Local News and Opinion from The Berkeley Daily Planet – Berkeley Daily Planet


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Avante Popolo!

Becky O'Malley

Monday January 25, 2021 - 04: 56: 00 PM

The best inauguration comment I’ve heard so far was a stand-up comedian guesting on NPR.

“I fell asleep during the President’s speech” she said. “That’s the first really relaxing sleep I’ve had for months.”

She’s not the only one of us who desperately hopes to be bored by the Biden administration. Sadly, he’s got so many hard-to-swallow items left on his plate that boredom might not be an option.

The other hot post-inauguration topic is tears shed watching the guard change: “When did you cry?” Even the sainted Paul Krugman owned up to it, saying “ I know I wasn't alone in suddenly and unexpectedly finding myself tearing up. “

Me, it was just as Kamala was sworn in. A number of commenters have nodded approvingly at her purplish suit (on my screen purple tending toward blue). They, especially the young, white and male ones, have been guessing that it was meant to symbolize that unity between the red team and the blue team which is at the top of Joe Biden’s fantasy wish list, but those of us who can remember all the way back to 1970 have a different take.

The first documented assignment of red to Republicans and blue to Democrats, per Wikipedia, was by NBC in 1986. Even at the time that choice seemed odd to my cohort. We remember that The Left, especially the scary left of socialism and communism, was previously called The Reds, and still is in many places. There’s even a stirring song about The Red Flag still sung, in Italy at least, Bandiera Rossa:


ECLECTIC RANT: To Vaccinate, or not to Vaccinate, Shouldn’t be the Question

Ralph E. Stone

Sunday February 14, 2021 - 01: 31: 00 PM

On February 11, my wife and I got our first dose of the coronavirus Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; we get our second dose on March 3. We are relieved to get some protection from the virus even though we will continue to wear masks when we leave the house, observe social distancing, avoid crowds, and generally stay at home most of the time.

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Revisited: Defy Your Prognosis

Jack Bragen

Sunday February 14, 2021 - 01: 17: 00 PM

The mental health treatment system and other authorities can force us to accept treatment. And much of the time, this is helpful. But they cannot force us to believe their spiel that we are intrinsically inferior.

It is hard enough for a young adult to acknowledge and accept that they have a serious mental disorder. They should never, on top of that, try to swallow the pill that says they will never amount to anything, that they will never be able to have a professional career, that they will not be accepted in society, and that they will never be normal.

A psychiatric disability doesn't equate with dumb. Ignorance is widespread concerning psychiatric problems, and even people of high intelligence and achievement often do not really understand that being mentally ill does not mean you can't do anything of substance. Talented people often fall prey to the same ignorant beliefs as anyone else.

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith

Sunday February 14, 2021 - 03: 19: 00 PM

Trump Ups Room Rates for His "Second Inauguration"

Not all QAnon cultists have abandoned ship since the failed arrival of "Judgment Day" on January 6. Q's most fervent followers are now looking forward to Donald Trump being sworn in as the next president—on March 4, 2021(the official Inauguration Day until 1933). And apparently, Trump still believes he has a chance to return to power.

The evidence? According to Forbes, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC has raised the prices of its room rentals three-fold for the period of March 3-4. No other DC hotels have raised their daily rates—let alone tripled them.

This "Trump Bump" also happened last month, when the Trump Empire jacked up the price of its rooms for January 5-6—coincidentally coinciding with the day that Trump Tweet-ordered his true believers to show up in Washington with the veiled promise: "Big protest in D.C. … Be there, will be wild!”

The cheapest rooms for the day of Trump's March 4 "inauguration" start at $8,000 a day.

It looks like Trump has not given up on his hopes to regain control of the White House—nor has he given up on schemes to enrich himself at the expense of the Always-Trumpers.

A Berkeley Activist's Diary

Kelly Hammargren

Sunday February 14, 2021 - 02: 47: 00 PM

Thankfully, some city meetings were canceled this week so the impeachment trial could take center stage during the day and space was left for the evening rehash.

With only four meetings of significant note and a need for shifting your attention, this Activist’s Diary starts with where you can have the most impact to shape an ordinance or influence a decision, City Council Policy Committees.

It was December 11, 2018 when City Council voted to create six standing Council Committees. After two years with this new arrangement, it still feels like people think the place to comment to influence a decision is at the regular Council meeting. Council meetings are the fallback position when we lose in committee or an item skates through to the regular meeting agenda without going through committee.

The six committees are: 1) Agenda & Rules Policy Committee, 2) Budget & Finance Policy Committee, 3) Facilities, Infrastructure, Transportation, Environment & Sustainability Policy Committee, 4) Health, Life Enrichment, Equity & Community Policy Committee, 5) Land Use, Housing & Economic Development Policy Committee and 6) Public Safety Policy Committee https://www.cityofberkeley.info/citycouncil/.

These meetings are during the daytime, which makes it harder for people with daytime jobs and responsibilities to attend. This is where neighborhood and community groups can coordinate input by sending representatives.


The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Feb. 14-21

Kelly Hammargren

Sunday February 14, 2021 - 02: 22: 00 PM

Worth Noting:

We are looking at a short week with the President’s Day Holiday on Monday, February 15 and city meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Key meetings this week are:

Tuesday at 11 am Margo Schueler will give a presentation on infrastructure at Civic Center Park (what lurks underground). At 6 pm is the presentation to Council on the Marina Area Specific Plan and proposed Pier and Ferry.

Thursday at 10: 30 am is the Land Use and Housing Council Committee with several impactful housing proposals especially Quadplex zoning which appears to turn over approval of duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes to a desk sign-off away from ZAB (Zoning Adjustment Board) review except in certain circumstances. At 7 pm there will be a presentation on the creation/progress of a Berkeley Department of Transportation (BerkDOT) at the Transportation Commission.

The City Council February 23 Regular meeting agenda is available for comment and follows the list of city meetings. A public comment letter to Council on agenda item 29 Resolution to End Exclusionary Housing is in this issue.

If you have a meeting you would like included in the summary of meetings, please send a notice to [email protected] by noon on the Friday of the preceding week. If you wish to see comments from attending the City meetings of the previous week, go to the Activist’s Diary in this issue.

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