Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Jan. 8-14

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This is an overview of recent crime in Berkeley, exclusively compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Jan. 8-14, there were reports of six robberies24 burglaries10 assaults or batteries, four weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 16 stolen vehiclessix disturbances and 37 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included a burglary and two calls involving a weapon. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch.

Thursday, Jan. 8

There was a home burglary at 4 a.m. in the 3000 block of Benvenue Avenue.

There were three vehicles stolen: at 8:45 a.m. in the 1800 block of Derby Street; at 7:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Carrison Street; and at 9 p.m. in the 2100 block of Ward Street.

There was a commercial burglary at 3:04 p.m. in the 1800 block of Fourth Street. … Continue reading »

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Community

PG&E: 29,000 lost power Tuesday in Berkeley

Image: PG&E
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Update, 4:45 p.m. PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said Tuesday’s outage, at its peak, affected about 38,000 customers, 29,000 of whom were in Berkeley. The remaining outages affected people in surrounding cities.

“We are still investigating the exact cause but we do know that the outage originated at a substation in Berkeley,” she said. Power went out at about 1:45 p.m. and was restored by about 3 p.m.

Sarkissian said PG&E apologizes for the inconvenience and thanked customers for their patience as crews worked to restore power.

“Our focus is always on restoring our customers safely and as quickly as possible,” she said.

Update, 3:27 p.m. The power outage appears to be resolved in Berkeley, according to PG&E’s outage map.

Update, 2:55 p.m. Several readers in North and South Berkeley are reporting that power has come back on. … Continue reading »

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Citizen panel on police to launch Berkeley protests probe

Police Review Commission, Jan. 14, 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Last week, Berkeley’s Police Review Commission voted unanimously to launch an investigation into the police response to protests over the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown that halted business as usual in Berkeley in December.

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan told the citizen oversight panel during its Jan. 14 meeting that his department is working diligently on its own review of the protests, which is set to be complete within the next few months. Meehan said an officer, a sergeant and a lieutenant are working on the report “nonstop,” full time — as of earlier this month — under the direction of Berkeley Police Capt. Cynthia Harris.

“This is not going to be something that will sit around for six months and then nobody will ever see it,” Meehan told the PRC. “When it is complete, it will be made public in an un-redacted fashion so everybody will have a chance to read what we knew when we knew it, and what we believe can be done differently in the future to hopefully end up with a different result.”

Read complete Berkeley protests coverage on Berkeleyside.

Instead of waiting for that report’s findings, the commission voted to begin its own probe into why police used tear gas and other force on protesters Dec. 6, along with several other issues that have been raised as concerns by some community members over the past month. Commission Vice Chair George Perezvelez said the community might think the PRC was shirking its duties if it failed to take prompt action.

“Our own investigation is independent from theirs,” he told his fellow commissioners. “As good as all that information will do us, it just doesn’t sound like our process.” … Continue reading »

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Drivers say goBerkeley program made it easier to park

New parking meters with credit card payment options are part of the goBerkeley program. Photo: Steer Davies Gleave/goBerkeley
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Community members will have the chance next week to weigh in about changes to paid parking in three of Berkeley’s busiest commercial districts. The changes began in 2013, and have reportedly made it easier for drivers to find spots, according to data collected by the city.

The city of Berkeley’s goBerkeley parking pilot program, which adjusted meter and parking garage rates to try to increase turnover and make it easier for visitors to park near their destinations, is set to end later this year. The Berkeley City Council will consider later this month, in a special work session, how to proceed as the 18-month program winds down.

Read more about parking issues in Berkeley.

The city has posted a survey online to give community members an easy way to offer input virtually, and will also hold two workshops next week, on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22, for those who prefer to offer views in person, and want to learn more.

Next week’s workshops are scheduled to take place Wednesday, Jan. 21, from 4-6 p.m. in the central branch of the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St., in the third floor community room; and Thursday, Jan. 22, from 6-8 p.m. at the library’s Claremont branch, 2940 Benvenue Ave., in the children’s section. … Continue reading »

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Police

Cyclist seriously injured in Berkeley hit-and-run

Paramedics placed a man onto a gurney at the scene of a hit-and-run accident at University and McGee avenues, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, Jan. 13. The victim was riding a bicycle. Photo: David Yee
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A cyclist remains in the hospital with serious injuries after he was struck by a driver who left the scene in Berkeley on Tuesday night.

Police have released minimal details about the incident.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said the accident took place just before 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, on University Avenue at McGee Avenue.

Coats said by email that dispatchers received calls about an injury collision involving a vehicle and cyclist, as well as reports that the driver had fled the scene.

The bicyclist suffered serious injuries and was still in the hospital as of about 7 p.m. Wednesday. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Jan. 1-7

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This is an overview of recent crime in Berkeley, exclusively compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Jan. 1-7, there were reports of 13 robberies20 burglaries11 assaults or batteries, one weapon-involved call and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also six stolen vehicleseight disturbances and 23 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included one call involving a weapon. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch.

Thursday, Jan. 1

There were four robberies: at 1:30 a.m. in the 2000 block of University Avenue; at 4 a.m. in the 1800 block of University; at 6:46 p.m. in the 2000 block of Kittredge Street; and at 8:45 p.m. in the 1200 block of Haskell Street.

There was an arson at 6:55 a.m. in the 100 block of Berkeley Square.

A home was burglarized at 6:10 p.m. in the 2300 block of Acton Street. … Continue reading »

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The lowdown: Council on Berkeley protests and police relations, zoning board appeals

Protesters against police brutality march down Center Street, toward the police station in Berkeley, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. Tuesday was the fourth night in a row that demonstrators took to the streets in Berkeley to protest the recent decisions by grand juries in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City to not indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men. Photo: David Yee
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The Berkeley City Council will meet twice this week, once Tuesday for a special meeting on several zoning board appeals, and also Saturday for a special meeting to discuss community relations with police after protests that wracked the city in December. There are a number of additional community events and council decisions coming later this month related to the protests. Scroll down for details.

Berkeley meeting: Jan. 13

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. and has just three action items, as well as a consent calendar item related to council seating arrangements. The action items relate to zoning board appeals about 2401 Warring St., and companion projects at 2201-2205 Blake St. and 2204 Dwight Way. Staff recommends the issuance of a use permit in the first case, and denials of permits in the other cases. (All three decisions would uphold prior zoning board votes.) Most of the letters submitted to council (online here and here) relate to the companion projects — which their critics describe as a mini-dorm — and are in opposition. A representative for project owner Nathan George has asked council to overturn the zoning board decisions, describes the companion projects as sensitive to the neighborhood, and disputes their characterization as problem properties (page 3).

The meeting is set to adjourn in memory of philanthropist Alba Witkin, who died in December, and former Cheese Board member Frieda Dilloo, who died in November. A memorial for Dilloo is scheduled for Jan. 18 at The Crowden School.

Berkeley protests meeting: Jan. 17

Berkeley continues to deal with the aftermath of protests in December related to the non-indictments of police officers involved with the fatalities of men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York. The city’s Peace & Justice Commission met Monday for an open forum about race issues and policing. This Saturday, council will meet to discuss next steps. Monday, Covenant Worship Center is holding a “Black Lives Matter” discussion. And, on Jan. 20, Councilman Jesse Arreguín has placed three items related to Ferguson and local police conduct on council’s agenda. That same night, Councilman Darryl Moore has an item on the agenda asking the city manager to look deeper at whether Berkeley police should be required to use vehicle dashboard and body cameras. … Continue reading »

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Man sentenced to 15 years in Berkeley double stabbing, arson that killed puppy

Berkeley police and fire responded to a stabbing followed by a fire on Harmon Street on Jan. 29, 2013. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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A 52-year-old Berkeley man arrested in 2013 after police said he stabbed two people and set a South Berkeley house on fire, killing a puppy, was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison.

Victor Lamb entered a no contest plea in October in connection with attempted murder, great bodily injury and using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a felony after the Jan. 29, 2013, stabbing of two people, and subsequent arson, which killed a Chihuahua puppy named Midnight. Two police officers had to drag Lamb onto a ladder out of the second story of a burning home in the 1400 block of Harmon Street after he barricaded himself inside, told officers he had doused himself in lighter fluid, and said he wanted to die, according to court papers.

Initially, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Lamb with a much longer list of violations — including two counts of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, arson of an inhabited dwelling, animal cruelty, robbery and elder abuse, because one of his victims was more than 70 years old. The prosecution dropped many of those charges after Lamb’s no contest plea, negating the need for trial.

According to a transcript from Lamb’s preliminary hearing, in late September 2013, two witnesses testified about being stabbed by Lamb, who had a long history of mental health issues and sometimes took medication as a result. They said he had no recent history of serious violence, but would often become moody, verbally abusive and threatening, and display bizarre behavior. … Continue reading »

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Small residential hotel to open in Berkeley in a year

A rendering of 2711 Shattuck Ave. Image: Lowney Architecture
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A small residential hotel project in South Berkeley, from Patrick Kennedy‘s Panoramic Interests, is picking up steam after lying dormant since 2010.

Kennedy said Thursday he’s aiming to break ground in June, and would like to open for business in a year, if all goes well. He said the extended-stay units at the hotel are designed for short-term tenants, such as professors or other people coming to the city for brief periods who need a place to live.

“We just think it’s an unmet need in the city,” he said, of why he’s building a residential hotel. “We’re using it as kind of a laboratory to find a way to build housing more efficiently.”

Kennedy said he is looking into the possibility of using prefabricated components to speed up construction and allow for more affordable units on site. … Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: Galeto Brazilian Grill in Oakland

Galeto Brazilian Grill. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Come along with Nosh as we explore the East Bay food scene in photographs. This week we focus on Galeto Brazilian Grill in Old Oakland. Galeto invited Nosh for a complimentary meal for two to see what it had to offer.

Galeto opened last summer and offers all-you-can-eat buffets for lunch ($18.95 on weekdays and $28.95 on Sundays) and dinner ($38.95). The Galeto menu showcases traditional Brazilian grilled meat with table-side carving service, a salad bar with a wide range of fresh options prepared in-house daily from scratch, as well as free-range organic chicken and signature pasta dishes. The 85-seat dining room was designed by Kibwe Dasie, and local restaurant-goers may recall that the space formerly housed LCX Noodle Bar and Le Cheval.

Galeto owner Eli Nascimento hired Chef Robson Barreto to run the kitchen. Barreto was born in Rio de Janeiro and, from an early age, helped prepare meals in his family’s restaurant. He also spent time at an Italian restaurant in southern Brazil where there is a large Italian community, which provided  some of the inspiration for his offerings at Galeto. He later studied culinary arts in various schools in Brazil, and specialized in Brazilian, Portuguese and Italian cooking. He worked at a range of venues in Brazil and, in America, on the East Coast, and also spent two years in Barcelona, Spain, where he attended the Escuela de Artes Culinárias. Locally, he worked previously at Espetus Churrascaria in San Francisco.

Galeto Brazilian Grill is located at 1019 Clay St. in Oakland. See the menu here.  If you’ve sampled the spots we feature, please let us know about your experience in the comments below. (Photographs by Emilie Raguso.) … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley holds open house about downtown high-rise

This parking lot, between Hearst Avenue and Berkeley Way, is slated to become a high-rise to replace Tolman Hall. Image: Google maps
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The University of California at Berkeley says it is moving forward with plans to build a high-rise in downtown Berkeley — for its education, psychology and public health areas of study — and will hold an open house about the project this week.

The Berkeley Way West academic building is set to reach 112 feet at Berkeley Way and Shattuck Avenue, and span 320,000 gross square feet in a lot along Shattuck from Berkeley Way north to Hearst Avenue. The area is now used as surface parking for UC Berkeley affiliates.

According to the few details that have been released thus far by the university, the building will reach up to 112 feet at its southwest corner, but will be “stepped lower” at the northern edge of the site at Hearst.

The city of Berkeley’s Downtown Area Plan, which was adopted in 2012 after Berkeley voters endorsed its concepts in 2010, allows for the construction of three 180-foot-tall buildings, including a hotel, in Berkeley’s downtown core and outer core, and two 120-foot-high buildings. UC Berkeley has the right to build two additional 120-foot-tall structures. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Dec. 25-31

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This is an overview of recent crime in Berkeley, exclusively compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Dec. 25-31, there were reports of 27 burglaries, 32 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles18 stolen vehicles and 11 disturbances, according to CrimeMapping.com. Two robberiesnine assaults or batteries, no weapon-related calls and no sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included one arson and one robbery. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch.

Thursday, Dec. 25

Two vehicles were stolen, at 12:50 a.m. in the 1800 block of West Street, and at 3 p.m. at Fifth and Camelia streets.

There were two home burglaries, at 6:10 a.m. in the 2300 block of Parker Street, and at 7:30 a.m. in the 2200 block of McKinley Avenue.

There were four disturbance calls: at noon in the 1400 block of Eighth Street; at 1:17 p.m. in the 2600 block of Telegraph Avenue; at 5:30 p.m. in the 2500 block of Haste Street; and at 6:21 p.m. in the 1200 block of Allston Way.

There was a commercial burglary at 4:30 p.m. in the 1000 block of Overlook Road.

There was a felony assault or battery at 11:05 p.m. at Fourth Street and Hearst Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley seeks experts for ‘soda tax’ advisory panel

Vicki Alexander, co-chair of the Yes on D campaign, spoke at a pro-soda tax demo outside Old City Hall in July. Photo: Berkeley vs Big Soda
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The city of Berkeley has put out a call for experts interested in joining a new advisory panel to set spending priorities for “soda tax” dollars approved by voters in November.

Four Berkeley City Council members who make up a subcommittee focused on Measure D, the sugar-sweetened beverage tax, released the application to the community in late December. The deadline is Jan. 17.

The 1-cent-per-ounce tax on the distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages has been conservatively estimated to bring perhaps $200,000 into city coffers each year, according to Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development. But that number is very much hypothetical, due to the numerous variables — such as local consumption figures, how the city collects the money and whether UC Berkeley will also collect the tax — that will impact the final tally.

Read complete Berkeleyside soda tax coverage, and see the text of the measure.

Berkeley Councilman Laurie Capitelli said previously that, though the tax went into effect Jan. 1, the city will wait to spend any of the money until all legal questions about the tax have been resolved. Officials had earlier expressed some concern that an opponent of the tax might file a lawsuit to challenge it. City spokesman Matthai Chakko said, as of Monday, no legal action has been filed. … Continue reading »

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