Extra

Bart to Cut Service in Half in Response to COVID-19 Ridership Drop

Kiley Russell (BCN)
Monday April 06, 2020 - 10:44:00 PM

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and the statewide stay-at-home order that severely restricts the amount of people going to work, BART announced Monday that it will make deep cuts to its service until further notice. -more-


Letter from Piedmont Gardens

Bonnie Hughes, lonely mother, grandmother and great-grandmother
Monday April 06, 2020 - 04:15:00 PM

As a resident of an old folks home we are just having so much fun. If you think that contemplating your navel is fun.

We cannot leave our rooms, our meals are brought to us, we have to wear masks just to go out in the halls—which of course we are not supposed to do. No more concerts, no more exercising, no more poetry gatherings. Just don’t get together with other people and stay six feet away from them if you should happen upon them.

But we do have our computers—imagine if this were even 5 years ago. Now we have orchestras streaming into our rooms with views of the musicians playing. From the Berkeley Book Fair yesterday poets read to us. And then there is Zoom where I will be watching my young cousin’s orchestra playing in Connecticut on the weekend.

It would be good to see my family in person. It is hard to hug on line—oops! not so close. -more-



Page One

Monday Status of Bay Area COVID-19

Eli Walsh, Bay City News Service
Monday April 06, 2020 - 01:43:00 PM

The latest developments around the region related to the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, as of Monday morning include: -more-



COVID-19 found in 27 at Orinda Nursing Home

Sam Richards,Bay City News Foundation
Friday April 03, 2020 - 05:14:00 PM

Twenty-four residents and three staff members at an Orinda skilled nursing facility have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, with two of the residents hospitalized, Contra Costa County health officials said Friday afternoon. -more-



Berkeley Health Alert: Cover Your Face When Outside Your Home

City of Berkeley
Friday April 03, 2020 - 04:40:00 PM

This is a message from the City of Berkeley.

The City of Berkeley’s Health Officer, along with health officials across the region and state, advises everyone to cover their nose and mouth with cloth when outside their homes for the protection of those around them.

Many people infected with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms. But they can still spread it others, even if they don’t know they’re sick. Covering your face with cloth reduces the chance that you will unknowingly infect someone else.

Face coverings should cover your nose and mouth, and can be improvised from bandanas, t-shirts, or other cloth around your home. Wash your face covering between uses. Preserve the supply of N-95 and other medical grade masks for health care workers and first responders.

Face coverings are not a substitute for staying home except for essential activities, keeping six feet away from others for the few tasks that require leaving your home, and washing your hands often with soap and water.

Visit www.cityofberkeley.info/covid19 for more information. -more-



Saturday Coronavirus Summary

Kathleen Kirkwood, Bay City News
Saturday April 04, 2020 - 11:29:00 PM

Twenty-four residents and three staff members at an Orinda skilled nursing facility have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, with two of the residents hospitalized, Contra Costa County health officials said Friday afternoon.

A University of California at Berkeley public health expert said that there are some hopeful signs in the fight to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic but it probably won't be completely controlled until a vaccine for it is developed.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday responded to calls from supervisors and housing activists that the city house all of its 8,000 homeless residents in hotel rooms, in the wake of a confirmed novel coronavirus case at a homeless shelter.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said that deputies will be enforcing the county's new shelter-in-place order and urged residents against congregating at local beaches and parks.

While the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to strangle the economy, the Port of Oakland reported Friday that shipping schedules have "stabilized" after a small reduction in voyages.

Alhambra High School in Martinez will no longer be considered as an "alternate care site" for treatment of some patients with the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Martinez schools superintendent said.

As of Saturday at 9:30 a.m., officials have confirmed the following number of cases in the greater Bay Area region: -more-



Public Comment

"First they came...": Raise the Alarm on Pandemic Policies Towards the Unhoused

Thomas Lord
Monday April 06, 2020 - 11:45:00 AM

Berkeley sometimes copy-cats San Francisco on policies related to homelessness. Of course, the local copies turn out to be something even worse than San Francisco's, given our relatively smaller resources. The Pathways project is an example. It is probably useful, therefore, to keep an eye on the atrocities taking place in San Francisco to anticipate what our own Mayor and City Council might do next.

The pandemic presents the state, at all levels, opportunity to adopt newly brutal and murderous policies expressing its tendency to declare this or that segment of society an enemy of society to be purged. Why the state has such tendencies is an important question but a large one that I won't take up here. We can simply observe this tendency, before and during the pandemic, in contemporary examples such as the mass internment of immigrants, the purposeful refusal to provide basic sanitation (or release) to prisoners, and the ongoing property confiscations and brutal evictions known as "sweeps". We see it also in the numerous expressions of white supremacy in the actions of the security state and the policies of the federal government. We see it in the City's persistent failure to pick up garbage from, or adequately maintain, sanitation facilities for encampments.

Does this tendency towards brutality merely resemble the early stages of Nazism in historic Germany? Or is a similar dynamic now actually unfolding? In either case, how do we stop it? -more-


Trump’s Love-Hate Relationships

Jagjit Singh
Friday April 03, 2020 - 04:24:00 PM

Using the same Joe Biden Ukraine playbook, President Trump is demanding Democratic governors pledge their unconditional loyalty in exchange for Federal help during the Coronavirus pandemic. -more-


Situating the FEMA Trailers

Thomas Lord, Berkeley District 2 Housing Advisory Commissioner (for identification purposes)
Friday April 03, 2020 - 04:13:00 PM

According to the Mayor, Berkeley will soon take possession of 10 FEMA residential trailers for use as isolation shelter for unhoused people in need of medical isolation. The City has not yet decided where to place them. I sent the following advice to City Council, Mayor, City Manager, and Councilmember Davila by name (my appointing member for the Housing Advisory Commission and Joint Subcommittee for the Implementation of State Housing Law -- also my excellent representative on City Council).

Regarding the placement of FEMA trailers: I suggest that you place the trailers on the Berkeley Way parking lot, across the street from the fire/EMT station.

While this would prevent progress on the Berkeley Way housing project, the scale and speed of economic and supply chain disruption now unfolding makes it very unlikely the construction project could proceed on-budget and even close to on-schedule. The project may very well already have become no longer viable. The certainty of a good place for the trailers should trump the uncertainty and dubiousness of the construction project.

In the event that BRIDGE is forced to back out, there is still a saving grace: it would free up both City of Berkeley funds and County A1 funds earmarked for the City of Berkeley. Those funds could then be applied to faster, cheaper, better ways to house people in the new reality we are entering. -more-


April Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Monday April 06, 2020 - 02:29:00 PM

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

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

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

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


Editorial

Envisioning a Socially Distanced Future

Becky O'Malley
Monday April 06, 2020 - 12:51:00 PM

Here we are again, week 3 or is it 5 or 35 or 53 of lockdown, and the president of the United States of America is still crazy as a hoot owl. A friend in The East called me in some alarm yesterday, because she’d just watched her first Trump daily press conference, and she noticed that his discourse wandered wildly all over the place to no particular point. Well, yes.

Myself, I’ve already seen too many of them, so I hadn’t watched this one. After she called I dutifully looked on YouTube for the recording, just to see how much had changed, and I realized that I couldn’t distinguish among the available presidential press conferences except by the color of Trump’s ugly crotch-skimming ties.

Here in limbo facts of all kinds have started to drift. Thanks to Zoom and its competitors I’ve been able to chat with seldom-seen friends and experience all kinds of interesting information dumps, but I can’t necessarily remember what day of the week it is.

And I’m not alone in that. The online New York Times informed us today that Charles Blow would be Twittering on Wednesday, April 7. Well, no. -more-


Columns

THE PUBLIC EYE: How Long Will We Shelter in Place?

Bob Burnett
Friday April 03, 2020 - 04:01:00 PM

It's disconcerting to be in a novel situation where we have no control over what's going to happen next. That's where we find ourselves in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. In California, we've been sheltering-in-place for two weeks and Governor Newsom indicates that it will continue "for as long as it takes." Here's my prediction of how this is going to play out. -more-


ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Relaxing the Mind

Jack Bragen
Friday April 03, 2020 - 04:10:00 PM

Many people exert their minds in order to get things accomplished--things they feel they must do. Some, after a day's work, will hit the alcohol to get a buzz and let off some steam. However, most mentally ill people should not drink any alcohol, because it has a bad, in fact, sometimes deadly interaction with psychiatric medication. And, relying on booze to relax is probably not the best way to go. -more-


SMITHEREENS: Reflection on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday April 03, 2020 - 04:25:00 PM

You Hear That!?

Sometime around 12:30 PM on March 25, the deafening roar of a jet engine pummeled neighborhoods in Berkeley and Albany, sending residents to their windows, causing joggers to stop in their trackshoes, and prompting cars to swing to the curbs as alarmed drivers jumped from their vehicles to search the sky for the source of the commotion. Most people were baffled to discover that—while the eerily prolonged noise was overwhelming and seemed to cover a wide area—there were no immediate signs of any aircraft overhead.

Twitter accounts captured the impact, with some reporting two jets spotted overhead.

Jason wrote: "What just happened in Berkeley? I heard a loud jet-engine-style sound that was very loud and sounded nearby."

Stacy asked: "Were those really fighter jets flying low in #Berkeley just now?"

Mephisto wrote: "Just got buzzed by tandem fighter jets in #berkeley. Probably F-16s but swear they looked like F-15s. Made the ground shake and my heart pound. I guess they're serious about the quarantine."

The Berkeley Police Department had no information on the identity of the aircraft.

-more-


Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, April 5-12

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Sunday April 05, 2020 - 09:32:00 AM

Worth Noting:

All City meetings and events are either by videoconference or teleconference.

Video Updates from the Mayor on COVID-19 will be on Mondays and Wednesdays starting April 6 and will be posted on the Mayor’s YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgXaP2idglejM_r7Iv7my6w

MondayAgenda Committee meets to plan April 21 City Council meeting

WednesdayPolice Review Commission meets to review the proposed charter amendment to establish a Police Board and Director of Police Accountability

Friday – Virtual Berkeley Town Hall look for an announcement from Mayor Arreguin with the time



The agenda for the April 14 City Council meeting is available for comment and follows the daily list of meetings.



Sunday, April 5, 2020

Bay Area Book Festival – Berkeley Relief Fund Special Event at 3 pm on YouTube with local authors and poets and local book stores https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4Oqcsl8ysEBhFR5S59w8Jw/videos

Monday, April 6, 2020

Agenda and Rules Committee Special Meeting, 2:30 pm

This meeting will be conducted exclusively through videoconference and teleconference

VIDEOCONFERENCE: https://zoom.us/j/501404950 If you do not wish for your name to appear on the screen, use the drop down menu and click on “rename” and rename yourself to be anonymous use the “raise your hand” and wait to be recognized to comment TELECONFERENCE: 1-669-900-9128 Meeting ID 501 404 950 to comment press *9 and wait to be recognized, you will hear your phone number when recognized

Agenda planning for April 21 City Council meeting: CONSENT: 1. Adopt Resolution Ratifying COVID-19 Local Emergency, 2. Bid Solicitations and RFP, 3. On-Call Landscape Architectural Services for Capital Improvement Projects, 4. FY 2021 Street Lighting Assessments, 5. Letter to Assemblymember Wicks supporting AB 1851eliminating parking requirements on faith-based properties for density bonus qualifying housing development projects, ACTION: 6. Public Hearing to grant Franchise Agreement Amendment for Electric Bike Share Program with Bay Area Motivate, LLC, a subsidiary of Lyft, 7. Adopt Resolution to upgrade residential and commercial customers to a 100% GHG-Free Electricity Plan (Brilliant 100) and to upgrade Municipal accounts to 100% Renewable (Renewable 100). (Agenda Committee packet 192 pages) -more-


Back Stories

Opinion

Editorials

Envisioning a Socially Distanced Future 04-06-2020

Public Comment

"First they came...": Raise the Alarm on Pandemic Policies Towards the Unhoused Thomas Lord 04-06-2020

Trump’s Love-Hate Relationships Jagjit Singh 04-03-2020

Situating the FEMA Trailers Thomas Lord, Berkeley District 2 Housing Advisory Commissioner (for identification purposes) 04-03-2020

April Pepper Spray Times By Grace Underpressure 04-06-2020

News

Bart to Cut Service in Half in Response to COVID-19 Ridership Drop Kiley Russell (BCN) 04-06-2020

Letter from Piedmont Gardens Bonnie Hughes, lonely mother, grandmother and great-grandmother 04-06-2020

Monday Status of Bay Area COVID-19 Eli Walsh, Bay City News Service 04-06-2020

COVID-19 found in 27 at Orinda Nursing Home Sam Richards,Bay City News Foundation 04-03-2020

Berkeley Health Alert: Cover Your Face When Outside Your Home City of Berkeley 04-03-2020

Saturday Coronavirus Summary Kathleen Kirkwood, Bay City News 04-04-2020

Columns

THE PUBLIC EYE: How Long Will We Shelter in Place? Bob Burnett 04-03-2020

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Relaxing the Mind Jack Bragen 04-03-2020

SMITHEREENS: Reflection on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 04-03-2020

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, April 5-12 Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 04-05-2020