Berkeleyside launches new talk series, The B-Side

Downtown Berkeley, May 2014. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Downtown Berkeley: the subject of the inaugural B-Side talk, part of a news series of conversations organized by Berkeleyside and Impact Hub Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso

This week, Berkeleyside, in collaboration with Impact Hub Berkeley, launched a new talk series designed to facilitate conversations about issues going on right here, right now in Berkeley.

The B-Side kicks off on the evening of July 15 at Impact Hub Berkeley with a talk titled “Downtown Development Initiative: Boon or Bane?” Jesse Arreguín, councilmember for District 4, will go head to head with  planner and smart growth advocate Eric Panzer in a discussion moderated by Berkeleyside co-founder Lance Knobel. Given all the plans for downtown Berkeley, and the vocal arguments for and against them, this promises to be a lively debate, and one participants will be encouraged to join.

Before you leap to buy a ticket, however, be aware that the event sold out within 24 hours. First dibs on the 40 available tickets went to Berkeleyside Members — the supporters of independent journalism who contribute to the site either monthly or with regular contributions. Impact Hub members were also given priority registration. Entrance to this and all future B-Side talks will be free to members of both organizations. Regular tickets price is $10.

Berkeleyside will announce the dates and topics of future talks in the coming weeks. We may cover local business issues, homelessness, parking, open spaces, crime — what are the areas you feel strongly about? Leave us your ideas for discussion issues in the Comments. All B-Side talks will dig deep into both sides of the story, and the opinions of all who attend will be welcome.

Meanwhile, going forward, if you want to attend The B-Side talks for free, and to get priority registration, consider becoming a Berkeleyside Member. This opportunity is just one of the ways we thank our members during the year for their invaluable support. The more our readers give us that support, the better Berkeleyside will become, and the longer we will stick around! Become a Berkeleyside Member here.

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

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  • Guest

    ‘“Development in Downtown Berkeley: Boon or Bane?” Jesse Arreguín, councilmember for District 4, will go head to head with planner and smart growth advocate Eric Panzer…’

    Regardless of whether or not it reflects reality the title of the “talk” gives the impression that Jesse Arreguin will represent the view that “Development in Downtown Berkeley” is a “bane”.

    This is the characterization often presented by Arreguin’s detractors, and he’s just tacitly agreed to it.


  • Money Talks

    Will there be a reporter at this event? Either from Berkeleyside or another organization?

  • raccoon

    if the berkeleyside were to consider putting clips of this online…. i would be enthusiastic about that.

  • AnthonySanchez

    If they changed the title to Downtown Development Initiative: Boon or Bane, that’d be more fair and accurate -with Jesse arguing that the initiative is a boon and Eric arguing that it is the bane of development.

    I agree, but I think it was unintentional on the part of Bside. As written, it frames Eric as saying development is good and Jesse as saying development is bad, which highly inaccurate and charged.

  • I’ve changed the title to be more accurate. As Anthony suggests, the core of the discussion will be on the effect of the downtown development initiative on what’s planned for downtown.

  • AnthonySanchez

    Thank you!

  • Guest


    As a curious reader I’d be very interested to know how you came to use the original title. It seems very clear in its implication (Jesse Arreguin believes that development in downtown is a bane).

    Any chance you could oblige? Thanks!

  • EBGuy
  • AnthonySanchez

    The title was not known prior, but the concept, which was Downtown Development and the “Green Downtown Initiative.”

    The title was an oversight and I don’t think it reflects anything on Bside other than a simple mistake. Emails with Lance with this proposed discussion are proof enough that he clearly understands our position as “development tied to community benefits.”

  • kkunze

    I’d be willing to film this and edit this talk pro-bono. I also think podcasting would be a great idea.

  • Guest

    OK, I get it.

    After discussing your “Green Downtown Initiative”, which is a pretty vague label, Jesse was able to convey that his position was “Development tied to Community Benefits”.

    Lance didn’t so much make an honest mistake as use “editor’s discretion” to translate that into something a little less clunky: “Development in Downtown Berkeley is a bane”.

    Note, the original title, “Development in Downtown Berkeley: Boon or Bane?” is still used at both the and sites:

    Now, for my unsolicited take on this:

    I am a Berkeley resident who believes that the (re)development of Downtown Berkeley is indeed a boon largely because several factors contribute to an economic environment where this development *can* be tied to true community-wide benefits to create a virtuous cycle where *everybody* wins.

    As such, I’d like to be represented on the city council by someone who not only shares this view, but can competently and effectively articulate and advocate for it.

    Now, the “Downtown Initiative” seems to *almost* align with this at points. There are certainly improvements over the DAP, but I can understand the view that some of its elements could be construed as disingenuous attempts to curtail development.

    These are small quibbles though. It seems like *maybe* Jesse Arreguin meets the first requirement of sharing that view in earnest.

    However, between this and allowing the credulous reporting on Eric Angstadt/Alexander Quinn’s “1300 Housing Units (and millions in fees) will be lost!” to pass without argument leads me to think maybe Jesse Arreguin fails to meet the latter requirement.

  • Hi kkunze. We should talk! Can you email me at Thanks.

  • I am sorry to hear this. I am going to look into this and will contact you via email.

  • Hi Hildah.
    MailChimp, which we use to send out emails, shows that you were sent the member email at 12:30 on July 1. Perhaps it went into your spam folder? Let me know if you don’t find it since we very much want you to get our mailings.

  • Chris J

    I must have missed the invite, as well, or maybe I’m not in your list. In any case, $10 seems a minimal fee to listen to these two guys argue away in person rather than here and there on Berkeleyside.

    That one has to pay to participate in a public forum is mildly distasteful,though I get that costs for the space are necessary. Still…only 40 spots? How this will prove to assist more than the forty attendees how to vote on the issue states that this event is more of a promotion for berkeleyside (No problem with that) than a realistic opportunity to help the electorate decide an issue.