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Cover Your Face: The Covid-19 Pandemic Isn’t Over

Kelly Hammargren, R.N.
Saturday June 13, 2020 - 11:12:00 AM

Wear your face covering, the Covid-19 Pandemic isn’t over. And in fact, no matter what the enthusiasts for reopening are saying, hold onto to your socks. We are not even through the first wave.

Do you know that on March 16, 2020, the day the order for shelter in place in the Bay Area was called, there were 131 new infections recorded that day in California? It would be weeks before we would learn that the first death in the US from Covid-19 was February 6, 2020: Patricia Dowd, 57, in Santa Clara County. [1]

The rate of transmission [2] was in an upward spike, meaning we were at the beginning, and even without knowing how this new virus was spreading something scary was happening for those who understand epidemiology and exponential growth. Taming a deadly new infectious disease where no one has immunity, there is no treatment other than supportive care, and no vaccine, requires informing the public and public cooperation to contain it.

As the epidemiologists were trying to figure just what this new infection is, the White House was in full propaganda mode with popular Fox host political commentators to dismiss SARS-CoV-2 as nothing to worry about: It will all go away over the summer. Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has repeated the summer story over and over. With many believers and wishful thinkers in the summer story and impatience with sheltering in place, the attitude that the pandemic is over is spreading at about the same speed as the infection. -more-

Public Comment

New: Defunding the Police

Steve Martinot
Monday June 15, 2020 - 04:33:00 PM

For two weeks now, massive crowds have been in the streets of the US, marching to end police brutality, and demanding justice for the many people, mostly black, who have been killed by police in the last couple of weeks. The latest one, June 8, occurred in East Oakland in the wake of two weeks of demonstrations against precisely what happened – the CHP shot and killed the driver of a car. -more-

The Unemployment Issue: The Good News Is Really Bad News

Harry Brill
Friday June 12, 2020 - 02:06:00 PM

Probably most of you are aware that the unemployment rate reported monthly by the Department of Labor (DOL) appreciably understates the actual unemployment rate. But what we have recently learned is especially astonishing.

The good news reported by the DOL to the mass media is that the workforce gained 2.5 million jobs in May. That’s because the official unemployment rate presumably declined from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent in May. However, some insider leaked to the media what really occurred. Actually, the May unemployment rate had not decreased. Instead, it increased by 3 percent, -more-

On Your Mark, Get Set, Chaos

Carol Denney
Saturday June 13, 2020 - 11:47:00 AM

If you're paying attention you know that it is currently mandatory to wear a mask if you're going to or are attending a protest in the City of Berkeley, and that it is also, simultaneously, illegal to wear a mask if you're going to or attending a protest in the City of Berkeley.

Mother Jones magazine remarked on 2017's mask prohibition: "Last month in famously liberal Berkeley, California, where right-wingers have been planning rallies that seem intended to stir up raucous counter-protests—and which have drawn hundreds of masked opponents—city leaders passed an ordinance allowing the city manager to set ground rules as to what kinds of items cannot be worn or carried into protest areas. Masks and other face coverings have been banned at every local demonstration since."

The Berkeley City Manager and mayor appear to have forgotten the mask prohibition in all their coronavirus pandemic pronouncements, so I sent an inquiry their way. The City Manager sent back this reply, saying "the current health order is a mandatory order. We are requiring that face masks or coverings be worn under this order. The health order supersedes the below prohibition as we are in a pandemic." -more-


Not Just About the Money

Becky O'Malley
Friday June 12, 2020 - 02:17:00 PM

One day last week I got an email from my neighbor across the street inviting me to join her and others in what she described as “a #blacklivesmatter #endwhitesilence ‘honk and wave’” at the nearest big intersection, the corner of Ashby and College. British-born, she’s a recently naturalized U.S. citizen, so this was her chance to exercise her newly-minted first amendment rights (and duties) in the company of friends.

Since at our house we’re older these days than we once were, we hadn’t joined any big marches as we might have done earlier in the last 60 years, so we appreciated the opportunity to speak out close to home. What’s been so remarkable about the actions all over the world this week in response to the death of George Floyd is how spontaneous they’ve been, with no apparent international central organization.

This one was BYO sign, but my neighbor, a skilled graphic artist, generously offered to make one for us. What should it say?

Well, Black Lives Matter, of course, but what about Ending White Silence? It’s true that my personal gene pool came from in Europe in the last millennium or so, and my skin is melanin-challenged, so I’m certainly White.

But I’m seldom considered silent on any topic. Here’s what came to me instead: Black Lives Matter to All of Us. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Trump’s Three Bets

Bob Burnett
Friday June 12, 2020 - 02:02:00 PM

On June 6th, Joe Biden officially won the Democratic nomination for President. There's a stark contrast between the style and policies of Biden and the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. At the moment, Trump is the underdog; however, we all remember what happened in 2016. Trump is planning another come-from-behind victory; he's betting that his positions on three national problems will swing the election odds in his favor.

The current Real Clear Politics polling average shows Joe Biden with an eight-point lead over Donald Trump ( Most of the swing-state polls also show Biden with a lead; for example, in Pennsylvania, Biden has a 3 point edge over Trump.

The Trump campaign is betting that, over the next 140+ days, Donald's contrarian positions on three national problems will favor his candidacy: 1. Nothing will come of the death of George Floyd and the associated protests. 2. The pandemic will fade away. 3. The U.S. economy will bounce back from recession -- there will be a "V-shaped" recovery. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT:A Recession, Protests & a Pandemic: Trying to Reconcile the Irreconcilable

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday June 13, 2020 - 11:59:00 AM

On May 8, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom started reopening the California economy. On May 25, after the Memorial Day weekend, California had its highest one-day total of 2,565 new positive COVID-19 cases. There were similar spikes in many other states due to re-openings and the disregard of social distancing and wearing of masks over the long holiday weekend.

In addition, there are now continuing nationwide protests of George Floyd’s in-custody death by Minneapolis police, where masks are not always worn and social distancing is not always observed. It takes up to fourteen days after exposure to the virus for respiratory symptoms to appear. Soon then, California and other states can expect more significant spikes of infections as a result of the protests. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday June 12, 2020 - 02:09:00 PM

And Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Street

In these troubled times, KCBS has been broadcasting the following uplifting media meme: "We're not afraid to look backward to move forward."

(Warning: Don't apply this advice when you're out jogging.)

SWAT the People

There are too far many TV shows that glorify police violence, intelligence investigator interrogations, and soldiers fighting people-of-color/"terrorists" in far-off countries. (At the core of these testosterone-fueled fantasies you can find a common message that is shared with TV shows featuring doctors, hospitals, and firefighters. The message: viewers must live in constant fear of sudden death—from some random attack or disease—and your only security lies in submitting to and trusting "the authorities.")

Given the current state of alarm over police violence, it's no surprise that Paramount Television recently canceled “Cops,” a wildly popular reality show that aired for 33 seasons. Civil rights groups had repeatedly faulted the show for it's negative portrayal of African-Americans and other people-of-color.

So, with Paramount's prized Blue Tribute de-cop-itated, what does that leave on TV? A quick survey of our local networks reveals the two broadcasters with the most violent content.

The most violent displays of fist-fights and gunfire can be found on channel 5/KPIX, which airs: Survivor, SEAL Team, SWAT, NCIS: LA, NCIS New Orleans, NCIS, FBI, FBI Most Wanted, Hawaii 50, and Blue Bloods. (Six, a violent legacy series based on the Pentagon's Seal Team 6, debuted on the History channel in 2016.) -more-

Arts & Events

BOOK REVIEW: Berkeley Noir

Steven Finacom
Saturday June 13, 2020 - 12:13:00 PM

The astonishing and ever-changing events of the first half of 2020—the COVID-19 pandemic and attendant economic collapse, the rapid resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the debate over the direction of policing and racial relations, the twists and turns of politics as we approach both a momentous and fraught national election—all of these events will ultimately produce not just history but powerful, and probably disturbing, fiction.

If you want to get a head start on dark reading about our times during “shelter in place”, there’s a new book out filled with mystery and noir fiction set in contemporary Berkeley. Berkeley Noir is an anthology edited by Jerry Thompson and Owen Hill and the latest work of fiction set in Berkeley in a long and distinguished literary history that goes back to the 19th century

Although it appears there were some advance readings in 2019 the book was published in 2020 and the introduction is dated February, 2020. I found online mention of some scheduled publicity events and readings that were cancelled after the COVID-19 crisis and “shelter in place” began.

The “Noir Anthology” series is published by Akashic Books, based in Brooklyn, and there have been dozens of books, each focused on dark doings in a specific city or region. There are already San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz Noir anthologies. -more-


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, June 14-21

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday June 13, 2020 - 11:45:00 AM

Worth Noting:

The City libraries are still closed, Book-drops are open check link for services and answers to common questions

Monday – Agenda Committee 2:30 pm includes major proposals for the June 30 Regular City Council meeting item 26 from Cheryl Davila (author) and Ben Bartlett Declaration of Racism as a Public Emergency with actions, 29. From Droste,(author) Robinson and Kesarwani to reorganize the boards and commissions under City Departments and dissolve and/or combine so final number is greatly reduced

Monday and Wednesday - Police Review Commission Use of Force Subcommittee 5:30 pm

Tuesday City Council starts at 2:30 pm budget, 5 pm Closed session, 6 pm Regular Session. The items carried over from June 9 are listed as A. – E.

Thursday – City Council Budget Committee 10 am

Design Review Communication 7 pm from Steve Finacom provides the basis for thoughtful elements of design for livability.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

March for Black Lives Matter, 11 am - 2 pm, meet at Rockridge BART Station, Plan: 11 am program led by Oakland leaders, 12 noon march to Sproul Plaza, followed by program led by Berkeley leaders

Town Hall from the Mayor at 12 noon, Watch live at or since there is no live interchange with the public watch anytime on the Mayor’s YouTube site

Sunday, June 14, 2020

No City meetings or events found

Monday, June 15, 2020

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


Teleconference: 669-900-9128, Meeting ID: 873 1410 6547

Agenda planning for June 30 Regular City Council meeting: CONSENT: 6. Reaffirm Investment Policies, 7. FY2021 Appropriations Limit $284,280,447, 8. Grant Agreement Amendment: Alameda County Coordinated Entry System (CES) Grant, 9. Mental Health Services Act Contract Amendment: Covenant House (YEAH), 10. Contract Amendments: Mental Health Services Act, Prevention and Early Intervention, 11. Contract Amendment with BOSS (Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, 16. Support Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s legislation to establish a US Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, -more-

Back Stories



Not Just About the Money

Public Comment

New: Defunding the Police Steve Martinot 06-15-2020

The Unemployment Issue: The Good News Is Really Bad News Harry Brill 06-12-2020

On Your Mark, Get Set, Chaos Carol Denney 06-13-2020


Cover Your Face: The Covid-19 Pandemic Isn’t Over Kelly Hammargren, R.N. 06-13-2020


THE PUBLIC EYE: Trump’s Three Bets Bob Burnett 06-12-2020

ECLECTIC RANT:A Recession, Protests & a Pandemic: Trying to Reconcile the Irreconcilable Ralph E. Stone 06-13-2020

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 06-12-2020

Arts & Events

BOOK REVIEW: Berkeley Noir Steven Finacom 06-13-2020

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, June 14-21 Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 06-13-2020