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WE SHUT ‘EM DOWN!

May 18, 2018 (Courage@RiseUp.net)Everyone wanted a pic!

This Tuesday we successfully shutdown the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley in honor of International Conscientious Objectors Day and all of those courageous persons who refuse to fight empire’s wars.

The Marines were not able to recruit more youth on this day for empire’s endless thirst, so they settled for a picture with us and our desserts.

Since encouraging service persons to desert is a crime outlined by the Espionage Act, we instead invited Marines and the community to join us for mid-day dessert. Code Pink co-sponsored this event with us and brought their always vivacious and inspiring rabble rouser spirits, as well as a killer peace cake!
Check out pics of the peace cake and more in our website gallery . . .
“We are a part of gatherings around the world today, in Japan and in Turkey, in places where conscientious objectors are going to prison much more than in the United States. We don’t know what President Trump is going to do under the leadership of Saudi Arabia and Israel tomorrow. We don’t know if we’re going to war with Korea or with Iran or with another undetermined country next week, but We are Standing By to Support the Troops who Resist
-Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist

AND THE FLAG OF PEACE & JUSTICE
FLEW HIGH!

Earlier in the day we raised the flag of peace and justice at Berkeley City Hall. This event was in celebration of the 12th Annual City of Berkeley CO & War Resisters Day. And for the first time Berkeley’s Mayor, Jesse Arreguin, joined us. He gave a short speech in honor and recognition of the importance of war resisters and conscientious objectors.
Another speech given by Veterans For Peace focused on the importance of also including on this day,
“women promoting peace,
high school students opposing gun violence,
Koreans for peace & unification,
teachers fighting for both themselves and their students,
nuclear weapons abolitionists,
people opposing racism,
whistleblowers,
resisters in the military,
climate justice activists,
workers worldwide, peace veterans,
fighters for a habitable planet,
mediators of interpersonal violence
and nurturers of young people.”
IN SOLIDARITY WITH WAR RESISTERS
AROUND THE WORLD,
WE ARE HONORED TO HAVE
BEEN A PART OF
INTERNATIONAL CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS DAY 2018!
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‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

May 18, 2018 (theonion.com)

SANTA FE, TX—In the hours following a violent rampage in Texas in which a lone attacker killed eight individuals and seriously injured several others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Friday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place. “This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said Ohio resident Erica Webb, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this individual from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what they really wanted.” At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

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Dark money floods into SF mayor’s race

Hundreds of thousands of dollars from undisclosed donors will fund hit pieces on Leno and Kim

By TIM REDMOND< May 16, 2018 (48hills.org)

Dark money is flooding into the SF mayor’s race.

The latest cash to drop on the scene: $100,000 for a new committee called “Voters for a Real Change, Opposing Mark Leno for Mayor.” That money will go for late hit pieces attacking Leno – and we don’t know who is paying for it.

Image from the Brennan Center

On forms filed with the SF Ethics Commission, the superPAC lists just one contribution – from “Safe and Affordable San Francisco.” That’s a state PAC, so it won’t have to disclose its donors until May 24.

The state form lists a phone number, which connects to Deane and Company, a firm that does “political reporting and treasury services.” The person answering the phone at Deane said she couldn’t tell me anything about who this client is.

But there was a committee in San Francisco two years ago called “San Franciscans for a Safe and Affordable City.” That was funded almost entirely by Ron Conway.

Leno issued a statement today calling on the organization to disclose its donors:

This is a move straight out of the Super PAC Playbook: misleading ads funded by real estate speculators, greedy billionaires and shady special interest groups who are trying to stop the fundamental change this campaign will bring to City Hall. “Next comes the billionaire-funded commercials, starring their celebrity millionaire friends, dazzling voters to distract from the issues impacting our city every day. We’ve seen this before — don’t be fooled again.

Conway’s wife, Gayle, has put $200,000 into a superPAC attacking Jane Kim.

So it certainly appears that this one plutocratic tech mogul is again trying to buy a San Francisco election – with negative ads.

A state PAC called Progress San Francisco has put more than $200,000 into a superPAC that is called “San Francisco for London Breed, 2018, Sponsored by San Francisco Firefighters Local 798.”

Most of the money in that committee did not come from the firefighters union. Evan Williams, the founder of Medium, put up $50,0000. Chris Cox, a senior exec at Facebook, put up $9,000.

But the biggest money is from Progress San Francisco, which is also astate PAC that won’t have to disclose its donors until late May.

But in past elections, that group has been funded almost entirely by Conway, other Big Tech companies, and real estate interests.

Conway recently sent out an email to his cronies telling them how to put money into supporting Breed– and included the filing deadlines, making clear that big money could come in and not become public until the very end (when many people have already voted).

Then there’s the Edwin Lee Democratic Club PAC, which has spent more than $140,000 supporting Breed. The money for that PAC comes from the same Big Tech and real estate interests: Progress San Francisco put up $40,000, Pilot Construction Management put up $50,000, the Association of Realtors put up $20,000 … you get the picture.

Big Tech and real estate, through all sorts of shell committees and hard-to-track operations, is pouring what could well be in the millions of dollars into supporting London Breed.

Among other things, this suggests that the race is tight: Nobody wants to waste money in politics, and if Breed was running away with it, we wouldn’t see this last-minute huge cash blitz

 

The SF Chronicle continued its almost unbelievable bias against Jane Kim and Mark Leno Tuesday with a story on what appears to have been a fairly mild debate at the Commonwealth Club.

Some examples:

Breed and Alioto took pains to mention that they grew up in San Francisco and attended school here, but didn’t take the next step and mention that Kim, who was born in New York City, and Leno, who is from Milwaukee, both moved here as adults.”

This fits exactly into the narrative Breed’s allies are trying to use to attack Kim, and the Chron has already had to apologize for it once.

“Leno and Kim are combining hoping to freeze out Breed …. They are both desperate to be mayor.”

But Breed is not “desperate to be mayor?”

Then the paper said Breed said “London Breed is my number two choice and London Breed is my number three choice,” without ever explaining that those number two and three votes would be disqualified under the ranked-choice voting system.

Even veteran Chron watchers are wondering: What is going on here?

Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
(Submitted by Ruthie Sakheim)
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Message from Mike Zint

What does it take to house an 82 year old Buddhist nun? Berkeley city government, and the HUB have no clue. They do know how to raise 100k from the community for landscaping the new navigation center though. Understand, the people who donated that money designated it to be used this way.

This says a lot about the people with disposable money. Screw the senior, we want flowers!

Do they know this woman is suffering? Do they care?

82 years old. Get a clue Jesse, Sophie, and Jacqueline. As of now, you have none. If Anni dies…

–Mike Zint

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“Needs of the many”

Date: Wed, 16 May 2018 10:40:23 -0400
From: “‘boona cheema’ via Berkeley Homeless Support”
Subject: needs of the many

Here are a few things we could add to the camps:

1)  a small refrigerator at HERE/THERE

I think it would also be a good idea for folks to continue to drop in at [Berkeley] Aquatic which is a little out of the way.

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Fraudulently-tested land in Hunters Point Shipyard lies beneath New Developments

Hunters Point re-testing plan doesn’t include toxic areas ‘tested’ by firm at center of scandal

Navy’s insistence that two areas, including former shipyard’s most toxic site, are free from fraud scandal contradicted by records, whistleblowers

Photos by Chris Roberts

Two areas of the former Navy shipyard at Hunters Point have so far not been included in plans to re-test the heavily polluted EPA Superfund site, on the basis that a disgraced contractor at the center of a widening fraud scandal at the site’s $1.1 billion cleanup did not perform work there.

However, public records show that Tetra Tech EC—one of the many subsidiaries of Tetra Tech, Inc., a company paid $300 million by the Navy to remove toxic pollution, including radioactive material, from the shipyard in order to prepare it for redevelopment—did do work in both areas.

Between 2005 and 2007, Tetra Tech EC was the lead contractor assigned to remove radioactive and chemical contamination from an area called “Parcel E-2,” where the Navy dumped waste during almost 40 years of shipyard operations.

And Tetra Tech EC was responsible for radiological testing, data-keeping, and safety operations for another contractor’s work at Parcel D-1—the location of the massive, iconic gantry crane appropriated for the marketing materials for “The Shipyard SF,” the area’s housing development. This area also housed a building used by the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, a top-secret nuclear warfare research lab that operated at the shipyard between 1946 and 1974.

There are currently no plans to re-test either of the two areas in question. And neither parcel was part of a base-wide review of other data collected by Tetra Tech EC, which revealed that nearly half of cleanup data collected by the company beginning in 2006 showed signs of fraud.

Nor does the Navy plan to test a hilltop area occupied by more than 300 units of market-rate housing, despite that area never being fully tested for radiological contamination, and despite several reports from former Tetra Tech project workers that radioactive material was discovered there.

The rationale behind this reluctance is unclear.

The Navy did not respond to multiple requests for comment on why the areas aren’t part of the re-testing plan.

A spokeswoman for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which is tasked with overseeing the decades-long cleanup project, said only that the agency is currently focused on re-testing two other areas.

“As we move forward, we will assess proposed retesting at all parcels where Tetra Tech EC Inc. did radiological work,” EPA spokeswoman Michele Huitric wrote in a brief email on Friday.


Map showing areas implicated in fraud scandal and intended for re-testing. The two areas not shaded in yellow are E/E2 and D1—neither area has been part of retesting despite records showing Tetra Tech EC performed work on both sites.

Environmental advocates are baffled and outraged, and say this reticence is further proof that health and safety have been compromised in order to speed along a real-estate deal. The 450-acre former shipyard is slated to someday be the hub of a new neighborhood with more than 10,000 units of housing and millions of square feet of office space—the biggest redevelopment project in San Francisco since the 1906 earthquake.

“Unfortunately for the government agencies still covering up fraud and lies, we can read,” said Bradley Angel, the executive director of Greenaction, an environmental advocacy nonprofit that’s been pushing for transparency and accountability at the shipyard project, and has long been demanding that the entire base be retested by a third-party outfit, with community oversight.

So far, two former Tetra Tech EC workers, Justin Hubbard and Stephen Rolfe, have pleaded guilty in federal court to fraud and were sentenced to eight months each in prison. Tetra Tech itself has escaped punishment almost entirely. The company was assessed a $7,000 fine from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a penalty later waived on appeal.

On Wednesday, Charlie MacPherson, Tetra Tech Inc.’s chief Pasadena-based spokesperson, repeated an earlier claim that “Tetra Tech EC did not perform radiological work on parcels D1 and E2.”

On Thursday, Sam Singer, a San Francisco-based communications consultant hired by Tetra Tech in April, confirmed that the company did do work on both areas.

Singer neither provided an explanation for the earlier discrepancy nor clarified if Tetra Tech’s earlier offer to pay for a base-wide retesting of its work extended to those two parcels.

Housing at the Hunters Point Shipyard.Photo by Chris Roberts

Allegations that Tetra Tech EC’s work at the shipyard was rife with outright fraud have thus far been sustained by a review conducted by other third-party contractors hired by the Navy.

An initial Navy review found that nearly half of Tetra Tech EC’s work at the shipyard showed signs of data manipulation or falsification. An analysis of that review conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency found that in some areas up to 97 percent of Tetra Tech’s work could not be trusted.

So far, Tetra Tech Inc. has denied these allegations and defended its work, going as far as to offer to pay for third-party testing to prove it.

“The bottom line is the work that Tetra Tech EC did at the Hunters Point Shipyard is 100 percent valid and is safe,” said Singer in comments to the San Francisco Examiner. Singer issued a press release Wednesday declaring that the Navy has “shown interest” in the offer.

However, the Navy’s take is more nuanced. In a statement issued Wednesday, the Navy said it “requires a more concrete and specific proposal to evaluate the appropriateness” of Tetra Tech’s “broad public offer.”

Other public statements from the Navy, including materials available to the public online and at the Navy’s site office at Hunters Point, have not deviated from the earlier line that parcels E2, where the Navy sited its toxic landfill during the base’s heyday as a ship repair station and hub for nuclear warfare research, and D1 are not implicated in the fraud scandal.

However, public records on file with the state Department of Toxic Substances Control—and posted on the internet—outline extensive work performed on both parcels by Tetra Tech EC.

At Parcel E-2, the dirtiest area of the 450-acre shipyard, Tetra Tech EC was hired to clean and test an area called the “metal debris reef/metal slag area.” Here, the Navy deposited waste contaminated with cesium 137, radium 226, and strontium 90—radioactive elements created during nuclear fission that can lead to cancer and other health problems in humans.

At the reef area, Tetra Tech removed 11,200 cubic yards of “soil, metal slag, and debris” that had been excavated to 3 to 6 feet.

The company also claimed to have removed “163 pieces of radioactively contaminated debris” over a two-year period between May 2005 and May 2007. The company also found “chemical contamination” at the area. Other toxic materials at the shipyard include petroleum byproducts, banned solvents, and pesticides.

In this Storystream

(Submitted by Ruthie Sakheim.)

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Judge Rules Against the Postal Service in Lawsuit against Berkeley’s Zoning Overlay

Protections for Civic Center Historic District Remain in Force
San Francisco—(May 14, 2018) Berkeley’s Historic Civic Center District Zoning Overlay was upheld today in United States District Court.

In August of 2016, the United States Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the United States Postal Service, filed a lawsuit against the City of Berkeley seeking injunctive relief against Berkeley’s District Overlay “insofar as it regulates the Berkeley Main Post Office parcel, located at 2000 Allston Way, Berkeley.”

On Monday, Judge William Alsup issued an “Order Setting Forth Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.” Judge Alsup entered judgment in favor of the City of Berkeley, finding that USPS “had established no entitlement to relief on its claims.”

Back in February of 2014, the USPS agreed to sell 2000 Allston Way for $9 million to Hudson McDonald, a developer who intended to convert most of the property to commercial use as, for example, a Target store.

And also in September 2014, the council passed the Civic Center District Overlay. The Overlay restricted the entire Civic Center Historic District — including the post office — to civic, nonprofit, cultural, and other similar uses. By restricting the kinds of activities in the Civic Center, the Zoning Overlay is designed to preserve the integrity of the area and protect its cultural and historical heritage.

The objection of the Postal Service to the Zoning Overlay was that 2000 Allston Way might command a lower price in the market with use restrictions in place.

The ruling in federal court upholding the District Overlay is cause for celebration. It is an important victory in the fight to preserve Berkeley’s historic Civic Center District and in the effort to preserve historic downtown post offices.

The Department of Justice argued the USPS case with DOJ attorneys who were flown in from Washington DC. We are grateful to the attorneys who successfully represented Berkeley: Andrew W. Schwartz of Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger LLP and Berkeley City Attorney Farimah F. Brown and her deputy attorneys.

The successful legal defense of the Zoning Overlay was only possible because of the steadfast leadership of the Mayor and City Council. Special recognition is owed to Jesse Arreguin, Linda Maio, Susan Wengraf and Kriss Worthington who have been working on this since 2012 when USPS first proposed selling the Berkeley Main Post Office.

And thanks are owed to each of you as part of the Berkeley community that attended numerous hearings and made clear to everyone that preserving the character of Berkeley’s Historic Civic Center is an issue that matters to us.

What happens now? USPS may decide to appeal the ruling. Or USPS could reconsider its decision to dispose of the building, recognize the value of the facility and location and bring back some services. Or USPS could go forward with its plan to dispose of the building, lease back a portion for retail sales, and find a purchaser consistent with the Zoning Overlay. In 2014, USPS walked away from ongoing talks to craft an historic preservation covenant for 2000 Allston Way. That action by USPS led to a suit by the City of Berkeley and the National Trust for Historic Preservation alleging violations of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). That suit was declared moot when USPS asserted they no longer intended to sell 2000 Allston Way. A sale of 2000 Allston Way that conformed with the Zoning Overlay but did not include an adequate historic preservation covenant could result in a refiling of the 2014 suit.

Read the US District Court decision in USPS v Berkeley

Read Maria Dinzeo’s article in Courthouse News: “Judge Finds No Issue in Bid to Block Sale of Historic Post Office

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UPDATES for TODAY, May 16, 2018 ~ Note time change in “No Justice No Deal” Meeting (from Adrienne Fong)

Please come out to show our RESISTANCE and OUTRAGE!

Protest Against Israel!

Ehud Barak Not Welcome in SF!

TODAY!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

6:00pm – 8:00pm 

JCCSF

3200 California (at Presidio Ave.)

San Francisco

SF Muni lines #1, #2, #3, #43

Or take #38 and get off on Masonic & Geary and walk over 4 blocks

Former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak will be in San Francisco. Barak has played an instrumental role in fragmenting the Palestinian people and was a general for the Israeli army during 1980’s. Join us to protest outside of his event, he is not welcome here!

Endorsed by several groups

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/527687277626386/

Sixty-one people were either killed or died of wounds inflicted by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Monday and Tuesday.

 Listed at the site below are the names of 58: 

Gaza Killings: Names and Faces of Those Killed by Israeli Forces This Week

Eight-month-old Laila is youngest Palestinian killed in Gaza on Monday, the deadliest day since 2014 war.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/15/gaza-killings-names-and-faces-those-killed-israeli-forces-week

From left: Ahmed Alrantisi, Laila Anwar Al-Ghandoor, Ahmed Altetr, Alaa Alkhatib Ezz el-din Alsamaak, Motassem Abu Louley (Photo: Screengrab)

From left: Ahmed Alrantisi, Laila Anwar Al-Ghandoor, Ahmed Altetr, Alaa Alkhatib Ezz el-din Alsamaak, Motassem Abu Louley

 (Photo: Screengrab)

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Time change for meeting & agenda:

Strategic Meeting

 “No Justice No Deal” 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

5:30pm – 7:30pm 

St. John’s

1661 15th Street (@ Julian)

San Francisco

Info from Anand:

AGENDA

Goal: Coalition reviews campaign and determines immediate next steps.

5:30—5:45   Attendees arrive and settle in 

5:45—5:50   Welcome 

5:50—6:15   What Happened?

Review of campaign goals and accomplishments 

6:15—6:30   What Now?

Discuss immediate next steps

·       Public comment

·       DHR letter

6:30—7:15   What Next?

                   Discuss opportunities for campaign transition

·       Ballot measure to address POA’s interest arbitration power

·       “No on H” campaign

·       Sustained police reform coalition

·       Advocacy re: Police Chief/Commissioners

·       Supporting state legislation

·       Hiring more officers/Defund SFPD

·       Oakland police contract 

7:15—7:30   Action steps and close 

·       Two articles that might be of interest: 

1. SF supervisors reject 2 Police Commission nominations, freezing the panel (May 15, 2018)

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/SF-supervisors-reject-2-Police-Commission-12917674.php

2. SF mayor proposes hiring hundreds of new police officers (May 15, 2018)

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/SF-mayor-proposes-hiring-hundreds-of-new-police-12914231.php#photo-15554817

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No, You Can’t Sell Our Post Office and Put Up a Parking Lot! We Win!

Posted on  by 

It’s true! A Federal Court just ruled it so!

On May 14th, 2018, Federal District Judge William Alsup issued a decision saying that Berkeley’s Zoning Ordinance, restricting the area around its Civic Center from being used for commercial purposes, is constitutional as it applies to whomever might want to buy the downtown Post Office (Berkeley’s downtown Post Office, at Milvia & Allston, is part of that Civic Center area).

The Postal Service contended that such a restriction, even though it imposed no constraint on the use of the building by the Post Office (since it is a Federal Agency it is not affected by local zoning regulations) was still an unconstitutional usurpation of Federal rights in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution. They also contended that the Zoning Ordinance violated the Congressional legislation that created the current Postal Service, which gives USPS the right to manage and dispose of its property – this because it put de facto restrictions on who might be interested in buying the property, reducing the value of the property (as it turns out, by about 40%) since it could not be used for commercial or residential purposes once sold to a private interest. However, as Judge Alsup concludes:

the USPS has not carried its burden to prove that either intergovernmental immunity or conflict preemption renders the Overlay unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause. It has therefore established no entitlement to relief on its claims. Accordingly, judgment will be entered in favor of the City.

Ding!

In 2012 the Postal Service first evinced interest in selling Berkeley’s beautiful, 100 year old, historically and architecturally significant downtown Post Office and moving services elsewhere. By 2013 fierce local opposition to the sale had arisen (e.g. Those Damned Hippies. They’re Saving the Post Office.), and activists floated the idea of rezoning the downtown Historic District, which included the Post Office, to preclude commercial uses. The idea behind this was that it would help protect all the buildings in the District (such as Old City Hall) from being sold off and razed. It would make it less attractive for the Postal Service to sell its property, since it would command a lesser price. And it would, hopefully, encourage the Postal Service to maintain services at the existing location – right smack in the middle of downtown Berkeley and one block from BART.

In 2014 the Berkeley City Council passed the rezoning ordinance, and it went into effect just before the Postal Service announced a prospective buyer, who a month or two later dropped out of purchase negotiations.

In late 2014 the City of Berkeley sued the Postal Service, claiming it had violated or failed to adhere to various procedural and regulatory requirements before a sale could take place. The lawsuit came before the very same Judge Alsup who issued this ruling. However, in early 2015, the Postal Service testified in court that the downtown Berkeley Post Office was “no longer for sale” and on that basis Alsup ruled the lawsuit moot.

There the matter rested for more than a year until the Postal Service filed its lawsuit against Berkeley in August, 2016. Over the course of 2017 and into 2018 the legal battle was waged in Judge Alsup’s courtroom in San Francisco, with oral arguments ultimately being presented on April 3rd, 2018.

From the beginning, Judge Alsup seemed skeptical of the Postal Service’s arguments. In fact, during one hearing on summary judgement, Judge Alsup barely engaged the City of Berkeley’s attorney, instead grilling the Postal Service’s Department of Justice attorney over and over for the better part of an hour.

This skepticism is perhaps reflected in his ruling, as evidenced by a few excerpts below:

Of course, every “historic district” – or any other discrete area – has to stop somewhere. Its boundaries must end on some block or street. It is nothing more than a truism that any regulation purporting to govern a specific area will affect properties right up to the boundaries of that area but not the properties immediately beyond. The USPS’s protestations about this simple fact do nothing to advance its case.

 

Under the USPS’s theory, it would be virtually impossible to impose any local regulation – no matter how objectively or sincerely neutral – on a group of constituents that happened to include the federal government or those with whom it deals, because any deviation in the infinite potential actions and decisions of said constituents might cause the federal government or those with whom it deals to feel the impact of the regulation more keenly than their neighbor and thus violate intergovernmental immunity. Again, the USPS has provided no authority or argument to justify such a sweeping theory.

 

 

The USPS’s own national Manager of Real Estate and Assets admitted that the Overlay does not prevent the USPS from selling the post office… To repeat, the Overlay does not prevent the USPS from selling the post office…

Throughout this litigation, the USPS has repeatedly affirmed it “does not theorize that any interference in the government’s efforts to sell property, even material interference, would be preempted . . . [r]ather, the USPS’s theory is that the particular interference caused by the Overlay is so potent as to be effectively equivalent to a total frustration of the USPS’s ability to dispose of its property” – in other words, that it “effectively bans the sale of the post office” That remains the theory the USPS must prove. Yet it has failed to do so.

It’s true that the Postal Service can still sell the property (for about $6M or $7M instead of $10M) if it so chooses, and of course it can appeal the decision.

Nonetheless THIS IS A HUGE VICTORY FOR THE PEOPLE AND THE CITY OF BERKELEY. For six years, we stood united against the Postal Service’s designs to cut services, ignore history, and refuse to listen to the needs of Berkeley residents. And, nationally, it galvanized the fight against some politicians’ and Postal Service administrators’ goal of privatizing the entire enterprise.

From homeless activists to politicians, from preservationists to progressives to Occupy activists, we used every tool available: rallies, encampments on the Post Office steps (see, e.g., Occupation outside Downtown Berkeley post office ends after 17 months and Berkeley post office protesters defy order to move), lawsuits, political pressure and legislation. Through it all the people of Berkeley hung together. The result is after six years the downtown Berkeley Post Office still stands, it still serves customers, and perhaps, just perhaps, the fight has made a few bureaucrats ponder as they fall asleep at night whether it was really the best idea to mess with Berkeley.

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From Venezuela 🇻🇪 a Call for Democracy

Dear Earth Citizen, 

The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index rated Venezuela as having the worst rule of law in the world. It is a country in chaos and where Democracy Earth Foundation will be placing intensive focus in the coming months.

In the face of the regime’s widely condemned snap election planned for May 20 we launch the #VzlaProponeCambio (Venezuela Proposes Change) initiative, in collaboration with human rights and Venezuelan citizen activists, to provide Venezuelans with new ways to raise their voices in the fight for democracy. Read a message from the team here (English | Spanish).

Sovereign Pilot in Venezuela

As a political action, #VzlaProponeCambio is both autonomous and inclusive – by Venezuelans, for Venezuelans, to be heard inside the country as well as internationally. To provide new democratic governance alternatives for Venezuela beyond today’s corrupted political-electoral conjuncture gets at the core of the Democracy Earth mission. In doing so, we are creating spaces for the consensus of ideas and the consolidation of proposals, and fighting for a free Venezuela. Stay updated on the  #VzlaProponeCambio website and stay tuned for more information on how to participate and follow this initiative.

Development Update

A Hack Weekend brought the extended team of European coders together in Paris mid-month; we’re proud to announce that momentum since then has produced a working dAPP and massive updates to our v1.0 initial release with greatly improved scalability. We deployed a Blockstack login, activated a jurisdiction feature as well as an agora feature with mobile editor, and more. We encourage you to visit the alpha test web app at vote.democracy.earth, experiment with the Twitter-like interface, make a proposal, place a vote…or just leave your feedback in the timeline.

 
We hope you enjoy this sneak peak of the work from our extraordinary open source UI/UX design team leaning into the challenge of coding the blockchain app onboarding experience in a decentralized world where the user is the customer instead of the product.

Token Pre-Sale and ICO

With the pace of our planned pilot studies and deployments, we will be giving ourselves an additional month to test and develop Smart Contracts, therefore the public token sale is now targeted for July-August timeframe, with a multi-country founder’s tour announced prior. Sign up for notifications of the DEF ICO Founder’s Tour and regular updates on other DEF happenings.

The pre-sale  will remain open until the cap is reached. Verified accredited investors can start the pre-sale SAFT execution process; and a review copy of the SAFT can be found here. As a reminder: although the pre-sale is open to CoinList-verified accredited global investors (excluding NY and China) the public token sale will be open to all. Join our Telegram ICO Group to chat directly with a cofounder.

Democracy Earth Around the World 🇺🇸🇨🇦🇵🇪🇧🇪🇬🇧

Next 🇳🇴🇧🇷🇲🇽🇦🇷🇮🇹🇮🇱 

  • We’re headed to the Human Rights Foundation’s Oslo Freedom Forum later this month
  • Paula Berman will teach an online course on Blockchain in the Public Sector.
  • Eduardo Medina will represent DEF throughout Latin America, speaking at events in Guadalajara and Mexico City, and attending ETHBuenosAires – check our Facebook Events page for details.
  • Alex Jupiter will present Sovereign in the GovTech Pioneers pitchfest in Vienna.
  • Santi Siri will be visiting Israel in late May.

DEF Ambassadors Program

We welcomed three new Ambassadors since our last newsletter: Hannah Wolfman-Jones is raising awareness of liquid democracy in the greater Chicago 🇺🇸 area, Justin Graside who heads the Partido Digital Uruguay 🇺🇾; and Andrew Chambers of Perth 🇦🇺, a demtech activist of more than 35 years. Stay tuned for more ambassador announcements and important program developments soon!

Listen Up! Podcasts

Thank you for reading – follow us on Medium for some exciting announcements very soon! Thank you as always for being part of the Democracy Earth community.

Democracy Earth Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in San Francisco, California. Democracy.EarthOn twitter.
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