RS Election Special: Yes But No

Berliner voters wants more left-green politics and a radical state take-over of property – but the new mayor may ignore those demands.

At Sunday’s city-state elections, a majority (54.3%) voted for the R2G parties, showing the citizens want the current coalition to continue. Another majority (56.7%) voted ‘yes’ in the Deutsche Wohnung & Co. Enteignen referendum, instructing the city to forcibly buy houses from big corporate property investors.

However it will be up to the SPD to decide if those things happen. The SPD won the most votes (21.4%) and can pick who to team up with – and they don’t like Die Linke, and have clashed with the Greens.

The referendum result is non-binding, and the SPD’s lead candidate (and likely mayor) Franziska Giffey is opposed to it (although many party members support it).

Will Giffey’s SPD really ignore the wishes of a majority of Berliners? Join us for this quick take on Berlin’s 2021 election results.

With Izzy Choksey, Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern.

RS Live: 2G or Not To Be

The Berlin election results could deliver a shock result: instead of the current green-left coalition, we could end up with conservatives who want to build on Tempelhof, expand highways and stop rental reforms. We’ll terrify you with the worst-case scenario.

Instead of finishing the A100 autobahn, let’s turn it into a giant urban farm. That’s the latest mad idea from Paper Planes e.V., the dream team behind the Radbahn project. We talk to Perttu Ratilainen about how we could grow veggies on the highway. More at: https://www.morgenfarm.berlin

Not vaccinated yet? Now you can’t eat at many restaurants or go to events. The 3G rule has been tightened to 2G – only immunized people can enter many places. Tests are fast becoming obsolete.

The Humboldt Forum is about to open a new exhibition of artefacts stolen by German explorers and colonialists. We meet Virgil Taylor from the Coalition of Cultural Workers Against the Humboldt Forum (CCWAH). He explains what’s wrong with the reconstructed city palace, outside and in. More at: https://ccwah.info

The Berlin Podfest is on October 23-25, organized by our own Daniel Stern. Attend, participate or just listen: https://www.sterndaniel.com/podfestberlin

This episode was hosted by Matilde Keizer, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.

Thanks to all our supporters! You can donate to keep us going here: http://www.radiospaetkauf.com/donate

RS Live: Cars Don’t Vote

Berlin is weeks away from its state election and a referendum on housing. We analyse the campaign posters with Konrad Werner, columnist for Exberliner, and host of the weekly German news show Megan’s Megacan: https://anchor.fm/megans-megacan

The AFD has moved from anti-migrant to anti-Green issues, declaring “Your car would vote for us”. The CDU are trying to convince Berliners they’d do a better job than the R2G coalition. The SPD is sticking with mayoral candidate Franziska Giffey, despite more plagiarism problems. She’s also effectively ruled out a new coalition with Die Linke and possibly the Greens, meaning a return to a conservative coalition in Berlin. And there’s lots of small parties with interesting ideas and terrible graphic design. Izzy’s volunteering to campaign for Klimaliste, who have a detailed plan on how to mitigate climate change, and say the Greens aren’t doing enough.

What happens if you paint the city streets with DIY safety markings and bike lanes? We meet a group who are being prosecuted for taking traffic control into their own hands. Jon from the group Vineta Kiezblock tells us how his group painted road safety marks. The Ordnungsamt painted them black. Follow here: https://twitter.com/VKiezblock

No more free coronavirus tests. Germany has decided to stop paying for your tests as of October 11. Expect a lot of empty shops and second-hand lab coats for sale online. The end of the tests means the end of income for some small shops.

The BVG is rolling out its new station announcement audio to more U-Bahn lines. The five-tone marimba alert is very tropical, but not very Berlin.

Mail from Maisie! She’s in Brighton, or “Kotti Am See”. She misses affordable bio food, rubbish recycling and Brandenburg lakes. But at least it’s multicultural, and free of scooters on sidewalks.

Guest host Izzy Choksey from the podcast @Sistrionics joins Joel and Dan for a live recording in front of a small safe audience at the Comedy Cafe Berlin.

Dan’s got a show coming up on August 28 at CCB. Come! Tickets here: https://www.comedycafeberlin.com/event/toby-dan-3/

Thanks to all our supporters! You can donate to keep us going here: http://www.radiospaetkauf.com/donate

RS Live: Deutschrap Iced Tea

What does Deutschrap have to do with the boom in bling-decorated iced tea? Maisie Hitchcock delves into her considerable knowledge of the genre to explain.

Want a hot investment tip? Get into chili farming. Berlin’s chili expert Neil Numb tells us how the city’s hot sauce boom needs more suppliers. Start growing on your balcony. Visit this weekend’s Berlin Chilli Fest at the new Reviere Südost: http://www.berlinchilifest.com

Gorillas riders are holding rolling strikes at depots around the city. They’re protesting the summary firing of a worker who came late to a shift. Riders have formed a workers’ council, but say management are pressuring staff not to join. The billion-euro startup boss says “Gorillas are about cycling, not politics.” Seems he’s wrong about that. Should you shop from them? Dan says riders are just the most visible part of exploitation in your supply chain.

Tiny igloo-shaped cars are the latest shared mobility object to appear in Berlin. The Swiss company Enuu says their electric cars don’t take up as much road space. But they’re frequently parked on the footpath, and some drivers drive them in bike lanes illegally.

Urban Jungle is being retired. Urban Jungle is the name of the design on most BVG seats – that mess of red, blue, black and white squiggles. It was introduced in the 90s to hide graffiti tags. But the BVG’s new boss isn’t a fan and has ordered it to be phased out, replaced by a black and grey pattern. Get to a BVG shop and buy any remaining Urban Jungle merchandise.

Today’s episode of Radio Spaetkauf was made with support from Wander. Wander offers immersive audio experiences in locations all over the city. Visit places you always wanted to go and others you didn’t even know existed. Guides such as Daniel Ryan Spaulding will help you discover hidden corners of the city. Listen now for free at https://www.getwander.app/
Find them on Insta at https://www.instagram.com/getwander.app/
Apple Podcasts at https://podcasts.apple.com/de/podcast/wander/id1545586440?l=en
And Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/show/6JLLnFuFwYLEtWYXsp3veI?si=FGr5XzAqS6aN8gCXWKzHUw&nd=1

RS Open Air: Ban Cars & Racist Chocolates

Everything is reopening. We’re shooting up on vaccines, getting nose-gouged in strange places – and loving it. And best of all – Maisie is back! We’re recording in a garden in Kreuzberg, accompanied by the birds and the breeze.

Coronavirus testing centers are popping up faster than bubble tea shops. There are more than 1000 stations in the strangest locations – converted restaurants, bikes, basements. Is this creative capitalism, or a state-funded stimulus? The government is paying €12 per test. Some of that money is going amiss. Joel witnessed some test centers sending results without actually performing the tests, and others using incorrect personal data.

Our guest Nik Kaestner, a spokesman for Volksentscheid Berlin Autofrei presents their goal of removing cars from within Berlin’s S-bahn Ring. This would create the world’s largest car-free zone. The idea has gained a great deal of support from cyclists and pedestrians. Nik says even the 1.3 million car owners will be happy when they see the improvement. The initiative’s website’s English language version is here: http://volksentscheid-berlin-autofrei.de/index.php?lang=en

It’s time to ban schokoküsse, the chocolate marshmallows with a racist former name. Their continued existence allows racists to use them as a vehicle to attack Black people. A man attacked in the chocolate aisle in Aldi on Grenzallee in Neukölln by a white man, who used a box of chocolate kisses as a pretext for racial abuse. Changing the name (only in 2005) wasn’t enough: choco kisses have to go.

Berlin voters are being asked by the SPD to elect a mayor who has resigned as a federal government minister over a PhD plagiarism scandal: Franziska Giffey. She has quit the federal cabinet in anticipation of losing her degree. But she’s still the SPD’s mayoral candidate for the upcoming election.

Local sports: Berlin’s two football teams had very different Bundesliga season campaigns. Hertha played a terrible season, narrowly escaped dropping out of the Bundesliga, and fired some staff over racist comments. Union Berlin, however, had a fantastic year, finishing 7th overall.

Today’s episode of Radio Spaetkauf was made with financial support from Wander. If you are looking to discover and explore the great places in Berlin check out Wander. Wander offers immersive audio experiences in locations all over the city. Visit places you always wanted to go and others you didn’t even know existed. Wander suggests their audio experiences at Teufeslberg or the Neukölln Wochenmarkt on Maybachufer. Listen now for free at https://www.getwander.app/

Cohost Daniel Stern has a show live online Friday night via Comedy Cafe Berlin. Tickets and info at https://www.comedycafeberlin.com/event/night-show-berlin-live-from-ccb/

Thank you again to https://www.getwander.app/ for their support. On Insta at https://www.instagram.com/getwander.app/ Apple Podcasts at https://podcasts.apple.com/de/podcast/wander/id1545586440?l=en
And Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/show/6JLLnFuFwYLEtWYXsp3veI?si=FGr5XzAqS6aN8gCXWKzHUw&nd=1

Rent Freeze #4: How To F#€k Up A Mietendeckel

Rent Freeze #4: How To Fuck Up A Mietendeckel

The Berlin Mietendeckel experiment is finished. The city’s revolutionary attempt to freeze rental prices for five years, and reduce overpriced leases, has been killed off by Germany’s highest court.

The decision has unleashed a political storm. Everyone is angry – but who will voters punish? The R2G parties who tried to regulate rents? Or their opponents, the CDU and FDP who successfully derailed the project? We make the case for why each side is to blame.

There’s a big bill to pay, as hundreds of thousands of Berliners now face back-payments, higher rents and permanent shadow contracts. We’ll run the numbers on the potential local economic crisis that could follow.

What hope is there left for affordable housing? And what can the rest of the world learn from Berlin’s short-lived rental revolution? The experiment is over. Now it’s time to analyze the results

The Challengers

The CDU and FDP took the Mietendeckel law to the constitutional court, where it was struck down. They perpetuated a false narrative – “build, don’t cap” – which claimed, incorrectly, that the Mietendeckel prevented new development (constructions from 2014 were specifically excluded from the law). The CDU was responsible for weakening federal rental regulations in the first place, enabling prices to skyrocket.

And then there’s political donations – or as Joel calls it, legalized corruption. Almost 80% of the CDU’s publicly-declared donations come from the real estate sector.

Joel interviews Berlin FDP leader Sebastian Czaja and challenges him on his false claim that the Mietendeckel prevented building, and on the FDP’s donations from real estate companies. Czaja says his party takes donations from all parts of society.

The Supporters

Are the parties who created the Mietendeckel culpable of incompetence? The governing coalition of the SPD, Die Linke and Die Grünen – or R2G – took a huge political and financial gamble, and lost.

The R2G promised renters a revolution, but delivered a regression. Many tenants must now make large back payments for which they have not saved. They went against the advice of many legal experts who warned their law was unconstitutional.

We speak to two of the Mietendeckel’s creators. Kilian Wegner is a law professor and SPD member who co-authored a policy paper which laid the groundwork for the Mietendeckel. He says the R2G was right in taking a chance on an uncertain law, due to out-of-control property prices.

Another lawyer, Professor Franz Mayer, wrote an expert opinion which argued Berlin had the constitutional right to create the Mietendeckel. He says there was a chance of success, and believes the court should have helped tenants by negating backpayments.

The Big Bill

How much will the Mietendeckel fiasco cost? We interview real estate researcher Christoph Trautvetter. He estimates the backpayments will cost renters between €100 to €300 million. Ongoing rent increases will cost around €500 million annually – that’s half a billion euros flowing from tenants to landlords, money not going into the local economy.

Daniel Halmer from Conny.Legal, formerly Wenigermieter, says tenants may be able to reduce backpayments and shaddow rents by using the Mietpreisebremse – the existing rental regulation that limits rent increases to 10% of local prices.

Time to Sieze Property?

An even more radical concept is now gaining support – the referendum initiative known as Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen, who want to seize properties from big corporate landlords.

We speak to Wouter Bernhardt from the movement’s podcast Von Menschen und Mieten. He says expropriation would be a permanent solution to rising rental prices.

The End of the Experiment?

The Mietendeckel experiment ran too short to answer many questions, and the data was disrupted by the parallel pandemic. But we did learn a few things. If you want a minor reform, demand a revolution. If you get your revolution, prepare for reprisal. Tenants globally now know rent control is no longer excluded from the political discourse.

Rent Freeze is produced and presented by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern. Artwork by Jim Avignon. Music by Tom Evans and Ducks!

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RS Livestream: Not A Curfew

Berlin finally has an overnight curfew – but not really: we can go out alone from 9pm to 5am. We need a negative test to go shopping – but not really: grocery and household shopping is exempt. We ask – what’s the point of making rules with so many holes? Matilde says Germany’s leaders are like bad parents scared of disciplining their children.

Berlin vaccine centers are throwing away unused doses. People are being turned away due to paperwork. Hotlines are failing. Staff can be fired for being flexible. Joel asks – isn’t it better to vaccinate the wrong people than nobody? Matilde found a doctor giving left-over vaccines to anyone who shows up. Why can’t the rest of Germany be so practical and sensible?

A terrifying concrete building with a horrible history is threatened with destruction: the Mäuserbunker in Lichterfelde. Two architects want to save it. Turns out it’s a fantastic example of form and functionality. Berlin has several amazing examples of Brutalism. Felix Torkar and Gunnar Klack tell us why we should love concrete.
Join their campaign here: www.mäusebunker.de
Get their Berlin Brutalist Map here: https://bit.ly/3sKas0P

People of colour are reporting violent and humiliating experiences while having tickets checked on public transport. Journalist Anne-Marie Harrison has been following the campaign @BVGWeilWirUnsFürchten which details stories of abuse by ticket controllers. Black Womxn Matter are petitioning the city government to reform the BVG’s handling reports of discrimination and violence. The BVG responded, saying it checks all complaints and deals with ticket controller issues through labour law.
Links: Stoppt Diskriminierung und Gewalt durch Kontrolleure Petition – https://bit.ly/3fvfGtA

Thanks to our co-host Matilde Keizer! You can hear her German-language podcasts here:
MUGPU (matilde und georg Produzieren Unterhaltung) https://www.buzzsprout.com/854239
Schamlos: https://play.acast.com/s/schamlos

Radio Spaetkauf is produced by Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik, Daniel Stern and Maisie Hitchcock. This episode was made with support from RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

RS Live: A Board Game With No Winners

There’s a lot of bad news around about Germany’s slow vaccination rate, and Berlin’s system in particular. The vaccination centers are processing far fewer people than they potentially could and Berlin has doses sitting around that are going unused. One solution may be in sight: Doctors may be allowed to administer vaccinations in their clinics.

State and federal leaders have agreed to extend the current lockdown until March 28th, with a very complicated multi-step plan for reopening. Each step has two weeks in between, and if things don’t improve we don’t move on. The second step arrives on Monday March 8th – flower shops, garden supply stores will be allowed to open. And German residents will be entitled to one free rapid coronavirus test per week – also Aldi wills tart selling them.

Berlin streets are full of yellow and purple posters in multiple languages demanding a real estate revolution. The campaign Deutsche Wohnen und Co Enteignen has entered the next phase of its attempt to trigger a referendum, and they’re out collecting signatures to make it happen. To delve deeper into the Enteignung campaign, we’ve invited on an expert – fellow podcaster Wouter Bernhardt who has just launched a new podcast about the initiative called “Von Menschen und Mieten”. For more info or to get involved go to https://www.dwenteignen.de/

We also speak about a recent incident of racist police violence at Kottbusser Tor, where a well known busker had his leg broken. Help out, find a detailed report and get updated on the aftermath here.

And we take a good hard look at a new anti-semitism project by the police. We have mixed feelings but it turns out the Berlin police has an anti-semitism hotline you can call – 030 / 4664 979 660. Important to point out: this is not an emergency number.

Thank you to our returning co-host Gilda Sahebi.

Radio Spaetkauf is produced by Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik, Daniel Stern and Maisie Hitchcock. This episode was made with support from RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

RS Lockdown: Snow Crimes

Who stole the snow from a Berlin park? A local newspaper has been investigating one of the winter’s cruelest possible crimes. Parents at Parkaue think a disgruntled local might have cleared a popular toboggan hill of snow. We read the Berliner Zeitung’s in-depth investigation.

Should we have gone walking on the ice? After ten days of minus temperatures, half of the city went out onto the canals. But no Berlin authority is willing to say if the ice is safe. The police spent days flying helicopters over frozen lakes telling people to move on. Several people fell through the ice. One man died trying to swim under the ice layer.

Hairdressers will reopen on March 1 under the latest pandemic lockdown measures. Schools will start returning from February 22, starting with youngest students. Schools are planning to give students self-administered virus tests. There’s no word yet on when small shops, gyms, bars or restaurants might open. Mayor Michael Müller says he hopes normalcy might return after Easter (April 4).

BER needs a financial injection of €3.5 billion – enough for an entire new airport. The Tagesspiegel reported on a leaked document from the airport’s supervisory committee warning of a huge hole in the budget. In other airport news, Flughafen Schönefeld, rebranded as BER Terminal 5, is due to close on Feburary 23 due to the dramatic drop in air traffic. We talk about our favourite Schönefeld memories.

In sports news, Berlin’s newest Bundesliga team, FC Union Berlin, has officially overtaken Hertha Berlin in terms of fan numbers. Union is also ahead of Hertha on the league table (9th vs 15th).

The latest issue of Lola Mag is out now, with an article by Joel. You can get a copy by picking one up in a park. Follow Lola to find out where: https://www.instagram.com/LOLAmagberlin/ Or you can order one on their website: https://lolamag.de

Thanks to our co-host Matilde Keizer! You can hear her German-language podcasts here:
MUGPU (matilde und georg Produzieren Unterhaltung) https://www.buzzsprout.com/854239
Schamlos: https://play.acast.com/s/schamlos

Radio Spaetkauf is produced by Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik, Daniel Stern and Maisie Hitchcock. This episode was made with support from RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

RS Mini: Getting Vaxxed

Jöran sits down with Eli Wenzel-Fisher, a caretaker at a Berlin retirement home to talk about vaccinations arriving at the residence and getting vaccinated himself.

Getting vaxxed – how does it work? What is it like? And what is the atmosphere like at the home? We get Eli’s detailed report.

Thanks to our recent sponsors! We’re using your donations to buy new audio equipment for our future live shows. You can become a supporter here. http://www.radiospaetkauf.com/donate/