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The Golden Age of May 1970

Phil Allen
Thursday May 14, 2020 - 11:07:00 AM

Another bright May, always a dependable blessing. Under the sun and with the time to do it, I am musing on bygone days..

It seems like only yesterday. In rainy autumn of ’64, I was a high-school sophomore who’d read the accounts of the burgeoning Free Speech Movement—before the name was coined—in the Chronicle I threw each dawn. Gratis the UC administration.

It seems like only yesterday, long before lower back pain made my first dozen steps out of bed taken carefully. In the smoky May of ’69 and now a sophomore in a nearby college I drove up to Berkeley to witness the wake of the establishment of People’s Park, and to march on Memorial Day with over 30, 000 others in protest of war in Southeast Asia and the death and blinding of two young observers by police on Telegraph Avenue. Gratis the UC planners.

2014 and 2019 saw the respective golden anniversaries of both seminal events, with activities well attended by veterans of both causes. They knew one another, some convening for signal observances all along, and many of the non-attending public had heard of a few by name. I declined to join the schmoozing, however, as I’d had no direct connection with either nor a desire to be an envious wallflower.

It seems like only yesterday, during the few weeks of another sunny May, in 1970, fifty years ago, that the last of Cal and Berkeley’s Sixties turmoils played out; by fall term, the cushion of summer months dissipated a lot of physicality in protest, as it became clear that Nixon & Co. were unmoved by demonstrations opposing the on-going Vietnam War, the invasion of Cambodia and the half-dozen student killings by armed authorities on two campuses, except as expletives. The drama I was now a part of as a transfer student did not include the several sieges of window smashing on campus by crowds of unknown origin. It did include campaign work for our earliest radicalized political candidates, and the election of Ron Dellums to Congress and Ken Meade to the Assembly. (Alas, George Brown lost his primary bid for the Senate to John Tunney, one of a string of dimwits California has sent to that august body.) But this time, UC came through. 

As one of over 500 ‘reconstituted’ colleges nationwide, Cal was deemed effectively closed by if you will common fiat, but unlike today’s necessary ‘We Mean It’ strictures, her borders were quite permeable. As an art major, I not only attended classes given by department greats Karl Kasten and David Simpson (and the irrepressible anthropologist Andre Simic), I participated in the most tangible result of that long-ago island month: the creation of a body of anti-war posters that stand alone in the history of the form and the annals of collegiate agitation. Daily Cal Arts Editor Sherrie Rabinowitz noted in the May 13 edition, “The posters pouring forth from the CED and the Art Department are marked by an immediacy and power unprecedented in the political movements of the Bay Area.” 

Setting up in Kroeber (partly) and Wurster (mostly) Halls just after the Kent State killings on May 4, with the tacit approval of the Art and CED faculties, an amorphous group of students and community artists drew on other recent poster influences— those of the Bay Area’s music and rock-ballroom scene, of the ’68 Paris demonstrations, and the overnight wall plasterings of Mao’s young Red Guards—to spontaneously silkscreen a colorful, hortatory and remarkably pacific collective body which disinvited violent calls but encouraged both committed activity and introspection. Children, mothers, rice-paddy farmers, and flowers were as prominent as flags, bombs and clenched fists. Many were run off on frail end-hole computer paper; mine were ‘screened on the back of Print Mint calendar boards. A few transcendent examples have tagged along the many subsequent eras and moments since. 

Collections of these gems reside in The Bancroft Library and at the Univ. of Washington. At the time, visiting rhetoric professor Thomas Benson collected what became Penn State’s trove; his appraisal is found in Posters For Peace.Visual Rhetoric and Civic Action (PSU Press; 2015). 

But darn, once again there is no anniversary gathering to attend! The artists whose work is now displayed in the Berkeley Art Museum as this year’s ‘Art for Human Rights’ series event, worked anonymously; I have never met up with a single one, nor have any announced themselves to the community lately. Furthermore, from 1970-2 many grads were denied the rite of cap-and-gown commencement due to possible insurrection in the Greek Theater and so moved into the larger world as if from an academic aerosol. The closest thing to a collective name or identity was the so-called registration number—4973—demanded by some authority to allow, well, posting. And, although it runs until July 20, the exhibit is understandably closed as well! 

Posters are run off today mostly as souvenir promotions and collectibles, as the need to publicize a ‘rally’ or a position has been inherited by non-paper means which have the added advantage of instant update. But have they met true extinction? Is there any message that has lent itself to posting, almost to the exclusion of other forms of announcement? One does come to mind. Created in Chicago but modified in Berkeley, it is displayed in windows all over town.  

All three golden observances have invited reflection on times when the world was simpler and easier to deal with, for we—planet, populations, country—were not remotely at the precipice at which we now stand. Beyond the hugs and memories, they have also obliged that ancient cry, ‘What next for us to do?..’ 



Building for the Future, Not for the Past

Becky O'Malley
Sunday May 17, 2020 - 02:07:00 PM

“Never allow a good crisis go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do the things you once thought were impossible.”

This quote, from Rahm Emanuel, the frequently disliked ex-mayor of Chicago, is often cited by paranoids left and right who see things happening that they worry about.

But as we know, even paranoids have enemies, so attention must be paid.

Let’s just take a look, in no particular order, at current attempts to push through causes beloved of a variety of interests while the noisy public shelters in place.

They have common threads. Many are related to the lately-challenged theory that making dense cities even denser by feverish construction is a social good. That’s so last year, if you’ve been watching the analyses of what’s gone wrong with the rapid spread of COVID-19.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at an op-ed in this week’s online (and Sunday’s print) New York Times, from a UC Berkeley B-School faculty administrator and urban planner: Now Is the Time to Embrace Density. It’s a thorough explication of the dogma of density as the cure for all social ills.

Then take a look at the comments from readers. The Times closed them out at 254—and my quick reading didn’t see more than 5 which supported the writer’s thesis. It turns out that when you’re confined to home having a modest backyard -- open space with a little sunlight--is more appealing than ever. And also, density helps disease to spread faster.

So what’s up in the beleaguered Bay, density-wise? 

First of all, thanks to several recent Planet op-eds we’ve learned that UCB Chancellor Carol Christ is doggedly trying to push forward a couple of major pet programs without much public scrutiny. One is a massive increase in the campus population., hoped to be 44% more by 2037.  

Another folly Dr. Christ is promoting is a 16-story “stack ‘n' pack” dormitory on People’s Park, in an era when parents might be reluctant for their students to be in crowded elevator-only high rises on the Hayward fault. And when remote learning is rapidly becoming the norm it seems quite unwise to rush into expansion of cramped quarters close to campus. 

Regardless of what you think of the present condition of People’s Park, jamming through the environmental review of the dormitory scheme without a real public hearing shows a reckless disregard for both alumni and Berkeley citizens which contravenes the university’s history.  

And then there’s the City of Berkeley, our local government, which might use the health crisis as an excuse for rushing through a pet project of the unlikely alliance of the Downtown Business Association and the bicycle lobby. 

The DBA has been trying to get the unsightly poor off the city streets for so long that those of us with still-functioning memories can’t help being suspicious of every proposal they make for Downtown.  

Like many people I enjoy sitting outside at restaurants. In Santa Cruz you can even bring your dog to dinner.  

But I remember so many attempts to evict the down-and-out from Berkeley sidewalks that I’m suspicious of councilmembers’ recent proposal to use our public spaces to facilitate social distancing of restaurant patrons. Though dining outdoors might be pleasant, our streets shouldn’t be privatized, but open to all. Minimally, seats for everyone who wants to sit down in public spaces but can’t pay for the privilege should be allowed and provided at public expense. 

Which brings me to the other popular proposal for privatization which is accelerating under quarantine. That would be the one for limiting use of parts of the public right of way to the able-bodied. Yes, you heard that right.  

Like many people who’ve been fortunate enough to be basically very healthy, I didn’t appreciate how much automobiles have increased the mobility of people with physical impairments of various kinds until I needed a walker for a couple of years after a fall. I’ve had several good friends who used spiffy motorized wheelchairs, but there’s a big gray area between those and riding bicycles for transportation.  

A weak knee here, a failing hip there, and before you know it it’s harder to get around than it used to be. Cars help to fill the gap, particularly since we’ve all been learning lately that public transit can be risky. 

Bicyle lanes are great for those who are able to use them, but that’s not everyone.  

( And they’re good for more than bikes. Last week, heading west on Adeline below College, I spotted a man riding a horse in the bike lane. He had a big hat, and I suspect he is a member of Oakland’s famous Black Cowboy Association, dedicated to recreating the real Old West, when it’s estimated that a third of all the cowboys were African Americans, despite Hollywood movies which portrayed them as all-White. So much more entertaining than bikers!) 

In the past few weeks the mayors of Oakland and Berkeley have devoted a fair percentage of their PR output to the concept of Slow Streets. They’re already in place in Oakland. The always entertaining NextDoor.com comments show passionate Oaklanders both pro and con. As a long-time resident of Ashby Avenue surrounded by barriered neighbors, I’m down with the concept of some suffering so others can benefit, but it’s come as a shock to some Oakland residents that they’re sheltering in place in an Urban Sacrifice Zone to enable others in the next block to enjoy Slow Streets.  

As far as I can ascertain while staying at home, Berkeley hasn’t got the Slow Streets thing going yet. In normal times (which may never come again) there would be a Plan for that, but probably there’s not one yet. Of course, People’s Park, where all the houses were removed decades ago, functions as a poorly managed Slow Street, but UCB will do away with that if they have their way. 

The city of Berkeley has, however, now decided to open up all construction of all kinds, accompanied by hopes and prayers that social distancing on job sites will be observed. Good luck with that one. 

Austin, Texas, another booming college town like Berkeley, declared construction workers to be essential early on in the pandemic, with reportedly disastrous results. Some construction sites in Austin have become new and concerning clusters of positive coronavirus test results for both workers and their family members. Like meat-packing employees, construction workers don’t seem able to achieve effective social distancing, according to numerous press reports.  

Neverthess, in Berkeley, after pressure from the building trades and permission from the governor’s office, all kinds of construction are now allowed. Previously, only a small number of key projects like those with 10% affordable housing were okay. 

But the pressure from the powerful building industry and its minions and groupies continues. 

From active local architect David Trachtenberg, in a letter addressed to Berkeley city councilmembers and everyone who’s anyone in the COB Planning Department and Planning Commission: 

“Prior to the shelter-in-place order, our office had a half dozen projects that had been scheduled for DRC and ZAB hearings that were subsequently canceled. So far only one of our projects has been re-calendared for a DRC hearing on May 21, while others are being pushed out to June or July because we're told the hearing calendars may already be full.  

“Given the time-critical nature of these projects, we implore the City to find a way to process the backlog. If it requires a couple of marathon hearings so that we can get through the backlog then we should do so. Too much is at stake to continue to sit on our hands. Even prior to the current pandemic the wait times for hearings were untenable in Berkeley and now they've become positively devastating.  


“Projects are rapidly falling apart due to these delays. People are losing their jobs. Desperately needed housing is not getting built. We need to get focused.  

‘At this moment, business, as usual, isn't good enough. So that these vital projects don't die on the vine, and for the sake of the many workers in design, construction, and development, I urge you to accelerate these time-critical hearings.” 

At least Mr. Trachtenberg is sincere and civil. The same can’t be said for the infamous Sonja Trauss, who has participated in a string of militant organizations purporting to represent the entitled 30-somethings who want the Bay Area’s already dense cities to build the kind of housing to which they feel they’re, well, entitled. 

Trauss’s various Yes In My Back Yard (originally BARF) front groups continue to invoke the very real need for affordable housing to promote the kind of for-profit market rate development that is preferred by the kind of developers who fund them.  

She’s lately sent a threatening letter to some of the same functionaries Tractenberg addressed plus many others, over her latest title, “President, YIMBY Law”. 

Although the State Bar doesn’t think she’s a lawyer, she says on behalf of one of her organizations that she reserves the right to sue the city if she doesn’t see more action, COVID be damned. 

From her letter: 

“The City has made ad infinitum declarations that the lack of affordable housing is a crisis on the one hand, and now uses the COVID-19 response to slow-walk the very housing projects it needs to address that crisis on the other. The Governor’s Executive Order clearly allows for these meetings to be held remotely such that the City could manage both of these crises at the same time. Instead, the City has made a decision that fails to meet the dire housing needs of its residents, as well as its obligations under state law.  

“Yes In My Back Yard urges the City of Berkeley to reconsider its decision to suspend all meetings held by the Department of Planning and Development and reserves its right to institute legal proceedings should the City continue to violate state law. “ 

Trauss’s reasoning is similar to UCB’S: let’s get it all approved right now while the irritating members of the public are locked down so they can’t bother us. What this will mean is more big box luxury apartments getting top of the market rent with no on site affordable units. 

But the world as we knew it will not be the same after COVID-19. Rushing to judgment under the old rules in this new crisis will make it possible to make more mistakes faster. And that’s not a good thing. 

When I had small children pressing me to deliver various benefits that they just couldn't live without, I had a stock reply: "if you need an answer now, it's no." That would satisfy any of the purported legal claims Trauss et al. might make. They should be careful what they wish for.  










Public Comment

Secrecy-Shrouded Housing Mega-Bill Unreported by California Media Could Hurt Not Help

Livable California Board of Directors
Sunday May 17, 2020 - 11:20:00 PM

In a few days, the BIG ONE is coming to California, not a quake but a secrecy-shrouded housing mega-bill, unreported by the media and written in secrecy by Sacramento legislators who relied on guesswork and non-transparency.

We do know this, about the as-yet unnamed mega-bill: When COVID-19 shuttered the state Capitol on March 17, a closed-door state Senate task force had been working on the mega-bill for four-and-a-half months.

The task force is acting despite its ignorance of changing facts on the ground that will profoundly alter some things in California:

  • What the new $54 billion state deficit will do to the July 1 budget: unknown.
  • How many Californians will join the seldom-reported, decade-long population outflow from cities to suburbs and exurbs: unknown.
  • How housing demand will change due to the pandemic/post-pandemic: unknown.
  • How many of California’s 80,000+ now-vacant Airbnbs, largely commercially owned, will go up for sale or rent, a potentially vast bump in housing supply: unknown.
  • How many of California’s millions of new “remote workers” will telecommute permanently from suburban and ex-urban homes: unknown.
  • How many new employees won’t move to California, instead telecommuting from present homes: unknown.
The Senate housing task force is living in the past. We hear their bill has “something for everyone” — a bad omen. Good things like housing funds for the homeless will be married to ugly plans to override city powers and overrun communities with luxury apartments.

Below are the 11 Worst Bills we fear may make an appearance in the BIG ONE. 

  1. Worse than SB 50, SB 902 by divisive state Sen. Scott Wiener, again seeks to kill single-family homes. Wiener would replace them with 8-unit projects in big cities, six-plexes in medium cities and four-plexes in small cities. The L.A. Times misreported Wiener’s SB 902 as replacing single-family zoning with four-plexes. No, it’s far more extreme than that.
  1. California YIMBY Dream, AB 725 by Wiener’s ally Buffy Wicks. Her Wiener-like plan, written by California YIMBY, would jam apartment buildings into single-family neighborhoods and encourage developers to overrun fully settled areas made up of small apartments, duplexes or single-family homes.
  1. Luxury Walk-in Closets, AB 3173 by Richard Bloom, a close Wiener ally, would enact unheard-of density. Units of just 80-square-feet, renting for about $1,700 would be specifically forced upon L.A., San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Long Beach, Sacramento and Oakland.
  1. Apartments Overtake Single-Family Streets, AB 3040 by David Chiu, a twin to Scott Wiener’s SB 50 and SB 902, would force cities to rezone single-family areas for 8-unit luxury apartment developments. Projects would require no city approval.
  1. Punish the Middle Class, AB 1279 by Richard Bloom, would identify and then punish middle-class neighborhoods by forcing up to 120 housing units per acre in fully settled single-family and low-density communities statewide.
  1. Luxury Dorms Forced on Cities, AB 2470 by Sydney Kamlager, a bizarre plan to allow developers to divide existing apartment buildings into micro-units with no limit on how small they go, aimed at luxury dwellers. Like AB 3173 by Richard Bloom, this isn’t housing, it’s corporate stay-over space.
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  1. Kill Public Hearings, AB 1934 by Randy Voepel, for projects near a transit corridor that offer some units to moderate-income people, this bill kills public input, waives the California Environmental Quality Act and approves the project in 30 days if a city doesn’t challenge it.
  1. Litigation Gift to Developers, SB 592 by Scott Wiener, encourages developers to sue cities, by arguing that developers’ profits will be hurt if a city rejects a luxury apartment as too big for the building site. SB 592 requires NO affordable units.
  1. Strip City Rules for Small Lot Subdivisions, AB 3155 by Robert Rivas, eliminates city rules for setbacks, parking and other standards for small lot subdivisions, and waives public hearings for subdivision projects of 10 units or less.
  1. Cities Must Approve Granny Flats, SB 773 by Nancy Skinner, a close Wiener ally, automatically approves any granny flat (ADU) and any junior granny flat, that’s added to any single-family home or apartment building, if the city fails to challenge the project within 60 days.
  1. Cities Will Be Reported to the Attorney General, AB 953 by Phil Ting and Richard Bloom, is a nasty hit on cities who fail to act on a proposed granny flat (known as an ADU) within 60 days. Cities must follow invasive state “development standards,” and if a city’s ADU law fails to comply with AB 953, the city will be reported to the Attorney General for potential legal action.

Interested in challenging bad bills in Sacramento? Go to livablecalifornia.org, click Act Now. 


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Letter from Inside Corporate Medicine

Sunday May 17, 2020 - 08:15:00 PM

Editor's Note: This letter was written by a young physician who works doing primary care with a large hospital corporation. The Planet has agreed to anonymous publication because of the potential for corporate retaliation.

I am up early to try to squeeze in some work before the rest of the household awakens. But I'm taking a break to write this email, because I AM SO ANGRY!

We learned yesterday that all physician salaries are going to be cut "about 10-20%" in the 3rd quarter because [the corporation] has lost 50% of its revenue in the past 3 months because of COVID-19. This will effect everyone, primary care and specialists alike.

Apparently, we "are all in this together", as the staff have already been furloughed, and the executives are all taking a "5-50% pay cut" as well.

I walked into the break room yesterday and one of the phone ladies in our office was crying. She said she'd just learned that furloughs were extending through July, and she's worried because she supports herself (a widow), her mother who has dementia, and her daughter who is addicted to drugs. She's the sole breadwinner for all, and she's worried that she won't be able to provide for them. 

Meanwhile,are the execs who I'm pretty sure make at LEAST 400K a year, "taking one for the team"? No, no they are not.! They're just not going to have as good of a year as usual. Maybe they'll put off buying that vacation home, sell some investments... If they really wanted to care for the poor and vulnerable and ease their way, as is stated in our MISSION, then they would all reduce their salaries to, oh, I don't know, maybe the level of us lowly primary care physicians, like maybe 180K, and sink that extra money into a fund to help our phone ladies and medical assistants and cleaning people FEED THEIR FAMILIES.

If they had asked us doctors to do that--take a pay cut that would directly go to help our staff get paid, I would do that without complaint. It won't be easy, but at least I wouldn't be LIVID about it. But the fact that we're all being asked to take this sacrifice for the health of the corporation we work for is something I cannot bear.

My main professional goal is to build a patient panel that I care for throughout the rest of my lifetime. I hope to watch the babies I see for well child checks now go off to college. I hope to care for my elderly patients throughout the rest of their lives. So it really pains me to say this, but I might want to look for a different job. I came to this organization because I saw it as an opportunity to practice medicine for the underserved equitably. I liked the idea that I would be able to treat Medicaid patients and privately insured patients, and have an institution behind me so that I could provide all these patients with the same level of service. But now that this pandemic has exposed [the employer] as the greedy corporation that is is, albeit cloaked in a cassock of "compassion", it may be time for me to look at county clinic jobs, or sell out completely and work for one of the concierge medicine groups that is always sending out recruiting emails.

Ughhhg. I've got to finish some charts. I'm facing hours of work this weekend, again, because MY patient volume isn't down. Sigh. That's the other really aggravating thing: Physician salaries are going down across the board. My boss says they're going to do it fairly, whatever that means, but the real reason we've lost revenue as an organization is that the specialists, the Derms doing Moh's Surgeries, and the orthopods doing elective knee replacements and such, have been twiddling their thumbs for weeks because of the orders to suspend elective procedures. WELL I'M NOT TWIDDLING MY THUMBS! It's not my fault our bottom line has plummeted. It's the fault of this fee-for-service physician compensation system we're all caught up in. It needs to go down the tubes.

Preparation for a Potential Wildfire Disaster: Open Letter to the Berkeley City Council and Mayor

Jurgen Aust, AICP
Sunday May 17, 2020 - 08:12:00 PM

This spring has been a most unusual one for all of us. The coronavirus has taken over all of our attention and energy and it seems that it will continue on into the summer. There is another potential disaster waiting to happen to Berkeley and the East Bay hills. All indicators point to a continued major drought, which means that an increasing amount of dried-out vegetative material could result in an immense fire load. 

If the city is to avoid this potential disaster, it must act quickly. There may be a silver lining to all of this. Unemployment has reached an all-time high and people are looking for work. The City can use those people to work on reducing the fire load in Berkeley's fire zones 

First, council should pass an ordinance that every property owner in the fire zones must clear a fire defensible space between their property and the one next to them. Include in the ordinance a provision that requires the property owner to pay for the work if it is not done. 

Second the Council should hire a group of the unemployed to inspect all properties to be sure the defensible space is cleared. 

Third the Council would hire the unemployed and homeless to do the work necessary to remove the fire danger from our community. 

The following are the more detailed steps in the work that needs to be done: 

1. Remove underbrush from both private and public properties, including right-of-ways, in all established fire zone areas. (Use emergency authorizations for appropriate enforcement mechanisms, if needed.)
Employ all able bodied people, including the homeless, who are looking for work. 

2. Check all roads in the fire zones. Make improvements where necessary to ensure a minimum clearance of 18' ( 11' for fire truck/ emergency vehicles + 7' for distressed , abandoned, and/or illegally parked vehicles) and 26' where oncoming traffic must be expected, on all roads within and leading to the above specified areas. Make sure there a ways to turn around on all dead-end streets in those areas. 

Check all above regularly. 

3. Set up a staffing plan for the Fire Department and support staff, including paramedics, police and other emergency personnel. There are many that do not live in Berkeley or close-by areas. It would be unrealistic to expect/ rely on staff coming from long distances to Berkeley. Start training additional support staff and volunteers now. 

4. City needs to request from PG&E up-to-date power and gas line reports (the latter to prevent/minimize potential earthquake damage) 

5. Establish realistic evacuation corridors / highways, map them, and distribute the maps. Identify collection areas and shelters, and stock them with emergency supplies. 

The City is projecting a 25M budget short fall because of the coronavirus, so finding the funds to do the work is a challenge. The first place to start is to eliminate all the city commissions that are not mandated by voter passed initiatives. The savings from this could go a long way in paying for the work that needs to be done. Other sources of funding, such as dedicated bond financing, may need to be found as well. 

If these steps are not taken and a wildfire destroys a large portion of the Berkeley community in the fire zones and/or areas beyond, the costs to the City will be even higher than that of the coronavirus. 



Rumford, Reagan’s Ascent, and the Marin Legacy

Eva Chrysanthe
Friday May 15, 2020 - 10:48:00 PM

In 1980, the evening news televised Ronald Reagan championing “states’ rights” at a campaign stop in Mississippi where James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner had been lynched. 

Three days earlier, the former California governor had been endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. 

My mother, a childhood survivor of World War II, abruptly turned from the television and said to me: “The day they shot Martin Luther King Jr., I was eight months pregnant with you. I was coming home from the store, and I could hear the radio from the next-door apartment. They said King had been shot.” 

I can’t forget that image of my mother, heavy with child and suddenly with grief. She had escaped war-torn China as a child, but despite her hard-won success, she found herself in a war here, too. In this war, MLK, the great man of peace, was shot dead in Memphis. 

They say that pregnancy can induce despair, but they rarely mention external political factors. Coincidentally, my mom’s first pregnancy took place during a nearly forgotten act of racial animosity: the campaign for California’s Proposition 14 in 1964, which MLK had fought against, and which my family also opposed. 

Proposition 14 was the initiative that Reagan first rode to political power, and which instilled dread in the hearts of black, Asian and Latino communities. It aimed to further entrench the same housing discrimination that had, through racially restrictive housing covenants, barred my grandfather (and millions of others non-caucasians) from purchasing homes. 

Sadly, the fact that it passed in Marin County will probably only be surprising to its white residents. As Marin’s tiny minority population knows, “liberal” Marin has been ranked by at least one study as the most racially unequal county in the state of California, and racial housing discrimination remains the foundation of that inequality, affecting all other outcomes. 

Proposition 14 was prompted by a modest reform act penned by Assemblyman William Byron Rumford. The Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963 bolstered enforcement of existing laws against racially restrictive housing covenants and redlining. It was a historic piece of legislation, but mild enough to be supported by a Republican state assemblyman from Marin. 

Predictably, the California Real Estate Association’s outraged response to Rumford Act’s moderation was to sponsor Proposition 14, which asserted white Californians should have the right to unconstitutionally deny home sales and rentals to non-whites. 

If you were black, Latino or Asian, it was impossible not to recognize yet another assault against your tenuous civil rights. But it was a kingmaker for California Republicans: Reagan rode Proposition 14’s naked racism to a 1966 gubernatorial victory. 

Seventeen months after Reagan won, and seven days after MLK was assassinated, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act of 1968, a sweeping federal act vindicating Rumford’s California legislation. 

Today, the FHA remains more a legislative concept than enforced law. Here in Marin, the county’s decades-long refusal to adhere to even basic provisions of the FHA warranted special attention from HUD in the first year of the Obama administration. Even after that, Marin County still denies the legacy of its refusal to enforce fair housing law to substantial effect, most notably its decades-long failure to enforce the 1948 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Shelley v. Kramer. 

My mother and her sisters, who’d survived the brutal Japanese occupation of China, strongly supported reparations for Japanese Americans who were unconstitutionally and cruelly interned during World War II. Those reparations, while modest, finally arrived in 1990. But it is unethical for us to honor compensation for only one group, while ignoring our county’s far longer unconstitutional treatment of Latino and black communities. 

The legacy of Marin’s non-compliance with fair housing laws has caused particularly egregious damage to black residents since World War II. But that legacy now presents an ideal model for reparations: Marin County should deed the unincorporated parcel of Marin City back to the descendants of the shipyard workers unconstitutionally denied the right to buy property in the county after Shelley v. Kramer. 

It is the most practical method to compensate Marin’s historic black families for the multi-generational loss of capital, political power and lives caused by the denial of home ownership. 

Eva Chrysanthe, an East Bay resident, is a graphic novelist who grew up in Marin. This article first appeared in the Marin Independent Journal. 

Lock Him Up

Jagjit Singh
Friday May 15, 2020 - 03:56:00 PM

I am appalled and profoundly saddened by the blatant action of the Justice Department to undermine its own prosecutors in its case against Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty twice to lying to F.B.I. investigators and Vice President, Mike Pence attempting to collude with the Russians.

This is a political move, orchestrated by Attorney General Bill Barr to help his boss, Donald Trump to divert public attention away from this administration’s inadequate response to the virus and to rile up the president’s political base. I hope the presiding judge will ignore the AJ’s recommendation to dismiss the charges, as the judge has already ruled that those charges are warranted. But it is still likely that the president will pardon Mr. Flynn, citing his decision the Justice Department’s conclusion that there is no evidence of Flynn’s guilt. Sadly, the Justice Department is moving in lockstep with a highly dysfunctional president and Republican Party who have lost their moral bearings. 

Finally, this is the same Flynn who riled up Trump’s base with the chant, “lock her (Hilary Clinton) up!” Let us hope that justice may finally be served by locking up Flynn for a very long time.

Coming Right Up: Open Air Dining for the Wealthy

Carol Denney
Friday May 15, 2020 - 03:40:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council can't quite turn the crank on housing poor people still living in tents during the coronavirus pandemic. But they're hot on the case of solving the difficulties of wealthy diners tired of their own kitchens and cooking.

"Berkeley Safe Open Air Dining" proposed for the June 2, 2020 Action Calendar would "identify locations throughout Berkeley, including but not limited to wide sidewalks, street medians, building curtilages, surface lots, public parking areas, and parks, for the placement of tables and chairs to be used for open air dining..." This will all be arranged on behalf of the same publicly funded lobbying groups that bent themselves into pretzels and violated campaign finance laws to try to criminalize sitting on a chair or a milk carton if you're poor. 

And that's not all. The City Manager is supposed to "consider pursuing the procurement of such tables and chairs via public grants and/or philanthropic sources." Reach deep into your pockets, boys and girls, and help wealthy diners sit at brand-new, publicly-funded tables and chairs - because we 're all in this together.  

Unless they decide to discriminate against those who can't pay, surely all of us are equally entitled to sit on public chairs in these special public places whether or not we're interested in a menu. Others may simply be confused as to why these tables and chairs wouldn't have to be governed by the special hours and time and space limitations which the Berkeley City Council passed to make life tough for poor people with more than three square feet of belongings. 

Just remember what it's all really for. There's a certain class of diners in Berkeley that just doesn't get enough of a sense of entitlement from take-out. They need to watch cooks, servers, and wait staff put their lives on the line in close, hot kitchens not designed for use during a pandemic to really feel special. And no worries; they have lots of practice doing it in full view of people living in tents. 

Action Calendar – Policy Committee Track Items

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 DRAFT AGENDA Page 9 



Berkeley Safe Open Air Dining From: Councilmember Hahn (Author), Mayor Arreguin (Co-Sponsor) Recommendation: 1. Direct the City Manager to explore and, if and when safe and feasible, identify locations throughout Berkeley, including but not limited to wide sidewalks, street medians, building curtilages, surface lots, public parking areas, and parks, for the placement of tables and chairs to be used for open air dining to support restaurants, cafes, food shops, and other small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. The City Manager is recommended to consider pursuing the procurement of such tables and chairs via public grants and/or philanthropic sources. The City Manager is further recommended to partner with the Berkeley Chamber, Downtown Berkeley Association, and local business improvement districts (BIDs) to develop protocols related to sanitation, upkeep, and storage. 2. Direct the City Manager to return to Council with recommendations for an ordinance that anticipates future revisions of Berkeley health guidelines to provide local businesses, particularly restaurants, cafes, and food shops, to access public space and private adjacent property for open air operations, with the following considerations: a. Allow businesses and BIDs to apply for temporary use of streets, surface lots, public parking spaces, public recreation space, and adjacent parcels for outdoor dining that will enable compliance with public health dictates for physical separation. i. To eliminate financial burden and fees on small businesses, consider: 1. use of federal reimbursement or funding to cover application costs, or 2. “by right” permit in designated geographic locations that will not require additional processing. ii. Waive any sidewalk cafe permits/fees to allow restaurants and other appropriate businesses to operate outside seating and service for customers who comply with Berkeley health guidelines. iii. Work with the Berkeley Chamber, Downtown Berkeley Association, and Berkeley’s BIDs to identify ideal geographic locations for use of streets, surface lots, public parking spaces, public recreation space, and adjacent parcels for outdoor food business activities, including outdoor restaurants and cafes. Financial Implications: See report Contact: Sophie Hahn, Councilmember, District 5, (510) 981-7150 


THE PUBLIC EYE:The U.S. Reaches the Tipping Point

Bob Burnett
Friday May 15, 2020 - 04:27:00 PM

The United States has reached a critical juncture in the 2020 battle against COVID-19, a "tipping point." This is epitomized by a small but hugely symbolic action: Donald Trump's refusal to wear a protective mask.

In his 2000 book, "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference," Malcolm Gladwell defines a "tipping point" as a moment when there's a critical change of social perspective because a key determinant has reached critical mass. Donald Trump's refusal to wear a protective mask symbolizes his attitude about the pandemic: he's quit fighting it.

1.Trump doesn't take the pandemic seriously. During the COVID-19 crisis, Trump has been inconsistent about many things -- for example, the role of the Federal Government -- but steadfast in his refusal to wear a mask. On May 5, Donald toured an Arizona facility making N-95 protective masks but refused to don one. (The factory had multiple signs, "masks required.") On May 11, when Trump announced that all White House staff would wear a mask, he remarked that he would not. 

Trump does not take the pandemic seriously and, therefore, is unwilling to wear a mask , social distance, or take the decisive actions most of us expect the President to take during a national crisis, such as invoking the Defense Production Act to expedite testing. 

Whether or not they voted for Trump in 2016, most thoughtful Americans understand that the Coronavirus pandemic is the dominant event of this era and, therefore, deserves to be taken seriously. Trump's's attitude is one of the reasons that a majority of voters disapprove of how Donald is handling the COVID-19 crisis. (57 percent) 

Nonetheless, most Republicans are sticking with Trump. (https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/06/senate-republicans-trump-coronavirus-response-240454 ) CNN ( http://Percolating beneath the more general pandemic stress is a political divide cleaving us over the role of government, science and even truth.) observed that wearing a mask has become a red versus blue issue: "Beneath the more general pandemic stress is a political divide cleaving us over the role of government, science and even truth." 

Writing in Think, Liz Plank (https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/trump-s-coronavirus-mask-standoff-reveals-dangerous-ripples-fragile-masculinity-ncna1205441 ) noted: "[Among conservatives] Trump's decision..[to not wear a mask] is also being hailed as a man’s man portrayal of virility and valor by some of his loyal foot soldiers... as wearing a mask would be 'a searing image of weakness' and 'would signal that the United States is so powerless against this invisible enemy sprung from China that even its president must cower behind a mask.'" 

2. Trump is setting a bad example for his base. During the past two months, Trump's approval rating has stayed around 43 percent (https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/ ). That means that more than one-third of the country trust Donald to lead the United States and, for the most part, trust his remarks about dealing with COVID-19 (even when he suggests injecting bleach ( https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52407177).) 

Therefore, at a moment when we are trying to squash a highly contagious virus, many in Trump's base are not wearing masks, washing their hands, or maintaining social distance. They want to open everything up because that's what Trump has suggested. Many of these supporters are involved in the protests against their state's lockdown rules. (A recent poll found that only 31 percent of Americans approve of these demonstrations (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/majority-disapprove-coronavirus-protests-poll-200511150558609.html ).) 

Early indications are that this cavalier attitude is taking a toll. On May 13, The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/13/new-us-coronavirus-hotspots-republican-heartland-areas ) reported that there's a "surge" of new COVID-19 cases in the Trump heartlands (red-state towns and rural communities). 

3. Trump is not thinking strategically. Confronted with the pandemic, Trump at first flailed and then adopted a tactic of diversion -- he turned his limited attention to the economy. Late in March, Donald tweeted: "WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF." 

Recently Trump suggested that "shelter-in-place" policies were more harmful than COVID-19. On May 14, Trump remarked that Coronavirus testing is "overrated," adding "When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing we would have very few cases.” (https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/497846-trump-says-testing-may-be-frankly-overrated

Dealing with COVID-19 requires a complicated strategic plan that involves, among other things, securing the necessary testing resources and developing a multi-layered testing plan. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/opinion/coronavirus-depression.html) argues that we must deal with the pandemic if we are going to avert a major depression: 

"[This] means crushing the curve: getting the number of infected Americans way down, then maintaining a high level of testing to quickly spot new cases, combined with contact tracing so that we can quarantine those who may have been exposed... we would have to protect all Americans with the kind of testing and tracing that is already available to people who work directly for Donald Trump but almost nobody else... Crushing the curve isn’t easy, but it’s very possible. In fact, many other countries, from South Korea to New Zealand to, believe it or not, Greece have already done it...But you do have to stay the course. And that’s what Trump and company don’t want to do." 

Writing in the Medium ( https://medium.com/@ASlavitt/the-economy-will-not-open-up-without-a-credible-plan-to-address-the-public-health-crisis-28eac8d5a425), former Obama-era Medicare, Medicaid, and ACA head, Andy Slavitt observed: "[The U.S.] had a [pandemic] strategy. Trump gave it a few weeks and then decided 'liberate!' Basically, he’s a quitter." 

Donald Trump has turned his back on the pandemic and is now solely focused on "opening the economy." 

Summary: At the heart of this tipping point is a profound irony: Trump won't wear a mask because it projects an image of "weakness." At the same time, he's faced with the very difficult task of responding to the pandemic and he's quit working on the problem. He's abandoned his post, 

If this is the new wartime, then Donald Trump is a deserter. 

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


Conn Hallinan
Saturday May 09, 2020 - 11:27:00 AM

“There have been as many plagues as wars in history, yet plagues and wars take people equally by surprise”

--Albert Camus, “The Plague”

Camus’ novel of a lethal contagion in the North African city of Oran is filled with characters all too recognizable today: indifferent or incompetent officials, short sighted and selfish citizens, and lots of great courage. What not even Camus could imagine, however, is a society in the midst of a deadly epidemic pouring vast amounts of wealth into instruments of death.

Welcome to the world of the hypersonic weapons, devices that are not only superfluous, but which will almost certainly not work, They will, however, cost enormous amounts of money. At a time when countries across the globe are facing economic chaos, financial deficits and unemployment at Great Depression levels, arms manufacturers are set to cash in big.

Hypersonic weapons are missiles that go five times faster than sound—3,800 mph—although some reportedly can reach speeds of Mach 20—15,000 mph. They come in two basic varieties, one powered by a high-speed scramjet, the other –launched from a plane or missile—glides to its target. The idea behind the weapons is that their speed and maneuverability will make them virtually invulnerable to anti-missile systems.

Currently there is a hypersonic arms race going on among China, Russia and the US, and, according to the Pentagon, the Americans are desperately trying to catch up with its two adversaries.

Truth is the first casualty in an arms race. 

In the 1950s, it was the “bomber gap” between the Americans and the Soviets. In the 1960s, it was the “missile gap” between the two powers. Neither gap existed, but vast amounts of national treasure were, nonetheless, poured into long-range aircraft and thousands of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The enormous expenditures on those weapons, in turn, heightened tensions between the major powers and on at least three occasions came very close to touching off a nuclear war. 

In the current hypersonic arms race, “hype” is the operational word. “The development of hypersonic weapons in the United States,” says physicist James Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, ”has been largely motivated by technology, not by strategy. In other words, technologists have decided to try and develop hypersonic weapons because it seems like they should be useful for something, not because there is a clearly defined mission need for them to fulfill.” 

They have certainly been “useful” to Lockheed Martin, the largest arms manufacturer in the world. The company has already received $3.5 billion to develop the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (Arrow) glide missile, and the scramjet- driven Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (Hacksaw) missile. 

The Russians also have several hypersonic missiles, including the Avangard glide vehicle, a missile said to be capable of Mach 20. China is developing several hypersonic missiles, including the DF-ZF, supposedly capable of taking out aircraft carriers. 

In theory hypersonic missiles are unstoppable. In real life, not so much. 

The first problem is basic physics: speed in the atmosphere produces heat. High speed generates lots of it. ICBMs avoid this problem with a blunt nose cone that deflects the enormous heat of re-entering the atmosphere as the missile approaches its target. But it only has to endure heat for a short time because much of its flight is in frictionless low earth orbit. 

Hypersonic missiles, however, stay in the atmosphere their entire flight. That is the whole idea. An ICBM follows a predictable ballistic curve, much like an inverted U and, in theory, can be intercepted. A missile traveling as fast as an ICBM but at low altitude, however, is much more difficult to spot or engage. 

But that’s when physics shows up and does a Las Vegas: what happens on the drawing board stays on the drawing board. 

Without a heat deflecting nose cone, high-speed missiles are built like big needles, since they need to decrease the area exposed to the atmosphere Even so, they are going to run very hot. And if they try to maneuver, that heat will increase. Since they can’t carry a large payload they will have to very accurate, but as a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists points out, that is “problematic.” 

According to the Union, an object traveling Mach 5 for a period of time “slowly tears itself apart during the flight.” The heat is so great it creates a “plasma” around the craft that makes it difficult “to reference GPS or receive outside course correction commands.” 

If the target is moving, as with an aircraft carrier or a mobile missile, it will be almost impossible to alter the weapon’s flight path to intercept it. And any external radar array would never survive the heat or else be so small that it would have very limited range. In short, you can’t get from here to there. 

Lockheed Martin says the tests are going just fine, but then Lockheed Martin is the company that builds the F-35, a fifth generation stealth fighter that simply doesn’t work. It does, however, cost $1.5 trillion, the most expensive weapons system in US history. The company has apparently dropped the scramjet engine because it tears itself apart, hardly a surprise. 

The Russians and Chinese claim success with their hypersonic weapons and have even begun deploying them. But Pierre Sprey, a Pentagon designer associated with the two very successful aircraft—the F-16 and the A-10—told defense analyst Andrew Cockburn that he is suspicious of the tests. 

“I very much doubt those test birds would have reached the advertised range had they maneuvered unpredictably,” he told Cockburn. “More likely they were forced to fly a straight, predictable path. In which case hypersonics offer no advantage whatsoever over traditional ballistic missiles.” 

While Russia, China and the US lead the field in the development of hypersonics, Britain, France, India and Japan have joined the race

Why is everyone building them? 

At least the Russians and the Chinese have a rationale. The Russians fear the US anti-missile system might cancel out their ICBMs, so they want a missile that can maneuver. The Chinese would like to keep US aircraft carriers away from their shores. But anti-missile systems can be easily fooled by the use of cheap decoys, and the carriers are vulnerable to much more cost effective conventional weapons. In any case hypersonic missiles can’t do what they are advertised to do. 

For the Americans, hypersonics are little more than a very expensive subsidy for the arms corporations. Making and deploying weapons that don’t work is nothing new. The F-35 is a case in point, but nevertheless, there have been many systems produced over the years that were deeply flawed. 

The US has spent over $200 billion on anti-missile systems and once they come off the drawing boards, none of them work very well, if at all. 

Probably the one that takes the prize is the Mark-28 tactical nuke, nick named the “Davy Crockett,” and its M-388 warhead. Because the M-388 was too delicate to be used in conventional artillery, it was fired from a recoilless rife with a range of 2.5 miles. Problem: if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction the Crockett cooked its three-man crew. It was only tested once and found to be “totally inaccurate.” So, end of story? Not exactly. A total of 2,100 were produced and deployed, mostly in Europe. 

While the official military budget is $738 billion, if one pulls all US defense related spending together, the actual cost for taxpayers is $1.25 trillion a year, according to William Hartung of the Center for International Policy. Half that amount would go a long way toward providing not only adequate medical support during the Covid-19 crisis, it would pay jobless Americans a salary 

Given that there are more than 31 million Americans now unemployed and the possibility that numerous small businesses—restaurants in particular—will never re-open, building and deploying a new generation of weapons is a luxury the US—and other countries—cannot afford. In the very near future, countries are going to have to choose whether they make guns or vaccines. 


Conn Hallinan can be read at dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com and middleempireseries.wordpress.com 

ECLECTIC RANT:U.S.: Hands Off Venezuela

Ralph E. Stone
Thursday May 14, 2020 - 05:32:00 PM

I’m sure everyone would agree that Venezuelans deserve a better government. Let’s face it, the late Hugo Chávez's vision of a modern day “Bolivarian revolution” — a Latin American political block with a socialist bent as an alternative to U.S. hegemony. — has descended into repression and economic decline under Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. About 5 million Venezuelans have migrated elsewhere. 

However, our past interference in Latin America, e.g., Argentina, Chile and Guatemala strongly argues against our present interference in Venezuela as it will likely do more harm than good. The U.S. shouldn’t be the ones to determine what Venezuela should look like. 

Unfortunately, the Trump administration has other ideas. In 2019, the Trump administration called Maduro “illegitimate” and recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela. So far this year, Washington has indicted Maduro on charges of narco-terrorism; refused to suspend crippling sanctions on Venezuela despite the spread of Covid-19; and deployed U.S. warships near Venezuela in what has been described as “one of the largest U.S. military operations in the region since the 1989 invasion of Panama to remove Gen. Manuel Noriega from power.  

Even with backing from the Trump administration, Juan Guaidó has failed to oust Maduro. After a failed uprising attempt last year and a failed coup attempt this year, what’s next — an invasion and occupation? 

It is not a coincidence that Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world.

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Causes and Effects of Brain Fatigue

Jack Bragen
Friday May 15, 2020 - 03:59:00 PM

Brain fatigue can be caused by a number of things. It can limit how much a person can handle, and it can affect numerous areas of one's life. When the brain is fatigued, it should be rested. If you do not give your brain some time off, you will not be able to rebuild capacity following a mental exertion.

Brain-intensive activities are affected by brain fatigue. Reading dense material or writing can be highly brain intensive. Many things are potentially brain intensive, including some that might surprise you.

Strong emotions seem to affect mental capacity. I know that following an episode of nervousness, it is harder to concentrate on something neutral.

I know that I am more subject to brain fatigue than most people, and it takes me longer to recover. This is a factor that limits my ability to handle anything that resembles professional employment. When my brain needs rest, it needs rest. In many "thinking jobs" a worker doesn't have that opportunity--they are expected to maintain an acceptable pace for eight hours or more, five days a week. 

In my twenties, I landed jobs in technical work. I would become exhausted because of the workload. I find that there are many types of work at which I could handle fifteen hours a week or less. At least, that is how it was for me in my recent past. I don't know if I can pin that on the fact that I have to fight off the effects of medication, or not. 

Brain fatigue makes itself known in various ways. In some instances, it can manifest itself in a strong distaste for a brain-intensive task. And sometimes, brain fatigue shows itself with an inexplicable coughing, unrelated to smoking or congestion. (When efforts at a brain intensive task are stopped or paused, the cough goes away.) In the not as recent past, I've woken from a sleep and realized I was in front of a computer and had been working--had fallen asleep while in the middle of creating a manuscript. 

If your brain is fatigued or you think it is, it is best to back off from brain intensive activities until after you get some rest. 

If the brain is in any way compromised, whether by a psychiatric illness or perhaps by a recent head injury, the owner of the brain must take care not to overload the mind too soon. I've touted mental exercise as a way of improving functioning. I still very much believe in that. Yet, any good exercise person will tell you that you need to give the muscles rest. And the brain, while it is not a muscle, is a form of tissue that improves with regular exertion. Yet if you don't give it a chance to recuperate, you could risk causing damage. 

This week's column is short because I'm giving my brain a rest. 

Jack Bragen is author of "Instructions for Dealing with Schizophrenia: A Self-Help Manual," and other books.

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday May 15, 2020 - 04:19:00 PM

What's in a Name? Flowers and Rocks

Recently, I found myself wondering: How many ladies have been named after flowers? In the English language alone, we have Lily, Daisy, Rose, Rosemary, Ivy, Holly, Poppy, Violet, Jasmine, Willow, Iris, Juniper, Petunia, Ayana, Heather, Dahlia, Magnolia, Azalea, Marigold and Myrtle.

And then there's my Goth cousin, Hydrangea.

But what floral names come to mind when we're talking about guys? I could only think of one: Bud.

According to Google lore, there are only a few floral options for boys. "Ren," in Japanese, means "lotus." (Kevin Bacon's character in the film Footloose was named Ren.) "Jared," is the Hebrew word for "rose." And there's a flower called "Sweet William" but that's more a case of a flower being named after a boy. It's more likely that a boy would bear the name of a tree (as in: Alder, Cedar, Clem, Elm/Elmore, Oak, or Sequoia) than a flower. ("Elon" is also a tree-name for boys but, according to Nameberry.com, the name's popularity planked 50% after Elon Musk illegally re-opened his Tesla auto assembly plant.) "Trevor" comes from Shatrevar, the Persian word for "flower" but when's the last time you met a fellow named Arnit, Cypress, Florent, Indigo, Moss, Oleander, Saffron, Sage, Sorrel, or Yarrow (all present on a list of potential "baby names for boys")?

It's more likely that boys are going to be named after a mineral than a flower. I'm thinking of Rocky, Stoney, Cliff, Clay, Claude (pronounced "clod"), Flint, Diamond, Garnet, Granite, Jasper, Mica, Slate, Steel, and Sterling. (The ladies garner the following hard-rock titles: Amber, Crystal, Emerald, Jade, Jewel, Opal, Ruby, Sapphire, and Zirconia.)

Charles Manson's Greatest Hits

In his May 10 Chronicle column, film critic Mick LaSalle responded to a letter from a reader who challenged LaSalle's statement that people like Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and Charles Manson were incapable of accomplishing anything "humane or beautiful." While stipulating his belief that Manson should have been "executed," the reader noted that the murder-cult leader—unlike Hitler or bin Laden—had written and recorded a number of serviceable ballads and he invited LaSalle to audition Manson's "Look at Your Game, Girl."

LaSalle gave a listen and conceded: "I've heard worse on the radio—and he was a good singer." However, LaSalle added: "If we're talking about good songs by evil people, you could also make the case that The Horst Wessel Song has a good beat and you can dance to it." (Note: this Nazi anthem has been banned from YouTube.)

Many of Manson's songs bore appropriately dark titles including ""Cease to Exist," "People Say I'm No Good," "Love's Death," and "Don't Do Anything Illegal."

There's even a full-length album titled "The Manson Family Sings the Songs of Charles Manson." Among the 12 songs on the LP are: "No Wrong," "I'll Never Say Never to Always," "Goin' to the Churchyard," and "I'm Scratching Peace Symbols On Your Tombstone." 

Joan Baez's Tribute to the Real Heroes 

On the other end of the minstrels' arc, here's a kindly musical prayer from Joan Baez by way of Bob Dylan. 


The Political Masquerade 

Why do I like to see those photos of Donald Trump without a surgical mask? For the same reason I love seeing those photos of Mike Pence sans mask. And for the same reason I delight in photos that capture Nancy Pelosi sporting designer masks that match her elegant outfits. 

The reason for these rare moments of bliss lies in the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (aka 3 U.S.C. § 19), which states that, should the president and vice-president expire in office or be rendered incapable of governing, the powers of the presidency are to be transferred to the Speaker of the House who “shall … act as President.” 

Yup, it Donald and Mike were to become victims of the very pandemic their inaction has stoked, the next president of the United States would be . . . Nancy Pelosi. 

But there's a pothole in Pelosi's path to the Oval Office. The Constitution's Succession Clause dictates that only an "officer" can step in to replace the president or vice-president. Specifically, it states: “Congress may by Law . . . declar[e] what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.” Unfortunately, the clause fails to define “Officer.” 

If Attorney General William Barr were to rule that the Secretary of State was the appropriate "executive officer," the Oval Office would be handed over to Mike Pompeo. Legal scholars confronting these possibilities fear a "nightmare scenario" that could leave the nation "deeply divided." 

Compounding the problem, the Presidential Succession Act of 1792 instructed that the president pro tempore [of the Senate] and then the speaker [of the House] would succeed the vice president—in that order. A new succession statute in 1886 required that a replacement for the president and vice-president would need to come from the same political party as the departed leaders. The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (which prevails today) placed the House speaker and the Senate president pro tempore before Cabinet officers in the succession order. 

More details on the briarpatch of presidential succession scenarios are available online in a recent Lawfare article entitled "A Presidential Succession Nightmare." 

NPR: Nothing Private Radio 

Looking for a news story on the National Public Radio website, I came across the following bit of small print: "NPR may share your name and email address with your NPR station. See Details. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy." 

It's a bit discomfiting to discover that NPR is mining personal online data for institutional gain. On the other hand, it's great to read that NPR has taken steps to protect its own institutional privacy. 

The Brothers Fusco and the #MeToon Movement 

J.C. Duffy is the artist behind The Fusco Brothers, a syndicated comic strip that is a serial offender when it comes to the cartoon relationships between the four Fusco males and an endless stream of female victims. In an April 15 strip, Lars Fusco (the lawyer brother), stands in a courtroom and tells the blonde female judge: "Heaven must be missing an angel…." On May 6, Lars tells his date: "Well, dinner's over. Now the real fun begins!" On April 19, Lars gets his comeuppance when the comes on to a female paralegal and asks if she feels jealous because he's a full-fledged lawyer. She replies: "No. I don't have Subpoena Envy." 

On May 13, Rölf Fusco pressures a brunette victim with a line straight from the repertoire of Hollywood Mogul Harvey Weinstein: "Didn't I tell you that — if you played your cards right — I'd get you into a nationally syndicated comic strip?" This panel (which is posted on the GoComics.com website) is accompanied by this comment from a reader: "To be honest, this strip is on shaky ground with the syndicate!!!" 

J.C. Duffy is also the proud author of a new book, Come Here Often? Bad Pickup Lines And Other Dating Atrocities From The Fusco Brothers. 

As the promo for the book explains, the brothers, "Lance, Rölf, Lars, and Al know how to twist this irritating question ["Come here often?"] in all the wrong ways. Join the brothers . . . as they send every woman they meet running for the hills." 

But I do have to admit I kinda liked the May 5 strip in which Al Fusco, holding an old-fashioned landline telephone tells an unseen woman: "Wow, Doris, I feel like this was a perfect call!" "Of course, the last guy to say that got impeached." 

Pandemic Guidelines Clarified 


The Ten Americans Who Gave the 2016 Election to Trump 

It's common knowledge that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election—beating Donald Trump by more than 3 million votes. It's common knowledge that Trump only became president because of an anachronism called the Electoral College. But it is not widely known that Trump's Electoral College "victory" was determined by the votes of ten "faithless electors" (out of a total 538 electors) who elected not to vote for Hillary Clinton, the candidate who won the majority of presidential votes in their states. Several Democratic party electors in Washington State turned their backs on Clinton—three cast votes for Colin Powell and one cast a vote for Native American activist Faith Spotted Eagle. 

According to the Associated Press, a current case now being argued before the US Supreme Court stems from "lawsuits filed by three Hillary Clinton electors in Washington State and one in Colorado who refused to vote for her despite her popular vote win in both states. In so doing, they hoped to persuade enough electors in states won by Donald Trump to choose someone else and deny Trump the presidency." (Say again?) 

According to the AP, Trump's 2016 electoral "victory" was attributable to just "10 faithless electors"—including four from Washington State, one from Colorado, a Democrat from Hawaii, and two Republicans from Texas. (Other Democratic electors who said they would not vote for Clinton were replaced in Maine and Minnesota.) 

Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia require "presidential electors" to cast electoral votes for the party candidate who wins the popular vote. In 18 states, however, electors can ignore the popular vote and cast a ballot for whomever they want. (So it turns out that presidents are elected by "They, the people," not "We, the People.") It wasn't until 1796 that the situation was amended to require state electors to vote only for the candidates chosen by their party. 

The plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case hope to establish the "right" of state-selected electors to vote for anyone they wish—a scenario that prompted Justice Clarence Thomas to speculate that there would be nothing to prevent an elector from casting a vote for "Frodo Baggins." 

The Supreme Court is now considering whether presidential electors should retain the "right" to cast votes that do not reflect the outcome of state ballots. There is concern that, under the current system, any electoral representative's vote can be influenced by outside forces. As Justice Thomas asked: "Can a state remove someone, for example, who openly solicits payments for his or her vote?" 

Some states claim the power to "fine" rebel electors who ignore the popular vote. But that doesn't solve the problem: it merely monetizes the misbehaviour. The cost of these fines can easily be recovered by strategic "contributions" from partisan donors. 

Establishing the US as a functioning democracy would require abolishing the Electoral College, a laborious project. A quicker state-based path to more democratic elections is offered by the campaign for a National Popular Vote

Make Your Own Postage Stamps! 

Did you know that the US Postal Service's PhotoStamps app will let you create your own First Class postage stamps? It's true, but the offer will cost you. The USPS charges $1.30 for designing your own 55-cent First Class stamp—about $26 for a sheet of 20 or more than twice the regular price. 

If you're a political activist, some obvious entries might be: "Stamp Out Militarism," "Cancel War," and "Forever" stamps that proclaim "End Forever Wars." 

Other possibilities might include: 

An image of John Lennon and the word "Imagine" 

A photo of AOC with the message "Green New Deal" 

A picture of US Major Gen. Smedley Butler and the title of his book-length expose, "War Is a Racket." 

And, if these don't pass the USPS censors, there's always: "Save the Postal Service." 

Jumping Through the USPS' Stamp-crafting Hoops 

The Postal Service stipulates that it "reserves the right to determine independently whether any image, text or category of images meets any of the Eligibility Criteria." That said, the Post Office's PhotoStamp program welcomes imagery that is commercial ("intended for no purpose other than the sale of goods or services in commerce") and social (images of people, animals or things that "are likely to generate invitations, announcements, notices, thank-you notes, RSPVs"). Just make sure they don't include images of "tobacco, alcohol, gambling, or firearms or other weapons" or depictions of "political, religious, violent or sexual content." 

PhotoStamps.com also has its own list of unstampable content that includes: images that are trademarked; unauthorized photos of celebrities; and "any depiction of controlled substances, including but not limited to marijuana." 

PhotoStamp.com's official list of "Eligibility Criteria" is poorly worded and seems to call for the very things it wants to ban. The first category reads as follows: "Eligibility Criteria A: To upload, order for print, or otherwise transmit or communicate any material for any unlawful purpose or that is obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, sexually suggestive deceptive, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy, supporting of unlawful action, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, violent, or otherwise objectionable." 

PhotoStamps.com also bans images of "current or former world leaders, convicted criminals" and (for some mysterious reason) "any material that is vintage in appearance or depicts images from an older era." (So no pre-1960 images of Old Glory or photos of modern protestors dressed as suffragettes?) 

Social activists take note: While customized postage comes with a steep tab, there's no cost to stamping—or drawing—political messages on dollar bills and, as it turns out, this form of free speech is all perfectly legal! (Note: commercial messages are not allowed.) 






Overturn Betsy DeVos’s "Anti-Accuser" Title IX rule

On May 6, Donald Trump's Department of Education chief Betsy DeVos announced a new Title IX rule that would roll back rights for student survivors of sexual violence. The Daily Kos reports the new rule is scheduled to take effect on August 14. 

DeVos’s new Title IX rule grants first-time protections to male students accused of sexual assault. The rule would allow schools to ignore sexual violence that occurs outside of school grounds, protect schools from liability for ignoring or covering up sexual harassment, narrow the definition of sexual harassment, abandon students to endure escalating levels of abuse without help, and subject survivors to in-person cross-examination by their assailant’s advisers or lawyers

According to Daily Kos, "finalizing and instituting [these new rules] in the middle of a public health crisis is shameful and unconscionable . . . . Student survivors need support, not calculated attacks from the Trump administration." 

Fortunately, there is a mechanism for challenging these new regulations. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) would overturn the new Title IX rule and it only requires a simple majority in both chambers. 

















Jared Kushner Has a Talon for Ripping Off America 

Public Citizen president Robert Weisman has pushed the red button to alert his fellow Americans that Jared Kushner is pushing a White House plot to "end Social Security as we know it." Kushner's so-called “Eagle Plan” would mandate long-term cuts to federal retirement benefits working Americans have already earned—including Social Security—in exchange for a paltry one-time payout. 

The Kushner/Trump/McConnell nexus is apparently hoping that the millions of Americans who have lost their incomes due to Trump's failure to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be tempted to accept this meager payment, sacrificing long-tern security to meet immediate survival needs. 

Public Citizen has created a send-a-message petition to tell Jared Kushner to keep his hands off Social Security. 

Trump's Pointless West Point Posturing 

Donald "Me First" Trump has done it again. In his insatiable need for pubic adoration, he has announced plans to give a speech at the West Point commencement ceremony and plans to order 1,000 cadets and their families to gather in New York (an epicenter of coronavirus infection) and listen intently while Trump shouts at them without the courtesy of donning a mask. 

In response, VoteVets.org is inviting tens of thousands of veterans to raise their voices in protest, lead by combat vet and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA). Despite scolding criticisms posted on Twitter and Facebook, Trump has refused to cancel the event. Leading VoteVets to concluded that: "All he thinks our military and service people are good for is being used as political pawns to bolster his image." 

VoteVets has complained that Trump has blocked their postings on Twitter but the organization has bounced back with this online petition: Call on Donald Trump to cancel his appearance at West Point’s commencement ceremony. 

Hankering for Voting-by-Mail and Ballot Access in November 

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have joined forces with Michelle Obama as co-chairs of When We All Vote, a MoveOn.org campaign dedicated to assuring the November election is not disrupted by fears of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We've seen firsthand the effect this disease can have on our families and communities, and now we need your help to make sure it doesn't stop anyone from voting in the upcoming elections," Hanks writes. 

We know that when we knock down barriers to casting a ballot and make voting more accessible no matter who you are, more people—especially young people and people of color—turn out to vote. And when we all vote, we create a stronger democracy. Tell your elected officials to support the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 which would (1) Expand access to Vote-by-Mail, (2) Expand early in-person voting, and (3) Expand online voter registration. 

You can Sign Tom and Rita's petition here. 

Arts & Events


Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday May 16, 2020 - 03:51:00 PM

Worth Noting and Responding with phone call or email:

There are six public meetings this coming week with three on Tuesday and three on Thursday.

Tuesday - Budget Committee - While the State of California projects a 22.3% drop in revenue for the 2020-2021 year, a $54.3 billion deficit, a 27.2% drop in sales tax revenue, 18% unemployment for the budget year and a peak of 24.5% unemployment, a drop in personal income tax revenue of 22.5%, https://laist.com/latest/post/20200514/california-budget-revision-and-coronavirus-updates-may-14-2020 , a drop in revenue from hospitality industry of 50%, a reduction in new building permits by 21%, an increase in costs responding to COVID-19, and it is all layered over drought and wild fires. The City of Berkeley asked departments to look at deferrals/budget adjustments of 10%, 12% and 15%. For the present the Council Budget Committee meets weekly, but despite a projected City revenue loss of $25.5 million the City Council Agenda items still point to contract commitments and expenditures that paint a significant rosier picture than what was presented by the Governor on May 14.

Thursday - Design Review is meeting with preliminary review of three projects.

The City Council Agenda for the May 26 meeting is available for comment (agenda follows daily calendar) and contains some mind-boggling items and agenda order. Take a look at items 18, 19, 20, 21 and 27. Item 18. $6.1 million on recyclable materials, items 19., 20., 21. total $10,193,714 in contracts to generate parking revenue through fees and fines and item 27. The Emergency Ordinance to enhance tenant protections during the pandemic is placed as the very last item on a long agenda. Will the Council even get to tenant protections.

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 17, 2020 

No City meetings or events found 

Monday, May 18, 2020 

Malcolm X Day – City Holiday 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 

City Council Budget & Finance Committee, 10 am, 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81724364707 

Teleconference: 669-900-9128, Meeting ID: 817 2436 4704 

Agenda: 2. Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Update, 3. Budget Timeline Discussion, Unscheduled items 4. – 7. will not be discussed at this meeting 4. Open West Campus Pool and MLK Jr Pool for shower during COVID-19 Pandemic, 5. Housing Trust Fund Resources, 6. Homeless Services Report, 7. Review of Fiscal Policies, (packet 28 pages). 



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

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81848404193 

Teleconference: 669-900-9128, Meeting ID: 818 4840 4193 

Agenda planning for June 2 City Council Meeting, Proposed Agenda: CONSENT: Contract add $37,046 total $249,653 with City of Albany for Animal Care Services FY 2021-2023, 2. Contract extend to 6/30/2021 & increase $20,400 total $121,600 with Koefran Industries to pick up and dispose of deceased animals for Berkeley Animal Care Services, 3. Contract add $127,947 total $303,527 (7/1/2016 – 6/30/2022) with Persimmony Electronic Case Management System for Software Licensing, Implementation and Maintenance for Online Electronic Case Management System 4. Contract $534,000 total $989,335 (7/1/2017 – 6/30/2025 with AMS.NET for Network Support and Maintenance, 6. Reject all bids and negotiate in open market for Grove Park Field Renovation and Park Improvements Project, 7. AmendCapital Contribution Agreement with 200 Marina Blvd for Doubletree Hotel and assign to parent company Apollo Bright, LLC and change payment schedule to $3M due in June to $375,000 due in Oct 2020 and $2,675,000 due upon Council approval of Marina streets construction contract estimated Jan 2021, 8. Contract $1,011,006 includes $131,871 contingency with Alta Group, Inc for T1 Corp Yard Maintenance Building Upgrade at 1326 Allston and 201 University, 9. Contract $143,220 (7/1/2020-6/30/2023) with Urban Ore, Inc for Salvage Operations at City Transfer Station ACTION: 10. FY 2021 Proposed Budget Update Public Hearing #2, 11. Contract extend by 1 year add $117,000 total $217,000 with Youth Spirit Artworks for Transition Age Youth Case anagement and Linkage Services and Tiny House Case Management, 12. Ballot Measure Charter Amendment to change Council and Mayor Status to full-time with FT salary, 13. Ballot Measure to Create a Climate Action Fund in response to Fossil Free Berkeley, 14., Contract $782,715 15% contingency total $900,122 with ERA Construction for Strawberry Creek Park Play Area and Restroom Renovation Project, 15. Discussion potential Ballot Measures, 16. Ballot Measure Charter Amendment to repeal residency requirement for Sworn Member Berkeley Fire Department, 17. Ballot Measure Increasing City’s Appropriation Limit to Allow Expenditure of Tax Proceeds for FY 2021-2024, 18. Amend Berkeley’s Minimum Wage Ordinance to reinstate youth wages at $14.50/hr for youth training services for FY21, then increase annually per CPI, 19. Berkeley Safe Open Air Dining, INFORMATION REPORTS: 20. Short Term Referral Process – Quarterly Update. Referred Items for Review: 8. Discussion of Potential Revisions to Rules of Procedure and Order during declared Emergency Potential deadlines for Urgency and Time Critical Items (page 62 in packet), 9. Discussion Budget Referrals, 10. Discussion Regarding Impact of COVID-19 on Meetings of Legislative Bodies, Unfinished Business for Scheduling: 1. Short Term Rental Ordinance, 2. Kitchen Exhaust Fans, 3. Navigable Citties Framework for People with Disabilities, 4. Opt-up Residential, Commercial and Municipal accounts, 5. Surveillance Technology Report. (packet 212 pages) 



Berkeley City Council Special Meeting 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82159517663 

Teleconference: 669-900-9128, Meeting ID: 821 5951 7663 

Instead of commenting via zoom or telephone, comments during the meeting may be emailed to clerk@cityofberkeley.info to be read during the meeting 

Agenda: 1. Adoption of an Ordinance Amending Berkeley Municipal Code (Installation of Video and Telecommunications Systems) and Revised Guidelines for Issuance of Public Right of Way Permits. 2. Updating Berkeley Telecom Ordinances and BMC Codes 


Wednesday, May 20, 2020 

No City meetings found 

Thursday, May 21, 2020 

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, 7 – 11 pm

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83890618495?pwd=cXlZWmJWaGZLaGhmZXhhUU1SVFp0dz09 

Teleconference: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 838 9061 8495 

Agenda Action Items: 1. Possible Ballot Measure recommendation to Council Revisions to Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance, 2. Budget FY 2019-2020, 3. Letter Alameda Co Supervisors to amend Countywide Temporary Moratorium on Residential evictions, 4. Letter to UC urging preservation rent-controlled units at 1921 Walnut or replace on 1 for 1 permanently affordable units, 5. Approve staff recommendations requests for waivers of late registration penalties,  



Design Review Committee, 7 – 10 pm 

Videoconference: https://zoom.us/j/93856852865 

Teleconference: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID 93856862865 

2023 Shattuck - demolish remaining structure from fire and construct 73’5” mixed-use building with 48 dwellings (including 4 very low income) 1250 sq ft commercial space, no parking, storage for 34 bicycles, preliminary design review - majority recommendations 

2099 MLK Jr Way @ Addison – demolish 1-story auto service and construct 69’ mixed-use building with 72 dwellings (including 5 to very low income) and 2448 sq ft ground floor retail, 12 parking spaces, storage for 38 bicycles in grade level garage, preliminary design review - majority recommendations 

2795 San Pablo between Ward and Oregon – demolish 1-story single family residence and construct new 3-story, 4 unit residential building with 4 parking spaces, 470 sq ft open space, preliminary design review - majority recommendations 

DRC June agenda SB 330 Projects - 1367 University and 3000 San Pablo – plans available 



Fair Campaign Practices Commission and Open Government Commission, 7 pm 

Teleconference: 213.279.1690, access code: 567301053 

Agenda: 6. Regulations “minor violation” for staff approval of public financing applications10. Lobbying registration and reporting process, 11. Councilmember office budget relinquishments and grants 


Friday, May 22, 2020 

No City meetings or events found 

Saturday, May 23, 2020 

Expect a Town Hall announcement from the Mayor at 12 noon, Watch live at jessearreguin.com 

Sunday, May 24, 2020 

No City meetings or events found 



City Council May 26 meeting agenda is available for comment. 

Email comments to council@cityofberkeley.info 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84645708594 

Teleconference: 669-900-9128, Meeting ID:846 4570 8594 

CONSENT: 1. FY 2020 Annual Appropriations Ordinance$47,770,093 (gross) and $42,815,104 (net), 2. 2nd reading Dorothy Day License Agreement for services at Veterans Memorial Building and Old City Hall, 4. Resolution designating City Manager as Authorized Agent for COVID-19 Relief Funds, 5. Resolution for FY 2021 to levy an annual assessment for the Downtown Berkeley Property Based Business Improvement District and 6. Levy Assessment Telegraph Property Based Business Improvement District, 7. Notice of Appropriations Limit for FY 2021, 8. Amend Contract add $603,874 total $960,874 and extend for 1 year with Berkeley Food & Housing for Berkeley Food and Housing Project, Berkeley Mental Health, Flexible Spending Programs and Russell Street Residence, 9. Contract $56,000 7/1/2020-6/30/2021 with Bay Area Community Resources for placement of AmeriCorps Members, 10. Resolution Accept Grant from Alameda Co of $32,080 for FY 2021 for Public Health Infrastructure Program, 11. Resolution Accept Alameda Co Grants for FY 2021, Foster Care $93,187, BHS and Berkeley Tech Academy $178,778, School Linked Health Services $193,175 and Tobacco Prevention $193,175, 12. Resolution Accept Grant from State of CA for FY 2021 for Tuberculosis Program $14,000, 13. 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, 14. 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, 15. Accept Cash Donation $74,266 for Tuolumne Camp Shade structure, 16. Lease 235 University with Hana Japan for 5 years, 17. Set Public Hearing for 6/16/2020 Street Lighting Assessments, 18. Amend Contract add $2,100,000 total $6,100,000 with Community Conservation Centers, Inc for Processing and Marketing Services of Recyclable Materials, 19. Amend Contract add $111,150 total $1,335,257 with SKIDATA for Parking Access and Revenue Control System Maintenance Services and Warranties, 20. 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, 21. Amend Contract add $175,000 total $1,825,000 with Portable Computer Systems dba PCS Mobile for Automated License Plate Reader Equipment, ACTION: 22. Electric Bike Franchise Agreement, 23. Contract $187,401 (5/15/2020 – 6/30/2022) with CycloMedia Technology for Geographic Information System Infrastructure Asset Data Acquisition, 24. a, FY 2021 Proposed Budget Update, b. 2020 mid-year Budget Update, 25. Establish COVID-19 Business Damage Mitigation Fund (related to vandalism of business closed due to pandemic), 26. Support Global Ceasefire during COVID-19 Pandemic, 27. Urgency Ordinance – COVID-19 Emergency Response Ordinance to Amend BMC13.110Title 13 to enhance emergency Tenant protections consistent with recently adopted County Laws, INFORMATION REPORTS: 28. FY 2019 4th Qtr Investment Report, 29. FY 2020 1st Qtr Investment Report ended 9/30/2019, 




Use Appeals 

1155-73 Hearst (develop 2 parcels) - 6/9/2020 

0 Euclid – Berryman Reservoir (denial of 4G telecom facility) - 7/7/2020 

1449 Grizzly Peak Blvd (single family dwelling) – 7/7/2020 

2650 Telegraph (construct new mixed-use building) – 7/7/2020 

1533 Beverly (single family dwelling) - 7/14/2020 2020 

2133 University (Acheson Commons – sign alteration) TBD 

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 

2224 Stuart 6/2/2020 

2252 Summer 5/21/2020 

2539 Telegraph 5/21/2020 

611 Vistamount 5/28/2020 

2870 Webster 5/21/2020 



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,