACTION: 41. Parking (RPP) 1500 block of Lincoln, 42. Extend ADU Urgency Ordinance by 10 months and 15 days to comply with new STATE Law pending further analysis and adoption of local regulations, 43. a.&b. Five year Paving Plan, 44. Establishing Outdoor Emergency Shelter, 45. Confirm Measure P Allocations FY 2020-2021, 46. Purchase Order for $492,284 plus $245,000 to add plug-in hybrid when it becomes available for 9 Ford Super Duty F-Series Pickup Trucks, 47. Require Kitchen Exhaust Hood Ventilation prior to execution of contract for sale or close of escrow, 48. City Council revisions of Rules and Procedure, 49. a.&b. purchase of, provision of sugar sweetened beverages with City funds or sale of sugar sweetened beverages on City property, INFORMATION REPORTS: 54. 2019 Business Survey Results, 55. Small Business Retention Programs, 56. Measure T1. 





Public Hearings Scheduled – Land Use Appeals 

0 Euclid – Berryman Reservoir TBD 

2422 Fifth St – mixed-use building 2-25-2020 

1581 LeRoy Ave – convert vacant elementary school property – LPC & ZAB 2-25-2020 

Remanded to ZAB or LPC With 90-Day Deadline 

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

Notice of Decision (NOD) With End of Appeal Period 

1731 Channing 1-22-2020 

1210 Cornell 1-22-2020 

1236 Dwight 1-27-2020 

168 Hill 1-27-2020 

1208 Rose 1-16-2020 

2323 Rose 1-23-2020 

2768 Shasta 1-27-2020 

1241 Sixth 1-22-2020 

1850 Solano 1-22-2020 

1632 Sterling 1-27-2020 

1414 Walnut – no date listed 





Jan 14 – Update goBerkeley (RPP), Civic Center Visioning, 

Feb 4 – Discussion of Community Poll (Ballot Measures), Adeline Corridor Plan 

March 17 – Undergrounding Task Force, CIP Update (PRW and Public Works), Measure T1 Update 

May 5 – Budget Update, Crime Report 

June 23 – Climate Action Plan/Resiliency Update, Digital Strategic Plan FUND$/Replacement Website Update 

July 21 and Sept 29 – no workshops scheduled “yet” 

Oct 20 – Update: Berkeley’s 2020 Vision, BMASP/Berkeley Pier-WETA Ferry 


Unscheduled Workshops/Presentations 

Cannabis Health Considerations 

Systems Realignment 

Vision 2050 



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