Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 11.30.40 AMLast year, the City Council of Berkeley CA saved the planet from being destroyed by plastic straws, and by serving only vegan meals at all city-owned facilities one day a week. But just a few months later, AOC famously said ”… We’re like, the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change…” 

Well, like, evidently, banning plastic straws wasn’t, like, you know, enough. So on July 23, Berkeley took AOC’s message to heart, and like, you know, did something.

  1. They banned the gender-offensive term “manhole ”. It will no longer be permitted in city documents, including RFPs and contracts. It will be replaced with “maintenance cover.”
  2. They banned natural gas cooktops and ovens in all new homes and commercial buildings.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the quickly melting iceberg. The details get even loonier. Let’s start with manholes.

Besides protecting the dignity of every member of all nine sexes who might be triggered by the gender bias of “manhole”, in all city documents,  “”brother” or “sister” will be replaced with “sibling”, and the always sexist “pregnant woman” will be replaced by “pregnant employee”, which curiously assumes that all pregnant Berkeleyites are gainfully employed.

But here’s my favorite piece of Berkeley Newspeak: Sororities and fraternities are no longer part of the language, so keg-loving students can no longer invite dates to a fraternity party, but to a “collegiate Greek system residence” party. Try saying that after a Coors or nine.

This change was proposed by the council’s youngest member: Rigel Robinson, a recent graduate of the UC, Berkeley. According to the 23-year-old,   “Having a male-centric municipal code is inaccurate and not reflective of our reality.  “Our laws are for everyone, and our municipal code should reflect that.”

If you think only a 23-year old could dream up something this loony, think again. Robinson admitted  that one of his interns first thought of this change, and then the idea then worked its way through the office before being brought to the city.

OK, let’s move crisply from manholes to natural gas: According to an article in The Daily Meal, a survey stated that 96 out of 100 professional chefs across the country prefer gas cooktops over electric. Without getting too far into the weeds, some of the reasons are: response of speed for heating and cooling, greater controlability, usability with varied cookware, ease of cleaning, and inexpensive maintenance. Those are good reasons for chefs and foodies everywhere, many of whom may be less inclined to open restaurants or buy new homes in natural gas-free Berkeley.

Here’s another unintended consequence, which I’m quoting verbatim from How Stuff Works: “The clear winner in the energy efficiency battle between gas and electric is gas. It takes about three times as much energy to produce and deliver electricity to your stove. According to the California Energy Commission, a gas stove will cost you less than half as much to operate (provided that you have an electronic ignition–not a pilot light.)

One final item about cost: At the same meeting, to ensure the citizens of Berkeley can enjoy a natural gas-free future, the council voted unanimously to add a new employee to the Building and Safety Division of the city’s Department of Planning and Development.

His compensation?  $273,341 per year. Oops, sorry. I said “his.”

Photo: David Hoffman.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License





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