Berkeley / East Bay
Gray Panthers Newsletter
January 2016

6501 Telegraph Ave.- Oakland CA 94609

Tel: (510)595-9696

January Membership meeting

January 2016 Meeting will be held at North Berkeley Senior Center on Wednesday, January 27 1:30pm.
The speaker will be Jasmine Kavezade from TURN, talking about PG&E bills

All questions welcome

Fund Raiser -- Movie


On January 24, 2-5pm there will be Gray Panther fund-raiser
The movie "Frida" will be shown at the Arts Festival venue at 2133 University.

"Frida" is a triumphant motion picture (2004) about an exceptional woman who lived an unforgettable life. A product of humble beginnings, Frida Kahlo earns fame as a talented artist with a unique vision. And from her enduring relationship with her mentor and husband, Diego Rivera. It won academy awards.

Board Meeting 2:00pm Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at Niebyl-Proctor Library

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Join the Panthers!

Get this newsletter in the mail! Become a member of Gray Panthers!
Dues: $35/year ($15 low income)
Send a check with your name and mailing address to Gray Panthers of the East Bay, 6501 Telegraph Ave.- Oakland CA 94609.

NOTE -- Traffic Tickets can also be worked off by volunteer work for Gray Panthers

Recent New members:

Living Graveyard

Third Mondays, Noon - 1:00 pm. date subject to change –– check
Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street (two blocks from 12th Street BART)
People lie down in front of the Federal Building, covered with sheets to represent the dead. Names of some Californians who have died in Iraq and the names of some Iraqi dead are read during the event. A gong is sounded after each name.
Please bring a white sheet. A pad to lie on is recommended.

Holiday Party

There was a holiday party December 9, at Redwood Gardens. It featured the wonderful music and wit of Dave Welch, Carol Denny, Nancy Schimmel and Hali Hammer of Occupella, Mrs. T-Bill Banks, Eleanor Walden and Khalia,
MC's: Leeza Vinogradov and Edie Hallberg.

Climate Change

There was a Rally for Climate Change starting at 1pm on Saturday, November 21. Marchers came in from Lake Merrit to Frank Ogawa Plaza. They were led by a lively samba band, with drums. Numerous speakers encouraged us to push for action to reduce global warming.

Tax the Rich Rally

TAX THE RICH RALLY meets every Monday 4pm to 4:45pm at the top of Solano Ave in Berkeley (rain cancels) to protest the inequality of taxes in our country. We hold signs saying “Tax the Rich” and “Tax the Big Corporations.”

Monthly Peace Rally

Every 3rd Friday, Gray Panthers and Strawberry Creek Lodge sponsor a Peace rally, at Acton and University in Berkeley. Next rally will be on Friday January 15, 2-3 pm.
Come sing, wave signs, listen to approving honks from passing cars and trucks. For more info, Call Fran Rachel at 841-4143

Other News and Information

Berkeley - The residents at Redwood Gardens are under assault for exercising their protected rights as provided for in the Bill of Rights, and the US Constitution, and members of the Redwood Gardens Resident Council have been threatened with eviction.

WARNING: scam! People are being called by "tech support" to fix non-existent problems with your computer. ALWAYS hang up in their ear.

The “Lawyers in the Library” program offers free consultation and referrals on a wide variety of issues including landlord/tenant disputes, probate matters, employment problems, and other issues. Go to

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Report on the Affordable Housing Teach-In

This event was held Sunday, November 22 at the Berkeley Arts Festival Space 2133 University (between Shattuck and Oxford)

Speakers included:

This was indeed a “hot issue” for Berkeley. Blocking the door at times, more than 65 people showed up for the affordable housing teach-in on Sunday, November 22, at the Berkeley Arts Center space on University Ave. The subject was ever-increasing rents and the lack of housing for low income people.

This report is a summary of the main points made; it does not attempt to cover everything that went on. A printed copy of slides presented at the meeting were passed out by Stephen Barton, a former Berkeley Housing Authority director.

The Bay Area is a high-rent regional market; San Francisco is the most expensive city in which to live, but Oakland and Berkeley are quickly catching up. Berkeley is a very desirable place to live, but the city is also a relatively difficult place to build. Our natural beauty, diverse creative culture and quality public services have generated a big demand. This presents very desirable investment opportunities for local landlords and for people as far away as China. The total value of Berkeley rental property is now over one billion dollars. Over the past decade, the median rent in Berkeley has about doubled.

Berkeley is being gentrified, meaning that a sizeable portion of people now moving into Berkley have more money than most of us. This includes well-paid technical specialists as well as business owners. By being able to pay higher prices, these relatively wealthy new residents can drive up rents and displace long-term lower income residents. Elderly renters get evicted. Students must bunch up 6 or more to a one-bedroom, one- bath apartment. In most cases, high rents are not economically necessary. Rents are more than enough to cover purchase and maintenance costs. Those landlords who claim that they are barely making enough to cover their costs quite often turn out to have recently bought their property – and paid a premium price for it. Now they want the rents to cover their high mortgage payments.