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#175: Zelensky visit, €29 ticket, Sozialwahl
Racist attacks down a bit
Hey 20 Percent!
Today I’m using my editorial as the 📬Postkutsche reader mail section.
Did you get the red letter about the Sozialwahl? Did you, like @herryates on Twitter, wonder what it’s all about, seeing as how it’s one of the few elections us Ausländer can participate in? Yeah, me too. For years I’ve gotten the letters and just ignored them.
To cut through the cryptic language (wtf is an Ersatzkasse?), every six years members of public health insurers get to vote for that insurer’s advisory board. The board guides the insurer on issues like how to distribute premiums within the organization and what extra services to cover. Sounds like an important position. And if you’re in the public pension scheme, you get to vote for their advisory board too (OMG, two votes!).
I’m with Techniker Krankenkasse and the 30-member advisory board there apparently meets three or four times a year — and at their last meeting they passed a resolution saying they’d really like it if digital prescriptions were easier to use. Um, ok.
So on to this year’s election, which we can all vote in through May 31. You can’t actually vote for a candidate — instead you vote for a list. I can choose from four lists (groups of candidates), two of which come from two huge unions (Verdi and IG Metall). But when you read their platforms they are … identical. They all want Techniker Krankenkasse to be the best Techniker Krankenkasse Techniker Krankenkasse can be.
Confused, I’m now just going to do what I so often do with voluntary activities in Germany — I’m going to leave the red envelope in my in-basket, convinced I will get to it eventually, until the deadline passes and I can recycle it.
I hope this helps.
Have a good, sunny weekend, y’all!
Zelensky may not visit because of cops
The big news was actually that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was planning a not-so-surprise visit to Berlin May 13-14, including a meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). But Berlin quickly hijacked the news as the police announced it was investigating one of its own for releasing secret police information to journalists at the populist BZ newspaper. Their article on the visit included information a war-time president would rather keep under wraps such as his agenda and hotel (especially considering its proximity to the Russian embassy). Now the visit is apparently being reconsidered and Berlin has proved once again that acting like an adult is reserved for other major German cities.
Knife attack suspect has been suspect before
A 38-year-old man who attacked an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old at an elementary school in Neukölln on Wednesday with a kitchen knife is being held in a psychiatric ward and was known to police — he attacked his girlfriend in 2009, according to Tagesspiegel. The man was living in a nearby homeless shelter and the police have suggested a drug-induced psychosis may have been the reason for the assault. One victim remains in serious condition, though doctors say her condition is stable.
Right-wing attacks down
The number of right-wing and racist attacks in Berlin fell by about 5% last year to 336 assaults, according to ReachOut, a charity that counsels victims of violent attacks with a racist or antisemitic motive. The non-profit bemoaned the fact that most attacks occurred in public areas or on public transit and that witnesses often did not step in to help protect victims. The organisation counted a total 490 racist crimes — beyond the 336 assaults. Other victims were insulted or threatened because of their race or sexual orientation.
The discounted €29 monthly ticket for Berlin public transportation failed to encourage drivers to give up their four-wheeled friends, according to Tagesspiegel. The average distance traveled on Berlin streets was unchanged from October through December last year (when you could buy the ticket) compared with the same pre-pandemic period in 2019, based on information from GPS-maker TomTom. Here’s allaboutberlin’s guide to the Deutschlandticket, the replacement to the €29 ticket that was actually a replacement for the €9 ticket (because everything in Germany has to be complicated). The Deutschlandticket allows you to take all local public transit in Germany and nearly all Deutsche Bahn regional trains (but not high-speed routes).