The Berkeley Wire: 12.18.14

Raindrops guilty of gilding the lily by NRubin8 Photo taken on Dec. 15, 2014

Raindrops guilty of gilding the lily. Photo, taken on Dec. 15, 2014, by Nancy Rubin

Police historical collection shows off “father of modern law enforcement” (CoCo Times)
Holiday lights on display on Fourth Street (Mercury News)
Controversial highrise promises big downtown changes (CoCo Times)
Berkeley professor on ‘Becoming Richard Pryor’ (UCB News)
Goodbye to Berkeley’s Brutalist building (NY Observer)
Berkeley Rep brings back ‘Pianist of Willesden Lane’ (Napa Valley Register)
City of Berkeley salaries cost each resident $1,588 in 2013 (Transparent California)
6 places to check out near Shattuck Avenue (SFGate)
A permanent home for a collection of art ephemera (NYT)

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out All the News.

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Berkeleyside

Berkeleyside hits a milestone: 1 million pageviews

Berkeley protests, Alcatraz and Telegraph Photo- Tyurin Alexander
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Berkeleyside’s coverage of the Berkeley protests since Dec. 6, as well as the recent rainstorms, has pushed monthly pageviews — a common metric for websites — to 1,171,831. In the past 30 days, we had 327,683 unique visitors.

By comparison, one year ago over the same period we served 475,000 pageviews to 141,000 unique visitors. Last month, before the protests, 214,000 unique users accessed 681,000 pages. … Continue reading »

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After Berkeley protests: Local merchants react to damage, looting at their businesses

Boarded up McDonald's Kim Aronson
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Berkeley’s major commercial districts are awash with plywood — some of it covers broken glass, some has been erected as a preventive measure to protect vulnerable windows.

Many of the protests that have taken over Berkeley streets this month, in response to police-involved killings of unarmed black men, have remained peaceful. Others have culminated in smashed storefronts and blazing trashcans.

Merchants’ reactions to the destruction run the gamut from patience and praise of the peaceful majority, to criticism of the hands-off approach taken by the Berkeley police Sunday, Dec. 7, the night local businesses sustained the most significant damage. … Continue reading »

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At 2014 Christmas Bird Count — no rain, much fun

Varied Thrush at Albany Hill / Photo by Alan Krakauer
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The Bay Area’s welcome rainstorms let up for 24 hours on Sunday Dec. 14… just long enough for more than 200 birders to have a fabulous Oakland Christmas Bird Count.

Both novice and experienced birders fanned out over a 15-mile-wide circle including Oakland, Berkeley, Albany and neighboring cities, as part of Audubon’s 115th annual Christmas Bird Count.

Advance registration came to 287 people, a new record for the Oakland count, which was organized by the Golden Gate Audubon Society. Last year the Oakland count was the fourth largest in North America, and this year’s count is likely to be in the top five again. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? From Lucky’s to Amoeba at 2455 Telegraph Avenue

1990 postcard from the collection of Tom Dalzell
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The quirky-looking building on the southeast corner of Telegraph and Haste, now Amoeba Music, has a colorful history that illustrates several chapters in Berkeley’s proud, independent history.

The building at 2455 Telegraph started life as Lucky’s Store No. 18.

It served the south campus neighborhood for several decades. In February 1964, the campus chapter of CORE (the Congress on Racial Equality) took action against Lucky Store 18 in an effort to pressure Lucky into hiring African-Americans. The actions included picketing and the “shop-in,” in which nicely dressed CORE members filled shopping carts with groceries, checked out, and then refused to pay for the groceries until Lucky ended its discriminatory practices.

After ten days of picketing and shop-ins, Lucky signed an agreement covering its Bay Area stores, promising to end racial discrimination in its hiring practices. Shortly after that, it closed Store No. 18 on Telegraph. They blamed a high degree of shoplifting on the decision to close, but it is difficult to believe that there wasn’t some degree of retaliation for the shop-ins.

The next business to open at 2455 Telegraph was the Espresso Forum, one of the first two espresso shops on Telegraph. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.17.14

Gnarly mossy oaks, Strawberry Canyon by Andrew  Aldrich. Photo taken Dec. 13, 2014

Gnarly mossy oaks, Strawberry Canyon by Andrew Aldrich. Photo taken Dec. 13, 2014

Holiday gifts with a UC Berkeley twist (UCB News)
Time has left Berkeley Art Museum’s bold design behind (SF Chronicle)
A public lynching in Sproul Plaza (Pacific Standard magazine)
Ticket sales slow for Bill Maher at UC Berkeley (Breitbart News)
Berkeley Copwatch: Make police obsolete (Baywatch)
A 4-year-old reviews Chez Panisse (The Bold Italic)
Berkeley Journalism School has a pretty great Christmas card (Poynter)
Ligeti’s ‘Poème Symphonique’ for 100 metronomes at BAMPFA (SF Chronicle)
LeDuc takes Berkeley Arts Center to new heights (SF Chronicle)
Public defenders hold #BlackLivesMatter rally (NBC)

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Determined crowd demands fast action from Berkeley council; officials set meeting on protests for January

The crowd at Tuesday night's Berkeley council meeting listened closely to public testimony. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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An emotional crowd nearly shut down the Berkeley City Council multiple times Tuesday night during a public comment period that lasted the better part of four hours.

About 50 people spoke to council — and many more were in attendance — to share concerns about racial profiling as well as the actions of police on Saturday, Dec. 6, when officers used tear gas, projectiles and baton hits to control and clear a crowd that refused to disperse from Telegraph Avenue after several hours of demonstrations around the city.

Council members considered but rejected the possibility of scheduling a special meeting this month to discuss the events of Dec. 6, and how police should interact with protesters going forward.

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates announced that council will hold a special meeting Jan. 17 that’s set to include a panel of experts as well as workshops for more interactive discussion of critical issues. … Continue reading »

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Crime

3 teens arrested after Grizzly Peak kidnapping

The view from Grizzly Peak Boulevard near Signpost 15. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Police have arrested three Concord teenagers in connection with the Thanksgiving Day kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery of two people on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, authorities have announced.

Taken into custody Tuesday were 18-year-olds Jose Avila and Brenton Holtzclaw. A 17-year-old male from Concord linked to the case was already in custody for a different matter, and will be prosecuted as an adult, police said. His name was not released, however, because he is a minor.

Said University of California Police Department spokesman Lt. Eric Tejada in a prepared statement: “This investigation was successful thanks to assistance from several law enforcement agencies including the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and police departments of the City of Concord, City of Pleasant Hill and City of Oakland.” … Continue reading »

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Smoke’s Poutinerie opens first U.S. store in Berkeley

Smoke's Poutinerie, which has just opened in Berkeley. Photo: Shelby Pope
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By Shelby Pope/Bay Area Bites

The Canadians are coming, and they’re bringing poutine. Smoke’s Poutinerie opened on Durant Avenue in Berkeley on Monday, Dec. 8 (as first reported on Berkeleyside in September). The first U.S. location of a popular fast food chain with over 100 stores in Canada, the restaurant only sells poutine, the gloriously nap-inducing Quebec dish of fries tossed with gravy and topped with cheese curds.

Why Berkeley for the first U.S. store? Ironically, it’s all because of a few enterprising Southern Californians. Los Angeles-based film producers Robert Parada and Danny Rodriguez went out drinking one night during a visit to Berkeley, and when they left the bar, they were struck by the amount of people — and potential customers — out late in Berkeley. Along with a third partner, they approached Smoke’s founder and CEO Ryan Smolkin with the idea of opening a Berkeley location of the chain, which they had tried and loved during a visit to Winnipeg. … Continue reading »

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Kids get new perspective on plastic, make eco-art

Sean Keller, fourth-grade teacher at Jefferson School, fixing one of the eco-art panels.
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By Ann Krueger Spivack

While students in Sean Keller’s fourth-grade class at Jefferson School tie broken toys onto a wire mesh panel, Colleen Mahoney is talking about LEGOs. Mahoney nods to a red LEGO brick that one student picks up from a table.

“In 2012, 45.7 billion LEGO bricks were produced. That’s more than 5 million bricks every hour. Right now you could give every person on the planet eighty LEGOs and you’d still have LEGO bricks left over.”

Students stop working to listen to Mahoney, and it’s clear they’re considering how much plastic humans create on an hourly basis, and what this means for the planet. This lesson is a first step in teaching children about plastic, where it comes from and where it goes. Where plastic goes is of particular concern to Mahoney, the founder of A Kid By Nature, the nonprofit group sponsoring this lesson about plastic’s impact on the environment. Mahoney explains what motivates her to bring environmental projects such as this one into classrooms, without any cost to the schools. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

wib

Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments.

Photo: Daniel Mayeri.Continue reading »

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Protests expected at Berkeley council meeting Tuesday

2020 Vision Symposium, Oct. 11, Longfellow Middle School, Berkeley, CA. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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With two protests planned outside tonight’s Berkeley City Council meeting at Longfellow Middle School, Berkeleyside will be on scene with two reporters and will live-tweet about the events that unfold.

The best place to find live updates is the Berkeleyside Twitter feed (no account needed to view) and #Berkeleyprotests on Twitter. Berkeley City Council tweets are generally tagged #berkmtg.

See Berkeleyside’s follow-up story about the meeting.

Berkeleyside may update this post as well — time allowing — depending on what transpires. We invite community members to weigh in below, in the comments section, about what they are seeing and experiencing.

Berkeleyside has previously published an advisory from police about how neighbors can prepare for large demonstrations related to the council meeting, as well as information about meeting agendas and protest plans.  … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.16.14

Parting storm at Golden Gate Fields by Steve Gumina. Photo taken on Dec. 12.

Parting storm at Golden Gate Fields by Steve Gumina. Photo taken on Dec. 12.

UC Berkeley data breach may affect 1,600 people (SC Magazine)
Berkeley innovators named fellows of Academy of Inventors (UCB News)
Black faculty, staff stage silent protest at Sproul (UCB News)

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Best Books of 2014: Chosen by local authors, Berkeleyside

Photo via Creative Commons
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Every year Berkeleyside puts together a list of the best books the editors have read. We generally ask local authors and literary-minded folk to contribute their picks. This year we decided to mimic the format used by The Guardian newspaper in Britain, and that meant asking everyone to limit their selections to two books apiece – a difficult task, we found. Here, then, is our selection of the Best Books of 2014.

Elizabeth Rosner: “Two books leap ahead of the herd”

Berkeley author Elizabeth Rosner published two books in 2014, including Electric City (named a Best Book of 2014 by NPR) and Gravity, a book of poems.

Two books leap ahead of the herd when I think about outstanding reading experiences this year.

The first is Karen Joy Fowler’s acclaimed novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, with its astonishingly original approach to the subject of familial love. Months after finishing the book, I can still recall the sensation of holding my breath while I turned the pages, hopeful and terrified and amused and devastated. This story broke my heart and blew my mind. In a very different but equally momentous way, I found myself profoundly affected by cover designer Peter Mendelsund’s book What We See When We Read. He offers an inspired “phenomenological” study of something that we readers both do and do not quite know about what is happening inside our brains, using examples from many of my favorite writers (Woolf, Tolstoy, Joyce, Kafka, and plenty of others). It’s a thrillingly visual and imaginative window into the mysterious and rapturous activity we call reading. … Continue reading »

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