The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden’s exhibition, Natural Discourse, displays the responses of a number of artists to the garden’s natural environment. But one of the artworks, SOL Grotto, by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, provoked a storm of right-wing comment this week because of its use of salvaged glass tubes from bankrupt solar cell manufacturer Solyndra. Director Paul Licht said he and his colleagues were “totally taken by surprise”, but hopes the brouhaha inspires more people to visit: “I’ve been told that no publicity is bad publicity.”
A unanimous vote in Berkeley’s City Council in 2010 agreed to install new parking meters along stretches of San Pablo Avenue, in an attempt to raise city revenues. But many of the retailers along San Pablo say that the meters have had the opposite effect: cutting the number of customers and hitting sales revenues. “The decision to put in the meters was a budgetary one, as we were all trying to work through a difficult period,” Councilmember Linda Maio told Berkeleyside. “I don’t think that the meters were great for business and, in hindsight, I regret agreeing to this measure.”
With school starting next week, Berkeley High was in the news in a number of ways. Students working on the Berkeley High Jacket claim the paper is in crisis because of a cut to the number of hours allocated for its faculty advisor. Two BHS alumni, David Wittman (aka DJ Dave) and Sam Dorman recently released a funny, upbeat video on parenthood. And long-time Berkeley High teacher Wendell Brooks died earlier this month, eliciting a number of memorial tributes from Berkeleyside readers.
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