#244: Calm-ish New Year's, Crappy Ausländerbehörde, Skyscraper project on the block
Berlin needs thousands more bureaucrats
Hey 20 Percent!
I usually shy away from New Year’s resolutions. At least proclaiming them publicly. The only thing worse than failing is doing it right in front of God and everybody.
But maybe the point is saying it so you’ll actually do it. So here goes:
I’m trying to organize more events based around this newsletter. So far it’s been all comedy because that’s a huge part of me — details for the next event below — but I realize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea so I’ll be making an effort to branch out. Feel free to leave a comment on any ideas you might have.
And maybe it’s time for us 20 Percenters to protest the situation at the Ausländerbehörde, or the politicians behind the Ausländerbehörde. Like any good Berlin protest, it should double as a street party so that, if they don’t listen or react to us, at least we had a good time. I’d like to call it “Please Unf@ck the Ausländerbehörde, a 20 Percent Protest©” but I’m afraid some might see that as rude, despite the glee with which Germans use that particular expletive.
I’ll start working on the specifics this week. I’m thinking March, maybe April.
Ok, fulfilling those two resolutions seems easier than all the book reading and weight losing I wanted to do last year.
Happy New Year, y’all! Let’s make it a good one.
Lots of arrests, few squabbles on Silvester
New Year’s — Silvester — was much more peaceful in Berlin than last year and the statistics show maybe why. The cops made 390 arrests during the holiday, nearly four times the 103 they made last year, according to Tagesspiegel. Cops are pursuing a total 720 charges — compared to 150 last year — for things like arson, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. While no firemen were injured this year, 54 police officers were hurt, up from 47 last year. Berlin put 1,000 extra cops on the street this New Year’s, saving conservative politicians from the embarrassing public displays of racism so popular last year. While partyers won last year’s New Year’s, the police clearly took this year’s match. Tie breaker in a year. Side note: Berlin’s top cop and top fire person both want fireworks banned, as does at least half of 20percent.berlin.
Monarch tower might be built but not soon
The Russian investor behind a planned skyscraper abutting the Alexa shopping center in Mitte is hoping to sell the project after sanctions related to Russia’s Ukraine invasion have made it impossible for the investor to move cash, according to RBB. Monarch, the investor, all-but abandoned the site about a year ago — 377 luxury apartments are supposed to be built on 35 floors. The site is a headache for commuters since it blocks the bike path and sidewalk as well as one lane of vehicle traffic. Politicians want Berlin’s building authorities to exercise its right to buy the site back from Monarch. Two of three skyscrapers under construction at Alex have hit major hurdles — another being built by French developer Covivio damaged subway tunnels, causing commuting headaches and leading to a €10 million repair.
Selling Ausländerbehörde appointments isn’t illegal (but it should be)
The Ausländerbehörde, officially the Landesamt für Einwanderung (LEA), doesn’t care that shady individuals are using bots to snatch up available appointments and sell them to the highest bidder — it isn’t illegal, they told taz. But the paper went on to list the difficulties we all know thanks to the Ausländerbehörde’s inability to do its job — while an email may say your residency permit is defacto extended until you get an appointment, landlords, phone companies, employers and even border guards don’t care, putting immigrants in precarious situations. Die Grüne politician Jian Omar wants the office to automatically send us appointments when our permits near expiration — rather than allowing thugs to profit off the office’s inaction.
The city-state of Berlin is lacking 7,000 bureaucrats, leading to a sometimes 5-month wait for an appointment with the Bürgeramt and leading some to lose confidence in social services, according to Tagesspiegel (paywall).
2024 … the year I get my German up to scratch?
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