Daily Archives: January 13, 2011


The Berkeley Wire: 01.13.11

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Berkeley police evidence room still has problems

Police department
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Five years after a sergeant from the Berkeley police department stole drugs out of the evidence and property room, prompting a series of investigations, the department has only taken minimal steps to improve the situation, according to a recent report by the city auditor, Ann-Marie Hogan.

Berkeley police processed 9,000 items in the year 2009, including $310,000 in cash and narcotics evidence with a street value of $1.5 million. But there are inadequacies in the way the department handles this evidence, which puts it at risk for theft or loss, Hogan noted.

Hogan’s audit is a follow-up to a 2006 report prepared by the California Commission on Peace Office Standards and Training (POST). That report noted a number of deficiencies in the way the police department collected and processed evidence and suggested 18 remedies to fix them. The Berkeley police department has only fully implemented six of the suggestions (with three just being done in the last few weeks), started work on four others, and done little on the remaining suggestions, according to Hogan, who will present her findings to the city council on Tuesday.

“We would have been happier if they had moved faster,” said Hogan. “One of the problems with property rooms in general is that police departments are focused on catching bad guys and emergencies. Cleaning up procedures, evidence, and paper work is just not as high a priority as cleaning up the streets.”

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, who took office in December 2009, did not return phone calls or emails on the subject. (see addition below) But in the month since Hogan’s report was issued, the police department completed three of the recommendations made by the POST report, the same number that had been completed in the previous four years.

Meehan and the City Manager’s office also submitted a time line for competing the rest of POST’s suggestions.

Update 4:25 pm: “I have directed staff to implement all of the recommendations and work with the Auditor’s office in doing so,” Meehan said in a e-mail to Berkeleyside. “We take the … (POST) recommendations for improving our Property and Evidence Room controls and procedures very seriously. We recognize the critical importance of being accountable to this process to ensure the integrity of our work and thus the community’s trust in us.”

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Meet Berkeley’s newest ‘branch’ library

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Berkeley is preparing to close the Claremont and North branch libraries for a year in order to remodel them and improve their seismic safety and disabled access. So what are library junkies expected to do?

Take a look at the new mobile branch library, known in another era as a bookmobile. Now it’s called a BranchVan. It’s idle now, but starting in the spring it will be shifting back and forth to the neighborhoods around … Continue reading »

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No playdates, ‘A’s-only mom Amy Chua comes to Berkeley

Amy Chua
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Amy Chua has a book to sell, but even so you have to admire the courage of her convictions in taking on pretty much the entire Western parenting body with her contention that Chinese-style parenting produces high-achieving, confident children bound for successful careers and lives — while the Western approach to raising kids is hit and miss at best, and fails miserably at worst.

It all started with an essay in the Wall Street Journal. Titled “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” (a headline, to be fair, she probably did not write), Chua, a law professor at Yale, outlined her rigorous approach to raising her two daughters, Sophia and Louisa. The opening was eye-popping enough:

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do: attend a sleepover, have a playdate, be in a school play complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin, not play the piano or violin. … Continue reading »

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Jenna Defence League

“Spotted on San Pablo near University. People’s Park, witches, prostitutes, promises of torture !?”

We are as mystified as David.

Any ideas?

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