#255: The Re-Election® Part II, Parking permits more expensive, The legalese of legal weed
Almost 200,000 people rode public transport illegally
Hey 20 Percent!
Voters in Berlin will return to the booths Sunday for the Re-Election® Part II to vote on candidates for the Bundestag, this country’s lower house of parliament. For those just tuning in: Berlin flubbed the election in (checks notes) September 2021 and last year had to repeat the state portion of the election, voting in our current government of the center-left SPD and conservative CDU.
They’re re-doing the federal part Sunday in many, but not all, districts. It’s unlikely to have much of an impact — only two candidates face losing their jobs, according to the taz, but it involves math that you have to have an advanced degree to understand so let’s just trust them. The election is therefore mostly symbolic with everyone curious how the far-right AfD will fare. We’ll let you know Tuesday.
Thanks to everyone who came out to be part of team I’ve Never Seen 50 Shades of Gray at the Berlin News Quiz Wednesday. It was funny and fun and it’s always nice to put faces to our readers.
Have a good weekend!
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Residential parking to become sort of normally priced
Our city-state’s traffic department is considering raising Berlin’s ridiculously low fees for residential parking permits fivefold with generous discounts for — wait for it — using a digital rather than paper application and permit. Permits would cost €60 per year or €100 for two years, up from €10.20 per year currently, according to RBB24. Applying online as well as agreeing to use a digital permit would each be rewarded with a €15/year discount. The previous government had already moved to increase parking permits to €120/year but they were voted out a year ago (see above) before the idea could become law. Our new notoriously pro-car traffic minister Manja Schreiner (CDU) said she could live with the proposed increase and would begin discussions with other politicians — no idea when the the new fees would go into effect.
Legal gymnastics ahead of marijuana legalization
The possession of marijuana is likely to become legal in Germany July 1 and the legal hijinks have already begun in Berlin. One potential club — bluetezeit.club — is advertising on Potsdamer Strasse with a webpage that reads like the start to a dystopian Netflix series. They want to peddle weed grown 750m below ground in an old salt mine in nearby Lower Saxony. The problem, according to Tagesspiegel (paywall), is that Germany’s proposed marijuana laws forbids commercial sales. Only ganja clubs where members take part in the cultivation are allowed to sell members 50 grams per month at cost. Bluetezeit told the paper it will circumvent the regulations by offering services (insurance, accounting) to its network of clubs, whose members will plant, care for and harvest the goods in the salt mine.
Getting a brand new museum
Berlin (again) broke ground Friday on a musem in the Kulturforum for showcasing 20th century works owned by local museums. The very unoriginally named berlin modern is expected to cost €364 million and will be complete in 2027, the same year a renovated Pergamon Museum will reopen. The original groundbreaking was in 2019 but the plans had to be reworked — the museum was originally to have cost just €200 million. What’s going to be shown? Think Gerhard Richter and Josef Beuys, says RBB24. The Kulturforum is that non-descript area near non-descript Potsdamer Platz that’s home to the symphony, the portrait gallery and Neue Nationalgalerie.
About 16.4 million people were asked to show their ticket in buses, U-Bahns and trams in Berlin last year. How many didn’t have a ticket? 2.4%, or about 199,000, of those checked by the BVG, according to Tagesspiegel. No statistic on how many were treated unnecessarily roughly or rudely (probably most). A total of 1.05 billion people used the BVG’s services last year. The S-Bahn, run by Deutsche Bahn, has no idea how many people used its services.