This Thursday, June 2nd, is the big one: the all-important City Council vote on zoning the BART stations. On Thursday, please be a part of it - it's our last chance to influence the council’s vote. Here's what to do:
At 4:45 PM attend an outdoor rally of all the Berkeley neighborhood groups that share our concerns, including North Berkeley Neighborhood Alliance, Friends of Adeline, Neighbors Not Towers, and Berkeley Together. There will be speakers (including famed artist Mildred Howard, whose mother led the fight to get BART undergrounded in Berkeley), signs, slogans to chant, and a creative surprise presentation. Don't miss it! Come take photos/videos, and post them to your favorite social media.
Where: 1231 Addison Street, in front of where the City Council meets. 1231 Addison is at the back of the Berkeley Unified School District building and is just west of Bonar St. It is one block south of University Ave.
2. Attend the 6 PM City Council meeting!
It will be a long evening, so be prepared. There are two ways you can attend:
In person: Enter the meeting room at 1232 Addison and wait to speak. Arrive early and reserve a seat in the meeting room (bring a sweater or something to hold your seat!). If you're attending the rally, do this before the rally starts.
Proof of up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination or verified negative COVID-19 test is required, as well as wearing a mask, for in-person attendance.
Online: Join online, raise your hand, have dinner and watch the Warriors while you wait your turn to speak.
Join the meeting from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or Android device: use this URL https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86518584336. To join by phone: Dial 1-669-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 (Toll Free) and enter Meeting ID: 865 1858 4336. If you wish to comment during the public comment portion of the agenda, Press *9 and wait to be recognized by the Chair. When you speak, say what street you live on and in which district. Rashi's district is District 1, Bartlett – district 3, Taplin – District 2, Harrison – District 4. Main points:
· Support zoning of 7 stories maximum height and 75 units per acre maximum density, as recommended by City Planning staff and required by AB2923. Zoning for 7 stories is a hard limit: Anything above 7 becomes high-rise, concrete and steel construction.
· Support contextual development. At the City's own "Visioning Event" held to get input from the community, 86% of participants did not want more than 5 stories, and the majority of those did not want more than 4. Even 7 stories is out of scale with the low rise neighborhood. The vast majority of Berkeleyans want low-rise housing at the stations! Represent the well-being of the people who elected you, not the interests of BART and big real estate developers.
· Support maximizing affordability. Because a high rise costs more to build, it must bring in more cash, which means predominantly market rate housing. We do NOT need more of that; we have a glut of expensive vacant apartments. We need affordable housing. Public land for the public good!
· Support green construction. Recent studies show that high rise steel and concrete buildings have a much more negative impact on the environment than low rise, wood frame construction. There is nothing green about building more than 7 stories.
· Don't surprise us. The South Berkeley community was shocked at the sudden addition of a story, without additional affordable housing, after years of community and city planning. No more "Adeline Corridor surprises"! The community has spoken loud and clear, please listen!
The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for Ashby and North Berkeley Stations Transit Oriented Development Zoning fails to apply its own methodology correctly and violates the CEQA guidelines regarding the emissions associated with construction, especially at the proposed heights. As a result, the FEIR falsely claims that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the proposed zoning do not pass a threshold of significance.
In fact, with errors corrected, the project's GHG impact will exceed the threshold of significance by quite a bit, requiring a fresh analysis of possible mitigation strategies. Fortunately, mitigation is feasible - but requires corrections to the FEIR.
Council should not approve the existing FEIR.
CEQA requires counting GHG emissions of building materials
The manufacture of building materials, especially steel and concrete, also including the technical infrastructure of a building (pipes and conduits) is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are counted as "embodied" in the resulting construction materials.
Emissions are accounted as embodied in construction materials by adding together:
The emissions spent extracting raw materials.Emissions for energy used while manufacturing materials. Emissions from the chemical transformation of materials during manufacturing, particularly in cement manufacturing. Emissions transferred to the material by the depreciation of the industrial machinary consumed during manufacture. There is an abundance of literature, including surveys of primary research, regarding the embodied costs of construction materials. There are no practical obstacles to estimating these costs in an EIR. The CEQA guidelines say, in fact, that those costs should be reported:
"Energy consuming equipment and processes which will be used Energy consuming equipment and processes which will be used during construction, operation and/or removal of the project. If appropriate, this discussion should consider the energy intensiveness of materials and equipment required for the projectduring construction, operation and/or removal of the project. If appropriate, this discussion should consider the energy intensiveness of materials and equipment required for the project." – CEQA Guidlines Appendix F
What the report found while ignoring construction materials
The Final EIR ignores the GHG emissions associated with building materials (the flawed reason for this is given in the Final EIR and is critically examined later in this document).
Even while ignoring a significant source of GHG emissions resulting from the project, the report claims that the project just scrapes by at, and not exceeding, the "threshold of significance" (meaning, the amount of emissions that would require deeper analysis of mitigation strategies in the EIR).
First, the report calculates that if the amount of project emissions per year, per resident or employee, falls at 1.2 metric tons per year, the emissions do not cross a threshold of significance.
Next, the report calculates (while ignoring building materials) that the projected emissions impact, amortized over 30 years, happens to be exactly 1.2 metric tons per year per served person (resident or employee). What a coincidence.
Emissions from construction materials are significant
If the 30-year amortized emissions associated with construction materials, per served person, on an annualized basis, exceed 100 kilograms (0.1 metric tons) , the project would imply a total 1.3 metric tons per person served per year: above the threshold of significance.
In fact, for structures whose primary structural elements are steel and concrete, low end estimates of embodied emissions in construction materials start around 200 kilograms per square meter of floor space – twice as much as what it would take to drive the project past the threshold of significant emissions.
Assuming a total 30 square meters of floor space per person served (including occupied space, common areas, and space associated with technical services), at 200kg per square meter, and amortized over 30 years, the project's annual footprint would rise by 200kg to a total of 1.4 metric tons per person served per year: 17% above the threshold of signifcance for almost 5,500 people.
The identified threshold of significance is too high
The report also fails at its own declared methodology by mistaking a 2030 emissions rate target with the target of emissions over 30 years. For example, project related emissions of even only 1.2 metric tons per person served, per year, is not at all compatible with the goals of the city and the state to lower emissions further every year thereafter, reaching approximately 0 in 2045.
This is to say that even at the 1.2 tons per year estimate that's in the report, the project crosses the threshold of significance.
Mitigations may be practical
Emissions reductions are frequently touted as one of the promary aims of the project and of so-called "transit oriented design" in particular.
BART and the city could require that specific proposals for the site, when applying the same emissions models as the EIR (though also correctly adding GHG emissions from construction materials) demonstrate footprints at or below 1.2 metric tons of emissions per served person per year by 2030, and fall appropriately quickly in subsequent years. This would lead to proposals making more appropriate (saner) selections of materials, heights, foundation requirements and so on.
A glaring problem in the FEIR replies
Comments on the Draft EIR included comments about the ommission of embodied carbon. These are discussed in "Topical Response C" of the FEIR, which begins:
Recurring comments on this topic are summarized below, with responses following each.
Some commenters suggested that the Draft EIR does not include an analysis of embodied carbon in building materials and other project components.
The FEIR responds with a flood of nonsense. It asserts that project evaluation does not require analysis of the impact of resources consumed citing CA Code of Regulations title 14, section 15126.2 which in fact says the opposite. It asserts that changes to the global scale concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere has no local ecological impact. It even asserts that since the emissions inventory for Berkeley in 2005 did not include amortized costs of the emissions of earlier construction, therefore no analysis should be performed of the emissions costs proposed new construction. The response, dressed in obscure citations and misleading language, is simply nonsense: a bluff.
In addition to that, if our goal is to implement existing law in a way that is consistent with protecting the survival of species, including our own, the embodied emissions of construction materials must be considered as it is known to be a very large portion of global emissions generally.
Is the 12+ story alternative environmentally superior?
The report fails to note the inevitable, large increase in per square meter embodied emissions costs of projects 12+ stories in height compared to alternatives such as high density, low rise alternatives. The per capita differences between low rise and high rise structures is very significant due to changes from lower carbon to higher carbon intensity construction materials.
The main finding of the EIR in advising Berkeley's choices must be rejected.
Conclusion and further issues
I've focussed on one critical but narrow issue: the omission of consideration of omissions embedded in construction materials. I've pointed out that the omission is significant.
The report also fails to consider critical climate adaptation concerns regarding heat islands, air flow, greenscape total area, site permeability, alternative uses of space in relation to improving sustainable transit access for all Berkeleyans, and timing relative to advances in efficiency.
If council wants a (tenuous) legal excuse to encourage development without a care in the world for its impacts on human survival, they ought approve the FEIR. Otherwise, they ought not.
A teen suspected of trying to recruit other students to participate in a school shooting or bombing at Berkeley High School was arrested this week after turning himself in, police said Wednesday.
Police received a tip on May 21 and searched the 16-year-old boy's home, where they found explosives components and assault rifles, several knives, and electronic items that could be used to create additional weapons, authorities said.
According to a news release from police, investigators from the youth services unit took over the investigation and detectives interviewed witnesses, reviewed evidence and eventually obtained a warrant for the teen's arrest.
Police also worked with Berkeley High staff and communicated with school district officials to keep them updated about safety information, police said.
The teen turned himself in to Berkeley police on Monday and was arrested on suspicion of possessing destructive device materials and threatening to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury.
"We recognize the impact this news may have on our community. School safety remains a high priority for the department," police said in the news release.
Police didn't release any other information about the suspect, or how many students he tried to involve.
The department has a school resource officer assigned to Berkeley High. In addition, all officers have access to a range of training and equipment that provide them the protection, skills and ability to rapidly respond to in-progress violence, police said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the department's Youth Services Unit at (510) 981-5715.
The Shattuck Cinemas are a cultural treasure for Berkeley residents and the wider East Bay. Pre-COVID, the Cinemas were drawing 275,00 to 300,000 ticket-buyers per year. In 2017, members of Save the Shattuck Cinemas gathered well over 4,000 signatures of movie goers with addresses from all over the East Bay—people attracted to spending time and money in our downtown thanks to the breadth and high quality of films to be seen at the Cinemas, unmatched by any other East Bay theater.
The Cinemas represent a model of the intelligent and economically successful repurposing of architecture to a new use, something this commission should particularly appreciate—the former Hink's Department Store into the Shattuck Cinemas, with 1920s movie palace Egyptian and Moroccan interiors including hand-painted murals and ten screening rooms.
The Cinemas have enlivened our downtown since 1984, bringing people in significant numbers to the streets and downtown cafes, restaurants, and shops as no residential high rise can do. And they enrich our cultural lives, not only with their beautifully-embellished interiors but in furtherance of the art of film. A great film cannot possibly be fully appreciated on a home screen or, I would add, in private. Film viewing has long been a communal experience. Neither the pandemic nor the advent of Netflix et al will displace the experience of seeing films with other viewers on a big screen.
I hope the Landmarks Preservation Commission will reject a demolition permit that would allow a Chicago developer to destroy our great movie theater and deprive current and future Berkeley residents of this enriching experience. The developer should be required to preserve the theaters intact and to build above them. This is the best way to serve the interests of the residents of Berkeley. Our elected representatives should not sacrifice our historical and cultural resources to provide additional residential units downtown, where we need commercial and cultural attractions, especially when the great majority of these units serve new high-income residents, not the below-median income residents who are being forced out of Berkeley by escalating housing costs.
Have you filled out your ballot? Berkeley Citizens' Action (BCA) did NOT do endorsements for this year's primary. Instead, we are sharing the endorsements and recommendations from the following sources. At the end of this email, you can find information about these sources.
Alameda County Democratic Party Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club Berkeley Progressive Alliance Alameda County Greens Oakland Space Cat Voters Margot Smith Sheila Jordan
Statewide and Alameda County Dems have endorsed along Democratic party lines. Margot’s recommendations are Democratic Party endorsements. For most of the state and federal offices, the Peace and Freedom and Green Parties have created a Left Unity Slate. In this email, Left Unity candidates are denoted with a star (*) after their name.
The Green Voter Guide and Oakland Space Cats note that Federal and some Statewide offices are fairly securely in the hands of Democrat Incumbents. However, please note the Secretary of State, State Controller and State Attorney General races are NOT held by incumbents. These are critical offices which must not go to a Republican! Your votes count.
Local races are especially important. Voter turn-out is generally low in Primary Elections, fewer people are making these important decisions. For District Attorney and Sheriff's races, the election could be decided June 7th. If a candidate gets 50% +1 of the vote, that candidate alone moves to the November general election. We need your vote.
Here is a summary of the recommendations we found:
U.S. Senator, both "On Ballot and Partial/Unexpired Term"
The US Senate seat is on the ballot twice: Alex Padilla was appointed to Kamala Harris's term when she became Vice President, so he must be elected by the voters to complete his current term. And, voters must choose who will get the second term. Padilla previously was twice elected Secretary of State. Democrats have endorsed Incumbent Senator Alex Padilla; Margot Smith will also vote for him.
Alameda County Greens and Oakland Space Cats recommend the Left Unity candidate John Thompson Parker*.
U.S. Representative, District 12:
Democrats endorse Barbara Lee. Margot Smith will vote for her.
Greens gives the nod to Glen Kaplan, "with reservations" which you can read about in the Green Voter Guide.
Statewide and AC Democrats, and Oakland Space Cat Voters as well as Margot Smith support Incumbent Gavin Newsom. The Irreverent Space Cats Voter Guide gives Newsom the thumbs up with their "Gold Plated Turd" award, saying Newsom assured passage of "Statewide Rent Control, and negotiated with the legislature to reduce the allowable rent increase, adding "if meh, then Luis Javier Rodriguez."
Luis Javier Rodriguez* is the candidate endorsed by Pace and Freedom and the Greens. Rodriguez is a Green Party member and a major figure in contemporary Chicano literature, as well as a community & urban peace activist.
Dems endorse incumbent Eleni Kounalakis, the first woman elected Lt. Governor of California, as does Margot Smith.
Greens, Peace & Freedom and Oakland Space Cat Voters recommend Mohammad Arif*, an immigrant legal advocate and chair of the Kern County Peace and Freedom party.
Shirley Nash Weber, the first Black state constitutional officer in California’s 170-year history, was nominated by Newsom and sworn in 2021. Dems and Margot Smith recommend her.
Sacramento area teacher and Green Party member Gary N. Blenner*, is recommended by The Greens, Peace & Freedom and Oakland Space Cats.
Malia Cohen, elected to the State Board of Equalization in 2018, its current chair, and the first African American woman on the Board, is now running for State Controller, since current controller Betty Yee is terming out. Dems endorse Malia Cohen, as does Margot Smith. The Greens, Peace & Freedom and Oakland Space Cats recommend long term Green Party member Laura Wells*.
Fiona Ma is running for her second term as State Treasurer. She is the first woman of color and the first woman Certified Public Accountant (CPA) elected to the position. Dems and Margot Smith endorse her. The Greens, Peace & Freedom and Space Cats endorse Peace and Freedom Party member Meghann Adams*.
Although Dems have held the office of attorney general since 1999, the LA Times calls this race, "The most contentious and closely watched California election in 2022."
Rob Bonta was appointed AG in 2021, after serving as Assembly member for District 18 (Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro) since 2012. He was the first person of Filipino descent to serve in the Assembly and AG office. Dems, Oakland Space Cats and Margot Smith endorse Bonta. Space Cats Voter Guide says "Bob was the first and continually strongest voice in the state legislature for expanding rent control." Greens and Peace & Freedom endorse Green Dan Kapelovitz*.
Incumbent Ricardo Lara is running for re-election. He is endorsed by Dems and Margot Smith.
Socialist Nathalie Hrizi*, a SF area organizer, is endorsed by the Greens, Peace & Freedom and Space Cats as well as the Party of Socialism and Liberation.
Superintendent of Public Instruction:
Incumbent Tony Thurmond, who was narrowly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2018, spent decades working for non-profits serving youth, and is a former Assembly member for District 14, school board member and council member. He is endorsed by Democratic parties and supported by Margot Smith.
Alameda County Greens and Oakland Space Cats endorse Marco Amaral, a San Diego area special ed teacher, school board member and teachers union president.
Board of Equalization, District 2:
Sally Lieber, a Mountain View City Councilwoman (and former mayor), and former assembly member for the 22nd District, is running for the position currently held by Malia Cohen, the 2022 Democrat candidate for Controller. Dems and Margot Smith are for Lieber, and the AC Greens says Lieber is preferred, but not endorsed for this race.
There are three county court commissioners running uncontested for full judgeships on the Alameda County Superior Court. All three judges are highly experienced.
Office #1: Tamiza Hockenhull, a woman of color who was born, raised and educated in Alameda County, is running unopposed for an open seat. She is endorsed by AC Dems, AC Greens and Oakland Space Cats, as well as Margot Smith.
Office #12: Pelayo Llamas is now running unopposed, after the incumbent withdrew his bid for reelection. An 30-year Oakland resident, Llamas is the son of first-generation immigrants, who worked his way through college and law school. He is also endorsed by AC Dems, AC Greens and Oakland Space Cats, as well as Margot Smith.
Office #21: Michael Bishay, who specializes in family law, is also now running unopposed, after the incumbent withdrew her bid for reelection. He is endorsed by AC Dems andMargot smith. Bishay didn't submit a questionnaire to AC Greens, so they did not endorse him. Oakland Space Cats declined to endorse.
Alysse Castro, executive director of county schools in San Francisco, is running against incumbent L.K. Monroe. Castro is endorsed by Wellstone Democratic Club, AC Greens and Oakland Space Cat Voters. Margot Smith supports her, as does former Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan, who says Castro, "who is running for my old seat as a progressive, is supported by labor CTA and CFT. AC Dems made no endorsement for this race.
School Board, Area 7 (East County):
Cheryl Cook-Kallio, 40-year veteran public school teacher, and former Pleasanton council member is endorsed by AC Dems. AC Greens didn’t endorse her but says don't vote for Dillie or Dao.
Supervisor, District 2: Incumbent Richard Valle was born and raised in this district (Hayward, Union City, Newark, Fremont). He is President/CEO of Tri-CED Community Recycling, a non-profit recycling company. He is endorsed by AC Dems. AC Greens made no endorsement, please see write-up.
Rebecca Kaplan is currently a council member and Vice Mayor of Oakland. She is running for the open seat that held by Wilma Chan until Chan’s untimely death in Nov 2021. Chan’s chief of staff, Dan Brown, was appointed to replace her, but hasn't lived in D3 long enough to run for election. Kaplan is endorsed by AC Dems, Wellstone, Oakland Space Cat Voters and AC Greens (with reservations).
Phong La is the unopposed incumbent. He was endorsed by AC Dems and is supported by Margot Smith. AC Greens made no endorsement.
Melissa Wilk is the unopposed incumbent. She was endorsed by AC Dems and is supported by Margot Smith. AC Greens made no endorsement.
Pamela Price has a very strong legal background and commitment to civil rights, and supports bail reform. She is endorsed by the Wellstone Democratic Club, Oakland Space Cat Voters, Berkeley Progressive Alliance, AC Greens (with reservations) and also recommended by Margot Smith. Sheila Jordan recommends Seth Seward. AC Dems did not make an endorsement in this race.
This is the first competitive election for Sheriff in more than three decades. Incumbent Greg Ahern seeks his 5th term, challenged by two highly qualified law endorsement professionals, both women of color, who think Alameda county voters are ready for a change.
Yesenia Sanchez, who is in charge of Santa Rita, is endorsed by AC Dems and AC Greens. Wellstone Dems made a dual endorsement for Sanchez and Walker.
Joann Walker, a veteran SF police officer, has the support of Berkeley Progressive Alliance, Margot Smith and Oakland Space Cat Voters, who says "it's a big deal if Walker beats Greg Ahern, and as long as Ahern doesn't get 50% of the vote in the primary, the top two voter getters will go onto the general election in November.
Incumbent Henry Levy is running unopposed. is endorsed by AC Dems, and Margot Smith will vote for him. AC Greens decline to endorse.
Oakland Measure C — Extends a 1994 Library Parcel Tax. Oakland Space Cat Voters endorsed with with standard parcel tax reservations.
Drop in a mail box, ballot must be postmarked by June 7th. You may want to walk into a post office and ask them to hand cancel your ballot. No Stamps Needed.
Drop off at a Ballot Drop Box, Open 24 hours
Berkeley Civic City Center, 2180 Milvia St, UC Berkeley, between Sather Gate and Architects & Engineers Building Frances A. Recreation Center, 2800 Park St, Claremont Branch Public Library, 2940 Benvenue Ave. North Branch Public Library, 1170 The Alameda West Branch Berkeley Public Library, 1125 University Ave
Go to the Berkeley VOTE CENTER, at 1011 University Ave
Hours: May 28th to June 6th, 9am to 5p; June 7th (Election Day) 7am to 8pm
For voters who live in Alameda County. Vote in-person, drop off a Vote by Mail Ballot, get help, or register to vote and vote in the same day.
Deliver your ballot, get a ballot, register to vote or get help at one of these 9 Accessible Voting Locations in Berkeley.
Hours: June 4th - June 6th, 9 am to 5 pm and Election Day, June 7th, 7 am to 8 pm
Berkeley High Gym, 1980 Allston Way Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St Life Adventist Church, 2236 Parker St Shepard of the Hills Lutheran Church, 4012 Grizzly Peak Epworth United Methodist Church, 1953 Hopkins St Longfellow School Gym, 1522 Ward St Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave Willard Middle School, 2425 Stuart St.
Sources for our research:
We looked at the following organizations and individuals endorsements and recommendations for the June Ballot:
The Alameda County Democratic Party coordinates the party’s activities throughout the county, making endorsements, organizing events and directs resources to support local, state and national candidates. www.http://acdems.org
Alameda County Green Voter Guide: The Green Party of Alameda County with over 6,900 registered members has been active for more than 20 years. They publish a carefully researched analysis of candidates and issues. See the current guide here. https://acgreens.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/gpac-vg-06-22-web-1.pdf
Berkeley Progressive Alliance includes East Bay organizations, coalitions, labor, and elected leaders. Its purpose is to promote progressive legislation, policy, and political agendas within the City of Berkeley. email: email@example.com
The Guild Of Oakland Space Cat Voters says they want to help us all make less bad voting decisions. They are artists and activists who review and discuss candidates and issues, look at other endorsements, then produce an irreverent digital and print Voter Guide aimed at younger voters. https://twitter.com/spacecatvoters
Margot Smith is a retired social scientist. She was convener of the Berkeley Gray Panthers, a founder and current steering committee member of Berkeley Progressive Alliance, and a member of Berkeley Citizens Action's Steering Committee and the Wellstone Club. During election seasons, she shares "How Margot is Voting" to her large email list. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club is composed of East Bay progressive individuals working together to advance an agenda of economic, racial, and social justice; environmental sustainability; and peace. They endorse and help to elect candidates who will represent these values in public office. www.wellstoneclub.org
Election Notes from the Ella Baker Center:
In California, you can legally register to vote up to the day of the election, meaning you can register on June 7, 2022, at your polling location and get an absentee ballot. Voters have until 8 PM on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, to vote in the June Primary Election.
You can also vote if you are formerly or currently incarcerated, even if you are on parole or probation. As long as you are not currently serving time in a prison and already sentenced for a conviction – you can vote in California! This includes individuals in county jails.
Click here to Track your Ballot, so you know it was received and counted.
Dear Mayor Arreguin and Councilmembers: As you consider bond measures to place on the November ballot (May 31 agenda, items 37 and 39), I have one plea: Please give me at least one clean measure that I can vote for in good conscience. Please don’t even think about combining essential and prestige projects into “one big bond” that voters will be forced to vote down (The staff report’s “Option 1”). Please don’t even think about staff’s “Option 2,” nor about the potential combinations that Councilmember Droste helpfully listed in her May 27 newsletter: “repaving and street safety,” or “housing and disaster/climate resiliency.” Please offer voters at least four separate bond measures, allowing us to vote for things we believe in:
Affordable-housing creation – to reverse displacement, get people off the street, and help all Berkeley residents live in dignity. Note that this goal received by far the highest survey support (58%, more than twice its nearest competitor). Needed repairs to aging infrastructure, with no changes to street configuration or any other legacy assets. (Second-most popular goal in the survey, at 27%.) Narrowly-defined climate and wildfire mitigations – like utility undergrounding. If Berkeley needs to start building a seawall, that would go here. All the virtue-signaling, counterproductive “traffic safety” and “climate friendly” novelties that the Deputy Public Works Director and Transportation staff want to dream up. This measure, alone, would authorize laying lots more concrete for these expensive follies. (Bearing in mind that cement production generates some 10% of global CO2 emissions. “Improving pedestrian, bike, and traffic safety” got only 11% support in the survey – and that’s optimistically, unrealistically assuming that staff’s terribly designed interventions would actually improve net safety, not degrade it.) Berkeley residents have been very generous in voting to tax themselves for one “infrastructure” bond after another – and we keep getting less infrastructure. Streets are blocked for months or years to create pointless, costly prestige projects. Or they’re permanently compromised, in ways that reduce nonmotorists' safety, while increasing traffic congestion (and therefore CO2 emissions).
This is why many of us voters have concluded that next time we’re offered another broad, ill-defined, infrastructure bond measure, we must adopt the Roger Daltrey (of The Who) policy: We won’t get fooled again.
Please don’t give us no option apart from rejecting an omnibus bond measure that would fund new mischief. Please don’t make us actively campaign against a catch-all measure, taking down needed priorities (like affordable housing) along with the nutty, destructive stuff.
To understand this plea, consider two recent (bond-supported) “infrastructure improvement” projects that current Councilmembers idealistically embraced, only to watch rogue staff and consultant actions turn them into fiascos:
A “Milvia bikeway” plan turned into a bizarre new iron curtain of concrete barriers – which the public was never warned about – and worsened cycling. Northbound cyclists now have southbound cars racing right at us, which is terrifying. A safe, convenient cycling street has become a nightmare. A Hopkins “placemaking” and street-safety effort devolved into a controversial “two-way cycletrack” design that even neighborhood cyclists opposed. Residents and merchants alike widely oppose staff’s unworkable, unnecessary, bizarre plan to remove almost all street parking. Consider also some bond-supported “infrastructure improvement” projects that obliged our former Mayor Bates' imperial dreams:
Allston Way between Berkeley High and City Hall was torn up for months, snarling downtown circulation. This was to lay a permeable-pavement “demonstration project” on a single block. Net environmental impact: Sharply negative. Hearst St. from Oxford to Euclid was torn up to remove dozens of parking spaces, which UCB visitors, students, and faculty/staff had relied on for campus access, and for load-in/load-out of equipment and instruments. This was all to create a wide eastbound bicycle lane on Hearst’s south side – just a few yards beside a superb on-campus bike path that UC students and Berkeley residents had happily cycled on for generations. Even today, rogue cyclists menace pedestrians on the sidewalk, right beside their shiny new bike lane. Shattuck from University to Allston Way was torn up for 3-½ years for “pedestrian, cyclist, and transit improvements” that made life hell for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. I was nearly killed by a suddenly opened truck door, while biking down a Shattuck Ave. that was strangled down to one lane by parked construction equipment on both sides. The same contractors that were payed to widen sidewalks were apparently paid to narrow them, just a few months later. The end result: Shattuck from University to Center St. is dramatically less safe for pedestrians, because we now have to watch for traffic from multiple directions instead of just one. The only beneficiaries of this debacle were one-percenter public works contractors. And no one has taken accountability for the mess. Finally, consider some of the contemplated “infrastructure improvements” that voters already know that a new omnibus bond would fund:
Artificially narrowing Adeline St. and MLK Blvd., to as little as one lane in each direction, to appease a few extreme car-hating ideologues who’ve dominated “Adeline Corridor” planning. Years of construction hell, followed by permanently strangled Route 24 access into and out of Berkeley. Artificially narrowing San Pablo Ave. (already chronically congested) to add bicycle lanes – right beside the two continuous, low-stress bike routes available just a block away, on lightly trafficked Tenth St. and Curtis/Matthews Streets. Faced with a broad, unrestricted “infrastructure” bond that would subsidize lots more disasters like these, many Berkeley voters will conclude that our only option is to follow The Who’s advice: Get down on our knees and pray that we don’t get fooled again. And the only way to ensure that will be to vote against the whole package.
To quote one of Berkeley’s most distinguished residents ever: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious…that you can’t…even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers…and…make it stop.”
Thank you for considering the above arguments for giving voters a “cafeteria” choice of four clean bonds – allowing majorities to vote for the priorities we believe in, with a clean conscience.
Well, it looks like the Chron has finally gotten the memo. Perhaps someone there even reads the Planet. On Tuesday of this week, their resident "urban design critic" John King, who lives in Berkeley for his sins, took official notice of the fact that the city is being overrun with Ugly Boxes. Well, he didn't quite admit that, but the net sentiment he expressed is close. Here's his take on what's happening, such as it is: Berkeley has a downtown housing boom right now. It’s going to transform the city’s character Yes. As usual, the comments (hard to find) tell the story. Two of my faves: "Witness Neoliberal crony capitalism's version of Stalin's Five Year Plans", That''s undoubtedly from a genuine Cal graduate. And another good one called the prevailing style "applique architecture", which I take to mean Ugly Boxes with Some Fancy Stuff Outside. But here's the breakthrough: In the same issue the good old Chron actually ran an op-ed by someone who brings facts and analysis to the topic. We've told you before about Professor Davarian Baldwin, and here in print he spotlights the major culprit in the "transformation of Berkeley's character" to Boring Boxland. Read it and weep. How UC Berkeley has used public power to become a private developer By the way, if these links don't get you through the Chronicle's pay wall, a Berkeley Public Library card will give you online access to that and many other publications.
One thing is as clear today as it was in the earliest days of People's Park. People's Park is significant from every conceivable angle. It's as though the park is a historical, architectural, ecological, and cultural prism that insists on being more than a park can possibly be, a significance one hopes is beginning to dawn on the UC regents and the Berkeley City Council. Even now the park is saturated with the people whose housing and human needs are ignored by the mayor and council's insistence that market rate projects will someday make room for the people dislocated from the low-income housing bulldozed to build them, and that inadequate, temporary shelter in humiliating circumstances is worth trading in one's autonomy and safety. These two chimeras are still waved aloft by local leadership just as clearly as People's Park demonstrates their bankruptcy. People's Park set Ronald Reagan on his path to his presidency. People's Park is where August Vollmer's famed 1908 effort to professionalize policing met an equally powerful, now nationwide grassroots effort to make policing accountable. People's Park is where the first university accredited, participatory, community-run native plant garden brought together master gardeners, acolytes of Jim Roof, students, hippies, and anyone with a shovel and an interest.
People's Park is a monument to peace in a world still at war over monuments to war, an unruly cultural garden threatened by a nuclear weapons contractor trying to impersonate a school. The People's Park Historic District Advocacy Group which documented the trees, the plants, the birds, the cultural shifts born in the park's river of creation, succeeded in getting unanimous affirmation from the California Historic Resources Commission and an affirmative listing on the National Register of Historic Places alongside Kent State, the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, and thousands more historic sites in an effort to clarify to myopic local leadership that parks matter - all parks matter. People's Park's willingness to challenge the status quo, the defense industry, and the racist roots of our nation never mattered more than it does right now.
The San Francisco School Board, only a year or so ago, voted to "paint down" a commissioned New Deal fresco by Victor Arnautoff in a passionate and embarrassing misunderstanding of the work's effort to address our nation's racist roots. And Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, the San Francisco Board of Education quietly voted to retire their effort to destroy the artwork by withdrawing their appeal of a successful citizen-led effort to protect it.
Nothing protects People's Park; not the National Register listing, not the fact that it is listed as an historic resource by the State of California, not the fact that it is a City of Berkeley landmark. Nothing protects it but our sense of respect for our most significant historic sites and the fragile culture they represent to people all over the world.
If you share any of this shared sense of respect, let your representatives know so that decades of hard and historic work isn't erased within weeks of this extraordinary National Register honor.
Carol Denney is a co-founder of the People's Park Historic District Advocacy Group.
The merchants protest The conceptual redesign of Hopkins that the council approved on May 10 calls for adding two 4-to-5-foot bike lanes plus a 3-foot buffer between the lanes and parking on the south side of Hopkins between Monterey and McGee—in other words, right in front of Magnani Poultry, Gioia Pizza, Monterey Fish, and other popular shops. At the May 10 council meeting, Paul Johnson, owner of Monterey Fish, said that all the merchants with whom he had spoken were fine with repaving Hopkins but opposed to bike lanes on the street. Calling the plan “a recipe for disaster” that’s “so dangerous, it’s unbelievable,” he recommended putting the lanes on side streets. Johnson also warned that the construction process would not be “a three-to-four month” undertaking but rather a project that would likely go “right through the holiday season and into the following year. By the time you people get done with this, we’re all going to be out of business.”
His objections are even more striking when they’re set alongside the claims in the May 10 staff report that “[t]he proposed design concept was developed through a robust public and stakeholder engagement process” that included “direct conversations held between staff and…business-owners” among others. “This engagement,” staff write, “resulted in a greater understanding of the needs of these stakeholders.” How, then, to explain the staff’s failure to grasp the concerns of Johnson and his fellow merchants?
Transportation planners did it
The Hopkins project was entrusted solely to the Department of Transportation and transportation consultants. Transportation planners view people primarily in terms of their mode of travel: you’re either a driver, cyclist, pedestrian, or user of public transit. In like manner, transportation planners view streets primarily as sites of traffic; hence the designation of Hopkins as a “corridor.”
In fact, Hopkins is much more than a corridor. It’s fronted by a library, a school, a park, shops, and homes. The Monterey-Hopkins intersection is a lively hub of commerce and sociability. The sidewalk on the McGee-to-Monterey block is thronged with people patronizing the stores, eating take-out, or just hanging out. After school, students are thick on the scene. There’s more socializing at Café Espresso on the northwest corner of the intersection.
The intense shopping and the socializing are evident to anyone who’s visited, not to say frequented, the area. Weirdly, the “Project Goals” include “Transform Hopkins Street between Sacramento and McGee into a community gathering place.” Enhance, yes—but transform? It’s already a place where people gather.
In a similarly disconcerting reference, the map that accompanied the presentation for the March 22, 2022 ,workshop (now removed from the city’s website), which focused on the segment from McGee to Gilman, labeled the segment of Hopkins from Carlotta to Hopkins Court a “Neighborhood-Serving Retail Zone.” The May 10 staff report refers to “local shops.”
In fact, the shops in the area serve far more than the neighborhood. They are some of the most distinctive and distinguished retail establishments in the city, attracting customers from beyond the city.
Astonishingly, Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, on McGee around the corner from Hopkins, is not included in the map’s “Retail Zone,” which only encompasses Hopkins. It’s astonishing, because, to repeat, anyone who’s visited, not to say frequented the area—and the disappeared March 2022 presentation references staff’s “forty discussions with business owners and representatives from Hopkins’ institutions (schools, churches)”—knows that Berkeley Hort’s customers and delivery trucks often occupy McGee and Ada, the street that runs on the south side of the block. A traffic-oriented study ought to have included the whole block and the businesses on it.
All these businesses draw from a market that extends far beyond the immediate neighborhood, indeed beyond the city’s boundaries. Designating the retail zone as “neighborhood-serving” jibes with the snub of shoppers who access the businesses by car, by making it seem as if most customers walk and bike, which in turn jibe with the Traffic and Placemaking Study’s “Core strategy”: “Reduce vehicle miles traveled in the community by making cycling, walking, public transit, and the sustainable mobility modes the mainstream.”
This is the “Complete Streets” strategy that, along with traffic calming and other tactics, is the conventional wisdom. Where, however, is evidence that these “sustainable mobility modes” can be mainstream in a city so lacking in public transit ?
A single AC Transit bus, the 12, goes down Hopkins. It runs only twice an hour. I’m a fan of public transit (see my pre-Covid Clipper Card usage). But no way can the 12’s ridership—barely mentioned in the Hopkins Corridor plan—sustain the shops at the Hopkins-Monterey hub. Ditto for pedestrians. To thrive, these businesses also need customers who travel in cars.
That’s especially true for older people who need to haul groceries and gardening supplies. To repeat, these shops attract patrons who live far from the immediate neighborhood. Distance plus age plus scanty transit add up to car dependency. Eliminating parking spaces will make it harder for older people to access the businesses.
Apparently none of this matters to city staff. The map that accompanies the May 10 staff report has no indication that this is a business district and shopping hub; the “Retail Zone” label has vanished. Indeed, the other uses that front the street—residences, schools, churches, the park—are also unmarked. Hopkins is rendered merely as a funnel for traffic.
In another slap at shops and shoppers, to make room for the protected bike lanes, staff removed the existing bus stop at the northeastern corner of the Hopkins- Monterey intersection. After the street is reconfigured, the closest that westbound bus passengers can get to the shopping hub is the stop at the northwestern corner of Colusa and Hopkins, across the street from the track, park, and pool at MLK, Jr., Middle School but two uphill blocks away from Monterey Market.
The Transportation staff also ignored the hazards their design creates for people in cars parked on the block between McGee and Monterey/California. Drivers exiting their vehicles will have to step directly into auto traffic moving down a lane narrowed to ten feet. Then they’ll have to walk at least twenty feet (two 4-to-5-foot bike lanes, plus a 3-foot buffer between the lanes and parking, plus the seven feet the plan allocates for a parked car, plus the foot or two beyond the left side of their vehicle) to the curb, dodging cars and bicycles along the way.
Passengers exiting from the right side of the car will have to walk twelve feet to the curb, dodging bikes. Returning to their cars with groceries, drivers and passengers will have to traverse the same moving obstacle courses. If they have kids with them, the trip will become even more challenging.
Bike lanes’ murky impact on business
Johnson’s comments elicited two responses from the council. Hahn asked that the city’s Office of Economic Development be involved in future work on the Hopkins project. District 8 Councilmember Lori Droste dismissed Johnson’s concerns about losing patronage, alluding to “many studies” showing that the installation of bike lanes is good for business.
Since May 10, I’ve looked at the two reports that Droste specified, a 2020 study from Portland State that studied fourteen “street improvement corridors” in six cities, including San Francisco; and a 2019 study from the city of Toronto that examined the effects of bike lanes on business on Toronto’s Bloor Street. The researchers found that bike lanes had positive or “non-significant” impacts on businesses.
I’ve also looked at a 2018 report co-authored by Karen Chapple—then still at UC Berkeley, now at the University of Toronto—Raleigh McCoy, and Joseph Poirier (CMP) whose investigation of bike infrastructure impacts on business in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.
“Overall,” the co-authors concluded, “bike infrastructure does not have a definitively positive or negative effect on business performance. Instead, there are a multitude of other factors outside of planners’ control that determine sales or the likelihood that a business closes.” For example, “[b]usiness characteristics were overall the most reliable predictors of sales,” while “neighborhood characteristics were…poor predictors,” and “primary roads” were “associated with sales declines.”
How, then, does the Monterey-Hopkins commercial hub, which is located at a chokepoint on a narrow, hilly street and heavily patronized by older customers, compare with the business areas studied in the reports?
More generally, CMP found that “a clear narrative has not emerged” in the academic research across disciplines “that has examined the impact of bicycle infrastructure on business performance….While advocacy organizations have seized on research that finds a positive effect on businesses, there are limitations to applying this research at the broad scale that advocates would like.” Indeed, the Portland State and Toronto studies were all conducted by or in concert with bicycling advocates. Civinomics, the firm that did the survey of Berkeley residents’ parking preferences, is also pro-bike lanes.
“Research has also indicated that there could be a negative impact for businesses on corridors with bike infrastructure. Merchant opposition has been clearly documented, but research that looks at merchant attitudes over time tends to show a more neutral or even pro-bike infrastructure stance.”
In short, proceed with caution—which is precisely what the city didn’t do. Besides failing to connect with many of the merchants, staff never studied the travel modes, the preferences of the area’s shoppers, or the area from which it draws customers. This disregard reflects transportation planners’ myopic vision and two other, linked factors addressed in Parts Three and Four, respectively of this dossier: the staff’s authoritarianism and the bike lobby’s leverage in City Hall.
First some caveats: I am not a Roman Catholic; I just voted again for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.Calif) as my Representative; I support a woman’ s right to an abortion; and I am certainly not a religious scholar. But I do take issue with San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’ s directive to local priests to deny House Speaker Pelosi Holy Communion because of her support for abortion rights.
A national survey of Catholic voters in the 2020 election revealed that a broad majority of U.S. Catholics say abortion should be legal, and they oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade. Given Archbishop Cordileone’ s position vis-à-vis House Speaker Pelosi, that’ s a lot of “ sinners” who should not receive Holy Communion. Why has the Archbishop singled out Pelosi?
Note that neither the Old Testament nor the New mentions abortion. However, what the Bible says or does not say about abortion really doesn’ t matter. The United States is not a theocracy. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has been regularly interpreted to mean that the U.S. Constitution requires the separation of church and state. As Thomas Jefferson in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association declared that when the American people adopted the Establishment Clause they built a “ wall of separation" between the church and state. House Speaker Pelosi is a member of the state representing all her constituents.
Pope Francis, the Archbishop's de facto boss, is at odds with the Archbishop on this issue. The Pope has said he has never denied Communion to anyone, adding that while he doesn’ t know if Catholics who support abortion rights ever asked him for Communion, he has “ never refused them the Eucharist, since the time I was a priest.” He has also said that “ Communion is not a prize for the perfect” but a “ a gift” marking the presence of Jesus in his church and community. And has also said that clerics shouldn’ t let politics enter into questions about receiving Communion. “ Bishops should be pastors, he said, not politicians.”
Is politics at play here? Perhaps Pope Francis should have a quiet word with Archbishop Cordileone.
A tangential note: One of the Big Fatal Mistakes of inexperienced persons who embark on self-employment is to undervalue oneself, and as a result, to undercharge. Customers do not respect this. When the price of something is too low, people invariably perceive that something is wrong with it. This detracts, and it is a reason that many entrepreneurships fail. Yet, there are many types of salesmanship applicable to many situations. In the case of being a mental health consumer seeking help to move ahead in life, salesmanship may be needed to convince the appropriate people to go along with what you want. You may need to do some convincing that you are a viable person, one who can do very well in life with the necessary help. You may also need to explain exactly what is in your way, and in what ways you need a reasonable level of help. And here, it is also necessary that you don't undervalue yourself. This morning or yesterday morning, I forget which, I was on the phone with one of the many people responsible for my treatment, when I mentioned that I placed a classified advertisement in which I'm trying to offer copyediting services to the public. The mental health professional had a perplexing reaction. So, I said to him, in a chiding tone, that I have a life outside of just being a mental health consumer.
The abovementioned events could illustrate that I am not just a body to which you should prescribe medications nor am I just a clueless person to supervise. I have a brain.
To mental health counselors, the mentally ill clientele aren't full-fledged human beings. Therefore, it doesn't matter very much if we die before we reach age 60, it doesn't matter if our entire lives seem like a waste of time, and really it doesn't matter to many mental health professionals what we do or what happens to us, because to them, we lack the capacity to be a person. Then, it is no wonder that we aren't respected, it is no wonder that we aren't taken at our word or taken seriously. It only matters that we behave ourselves such that we don't create a nuisance to the greater society.
This is where we must employ vast salesmanship. We must sell ourselves to the counselors that we can in fact do very well in life, that we are not just a commodity to be managed and controlled, and we are capable of activities that contribute to society. If we can sell ourselves in that way, doors that were shut may open.
In my early twenties and continuing to age 27, I had jobs doing repair of home electronics. By 27, my condition was worsening, and this prevented me from continuing. At 25, I'd gotten Social Security benefits after toughing it out for numerous years and supporting myself in various jobs. I can't do that anymore. Instead, I look to areas in life where I can still be excellent. And this makes a big difference in how much help I receive from the mental health treatment system.
Part of our salesmanship might be to learn how to come across to others better and to give the impression that will help them respond well to us. I haven't done this. When people see me in person, they think I'm a dumb big guy whom you don't want to encounter in a dark alley. I don't know how to remediate this. Therefore, I have adopted the habit of dealing remotely with everyone. And in the long run, this is probably going to bite me in the behind. If I knew how to control other people's perceptions of me, I would be employing that knowledge. But I can't control how anyone things, and I can't control anyone's impression of me. So, I don't try.
My salesmanship efforts have been directed instead at selling myself to myself. And this is not a new concept; it might even be part of someone's intellectual property. Yet, if I can believe in myself just a bit more, I have made it harder for those who oppose me to gain the advantage. And I will be less likely to sabotage my own efforts. There you have it--sales in a nutshell!
Jack Bragen lives in Martinez with his wife. He is author of "Revising Behaviors that Don't Work."
A Memorial Day Column: The United States of Warmerica The folks at Progressivememes.org have prepared a pictorial statement that does justice to the dark side of Memorial Day. Instead of honoring generations of dead American soldiers, the statement recognizes the victims of the Pentagon's deadly global adventures. The text reads as follows: I stand with the millions of people murdered by US wars and proxy wars. Native Americans. Africans (slaves). Vietnam. Cambodia. Honduras. Guatemala. Indonesia. Nicaragua. Iran. Syria. Afghanistan. Iraq. Libya. Yemen. Ukraine, According to Brown University's Costs of Wars project, US wars since 9/11 have killed over 900,000 people and cost $8 trillion. The statement includes this footnote: Senior US diplomats warned that aggressive NATO expansion was unnecessary and would result in a war. The US went ahead with it to provoke and weaken Russia. The RAND Corp. study, "Overextending and Unbalancing Russia," specifically recommended arming Ukraine and warned of Russia's likely military response. The Mental Illness of Pro-gun Demagogues
The mass murder of 19 Texas schoolchildren and two teachers left pro-gun Texas Governor Greg Abbott scrambling to find a rationale for his continued refusal to pass laws to increase "gun safety." Abbott's "straw man" argument was that the problem was not assault rifles but the "mental health" of armed sociopaths who "misused" the entitlement to armed violence that is perceived to be enshrined in the Second Amendment.
But Abbott is simply identifying a disease without recommending a cure. When it comes to up-armed killers shooting unarmed civilians, Abbott has no "cause and effect." Thus, he did not propose banning people with "mental health" issues from possessing guns. Despite his assertion that "mental illness" is responsible for teenage boys grabbing assault rifles and body armor, Abbott does not believe in requiring background checks for would-be gun-toters.
This is a guy who, in 2015, sent a tweet from the governor's mansion that read: ""I'm EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let's pick up the pace Texans."
Here's a "mental health"-related question for Governor Abbott: Who in his right mind would sell, not one, but two, assault rifles to an 18-year-old?
It could be argued that the propensity to buy multiple deadly weapons is, itself, a sign of "mental health" problems.
What in the Name of God?
A recent note from Arnie Passman put it this way: "Who in Hell can believe in God when children are being murdered in their schools?"
The uncomfortable answer: "Pro-life" Republicans who promote gun-owners' "pro-death" rights.
America: The Only Country on Earth that Shoots its Own Children
Public Citizen's Robert Weissman and Sen. Chuck Schumer both recently announced a shocking fact: "Guns have become the leading cause of death among children in our country. Not disease. Not malnutrition."
For decades, auto accidents had been the leading cause of death among children but, in 2020, guns became the leading cause of infanticide.
Weissman went on to note the following:
• Poll after poll after poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans — at least 8 out of 10 — want stronger background checks for gun purchases. • Even 3 out of 4 NRA members support background checks for *all* gun purchases. Yes, NRA members! • In 2019, and again in 2021, the House of Representatives passed two bills that would make beyond-commonsense improvements to the background-check system. • One bill would expand criminal background checks to those seeking to buy guns online or at gun shows. • The other bill would extend the waiting period for potential buyers flagged by the instant background-check system so that the FBI has more time to investigate. • But those bills stalled out in the Senate due to rank partisan obstructionism by Republicans. (Of course.) • Senate Democrats are ready to try again, in the hope — slim though it may be — that this latest massacre will at last move some Republicans to do the right thing.
Public Citizen is circulating a petition to every Republican senator that reads:
Are you ever going to stand up to the gun lobby and the tiny minority of Americans who think there should be no restrictions on guns whatsoever? If you actually care about saving lives and doing what the vast majority of your constituents want you to do, you have a moral and political duty to pass commonsense legislation that will improve background checks.
Here's something we can do: Sign the petition from Sandy Hook Promise (established after the mass-killing at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012)—one of many demanding the Senate act on House-passed legislation that would expand background checks. The petition's demand is straightforward: "We urge you to expand background checks now—a measure that 97% of American voters support."
The National Rifle Association refused to cancel its annual conference in Houston, scheduled only a few days after the mass-execution that claimed 21 lives at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. Keynote speakers—including Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz, and Orange-tinted Tyrant Donald Trump—will all have the pleasure of boasting about the joys of gun ownership and the sanctity of the Second Amendment.
However, if you want to attend the NRA event, there's one little rule you'll have to observe: No guns are allowed.
No open carry. No concealed carry. No assault rifles. No ammo cartridges in your coat pockets.
Yep, the one place in America guaranteed to be free of the danger of a mass-shooting will be inside the NRA's annual meeting. Because, when it comes to their own personal safety, the GOP and the NRA clearly understand the problem with guns clutched in the clenched fists of battle-rattled veterans and un-vetted civilians—they can get you killed.
A Note from Barbara Lee
"Do you know what Morgan Freeman and I both have in common? (I know what you’re thinking, but sadly, I’m still awaiting my Oscar award….)
In all seriousness, here’s the truth: We were both permanently banned from Russia over the weekend."
It's true. In a fit of geopolitical pique, the Russian government has placed Rep. Lee and 900 other Americans on a "do-not-invite" list. Others on the outs with Moscow: President Biden, Vice President Harris, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Mark Zuckerberg, Rob Reiner, and John McCain (one of three deceased Senators who appear on Vladimir Putin's do-not-enter list).
However, as media reports have confirmed: "Notably absent from the ban is Donald Trump." (Shades of "Russiagate!")
The Primary Election manual provides quite a diversity when it comes to Candidate Statements. Here are a few outstanding entries:
"I am a Marine Vietnam Veteran, Retired LA Enforcement Professional and Patriot. I am also a Christian and I believe God wants to use me to help Him make America Righteous Again."
John Thompson Parker (Peace and Freedom):
"Capitalism enables corporate masters to exacerbate crisis of health, poverty, oppression, climate change and war in allegiance to profit. Ownership of production and finance must be controlled by the people. This sentate campaign is about building that socialist systemic change. Vote the Left Unity Slate."
Armando "Mando" Perez-Serrato (Democrat)
"California Proclamation—My beloved Californians, I empathize without beguilement nor prejudice how solemn my words must tender to assuage your unfeigned hardship & bereavement, cloaked in the uncertainty of loss. Our prayers & condolences illuminate many a kindred spirit with honorable presence that your noble sacrifice perpetuates our united comfort of hope. I pray our Heavenly Father will bring light to the plight of the world, ease your daily crucifixion & complete economic resurrection for our American Family—This is the Way. Donate today on Apple Cash, Venmo, GooglePay, CashApp… or mail check/money order to address below payable to: Armando Perez."
A Salad Bowl of Pentagon Mil-speak
In order to discuss the mass-murder that is essential in war-making, the Pentagon has developed a special vocabulary of opaque words, phrases, and acronyms to cloak the bloody reality of what's actually being discussed.
In a recent report on the Pentagon's burgeoning budget (up 8.1 percent over fiscal 2022), Defense.gov slapped some words together to explain how the Pentagon "fights with a joint force that provides amazing combat effectiveness and lethality." This was followed up by Defense.gov quoting Navy Adm. Christopher W. Grady's equally opaque phrases: "With the joint war-fighting concept and a new strategic approach to setting requirements, our joint force has set out to achieve expanded maneuvers in all domains, building new capabilities and leveraging technologies to achieve overmatch against any potential adversary…. The American people can be confident that this year's budget request … ensures the joint force remains the most lethal and capable military on the planet. It will modernize, and it will transform the force needed to win in the 2030s and beyond."
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III likes to talk about "integrated deterrence" being a key concept of the Pentagon's new strategy. As Defense.gov explains: "Integrated deterrence is essentially bringing to bear all aspects of defense and the larger US government…. The concept needs combat-credible forces and a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent." [Emphasis added.]
"Integrated deterrence" calls for the "recapitalization of the nuclear triad," with a budget request of $34.4 billion to upgrade "weapons systems and the nuclear command, control and communications system." Also on the list for another $7.2 billion in tax dollars: hypersonic weapons, including a hypersonic missile battery by fiscal 2023, with hypersonic missiles installed on Navy ships by fiscal 2025 and hypersonic cruise missiles fully operational by fiscal 2027.
Another $24.7 billion goes to "missile defeat-and-defense initiatives," including $892 million to defend Guam from Chinese missiles.
Welfare for the Military
Meanwhile, members of the "Armed Services" and civilian Pentagon employees are set to receive a 4.6 percent pay raise if Congress approves this budget—the largest pay raise in 20 years. The military budget sounds like a Bernie-Sanders-New-Deal wish-list. It calls for increased Pentagon investing in childcare, including fee assistance, "new construction and sustainment", and a $15 per-hour minimum wage for everyone in the federal workforce.
The budget would invest $55.8 billion in military health care with $9.2 billion for family support—including commissaries, DOD Education Activity schools, youth programs and morale, welfare and recreation programs. DoD personnel essentially already have Medicare for All (as do all members of Congress).
The Deadly Calculus of Nuclear War
Recently, two renowned experts on geopolitics—Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg—met online to discuss the Russian-Ukrainian war, its history and the escalating threat of nuclear weapons in a videotaped conversation co-hosted by Cynthia Lazaroff and Richard Falk.
Bay Area peace activist David Hartsough praises this encounter for "speaking the truth about the dangers the US and Russia are pursuing in the war in Ukraine and the need to radically change course. Please share widely."
But Let's End on a High Note
There were a lot of things wrong in the 1950s when I was growing up, redlining, classism, deep racism, segregation, poverty, little opportunity for Blacks or women, abortion was illegal, gays were closeted, McCarthy was ruining lives with his communist conspiracies, but one thing I never had to worry about was being so pulverized by a weapon of war that DNA would need to be used to identify who belonged to the mass of unrecognizable bloody flesh on the floor in a school classroom. And that is because no one could walk into a gun store and buy an AR-15, an assault weapon or similar gun or guns that hold high capacity magazines. There were not more guns than people. There were not weapons of war sold at your local store. There wasn’t an ad “CONSIDER YOUR MAN CARD REISSUED” to buy an assault weapon. https://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/12/gun-ads-bushmaster-mattel/ The problem is the guns and the answer is not turning teachers into marksmen with AR 15s on their desks or slung over their chests. When I hear the phrase, “they’re coming to take your guns away” all I can think is “I wish.” In Australia in 1996 there was a firearm massacre in Tasmania in which 35 people died. The Australian government responded and united and did just that, they took the guns away removing semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns and rifles from civilian possession, roughly 650,000 guns and established strict laws on who could possess a gun. https://www.vox.com/2015/8/27/9212725/australia-buyback In 2019 after the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, New Zealand banned assault weapons. Background checks, if even that measure could be passed is not enough. There needs to be a national ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines and access to ammunition needs to be controlled too. That is what we need to be marching for.
Tuesday evening at 2 hours into the Berkeley City Council meeting item 19 (warrantless searches of individuals on parole/probation) was up for comment. Twenty-six minutes later, Josh (he gave his full name, but I won’t attempt to spell it) ,a parent in District 2, wrapped in fear for his children, in a tense, high-pitched voice spoke in support of warrantless searches, saying council was “playing roulette with my kids.” He should be given some leeway. After all, Tuesday was the day of the Uvalde massacre of nineteen children and two teachers. But what is happening in District 2 goes much further.
All other attendees spoke in opposition to warrantless searches. Josh was the only person who spoke in favor of the Droste/Taplin-sponsored revision to city code section 311.6, upending over a year of review, research and Police Review Commission subcommittee meetings with police department participation to limit searches of parolees or persons on probation to situation where police had a “reasonable suspicion”.
We can assume that some of the planned speakers in support of warrantless searches didn’t show, since Droste started the evening asking the item to be postponed to July 12. However, Tuesday isn’t the only time we’ve heard a resident from District 2 that sounded unhinged with fear driving a demand for more surveillance and increased policing.
The problem is again guns. Warrantless searches don’t decrease crime, as we heard from distinguished criminologist Dr. Kitty Calavita (Chancellor's Professor Emerita at University of California, Irvine) representing the Police Accountability Board. The PAB voted unanimously in support of retaining requiring “reasonable suspicion” to initiate a search. Calavita was clear in reporting the findings and decision process of the PAB:There is no evidence that warrantless searches reduce crime nor is there any evidence that warrantless searches reduce recidivism. In fact, what the PAB found is that jurisdictions that allow warrantless searches have higher rates of crime.
Calavita countered the circulated false narrative that the search that led to the Berkeley man convicted of murdering the Cal student Seth Smith could not have been conducted under the existing “reasonable suspicion” policy. The search was conducted on a tip: reasonable suspicion.
Warrantless searches are about power, fear and race. Warrantless searches do not facilitate rehabilitation and instead send a message of disrespect for the person subjected to the search and the officers that do it. And as described by Mansoor Id-Deen, President of the Berkeley Branch of the NAACP, warrantless searches are about dehumanization and humiliation of Black men, who are imprisoned at 10 times the rate of White men in our system of unequal justice.
There were, of course, other city meetings this last week.
The Police Accountability Board Controlled Equipment Reporting Subcommittee met Monday morning to continue to develop the plan for addressing the Community Safety Ordinance Impact statements, associated equipment policies, the annual equipment use report and the military equipment policy. When I signed in to the meeting, listening to Berkeley Police Captain Rico Rolleri was like listening to a schoolyard bully determined to throw his weight around. The meeting had barely started, discussion had not even begun, when Rolleri started his attack and threats while the PAB members attempted to defuse the situation. I had to leave to attend another meeting, so I don’t know if Rolleri ever calmed down.
When I put Rico Rolleri into an onllne search, this is what turned up: 2019 regular pay $197,808.78, overtime pay $539.03, other pay $43,909.16, total pay $242,256.97, benefits $172,498.20, total pay and benefits $414,755.17. That was 2019. https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2019/berkeley/rico-rolleri/ I did not see 2020 or 2021.
One has to question whether the City of Berkeley is rewarding bullying behavior? Is this what Berkeley’s Black community is experiencing? Is this anger what drives disparate treatment in Berkeley. Who else is bullied or bullying? I think there is more here to unpack.
Thursday morning the Budget and Finance Committee met and commented on the budget draft from the City Manager. There will be changes, but one thing for sure, climate doesn’t gain much traction. It would be wise to attend the council meeting this coming Tuesday, May 31, to hear what direction the mayor and councilmembers push and add your own comments.
Last Thursday evening there wa. a long list of projects before the Zoning Adjustment Board (ZAB). The feigned ignorance from William Schrader that he just can’t seem to find information on bird safe glass for his eight-story 2440 Shattuck project is getting a bit tiresome. And for that matter so is the inaction of this city and especially the Planning Department, the Mayor, City Council, the City Manager and the Planning Commission.
I have a bumper sticker on my car from the Audubon Society, “Protect the birds and We Protect the Earth.”
In today’s Earthweek: a diary of the planet, this message is given under the title Vanishing birds:
“Almost half of all known bird species are suffering population losses from climate change, habitat loss and over exploitation…We are now witnessing the first signs of a new wave of extinctions…”
Up to one billion, 1,000,000,000, birds die from glass collisions annually in the United States. Let that sink in. That is a shocking number. Berkeley is in the North American flyway. And, the fact that this City can’t get it together to require bird safe glass from ground to 75 feet on all sides of buildings is more than irresponsible, it is sickening. The American Bird Conservancy has the model city ordinance ready for the taking. https://tinyurl.com/3243ezkc
Of course, nothing could be required on any project, only suggested, because this city has failed to act.
Next up< 2018 Blake, was another heart wrenching project: a 6-story multi-unit, 12-unit building pushed up next to a one-story house. The neighbors pleaded with ZAB to deny such a tall building next to their little house, where they said they had lived for 50 years. Even though there are plans to include two low income units to secure the density bonus and extra height, this looks to be geared to students. All of us living in the formerly redlined areas and along commercial corridors should expect we too could have an unattractive mid-rise as our new neighbor.
The project was approved, and the attempt by Carrie Olson to send it to the Design Review Committee was met with obstruction from Shoshana O’Keefe.
It would be good to listen to Professor Baldwin, linked in Becky O’Malley’s editorial “Tracking the UniverCITY in Berkeley.”
Last I finished the book The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family by David Cay Johnston. Some of the corruption under Donald Trump, I already knew, but how he shoveled money and deals into the family coffers and the thieves around him is just staggering. The chapters are short, but the information is incendiary. Few in Trump’s cabinet escape mention. Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s wife, earned a whole chapter on how she used her position to enrich her family. As I was working my way through it, I heard about the book I really want to read, just published on May 17th, Criminology on Trump by Greg Barak. I heard Barak interviewed. The book description describes Trump as the world’s most successful outlaw who over the course of five decades has been accused of sexual assault, tax evasion, money laundering, non-payment of employees, and the defrauding of tenants, customers, contractors, investors, bankers and charities and yet he continues to amass wealth and power. Barak asks why and how?
There is a purely entertaining book on Trump and his cheating, Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump by Rick Reilly.
Worth Noting – Big Week Ahead after Monday off for Memorial Day Holiday: Tuesday morning at 11 am the Police Accountability Board (PAB) subcommittee will continue work on police equipment policies and reporting. Tuesday evening is City Council the budget and with more budget referrals on the agenda. Wednesday evening at 7 pm the Planning Commission will have a presentation on standards for middle size multi-unit housing. These are duplexes to eight plus units in projects up to three stories in height. The size of the packet is misleading as there is a lot to absorb in the 16 pages on middle housing. Thursday at 6 pm is the special City Council meeting on the Ashby and North Berkeley BART housing projects. Be prepared for a long night as the two opposing sides make their case, the "build it tall 12 stories to twenty stories or more" and the "build it moderate size 7 stories with lots of affordable housing." The Planning Department staff recommended 7 stories as did the Community Advisory Group (CAG). Bad news on tracking approved projects in the appeal period. Samantha Updegrave, Zoning Officer, Principal Planner wrote the listing of projects in the appeal period can only be found by looking up each project individually through permits online by address or permit number https://berkeleyca.gov/sites/default/files/2022-03/Online-Building-Permits-Guide.pdf Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Solano Avenue Business Improvement District Advisory Board at 9 am
Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 ID: 864 7548 0085
AGENDA: 4. Update on Projects / Goals for 2022 – overview, banners, flower baskets, landscaping
Police Accountability Board Controlled Equipment Use & Reporting Subcommittee at 11 am
Teleconference:1-669-900-6833 ID: 838 4271 4327
AGENDA: 5. Continue to develop plan for addressing Community Safety Ordinance Impact Statements, Associated Equipment Policies, Annual Equipment Use Report and Military Equipment Policy 709. (packet 129 pages)
Agenda and Rules Committee at 2:30 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 (toll free) Meeting ID: 898 0925 4894
AGENDA: Public Comment on non-agenda and agenda items 1 – 7.
1. Minutes, 2. Review and Approve 6/14/2022 draft agenda – use link or read full draft agenda after list of city meetings, 3. Berkeley Considers, 4. Adjournments in Memory, 5. Worksessions Schedule, 6. Referrals to Agenda Committee for Scheduling, 7. Land Use Calendar, Referred Items for Review: 8. COVID, 9. Return to In-person meetings, Unscheduled Items: 10. Discussion Regarding Design and Strengthening of Policy Committees, 11. Supporting Commissions, Guidance on Legislative Proposals, Unfinished Business for Scheduling: Surveillance Technology and Acquisition Report and Surveillance use Policy for Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR).
CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING at 6 pm
Hybrid Meeting: In-person or virtual
In-person at 1231 Addison, School District Board Room
Teleconference: 1-699-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 Meeting ID: 881 2778 7306
AGENDA: use link and HTML to see agenda and document details, go to end of this post for full agenda with key items highlighted in bold and underlined.
City Council Facilities, Infrastructure, Transportation, Environment & Sustainability Committee at 2:30 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 (toll free) ID: 861 3285 3741
AGENDA: Public comment non-agenda matters, 2. Harrison, Hahn - Ordinance to Regulate Plastic Bags at Retail and Food Services Establishments, 3. Energy Commission – Community Outreach and Education events on Proposed Regulations for the Use of Carryout and Pre-checkout Bags, 4. Taplin – Regulation of autonomous Vehicles, 5. Harrison, co-sponsors Barlett, Hahn, Ordinance Establishing GHG limits, Process for Climate Action Plan Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Regional Collaboration, 6. Taplin, co-sponsors Bartlett, Hahn, Equitable Safe Streets and Climate Justice Resolution (resolution pages 183 - 209)
Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) CLOSED at 5:30 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 ID: 860 4230 6505
AGENDA: Employee performance evaluation of Director of Library Services
Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) Regular Meeting at 6:30 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 ID: 860 4230 6505
AGENDA: II.C. Revision of the Tool Lending Specialist Classification with 4% Salary Increase, III.A. Revised Bulletin Board and Free Printed Policy.
Commission on Disability web post states start at 5:30 pm on June 1, 2022
AGENDA: there is no agenda posted with the date of June 1, documents are dated as May 18, 2022
Check website for corrections.
Community Health Commission Entheogenic Plants Subcommittee at 12 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 ID: 893 5592 5285 Passcode: 742735
AGENDA: Develop workplan and assign tasks
Homeless Services Panel of Experts at 7 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 ID: 924 9136 5323
AGENDA: 7. Discussion and approval of report to be submitted to Council for June 22 budget, 8. Discussion of what Homeless Services Panel of Experts needs from staff to make fully informed budget recommendations moving forward.
Planning Commission at 7 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 ID: 830 9889 1817
AGENDA: 3. Public comment non-agenda items, 4. Staff Report including future items, 5. Chair Report, 6. Committee Reports, ACTION: 9. Objective Standards for Middle Housing presentation and feedback, 10. Commission 2022 – 2023 Workplan (workplan is not published in agenda packet)
CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING on BART PROJECTS at 6 pm
Hybrid Meeting: In-person or videoconference
In-person at 1231 Addison, School District Board Room
Teleconference: 1-699-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 Meeting ID: 865 1858 4336
AGENDA: One agenda item 1. Ashby and North Berkeley BART Station areas: Proposed Zoning and general Plan amendments, City and BART Joint Vision and Priorities, Associated Environmental Review Documents and City and BART Memorandum of agreement
use link and HTML to see agenda and document details, (packet 130 pages, supplemental Memorandum of Agreement 25 pages)
Ashby and North Berkeley BART Station Planning webpage
Community Health Commission Cannabis Subcommittee at 11 am
Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 ID: 893 5592 5285 Passcode: 742735
AGENDA: Discuss work plan objectives
Landmarks Preservation Commission at 7 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 ID: 867 0891 5133
AGENDA: 5. 2200 block of Piedmont Ave – Olmsted landscape design – Structural Alteration Permit
7. 2733 Buena Vista Way – structural alteration Permit
8. 2065 Kittredge – Structural Alteration Permit (Shattuck Cinemas)
10. 1820 – 8128 San Pablo @ Hearst – Demolition Referral (Albatross Pub)
Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) at 1 pm
Hybrid meeting in-person or virtual
In-person: 670 W Hornet Ave, Alameda, CA 94501
Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 ID: 897 1821 7408 Passcode: 33779
AGENDA: 3. Report Chair, 4. Reports of Directors, 5. Reports Staff a. San Francisco Bay Ferry Marketing Update, Emergency Response Update, MV Dorado Event, b. Monthly Review of Financial Statements, c. Federal Legislative Update, d. State Legislative Update, e. Monthly Ridership and Recovery Report, 7. FY 2023 Budget and Salary Schedule includes Berkeley, 8. Authorize Actions to receive funding to support FY 2023 operating and capital budget, 9. Approve disadvantaged business enterprise goals for FY 2023 – 2025,
Friday, June 3, 2022 & Saturday, June 4, 2022 & Sunday, March June 5, 2022
No city meetings found check https://berkeleyca.gov/ for late announcements
Agenda and Rules Committee at 2:30 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 (toll free) Meeting ID: 898 0925 4894
CONSENT: 1. 2nd reading contract with CalPERS, 2. CM – Ballot Measure related to housing for persons of Low-Income, 3. $5000 Donation to Animal shelter from the U.C. Davis Koret Medicine Program, 4. Formal Bid Solicitations $270,000, 5. Temporary appropriations FY 2023 $50,000,000, 6. FY 2023 Tax Rate: Fund the Debt Service on the Street and Watershed Improvements General Obligation Bonds 0.0075% (Measure M, November 2012 Election), 7. FY 2023 Tax Rate: Fund Debt Service on Neighborhood Branch Library Improvements Project General Obligation bonds at 0.0058% (Measure FF, 2008 election) , 8. FY 2023 Tax Rate: Fund Debt service on 2015 Refunding general Obligation Bonds at 0.0130% (Measures G, S, &I), 9. FY Tax Rate: Fund the Debt Service on the Affordable Housing General Obligation Bonds 0.0200%, 10. FY 2023 Tax Rate: Business License Tax on Large Non-Profits Adopt 1st reading of Ordinance setting the FY 2023 tax rate for Business License Tax on large non-profits at $0.7573 per sq ft, 11. FY 2023 Tax Rate: Fund the Provision of Emergency Medical Services (Paramedic Tax) at $0.0433 per sq ft, 12. FY 2023 Tax Rate: Fund Firefighting, Emergency Medical Response and Wildfire Prevention $0.1126 (Measure FF), 13. FY 2023 Tax Rate: Fund the Maintenance of Parks, City Trees and Landscaping $0.2039 per sq ft, 14. FY 2023 Tax Rate: Fund the Debt Service on the Infrastructure and Facilities General Obligation Bonds 0.0160% (Measure T1, 2016 election), 15. FY 2023 Tax Rate: Fund Emergency Services for the Severely Disabled $0.01932 (Measure E), 16. Designate Line of Succession for the Director of Emergency Services, 17. St. Paul Terrace Housing Trust Fund Reservation $8,551,040 in Housing trust Funds for Community Housing Development Corporation’s St. Paul Terrace (2024 Ashby), 18. Classification and Salary: Senior Economic Development Project Coordinator monthly salary $11,219.88 to $13,775.00 effective 6/15/2022, 19. Contract Amendment $598,560 with Innovative Claim Solutions (ICS) for claims administration of the City’s (Self-Insurance) Worker’s Compensation Funds, 20. Contract $1,115,000 thru FY 2027 with Axon Enterprise, Incorporated for Body Worn Cameras, Storage and Software, 21. Commission Reorganization creating Transportation and Infrastructure Commission combines the Transportation and Public Works Commissions, 22. Final Map of Tract 8621 1169 – 1173 Hearst 5 unit residential condominium project, 23. Peace and Justice Commission – Call for Immediate Ukraine Ceasefire, 24. Robinson – Support for SB 1389 Low-Level Vehicle Infractions, ACTION: 25. FY 2023 and FY 2024 Proposed Budget Public Hearing #2, 26. Police Equipment & Community Safety Ordinance Impact Statements, Associated Equipment Policies and Annual Equipment Use Report, 27. Disaster and Fire Safety Commission - Parking Enforcement of Existing Parking Code in Fire Zones 2&3, 28. Recommendation Council revise Resolution No. 69,917 regarding procurement, sales and service of sugar-sweetened beverages, INFORMATION REPORTS: 29. City Council Short Term Referral Process – Quarterly Update, 30. Results of general Obligation Bonds: $40,000,000 City of Berkeley 2022 Series B (2018 Measure O: Affordable Housing Federally taxable), 31. CM - Update on the Implementation of Fair & Impartial Policing Task Force, 32. City Auditor’s Office 2021 Peer Review Results.
CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING at 6 pm
Hybrid Meeting: In-person or videoconference
In-person at 1231 Addison, School District Board Room
Teleconference: 1-699-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 Meeting ID: 881 2778 7306
AGENDA: use link and HTML to see agenda with document details,
CONSENT: 1. Resolution to continue legislative bodies to meet via videoconference, 2. Minutes, 3. Resolution Supporting Sale of 3404 King and transfer of the Turning Point transitional housing program for homeless youth from Fred Finch Youth Center to Larkin Street Youth Services, 4. Commission Reorganization - Homeless Panel of Experts to add functions of Homeless Commission, 5. Assessments Berkeley Tourism Business Improvement District, 6. Assessments Downtown Business Improvement District, 7. Assessments North Shattuck Business Improvement District, 8. Assessments Telegraph Business Improvement District, 9. $535,000 formal Bid Solicitations, 10. Resolution providing notice Council will adopt an appropriations limit on June 28, 2022 for FY 2023, amount limit will be available for review in the City Clerk’s Office on or before June 13, 11. Revenue Grant Agreements for 2023 1. Foster Care Program $93,187, 2. BHS and Berkeley Tech $181,208, 3. School Linked Health Services $200,011, 4. Tobacco Prevention $78,960, 12. Revenue Grant $32,080 for Public Health Infrastructure Program, 13. Revenue Grant $120,000 for Essential Access Health 4/1/2022 to 3/30/2023, 14. Revenue Grants FY 2023 1. CHDP and EPSDT for children in foster care $358,309, 2. MCAH $381,147, 3. Tobacco Trust Fund $300,000, 4. Immunization Program $1,185,901,5. Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) $265,000, 15. Revenue Grant TB control Program $14,000, 16. Contract $135,000 with Interior Motions for new furniture for Public Health Division offices 4/1/2022 – 12/30/2022, 17. Transfer CA Mental Health Student Services Act Grant Funds $2,267,355 to BUSD for coordination and provision of Mental Health Services, 18. Approve Proposed Projects anticipated to be paid for by State’s Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account for FY 2023, 19. Berkeley Strategic Transportation Plan Update and Grant Application opportunities, 20. Declaration of Intent – FY 2023 Street Lighting Assessments, 21. Contract $428,950 with Nema Construction for FY 2022 Street Light Maintenance Project, 22. Contract $21,551,718 with Zanker Recycling for Construction and Demolition Materials Hauling, Sorting and Marketing Services, 5 yr term July 1, 2022 – 6/30/2027 with option to extend for two 5 year periods, 23. Amend contract add $500,000 total $1,640,000 with TK Elevator for Elevator Maintenance and Repair Services, 24. Amend contract add $50,000 total $130,000 with MSR Mechanical LLC to on-call heating, ventilation and air conditioning services, 25. Amend contract add $400,000 total $1,675,304 and extend to 12/31/2023 with Downtown Streets Team for expanded services, 26. Amend contract add $250,000 total $2,725,200 with CF Contracting for Sacramento Complete Streets Improvements Project, 27. Purchase Order $345,188 Pape Machinery, Inc for completed rebuild and repair of Zero Waste Division’s John Deere Wheel Loader, 28. Civic Arts Commission - authorization request for additional meeting in 2022, 29. Civic Arts Commission – Increase budget allocation by$41,685 total $200,000 for Festival Grants Program, 30. Arreguin, co-sponsors Robinson, Hahn, Harrison - Budget referral $1,000,000 from ARPA to launch a needs-based grant program for Berkeley based small businesses (under 50 employees)to provide supplemental assistance to cover outstanding commercial rent debt and legal assistance, 31. Taplin – Budget referral $1,000,000 for Ceasefire Program staffing, 32. Harrison co-sponsor Hahn – Budget referral $350,000 for Mental Health and Wellness Support and Services Coordinator for Berkeley High Health Center, 33. Harrison – Budget referral $104,863 for additional HHCS Community Development Project Coordinator Position to assist with enforcement of existing and prospective labor laws and regulations, 34. Wengraf, co-sponsor Taplin, Hahn – Support SB-1076 Lead-based paint – to reduce lead poisoning, 35. Robinson, co-sponsor-Harrison, Hahn - $25,000 purchase electric bicycles for City use. ACTION: 36. CM- Establish published charges Mental Health Clinical Services, 37. CM- Discussion Vision 2050 Ballot Measure for November 2022, 38. Comments on FY 2023 – 2024 biennial Budget and Capital Improvement Program, 39. Harrison – Refer to FITES strategies and recommendations to ensure infrastructure bond expenditure consistent with climate action goals – expect to be moved to consent at meeting, INFORMATION REPORTS: 40. Referral Response: Further Supporting Worker Cooperatives, 41. On-Call Energy Efficiency Services Contracts through On-Bill Financing
Public Hearing to be scheduled
1201 – 1205 San Pablo at ZAB Date TBD
Remanded to ZAB or LPC
1643-47 California – new basement level and 2nd story
1205 Peralta – Conversion of an existing garage
Notice of Decision (NOD) and Use Permits with the End of the Appeal Period
Bad news on tracking approved projects in the appeal period. Samantha Updegrave, Zoning Officer, Principal Planner wrote the listing of projects in the appeal period can only be found by looking up each project individually through permits online by address or permit number https://berkeleyca.gov/sites/default/files/2022-03/Online-Building-Permits-Guide.pdf
The website with easy to find listing of projects in the appeal period was left on the “cutting room floor” another casualty of the conversion to the new City of Berkeley website.
Here is the old website link, ask for it to be restored
June 2 – Special Meeting – BART Development
June 21 – Ballot Measure Development Discussion
July 19 – Fire Facilities Study Report
Alameda County LAFCO Presentation
Civic Arts Grantmaking Process & Capital Grant Program
Kelly Hammargren’s on what happened the preceding week can be found in the Berkeley Daily Planet www.berkeleydailyplanet.com under Activist’s Diary. This meeting list is also posted at https://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html on the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition website.
If you would like to receive the Activist’s Calendar as soon as it is completed send an email to email@example.com. If you wish to stop receiving the weekly summary of city meetings please forward the weekly summary you received to firstname.lastname@example.org.