Berkeley community brainstorms ideas for project to increase mental health care for homeless people in city

Photo of Berkeley homeless encampments

CIECIE CHEN/FILE One major priority for the participants at the town hall was bringing services to where homeless people are, including encampments, as many current services are located too far away.


October 16, 2020 (

Photo of homeless encampments

San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness releases policy recommendations to provide stable housing

Berkeley’s future may offer mentally ill homeless people a retreat into nature or access to mental health services in their encampments, according to community input from a town hall held via Zoom on Wednesday.

The city of Berkeley is applying for a three-year state grant to create an “innovation project” designed to increase access to mental health care for mentally ill residents who are experiencing homelessness and have not been reached by current city services. The city’s mental health division partnered with justice-focused consulting firm Resource Development Associates to hold the town hall and collect community members’ ideas for potential projects.

“We need something innovative, new to address homeless needs in order to make improvements to the current system,” said Carole Marasovic, a community activist and candidate for the Rent Stabilization Board, in the Zoom chat. “Whatever we develop will need to be sustained after by the city.”

One major priority for the participants was bringing services to where homeless people are, including encampments, as many current services are located too far away.

According to Andrea Henson, a founding member of the homeless advocacy organization Where Do We Go Berkeley, homeless people face increased challenges with distance because leaving their belongings to go across town could lead to them getting stolen.

Another common proposal at the meeting was finding mental health clinicians who can relate to homeless people. To build trust, the community members suggested developing a consistent schedule with the same clinician per client.

Marasovic, however, said this was already happening and suggested they focus on the “bridge to housing.”

According to Henson, homeless people are often left vulnerable even after they are provided an indoor space to live in because they often lack the means to buy food or the knowledge needed to buy furniture.

“They just have a roof, but it’s going to take more,” Henson said during the meeting. “They end up back out on the street with less.”

Other less clinical approaches were suggested, including a nature retreat. According to People’s Park Committee member Max Ventura, mentally ill homeless people could be provided with transportation to a lake area and given “typical picnic fixings” and outdoor games as a break from the “cement jungle.”

No project plan has been officially decided yet, as the city is only on the second of four project implementation phases. In addition to the town hall, the city will be interviewing and surveying homeless residents in Berkeley to get more input before drafting the plan in November and December.

The public will have another chance to comment on the plan in January and February before it is submitted to the state for approval.

Contact Kate Finman at and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.

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ALERT: Monday, Oct. 19 – SFPD Virtual Town Hall RE officer execution of Cesar Vargas (from Adrienne Fong)

Included info: Defund SFPD Now announcement, SFPD announcement, Article identifying officers involved in shooting

SFPD Town Hall


Police Murder of Cesar Vargas 

Monday, October 19th

3:00pm – 5:00pm

This is a Virtual Town Hall by SFPD

Check Defund SFPD Now FB site for updates

On Monday (10/19), SFPD will hold a town hall from 3-5 PM to address the murder of Cesar Vargas by police.

No matter what they say, we know what happened: SFPD publicly executed a 21 year-old man on October 10th.

Viewers will be able to make public comment. Check back here for more updates on how to make your voice heard during the town hall — your action matters now more than ever.

INFO from SFPD site:

Virtual Town Hall Meeting Announcement

Monday October 19

3:00pm – 5:00pm  


The town hall will be broadcast live on SFGovTV’s YouTube page ( It will also be streamed on SFPD’s Facebook page (

Following a presentation by SFPD command staff, a call-in number will be provided to viewers wishing to offer public comment.

See info below graphic

Image for Town Hall on 10/10/20 OIS

Update on Officer-Involved Shooting from 10/10/20

As part of the San Francisco Police Department’s commitment towards accountability and transparency with our community, a virtual town hall meeting will be held on Monday, October 19, 2020, from 3:00 until 5:00 PM to provide the community with an update on the investigation of the officer-involved shooting that occurred on the unit block of Otis Street on October 10, 2020.

This virtual town hall is being held to protect the health and safety of the public and essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~


Officers named in fatal SFPD shooting of 21-year-old man   – October 16, 2020

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David Pakman Show –Edward Watts, Chair of the History Department at the University of California-San Diego and author of the book Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny, joins David to discuss how empires fall and much more. Get the book: Support The David Pakman Show: -Become a Member: -Become a Patron: -Book David Pakman: Engage with us on social media: -Join on YouTube:… -Follow David on Twitter: -David on Instagram: -TDPS on Instagram:… -Discuss on TDPS subreddit:… -Facebook: -Call the 24/7 Voicemail Line: (219)-2DAVIDP -Timely news is important! We upload new clips every day! Make sure to subscribe! Broadcast on September 29, 2020 #davidpakmanshow#voicemail#hatriotmail

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Articles ~ Actions from Adrienne Fong

*** ASL interpretation – Let me know if your event needs this service .***

Please include Accessibility and ASL info in your events! And if your action is ‘child friendly’

 Am NOT back posting!

Please post your actions on Indybay even if event is digital:

 See Indybay also for other listing of events.

Listing of other Bay Area Protests & Rallies


A. Feinstein Hugs Graham, Activists Pounce – October 15, 2020

  See action # 1

B. Amy Coney Barrett Is the Supreme Court Justice Big Oil Needs  – October 13, 2020

C. Why Police Body Cameras Haven’t Stopped Police Brutality – October 13, 2020

D. Native Americans Protesting Trump Border Wall Tear Gassed, Arrested by US Agents on Indigenous Peoples’ Day  – October 13, 2020

E. Abolition for the People

  The Movement for a Future Without Policing & Prisons

F. Trump border wall funding plan illegal and construction must stop, court rules – October 10, 2020

G. Oakland: Moms 4 Housing home sells for $587,500, will become homeless housing  – October 9, 2020

H. Trump administration imposes crushing new sanctions on Iran  – October 8, 2020

I. Allegedly planned “free speech” rally featuring QAnon figures in Dolores Park has not sought permit  – October 8, 2020

  See events # 6, 7, 8 & 9

J. New body-worn camera measures pass — after 2.5 years of negotiation with SF police union – October 8, 2020


K. Gabbard gains GOP supporters for her push for U.S. to drop charges against Assange, Snowden  – October 3, 2020


1. Dianne Feinstein should resign.


2. Shut down the Senate and stop Trump and McConnell from confirming Amy Coney Barrett


3. Liberty Mutual: Drop the Keystone XL and Trans Mountain pipelines


4. Tell Congress: Address the COVID-19 nursing home crisis now


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Article on Proud Boys in SF & UPDATED info for counter demos (from Adrienne Fong)

ARTICLE – RE ‘Proud Boys’ in San Francisco

Saturday ‘Free Speech’ Rally and Big Tech Protest by Trump Supporters and Proud Boys

Gets Permit for UN Plaza

“… San Francisco Rec & Parks has confirmed that the event has been issued a permit with a 200-person maximum capacity for 1 p.m. in United Nations Plaza — and this seems likely to lead to a protest of some kind outside Twitter headquarters…”

UPDATED info for counter – demos.

1. Saturday, 11:30am, Socialist and Labor Contingent to Protest Proud Boys (UPDATED)

Meet at:

SF Main Library
100 Larkin (nr. Grove

The Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women are organizing a contingent to counter-protest the neo-fascists as a united front. 

The Proud Boys have called a rally to take place in SF this Saturday, 10/17. They are supposedly protesting Twitter, who shut down their accounts, but this is certainly a reaction to protests against police brutality, especially targeting the liberal/left-leaning Bay Area as they have done in the past.

Unionists and community activists are mobilizing to say NO to the Proud Boys, NO to racism, and NO to fascism.

The Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women are organizing a contingent to counter-protest the neo-fascists as a united front.

To join the contingent, please email or call 415-864-1278.

Host: Freedom Socialist Party


2. Saturday, 12Noon, Defend the City

Meet at:

UN Plaza
Civic Center BART

Bay Area Call Out to come stand with us against hate group Proud Boys and other far right antagonizers!

No place for white supremacy


3. Saturday 12Noon, Kick the Proud Boys Out of SF

Civic Center BART
(San Francisco, CA)

On Saturday Oct 17, a band of far-right nationalists, racists, and grifters plan to gather in UN Plaza in SF. They claim it’s against “big tech censorship” because some of them have been deplatformed after spreading conspiracies and engaging in online harassment.

(This was previously planned to be at Dolores Park. It has been relocated to UN Plaza.)


4. Saturday, 12:30pm – 2:00pm, Show up for Black lives and against white supremacy  (UPDATED)

2 types of actions

Gather at corner of
Fulton & Hyde St.

 We will gather at the corner of Fulton and Hyde – near the Simon Bolivar statue. We might shift locations the day of, so please follow for updates.

White supremacists are planning a rally. Let’s show up and remind the world that Black Lives Matter. Details below.

Follow for real-time updates on Saturday; check there before you head out for the latest info.

We’ll show up in two ways:

1. Socially distanced human billboard: Bring a sign or use one of ours (we’ll have extras). Ride a bike if you can to be green and to stay mobile. It will be hot – bring water (and sunscreen!). Wear a mask.

2. Car caravan: Put at least one sign in the rear window so everyone knows whom to get behind. Obey traffic laws.

We may requests for additional jobs the day of in theTenderloin in the afternoon (~3:30 pm). Stay tuned.

Remember to stay safe. Useful resources:……/1YXKRfxs3xsO…/edit…



5. Saturday, 1:00pm, No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA  (UPDATED)

UN Plaza

Proud Boys’ trade in Political Violence;

No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA

San Francisco provides sanctuary from the hateful agenda of Christian fascism. As a “savior” from the Democratic Party fails to materialize, it’s up to us to reject Trump’s self-proclaimed “armies” of hate.

Host: Refuse Fascism


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G2geek Community (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)

Monday January 10, 2011 (

Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.

This is what occurs when Bin Laden releases a video that stirs random extremists halfway around the globe to commit a bombing or shooting.

This is also the term for what Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity, and others do.  And this is what led directly and predictably to a number of cases of ideologically-motivated murder similar to the Tucson shootings.

Update: the mechanism spelled out.

(This update is to resolve some ambiguity.)  

The person who actually plants the bomb or assassinates the public official is not the stochastic terrorist, they are the “missile” set in motion by the stochastic terrorist.  The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media as their means of setting those “missiles” in motion.

Here’s the mechanism spelled out concisely:

The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media to broadcast memes that incite unstable people to commit violent acts.  

One or more unstable people responds to the incitement by becoming a lone wolf and committing a violent act.   While their action may have been statistically predictable (e.g. “given the provocation, someone will probably do such-and-such”), the specific person and the specific act are not predictable (yet).  

The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: “Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I’m not responsible for what people in my audience do.”

The lone wolf who was the “missile” gets captured and sentenced to life in prison, while the stochastic terrorist keeps his prime time slot and goes on to incite more lone wolves.    

Further, the stochastic terrorist may be acting either negligently or deliberately, or may be in complete denial of their impact, just like a drunk driver who runs over a pedestrian without even realizing it.  

Finally, there is no conspiracy here: merely the twisted acts of individuals who are promoting extremism, who get access to national media in which to do it, and the rest follows naturally just as an increase in violent storms follows from an increase in average global temperature.  

And now we return to the rest of the original diary…
The lone wolves.

The term “lone wolf” is used in law enforcement and intel to refer to an individual who is emotionally unstable, who lacks obvious ties to known criminal gangs or terrorist groups, and who pops up seemingly out of nowhere to commit a violent or terrorist act.  

The three-letter agencies can keep an eye on organized groups, and do a damn good job at stopping violent actors associated with those groups.  At least three intended car bombings were stopped last year by the FBI intercepting the bombers and substituting fake explosives in time to save hundreds of lives and arrest the would-be bombers.  

Lone wolves don’t have obvious connections through which they can be discovered.  They don’t communicate much if at all about their intentions.  They keep their plans to themselves.  And then, apparently at random, they pop up from obscurity and commit murder.  They are law enforcement’s and intel’s worst nightmare, and on Saturday one of them became America’s nightmare.    
Stirring the pot.

At any given time there are hundreds of thousands of Americans with combinations of personality characteristics (such as emotional instability, a paranoid ideology, and a propensity for violence) that put them at risk of going off the deep end and becoming lone wolves.  All it takes is the right push, the right nudge at the right time, to dislodge a few of them and send them on their way to fifteen minutes of fame surrounded by dead bodies.  

There’s nothing mysterious about this process.  It is not much different to other instances where a person is almost ready to make a decision, and the right combination of inputs makes them act.  For example you have an old car and it begins to break down more often: now you’re thinking about replacing it, and you might be swayed by something in an automobile advertisement.  Anyone who is familiar with marketing and advertising knows how this works, and advertisers often target their messages to people who are “ready to buy” and just need a little persuading.  Political candidates often target their ads to the undecideds, hoping that a little nudge will win them some votes.  This is perfectly normal and hardly insidious.  

It becomes insidious when these practices are used in such a manner as to deliberately or negligently stir up lone wolf violence.  

So let’s take Beck, Hannity, and O’Reilly.  There is no question that their emotional rhetoric appeals to people who are emotionally unstable.  And, since their audiences are tracked and analyzed in detail, there is no question that they know it.  

When they go on TV and shout and sputter, rant and rave, and weep and wail, they are not expecting to persuade liberals or even undecideds to change their votes.  They are “playing to their base,” that they know includes people who are emotionally unstable.  In short they are “stirring the pot.”  And if you turn up the temperature and keep stirring, you know that the pot will boil.  Little bubbles will come up from the depths and pop.  
Pop go the lone wolves.

Some lone wolves have no provable connection to the hate-talkers and pot-stirrers, other than memes in common.  One example of this type is James Wenneker von Brunn who shot and killed security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Another is Andrew Joseph Stack III, who flew a Piper Dakota into the Austin Texas field office of the Internal Revenue Service, killing IRS manager Vernon Hunter and himself, and injuring thirteen others.  At this point it appears as if Jared Loughner is one of these: all-over-the-map crazy, with an incoherent ideology that is mostly rightwing but difficult to trace to specific sources.  

(UPDATE: to be very clear about this: at this point I am not aware of any evidence to suggest that Loughner falls under the definition of stochastic terrorism, because there is nothing yet to link him to being a fan of one of the mass media hate-talkers.  However there are enough other cases out there to make this issue topical and relevant right now.)

On the other hand…

On 27 July 2008, lone wolf shooter Jim David Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and shot nine people, killing two and wounding seven.  Adkisson said he was motivated by hatred of “Democrats, liberals, n—–s, and faggots.”  A police search of his home found books by Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly.  

On 4 February 2009, he accepted a plea bargain: guilty on two counts of murder, in exchange for a life sentence w/o possibility of parole (LWOP).

On 4 April 2009, Richard Poplawski shot five Pittsburgh PA police officers, leaving three dead and two seriously wounded.    

According to people who knew him, he was a birther and white supremacist, was paranoid that Obama was going to take away his guns, and was consumed with anti-semitic conspiracy theories.  A police search of his computer found links to various groups and to a YouTube video of Glenn Beck talking about FEMA concentration camps.    

Poplawski’s trial has been delayed until 25 April 2011, where it is possible he will face the death penalty for the murder of police officers.  

On 31 May 2009, lone wolf Scott Roeder shot and killed gynecologist Dr. George Tiller while Tiller was attending church services.  At first it appeared that he acted alone, but research by some fellow Kossaks and I uncovered evidence that he had at least one accomplice.  That issue is presently being investigated by a federal grand jury.  

In the months leading up to the assassination, Bill O’Reilly had waged a “relentless campaign” against Tiller, a campaign of exactly the type that would be expected to stir up violence against the doctor.  The details can be found here:…

In January 2010 Roeder was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.  At present his accomplices and enablers have not yet been indicted and charged.

On 18 July 2010, Byron Williams set out from his mother’s home in Groveland CA, heading for San Francisco to shoot up the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, with the intention of “starting a revolution.”  

Williams, a convicted felon (two bank robberies), was stopped by the CHP (California Highway Patrol) for weaving in and out of traffic at high speed.  When stopped, he immediately opened fire on the CHP officers, wounding two.  They returned fire, wounding him in the leg, and then took him into custody.  At first they thought they were dealing with a garden-variety cop shooter.  Then they found the notebook in his car, with the details of his plans.    

Quoting the Wikipedia article on Williams:…

Quote:  Williams has identified Glenn Beck as his primary motivation for the shootings.  According to Williams, Beck is “like a schoolteacher on TV… he’s been breaking open some of the most hideous corruption.”  Continuing: “Beck would never say anything about a conspiracy, would never advocate violence. He’ll never do anything … of this nature. But he’ll give you every ounce of evidence that you could possibly need.”  End quote.  

Prior to Williams’ planned attack, Beck had mentioned the obscure Tides Foundation 29 times on his program.  He had drawn numerous charts on his infamous blackboard, showing how Tides is the funding source behind much of the “liberal conspiracy.”  He had stoked and fueled, turned up the heat on the pot, and stirred it real good.  He devoted two of his broadcasts to Tides in the very week preceding the shooting.  

Quoting the Washington Post article:…

Quote: Beck has at times spoken against violence, but he more often forecasts it, warning that “it is only a matter of time before an actual crazy person really does something stupid.” Most every broadcast has some violent imagery: “The clock is ticking. . . . The war is just beginning. . . . Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government. . . . You have to be prepared to take rocks to the head. . . . The other side is attacking. . . . There is a coup going on. . . . Grab a torch! . . . Drive a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers. . . . They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered. . . . They are putting a gun to America’s head. . . . Hold these people responsible.”  Unquote.  
Every ounce of evidence you could possibly need.

One dead doctor.

Two dead churchgoers.

Seven wounded churchgoers.  

Three dead police officers.

Four wounded police officers.  

How many more that I couldn’t remember while writing this?  

Meanwhile the jury is still out on whether Loughner’s victims belong on the list of people who “got Becked.”  

As someone on dKos wrote in a comment about this a few months ago, there was a saying among his buddies in the Air Force:  “Once is a tragedy, twice is a terrible coincidence, three times is enemy action.”

If you were a media personality known for rants & raves on the air, and it came out that some random killer had possibly been influenced by you or one of your colleagues, what would you do?  Would you apologize?  Would you tone it down?

If it happened again, what would you do?  And if it happened yet again after that?  What would you do?  

It takes more than just a special type of sociopath to fail to be moved by the murders of doctors, churchgoers, and police officers in the line of duty, and the could-have-been-murders of more.  

I submit to you that it takes something between callous disregard and deliberate intent.  
Pulling the trigger by remote control.

If you wanted certain people dead, but you wanted plausible deniability, you would have someone else do the deed for you at a distance, the greater the distance the better.  

One way to do it would be to use your position on radio or TV to hurl emotional rhetoric that is calculated to appeal to people who are psychologically unstable.  Some of them will go out and vote, some will go forth and spread your rant-memes, some will get into bar-room brawls over one issue or another.  

But a few, who have already demonstrated a lack of respect for the law, will do more than that.  Maybe they’ll assault someone on the street who is black or gay or speaking Spanish in public or wearing traditional Islamic garb.  Maybe they’ll make a bomb and put it in the mail or plant it at a women’s clinic.  

Maybe they’ll go out and shoot someone.  Maybe they’ll shoot someone who, in your heart of hearts, you want dead.  If you have a list of targets in mind, such as Operation Rescue’s website with crosshairs on doctors, or Palin’s crosshairs on elected officials, it won’t matter who gets killed first and who gets killed later: any hit will do.

This is stochastic terrorism:  you heat up the waters and stir the pot, knowing full well that sooner or later a lone wolf will pop up and do the deed.  The fact that it will happen is as predictable as the fact that a heated pot of water will eventually boil.  But the exact time and place of each incident will remain as random as the appearance of the first bubbles in the boiling pot.  

And so the unstable shooter, the sick kid or crazy grownup, will be taken into custody where they will rant a disconnected version of your own rants.  The fact that they are clearly nuts will enable shifting the public discussion away from your hateful rhetoric and toward the overt insanity of the shooter or bomber.  

After that, you get to go on the air and tut-tut along with everyone else, and say Oh So Sad, and all that crap.  But behind the scenes you drink a toast and cheer: one down, a bunch more to go.  

Or perhaps you’re just crazy enough to truly believe that you really don’t have anything to do with it.  You collect your media star paycheck and tootle along to the next day in front of cameras and microphones, ready to do it again, as oblivious as the drunk driver who runs over a flock of schoolchildren and keeps driving, and then when the cops pull him over, says “Who, me??”
The guilty-knowledge test.

Someone needs to corral Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly, Savage, and the rest of them, in front of a microphone and camera that are not of their own choosing.  

For example think of Sixty Minutes and their famed unannounced appearances at the offices and even homes of various wrongdoers over the years.  Or think of press conferences or other scheduled appearances, where someone pops up and asks the inconvenient question or two, and the question captures the headlines.  

And someone needs to ask them:  In light of this latest in a series of ideologically-motivated murders, are you willing to tone down your rhetoric even a little?  

Listen very closely to their answers.  They will duck and weave, evade and deny, or at most give the standard reply of “lone nuts, oh so sad.”  But they may also let slip a subtle hint of guilty knowledge.

The author of the aforementioned WaPo article says in passing, “It’s not fair to blame Beck for violence committed by people who watch his show.”

I say it damn well is fair to blame them when it happens again and again and predictably again.  

Once is a tragedy, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action.  

And now we know how it’s done: stir the pot and wait for the inevitable, and then deny it and do it again.  That’s stochastic terrorism as surely as when Bin Laden does it.  And Beck and his fellow hate-mongers are terrorists by remote control.  

This content was created by a Daily Kos Community member.

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S.F. Examiner endorsements for November ballot measures

San Francisco voters have a multitude of issues to consider on the November 2020 ballot. (Shutterstock photo)

Here are our recommendations on issues from taxes to policing to sanitation

  • Oct. 14, 2020 7:30 p.m. (

Proposition A: Health and Homelessness, Parks and Streets Bond


Prop. A is a bond measure that will generate $487.5 million to help pay for mental health and homelessness services, parks and open space projects and street repairs.

This bond is widely supported by nearly every elected city official and is designed, like other city bonds, not to increase the overall tax burden paid by property owners, who can pass on 50 percent of the cost to tenants. We support this measure as a way to finance some of The City’s most urgently needed projects and services.

Proposition B: Department of Sanitation and Streets, Sanitation and Streets Commission, and Public Works Commission


This measure, introduced by Supervisor Matt Haney, is intended to increase accountability and transparency for the Department of Public Works and clean up city streets.

It would create a new Department of Sanitation and Streets to take over street cleaning services currently overseen by Public Works, and also create new oversight commissions for both departments.

The measure would cost The City an additional $2.5-$6 million in annual spending beginning in fiscal year 2022-23.

While we initially hesitated over the price tag and the creation of yet another city department and commission, the reality is that the current setup is not working. San Francisco’s filthy streets are a national joke; creating a department that will actually focus on the problem may be what’s needed to solve it.

The recent corruption scandal involving former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru has also highlighted the need for greater oversight for an oversized department that has long done largely as it pleases. We think Prop. B is a solution worth trying.

Proposition C: Removing Citizenship Requirements for Members of City Bodies


This charter amendment, introduced by Supervisor Shamann Walton, would remove a voter registration requirement that currently bars anyone without U.S. citizenship from acting on city commissions and government advisory bodies.

At least one-third of San Francisco’s residents are people born in another country and a recent estimates suggest more than 30,000 residents are undocumented. In addition, as proponents have noted, the number of people of color serving on The City’s advisory bodies has declined steadily since 2015.

This measure is an important step toward ensuring our government advisory bodies reflect the diversity of our city and represent all residents.

Proposition D: Sheriff Oversight


The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which is run by an independent elected official, receives less scrutiny than the Police Department, which is overseen by the Police Commission.

Spurred by allegations of abuse in County Jail, Proposition D aims to change that.

The measure, introduced by Supervisor Shamann Walton, would create an Office of Inspector General to independently investigate complaints against deputies as well as in-custody deaths — incidents which are currently investigated by the sheriff’s own Internal Affairs department.

The office would make policy recommendations and report publicly to a seven-member sheriff’s Oversight Board, although the elected sheriff will still retain the authority to make final decisions on discipline under California law.

Sheriff Paul Miyamoto has made laudable steps toward reform, including an agreement to have the Department of Police Accountability investigate complaints against his deputies and create an advisory board. But Prop. D would create an independent body and agency and enshrine them both in city law to ensure those reforms are maintained by future sheriffs.

For this reason, we are recommending a yes vote.

Proposition E: Police Staffing


This measure, introduced by Supervisor Norman Yee, would eliminate the mandate in the City Charter that the Police Department have at least 1,971 sworn officers. The measure would instead create a data-driven process for San Francisco to determine how many cops are needed on the streets with input from the Police Commission.

Voters placed the 1,971 minimum staffing level figure in the charter in 1994, but San Francisco has rarely ever met it. The figure was not based on need at the time, but on the number of positions authorized through local and federal funding.

It is time to remove this arbitrary number from the City Charter — as well as the absurd requirement for voters to approve changes to it — and allow city officials to set staffing numbers based on real data and policy decisions.

Proposition F: Business Tax Overhaul


Prop. F would adjust the gross receipts tax rates on business and eliminate what remains of the payroll tax, which The City has been working to phase out for some time. It would also help smaller businesses by reducing registration fees for those with less than $1 million in gross receipts and exempting businesses with less than $2 million in gross receipts from the gross receipts tax.

While complicated, Prop. F — a consensus measure with broad support from elected officials and the business community — would generate new revenue for The City in the coming years while still giving a break to smaller businesses and shifting more of the tax burden on to larger businesses.

Proposition G: Youth Voting in Local Elections


Prop. G, introduced by Supervisor Norman Yee, would give 16- and 17-year-olds a vote in future municipal elections. A similar proposal lost by a slight margin in 2016.

Opponents argue that youth may be susceptible to bias and don’t have enough “worldly experiences” to vote. But you could apply those same arguments to a lot of adult voters.

Many 16- and 17-year-olds are civically educated and engaged, leading social movements, working and even paying taxes. They should be allowed to vote on the issues that will inevitably impact them.

In addition, a charter amendment allowing youth to vote may foster better voting patterns, and increase turnout among younger voters.

Proposition H: Neighborhood Commercial Districts and City Permitting


San Francisco had a retail vacancy problem even before our current pandemic, and many small business proponents have argued that The City’s lengthy, costly permitting process is a key factor. Placed on the ballot by Mayor London Breed, Prop. H is intended to greatly streamline and reduce the time it takes for a small business to get permits, requiring city departments to coordinate and complete all necessary reviews within 30 days in most cases.

If it stopped there, Prop. H. would probably not be controversial, but it does much more than that.

The measure would also allow restaurants and cafes to offer workspace in back rooms, expand the types of businesses allowed to occupy retail spaces, permit more temporary and “pop-up” uses, allow restaurants to use parklets for food service and expand the definitions of certain types of businesses, among other changes. In short, it grants an unprecedented amount of flexibility to businesses and in some cases upends years of neighborhood zoning and regulations.

We approached this measure with some trepidation. A complicated piece of legislation with many moving parts, it’s difficult to predict all of its impacts.

But the reality is that many of The City’s retailers and restaurants are in dire straits and desperate for help. In the same spirit as the Shared Spaces program, which allows merchants and restaurants to use city parking spaces and sidewalks during the pandemic, Prop. H promises flexibility and room for innovation to businesses struggling to survive.

It also includes a provision allowing it to be struck down or amended in three years by a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors. While we expect there may be revisions and unexpected consequences that will require mitigation, overall this is an experiment we are willing to try.

Proposition I: Real Estate Transfer Tax


Prop. I, introduced by Supervisor Dean Preston, would raise the transfer tax on sales of property worth $10 million or more. A controller’s report found that if it had been applied to property sales from recent years it would have generated anywhere from $13 million to $346 million, averaging around $196 million annually.

The money generated will go into the general fund, but the Board of Supervisors has already approved a resolution calling for the funds to be used toward emergency rent relief and permanent affordable housing — critical needs in a pricey city like San Francisco.

This measure is unlikely to have a negative impact on anyone other than a small group of business and real estate interests engaged in buying and selling large properties— which is why those groups are pouring money into a campaign against it.

The help for renters and housing is badly needed; we recommend a yes vote.

Proposition J: Parcel Tax for San Francisco Unified School District


In 2018, San Francisco voters approved a tax measure intended to fund teacher salary increases in the San Francisco Unified School District in order to help address ongoing problems with teacher hiring and retention. The City has been collecting this money but is unable to release it because the measure itself is tied up in a court fight over whether it can legally be approved with only a simple majority.

Prop. J, a $288 annual parcel tax, would replace the contested 2018 measure and bring in an estimated $50 million annually to fund the previously approved teacher pay hikes. Unlike the first measure, it requires a two-thirds majority to pass and should not be vulnerable to legal challenge.

SFUSD faces heavy economic challenges in the near future, including the need to finance additional COVID-19 safety precautions when in-person teaching resumes. This measure, which creates a stable funding source to help support teachers and staff, could help the district weather the crisis.

Proposition K: Affordable Housing Authorization


Article 34 in the California state constitution, approved by voters in 1950, requires voter approval before publicly-owned housing can be built in a community.

While there are efforts underway to repeal Article 34, Proposition K meets its requirements by asking voters to approve the construction, acquisition or rehabilitation of up to 10,000 units of permanently affordable housing in San Francisco. Introduced by Supervisor Dean Preston, the measure would also specifically allow the creation of municipal social housing, a European model for public housing that accommodates a range of income levels.

Prop. K does not include any funding or specific projects, but it frees city officials to develop a range of plans for urgently needed affordable housing without running afoul of current state law.

Proposition L: Business Tax Based on Comparison of Top Executives Pay to Employees’ Pay


Introduced by Supervisor Matt Haney, Prop. L would impose a small surcharge on the business tax bill of companies that pay their executives more than 100 times more than their average worker. The exact amount of the tax varies depending on the type of company, but a controller’s report found it could generate anywhere from $60 to $140 million annually.

The biggest concern raised by opponents is that the tax will discourage companies from basing operations in San Francisco. However the amounts involved seem far too small, given the size of most of the companies involved, to have much of an impact. The benefit to city coffers could be significant from this tax, which aims to deal with growing, rampant income inquality.

Measure RR: Caltrain Sales Tax


Measure RR would impose a tax of one-eighth of 1 percent, or 0.125 percent, on retail sales in San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties to generate a stable source of dedicated funding for Caltrain, which is operated by a joint powers board including representatives from all three counties. It requires a two-thirds majority in each county to pass.

Messy political power struggles between San Francisco and San Mateo counties nearly prevented this urgently needed measure from making it to the ballot, but that should not deter anyone from voting for it. Caltrain provides a vital link between San Francisco and Silicon Valley and helps keep vehicle traffic off the Highway 101 and 280 corridors. Like every transit agency, it has suffered a catastrophic drop in ridership that has sent revenues plummeting; unlike other agencies, however, Caltrain does not have another guaranteed source of funding. It receives 70 percent of its revenue from the farebox and relies for the rest on contributions from its member counties, which have not always been immediately forthcoming.

While concerns have been raised about the use of a regressive sales tax, the amount is small and the need is great. Measure RR will provide Caltrain with some financial stability, help maintain service levels during the pandemic and hopefully also help build them up again as the economy returns.

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Charles Eisenstein This is an inversion of the heirarchy of dominance. This is a natural pattern, to turn the tables and re-enact the patterns one has been subjected to. Maybe that’s part of the healing process, but it could be part of a trap.


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By Peter Fimrite (

Oct. 12–HAPPY CAMP, Siskiyou County — Leeon Hillman walked slowly, sadly, to a semicircle of piled rocks surrounded by blackened trees. He knelt there, turning away from the heap of ash, which was all the massive Slater Fire had left of his house.

The 53-year-old member of the Karuk Tribe was among dozens of Native Americans who lost their homes in the forested hillsides surrounding Happy Camp, in Siskiyou County. The fire, which is still burning across the border in Oregon, raced through the area in September.

“I used to make arrowheads right here,” said Hillman, who teaches the techniques his ancestors once used to make bows, arrows and other ceremonial regalia. “It’s going to take me forever to come back and try to create what I lost. It’s depressing, especially when you know all this stuff could be managed better.”

The wildfire was a particularly hard blow for people like Hillman, who adhere to Karuk traditions. That’s because it burned most intensely in a portion of the Klamath National Forest where Karuk leaders had for years been urging the U.S. Forest Service to employ traditional prescribed burning techniques, to no avail.

For thousands of years, California tribes burned the state’s forests and brushlands, clearing and enhancing the fire-adapted ecosystem. Then white people arrived and banned the practice.

The United States government later put into place a strategy — in part to protect the timber industry — to aggressively extinguish all wildfires. The result over the past century has been overgrown forests in California with vast quantities of under-story debris prone to the kinds of massive fires that have been raging across California.

“I would like to be able to use modern tools and our ancestral knowledge and integrate it with western science so we can restore the natural landscape,” said Bill Tripp, the director of natural resources and environmental policy for the Karuk. “We are trying to work with the Forest Service. We’ve been trying to do that for decades.”

Hillman, who owns a local market where 10 of his employees also lost their homes, believes preventive burning would have thinned undergrowth and slowed the spread of fire enough for firefighters to be able to protect people’s property.

“It’s something that the Karuk Tribe has been trying to do for years,” said Buster Attebery, 69, chairman of the tribe. “Our plans seem to be never considered.”

It is most troubling, Attebery and other tribe members say, because a great deal of progress seemed to have been made over the past few years convincing authorities to re-introduce ancient, indigenous fire stewardship techniques to the California landscape.

Only recently have scientists begun studying indigenous burning techniques, which were lit strategically at specific times of year in different places. That knowledge helped inspire state and federal fire officials and forestry experts to begin touting controlled burning as the cheapest and most efficient way to clear dry brush and excess debris in woodlands.

On Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to conserve land in a way that would bolster the fight against climate change, including the use of prescribed fire. Cal Fire and the Forest Service signed a pact this year to dramatically increase the amount of prescribed burning.

Indigenous burning techniques were mentioned in the 93-page National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, a blueprint released in 2014 for scientists, foresters, planners and other stakeholders to work together building resilient landscapes, fire-adapted communities and respond to wildfires in more effective ways.

But, despite all the planning, the amount of controlled burning done in California is far short of what is needed to address the scope and scale of the problem, according to fire science experts. The Karuk and other tribes have worked with the Forest Service on small scale burns, but it is generally agreed that not enough has been done to incorporate American Indian knowledge into the process.

The 3,800-member Karuk Tribe would like to change that. Their idea is to partner with the Forest Service, Cal Fire and other agencies to establish a statewide joint training program that would teach burning techniques used for centuries by Native Americans to clear undergrowth, promote growth of usable and edible plants- and restore the landscape to health.

The Karuk and their tribal neighbors, the Yurok and Hupa, have been at the forefront of the effort to restore prescribed fire to the Klamath basin, which they say has been transformed from spaced-out woodlands and open meadows before Europeans arrived to dense conifer forest.

Tripp helped prepare a collaborative program called the Western Klamath Restoration Project, which identifies conservation priorities in the region. Over the past 11 years, the Karuk have put together wildfire protection, climate change adaptation and fuels reduction plans, including traditional burning, for about 1.3 million acres of their ancestral lands along the Klamath and Salmon rivers.

The Somes Bar Integrated Fire Management Project, which included controlled burning in parts of the Six Rivers and Klamath national forests, was approved by the Forest Service in 2018.

But the Karuk were never able to do the burning or thinning projects they wanted to do in the forests that the Slater Fire tore through. That’s because as much as 99% of their aboriginal territory is managed by the Forest Service. The tribe owns multiple small pieces of land, including their administrative offices in Happy Camp, but even those are held in trust by the government. It means their plans won’t get implemented unless the government agrees.

Frank Lake, a Forest Service research ecologist and expert on indigenous and fire science, said federal officials have been trying hard to forge partnerships with the Karuk and other tribes, but it is difficult to get controlled burning projects implemented.

“I think it needs to be done,” said Lake, also a Karuk tribal descendant. “There needs to be an awareness of the importance of doing this kind of work and scaling it up, and you do that with collaborations.”

Lake said joint burning projects have been done with the tribe on forestry research plots in the area and the effects are being evaluated by scientists. He has conducted several studies showing the benefits of traditional burning and is now working with the California Air Resources Board to determine how much smoke such fires historically released.

Other projects have also occurred around the state, but Lake admitted that the amount of prescribed burning in California is far from what it could be. There are still many places in California that historically burned every 10 years that haven’t seen fire in a century, even after all the recent fires, he said.

One of the difficulties is incorporating native cultural and spiritual traditions, which regard fire as a medicine to be prescribed in doses appropriate for maintaining and perpetuating the ecosystem.

For the Karuk, the doses were prescribed based on seasonal and ecological clues — like changes in bird vocalizations — according to the traditions handed down through the generations. The fires removed excess vegetation, pests and cleared low lying branches that blocked sight lines for hunting. They also caused trees and bushes to drop seeds, producing food, like acorns and fruit.

Studies have shown that the Karuk historically burned 2-mile concentric circles around their village, creating a mosaic of brush and hard woods used for basketry, bow making and other tools, said Kathy McCovey, a Karuk cultural specialist.

“They would light fires when coming down in the fall from summer camps to the villages to clear the area, but also for basket material,” McCovey said. “We learned to evolve with fire and how to use fire as a tool, to enhance the habitat for animals and for material.”

Certain landscapes were burned upon the appearance of the Pleiades, popularly known as the Seven Sisters star cluster — known in Karuk folklore as the seven wives of the coyotes — and never during bird mating season, according to tribal leaders.

The smoke was believed to shade and cool the rivers and streams, inspiring salmon to spawn. These burning regimes were incorporated into flower dances, world renewal and other ceremonies that the Karuk still perform.

The difficulty incorporating such traditions into government policy goes both ways. Native Americans, including the Karuk, believe the act of seeking permission from the government to conduct their ceremonies or traditions violates their sovereignty.

“The Karuk shouldn’t have to prove these techniques work through western science,” said Tripp, who is a leader of the Nature Conservancy’s Fire Learning Network and its subgroup the Indigenous People’s Burning Network. “It has been proven over 10,000 years.”

Forestry officials, who generally acknowledge the value of the ancient traditions, say it is hard to put words into action because prescribed burning is so controversial. California’s forests are so dry and overgrown that introducing fire is now dangerous even during the winter. There are concerns about pollution from the smoke and fears that flames will get out of control, damage property and provoke lawsuits.

There is also a lot of red tape. Environmental documents have to be submitted to the state and federal governments, water quality and wildlife agencies before permits can be obtained.

“It can take years to go from point A to point B,” said Professor Don Hankins, an expert on forest restoration and tribal burning at Chico State University who has worked with the Karuk. “It’s definitely something I hope will make a difference as we move forward. It’s a matter of realizing the colonial ways of stewarding fire on the landscape just doesn’t work and we need to do something different.”

For now, the tribe will continue to train firefighters every year under the Prescribed Fire Training Exchange, or TREX program, with the goal of setting up a local incident command team that would be authorized by the government to use traditional burning methods.

It is too late for Hillman, who, in addition to his home, lost elk, otter and deer hides, rare shell necklaces and arrow making material, but he said the quest to bring back his disappearing culture will never end.

“I came from a medicine family, so we try to make the world better,” said Hillman, who cheered up a bit after finding his cat, Beans, wandering around the rubble on his property. “So we all have to do something to keep that going.”

Peter Fimrite is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @pfimrite

(c)2020 the San Francisco Chronicle

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