Daily Archives: March 24, 2010

UC Berkeley

The Berkeley Wire: 3.24.10

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Local business

Mr. Mopps’, Berkeley’s beloved toy store, is closing

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Mr. Mopps’, the venerable toy store on Martin Luther King near Rose, is going out of business.

The owner, Eugene Yamashita, wants to retire, according to his sister Naomi Yamashita. He tried to find a buyer but was unsuccessful, so he made the hard decision to shut down, she said. It was his wife Jean who opened the store more than 40 years ago.

There is no firm date for the closing, but the store will shut once … Continue reading »

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Urban planning

City votes yes on Center Street, delays BRT decision

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At last night’s marathon City Council meeting (which ended well past midnight), Berkeley City council members voted 8 to 1 to approve the Strawberry Creek Plaza plan for Center Street (pictured above). The vote gives the go-ahead for money to be raised to implement the designs, which were commissioned from landscape designer Walter Hood.

“For the project’s long-range implementation, it’s a small victory but a key victory,” says Jane Wardani, development and project associate at … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Where in Berkeley?

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

Photo by Tracey Taylor.

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Schools

Pilot 2020 Vision projects announced

Photo: BUSD
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A second special joint meeting between the Berkeley School Board and the Berkeley City Council will be held tonight at 6 p.m. in the council chambers. They’ll discuss the 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth. The Berkeley Alliance developed the 2020 Vision, as a “citywide movement to ensure academic success and well-being for all of Berkeley’s children and youth, by closing the achievement and health gaps in Berkeley’s public schools”.

The document at issue tonight shows the first phase of initiatives proposed for July 1-December 31, 2010, and a preview of future phases.

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Exclusive interview: Berkeley’s new police chief pledges more transparency

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan
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On his first day on the job, newly appointed police chief Michael Meehan walked into the conference room adjoining his office. With ample light and round bay windows overlooking the Martin Luther King Park, it is the nicest room in Berkeley’s police headquarters.

But Meehan was struck by the fact the blinds were shut, blocking out the view.  When he inquired about it, he was told that the blinds were kept closed so people would not look into the space where the police brass meet.

In one of his first acts, Meehan requested that the blinds be opened so that the room would be flooded with light and Berkeley citizens could see into police headquarters. Even as he made the order, Meehan was aware that the gesture could serve as a metaphor: on his watch, the Berkeley Police Department will strive to be more open and transparent than ever.

Meehan, 49, took over the police department’s top spot in December after serving 23 years in the Seattle police department. While Berkeley is much smaller than Seattle, with only 100,000 residents, it has big-city problems. It has the highest crime rate in the state for cites of comparable size.

Berkeleyside sat down with Chief Meehan last week to talk about the direction of the city and the department. This is Part One of the interview. … Continue reading »

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