Public Comment

What Is REALLY Killing Drug Users?

Harry Brill
Friday July 12, 2019 - 12:53:00 PM

The alleged problem of drug overdosing has justifiably received lots of attention. According to the official count over 70,000 drug users die each year. Hundreds of thousands of lives have already been lost. And unless very strict no nonsense measures are taken, the numbers who will be buried will grow.

The drug problem is certainly related to socioeconomic status, particularly as a result of poverty and unemployment. That is why some refer to the drug habit as a disease of despair. Also, there are many who become hooked on the habit to cope with pain regardless of their class status. Whatever, we should not jump to the conclusion that it is only the overdose that is responsible for the death of drug users. The reason that the overdosing explanation is inadequate is apparent when we take a look at how these deaths are counted. -more-


Learning How Not to Repeat the Past

Becky O'Malley
Friday July 12, 2019 - 01:02:00 PM

The ICE raids threatened for this weekend, coupled with the reports of children incarcerated in, yes, concentration camps, have produced a widespread feeling of powerlessness among people of goodwill. It might make you feel better, but hollering in front of Dianne Feinstein’s office will not stop the raids or re-unite any children with their families.

Why do we feel increasingly desperate? Those of us who have been around for a while can remember many slippery slopes where bad situations got much worse without anyone exactly noticing what was happening. Pete Seeger captured the trajectory during the Vietnam War: “waist deep in the Big Muddy”. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE : Weaponizing Water in South Asia

Conn Hallinan
Saturday July 13, 2019 - 03:28:00 PM

During the faceoff earlier this year between India and Pakistan over a terrorist attack that killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir, New Delhi made an existential threat to Islamabad. The weapon was not India’s considerable nuclear arsenal, but one still capable of inflicting ruinous destruction: water. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The Economy and the Election

Bob Burnett
Friday July 12, 2019 - 11:52:00 AM

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll found that Donald Trump's approval rating had risen to 44 percent. The uptick was produced by sentiment regarding Trump's handling of the economy; 51 percent saw this as a positive. What's the real story? And what can we expect as we barrel towards the 2020 presidential election?

The Post poll was based upon 1008 interviews. It found that while 44 percent of respondents approved of the President (32 percent strongly), 53 percent disapproved (45 percent strongly). 65 percent characterized Trump as acting "unpresidential." -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: North Korea’s latest propaganda coup

Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 12, 2019 - 11:56:00 AM

On June 30, Trump warmly embraced Kim Jong Un, a third-generation tyrant who starves and imprisons his own people. Mr. "Art of the Deal" sure loves his dictators. Then Trump stepped into North Korea with Kim becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so. It was a made-for-TV moment for the reality show-groomed president.

What will be lost in the expected media show is that negotiations for North Korea’s nuclear disarmament will still be stalled. Kim is again stringing Trump along while Trump continues to embarrass himself and this country.

President Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un did sign a document which declared, among other things, an intention to "work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” However the document provided no details or a timeline. It has been over a year since the Singapore summit and North Korea has done nothing toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. -more-


Jack Bragen
Saturday July 13, 2019 - 11:21:00 AM

Self-Esteem is obtainable through thought processes. And obtaining it by that method is easier than by trying to meet impossible standards. Self-esteem and self-appreciation are the result of deciding that you are good enough. You could be a multimillionaire and still lack the ability to like yourself. You could have a four-figure income and be just fine with yourself. It is the thought processes that determine this. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday July 12, 2019 - 12:47:00 PM

Lost Pet Alert

One of the more unusual "lost pet" posters is now on display in North Berkeley. Stanley, the pet in question, is described as "a green parakeet" who (happily) "likes humans" but (sadly) "startles easily."

Stanley was last seen at Shattuck and Cedar on June 26 when he apparently decided to wing it. According to the wanted poster, the errant parakeet was last seen "headed for Spruce Street."

The poster contains the following advice: "If found, please try to get him in a car, with the windows up, or a room, then call (510) 379-8024 or (510) 910-6690."

Good luck, Stanley.

Chronic Disorder?

Readers of the SF Chronicle (myself among them) are disconsolate that we will ne'er more be reading the announcement "Leah Garchik will return." Bon voyage after 40-plus years.



The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, July 14-28

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday July 13, 2019 - 11:19:00 AM

Worth Noting and Showing Up:

With Only two more City Council meetings before summer recess, the week ahead is packed.
Monday at 2:30 pm is a special Council Agenda with only 2 items, revisions to City Council procedure rules and the scope of the City Manager's evaluation.

Tuesday evening at 6 pm the City Council meeting item C under action is the Ordinance prohibiting natural gas infrastructure in new construction. The same evening on consent is direction for updating the Wireless Ordinance and item B is the Framework for Affordable Housing.
Wednesday at noon the Council Safety Committee is taking up a proposed ordinance on prohibiting use of facial recognition technology - San Francisco banned facial recognition technology in May, Oakland did the same in June.
Thursday the Council Land Use Committee meets at 10:30 am and in the evening the Design Review Committee takes up discussion of a long overdue appraisal of best practices and project review - just exactly how well have approved multi-unit mixed-use projects worked for the people living in them.
The July 23 Council agenda is available for comment and follows the weekly list of meetings.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Streets Berkeley Downtown, 11 am – 6 pm,

Street Closures, 9 am – 7 pm for Sunday Streets, Shattuck closed from University to Channing and Durant closed from Shattuck to Fulton

Monday, June 15, 2019

Agenda and Rules Committee, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm, 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Room, Agenda: 2. Revisions of City Council Rules of Procedure and Order, 3. Development of Performance Evaluation of the City Manager.

Measure O Bond Oversight Committee, 7 pm, at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 5. Priorities for the 2019 Housing Trust Fund Requests for Proposals

Peace and Justice Commission, 7 pm at 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor Cypress Room, Agenda: 7. Resolution in support of protections from deportation and path to permanent residency, 8. Non-citizen voting initiative

Tax the Rich Rally, with music by Occupella, 5 – 6 pm at the Top of Solano in front of the Closed Oaks Theater, Rain/Extreme Heat Cancels

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Berkeley City Council, at 1231 Addison Street, BUSD Board Room,

Closed Session, 5 pm, Agenda: Conference with Labor Negotiators, Berkeley Police Association, Berkeley fire Fighters Association

Regular Session, 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Agenda: CONSENT: 1. Gender Neutral Language, 2. $376,430 contract with Gehl Studio for Civic Center Vision and Implementation Plan, 3. Add $100,000 to Bellingham contract (total $209,000) plus add PO $100,000 (total $200,000) to replace additional Finger Docks at Berkeley Marina, 4. Amend lease agreement with Sasha Shamszad for 841 Folger St/3000 7th St for Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Traffic and Parking enforcement for 6 months with month to month lease to follow ($16,651.65/mo), 5. Update Sewer System Management Plan, 6. Stormwater Fee, 7. Letters of Support to Eliminate Student Debt SB 806 aka College for All Act of 2017, 8. Presentation by PG&E, 9. Referral to City Manager to amend City’s Wireless Telecommunications Ordinance and Aesthetic Guidelines, 10. Support CA AB 302 Parking for Homeless Community College students, 11. Support AB 1076 Automatic Relief of Criminal Records, 12. Make City Hall a voting Center for 2020 under 2016 CA Voter Choice Act – ballots mailed to all voters, allow for same day registration, early voting – will result in decrease in voting locations, ACTION: A.a.&b. Role Peace and Justice Commission as advisory to Socially Responsible Investment and Procurement, B. Framework for Berkeley’s Affordable Housing, C. Adopt an Ordinance Prohibiting Natural Gas Infrastructure in New Buildings, 13. Annual Housing Pipeline Report, 14. Opportunity Zone Project Guidelines, INFORMATION REPORTS: 15. Improve Fire Safety Standards for Rebuilt Fire-Damaged Structures, 16. Community Environmental Advisory Commission (CEAC) 2019 Work Plan, 17. Public Works Commission 2020 Work Plan.

Traffic Circle Policy Task Force Operation and Maintenance Subcommittee, 7:30 pm, at 2000 University Au Coquelet, Agenda: 2. O&M primary elements, 3. Best Practices

Landmarks Preservation Commission, 12 – 1:30 pm at 1947 Center St, Multipurpose Room, Basement, Agenda: Webinar Broadcast – Effective Community Advocacy

Wednesday, June 17, 2019

City Council Public Safety Committee, 12 pm, 1947 Center, Basement Multi-purpose Room, Agenda: 2. Adopt an Ordinance Amending Berkeley Municipal Chapter 2.99 to Prohibit City Use of Facial Recognition Technology, 3. Alternative Compliance Measures to Achieve Fire Safety in Existing Live/Work Spaces, 4. Decriminalizing Entheogenic Plants,

Commission on Aging, 1 – 3 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 4. Presentation Aging Services Update, 7. Senior Housing Crisis, 8. Risks to Seniors and Disabled during Wildfire-Safety related power outages, 9. Homelessness Among the Elderly,

Commission on Labor, 7 – 9 pm at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: Presentation AB 5 which reinforces CA Court decision on whether workers classified as employee or independent contractor, 5.2. Homeless Youth, 3. Fair Workweek requirements, 4. Paid Family Leave, 5. Equal Pay Update, 6. Medicare for All Act.

Human Welfare & Community Action Commission, 7 – 9 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 2. Easy Does It – Disability Services, 4. 1000 Person Plan to Address Homelessness, 5. Path to End Homelessness, Council Framework for Affordable Housing, 10. Disabled Access in high-density dorridors, 11. Update on West Berkeley Air Quality

Planning Commission, 7 – 10 pm at 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, Agenda: 9. GreenTRIP Presentation, 10. Parking Reform Discussion, 11. Public Hearing on Comprehensive Cannabis Zoning Amendments

Thursday, June 18, 2019

City Council Land Use, Housing & Economic Development Committee, 10:30 am, 2180 Milvia, 1st Floor Cypress Room, Agenda: 3. Amnesty Program for Legalizing Unpermitted Dwelling Units, 4. Prioritizing Affordable Housing for Homeless, 5. Ordinance adding new Chapter 9.50 requiring Legal Rights for Legal Tender, 6. Ronald V. Dellums Fair Chance Access to Housing and Public Health and Safety Ordinance.,_Housing___Economic_Development.aspx

City Council Facilities, Infrastructure, Transportation, Environment & Sustainability Committee, 2 pm, at 2180 Milvia, 6th Floor Redwood Room, Agenda: 2a.&b. Recommendations for a Fossil Free Berkeley, 3. Considering Multi-year Bidding Processes for Street Paving,_Infrastructure,_Transportation,_Environment,___Sustainability.aspx

Design Review Committee, 7 – 10 pm at 1947 Center St, Basement Multi-purpose Room, 2100 San Pablo Ave – demolish existing 1-story Commercial building, construct 4-story, 52 ft, mixed use 96 unit residential care facilitywith 2491 sq ft commercial space, 720 sq ft wellness center/club, 26 parking spaces, 12 bicycle spaces, committee decision

2352 Shattuck – demolish two existing commercial buildings, split lot, construct two 8-story, mixed use with 206 units (including 15 very low income units), 11,460 sq ft commercial space, 18,530 usable open space, 93 parking spaces, majority recommendations

2435 San Pablo – construct 4-story mixed-use building with ground floor live-work and residential lobby, 48 private rooms with communal kitchens on each residential floor, rooftop terraces on 3rd and 4th floors, 56 bicycle spaces,

Discussion of DRC best practices and project review.

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, 7 – 11 pm, 1231 Addison St, No Agenda Posted

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Product Panel of Experts, 6:30 – 9 pm at 2939 Ellis St, South Berkeley Senior Center, NO Agenda posted

Transportation Commission, 7 – 10 pm at 1326 Allston Way, Corp Yard, Building A Willow Room, Agenda: 1. Electric Mobility Roadmap Update, 2. Modifications at Dwight and California intersection, 3. At 8:30 pm BART Presentation – North Berkeley BART station active access improvements project, 4. Fossil Free Berkeley, 5. Commission Goals, 6. Stop Sign Warrants

Friday, June 19, 2019

No City meetings or events found

Saturday, June 20, 2019

No City meetings or events found

Sunday, June 21, 2019

No City meetings or events found


Berkeley City Council July 23 meeting available for comment, email CONSENT: 1. Expand control of flavored tobacco, 3. 2020 Council meeting schedule, 5. Affordable Housing - Use a portion of tax-exempt bonds for reimbursement of expenditures for the projects – expected obligation $175 million, 6. Animal Care Mutual Aid in Disasters, 7. RFP, 8. Amend contract with Resource Development Assoc (RDA) total $54,500 to build database for Mental Health Division Homeless Outreach and Treatment Team (HOTT), 9. Mental Health Services Act Annual Update, 10. Amend contract with Merritt Hawkins adding $100,000 (total $149,990) for recruitment of psychiatrist, 11. Amend 7 contracts increasing total to $2,162,700 thru June 30, 2020 for Mental Health Services Act Community Services, Supports, Prevention and Early Intervention, 12. 5 yr contract for $1,363,735 with AMCS for Zero Waste Management Software System, 13. 5 yr contract for $487,249 with Assetworks for a Fleet Management Software 14. Add $42,216 (total $76,811) to Communication Strategies contract for developing requirements and needs assessment for Voice over IP support and maintenance, 15. Special use permit with US Forest Service for Tuolumne Camp, 16. $365,000 contract with Left Coast Land Clearing for hazard mitigation Tuolumne Camp, 17. $584,354 contract with Leslie Heavy Haul, LLC for Tuolumne Camp Tree Hazard Mitigation, 18. Contract for $468,706 and $70,000 Contingency (total $538,706) with McNabb Construction, Inc for George Florence Park Playground Renovation – 2121 Tenth St, 19. Grant Application – Trees Build Community Program, 20. Amend Contract add $55,000 total $250,000 Asphalt Repairs-Resurface City Parks, 22. Authorize modification of Measure T1 Phase 1 project list removing King School Park Bioswale project and adding 13 priority sites identified by Green Infrastructure plan (6/18/19) and Public Works Commission, 23. Selective Traffic Enforcement Program Grant, 24. 2019-202 Alcoholic Beverage Control Grant, 25. Add $50,000 and extend contract to 6/30/21 with Restoration Management Co. for on-call remediation and restoration services, 26. 3 yr contract $450,000 with Stockton Tri Industries for Front Loading and Rear Loading Container Purchase, 28. . Increase amended contract by $31,161 (total $351,317 plus $6,000 contingency) with W.A. Rose Construction for exterior Stucco Demolition Work at the Central Library, 29. Defendant’s Side Agreement to facilitate Consent Decree Compliance, 30. Preferential Parking Permit Update, 31. Prioritize street light replacement and street improvements by high-collision street first, 32. Transfer $550,000 to Rent Board to amend contracts with Eviction Dense Center and East Bay Law Center and anti-displacement services for low and moderate-income Berkeley residents, 33. . Designate Ohlone Greenway and West Street Bike Path as linear City Parks, 34. Support CA SB 464 Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth, 35. Support AB 1279 Housing development, 36. Amendments to Berkeley Election Reform Act, 37. Substantial Amendments to Annual Action Plans for Use of Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Funds allocating maximum allowable amount towards shelter and street outreach and away from rapid rehousing, 38. 2-week RV Permitting Process – allows one time/year 2-week permit, 39. ID Locations for Managed Safe RV Parking on City-Owned Land, Development of 3-month “Grace Period” Permit Program, and request that State Lands Commission Permit Temporary Safe Parking Site at Berkeley Waterfront, 40. Update on BPD Stop Data Collection, Data Analysis and Community Engagement, 41. Wage Theft Prevention,


Public Hearings Scheduled – Land Use Appeals

2325 Sixth St (single family residence) – public hearing 9/24/2019

Notice of Decision (NOD) With End of Appeal Period

1111 Allston Way (single family dwelling) – 7-8-2019

2198 San Pablo Ave (new mixed-use development) – 7-8-2019

0 Euclid Ave- Berryman Reservoir (denial of telecom facility)

Landmarks Preservation Ordinance Notice of Decision (NOD)

1619 Walnut

1915 Fourth St

2580 Bancroft

Remanded to ZAB or LPC With 90-Day Deadline

1155-73 Hearst (develop 2 parcels) – referred back to City Council – to be scheduled

2701 Shattuck (construct 5-story mixed-use building) – ZAB 6-30-2019


Sept 17 – Arts and Culture Plan, Zero Waste Rate Review, Adeline Corridor Plan

Oct 22 – Berkeley’s 2020 Vision Update, Census 2020 Update, Short term Rentals

Nov 5 - Transfer Station Feasibility Study, Vision Zero Action Plan,

Unscheduled – Cannabis Health Considerations


Referral Response: Explore Grant Writing Services


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. and in the Berkeley Daily Planet under activist’s calendar

When notices of meetings are found that are posted after Friday 5:00 pm they are added to the website schedule and preceded by LATE ENTRY -more-

Back Stories



Learning How Not to Repeat the Past 07-12-2019

Public Comment

What Is REALLY Killing Drug Users? Harry Brill 07-12-2019


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE : Weaponizing Water in South Asia Conn Hallinan 07-13-2019

THE PUBLIC EYE: The Economy and the Election Bob Burnett 07-12-2019

ECLECTIC RANT: North Korea’s latest propaganda coup Ralph E. Stone 07-12-2019

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Random Musings Jack Bragen 07-13-2019

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 07-12-2019

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, July 14-28 Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 07-13-2019