#67: Teens voting, Mickey Mouse robber, rising rents
and the loss of what was a Berlin institution.
Hey 20 Percent!
It was 420 week, which means people were out smoking weed in public in Berlin this week. I mean, they were before but they were this week, too (thanks Mitch Hedberg). And though I’m for legalization (I’ve lived in recreational weed hotspots Colorado and Oregon) I don’t think Germany will legalize the herb. Not anytime soon, at least.
I know, I know, those that have been paying attention are now saying: “But the coalition promised!” Yes, but what I thought at the time was a popular German saying: Berlin is not Germany. And lots of people in Germany are against legalization. And after making big noise, the coalition made the same realization and grew quieter than someone enjoying a mellow high — possibly because of the lingering power of former chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU (and their even-more conservative sister in Bavaria, the CSU).
Health minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) recently said it would be a while because the government and his ministry, which would be responsible for legalization, had bigger fish to fry: Corona and hospital finances, to name just two.
In any case, it won’t be this year — bills take at least 175 days to become laws and it isn’t even out of the ministry yet. And not with this coalition, I don’t think. But I’ve been wrong before and I could be wrong this time, too.
Have a good weekend!
P.S. If you’re looking for something to do, Nir Gottleid is back with his dark, dark comedy. Check here or below.
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, April 22
Received booster: 60.2% (60.1% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 3,274 (106 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,455 (+28 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 343.9 (357.6 Tuesday)
🔴 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 12.1 (11.8 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 7.5% (7.2% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Teenagers will be able to vote now, too
Berlin’s three-way coalition now has enough votes to drop the city-state’s voting age to 16 after the business-friendly FDP got on board, Tagesspiegel reported. The move fulfills an election promise from the coalition of the environmental Grüne, center-left SPD and leftwing Linke and would allow about 90,000 people between 16 and 18 to participate in local elections for the Abgeordnetenhaus (Berlin parliament) as well as referendums but not federal elections. Germany’s capital would reportedly become the sixth of Germany’s 16 states to lower the local voting age to 16. A law is expected to be passed by the end of the year - a two-thirds majority is needed since it will require changing the Berlin constitution.
The latest big idea to combat rising rents
Berlin politicians want to levy a progressive tax on any residential rental income that is 10 percent or more above average rents. Landlords would have to pay between 10 and 30 percent tax on the excessive amount, depending on their exorbanancy, RBB24 reported. The DIW economic thinktank said the tax could bring in an extra €200 million annually as nearly 41 percent of all renters in Berlin pay at least 10 percent more than the average rent. The idea isn’t new — a similar tax was imposed in the 1920s and reportedly financed new residential construction. However, critics doubt the idea could withstand a review by German courts — the city-state’s last attempt, the Mietendeckel, was overturned last year.
Of Disney and Döner derelicts
A police officer was forced to draw his weapon Wednesday after Mickey Mouse was accused of stealing wireless headphones and a wallet from two teenagers on Pariser Platz. The two teens posed for a picture with a woman in a Mickey Mouse costume and later discovered their headphones and wallet were missing, the cops said. When the victims confronted the reportedly inebriated Mickey, her husband rushed over with a knife. The teens turned to the cops, who were then also threatened with the knife, with one drawing his weapon. Both the mouse and her husband were arrested. No word on the wallet and headphones. Not weird enough? Federal police Tuesday tweeted a fake evidence photo (see above) of a Döner that had been used as a weapon. The offending-yet-delicious projectile was tossed at a security guard by a 36-year-old in Neukölln. Looks to be free of onions and hot sauce, which should also be a crime.
Nerdy German electronics chain Conrad is closing all of its German retail branches, with the Schöneberg location already shuttered and Kreuzberg set for November. Although based in southern Germany, Conrad’s Berlin locations were unique because the grumpy Berliner Schnauze attitude mixed with patronizing lessons on why the diode or resistor you’d asked for was entirely wrong for the planned task. Conrad said retail electronics sales now only make sense online though it will retain a few outlets to serve corporate customers. I already miss the condescending-though-dependable Raspberry Pi advice (Pi = mini computers).
Berlin prosecutors have to dismiss charges for anyone caught with 10 grams or less of weed, as long as there are no aggravating circumstances. Prosecutors aren’t required to drop charges for people caught with between 10 and 15 grams, but they can.
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Dark English stand-up comedy
“The Revenge of the Jew-Di” is a stand up comedy show about love, identity, and that awkward feeling that only a Jewish man living in Germany can feel. But mostly, it’s puns about genocide. After two sold out shows in Berlin he’s decided to add two (or more) shows! Dubbed by his friends as well as enemies “the king of horrifying dad jokes” Nir Gottleid has produced crowd favorites such as “The Berlin Offensive” and “Schindler’s Fist”. “The Revenge of the Jew-Di” has already been performed throughout Germany to some acclaim, and mostly horror. Get tickets and find showtimes here: https://rebrand.ly/5z7yo9x!
I'm a regular reader and love the newsletter. But today is special: it's the first time I've ever come across someone else's admiration of the genius of Mitch Hedberg, RIP.
Had to get that off my chest. Now I'll read the rest of the newsletter.
I'd love for Germany to have a younger government. Maybe with inclusion of teenagers into the voting pool we can see it happen.