Thurmond Vows to Address Racism in Public Education

Diana Lambert, EdSource
Tuesday June 02, 2020 - 02:47:00 PM

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond's voice broke as he recounted the last moments of George Floyd's life as he lay dying on a Minneapolis street. -more-

New: East Bay Students Organize Big March to Protest Police Killing

Sydney Johnson, EdSource,BCN
Tuesday June 02, 2020 - 01:13:00 PM

Students in the Bay Area are adding their voices to nationwide protests demanding an end to police brutality.

Thousands of Bay Area youth and adults gathered in Oakland on Monday to march in support of the family of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died last week after a police officer in Minneapolis kneeled on his neck, which has since sparked outrage and protests across the country. -more-

Dealing with Email Overload

Margot Smith
Monday June 01, 2020 - 12:42:00 PM

Our emails inboxes are full of causes with petitions, surveys and requests for donations. Which are legitimate? They are needy, and many of us are desperate to act effectively in these critical times. With the internet, it is so easy for them to reach out to many and seek money.

Which are scams? It’s hard to know. But imagine that you are a crook, need money and wish to milk the internet. Here is all you need to do to raise dollars: (and we are not even talking about hackers or GoFundMe.) -more-

Public Comment

End White Silence Honk and Wave Ashby and College 4pm today

Fran Osborne
Monday June 01, 2020 - 12:32:00 PM

Hi friends, neighbors and family,

A friend and I are doing a #blacklivesmatter #endwhitesilence ‘honk and wave’ at the corner of Ashby and College in Berkeley at 4pm today. Join us if you feel safe to do so. Bring signs, water and masks for a safe, socially distanced protest. Spread the word if it helps. We’ll do it for an hour or so.

Maybe all those other things you want to happen in the world like tackling climate change and social change cannot happen without changing the system that keeps our problems in place.

Hope to see you later!

WRITING AGAINST THE ODDS: 3rd Grade Distanced Learning Opinion Pieces (8 and 9 years old) Rosa Parks Elementary

Written in Shelter-In-Place by Margot Pepper’s Third Grade
Monday June 01, 2020 - 12:14:00 PM


Dear Editor,

Covid-19 is forcing people to work from home that normally wouldn't. When we get past this crisis, I want to encourage people to continue to work from home if possible. There are several advantages, as we have begun to notice.

For example, working from home helps the planet because you don’t have to drive to an office. And that means less commuting. Less cars on the road will cut down on pollution.

Since you’re not commuting, you can sleep in and you get to spend more time with your family. You can also get chores done and spend more time doing things that you want to do.

On the other hand, some people might say that they can’t work from home because they have a job that doesn’t let them work at home. For example, people who work at a grocery store or at a zoo. But even if they can’t work from home, they can still use BART instead of driving, which causes less pollution. We can also take car pools or a bus. You can even bike if it’s close enough.

Overall I think that we should work at home and not drive as much because then we can make the world healthier.


Thurston Dearborn Kotomori,


Dear Editor,

As of May 23, 2020 there have almost been 100,000 deaths of coronavirus in the United States. Social distancing could have reduced this number. California was the first to try to flatten the curve through social distancing thanks to Governor Newsom. Everyone should take social distancing seriously to save lives.

The virus spreads quickly without social distancing. A care center outbreak led to more than 1,000 cases across Washington state. If we don’t social distance, all the hospitals will run out of space for treating sick people.

You can help save lives by staying 6 feet apart from others if you have to go out of your house. Otherwise, stay home to protect your family and community. Another example is wear a face mask if you are sick so you don’t get the virus and spread it and can’t stay six feet away from strangers.

Without social distancing, the virus could get much worse. Movie theaters and other places could close for 12 months or more if you don’t follow the rules of social distancing. People have already lost their jobs and money to buy food and other important stuff. There is a chance that if we have social distancing, less people will get infected so we will be able to go back to work sooner and less people will lose their jobs.

Please take social distancing seriously to save as many lives in this world as possible!


Jai G. -more-

Another Police Killing

Jagjit Singh
Friday May 29, 2020 - 04:30:00 PM

Another brutal murder by a white police officer captured in graphic footage the last moments of George Floyd’s life.
Floyd pleaded with the police officer, who pinned him to the ground with his leg against his neck.

“I can't breathe, don’t kill me” Three other police officers looked on refusing to intervene. The video went viral prompting hundreds of protesters to demand justice. The killing is reminiscent of so many black men killed by racist white cops most prominently, Eric Garner who was choked to death by a white police officer gasping for breath pleading “I can’t breathe 11 times before dying.

The crowd who witnessed Floyd’s killing was seething with anger, some carrying signs reading “I can’t breathe” and “jail killer KKKops” and chanting “prosecute the police”.

A group of riders from the Vital Kings, a black motorcyclist club based in St Paul, accompanied the protesters amplifying the sounds and demanding justice.

Onlookers dismissed the police narrative that Floyd was resisting arrest. The Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey, stated unequivocally “that the video showed that for five minutes we watched (in horror) as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man.”

The facts are unmistakable; Floyd was handcuffed and offered no threat to the arresting office. The officer who choked Floyd must be held fully accountable and the three other officers who failed to intervene must be charged as accomplices in his brutal murder. -more-

Getting Our Priorities Straight

Romila Khanna
Friday May 29, 2020 - 04:02:00 PM

This is the time to rethink our priorities and get ready to vote in the general election to vote for the candidate who will care for the wellbeing and safety of all American citizens, irrespective of their social status, skin color or cultural background.

It is very disturbing to note that there are many people who don't have basic human rights. They are living on the sidewalk or streets. Even under pandemic and other related health threats, their right to live with dignity, and have food clothing and shelter is ignored.

I also think that each one of us must have access to basic human rights—to have food, clothing and shelter. Under today's health crisis, we have come to know that people who don't have money, health insurance or ability to fight COVID-19 are dying unnoticed.

I am shocked to learn that during this life threatening disease, without any vaccine or medicine, our President has ordered the public to go back to work. We all know that this disease is new to the researchers and there is no tested and safe vaccine to be injected into people to build the immunity to fight this disease. People are dying across the nation. But I hear that due to lockdown and shelter in place, our economy is hurting.

Is money more important than human life? Let us find out from those who have lost their family members due to this disease.

People who have to go to work without any protective gear will not be able to protect themselves or curb the surge of spreading this disease. It is not wise to ignore the guidance from the medical research team. -more-

Open Air Dining - at the Public's Expense

Carol Denney
Friday May 29, 2020 - 04:16:00 PM

The "Berkeley Safe Open Air Dining" proposed for the June 2, 2020 Action Calendar is an outrage.

I've been a Berkeley citizen for almost fifty years, and have watched in horror as the council's priorities skewed more and more in favor of those with money and property squarely against the people inevitably displaced by those same priorities -- especially as they relate to the use of public spaces.

Nothing illustrates this better than having the same business lobbies that worked to try to outlaw panhandling and sitting on the sidewalk, and succeeded in outlawing having more than three square feet of belongings decide, in the middle of a health crisis predominantly affecting the poor, to offer special rights to monetize public spaces for profit only to businesses the lobby represents.

Even former Mayor Shirley Dean argued that these property-based business lobbies should be self-funded over time, rather than inordinately and eternally fed by the fees on public property such as public schools, universities, and even our community post office. This is particularly outrageous now, when the public needs what little is left of its income and needs its parks and sidewalks more than ever for basic human needs. -more-


Biden Needs Warren to Balance His Ticket

Becky O'Malley
Thursday May 28, 2020 - 11:40:00 AM

It’s time for Joe Biden to fish or cut bait.

Thanks to the coronavirus invasion and more, he’s conceded to be The Candidate by almost all of his recent competitors.

Biden’s most valuable competitor has not conceded and won’t. That would be the father of the COVID catastrophe, the person anyone would love to run against at this point in his career, regardless of what he did in 2016.

There’s a timely bumper sticker ready for Joe’s campaign against this jerk: “Joe Biden Is Nobody’s Fool’. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: The Pied Piper of Mar-a-Lago

Bob Burnett
Friday May 29, 2020 - 10:28:00 AM

A familiar children's tale is "The Pied Piper of Hamelin." It's the story of grim revenge: a man is hired to do a job, does it, isn't paid, and responds by abducting 130 children. Now Donald Trump is enacting a similar narrative: leading thousands of Americans to their deaths from COVID-19.

Based on a 13th-century German legend, The Pied Piper has four parts: The town of Hamelin hired the Pied Piper to get rid of its rats; the Piper took care of the problem; the town refused to pay him what they promised; and the Piper responded by luring away most of the Hamelin children.

The Pied Piper of Mar-a-Lago also has four segments:

1.Contract: Hamelin had a rat problem and hired the Pied Piper to deal with it. In 2016, those who voted for Donald Trump hired him to fix a problem: the economy of the United States was not working for the ninety-nine percent and the government needed to be shaken up. Hamelin hired an outsider to exterminate its rats; Trump's base hired a Washington outsider to "drain the swamp" and "make America great again."

2. Action: The Pied Piper fixed Hamelin's rat problem -- legend says by playing his flute and leading the rats away from the city. It's not clear that Trump fixed the problem that his base hired him for, but he did shake up Washington and, for the first three years of the Trump Administration, the stock market went up 52 percent (by-the-way: during the comparable three years of the Obama administration, the market went up 78 percent). -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Treatment Practitioners Are Often Right that We Need Treatment, But They are Not Right About Everything

Jack Bragen
Friday May 29, 2020 - 10:56:00 AM

People with mental illness are often taught to distrust our own instincts and to doubt the validity of our own perspectives. Yet, these are the wrong things to impart to someone. When in untreated psychosis, it can be useful for a recovering patient to realize that her or his beliefs were erroneous. Yet, as we continue in our recovery, we should be validated and not negated. Many if not most of the things that we believe to be true, in fact, are. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday May 29, 2020 - 11:09:00 AM

Trump's Comeuppance? How Tweet It Is

Donald J. Trump is furious and the folks at Avaaz ("The World in Action") couldn't be happier. Avaaz, which describes itself as "a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere," finally tired of Trump's racist rants, misogynistic snubs, schoolyard-bully insults, and outright lies.

The straw that bent the camel's hump was two-fold: first was Trump's false complaint that voting-by-mail was tantamount to "election rigging"; the second was the fake news conspiracy tale that accused MSNBC's Joe Scarborough of murdering a female staffer in 2001.

Avaaz went straight to Twitter headquarters to lodge a complaint against Trump's Tweets and . . . it worked! "Twitter just took our movement’s advice and posted fact-checks on one of his tweets!" Avaaz huzzahed on May 27.

To absolutely no one's surprise, Trump immediately went buffoon-ballistic, threatening to shut down all of Twitterdom for daring to address his vile bile by adding a simple "Get the facts" link to one of his not-so-sweet Tweets.
Now the question is whether Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will stand firm and continue to hold the Reprimander-in-chief accountable for his lies and libels? Avaaz wants to shower Dorsey with "a giant show of public support to go all-in on this direction." Avaaz claims to have held meetings with "top Twitter executives and we know they're listening."

Shortly after 1PM on May 28, the online petition topped 40,000 on its way to a goal of 50,000 signatures. On the petition's website, the names were flooding in at a phenomenal rate of two-per-second, with signees swarming from around the world. Clicks of support were coming in from as far off as Zimbabwe, Honduras, and the Arab Emirates. The whole world seems to be climbing onboard this tweet-storm. Here's the text of the petition to Dorsey "and all social media companies": -more-


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, May 31 - June 7

Kelly Hammargren
Friday May 29, 2020 - 12:08:00 PM

Worth Noting:

California has led the nation in new cases of COVID-19 for most of the last week. Today the total was 2,947 at GMT+0 (5pm PDT). Testing in California is increasing, but still sits at 25th in the nation when comparing test per million population. [source www.Worldometer.info] Please wear your masks when leaving home, this pandemic is not over.

Six scheduled meetings were found for the upcoming week. Key meetings:

Monday – The Agenda Committee meets at 2:30 pm to review and finalize the June 16 City Council agenda.

Tuesday – The City Council Regular meeting is at 6 pm with a number of important Action items including Budget updates, Ballot measure survey results and proposed ballot initiatives.

Thursday – The Budget committee meets at 10 am. The City Manager’s recommended budget for 2021 is expected to be available June 2, but check the website for updates during the week.

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


Berkeley City BART Community Advisory Board first meeting is June 8, 6 – 8 pm. Board members and information https://www.jessearreguin.com/bart/cag,

Web page for meetings and documents https://www.cityofberkeley.info/bartplanning/

Sunday, May 31, 2020

No City meetings or events found

Monday, June 1, 2020

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


Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87587441743

Teleconference: 669-900-9128, Meeting ID: 875 8744 1743

Agenda planning for June 16 Regular City Council meeting, Proposed Agenda CONSENT: 2. Urgency Ordinance Declaring Fiscal Emergency in Response to Pandemic, 3. Contract $11,906 total $107,154 with Paw Fund for Spay Neuter Services, 4. Assessments Berkeley Tourism Business Improvement District, 5. Temporary Appropriations $50million for FY 2021, Items 6 – 16 FY Tax Rate (6. $0.0125/ sq ft of improvements for funding procurements of disaster fire equipment, 7. Neighborhood Branch Library Improvements Measure FF Nov 2008, 8. T1, 9. Measures G,S & I, 10. Library services $0.2272/sq ft dwelling units, $0.3435/sq ft industrial, commercial, institutional, 11. Business Licenses Large Non-profits $0.6659/sq ft improvements, 12. Measure O, 13. Measure M, 14. Maintenance Parks, City Trees, Landscaping $0.17.93/sq ft improvements, 15. Measure E Emergency Services for Severely Disabled $0.01699/sq ft improvements, 16. Emergency Medical Services Paramedics $0.0397/sq ft improvements, 17. Contract $106,428 with Kings View for Mental Health Reporting Services, 18. Grant Application $500,000 for state Local Early Action Planning (LEAP), 19. Contract $210,000 for 1600 new recycling carts and $3,850,384 for 1yr extension, total $4,060,474 with Ecology Center, Inc. for curbside recycling, ACTION: 20. Re-establish North Shattuck Business District, 21. Appeal 2650 Telegraph, 22. Levy and Collection of FY 2021 Street Lighting Assessments, 23/ RPP 2900 Block Lorina, 3100 Block Deakin, 24. Contract CycloMedia for GIS Infrastructure Asset Data, 25. Charter Amendment Ballot Initiative to repeal residency requirement for sworn members Berkeley Fire Dept, 26. Renaming Shattuck Ave “East”, 27.Referral FY 2021 Budget Housing Retention, 28. Referral to CM lessons learned regarding organizational response to COVID-19, 29. Support Collaboration between US and Cuba in fighting COVID-19, INFORMATION REPORTS: 30. Refunding General Obligation Bonds, 31. 2nd Qtr Investment Report (ended Dec 31 2019), 32. 3rd Qtr Investment Report (ended March 31, 2020), Referred Items for Review 8. Discussion Proposed Revisions to City Council Rules of Procedure, 9. Discussion Impact of COVID-19 on meetings, 10. UNFINISHED BUSINESS FOR SCHEDULING: Short-term Rental Ordinance, Kitchen Exhaust Fans, Navigable Cities Framework, Opt-Up Residential, Commercial and Municipal Accounts, Surveillance Technology Report, Public Right-of-Way Permits, (packet 158 pages)

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board – Eviction/Sec 8/Foreclosure Committee, 3pm


Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83103933920

Teleconference: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 831 0393 3920

Agenda: 5 possible action regarding proposals by contract providers

Berkeley City Council,

Special Closed Session, 4 pm Conference with Legal Counsel existing litigation


Regular Council Meeting, 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm,


Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82518774480

Teleconference: 669-900-9128, Meeting ID: 825 1877 4480

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. Ballot Measure Increasing City’s Appropriation Limit to Allow Expenditure of Tax Proceeds for FY 2021-2024, 4.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 5. Contract $534,000 total $989,335 (7/1/2017 – 6/30/2025 with AMS.NET for Network Support and Maintenance, 6. Contracts June 15, 2020 – June 30, 2023 for on-call waterfront engineering, design, environmental permitting and construction for capital improvement projects, (1) Anchor QEA, LLC not to exceed $1 million, (2) COWI North America, In not to exceed $1 million, (3) Moffatt & Nichol not to exceed $1 million, (4) Transystems Co. not to exceed $1 million, 7. Reject all bids and negotiate in open market for Grove Park Field Renovation and Park Improvements Project, 8. Amend Capital 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, 9. 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, 10. Contract $114,576 (7/1/2020-6/30/2023) with Urban Ore, Inc for Salvage Operations at City Transfer Station, 11. Berkeley Safe Open Air Dining, ACTION: A. Establish COVID-19 Business Damage Mitigation Fund, 12. FY 2021 Proposed Budget Update Public Hearing #2, B. FY 2020 Mid-Year Budget Update, 13. Presentation & Discussion Community Survey Results on possible Ballot measures, 14. Ballot Measure Charter Amendment to change Council and Mayor Status to full-time with FT salary, 15. Ballot Measure to Create a Climate Action Fund in response to Fossil Free Berkeley, 16. Contract extend by 1 year add $117,000 total $217,000 with Youth Spirit Artworks for Transition Age Youth Case management and Linkage Services and Tiny House Case Management, 17. Contract $782,715 15% contingency total $900,122 with ERA Construction for Strawberry Creek Park Play Area and Restroom Renovation Project, 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, INFORMATION REPORTS: 20. Short Term Referral Process – Quarterly Update.