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2022-07-04 02:21:57 By : Ms. Daisy Xiong

When I first read about the proposal envisioning a concert venue and amusement park with concessions at Cesar Chavez Park I thought someone had far outstripped my talents as a satirist and cartoonist. This is the same city council which had recently signed off the Cesar Chavez Park Conservancy group's Chancellor's Grant supporting native plants, pollinator gardens, and the restoration of the Design Advocates Working with Nature (DAWN) group's efforts of thirty years ago -- right in the area where they want to put a zip line. I'm one of the people working hard doing volunteer planting, weeding, and watering the restoration plants. The park workers are are clear-headed as we are about the necessity of stepping up to make sure we seed and plant ahead of climate change to nurture native plants in this changing era, and the network of volunteers and supportive community members are not a group looking for a nifty new concert venue. They know that our natural world is quite literally under fire, and that we hope to carefully restore and if possible expand the respite that all species require to heal and grow in natural settings. 

Hello? Is there anybody at City Hall awake? Have the numbing Zoom meetings finally taken their toll so that no one knows or cares if there's continuity or clarity in our response to environmental crisis or parks? Does a town over-saturated with under-filled venues need an over-amped commercial venue competing with them right literally feet from a nature preserve where not only people who need respite from city noise and pressures but wildlife are struggling for habitat? 

Please don't confuse the very real needs at the marina with this bizarre common sense-free Disneyfication of our most beautiful city park. Monetization of our parks is not the answer to your overspending on merchant association stationary.

Mr. President, as you know Afghanistan has been devastated by a 5.8 earthquake. This has intensified the suffering of the people. I am appalled that you made the decision to divert $3.5B of Afghan money to the families of the 9/11 victims. Many of the families denounced your decision as an effort to divert attention away from the chief 9/11 instigator, -Saudi Arabia. Let me respectfully remind you that fifteen of the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia including the ringleader, Osama bin Laden who subsequently became a fugitive in Afghanistan. As you may be aware, the former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld rejected the Taliban’s offer of unconditional surrender, (in November 2001) including handing over bin Laden r to US forces, arrogantly reporting “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”. What chutzpah! As you may also be aware, the final 9/11 report continues to be hidden from the American people. Why? Is it an effort to deflect blame from the Saudis? Do we relish their oil more than we value justice? This is unconscionable. It is also unconscionable that we have abandoned thousands of innocent Afghans, victims of from the ill-advised invasion of their country. Many risked their lives supporting US forces. Finally, we seem to have an inexhaustible supply of funds to support white Ukrainians but ignore the plight of brown Afghans who remain twisting in the wind, long forgotten and abandoned. This is an appalling racist policy. Mr. President, your Catholic faith demands you cancel your planned trip to Riyadh and, immediately release desperately needed funds to Afghanistan including the $3.5B stolen from their account.

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available. You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends. Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money. This is a Very Good Deal. Go for it! 

The June 24th Supreme Court ruling nullifying Roe v Wade should not be viewed as an isolated event in America's cultural wars but instead as the result of a fifty-year conservative strategy to supplant US democracy with plutocracy. Although culture wars are an important aspect of this strategy, conservative SCOTUS cultural rulings are not the final objective but merely a stepping-stone to the ultimate goal: weakening the Federal system to the point where the US becomes, in effect, a confederacy. Conservatives are refighting the 1861 Civil War. And they're winning. Although the American Civil War is usually regarded as a war fought over slavery, from the perspective of constitutional law it was a war fought about states' rights. In this instance, the rights of states to permit slavery (and the expansion of slavery into new states). The debate about states' rights dates from the beginning of our country. At the 1787 constitutional convention, concern about the power of the central government versus the power of individual states led to series of compromises: notably the baroque electoral college system used to elect our President, the creation of the Senate where each state has two votes, and the "three-fifths" formula where each slave got three-fifths of a vote. 

The June 24th SCOTUS Dobbs Decision nullifying Roe v Wade stated that women have no Federal right to have an abortion, each state must decide this issue. By implication, this means that each state must determine the right to obtain contraception or to to marry a person of the same sex (or different race) or to own property and on and on. Plutocrats believe that turning the United States into a confederacy will result in a situation where many states permit unfettered capitalism. 

(The June 30th SCOTUS decision in West Virginia vs EPA is consistent with this trend towards giving more power to the states.) 

The Dobbs Decision is a direct consequence of the conservative plan initiated by Lewis Powell Jr in his (infamous) 1971 memo "Attack on the American Free Enterprise System" (https://www.thwink.org/sustain/articles/017_PowellMemo/PowellMemoReproduction.pdf). Powells began: "No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack... The sources are varied and diffused. They include, not unexpectedly, the Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries who would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more numerous, better financed, and increasingly are more welcomed and encouraged by other elements of society, than ever before in our history." Powell goes on to to blame the success of these attacks on universities, the media, and, in particular, an apathetic business community. 

Powell's memorandum spurred a broad response from Republican politicians, conservative ideologues, and the American business community -- led by the Chamber of Commerce. Fifty years later, the consequences are clear: 

1.The Republican Party has become the Party of Big Business. In the twenties, Republican President Coolidge said, "the business of America is business." It's no surprise that today's GOP is strongly identified with big business. The Republican agenda is the big business agenda. President Reagan, in particular, went out of his way to declare that America's best minds were to be found in business, not in government. As a consequence, many struggling Americans look to business for salvation, not to their church, and certainly not government, 

2. Republicans became opposed to the federal government. in 2001, Grover Norquist, a Reagan disciple, said: "I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” The Republican mantra became: "if only government would get out of the way, US business would solve all of our problems." Republicans want a gargantuan Department of Defense, but otherwise they have no use for government. 

3.Republican politicians became tools of business. With a fifty-year theme of "government is bad, business is good" it's not surprising that the Republican Party became the disciples of plutocracy. It's no surprise that Republican officials became the tools of the rich and powerful. It's an open secret in Washington that Republican politicians can be bought; Senators like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham do not represent their constituents; they represent big business. 

4. Republican presidential candidates became figureheads. Starting with Ronald Reagan, in 1980, Republican national candidates were chosen for their media talents rather than for their intellect or principles. (I'm thinking of Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump.) They weren't successful businessmen or conservative philosophers, these Republicans were picked because they would faithfully read the lines dictated by oligarchs, and give the right-wing base the "red meat" it wanted. 

5. Republicans focused on getting their own media outlets. In his 1971 memo, Powell expressed his opinion that the so-called "attack on the free-enterprise system" was facilitated by the mainstream media. As a result, conservatives developed their own media outlets; notably, Fox TV News and the Rush Limbaugh radio show. As a consequence, millions of Americans do not get "mainstream" news, they get news filtered through the Republican lens. They live and breathe an altenate reality 

6. Republicans abandoned democratic principles and Christian ethics. To be clear, business ethics are not Christian ethics. "Love they neighbor and I am my brother's keeper" may be inspiring words on Sundays but they have little to do with the way American business is conducted. Stated otherwise, business maxims such as "the ends justify the means" and "do what you need to do to satisfy your shareholders" have no basis in Christian principles. Republicans became obsessed with winning at all costs. 

7.Republican took advantage of wedge issues. The typical US businessman is amoral; the only ethical issues he cares about are those that reflect on the corporate bottom line. Republicans politicians, in the abstract, don't care about issues like abortions, guns, or gay marriage. But GOP politicians have come to care about these because they are wedge issues. For example, there are some conservative Christians who are single-issue voters; they will only support politicians who oppose abortion. Republicans cynically take advantage of these voters. 

8.Republicans focused on controlling the Supreme Court. Shortly after writing his infamous memorandum, Lewis Powell Jr was nominated to the Supreme Court. Republicans became focused on ensuring a conservative majority on the court. A landmark appointment was the 1991 replacement of liberal icon Thurgood Marshall (who had died) with Clarence Thomas. In 2022, Thomas, the most conservative member of the court, wrote much of the Dobbs decision. 

9.Republicans denied climate change. Global Climate Change is bad for business. It's a sad reflection of the times that we live in that most of the largest US businesses should change because of climate change. (For example, ExxonMobil and Chevron) Some of these changes are major -- stopping petroleum exploration -- and others minor -- prohibiting plastic packaging. But, of course, it's cheaper not to change. US business doesn't want to change and, therefore, Republicans deny climate change and oppose related government regulations. 

10. Republicans brand Democrats as socialists or communists. In 1971 Lewis Powell Jr wrote that the "Attack on the American Free Enterprise System" was being led by communists, socialists, and revolutionaries. The Republican demonization hasn't changed in fifty years. Instead of saying, Republicans stand for plutocracy, Democrats stand for democracy; or saying, Republicans stand for big business, Democrats stand for workers and limited capitalism, Democrats have allowed themselves to be put in the "socialist" box. 

Will the new civil war result in violence? 620,000 soldiers died in the first civil war. (50,000 in the Battle of Gettysburg.) We all hope there will not be a second civil war; we all hope that there will not be violence. That said, On January 6, 2021, Donald Trump spawned an insurrection that resulted in the deaths of seven people, There are Republicans who advocate violence. As part of their deal with the big business "devil," Republicans have abandoned Christian ethics and adopted the maxim "the ends justify the means." 

Bob Burnett is a Bay Area writer and activist. He can be reached at bburnett@sonic.net 

Inflation Hits My Cereal Bowl Over the past month, the cost of our weekly shopping trips to Trader Joe's has doubled. This means cutting back on purchases. And this means starting to run out of meals and munchies around mid-week. And this means trying to fill my breakfast bowl and dinner plates with whatever leftovers I can manage to scrape together. The scramble for scraps has led to some interesting ad hoc combos. A few nights ago, I experienced my first helping of "pizza soup." For breakfast, I had a bowl of granola and peanuts. When I ran out of nonfat milk, I grabbed the last remnants in a carton of chocolate milk and had my first steaming cup of choco-chai. I drew the line when I ran out of jam and was forced to consider making a peanut-butter and jellybean sandwich. Trump Throws Tantrums—and Dinner Plates Cassidy Hutchinson's mesmerizing June 28 testimony before the January 6 investigating committee revealed some tantalizing news about the Ocher Ogre. 

When told that some of the hoi polloi and riff-raff Trump invited to DC had arrived armed with AR-15s, knives, bear spray, and other tools of minor-to-mass destruction, he actually sprang into action. Yep, he ordered the removal of metal detectors lest they decrease the size of his adoring mob. 

Hutchinson recalled several Oval Office incidents where Trump expressed his anger by ripping the cloth off a White House dinner table, spilling food, dishes, drinks and utensils to the floor. On other occasions, a fuming Trump flung his food plates in anger, leaving broken shards on the floor and "catsup stains" on the wall. 

These reports would appear to confirm one of the ex-reality-show-host's glitchy personality traits. The catsupy evidence is in: Trump's favorite cuisine continues to be burgers and fries. 

In late May, a packet from the USPS arrived in my PO box. It was a pitch to "instantly print official USPS-approved postage for any amount or mail class" by simply logging on to www.stamps.com and creating stamps on a home or office printer. The envelope included a page of nine pre-printed stamps ready to peel off and apply—pending a quick run through a printer to add user authentication codes. This gift of "starter stamps" would be worth $5.22 in postage. 

The offer expired on June 30 but I lost interest when I read some small type on a separate sheet that revealed how activating the 9 stamps required signing up for "all the services of the Post Office for just $17.99 a month." That comes to $215.88 a year, meaning each of those 9 "free" stamps would cost a postal customer about $24 each. 

A Tax on Home Solar Energy = Attacks on Home Solar 

Covering rooftops with solar panels is an effective way to address the growing stress of climate chaos. As global temperatures continue to rise, there's some hope to be had in knowing that you can use the sun's heat to run your home's air conditioners. But Big Oil and Big Energy interests aren't pleased about the growing transition towards energy independence. California has been a leader in the move to a Green Energy Future. So, naturally, California is now being targeted by the Pollution Profiteers who have launched a campaign to demonize self-reliant, solar-powered homeowners as "grid defectors" and demand that they be subjected to punitive taxation. 

According to the Alliance for Democracy, the country's big-time energy empires are "proposing a tax designed to raise the cost of installation and discourage homeowners and builders alike from making the switch to solar." For more details on this power-plot, you can check out the discussion between Dave Rosenfeld, the Executive Director of the Solar Rights Alliance, and Loretta Lynch, the former president of California's Public Utility Commission (available for listening or downloading at this link.) 

Pentagon Panics as Recruitment Plummets 

Every branch of the US military is struggling to meet recruitment goals. The Army has only met 40% of its recruitment goals this year and a recent Pentagon survey found only 9% of eligible Americans had any interest in enlisting. 

In a desperate bid to expand enrollment, the Pentagon dropped its ban on recruits sporting visible tattoos and halted its requirement that recruits had to produce a high school diploma or a GED certificate. (Pentagon brass recently reversed the plan to raise recruitment by lowering academic skills.) 

Meanwhile, Congress is doing its part to fill the Pentagon's ranks by pushing legislation to require young women to register for compulsory military service—in the name of "equal rights." 

Bad idea, say the activists at World BEYOND War. If Congress wants to promote gender equality, let's end the draft for both young men and young women. It's bad enough that the Supreme Court has overruled a woman's "right to chose." We don't need the Pentagon to start drafting teenage girls. But, at this moment in history, we're living in a country where the following rules are struggling to dominate: SCOTUS to Women: Bear Children! Pentagon to Women: Bear Arms! 

#NoWar2022: Opting Out of Militarism 

In a cost-cutting move, San Francisco recently began ending funds for inner-city health and safety programs. At the same time, critics are complaining of the cost of programs to house the homeless in empty hotel rooms. Here's a thought: how about offering part-time volunteer employment to participants entering the City's various shelter programs. Any willing, city-sheltered individual who is physically and mentally capable could be offered training in street maintenance, sanitation work, and health support activities that are currently being eliminated. A few days of work each week in exchange for access to free/subsidized housing might be a win-win proposition. 

Most of my daily mail consists of solicitations from nonprofits. Most of these solicitations include "free gifts" (a redundancy) that typically include personalized address stickers and the occasional pocket-sized notepad. 

But a Native American college has come up with a different—and more Earth-friendly—gift: A packet of seeds. The seed packets weigh less than a cover letter and take up less space than a poker card. We planted the contents of our seed packet and already have a nice row of basil plants flourishing in the backyard garden. So this is my message to the nonprofit community: Nix the stickers and opt for crops. 

Supreme Irresponsibility: Abort the Court 

The US Supreme Court appears to have morphed into a stand-alone enforcer of a stridently right-wing/corporate social/gender/industrial dictatorship. Women are under judicial assault and, if Clarence Thomas has anything to say about it, the LGBTQ community may soon face court-ordered restrictions. Educators will be told what history can-or-can't be shared with students. And the environment will continue to be pillaged for profit as the planet's ecosystems collapse and crumble. 

In a demoralizing ruling on June 30 (West Virginia v. EPA), SCOTUS struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. 

According to May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org: "The Supreme Court sided with the fossil fuel industry to strip the EPA of the power to do its job: protecting the environment and our communities from a growing climate crisis. 

By limiting the EPA’s authority to regulate pollution from the energy sector, which accounts for a quarter of the US emissions that are contributing to climate change, the Supreme Court is putting our environment, our climate, and our health in danger." 

So what can we do when faced with "an anti-regulatory Supreme Court that is in the pockets of industry"? Fortunately, there's hope, and 350.org argues it lies in President Biden’s ability to honor his climate-protection promises through executive action "by declaring a climate emergency, stopping the federal approval of all new fossil fuel projects that are harming our communities and fueling climate chaos, and accelerating a just, clean, and renewable energy transition." 

As Boeve notes: "Biden followed through on our movement's demand to use the Defense Production Act to boost renewable energy manufacturing under the guidance of workers, environmental justice communities, and other impacted people. The time for executive action on climate is now — we have no more time to waste." 

Roe v. Wade, Corporate Democrats, and the Filibuster 

Our Revolution writes: "Democrats had decades to codify abortion rights, and now we see the consequences of their failure. As Bernie Sanders says, they can still save abortion rights by ending the filibuster and passing legislation. 

Here’s what the media won’t tell you: this will NOT happen because corporate Democrats have been told to protect the filibuster as a useful tool for corporations to crush any pro-worker legislation that would threaten their profits." 

The White House invokes God to Support War 

An anti-war colleague recently shared the contents of a letter she received from the Oval Office. It came with her comment: "This is the disgusting response I got from the White House when I wrote to them to cool things with Ukraine!!" 

Biden's statement read, in part: 

"The prayers of the world are with the brave and proud people of Ukraine…. Throughout our history, we’ve learned this lesson: when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos." 

[Note: The letter contained no mention of Washington's own (and much longer) history of aggressions—most recently in Vietnam, Laos, Panama, Serbia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan….] 

The letter continued: "With extraordinary unity and resolve, the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security." Choosing "peace" by sending billions of dollars to keep the war machine belching across Eastern Ukraine? By announcing a 650% increase in the size of NATO's armed forces? By risking nuclear war with Russia? By provoking China with RIMPAC, the South Pacific's largest naval exercise in history? 

The letter concluded with the following: 

"May God bless the people of a free and democratic Ukraine, and may God protect our troops." (What? Do we have troops on the ground in Ukraine?) 

Comments from other peace activists quickly followed. One leading US-based peace activist countered: "If he's got God blessing Ukrainians and Our Troops why doesn't he just ask God to smite Putin?" 

And this, from a Ukrainian peace activist in Kyiv: "Let's think (theo)logically. I can't understand Joe Biden unless he thinks that President Vladimir Putin doesn't belong to our worldly world. And if Putin is some sort of god or devil, he is probably immortal and couldn't be smited by God. I don't know if it makes any sense, but it seems like a genuine theology of war, i.e. bullshit." 

Prepping for Berkeley's Ballot Boxing Match 

The first day for Berkeleyans to file papers to run for public office is July 18. Nominations close on Friday, August 12. According to the City's online scoreboard, the seats that are up for grabs this year include the City Auditor, Rent Board Commissioners, School Board Directors, and City Council Districts 1, 4, 7 and 8. 

All four districts are ablaze with civic angst with plans for yet more high-rise apartment towers metastasizing from District 4 and spreading to the BART parking lot at the North Berkeley station in District 1 as well as the Ashby BART lot in District 8. Meanwhile, the University continues to push its unpopular plan to impose additional high-rise development on the sacred soil of Peoples' Park. 

There are plenty of political battles to be contested in the months ahead. This is the time for progressive reformers to consider running for office. 

My diagnosing psychiatrist, Dr. Trachtenberg (I'm not sure that I have the spelling correct and I don't have a first name) in 1982, said that I suffer from "Schizophrenia, Paranoid-type". He said that if I could comply with treatment, it was expected that I could "do fairly well for a long time." He based this on the fact that I'd worked at jobs before I became ill; and he may have seen some other things about me that led him to this prognosis. 

But what does that mean? Does it mean going to college? Does it mean becoming an entrepreneur? No. When a psychiatrist says that a person with schizophrenia can "do well," the ceiling of this is low, such as you could clean toilets without supervision, or you could make scrambled eggs on your own. 

"Do well for a long time..." -it implies that after ten or maybe twenty years of being moderately "high functioning", we might be expected to go defunct in some manner. We could die, we could relapse, we could develop more severe illness, anything that follows a predetermined course. The doctors have the maps. There is no room in their minds for someone who doesn't follow a predicted outcome. I'm basing this impression on how I've been dealt with in the past ten years. 

Apparently, the consensus of treating psychiatrists was that I should continue with the same type of brainless, solitary work I had done before I got ill, a type of work that I knew, deep down, was bad for me and was one of the factors that had made me get sick. The psychiatric belief system is that a patient becomes ill due to the incorrect function in the brain; and supposedly the illness is not related to what you are or aren't doing in life. And the assumption of psychiatrists seems to have always been that mentally ill patients can't do intelligent work. 

The recommendation that I continue with the same work came from an outpatient psychiatrist at the same location as Trachtenberg. He was adamant that I should be treatment compliant. He believed I should do the same work I'd done before, apparently because he didn't want me to deal with something that would be too challenging. 

Before I became ill, I was rejected, in a humiliating, vicious and spiteful manner by peers, young adults who were headed for lives of fabulous success that included going to good colleges, having meaningful romantic relationships, and enjoying all the things considered by most people to be the really good things in life. And certainly, lots of sex, lots of money, and meaningful work are all privileges that not everyone can get. 

At age sixteen and/or seventeen, I was forced out of that circle of supposed friends. Then I went to work in degrading jobs, and my life would have been no more than garbage (as well as dealing with garbage) except that I found another group of people with whom to be friends, good people who accepted me and who were also in the top ten percentile of intelligence for the most part. People who were also socioeconomically high up. Most were middle aged and so there was a mismatch of ages, and that was the main barrier. 

In the work I did, I am referring to environment of being alone and cleaning up in an afterhours scenario. Referring to the those who were good to me, I am speaking of followers of the late Ken Keyes Jr., a spiritual teacher who promoted his own version of Buddhism. I later came to believe Keyes' belief system had some grossly incorrect parts to it. Yet, it saved my life to be around good people who were truly kind. It did not matter so much whether this would have been considered a cult. If it was a cult, it was a very kind, non-forceful, and gentle cult. 

When I relapsed in 1984, the cause of it was not taking medication and my life being threatened when two armed robbers had hidden in a store I serviced. My parents believed I was alone far too much, and this was an unhealthy environment. They had it right. Psychiatrists do not seem to understand the basic fact that if you are diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Paranoid-type, you still need to have meaningful contact with other human beings. And secondly, only having seen me for a few weeks, in the mode of a psychotic person at the very beginning of manhood, does a psychiatrist really have the right to tell me what my limits are? 

Within a few years I gave up on janitor work and received training in electronics, half of which I already knew because of my electronic background: reading and hobby projects I did as a teen. And in 1985, I began my career in repair of home electronics. This already surpassed the scope of my prognosis. Electronics requires brains and it is a category of work an intelligent person can sink her or his teeth into on a pure challenge level. I was fortunate that the place that hired me was tolerant of me being new to the field. And it was fortuitous that my work environment was close to ideal. Within a few years of that first electronic job, I worked for another television repair shop, and I did well at this for about six or eight months. I'd had mononucleosis and I'd kept calling in sick. This wasn't okay with the shop owner who wanted work and not sick days. 

I've always done best in job situations in which the employer has been unaware of me having a disability or working for someone who is not bigoted about it. Being mentally ill today, in the age of information technology, is the electronic equivalent of wearing an arm band, one that states something to the effect that I don't have useful thoughts and I should be ignored or avoided. 

Yet, in the paragraphs above, my accomplishments in the 1980's exceeded my prognosis. And today, in my writing endeavors, it is my belief that most editors don't care that I'm mentally ill; they are simply after good material and workable conduct. 

It seems to be the psychiatrists and those who work in the mental health field who, ironically, create a good chunk of the stigma. I've noticed less of this in recent years, however. I think it is a big mistake for a person with any disability to sell ourselves short. If you are alive, breathing, thinking, and making sense out of the world, why not do something with that? Basic competence is an asset, a renewable asset that can be spent. And the more it is spent, the more there is. 

A doctor may be able to observe that a patient responds to psych meds. The doctors can go ahead with helping me get treated for my mental health condition. Yet, I've taken back "seniority" concerning the direction and level of success I aspire to in my life. 

Jack Bragen is author of "Revising Behaviors that Don't Work," and lives in Martinez.

The conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ended its controversial term with the ruling in West Virginia v. EPA, which limits EPA’ s power to combat climate change - - - a "gutting of the Clean Air Act." The EPA sought to issue regulations designed to get coal-fired power plants to shift to less polluting technologies, major source of greenhouse gases. The regulations were never issued. 

The Court ruled that in cases involving particularly consequential policy decisions, the agency must be able to point to clear congressional language allowing it to act. Congress, of course, lacks the expertise, time, and ability to legislate in every area of need facing the nation. And so it delegates some of its lawmaking power to federal agencies that do have the expertise and ability to craft regulations addressing certain problems and needs. Instead of deferring to regulatory agencies, the Court cited the "major questions doctrine” which says that Congress must “ speak clearly if it wishes to assign to an agency decisions of vast economic and political significance.”  

Associate Justice Elena Kagan in her dissent disagreed, "The limits the majority now puts on EPA’ s authority fly in the face of the statute Congress wrote.” Justice Kagan argued that the Clean Air Act does "broadly authorized EPA in Section 111 to select the 'best system of emission reduction' for power plants." 

Getting a divided Congress to act means little or nothing will get done, especially on climate change. According to the April 2022 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ipcc), the window for limiting global warming to relatively safe levels is rapidly closing. Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in international action will result in an unlivable and unsustainable future for us all. In order to meet the goals of The Paris Agreement to limit the average global temperature rise to 1.5°C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels—and failing that, to below 2°C—will take immediate and unprecedented action from every country. 

The next climate summit will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on 7-18 November 2022. Unfortunately the United States, the second largest carbon polluter after China, will probably be unable to show by example much progress. The $1.75 trillion Budget Reconciliation bill, which includes the Build Back Better Act with all its climate provisions intact failed to pass. This would have been a $555 billion framework to combat the climate crisis. 

We have the knowledge, money, technology and affordable clean energy that we need to cut our carbon emissions in half by 2030. That’ s the good news from the IPCC. What needs to be done is dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, and cut methane emissions by one-third. SCOTUS' decision in West Virginia v. EPA is a set back for efforts to combat climate change, As a result, we can expect disasters to get getting stronger and more frequent. Time is running out.

Worth Noting: Check the new city website for late postings https://berkeleyca.gov/ Tuesday at 11 am the Police Accountability Board is meeting on controlled equipment. Wednesday at 2:30 pm the Facilities, Infrastructure, Transportation, Environment & Sustainability Committee (FITES) meets on regulating plastic and GHG emissions and Climate Action Plan. The Commission on Disability meets at 6 pm on emergency preparedness and dockless scooters. The Homeless Panel of Experts meets at 7 pm on Measure P spending. The Planning Commission meets at 7 pm with a public hearing on Zoning Ordinance changes and Affordable Housing Overly. Thursday at 10:30 the Land Use Committee meets on an Efficiency Unit Ordinance and modifying the Zoning Ordinance to encourage/expand R&D in Berkeley. Council has a closed session at 4:30 pm. The Housing advisory Council meets on investigating violations and discrimination at Harriet Tubman Terrace. Saturday the Berkeley Neighborhoods Council meets at 10 am. City Council July 12 regular meeting at 6 pm is available for comment. Use link https://berkeleyca.gov/city-council-regular-meeting-eagenda-july-12-2022 and choose HTML or go to end of this notice to see full meeting agenda. If you missed the Rent Board Convention, you have until Friday, July 8 to request a ballot request your ballot and until Friday, July 15 to turn in your ballot. For full information go to the Berkeley Tenants Convention website https://berkeleytenantsconvention.net/ The Housing Element Draft is available for comment from now until Thursday, July 14, 2022. Do not leave this to the last minute. Draft: https://raimi.konveio.com/city-berkeley-housing-element-update-public-draft Housing Element Update Webpage: https://berkeleyca.gov/construction-development/land-use-development/general-plan-and-area-plans/housing-element-update Meetings Cancelled: Landmarks Preservation Commission, WETA (Water Emergency Transportation Authority), Sunday, July 3, 2022 & Monday, July 4, 2022 – Holiday Check your favorite websites for activities. There will be no fireworks display in Berkeley. On July 4, check before driving to Panoramic Way, Grizzly Peak and other viewing spots in the hills. Traffic is restricted. 

Police Accountability Board (PAB) at 11 am 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83842714327 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 838 4271 4327 

AGENDA: Continue review of internal policies relevant to Controlled Equipment and Controlled Equipment Impact Statements, local and state laws. 


City Council Facilities, Infrastructure, Transportation, Environment & Sustainability Committee (FITES) at 2:30 pm 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86158614605 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 (toll free) Meeting ID: 861 5861 4605 

AGENDA: 2. Adopt Ordinance to Regulate Plastic Bags at Retail and Food service Establishments, 3. Community Outreach and Education Events on Proposed Regulations for the Use of Carryout and Pre-checkout bags (i.e. bags for bulk items, fruits and vegetables), 4. Adopt and Ordinance establishing GHG limits, process for updated Climate Action Plan, Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Regional Collaboration. 


Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) at 6:30 pm 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86042306505 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 Meeting ID: 860 4230 6505 

AGENDA: II.C. Authorization to Close Central Library and all Branches on Sept 23 and 30 for two staff development days, D. FY 2023 Purchase Authorization in Excess of Director of Library Services. III. A. Salary increase to $1421/month for Director of Library Services, B. 2022 BOLT Priority Setting Review and Update, C. Collection Management Policy Update. 


Commission on Disability at 6 pm 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86209159746?pwd=WUlJRWRlUmJFUmV6NVJjWFAxdlRrUT09 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 Meeting ID: 862 0915 9746 Passcode: 760148 

AGENDA: 3. Public comment non-agenda items, 5. Staff update new Disability Compliance Staff Guillermo Campos, C. 1. Emergency Preparedness, 2. Dockless scooter Presentation, 3. Elevator Ordinance, 4. Easy Does It, 5. Inclusive Disaster Registry, 6. Commission Workplan, 7. Accessibility of Voicemail System, 8. Participation in Commission on Disability, 9. Bike Plan, 10. ADA and City of Berkeley Programs and services, 11. ADA Pacific Center Training for Commissioners 

Homeless Services Panel of Experts (HSPE) at 7 pm 

Videoconference: https://zoom.us/j/92491365323 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 924 9136 5323 

AGENDA: 2. Public comment non-agenda items, 5. Staff presentation on request for Measure P monies for Pathways needs-ADA accommodations, palettes, 6. Staff proposal to extend community agency funding cycle, 7. Presentation from Abode on the Roadway, 8. Chair Update 9. Staff update on amount of subsidies used; Golden Bear as housing, Roadway, 1367 University, Horizon move from 742 Grayson, status of move of persons residing at trailers at 711 Harrison, 10. Placement of Measure P on 2028 Ballot, 11. Discuss HSPE needs to conduct duties effectively. 


Planning Commission at 7 pm 

Videoconference: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84978109535 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 849 7810 9535  

AGENDA: 3. Public comment non-agenda items, 4. Staff Report, 5. Chair Report, 6. Committee Reports, 9. Action: Public Hearing Zoning Ordinance Amendments C-C Zoning District, C-E Zoning District, C-NS Zoning District, C-DMU District, Protected Uses, Setbacks, Usable Open Space, Required Parking Spaces, Design Review), 10. Discussion Affordable Housing Overlay and Local Density Bonus, 11. 2022-2023 Workplan. 


City Council Land Use, Housing & Economic Development Committee at 10:30 am 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83333124582 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 (toll free) Meeting ID: 833 3312 4582 

AGENDA: 2. Taplin – Efficiency Unit Ordinance, 3. Robinson, so-sponsors Taplin, Arreguin, Harrison – Keep Innovation in Berkeley, refer to CM and Planning Commission to modify Zoning Ordinance to encourage growth and retention of R&D, amend sections of MM and MU-LI districts for R&D, Amend parking, repeal BMC 23.206.080 Biosafety 


City Council CLOSED Session at 4:30 pm 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81831321606 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 (toll free) Meeting ID: 818 3132 1606 

AGENDA: 1. Conference with property negotiators Berkeley Inn 1720 San Pablo price and terms property owner Ganga Holdings, LLC, 1250 – 1288 9th St, price and terms property owners Smith and Walters, Inc., 2. Conference with Labor Negotiators Employee Organizations, Berkeley Fire Fighters Assoc Local 1227, Berkeley Fire Fighters Assoc Local 1227 I.A.F.F., IBEW, Local 1245 SEIU 1021 Community Services and Part-Time Recreation Activity Leaders, DEIU 1021 Maintenance and Clerical, Public Employees Union Local 1, Unrepresented Employees, Berkeley Police Association, 3. Conference with Legal Counsel Anticipated litigations Workers Comp Appeal ADJ11219150. 


Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) at 7 pm 

Videoconference: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82836640285 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 828 3664 0285  

AGENDA: 3. Public Comment, 5. Discussion/Action to Investigate Violations and Discrimination at Harriet Tubman Terrace 6. Discussion/Action to Extend Community Agency Contracts for One Year at Existing Levels and Postpone the Community agency Request for RFP until 2024. 


AGENDA: Commission normally meets the 1st Thursday, no meeting posted, no notice of cancellation, check later in the week. 


Interactive Kiosk Experience (IKE) at 9:30 am 

In-person at The Graduate, 2600 Durant Ave 

Berkeley Neighborhoods Council at 10 am 

Videoconference: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81913698863?pwd=NFJjWlh2aDhtSjh1eG4yQUFkMzNmQT09 

Teleconference: 1-253-215-8782 Meeting ID: 819 1369 8863 Passcode: 377919 

AGENDA: not posted, check later in the week 

CITY COUNCIL REGULAR Meeting JULY 12, 2022 at 6 pm 

Videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81476464690 

Teleconference: 1-669-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 (toll free) Meeting ID: 814 7646 4690 


1. Annual Appropriations Ordinance FY 2023 $754,176,624 (gross), $625,939,999 (net) 

2. goBerkeley SmartSpace Pilot Program Implementation Recommendations 1. Adopt an Ordinance repealing and reenacting Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 14.52 Parking Meters to enable demand-responsive paid parking for non-RPP permit holders in the 2700 blocks of Durant Avenue, Channing Way, and Haste Street and the 2300-2400 blocks of Piedmont Avenue (a portion of Residential Preferential Parking Program Area I) for the duration of the grant-funded goBerkeley SmartSpace pilot program, and allow payment via license plate entry pay stations (“pay-by-plate”) to improve convenience and enforcement; 

3. Voting Delegates – League of CA Cities Annual Conference, 

5. Amend Contract add $10,000 total $60,000 with Waters Moving & Storage to move Aging Services back to North Berkeley Senior Center, 

6. Amend contract add $110,000 total $380,000 with Bartel Associates, LLC for Actuarial Consulting Services thru 12/31/2023, 

7. Amend contract add $28,679 total $64,990 with Vestra Resources, Inc for Geographic Information System (GIS) Services 9/15/2018 – 6/30/2024, 

8. Amend contract add $300,000 total $500,000 with Hamilton Tree Service, Inc. as needed tree services, 

9. Amend contract add $200,000 total $700,000 with West Coast Arborists, Inc. for as-needed tree services, 

10. Amend contract add $26,000 total $1,145,580 with OBS Engineering, Inc. for John Hinkel Park Amphitheater Area Improvements Project, 

11. Auditor’s Financial Condition (FY 2012 – FY 2021): Pension Liabilities and Infrastructure Need Attention, 

12. Arreguin – Amend Contract $78,000 with Szabo & Associates for Communications Consulting Services thru 6/30/2023, 

13. Arreguin co-sponsors Robinson, Hahn – Resolution joining House America, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to form partnerships with state, tribal and local governments to rehouse people experiencing homelessness, 

14. Taplin, co-sponsor Hahn – Support for Assembly Constitutional Amendment 3 – CA Constitution currently prohibits slavery, but includes an exemption for involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime Amendment 3 removes the exemption for involuntary servitude, 

15. Taplin - Support for AB-1816 Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program – in CA it costs $100,000/yr to imprison one person and $25,000/yr for permanent supportive housing, 

16. Robinson, co-sponsor Hahn - Support for SB 1063: Flexibility for Energy Innovation authorize CA Energy Commission (CEC) to make new technology standards effective sooner – removes 1 year delay requirement for new technology standards, instead allows flexibility in effective dates, 

17. CM - Zoning Ordinance Amendments Title 23,  

18. Droste, Taplin – Revision to Section 311.6 Warrantless Searches of Individuals on Supervised Release Search Conditions of the Berkeley Police Department Law,  

19. Hahn, co-sponsors Taplin, Bartlett, Harrison - Restoring and Improving Access to City of Berkeley Website and Archival Materials,  

20. Rent Stabilization Board – Ballot Initiative Proposed Amendment to Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance, 

INFORMATION REPORT: 21. Youth Commission Work Plan 2022. 

Public Hearing to be scheduled 

1201 – 1205 San Pablo construct mixed-use building - 9/29/2022 

2018 Blake construct multi-family residential building - 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, Please ask for it to be restored item 28 on the June 14 Council agenda. 


July 19 – Fire Facilities Study Report 

July 26 – Special meeting at 4 pm on ballot measures 

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 kellyhammargren@gmail.com. If you wish to stop receiving the weekly summary of city meetings please forward the weekly summary you received to kellyhammargren@gmail.com. 

If you are looking for past agenda items for city council, city council committees, boards and commission and find records online unwieldy, you can use the https://www.sustainableberkeleycoalition.com/whats-ahead.html on the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition website to scan old agendas. The links no longer work, but it may be the only place to start looking. 

Celebrating the completion of her first year as Music Director at San Francisco Opera, Eun Sun Kim presented a concert on Thursday, June 30, of music by Giuseppe Verdi. The Opera Orchestra was joined by the Opera Chorus led by John Keane and by singers Nicole Car, Soloman Howard, Etienne Dupuis, and Mikayla Sager. The Opera’s General Director, Matthew Shilvock, gave a general introduction, noting the lifelong trajectory of Verdi as represented by this concert’s excerpts from the operas Luisa Miller, Il Trovatore, and Don Carlo.  

Opening the program was the Overture from Luisa Miller, an opera from Verdi’s early years. This vigorous Overture was brilliantly conducted by Eun Sun Kim. Next came an extended excerpt from Act II, Scene l from Luisa Miller featuring soprano Nicole Car as Luisa and bass Soloman Howard as Wurm. Nicole Car recently excelled as Donna Elvira in SF Opera’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, in which opera bass Soloman Howard sang the role of the Commendatore. As good as she was as Donna Elvira, nothing quite prepared me for how sensational Nicole Car was in this concert where she sang three Verdi heroines. Her voice is bright, focused, and powerful. Car’s high notes have a clarion ring that is thrilling to hear. In her excerpt from Luisa Miller, Nicole Car dramatically portrayed the anguish her character experiences as Wurm villainously forces Luisa to save her father’s life by writing a letter denying that she loves Rodolfo and declaring that she loves Wurm. Bass Soloman Howard sang convincingly as Wurm. 

Next on the program came four excerpts from Verdi’s Il Trovatore, an opera of Verdi’s immensely fertile middle period. First we heard the famed Anvil Chorus, excellently sung by the San Francisco Opera Chorus. Following this we heard Nicole Car as Leonora and Adler Fellow Mikayla Sager in the soprano role of Inez. As Leonora recalls the time she first heard the singing of the troubadour Manrico, Nicole Car endowed the aria Taccea la notte placida with ravishing beauty. In spite of Inez’s warnings of the dangers involved, Leonora declares exultantly that words alone cannot express the love she feels for Manrico. 

Following this aria, we heard baritone Etienne Dupuis as Count di Luna, Manrico’s sworn enemy and rival for Leonora’s affection. In the aria Il balen del suo sorriso, Etienne Dupuis as Count di Luna sings that the brilliant flash of Leonora’s smile awakens his love and spurs him to pursue her at all cost. Next we heard Nicole Car as Leonora as she desperately resolves to yield to Count di Luna’s lust if he agrees to rescind the order for Manrico to be executed. Hearing this, di Luna exults that Leonora will soon be his. But Leonora secretly resolves to take poison and thus save Manrico’s life while giving up hers. Once again, Nicole Car was dramatically and vocally sensational, and Etienne Dupuis sang excellently as di Luna. Incidentally, Etienne Dupuis and Nicole Car are husband-and-wife as well as professional colleagues. 

After intermission, the second half of this concert was devoted to Verdi’s late opera Don Carlo. Based on a profoundly humanistic play by Friedrich Schiller, Verdi’s Don Carlo was originally written for Paris, where it premiered in French as Don Carlos. The opera underwent many different revisions as iVerdi prepared several subsequent Italian versions. For this concert, we first heard the Act III Auto-da-fe, the ritual burning at the stake of those accused of heresy by the Inquisition. Here it was beautifully sung by the Opera Chorus . Next came a rarity, the ballet music from the Paris version. This music had never before been performed by San Francisco Opera. Conductor Eun Sun Kim led the orchestra in a fine rendition of this ballet music, which included a sensitive violin solo by concertmaster Kay Stern. 

Following the ballet music we heard Etienne Dupuis as Rodrigo Posa, Carlo’s beloved friend. Recently, Etienne Dupuis sang the role of Rodrigue in the Metropolitan Opera’s French version of Don Carlos. Here he sang in Italian, and his dying aria O Carlo ascolta was very moving as with his final breath Rodrigo urges Carlo to realise their dream of freeing the people of Flanders who suffer under Spanish rule at the hands of Carlo’s father, King Philip II. Closing out the printed content of this concert was soprano Nicole Car as Elizabeth, who sang beautifully of those days of her youth when she and Carlo fell in love in Fontainebleau, France, before Carlo’s father King Philip abruptly took her in marriage, putting an end to Elizabeth’s dreams of happiness with Carlo. Nicole Car has the ability to convey every nuance of emotion with her voluptuous voice. At the close of this aria Nicole car received thunderous applause from the appreciative audience. Then, as an encore, all the soloists as well as the Opera Chorus joined the orchestra in the Brindisi or drinking song from Verdi’s La Traviata. It brought to a brilliant close a wonderful concert that will long be remembered., and one that, as Matthew Shilvock observed, portends great things to come in the future under the leadership of music director Eun Sun Kim.