The Week

Area Median Income for Berkeley 4-Person Household in 2022
Area Median Income for Berkeley 4-Person Household in 2022


A BERKELEY ACTIVIST'S DIARY, week ending Jan. 22, 2023

Kelly Hammargren
Saturday January 28, 2023 - 02:20:00 PM

Harry Brill once said he wasn’t much interested in local politics, it was just about real estate. He was correct. Much of local politics is about real estate. And real estate is about so much more: where we live, yearn to live, can’t afford to live, racism, classism, profit, greed and poverty.

Developers and the real estate industry are significant contributors to election campaigns, either directly or indirectly through PACs (Political Action Committees) often called dark money. For small direct and PAC investments in local elections, the public can be influenced into electing industry friendly city councils, mayors and other officials and voting for or against ballot measures. Industry friendly mayors and council members can be swayed into industry friendly legislation, discounts and exemptions. And this background makes local, state and national politics so very interesting.

There is a lot to cover and a great number of council actions were not good news, so buckle up. -more-

Housing Buzz Words Explained

Kelly Hammargren
Friday January 27, 2023 - 04:27:00 PM

Pick Your Topic – here are the answers to what is:

  • RHNA,
  • Nexus Study,
  • AMI
  • In Lieu Fees
  • Inclusionary Housing Requirements
  • the Palmer Fix,
  • Density Bonus,
  • SB 330,
  • Chart of Income Categories and Affordable Rents
  • and
  • where to go to stay current with pending California Housing Legislation.
    Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) (pronounced ree na)

    Since 1969, California has required that all local governments plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community regardless of income. The state required process for determining how many housing units by levels of affordability, each community must plan to accommodate during the RHNA cycle is multi-layered.

    January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2031, is the sixth and current cycle. -more-


Public Comment

Hopkins Decision Postponed After Commission Comments

Kelly Hammargren
Thursday January 26, 2023 - 02:02:00 PM

Last, night (January 25) , the Disaster and Fire Safety Commission, a commission of great importance that rarely gets much public attention, voted five yes (with two abstentions) to send a letter to City Council that originated with this statement read by Commissioner and former mayor Shirley Dean:

I move that the Disaster and Fire Safety Commission (DFSC) inform the City Manager and City Council that in consideration of major street changes to streets which have an existing designation as an Emergency Access and/or as an Evacuation Route or is in the process of being considered for such a designation be subject to analysis prior to commencing any planning process to implementing proposed major changes. Further, that major changes be defined as changes that would result in narrowing all or part of a street or other changes that go beyond ordinary repair and maintenance that would lessen the street’s functioning as an Emergency Access or Evacuation would be denied and an alternative to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety without lessening the Emergency Access and Evacuation Route designation be pursued.
You can read the full the full statement from Commissioner Dean with the references to the California Code of Regulations, Title 19, Division 1 in the Disaster and Fire Safety packet pages 9 – 11. -more-

ON MENTAL WELLNESS: The Scenario of Getting a Job

Jack Bragen
Monday January 23, 2023 - 04:36:00 PM

Brittany Spears, bipolar and an incredible performer, is formerly under conservatorship by her family. She was a great breadwinner for them until she was able to get out of conservatorship. She is one of the few exceptions to the guideline I'm about to offer.

A person who suffers from a chronic psychiatric condition should not rely on a job to be able to survive. You need Social Security to cover you in the inevitable times that you can't work. Your income and housing should be provided by the government on the basis that you may not at always be able to earn a living. Do not take this as an insult. Do not take this as shooting down your ambitions/and/or aspirations. A psychiatric illness is a factual circumstance, and it is not something that someone merely imagined.

A psychiatric condition, while it may not always make you unable to work, can put you at risk. Partly you must face discrimination. Many employers could be uninformed concerning people with a mental disability. You also face the slowing down effect of many psychiatric medications, and this could impede your work. There is not a reliable method of getting around this. Antipsychotics are designed to slow the brain, and that's how they work to alleviate symptoms. It is the equivalent of using a sledgehammer to kill a bug. But that's where neuroscience currently is. If you drink a bunch of caffeinated beverages to counter the antipsychotic, you're at risk of nullifying the effects of your medication and this is an unwise risk. -more-

The Hopkins Corridor Dispute Could Change Berkeley's Politics and Politicians

Barbara Gilbert
Sunday January 22, 2023 - 09:56:00 PM

The Hopkins Corridor Plan promoted by biking extremists who have captured key City officials, departments, and politicians has caused a huge increase in the civic awareness of many normally placid residents who usually don't pay much attention to City politics and ordinarily defer to the “progressive” municipal agenda. Many of these placid, law-abiding, taxpaying, well-meaning residents live near and/or love the Hopkins commercial area and its surrounding neighborhood. Hopkins is an organic thriving local gem in a city beset by neighborhood and commercial decline and large lifeless development projects. -more-

Arts & Events


Kelly Hammargren
Sunday January 22, 2023 - 09:53:00 PM

Worth Noting:

After last week we could use a break and it looks like we will get it with a light meeting schedule for the coming week and nothing until Tuesday.

  • Tuesday: The Zero Waste Commission meets at 6 pm and will hear an update and presentation on the Zero Waste Strategic Plan
  • Wednesday: The Disaster and Fire Safety Commission at 7 pm is the go to meeting of the week. On the agenda are the emergency access evacuation routes, the engineering study for the dispatch center and the fire department master plan. The Commission on Labor meets at 7 pm and will hear a presentation on the City Workforce Agreement.
  • Thursday: The Mental Health Commission meeting schedule is the fourth Thursday of the month. No meeting is posted yet. Check after Monday.

The January 31, 2023 City Council Regular Meeting is available for public comment. Use the link and choose the html option or see the agenda listed at the end of the calendar. A special council meeting on T1 funding is anticipated for 4 pm on January 31, but that meeting is not yet confirmed or posted.

Check the City website for late announcements and meetings posted on short notice at: