Daily Archives: January 18, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 01.18.12

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Memorial fund for Deanna Despain established

Deanne Despain
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The City Council paid tribute to Deanna Despain, the Berkeley City Clerk who died in an accident at home on January 7, at its meeting last night. Despain was 37 years old. Many of the speakers and numerous city staff present were clearly moved by the tributes.

“Deanna was admired throughout the community,” said Councilmember Linda Maio. “She was a major part of the engine that kept the city business running seamlessly. She was dedicated to excellence in everything … Continue reading »

Urban planning

Parker Place development wins council approval

A rendering of Parker Place on Shattuck Avenue
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Parker Place, a 155-unit development at Shattuck and Parker, won City Council approval last night after a long development tussle.

The project had originally been approved by both the Zoning Adjustments Board and the council in 2010, but a procedural error led to a lawsuit. It returned to the council last November, was the subject of a ZAB public hearing in December, and came back to the council for final approval last night.

Despite the approval, the developers expect opponents to pursue a lawsuit to delay or stop the project. Any suit would need to be filed within 30 days of formal notice of the project’s approval.

The project calls for two five-story mixed-use buildings at 2658 and 2660 Shattuck (both sides of Parker on Shattuck) and a three-story residential building at 2037 Parker. In addition to the 155 dwelling units, there is nearly 23,000 sq ft of commercial space on the ground floor. … Continue reading »

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City defers redistricting, plans charter amendment

One of two redistricting proposals presented by UC Berkeley student Eric Panzer.
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Redistricting in Berkeley will be deferred to 2013 after a 7-2 vote by the City Council last night. In the same vote, the Council agreed to draft an amendment to the City Charter which would allow for redistricting that could deviate from the 1986 boundaries.

“It seems to me to be completely outdated and counterproductive having to stick to 1986 lines,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “Redistricting should be about fairness, not about perpetuating the political career of any person.”

The 1986 measure that created Berkeley’s districts — and the amended city charter that resulted — has three requirements: no boundary changes can unseat an existing councilmember, the boundaries need to adhere as closely as possible to the 1986 boundaries, and the districts should be equal in population. The Council will place an amendment on this November’s ballot to eliminate what many members saw as unfair requirements.

Much of the impetus for the deferment of redistricting and a potential charter amendment has come from a group of UC Berkeley students, who have been agitating for at least one student majority district in the city. The 1986 requirements made that a difficult task. The student redistricting proposal, presented by ASUC vice president Joey Freeman, was non-compliant. … Continue reading »

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Local towing company spotlighted in parking ruckus

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By Linda Hemmila

Residents and workers in the area surrounding Trader Joe’s in downtown Berkeley allege that a local towing company under contract to the city is removing signs made by neighbors to warn drivers of possible parking violations. In doing so, Hustead’s, local residents claim, are hoping to drum up more business for themselves as more cars may require towing.

The accusations emerged in a story published on Berkeleyside on January 5 about parking problems in the area of the Trader Joe’s on MLK Jr Way and University Avenue. City signs regarded by many — including Councilmember Jesse Arreguín — to be confusing, have led some local residents to put up their own signs warning drivers of the risk of being cited.

Hustead’s Manager Janice Lee denied the allegations made against the towing company, saying Hustead’s neither contracts with the city nor works in the Trader Joe’s neighborhood. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

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

Update, 9:30 am: Numermaid correctly identified this intriguing piece of art as being on the side of a house on Buena Vista. Another reader suggested it could be found at Trattoria Siciliana on College Avenue, and they are right to a point as it is a symbol used by the restaurant on its menus. Congratulations, Numermaid, on being this week’s winner.

Photo: Lance Knobel.

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