#10: Election fiasco, team Giffey, school masks and a street fight
Yes, this is exactly why we can't have nice things.
When people talk about Berlin being an open, tolerant, accepting city, I smirk. Subgroups of this city are but the city itself is so busy mishandling its own crap that it doesn’t have the time - or energy - to form an opinion about whoever it is you want to be or what it is you’re doing. For good or bad. And elections can now be added to the list of things Berlin cannot do (the list of things it can is markedly shorter).
But I’m getting ahead of the news. Part of living in Berlin is exploiting that incompetence to discover which laws and regulations the city doesn’t enforce (or is incapable of enforcing) and benefitting. Just ask any ‘90s rave promoter, or modern property developer.
Welcome to October (my favorite month) and have a good weekend!
Berlin corona stats for Friday, October 1
Fully vaccinated: 64.2% (64.1% Thursday)
New cases in one day: 664 (578 Thursday)
Total deaths: 3,627 (+2 over Thursday)
🟡 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 74.4 (67.7 Thursday)
🟢 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 1.3 (1.3 Thursday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 8.8% (8.9% Thursday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
The election disaster
While most above speaking age thought Sunday’s super-election in Berlin would be a mess, most assumed the marathon would be to blame. While the race delayed the delivery of extra ballots, incompetent election officials themselves emerged as the true culprits - Petra Michaelis, the city’s top election official, has already resigned. What went wrong? Officials distributed too few ballots as well as the wrong ballots to tens - or, according to Berliner Zeitung, hundreds - of polling places, making it impossible for people to vote for local candidates, if at all. The problem became known during the run-up to the election so officials included a note with the ballots. However, most didn’t see the note until Sunday morning. Throw in corona measures and Berlin is again Germany’s biggest provincial town. The city has until about October 14 (when final tallies are due) to sort it all out, which the remaining officials say is possible without making everyone vote again. We’ll see.
Who’s governing Berlin?
While the environmental Die Grüne and business-friendly FDP are the kingmakers nationally, SPD pol Franziska Giffey will become our new mayor and is courting everyone to form a government in the Berlin parliament. She won with 21.4% of the vote, her party’s worst result in Berlin since the war. She’ll need two partners and met Friday morning with Die Grüne and will meet Friday afternoon with the leftist Die Linke, according to newswire DPA. The three currently govern Berlin but Giffey is also meeting Monday with the conservative CDU and FDP. She has hinted at a preference for the latter coalition. She wants to tell party brass in mid-October who she wants to govern with and have a new government running by 2022.
Oh right, corona
Starting Monday, masks will no longer be mandatory for students and staff in Berlin elementary schools. The education department will reconsider masks for grade seven and up after the fall break in mid-October, potentially eliminating them if school-related infections remain minimal.
A good old-fashioned street fight
Ten men with pepper spray and a machete attacked a 50-year-old member of Berlin’s Abou-Chakar crime family Wednesday evening on Karl-Marx-Straße, according to the Tagesspiegel. Another 100 watched the fracas but no one would talk to the cops. The fuzz only arrested one culprit and the victim only had minor injuries, which seems odd considering the machete and pepper spray. Even crime in Berlin is lacking.
The city’s first industrial garbage incinerator was switched on October 1, 1921 (and, we assume, has been working overtime ever since).
It’s museum Sunday, which means museums are free of charge. Follow that link to book a slot! It’s also open mosque day, which means you can catch that peek into your neighborhood mosque you’ve always wanted. Here’s a German-language link for participating locations.
See you Tuesday!