By far the most talked about story this week was a plan to put a 7-Eleven convenience store in a vacant building on the southwest corner of San Pablo and University Avenues. Local residents met with one of the chain’s representatives on Tuesday to gather more details and express concern that a store open 24 hours a day would adversely affect a “fragile” neighborhood. Prostitution and crime have long been a factor in that part of town, but the arrival of new businesses like Local 123 café and Gaumenkitzel has changed the dynamic, residents said.
The role of Berkeley’s local leaders, elected and otherwise, also prompted discussion. Judith Iglehart, who served as Mayor Tom Bates’ chief of staff for just one year, has left her post to start a company, prompting many comments about the role of the Mayor’s office in attracting new businesses to Berkeley. Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner introduced a bill to regulate the sale of ammunition, saying it is easier to buy bullets than cold medicine, alcohol, or tobacco.
Crime, as always, is a major concern to Berkeley residents. Readers are still confounded by the murder of Berkeley resident Jessica Kingeter, allegedly by Berkeley High graduate Jamaal Prince, a five time felon. Readers were cheered that police have arrested a man who might be connected to a spate of home burglaries in north Berkeley in December. BART police arrested a Richmond man who may have stolen numerous bikes from Berkeley.
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