Development of People's Park Site During Health Crisis is Not Appropriate

Lisa Houston
Thursday May 14, 2020 - 10:23:00 AM

As a native of Berkeley, I protest the idea of going forward with UC's planned development on the historic site of People's Park. In addition to many preservationist issues which have doubtless been well-voiced by others, the current global health crisis should precipitate at the very least a delay, to allow for more public comment and also for a thoughtful revisioning of the University's future. -more-

Public Comment

Hospitals: Moving Backwards, Medically Speaking

Harry Brill
Friday May 08, 2020 - 12:29:00 PM

On behalf of the state’s hospital patients, California limits the number of patients that a nurse can treat at one time. Generally speaking, one nurse can serve no more than five patients. In intensive care units the maximum for one nurse is two patients (sometimes three). The purpose is to insure that patients receive quality care.

But when these ratios are violated the mortality rate increases appreciably. For example, if the number of patients taken of by a nurse increases from four to six, the mortality rate would climb by 14 percent.

The law benefits nurses as well as patients. Nurses who are not overworked are less likely to burn out and experience physical and emotional exhaustion. And they are much less likely to be injured. In fact, since the nurse-patient legilation was passed nurse injuries have declined 30 percent. Of course, better working conditions improve the quality of care for patients.

Unfortunately, however, Governor Newsom has issued an executive order that is very bad news for the California public. The governor has surrendered to the hospital industry. For a long while the hospitals have been pressuring Newsom to relax standards. The coronavirus issue has given him the excuse to do so. -more-

Californians in Long-Term Care Remain at Risk Under Newsom

Suzanne Gordon
Friday May 08, 2020 - 01:08:00 PM

During the current pandemic, California Governor Gavin Newsom has been widely praised for issuing a shelter in place directive ahead of other states, helping to expand patient access to intensive care beds and ventilators, and securing more personal protective equipment (PPEs) for hospital workers.

Unfortunately, Newsom’s response to the crisis facing people in nursing homes and residential care/assisted living facilities has not been praise-worthy at all.

Residents of such long-term care facilities (LTCs) are highly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection due to their advanced age and accumulated chronic diseases or disabilities.By the Newsom Administration’s own count, residents and staff at 191 California nursing homes and 94 small residential homes now have the virus—with far more infections expected.

Yet, in response to this crisis, the state Department of Public Health has just provided regulatory relief to the long-term care industry. Instead of increasing public oversight, California has relaxed it, allowing private nursing homes to cut staffing. In addition, California is requiring unprepared facilities to admit some of the sickest coronavirus patients. This is a recipe for disaster. -more-

UC's People's Park megalith and expansion plan: A brighter alternative

Michael Katz
Friday May 08, 2020 - 12:47:00 PM

Friday May 15 (at 5 pm) is our deadline to submit written public comments to planning@berkeley.edu regarding UC Berkeley's proposed expansion projects. These proposals include 16- and 11-story towers on what's now People's Park, and a 2036-37 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) that would increase the campus' overall population by 44% over the previous 2020 LRDP's target.

These proposals were obviously developed before the pandemic. If you find them remarkable in today's horizons of sustained economic distress and physical distancing, now's the time to let UC Berkeley know.

I submitted a version of the comments below. I also submitted a version to UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, preceded by as polite a preface as I could dream up. I was surprised to get a cordial, personal reply a few hours later.

The world really has changed. I'm beginning to hope that through respectful dialogue, we might end up with a more-contained campus that's more realistic and sustainable, both for the university and for this city's residents. Here's my little contribution – please submit yours. -more-

The Silencing of Compassion

Steve Martinot
Friday May 08, 2020 - 01:02:00 PM

As if defending itself against “no one,” Berkeley City Council, on April 21, 2020, threw equity to the howling winds. Quoth the council: “We’re in the middle of a crisis right now, so we are very busy. This is not a good time to change policy.” Because the policy in question was already in effect, it sounded like double-talk. In its bumbling terms, it harked back to that old political draw-bridge between bureaucracy and feudalism. Something nefarious passed beneath that bridge in the night.

The issue in question, against which “change-in-policy” marked an unneeded defense, was a measure proposed by one councilmember desiring to clearly state the city’s moratorium on action against the homeless for the duration of the pandemic lockdown. It halted enforcement of the sidewalk ordinances regulating homeless presence. It halted encampment raids by police, and the ticketing or towing of those mobile means of self-sheltering used by RV dwellers. While faithfully reflecting city policy (repeated during the meeting by the City Manager herself), the aim of the measure was simply to make a spoken policy official. Yet when the Mayor asked for a second to the motion, no one spoke up. The measure died for lack of a second. The silence, as they say, was deafening. -more-


The Nursing Home Horror Story Never Vanishes

Becky O'Malley
Saturday May 02, 2020 - 02:15:00 PM

In one of my previous lives I attempted to teach investigative reporting to a class of aspiring journalists who hoped to make a living free-lancing for magazines. This was in the early ‘80s, just about the time most of the print publications which commissioned 5,00 word stories were sinking slowly into the sunset, so few of my students ever managed to support themselves by writing.

But I did have one good idea. I thought it would be possible to put out a journalism textbook of sure-fire evergreen story ideas that would never get stale . I had a whole list, most of which came and went, but one endured and sadly is still with us: shocking conditions at nursing homes.

Forty years later, it’s still possible, any time an editor needs a dramatic story, to find a hellhole of a nursing home within 5 blocks of your desktop computer. Now in the COVID-19 era nursing home exposes can be found in any news source any day of the week. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:California’s Recovery Problem

Bob Burnett
Friday May 08, 2020 - 12:33:00 PM

Most of California is still under strict "shelter-in-place" guidelines. It appears as though we've flattened the curve and, as a result, can ease up on the "lockdown" rules that have chafed most citizens. However, before we do this, we have a couple of big hurdles to overcome.

On April 29, Governor Newsom amplified his plan for reopening the golden state. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/29/us/california-reopen-coronavirus.html ) We're in phase one: "[G]overnment and private organizations are working to make it more consistently safe for essential workers, like grocery store employees or nurses. Those workers need more protective equipment and a more robust testing and tracing system." Phase two will involve opening lower-risk businesses, such as retail stores with curbside pickups, and "schools and child care facilities." (On May 4th Newsom, was more specific: "Under the new guidelines... bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting goods retailers and others can reopen for pickup as early as [May 8].") -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Those Who Instill Doubt

Jack Bragen
Friday May 08, 2020 - 01:27:00 PM

When we have enthusiastic ambitions for something, and we talk about it because we can't keep the enthusiasm contained, and then someone revels in shooting it down before it happens, we could be getting a message of realism or we could be prey to a mild form of abuse. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday May 08, 2020 - 12:38:00 PM

lHappy Mothers' Day

A short note to a quartet of imminent men who have a unique bond—they've all recently had children out of wedlock.

Best wishes to the moms and new fathers: British PM Boris Johnson, Jailed Wikileaks Whistleblower Julian Assange, Tech Mogul Elon Musk, and CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper. (And, yes, Musk and mama Grimes apparently did name their first-born "X Æ A-12.")

This Dog Needs a Buddy

That was the gist of a leaflet tacked to a North Berkeley phone-pole. "Puppy Playdate" it announced, followed by these details: "My puppy needs a companion. Hasn't had his shots. Looking for same." Sounds like a relationship that might require some social distancing. -more-


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, May 10-17

Kelly Hammargren
Saturday May 09, 2020 - 02:58:00 PM

Worth Noting:

There are five public meetings this coming week. The agendas are just too long to list everything, use the provided links in the by day posts to read the full agendas.

Monday: 2 pm is the Agenda and Rules Committee and the proposed agenda for May 26. The list of consent items contains the usual list of new contracts and amendments to existing contracts and several are worth attention. Item 16 adds $2.1 million total $6.1 million on recycling. Items 17, 18, and 19 relate to Parking for a total of $10,193,704. A mind-boggling amount to generate parking tickets even with some contracts over more than 1 year. The license plate reader contract which was controversial to begin with is amended to add $175,000 total $1,825,000. The General Fund Revenues lists the usual income from Parking Fines as around $6.2 million/year with an anticipated drop of about 40% for 2020.

Critical to tenant security in the proposed agenda is item 24 the Urgency Item to protect tenants from evictions during the pandemic and for 90 days after the pandemic emergency is declared over.

Tuesday: 6 pm is the City Council Regular Meeting. Item 24 is the proposed mid-year budget update. The vote on the budget will be in June.

The Saturday noon Town Halls with the Mayor continue. Since questions need to be submitted in advance by 9 am on Saturday using this form and there is no live interchange with the public watch anytime on the Mayor’s YouTube site or watch as it is live streamed on jessearreguin.com. Video Updates from the Mayor on COVID-19 are on Mondays and Wednesdays and are posted on the Mayor’s YouTube page, the same site as the posted Town Halls. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgXaP2idglejM_r7Iv7my6w

Sunday, May 10, 2020

No City meetings or events found

Monday, May 11, 2020

City Council Budget & Finance Committee, 10 am,

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85761580384

Teleconference: 669-900-9128, Meeting ID: 857 61580384

Agenda: 2. Auditor Recommendation to Determine Purpose, Time Frame, and Amount before Using Reserves, 3. Budget Timeline, 4. Center Street Parking Revenue Bonds, 5. Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Update, 6. Open West Campus Pool and MLK Jr. Pool (King Pool) for community shower program, 7. Housing Trust Fund Resources – Balance 3/3/2020 $6,704,128, 8. Homeless Services Report, 9. Review of Council’s Fiscal Policies. (Agenda packet 60 pages)


Agenda and Rules Committee, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89665366733

Teleconference: 669-900-9128 Meeting ID: 896 6536 6733, 6. Amend Contract add $603,874 and extend for 1 year total $960,874 with Berkeley Food & Housing for Berkeley Food and Housing Project, Berkeley Mental Health, Flexible Spending Programs and Russell Street Residence, 11. Contract $436,000 6/1/2020 – 6/30/2023 with Software AG, Inc for software, maintenance and professional services for Data Integration Middleware Platform webMethods, 12. Amend Contract add $95,451 total $399,411 9/14/2016-6/30/2022 with Geographic Technologies Group for Geographic Information system (GIS) Master Plan, 14. Lease 235 University with Hana Japan for 5 years, 16. Amend Contract add $2,100,000 total $6,100,000 with Community Conservation Centers, Inc for Processing and Marketing Services of Recyclable Materials, 17. Amend Contract add $111,150 total $1,335,257 with SKIDATA for Parking Access and Revenue Control System Maintenance Services and Warranties, 18. Amend Contract add $1,513,540 total $7,033,457 thru 6/30/2022 with IPS Group for Parking Meter Operations to provide parking meters, replacement parts and support services, 19. Amend Contract add $175,000 total $1,825,000 with Portable Computer Systems dba PCS Mobile for Automated License Plate Reader Equipment, ACTION: 20. Electric Bike Franchise Agreement, 21. Public Hearing #2 FY 2021 Proposed Budget Update, 22. Establish COVID-19 Business Damage Mitigation Fund (related to vandalism of business closed due to pandemic), 23. Support Global Ceasefire during COVID-19 Pandemic, 24. Urgency Ordinance – COVID-19 Emergency Response Ordinance to Amend BMC13.110Title 13 to enhance emergency Tenant protections consistent with recently adopted County Laws,

(Packet 207 pages)


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Berkeley City Council

Videoconference https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85809429003 or

Teleconference 669-900-9128 meeting ID 858 0942 9003,

Special Closed Session, 4 pm, Agenda: Conference with Labor Negotiators,

Regular Session, 6 pm, CONSENT: 2. A=FY 2020 Annual Appropriations $47,602,843 (gross) $42,647,016 (net), 3. Formal Bid and RFP various funds $729,806, 46. Dorothy Day House License Agreements – Veterans Memorial Building and Old City Hall, 7. Contract $187,401 with CycloMedia Technology, Inc. for Geographic Information System Infrastructure Asset Data Acquisition, 8. Contract $727,821 with Integration Partners for Avaya Upgrade, Support and Maintenance, July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2024, 10.Amend and extend contract to June 30, 2023 add $31,500 total $81,167 with 3T Equipment Co, Inc, for Maintenance of Pipeline Observation System Management (POSM) Software, 11. Contract $900,122 (includes 15% contingency $117,407) with ERA Construction, Inc. for Strawberry Creek Park Play Area and Restroom Renovation Project, 12. Contract $1,969,056 (includes 10% contingency $179,005) with Suarez and Munoz Construction, Inc. for San Pablo Park Playground and Tennis Court Renovation Project, 13. Contract $200,000 term 5 years with BMI Imaging for Data Conversion Services for Berkeley Police Dept. Systems, 14. Contract $4,598,942 (includes 15% contingency) with Bay Cities Paving & Grading, Inc. for Measure T1 Street Improvements & Green Infrastructure, 15. Amend and extend contract to Dec 31, 2022 add $200,000 total $1,200,000 with AECOM USA, Inc for On-Call Traffic Engineering Services for Design and Construction for Ashby-San Pablo Intersection Improvements Project, 16. Amend contract add $338,000 total $862,900 with SCS Engineers and SCS Field Services for Cesar Chavez (Park) Landfill Post-Closure Maintenance and Monitoring, ACTION: 23. Public Hearing Mental Health Clinic Charges, 24. a. FY 2021 Proposed Budget Update, b. FY 2020 Mid-year Budget Update, 25. Surveillance Technology and Acquisition Report and Surveillance Use Policy for Automatic License Plate Readers. (Follows proposed agenda review) Discussion and Direction Regarding Impact of COVID-19,


Wednesday, May 13 2020

Police Review Commission, 7 – 10 pm,

Videoconference https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84784915028 or

Teleconference 669-900-9128 meeting ID 847 8491 5028,

Agenda: 3. PRC Officer’s Report, Closed Session Consider whether to accept two late filed complaints 4. Complaint #2469, 5. Complaint #2470.


Thursday, May 14, 2020 and Friday, May 15, 2020

No City meetings or events found

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Expect a Town Hall announcement from the Mayor, no announcements yet,

Sunday, May 17, 2020

No City meetings or events found


Use Appeals

1533 Beverly (single family dwelling) - July 14, 2020

0 Euclid – Berryman Reservoir - June 9, 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

1411 Allston 5/19/2020

1711 Allston 5/28/2020

1042 Ashby 5/19/2020

2417 Browning 5/28/2020

2945 College 5/26/2020

933 Creston 5/26/2020

1500 Fifth Street 5/14/2020

2417 Grant 5/12/2020

2246 San Pablo 5/14/2020

1224 Sixth 5/14/2020

2252 Summer 5/21/2020

2539 Telegraph 5/21/2020

611 Vistamount 5/28/2020

2870 Webster 5/21/2020


LPC NOD 2043 Lincoln – 5/12/2020

LPC NOD 2133 University – 5/12/2020

LINK to Current Zoning Applications https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Planning_and_Development/Land_Use_Division/Current_Zoning_Applications.aspx



June 23 – Special Meeting on City Budget

July 21 – Crime Report, Climate Action Plan/Resiliency Update,

Sept 29 – Digital Strategic Plan/FUND$ Replacement Website Update, Zero Waste Priorities

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

Unscheduled Workshops/Presentations

Cannabis Health Considerations

Vision 2050

Ohlone History and Culture (special meeting)

Presentation from StopWaste on SB1383

Systems Realignment


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

If you wish to stop receiving the Weekly Summary of City Meetings please forward the weekly summary you received to kellyhammargren@gmail.com, -more-

Back Stories



The Nursing Home Horror Story Never Vanishes 05-02-2020

The Editor's Back Fence

UCB Disses Alumnae and Alumni Once More 05-03-2020

Public Comment

Hospitals: Moving Backwards, Medically Speaking Harry Brill 05-08-2020

Californians in Long-Term Care Remain at Risk Under Newsom Suzanne Gordon 05-08-2020

UC's People's Park megalith and expansion plan: A brighter alternative Michael Katz 05-08-2020

The Silencing of Compassion Steve Martinot 05-08-2020

Updated: People’s Park: Chancellor’s Mistakes Redux Christopher Adams 05-03-2020

Stable Genius Unravelling? Jagjit Singh 05-02-2020

North America Needs Immigrant Workers, And We Should Appreciate Them Jack Bragen 05-02-2020

Ending Violence Against Women Harry Brill 05-02-2020

May Pepper Spray Times By Grace Underpressure 05-02-2020


Development of People's Park Site During Health Crisis is Not Appropriate Lisa Houston 05-14-2020

City of Berkeley Offers Coronavirus Test to Symptomatic Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) 05-06-2020

Covid-19 Status on Wednesday Eli Walsh (BCN) 05-06-2020


THE PUBLIC EYE:California’s Recovery Problem Bob Burnett 05-08-2020

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Those Who Instill Doubt Jack Bragen 05-08-2020

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 05-08-2020

THE PUBLIC EYE: California’s Unemployment Problem Bob Burnett 05-02-2020

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Dehumanizing People with Mental Illness Jack Bragen 05-02-2020

ECLECTIC RANT: Stumbling Through the Pandemic
Without A National Leader
Ralph E. Stone 05-03-2020

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 05-02-2020

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, May 10-17 Kelly Hammargren 05-09-2020

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, May 3-10 Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 05-02-2020