Daily Archives: August 6, 2012

Chevron officials want East Bay residents to stay indoors

Chevron refinery fire at Richmond, as taken by Mimi Vitetta from a tower in Richmond
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[See updates below]

Chevron officials are recommending that anyone who lives from Richmond south to north Oakland  to “shelter in place” to avoid breathing toxic fumes from the fire that broke out at the refinery around 6: 40 pm.

Even though Berkeley police had not received notice by 9:30 pm to warn Berkeley residents to shut their windows and stay indoors, a Chevron spokesman said they should.

“The shelter in place goes to north Oakland so it does extend into Berkeley,” said John McGowan, a Chevron spokesman.

(Note: There is no official “shelter in place for Berkeley; see explanation below.) … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 08.06.12

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Berkeley may join County and post food inspection scores

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Under a color-coded grading system implemented in July, restaurants in Alameda County – but not in Berkeley – are now required to post green, yellow, or red placards in their windows to display food safety inspection results.

Berkeley is one of four cities in the state with an independent environmental health department and it makes its own rules regarding restaurant inspections. But with the implementation of the easy-to-understand county system, Berkeley officials are considering the adoption of a similar program to make things uniform.

“It’s something that the rest of the jurisdictions are thinking about, to have some consistency within the Bay Area,” said Manuel Ramirez, Berkeley environmental health director. “There’s no sense of a timeline at this point, but it is being discussed.”

County officials say the visibility of the inspection results and the accessible color code will empower consumers and encourage food facilities to meet safety standards. Some Berkeley restaurateurs say they would be proud to post a placard in their windows. … Continue reading »

Capitelli, Bates lead in campaign fundraising

Four years after voters adopted a new vision for downtown, they may be asked to refine it. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Three months before the November election, City Councilmember Laurie Capitelli has amassed the largest campaign war chest in Berkeley, with $13,015 in donations from a variety of people, including his fellow realtors and politicians.

Mayor Tom Bates, who is running for his fourth term, came in next, with $11,770 in donations, according to campaign expenditure reports that were filed on July 31.

But the various city-wide measures that were so contentious when aired before the City Council have not yet garnered any substantial funds, according to the records. No money has been raised for the civil sidewalks initiative, which would ban people from sitting in commercial districts from 7 am to 10 pm. Those in favor or against new zoning for West Berkeley have not yet even formed committees. Neither have those supporting a new redistricting plan.

The Committee for the Berkeley Sunshine Ordinance raised $4,153 from April 1 to June 30, bringing its donation level to $5,958, with the bulk of that coming from the group’s treasurer, Dean Metzger. He donated $4,618 to the campaign, including a $1,000 loan. … Continue reading »

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