Monthly Archives: August 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 08.31.12

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Trio on hunt for drugs robbed at gunpoint in People’s Park

People's Park
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Three men were robbed at gunpoint in People’s Park in Berkeley on Thursday Aug. 30 at 8:30 pm after going to the park with the intention of buying drugs. The suspect has not been apprehended.

According to UC Berkeley police, three adult men went to People’s Park with the intent to buy drugs from a drug dealer. They approached the suspect and asked if he sold drugs. The suspect pulled out a handgun from his waist and demanded wallets from the victims. The victims handed over their wallets and then ran away. The victims were not injured during the encounter. Three hours later, the victims reported the crime to UCPD. UCPD checked the area and were unable to locate the suspect.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 36 years old, 6’ tall, approximately 180 pounds, and armed with a silver pistol. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley school district names likely new superintendent

Edmond Heatley, the unanimous finalist for BUSD superintendent
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Berkeley Unified School District looks set to name Edmond Heatley as its new Superintendent, pending agreement on his contract.

Heatley is currently Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of Clayton County Public Schools, a school district near Atlanta, Georgia.

BUSD says they have narrowed the field of candidates down to one and that is Heatley. Once due diligence is completed, the Board will be in a position to formally offer Heatley an employment contract.

Heatley announced his resignation from his post yesterday, saying he was leaving for an unspecified post.

“The board believes we have our superintendent,” said Board President John Selawsky. “We just need to fill in the details.”

Selawsky added that even though the appointment is not confirmed, the board wanted the community to know that they are in the final stages of finding a replacement for Bill Huyett, who recently retired.

A district team, headed by School Board member Karen Hemphill, is today in Georgia completing a site visit in Clayton County Public Schools where Heatley is superintendent. The visit consisted of interviews with school board members, parents, teachers, staff, district administrators, union leadership, and community leaders. Selawsky said Hemphill had reported that the visit went well. … Continue reading »

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Police contract agreed after 15 months of negotiations

New Berkeley Police Department three-year contract comes after 15 months of talks. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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After lengthy negotiations, the City of Berkeley and the Berkeley Police Association (BPA) have reached agreement on a new three-year contract that forgoes cost of living increases, creates a second tier CalPERS pension formula for new employees, mandates cost sharing by employees in the employer’s contribution to CalPERS, and significantly changes retiree health benefits.

The new agreement was approved by the BPA at a July meeting by 107-21. It will be considered by the City Council at its September 11 meeting.

“I think it’s a fair agreement,” said Tim Kaplan, president of the BPA. “It was a long process, but it really was the true sense of collective bargaining. There was a lot of work done by the Police Association negotiating team to come up with creative solutions to the problems the city was facing. The state of the economy is not lost on our members at all. We’re helping in a number of ways through concessions.”  … Continue reading »

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North Berkeley merchants want parklets for the people

A parklet in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood. Photo: San Francisco Pavement to Parks
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Businesses in the Gourmet Ghetto are keen to jump on the parklet bandwagon — bringing outdoor seating to the streets for espresso sippers, pizza eaters, and world watchers in lieu of parking spots — but must first wait for the city to come up with a process for making the spaces available.

So-called parklets — slivers of open space sprouting in cities around the globe — are a big trend in urban design, with San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks leading the way locally, and Oakland following suit (a pilot program is under review there.) Berkeley is a little late to the take-back-the-public-space movement but eager to come up with its own ideas to beautify public areas where community members can congregate. Leading the charge is the North Shattuck Association, which is helping businesses in its café- and restaurant-heavy district organize around the concept.

“The parklets pilot project was conceived by the association based on our experience with hosting temporary parklets during past years on Park(ing) Day and the Spice of Life Festival,” said Heather Hensley, executive director of the association.

Park(ing) Day is an international movement conceived to help city residents around the world reimagine the humble parking space. One day each fall, D.I.Y., creative urbanistas are encouraged to transform parking spots into parks, playgrounds, pop-up cafés — anything other than a lowly (though coveted) place for cars. Park(ing) Day parklets have sprouted in Berkeley in past years in front of the Cheese Board Collective and the late Amanda’s Feel Good Fresh Food. … Continue reading »

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Police Blotter: Recent crime in Berkeley

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See also the San Francisco Chronicle’s regularly published list of arrests in Berkeley. For other sources of information on crime in Berkeley see BPD’s CrimeView Community and 

August 19:

Trespassing, 2200 block of Carleton Street
On Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 10:52 a.m., a trespasser was reported in the 2200 block of Carleton Street.  An officer arrived at the location and located a male subject trespassing.  The subject was issued a citation for trespassing under the Berkeley Municipal Code. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 08.30.12

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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WEAVE IT TOGETHER  Master Weaver Judith Thomas will teach students how to source materials and craft a pine needle basket at a workshop Saturday Sept. 1 at the UC Botanical Gardens. Weaver will show class participants how to work with pine needles to create a coiled basket, using a needle and waxed linen to bind the bundles of needles together. The workshop runs from 9:30 to 2:30 pm and costs $50.

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Getting around with Cylinder and Lisa Mezzacappa

Screen shot 2012-08-30 at 3.58.55 PM
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There’s simply no point playing Six Degrees of Lisa Mezzacappa. A prolific performer who collaborates with a vast array of filmmakers, poets and fellow musicians, the San Francisco jazz bassist is probably no more than three steps from just about any contemporary American artist who comes to mind.

More than a mover and shaker, Mezzacappa is an essential catalyst with an international web of musical connections who is always on the lookout for opportunities for creative cross pollination.

After a fairly subdued summer, she kicks into her usual frenetic mode in September, including several exciting gigs in the East Bay.

On Saturday, she performs with Cylinder at the Subterranean Art House. Anchored by her thick, imposing tone and reactive lines, Cylinder is a rambunctious collective quartet featuring trumpeter Darren Johnston, alto saxophonist Aram Shelton, and drummer Kjell Nordeson, who are all prodigious improvisers. The ensemble corrals “a lot of strong personalities,” Mezzacappa says. “We all bring in our own compositions, mostly stuff we’ve written for each other.” … Continue reading »

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Street cleaning site created to help people avoid tickets

Screen shot 2012-08-30 at 9.38.52 AM
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Helping people avoid getting ticketed on street cleaning days was clearly a form of therapy for Dan Moja, co-creator of a series of city websites that pinpoint cleaning schedules down to specific streets. “I cannot tell you how absolutely angry I was when I got towed for the third time,” he says. “Each time we launch a new site, I slowly gain a little bit of satisfaction.”

Moja lives in Chicago. Back in 2010, his car was ticketed and towed three times in three weeks due to street cleaning, a frustrating experience which set him back hundreds of dollar). “I was so upset over the towings and fines that I sold my car and it ultimately led me to want to create a website which helps people avoid street sweeping tickets,” he says.

Moja researched the field and found Peter Malkin, creator of the San Francisco Street Cleaning website. Mojo contacted Malkin and explained how he wanted to bring his website to Chicago. This led the pair to form a partnership which has seen them roll out sites for Chicago, San Diego, Phoenix, and, now, Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Barry McGee’s urban art takes over Berkeley Art Museum

Barry McGee installation at BAMPFA 2012
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The savage, often red-hued work of San Francisco artist Barry McGee, presented in a mid-career survey exhibition by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), threatens to take over.

Not content with consuming four galleries of the museum’s parking structure-like interior space, the man known generically as a “graffiti artist”— and more intentionally recognized as a leader in urban-inspired art — is stopping passers-by with “SNITCH”, painted in 25-feet spray-can font on the museum’s Bancroft Street façade.

McGee, who bears the tag name “Twist”, developed his skills on the streets. Refining and expanding his visual command while training as a painter and printmaker at the San Francisco Art Institute, he has an elegant mind and the full potential of a master draughtsman.

His brain-boggling torrent of expression,  seen in solo exhibits at places like Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center in 1998 and San Francisco’s Center for the Arts Yerba Buena Gardens in 1994, catapulted his trademark “come closer/stay away” message onto the national stage. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 08.29.12

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New program at REALM School gets students’ hands dirty

Studio H-1
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When students at Berkeley’s REALM Charter School started their academic year today, there was a new creative space waiting for them at their campus on 8th Street, and a challenge: how might you get your hands dirty? Shortly after the semester kicks off, the students will spend a day and a half working on projects, either for the school or the local community, which they will dream up themselves, and then make.

The class is part of a course created by Studio H, a program run by Project H Design, a nonprofit that has brought its high school design/build curriculum to Berkeley after operating in North Carolina for two years. In a school that already puts an emphasis on technology, research and action, Studio H will be getting students involved in even more hands-on assignments. The projects aim to develop areas such as critical thinking, teamwork and citizenship, as well as practical skills such as construction and design.

“It’s project-based work on steroids,” says REALM’s Principal, Victor Diaz, who adds that when he first learned about Studio H, he knew they would make an excellent partner for the school. “We like to learn through doing,” he said. … Continue reading »

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