Daily Archives: March 22, 2010


The Berkeley Wire: 3.22.10

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A jump in the Bay? What will it be Mayor Bates?

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Mayors of cities applying to be Google’s chosen test bed for its offer of free ultra-high-speed broadband network will go to great lengths to try to be the chosen one, it seems

The mayor of Duluth, Minn., threw himself into the ice-ringed waters of Lake Superior. In an act of oneupmanship, the mayor of Sarasota, Fla., immersed himself in a tank filled with bonnethead sharks. And the mayor of Wilmington, N.C. said that he would jump out of an airplane — … Continue reading »

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Local business

Wine Thieves bid to take over Red Wagon space

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Red Wagon, the children’s’ clothing store at 2926 Domingo Avenue opposite the Claremont Resort and Spa (pictured left), is to close at the end of the summer. Staff said Red Wagon is expanding its Lafayette store and does not plan to renew its Berkeley lease.

Applying to take its place is Wine Thieves, a wine retailer whose two current retail outlets are in Lafayette and Clayton. Wine Thieves is run by Jim Meyers and Rod Santos and … Continue reading »

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Strawberry Creek Plaza: City votes tomorrow

Center St
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Berkeley City Council will vote tomorrow, Tuesday, on whether to make official a proposal to transform  Center Street between Oxford and Shattuck into a pedestrian-oriented public plaza which would see Strawberry Creek “daylighted” and, according to supporters of the plan, create a much-needed “heart” of Berkeley.

The vote takes place at Council Chambers and residents are encouraged to show up and show their support or otherwise.

The sustainable design proposals are by landscape designer and urbanist Walter Hood, principal of Oakland-based Continue reading »

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Welch: What we talk about when we talk about Berkeley

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With no apologies for having special access to Gina Welch, we asked the author of the newly published In the Land of Believers to write for us about outsiders’ perceptions of Berkeley.

Since my book In the Land of Believers came out a couple of weeks ago, most of the articles covering its release have made good use of some startling shorthand in headlines — “Atheist Jew From Berkeley Goes Undercover In Evangelical Church”, kind of thing.

“When I say you’re a secular Jew from Berkeley, California,” a Christian radio show host recently asked me, “everybody in this audience immediately knows where you’re coming from, don’t they?”

Well, sort of. Not really. The word secular carves space for a vacuum, not a shared system of principles. I’m a Jew, sure, by the matrilineal definition of the word, and by some dim cultural associations, but I don’t practice. And the word Berkeley rings very differently to the ears of people who haven’t lived there.

Joe Scarborough generously had me on his radio program a couple of weeks ago, and he asked if, while I was at Thomas Road Baptist Church [the late Dr Jerry Falwell’s church in Lynchburg, Virginia], I’d noticed young Evangelicals “dressing like they were from Berkeley, California”*.

If you’re from Berkeley you might bristle at the notion that there’s such a thing as dressing Berkeley, knowing, as you surely do, the Berkeley label tends to blankly pave over byzantine cultural complexity. You know the muscle of the Berkeley Left is actually made up of a million fibers, often flexing at cross purposes — the Green Partiers, the Clintonites, the Obamaphiles, the Slow Foodists and Dumpster Divers, the Second and Third Wave feminists, the Marxists, anarchists, and Revolutionary Communists, the vaguely apathetic left-leaners, the merely apathetic.

You know there’s a strong libertarian contingent in Berkeley, just as sure as there’s a North Berkeley mood contrasting that in the South and the West. You know that slight change in cabin pressure as College crosses Claremont into Berkeley from Oakland, once marked by the blazing orange ball of the 76 station. You know how the airy warehouse grandeur of Berkeley Bowl West departs from the alleyway cramp of the original Berkeley Bowl. You know about racial tension at Berkeley High, you know the socio-economic difference between the hills and the flats. You know that Berkeley’s diversity doesn’t always translate into integration. … Continue reading »

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Is Berkeley about to lose its heart cath lab?

Alta Bates Hospital on Ashby Avenue, where 133 people will soon lose their jobs
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Bob Hink served until last year as a member of the Alta Bates Summit Foundation Board of Delegates. He contributed this comment to Berkeleyside to alert people to the potential closure of the Alta Bates heart catheterization lab.

A medical  experience I had at Alta Bates Hospital (right), in December 2004, made me realize that it was my time to give something back, so a doc friend of mine, Vince Cangello, put out the word to get me elected to the Alta Bates Summit Foundation Board of Delegates (the money raisers), and I was.

This past May, my wife, Jane, and I had a meeting with Dr. Robert Greene, long time Director of the Alta Bates hospital heart catheterization lab. I told him that I had just been “resigned” from the board for opening my big mouth once too often, and he then opened up to us about what was happening to the cath lab.

We couldn’t believe what we were hearing. It had all been kept from me.

Greene explained a lot to us, and subsequently put much of that information in a couple of emails he sent us on May 2 and May 3, 2009.

From his May 2 letter:

As you know our Alta Bates cardiac cath facilities are END-OF-LIFE after almost 20 years of treating thousands of people in the Berkeley community with acute heart attacks. I met with our CEO, Warren Kirk, several times about this issue. At our last meeting this week he stated that he can not commit funds [$2 million] for the replacement of our lab at this time. The issue will depend on  un-freezing funds from Sutter Health and other internal hospital mattters, but, in any event, no reassurance was given to us that we can continue our program. … Continue reading »

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