The Week



Berkeley's People’s Park and Atlanta's “Cop City”

Steve Martinot
Thursday March 23, 2023 - 12:54:00 PM

In Berkeley (California), there is a struggle against developers for the preservation of People’s Park, a memorial to decades of opposition to police violence and brutality. In Atlanta (Georgia), there is a struggle against the future development of a police training base called “Cop City” that is already feeling the teeth of police brutality. In Berkeley, People’s Park has become the home for many homeless victims of corporate derogation of the right to affordable housing. In Atlanta, Cop City has already become the symbol of corporate policing and its demolition of what remains of the people’s political rights. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Divided GOP Support for Ukraine

Ralph E. Stone
Monday March 20, 2023 - 04:47:00 PM

I have heard the occasional comment, especially among some GOP presidential candidates, asking why America should care about Russias invasion of Ukraine as the war is so far away and is not a threat to our national security or to Western Europe. This view seems strange when the GOP is traditionally a hawkish foreign policy party. In fact, a handful of Republicans have even criticized the Biden White House for not doing more to help Ukraine defend itself. -more-


Kelly Hammargren
Saturday March 18, 2023 - 01:18:00 PM

“Food is to health as air is to breathing” from Empty Tables How It Feels to Be Hungry by Beverly Gologorsky

I never read Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America when it was first published in 2001. I picked it up just as the extra COVID-19 subsidies to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, SNAP or better known as food stamps, ran out or more fittingly were snatched away.

For those who never read Nickeled and Dimed, or it has been so long you’ve forgotten, Ehrenreich was already in a comfortable place as a writer when over a pricey lunch with her editor she suggested that someone (not herself) should write about the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWOA) signed by President Clinton. That someone turned into Ehrenreich herself, who left everything behind and set out in 1998, using the identity of a divorced homemaker, to be hired as a low wage worker and live, including housing, food and necessitiesk on what she was paid. PRWOA was supposed to end welfare and set the path for people to work their way out of poverty.

Not much has changed for the poor in the intervening years, especially the haughty wealthy Republicans accusing the poor of not working hard enough.

As far as nutritious food, that definitely was not available to Ehrenreich or her low paid co-workers. And Soleil Ho (a trained chef in real life) in her full-page Sunday editorial in the SF Chronicle described failing to survive on the equivalent of food stamps for one week. Of course, SNAP is supposed to supplement income, but when that income leaves little to spare, then hunger and the cheapest calories are all that is left, the same empty calories that lead to a long list of diseases, including diabetes and obesity. -more-

Berkeley Seeks State Grant for Low-Barrier Interim Shelter for the Unhoused

Isabelle Gaston
Monday March 20, 2023 - 04:36:00 PM

At the end of February, the City of Berkeley applied for a state grant to provide a low-barrier interim shelter for Berkeley’s unhoused with a pathway to permanent housing. If all goes well, the award will be granted at the end of April, and the process of transferring people to the Super 8 motel on University Avenue from two homeless encampments will begin in early July. -more-


Public Comment

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces: SmitherDigs/Dogs&Dogma

Gar Smith
Sunday March 19, 2023 - 09:04:00 PM

Woke Versus Noke

Florida Gov. Ron De Sanitizer wants to cleanse the state's schoolbooks of all things wokish. That includes math and history books. The New York Times recently reports any history books that dare to include the story of Rosa Parks cannot mention that Parks was the victim of racial prejudice. Instead of noting that Parks refused to sit in the back of a racially segregated bus, Florida's students will only read: "She was told to move to a different seat." And, according to a rewrite submitted for the textbook review process, a reference to "African American men" has been changed to "men of certain groups."

If the MAGA-tribes can "own the Libs" by invoking the pejorative word "Woke," it's only fair that liberals respond by condemning right-and-wrong-doers who dismiss tolerance and acceptance as NOT OK—"Noke" for short. -more-

ON MENTAL WELLNESS: How Self-Publishing Could Fill a Need

Jack Bragen
Sunday March 19, 2023 - 09:13:00 PM

Writing and self-publishing have become a common route for the ordinary, sometimes unpublished writer who needs to express oneself. This is because automated book manufacturing and publishing can be done cheaply with the new technology, and this can bring in a few dollars as well.

It seems that many people who have mental illnesses would really love to be writers, which they are--as I am, and it is a way to channel one's energies into something positive, when it seems that life lacks prospects of anything better.

I can write a book in about five months with no expenses, and I can publish it on for free except that I have to buy a proof copy, which costs under ten dollars. It costs more than that to get a copyright certificate, usually 65 dollars. Yet you should not skip this step, because people can rip off your work, or they can accuse you of ripping off theirs.

Society has normalized mentally ill adults being homeless and/or incarcerated. This is a grave disservice. Now WE can normalize becoming writers and putting our message out to the world. This is a way that we can finally be heard.

In the old school of writing, existing authors and publishers have striven to keep publishing exclusive--to them. This is rapidly coming to an end. The technology of Print on Demand has made it economical to publish something on your own. Millions are doing this.

In the past, we had the vanity presses, and people would pay several thousand dollars to publish a book, one that won't have significant sales. If you're good with computers and if your English is good, often helped by the automated proofreading in Word, you have most of the tools you need, to publish. -more-

Arts & Events


Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday March 18, 2023 - 07:15:00 PM

Worth Noting:

City Council Spring Recess is from March 22 – April 10, 2023.

All City Council and City Council Committee, the Zoning Adjustment Board and the Rent Board meetings are in the hybrid format: in-person and online via zoom. While all other City Commission meetings have returned to in-person only with no ZOOM option.

If you are missing meetings you wish to attend, because ZOOM is no longer available send a request for the city to provide hybrid meetings to your councilmember, the City Council at, the City Clerk at and the Open Government Commission at

To find your councilmember go to

  • Monday:
    • The 10:30 am hybrid format City Council Public Safety Committee (Kesarwani, Taplin, Wengraf) has one agenda item the Surveillance Ordinance.
    • The 6 pm hybrid format full City Council Special Meeting has one agenda item formerly billed as the Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan now titled as Waterfront Specific Plan for the City of Berkeley Tidelands.
  • Tuesday:
    • The 4 pm hybrid Council Special meeting is on Civic Arts Grants and the Civic Center Plan including the Maudelle Shirek Building (old city hall), the Veterans Building and Civic Center Park.
    • At 6 pm in the hybrid format is the City Council regular meeting.
  • Wednesday:
    • The Disaster and Fire Safety Commission meets in-person at 7 pm.
    • South Berkeley Town Hall from 6:30 pm to 8 pm
  • Thursday: The Community Health Commission usually meets the fourth Thursday at 6:30 pm. There is no agenda or meeting announcement posted. Check after Monday.

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

Directions with links to ZOOM support for activating Closed Captioning and Save Transcript are at the bottom of this calendar.



Sunday, March 19, 2023 - No city meetings listed -more-