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Berkeley City Auditor Promises Review of Police Funding, COVID Response

Bay City News
Friday July 03, 2020 - 02:51:00 PM

Berkeley City Auditor Jenny Wong said in a statement Thursday that her office will audit the city's COVID-19 and disaster response and the police department budget in the next 12 months. -more-

Public Comment

Observations on People's Park

Zach Stewart, California Landscape Architect #1136
Friday July 03, 2020 - 03:55:00 PM

When Willard Park was cleared of buildings, the plan was to put a field house in the middle of the new open space. The neighbors killed that plan and interviewed ten or twelve landscape firms in the middle of summer in a very hot room. The candidate firms' slide shows were long and boring; pictures of gazebos, hardscape, playgrounds and other construction. -more-

Margy Wilkinson: Both Kind and Militant

Zippie Collins
Friday July 03, 2020 - 10:53:00 AM

Margy was a tremendous force for good all her life. I first met her in the 1960s, when she was instrumental in organizing the UC Clerical, Technical, and Professional Employees Union, which my husband and I joined and were active in. She was smart, principled, tough, compassionate, and highly effective. She never stopped fighting for changes that would really help working and poor people in a variety of contexts and organizations.

When KPFA and the Pacifica Foundation got into trouble and were at risk of going under, she stepped up to the plate as interim manager and turned this unwieldy ship around. She and Tony talked the talk, walked the walk, and lived the life consistently.

I saw her on June 6, as the BLM March went past her house, and we chatted briefly from a proper distance. I always enjoyed talking with her, getting her take on things, hearing what she thought might be a good way to bring about progress on an issue. She was so kindhearted as well as militant, and not everyone has both those qualities. I am so shocked and sad she’s gone—too soon—and will miss her a lot. -more-

MAGA and the Making of a Dog Whistle

Tim Hansen
Friday July 03, 2020 - 04:06:00 PM

MAGA--Make America Great Again--has become a dog whistle, a kind of code that conveys special meaning to a certain segment of the population. I don’t think this was always the case. In the beginning, Republican marketing created a sense that it was about bringing well paying jobs back to the US. This was to be accomplished by encouraging a return of overseas manufacturing and by removing environmental controls that some thought drove manufacturing out. It was a cry to reverse the shrinking of the middle class and to create greater economic equality for everyone. Then they asked the question: “What have you got to lose?” It was very good marketing. -more-

Trump and Pence Must Resign

Jagjit Singh
Friday July 03, 2020 - 04:02:00 PM

In a major escalation to undermine US peace initiatives in Afghanistan, the world press has released bombshell reports that Moscow is offering bounties to Taliban fighters to kill Americans and their coalition partners. US intelligence alerted President Trump and Vice President Pence in late March of Russian meddling in Afghanistan but much like their lack of response to the Covid pandemic, they chose to remain silent. It is appalling that the President seems to place a higher premium on maintaining his dark friendship with the wily Putin than the safety of our troops. Former National Security Adviser John Bolton blasted President Trump’s lack of response. Every American should be outraged at Trump deafening silence. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed growing anxiety that the President has being severely compromised by Moscow. The sordid details of Putin and Trump’s alliance were first revealed by former British MI6 spy, Christopher Steel. -more-

Rename Berkeley

Robert O'Brien
Friday July 03, 2020 - 09:13:00 PM

According to Wikipedia, George Berkeley (12 March 1685 – 14 January 1753), for whom your city and University are named after, was a slave owner at his Whitehall Plantation in Middletown, Rhode Island. In 1728, “He purchased several slaves to work the plantation.” I demand that you remove his name and any statues from your city and from the university. -more-


A Heart for Any Fate

Becky O'Malley
Friday July 03, 2020 - 12:28:00 PM

As one of the smallish number of surviving members of the pre-boomer generation, I was encouraged to memorize poetry in elementary school. This verse from Longfellow’s Psalm of Life stuck with me, even though almost everything about it went out of style in the many decades since I was in Grade 5:

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.

First, of course, it needs to be de-gendered: “Lives of great ones all remind us…”

Then, rhyming? Surely not. Another aspect of poetry that was not only abandoned but almost forbidden in my lifetime. Though, thanks to rap culture, rhyme is once more appreciated in some circles, so let it be.

Then there’s that moral. Poems seldom have morals anymore, especially not like this one:

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

In other words,it’s a thoroughly old-fashioned poem, expressing an obsolete optimism not often seen in this modern world of woe.

So why did it spring to mind when I got the text message telling me that Margy Wilkinson had died?

Because she exemplified everything that the rest of us can only aspire to. Wherever she was, whatever was happening around her, she was “up and doing”.

She and her husband were what might be called radical royalty, if that wasn’t such a contradiction in terms. The savage red-baiting their respective parents encountered in the pursuit of social justice in the 1940s and 1950s was memorialized in the obituaries Tony and Margy wrote for their mothers, both of whom died in Berkeley. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE: Happy Lemming Day

Friday July 03, 2020 - 10:58:00 AM

Saturday is America's favorite summer holiday, Independence Day. In normal times, we celebrate the fourth of July with backyard barbecues or ballpark outings or beach parties. This year, because of the pandemic, most of us will "celebrate" by sheltering in place. Fortunately, on the third of July, Donald Trump will inaugurate a new national holiday, "Lemming Day." -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Expectations of Mentally Ill Completely Different vs. Non-Disabled

Jack Bragen
Friday July 03, 2020 - 03:52:00 PM

The mental health treatment system, composed of the people being treated for a psychiatric condition and those treating us, could be seen as a sub-society; it would be a small segment of society that can be distinguished from the mainstream of those who work at professional and/or union jobs, as well as the affluent, as well as undocumented workers.

Within this sub-society of mentally ill people and their practitioners, the often-unspoken rules of behavior and the expectations are substantially different from the rules and expectations in other areas of life.

Mentally ill people are taught helplessness. Psychotherapists have a great deal of verbal agility, and they use it to steer the thinking of the consumer toward beliefs of generalized impotence. Medication plays a role in this. Psych meds do a lot to make clients' minds malleable. Many mentally ill people do not have the same level of psychological defenses as the average person. The therapists know how to take advantage of gaps in our defenses, whether they are produced by being medicated, or whether they arise from other causes.

When we are taught helplessness, we become easier to supervise, easier to keep corralled, and less a potential source of problems for the greater society. Most of us are not potentially a threat to people. Yet people do not want us showing up at Starbuck's during the morning busy hours and dancing shirtless. (This scenario is not intended to ostracize mentally ill people. I have heard of a man who got into trouble for doing just that, at a business.) -more-

Trump and Right-Wing Sources Help the Unabated Spread of COVID-19

Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 03, 2020 - 04:07:00 PM

In April 2020, The Harvard Kennedy School published a research article, The Relation between Media Consumption and Misinformation at the Outset of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic in the US. The Article shows that Americans who relied on right-wing sources like Fox News, Breitbart News, One, America News, The Drudge Report or Rush Limbaugh, received misinformation about the pandemic, entertained conspiracy theories and discouraged them from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others from the virus. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday July 03, 2020 - 04:01:00 PM

Six Months Left?

The Chronicle's biggest story of the week (if not the Millennium) was buried at the bottom of the Sporting Green.

The lead item in the June 28 edition of the Earthweek column read: "The International Energy Agency in Paris has warned that world leaders have only six months to take measures to control carbon emissions before a post-shutdown recovery brings a surge in greenhouse gasses that may be impossible to curb."

With wildfires (fed by 100-plus-degree temperatures) devouring Siberia, we're running out of time. Al Gore once asked: "Can't you hear what Mother Nature is screaming at you?" Well, today, Mother Nature isn't just screaming, she's shrieking in terror. We need a Green New Deal to replace the Grim Old Deal and its unsustainable addictions to carbon combustion, resource consumption, poisonous pollution, and endless war.

A 'Green Stimulus' Bill: Pelosi to the Rescue

According to a Pew Research Center poll, two-thirds of Americans want the government to do more to address the climate catastrophe. A Data for Progress poll in May found that 58% of Americans want to abandon coal, gas, and oil for 100% clean energy. (The breakdown is 76% of Democrats, 59% of Independents, and $38% of Republicans.)

The Democrats are listening—and it's no longer just the Green New Deal Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has unveiled a 500-page proposal that has been called the "most detailed climate plan in US political history." A letter signed by 59 House Democrats is calling for a host of Green Deal provisions in a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill and Pelosi has committed to eliminating all planet-cooking emissions by 2050.

City Scofflaws Unmasked -more-


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, July 5-12

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday July 04, 2020 - 11:07:00 AM

Worth Noting:

There are eleven City meetings - key meetings are highlighted here

Monday – The City Council Public Safety Committee 10:30 am will be reviewing ordinances and proposals related to policing. Given the content of the Police Review Commission meetings on Police Use of Force this is worth your attention.

Tuesday – The City Council 4 pm meeting is on the telecom ordinance and the 6 pm meeting includes the appeal of the ZAB decision to deny telecom equipment at the Berryman Reservoir.

Wednesday – The Police Review Commission, 7 pm will be discussing and taking action on the Use of Force Policy and making recommendations on the proposals on policing for the July 14 City Council meeting.

Berkeley Police - On July 14, the City Council will be taking up the proposals on policing. All the initiatives are listed under item 18 in the July 14 agenda. The proposed agenda and link for the meeting follows the daily calendar for the coming week.

Covid-19 – In a news report that most Californians probably missed, the Guardian published the Covid-19 healthcare worker death toll: 735. The Guardian and Kaiser Health News have joined in a project to identify every US medical worker who dies helping patients during the pandemic. In less than 6 months 735 healthcare workers have lost their lives trying to save the lives of people sick with Covid-19. It is a stark contrast to people complaining about wearing a mask/facial covering when out in public or frolicking on the beach or crowding together inside.

The report doesn’t include the healthcare workers who survive Covid-19 and are left with lingering and life changing complications. There are ferocious complications that can strike: damage to the lungs, kidneys, heart, and neurologic disorders of depression, delirium, decline in cognition to name a few and those don’t just land on the elderly. There is much left to learn about this virus. No one should stride around with an attitude of “I’ll just get Covid-19 and be done with it.” It is not even known if those who have been infected with Covid-19 and are lucky enough to have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic will have lasting immunity

The number of new Covid-19 infections is surging. This is no time to get careless.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

No City meetings or events found

Monday, July 6, 2020 -more-

Back Stories



A Heart for Any Fate 07-03-2020

Public Comment

Observations on People's Park Zach Stewart, California Landscape Architect #1136 07-03-2020

Margy Wilkinson: Both Kind and Militant Zippie Collins 07-03-2020

MAGA and the Making of a Dog Whistle Tim Hansen 07-03-2020

Trump and Pence Must Resign Jagjit Singh 07-03-2020

Rename Berkeley Robert O'Brien 07-03-2020


Berkeley City Auditor Promises Review of Police Funding, COVID Response Bay City News 07-03-2020


THE PUBLIC EYE: Happy Lemming Day 07-03-2020

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Expectations of Mentally Ill Completely Different vs. Non-Disabled Jack Bragen 07-03-2020

Trump and Right-Wing Sources Help the Unabated Spread of COVID-19 Ralph E. Stone 07-03-2020

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces Gar Smith 07-03-2020

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, July 5-12 Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition 07-04-2020