Daily Archives: May 14, 2012


Op-ed: How much is democracy worth in Berkeley?

Old City Hall. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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How much is democracy worth in Berkeley? Around the world thousands are losing their lives for liberty, but on Tuesday the City Council is poised to bet that $2 million is enough to convince voters to turn their backs on open government.

Agenda Item No. 38 on the May 15 calendar will certify the Berkeley Sunshine Ordinance. In the process, the Council plans to put the following summary on the ballot for an initiative that would ensure that more … Continue reading »


The Berkeley Wire: 05.14.12

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UC Berkeley regains control of Gill Tract from activists

Occupy 5.14.12-2
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The Occupy the Farm activists who took over UC Berkeley-owned Gill Tract in Albany on April 22 had largely dispersed by 3:00 pm Monday after the university sent in 100 police officers from eight of the ten UC campus to clear the protesters from the property early in the day.

UC Police have set up barricades at the main entrance to the fields on San Pablo Avenue, and are preventing anyone from parking on the stretch of the avenue that fronts the property. A few activists were present outside the gate and across the street from the site, as was a TV crew, this afternoon, but otherwise the scene was quiet.

A total of nine arrests were made at around 6:30 am this morning, two for trespassing and the others for unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and resisting arrest. A solitary protester remains on the site. He has taken up residence in a tree, according to UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof, who says the police are leaving him alone for now. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley teachers honored for dedication and innovation

City Council member Laurie Capitelli wears a potted plant for the newly cleaned up downtown area. He promised to donate it to the largest donor to the BPEF. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Hundreds of people gathered at HS Lordship’s restaurant Friday to honor the teachers who shine in the Berkeley Unified School District.

The Berkeley Public Education Foundation recognized three middle school teachers for their dedication to their students, inventiveness, and collegiality. The crowd at the annual fundraiser was also wowed by a performance by Berkeley High sophomore Noah Silverman St. John, a spoken word poet who was featured on Berkeleyside in January, and whose work has been heard on NPR.

The luncheon was a “Who’s Who?” of Berkeley with numerous city councilmembers in attendance (Laurie Capitelli was the emcee), as well as state legislators including Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner and State Senator Loni Hancock. Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan was there, as was Interim City Manager Christine Daniel, Auditor Anne-Marie Hogan, Economic Development Program Coordinator Michael Caplan, and other officials. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley designer aims to bring color into local kids’ lives

Reems boy and wall
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On a recent weekday Laura Guido-Clark, a Berkeley-based designer, was talking to Sebastian Payne, a pupil at Reems Academy in East Oakland, about the color lime. How does it make you feel, she asked. “The color lime green gives me a happy feeling,” he replied. “Like it reminds me of joy and a nice hot day. It reminds me of when everyone gets along and enjoys each other. The joy of it means there’s no violence and everyone enjoys each other.”

Guido-Clark was holding a color workshop at the K-12 extended elementary charter school. The conversation with the children is also part of a bigger, ambitious mission. Reems Academy is located in what is sometimes referred to as Oakland’s killing zone. The neighborhood is plagued by high rates of violence, unemployment and poverty. “It’s not an environment of hope,” says the school’s Principal Lisa Blair. Neither is the environment very joyful. “There’s not a lot of brightness,” Blair continues. “The school walls are dirty white and drab grays. And the area is very dank and dark.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley art show depicts conservation success stories

Channel Island Kit Fox
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By Alison Hawkes

It’s easy to get depressed about the loss of biodiversity when every day, it seems, some new species pops up on a watch list like a death toll.

But there are success stories that offer rays of hope in a world beset by climate change and habitat destruction.

In 2008, retired psychotherapist Robbie Brandwynne was perusing the San Francisco Chronicle when she came across a story about brown pelicans being taken off the threatened and endangered species list.

“I thought about it and realized that’s not the kind of news people get in front of their faces very often,” she said. “Everyone needs that kind of message, particularly young people who feel they are inheriting a world that is pretty damaged.” … Continue reading »

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Police raid, clear out Occupy the Farm, handful of arrests

Unconfirmed reports suggest about five people were detained. Photo: KGO
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Update, 11:35 am: Latest reports suggest police arrested nine people in this morning’s raid on Occupy the Farm. Close to 100 police from every University of California campus except San Diego and Merced participated in the operation, according to Albany Patch. At 9:44 one young man remained on the Gill Tract property, about 15 feet up in a tree. UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said police would maintain a “stepped-up presence” in the coming days to allow researchers to prepare their fields for planting.

Original story: Several dozen police in riot gear went to the Occupy the Farm encampment at Gill Tract in Albany at around 6:00 am this morning to clear out the remaining protesters. … Continue reading »

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The Edible Schoolyard Plant Sale: A Berkeley institution

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The Edible Schoolyard’s annual Plant Sale is a Berkeley institution — and/or, as we pointed out on Friday, a little like making a visit to an outdoor Chez Panisse, given Alice Waters’ pivotal role in helping to found and fund the internationally recognized project.

After all, as contributing photographer Nancy Rubin points out, where but in Berkeley might one encounter two teenage girls wolfing down organic greens while running a booth filled with cookies?

The sale, which took place on Saturday at King Middle School, was beautifully captured by Rubin (whom we heartily welcome home from her Moroccan sojourn) — who, for the record, said she munched on both homegrown lettuce and cookies.