The Week




Only 18 Months to Get Ready for the Next Berkeley Election

Becky O'Malley
Friday June 07, 2019 - 04:40:00 PM

Oy veh. The next election is only about 18 months away. Thanks primarily to the Democratic Party apparatus which controlled the City of Berkeley government for a couple of decades under Mayor Tom Bates, local elections now coincide with the biennial state and national elections, and local officials have four year terms. What this means in practice, whatever the intent of the councilmembers who set up the current rules, is that many voters now show up at the polls in November who have only the vaguest idea of what the local issues are, let alone who the candidates might be. -more-

Public Comment

Open Letter to the Berkeley City Council Regarding the Homeless Crisis

Marcia Poole
Friday June 07, 2019 - 02:37:00 PM

I have copied you on an email that has been sent out by Barbara Brust regarding the cruelty with how Berkeley handles its homeless crisis. Our homeless are Berkeley's Economic Refugees and I think they deserve all the care, consideration and compassion that we can deliver.

A particular case in point is Mama Chrystal and her family. They were evicted from their little tent encampment recently because another group, who had set up hundreds of yards away from theirs and was not affiliated with them at all, caused a fire at that encampment. Instead of directing disciplinary action at the other people who caused it and at their location, the police evicted Mama Chrystal and her family. This was from the spot that Jesse had said she could set up her camp. -more-

Beverly Hillbillies Arrive in London

Tejinder Uberoi
Sunday June 09, 2019 - 08:03:00 PM

The American President arrived in the UK carrying his trash bag of insults which he delivered with relish in sharp contrast to his host’s civility and decorum.

His outrageous comments calling the London mayor a “stone cold loser”, the leader of the opposition party “somewhat of a negative force” and downplayed tens of thousands of protesters as “fake news”.

He shamelessly capitalized on his host’s hospitality by including his children in state dinners which intensified revulsion of the US premier and his crime family. Feeding off the trough of British hospitality was a total embarrassment. The timing of his visit was poorly planned. Mrs. May is still in shock and a lame duck, her successor is unknown and the country is deeply divided over Brexit.

The Brits renowned for their biting wit did not disappoint. The centerpiece of their protests was a giant balloon showing Trump as a scowling baby wearing a diaper and clutching a cellphone,

Perhaps my favorite was a banner “make America Great again – impeach Trump” which pretty much summed up British sentiments about their prickly visitor. -more-

Open Letter to the Berkeley City Council About Accessibility and Commission Meetings

Mary Behm-Steinberg
Friday June 07, 2019 - 05:17:00 PM

I recently had to be out of town for family matters on the night of a Commission meeting, and I was surprised to learn that Commissioners are no longer able to participate remotely, though they were before. I and many other people with disabilities, work very, very hard to stay informed on the tremendous efforts of other Commissioners, and we do our homework, so we have a lot to contribute. Personally, I have far fewer hours than most people, because I have to spend so much time sick in bed. I don't make a dime for trying to serve my community, and sometimes, it costs me money. So while I'm sure it wasn't your intention in to limit access for people who are physically challenged and their caregivers when you revised the commissioners' handbook, sadly, that is the end result.

I urge you to reconsider that and consider that if you want to be truly inclusive, people with disabilities must be proportionally represented in appointed bodies, and reasonable accommodations must be made. I see the machines that are used for conference calls just lying on tables collecting dust. I'm puzzled as to why this option would have been taken off the table to begin with.

Moreover, Commission meetings should as a matter of course be recorded. As you all know, change is happening at a breakneck pace, and it's impossible even for able-bodied people to be in 3 places at once. A truly open and inclusive city government should be recording public meetings for anyone, especially now, when so many are occurring simultaneously.

I appreciate that you're all working very hard, and this is overwhelming. Which is exactly why more community participation can help, especially in a community as rich in talent and diversity as ours. Please make this easy change promptly so that we can all contribute a Berkeley that's livable for everyone.


Canadian Genocide

Jagjit Singh
Sunday June 09, 2019 - 08:05:00 PM

A three-year investigation of the genocide of Indigenous women, and girls in Canada has finally been concluded. The callous treatment of these women and girls was made possible by the colonial mindset of the white invaders who regarded themselves superior and the local population ripe for exploitation. The report cited the common practice of forcing thousands of children to attend government-sponsored residential schools where they were horribly abused. Every effort was made to erase their culture from their names to their native customs. -more-


ELECTIC RANT:On the Virginia Beach Mass Shooting

Ralph E. Stone
Friday June 07, 2019 - 05:07:00 PM

I am saddened at the killing of 12 people in Virginia Beach by a disgruntled government employee who later died after a shootout with police. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Our Perspectives are Valid

Jack Bragen
Thursday June 06, 2019 - 12:36:00 PM

I've met psychiatrists who are very good at what they do, and who have been kind toward me. And I've met psychiatrists who presume. Specifically, they presume that those they treat for psychiatric illness are intrinsically inferior. Some of these have been rude, and others have kept the condescension milder. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday June 07, 2019 - 05:09:00 PM

The Post Office on Steroids

Pausing to collect my mail at the Berkeley Main Post Office last week, I was approached by a USPS employee pitching a new postal product. "You can check your incoming mail anytime, anywhere," he explained, eagerly thrusting a flyer into my hand.

With "Informed Delivery," he told me, I could now turn on my home computer or check my Smartphone to see what mail—if any—was waiting for me in my post office box. Images of my incoming mail would now be posted online—in color, even!

I can only think of one reason why I would want advanced notice about what mail was coming my way: I would no longer need to search a parking spot to check your PO box only to come away empty-handed. But, hold your ponies. There's a catch: "You'll get an email every day with a preview of mail and status updates on packages scheduled to arrive soon."

Did you spot it? The key phrase is "to arrive soon." The system will take snapshots of your incoming mail at some point prior to delivery but that does not guarantee that the mail will actually have made it inside your PO box. Also, the service is only for "letter-sized" mailings, so apparently you won't know whether your next issue of The Nation, Wired, or The New Yorker is about to arrive.


Arts & Events

Carl Orff’s Infectious CARMINA BURANA at San Francisco Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday June 07, 2019 - 05:15:00 PM

Anyone who turns up the nose disapprovingly at Carl Orff’s Carmina burana is someone I’d not wish to associate with. The music may rely on basic means – pulsating rhythms and extended ostinatos. But the music is infectious. It grabs you and won’t let go. Moreover, the words, sung in Latin and Middle High German, offer a lusty affirmation of life and love, tempered with the knowledge that the capricious wheel of fortune can always turn against us. -more-

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, June 9 - 16

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Sunday June 09, 2019 - 07:55:00 PM

Worth Noting:

Even though this email is thick without listing every meeting agenda item, it is worth reading or at least scanning what is before the City for discussion and action this coming week.

City Council Committees are meeting this week in the morning and afternoon on Monday and Thursday.

The City Council will vote on the FY 2020 and FY 2021 budgets on June 25. The proposed budget recommendations will be discussed at City Council on Tuesday, Police Review Commission on Wednesday, City Council Budget Committee on Thursday.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

No City meetings or events found

Monday, June 10, 2019 -more-