1:30 - Welcomes and Introductions
Reports/Announcements from Board and Members
Criminal and Racial Justice Coalition - Mike R (cont. after 3pm)
Landless Peoples Alliance - Angeles
Senior Digital Access Project - Betsy
Berkeley EQUITY Summit, # 3 - see flyer below
Other Upcoming Events
Artist and retired RN, Kelly provides an invaluable resource here with her weekly calendar of civic meetings, and summary of City Council and Commission agendas and decisions and how to reach members. Kelly will speak about her personal story, the work of the calendar, and her very personal take on the hot issues on her radar, the housing crisis and recent council proposals; and the effort streamline 35 civic commissions. What is an effective commission? She will also share inspirational media, Sick City by Patrick Congdon, and the documentary PUSH about the growing corporate dominance of local housing markets around the world.
2: 30 The Future of the Berkeley Commission on Aging with Guest speakers: Ethel Murphy (chair) and George Porter (former chair). They will share their experiences and perspectives on the Commission on Aging, their roles, and how it could be more effective.
Does Berkeley still need a Commission on Aging? Would merging with one or more other commissions help or hinder the voice of seniors to be advocates on our own behalf?
Please NOTES below for more on the Commissions original Mission/Functions and the needs of seniors today.
3:00+ Updates and Announcements continued
Social Time and Discussions until 4pm
See Calendar below for more upcoming events of GP and allies
Functions and Duties of the Berkeley Commission on Aging, established in 1970:
A. The functions of the commission shall be to:
1. Identify the needs of the aging of the community and create a citizen awareness of these needs;
2. Encourage improved standards of services to the aging and encourage establishment of needed new services for the aging, both public and private, and in so doing, encourage coordination among organizations providing services to the aging in the community and provide advice and assistance thereto; in cooperation with other agencies collect, maintain and interpret information and statistics on the aging for the use of citizens and organizations in the City; encourage preparation of publications and results of study and research pertaining to the aging;
3. Advise the City Council on all matters affecting the aging in the community;
4. Render advice and assistance to other City boards and commissions, to City departments and to private agencies on matters affecting the aging;
5. Perform such other functions and duties as may be directed by the City Council.
B. In prescribing the above duties and functions of the commission it is not the intent of this council to duplicate or overlap the functions, duties or responsibilities heretofore or hereafter assigned to any other City board or commission or to a City department. As to such functions or responsibilities above set forth which are partially or wholly the responsibilities of another board or commission or of a department of the City, the commission will render assistance and advice to such board, commission or department as may be requested. (Ord. 4492-NS § 10, 1970 )
How is the Commission doing? Are these functions and activities still relevant? or needed?
Observations from your GP Convenor
While some of Berkeley 35 commissions are legally mandated by federal law or city charter, the Commission on Aging is not. One proposal by Council member Sophie Hahn is to merge this commission with Peace and Justice, Human Welfare and several others into a single Civil Rights and Anti-Poverty Commission. Would merger make the concerns of seniors more visible to the public, city council and other commissions?
People over 65 are now the fastest growing group in Berkeley (and the nation); over 85 especially. The Age Friendly Berkeley Strategic Plan approved by the Council in April 2019 reports that older residents surveyed identified Housing and Economic Security as their #1 concern, regardless of income. Where does more affordable senior assisted living come into the city's planning and negotiations? About one-third of all seniors in Berkeley are extremely low income (30% or less of the Area Median Income). Nationally senior poverty is rising again, and growing numbers of people over 50 (Boomers) are experiencing homeless for the first time in their life. Health researchers show that unhoused, people age rapidly, become sicker and die years earlier than the norm. Seniors and disabled adults on fixed incomes are at highest risk of displacement even in rent controlled housing.
According to the Strategic Plan and other Census/AMC results, nearly half of older Berkeleyans live alone and more than a third spend more than 40% of their income for housing costs. We all know that financial scams are too common, and that real estate agents and speculators are pressuring senior homeowners as we speak.
Who is shepherding the priorities of the Age Friendly Berkeley Plan? The Updates and Progress page is empty. The Plan's authors did not even put Harriet Tubman Terrace or Redwood Gardens on their map of senior/disabled housing resources!
We are fortunate that the City's Health Department has kept death rates in Nursing Homes far lower than in California as a whole. But, did it really take a year for the Senior Services division to do check-in calls with Senior Center members to see how they were doing? A year ago Gray Panthers asked the City Manager to please check in on Harriet Tubman Terrace, and residents of Harriet Tubman have asked multiple city officials for help with dangerous unsanitary conditions regarding Covid-19, and help to get testing. We have both requested help getting vaccinations on-site. Can the Commission on Aging help get results or at least a call back?
Meanwhile, Gov. Newsome has approved a new California Master Plan on Aging which outlines many elements needing improvement to deal with current conditions and the future. Funding its implementation is crucial. Stakeholder groups that GP partners with such as California Alliance for Nursing Home Reform, Hand In Hand Domestic Employers Network, and Senior Disability Justice are following up with state legislation to create Universal In-Home and Community Based Supports and Services as alternative to nursing homes. Can we get City Council to support this initiative as well?
Finally the digital divide is alive and well among Berkeley senior especially seniors of color. Senior Services staff reportedly called members of the Centers to determine how many are digitally isolated. What was the results, and, how do we get the right resources and training into the hands of seniors who need it now, especially with $52 million in special federal funding coming to Berkeley.
I believe we need strong senior champions and champions of senior issues in housing and economic security, in health equity, and digital access to speak up and link up. I don't have the answers, but invite Panthers and allies to consider the possibilities.
CALENDAR of UPCOMING EVENTS EBGP and Partners
Sunday March 28, 7-9-pm Berkeley Equity Summit - All are welcome. Confirmed roundtable speakers include: former Mayor Gus Newport, former Vice-Mayor and forner GP Board Member, Carole Kennerly; NAACP Secretary Afi Tiombe; Rev. Mary Breland (daughter of late councilmember Margaret Breland), Max Ussury, former President of BART; former Councilmember Max Anderson; Nikki Williams, retired Exec. Director, Berkeley Youth Alternatives; Musician, Carl Dubarry; Poet, Paradise, and more.
Thursday March 25, Berkeley Tenants Union 6pm
also Behind the Mask, Berkeleys Mental Health Crisis, see flyer below
Friday March 26, National Alliance of HUD Tenants
- discussion of Related Properties, a national real estate company that owns Berkeley's 75 scattered site affordable family housing units. 9AM to 11:30. Email me [email protected]
if you are not already a member of NAHT - I can share the link with members of East Bay Gray Panthers, an associate member.
March 27 - OWL - Older Womens League San Francisco Monthly meeting March 27, Sat. 11 am to Noon will be on "Single Payer" Medicare for all (AB1400).
Friday March 26 - Noon - CARA and St. Barnabas Senior Services
are sponsoring a special FRIDAY FORUM on March 26th called “MAKING THE MASTER PLAN ON AGING A REALITY” - to present some key strategies to implement the Master Plan on Aging that was released by the Governor in January of this year. Learn about the plan, and how you can help make it a reality. Contact CARA at 510-663-4086 or TOLL FREE 1-877-223-6107 or email to SF Panthers Convenor <[email protected]
> get registration info.
* CARA Alameda County meets the first Tuesday of the month at 10AM-11:30am.
APRIL & MAY EVENTS
April 11, 2021 - Grand Opening of Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) Youth Village, Hegenberger Road, Oakland. (member of Landless Peoples Alliance.)
Monday April 7 and every other Monday - Meeting of the National Council of Gray Panther Networks, 4pm-6pm PST
May 21, National Day of Mourning for Staggering Numbers of People Dead from COVID-19 in Nursing Homes and Long Term Care Facilities - coordinated with the New York chapter of Gray Panthers.
On January 2, 2021, Vincent Bryant, a Black, unhoused man was shot in the face at point blank range by the Berkeley Police while experiencing a mental health crisis.
Thankfully, he survived, but this police response is outrageous. Berkeley Copwatch invites you, the Berkeley community, to analyze footage of this incident and try to understand what went wrong.
We will be joined by a panel of mental health experts and activists to explore the question: What would mental health care and crisis response look like without police involvement?
Asantewaa Boykin, Co-Founder - Mental Health First & APTP
Maria Moore, sister of Kayla Moore who died at the hands of Berkeley police
Gigi Crowder, Executive Director - National Alliance on Mental Health, Contra Costa
Dr. Lisa Warhuus, Director of Health, Housing & Community Services, City of Berkeley
In Berkeley, we have an opportunity to create structural change: this summer the City Council approved an initiative for a Specialized Care Unit (SCU) that would respond to mental health crises without police involvement. Now is the time to pressure the City of Berkeley to follow through on their commitment:
- The SCU must be well funded, so that it can actually be effective
- The SCU must be dispatched without police
- Since the police will not be responding to these incidents, funding must come directly from the police budget
- There must be options for long-term care in addition to crisis intervention
*Content Warning: This event will discuss and show video of police violence against Black people and people with mental health conditions.*
Join the Zoom event:
Date: Wednesday, March 24th at 7pm
Meeting ID: 874 2284 2921
Dial in: +1 669 900 6833 US
Meeting ID: 874 2284 2921
*The event is free to attend, and everyone is welcome.
Your RSVP on this page is appreciated but not required. If you do RSVP we'll email a link with full access info for the call.
You are invited:
One tap mobile
+16699006833,,85884943363#,,,,,,0#,,446231# US (San Jose)