Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

Berkeley property owners to pony up for energy audits

Gunshot at Ed Roberts Campus, Nov. 29, 2012. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Later this month, the Berkeley City Council is slated to approve a new law — designed to increase building sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions — that will mandate new fees and recurring energy assessments for local property owners.

The law would require payment of a $79-$240 filing fee, depending on building size, by property owners every 5-10 years. On top of that, property owners will be required to undergo building energy assessments on the same cycle, conducted by registered contractors, to the tune of an estimated $200 for a single-family home and up to $10,000 for large commercial buildings.

The goal of the new law, according to the city, is to make “building energy use information more transparent to owners and prospective renters or buyers,” and ultimately inspire more investment in energy upgrades. The law would replace existing minimum energy and water efficiency measures in Berkeley. The proposed ordinance would not require that upgrades are actually done, but will compile energy scores and summaries for city properties, and make them readily available online.

Explained city sustainability coordinator Billi Romain, “Rather than require a list of specific measures, it requires an evaluation of a building’s efficiency opportunities and identifies all available incentives and financing programs.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Nov. 20-26

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full 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 Nov. 20-26, there were reports of 27 burglaries, 28 auto break-ins or thefts from vehiclesnine stolen vehicles and 17 disturbances, according to CrimeMapping.com. Eleven robberies13 assaults or batteries, no weapon-related calls and two sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included an arson, three burglaries, a sex crime and a weapon-related call. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

Please do not hesitate to share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know up front 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, Nov. 20

There were five home burglaries: at 2:17 a.m. in the 2100 block of Russell Street; at 5:30 a.m. in the 2600 block of Regent Street; at 8 a.m. in the 900 block of Creston Road; at 8:15 a.m. in the 1300 block of Derby Street; and at 5:30 p.m. in the 1900 block of Sacramento Street. Police arrested Jason Wells, 41, in connection with the Russell Street incident on suspicion of second-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools and committing a felony while on bail, along with other violations.

There were three commercial burglaries: at 3 a.m. in the 2900 block of Telegraph Avenue; at 4:05 a.m. in the 2900 block of College Avenue; and at 11:22 a.m. in the 1800 block of University Avenue.

Police responded to three disturbance calls: at 11:35 a.m. in the 1800 block of San Pablo Avenue; at 3:40 p.m. in the 2500 block of Telegraph Avenue; and at 9:08 p.m. in the 2600 block of San Pablo Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley preps new cell phone radiation safety law

Please destroy cell phones before entering: A front gate in Berkeley, Calif. Photo: Fragmentary Evidence
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The city of Berkeley is investigating whether to require retailers to hand out radiation-related safety sheets to customers who buy cell phones in town.

Last week, a Berkeley City Council majority — with seven in favor and two opposed — voted to have staff prepare language for the new cell phone law. But whether council ultimately will vote to adopt that law is unknown.

The cell phone ordinance — brought forward Nov. 18 by council members Max Anderson and Kriss Worthington — would require vendors to hand out an info sheet to consumers to remind them to study up on device-specific safety standards for radio-frequency (RF) energy emissions. In particular, customers could be advised not to hold or carry the phone close to the body while using the device, and directed to consult the manual to learn the “recommended separation distance” between the phone and one’s body. Anderson said he has been working on the law for several years. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Nov. 13-19

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full 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 Nov. 13-19, there were reports of 14 burglaries31 auto break-ins or thefts from vehiclesfive stolen vehicles and 18 disturbances, according to CrimeMapping.com. Six robberies11 assaults or batteries, no weapon-related calls and no sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included a robbery, two stolen vehicles and a weapon-related call. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

Please do not hesitate to share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know up front 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, Nov. 13

Police responded to four disturbances: at 5:20 a.m. in the 2700 block of Seventh Street; at 6:38 a.m. in the 2500 block of Regent Street; at 11:23 a.m. at University Avenue and Fifth Street; and at 3:35 p.m. in the 2600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

There were five home burglaries: at 7:50 a.m. in the 1700 block of Blake Street; at 8 a.m. in the 2100 block of Sacramento Street; at 8 a.m. in the 1400 block of Hopkins Street; at 10:40 a.m. in the 700 block of San Luis Road; and at 2 p.m. in the 1500 block of Hearst Avenue.

There was a robbery at 1:45 p.m. in the 2100 block of Shattuck Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Crime

‘Pizza delivery’ police nab armed robbers in Berkeley

Authorities say the robbers used a stolen credit card to order pizza, which tipped police to their location, and ultimately led to their arrest and the recovery of a handgun. Photo: Kris Vera-Phillips
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Police officers pretending to be pizza deliverers captured three people linked to an armed robbery early Monday morning in North Berkeley.

Authorities say the robbers used a stolen credit card to order pizza, which tipped police to their location, and ultimately led to their arrest and the recovery of a handgun.

According to Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, the robbery took place just after 1 a.m. when two people with a gun robbed a pedestrian of his backpack at Acton and Delaware streets near the North Berkeley BART station. … Continue reading »

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Fire

Big rig fire on I-80 west in Berkeley snarls traffic

Fire on westbound Interstate-80. Photo: Deborah Durant
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Update, 2:10 p.m. Authorities say multiple lanes of westbound Interstate 80 will remain closed for at least one more hour after a big rig trailer caught fire shortly before 1 p.m.

According to a statement issued by CHP spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, the CHP began to receive numerous 911 calls at 12:45 p.m. that a big rig was on fire on I-80 westbound near Gilman Street in Berkeley.

Wilkenfeld said, initially, the driver of the big rig was unaware of the fire, “until other motorists began honking and getting the driver’s attention.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

San Leandro man to face murder, gang charges after 2013 Berkeley killing

Photo: Krishna Ferreira, via Facebook
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A 24-year-old San Leandro man has been ordered by a judge to face charges in the murder case against him for a fatal shooting in Berkeley last year.

According to evidence presented by authorities this month in the case against Krishna Ferreira, the victim had been a member of the West Side Berkeley gang who had fallen out of favor with his comrades — and been “green lit” for punishment — when he failed to comply with the gang’s rules while he was incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail in 2012.

The victim, 24-year-old Dustin Bynum of Berkeley, was shot to death outside Bing’s Liquors in West Berkeley in August 2013.

This month, beginning Nov. 4, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Vernon Nakahara considered the case against Ferreira to determine whether the district attorney’s office had enough evidence against him for the prosecution to move forward to trial. The preliminary hearing — where authorities present their evidence and the defense has a chance to question it — ended Tuesday afternoon with a ruling from Nakahara in favor of the prosecution.

Berkeley Police Officer Stephanie Polizziani — an area coordinator, former jailer and one of the department’s two gang experts — testified over the past week that Ferreira is an active member of the West Side Berkeley gang, which is affiliated with, and answers to, the Norteño prison gang. According to Polizziani, the Norteños have handed down orders to its affiliates to “take care of their trash” — in reference to former gang members who had been “jumped out” or dropped out of active gang activities.

Polizziani said Bynum — who was known as “phatboy” on the streets — fell into this category after he failed to comply with the gang’s rules while locked up at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in 2012. Three members of the gang attacked him, and “jumped him out” of the gang. He was then removed from the housing area where other Norteños are incarcerated and moved into an area where those seeking protective custody or who are cooperating with law enforcement are placed. He was also, according to Polizziani, put on the gang’s “bad news list,” or BNL. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Nov. 6-12

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is an overview of recent crime in Berkeley, 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 Nov. 6-12, there were reports of 15 burglaries13 auto break-ins or thefts from vehiclessix stolen vehicles and nine disturbances, according to CrimeMapping.com. Ten robberies14 assaults or batteries, three weapon-related calls and two sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included two robberies, two sex crimes and a burglary. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

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

Thursday, Nov. 6

Authorities searched a South Berkeley home in the early morning hours in connection with a fatal shooting at the Seabreeze market in October. Read more on Berkeleyside.

There was a robbery at 2:25 p.m. at Virginia Street and Stannage Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Police hold art show to raise money for turkey baskets; fundraiser tonight at Berkeley Underground

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 12.06.52 PM
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After a two-year hiatus, the Berkeley Police Association has brought back its holiday “turkey basket” program for families in need.

The association is holding an art show Wednesday night, Nov. 19, to raise money for that program by selling photographs by three Berkeley Police officers. The charity event takes place at the recently opened Berkeley Underground nightclub in downtown Berkeley, at 2284 Shattuck Ave.

Officer Stephanie Polizziani, who helped organize the event, said the department used to raise money for turkey baskets — containing a turkey and fixings for sides and dessert — until two years ago when the program lapsed due to a lack of funding.

Polizziani said she was inspired to organize the renewed effort after the department received numerous inquiries over the past two years from people who had come to rely on the program. … Continue reading »

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Government

The lowdown: Berkeley council on street paving, gas pump labels, cell phone warnings, Measure D panel, more

The Adeline Street planning project is picking up steam. Image: Google maps
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Street paving plans, permit parking expansion, climate change labels on gas pumps and health warnings from cell phone vendors: It’s all scheduled to come up on the action calendar Tuesday night before the Berkeley City Council. The consent calendar also includes many highlights, from plans to create the Measure D panel of experts to the selection of a consultant to oversee the Adeline corridor planning grant, money for security cameras by Strawberry Creek Park, plans by the Berkeley Police Department to secure a bulletproof van, and more. Scroll down to learn about the highlights of this week’s council agenda. Not all items are included, so be sure to check the full agenda if you want to learn more. … Continue reading »

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Locals question Berkeley Plaza impact on theater, view

2211 Harold Way. Image: MVEI Architecture and Planning
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Residents came out en masse Thursday night to testify before Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board about possible impacts related to a large mixed-use project planned downtown on Harold Way.

The Residences at Berkeley Plaza, at Harold and Kittredge Street, would rise 18 stories and is set to include a tower reaching, all told, nearly 200 feet. It is slated to feature about 300 units, which could either be apartments or condominiums, as well as a new six-theater cinema complex, more than 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space, and a 171-unit underground parking structure. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Teen now faces murder, attempted rape and robbery charges in McClellan killing in South Berkeley

A 2011 photograph of Kamau Berlin. Source: Facebook
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The Alameda County district attorney’s office on Friday charged 18-year-old Kamau Berlin with murder in the stabbing death of 72-year-old Nancy McClellan in South Berkeley in September.

Berlin — a B-Tech student — also has been charged with attempted rape, attempted robbery and attempted carjacking, as well as elder abuse resulting in death.

He appeared in court Friday morning, as did about half a dozen family members and supporters, and had been scheduled to enter a plea in the case.

Berlin’s plea was postponed until Jan. 9 due to the addition of significant charges in the case.

His family declined to comment to the media Friday morning.

See Berkeleyside’s complete coverage of the case.

Also in attendance were about nine of McClellan’s supporters from the Berkeley Zen Center. McClellan was mortally stabbed Sept. 19 after leaving a wedding at the center, near Russell and Otis streets.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 10/30-11/5

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crimes in Berkeley, 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 Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, there were reports of 21 burglaries19 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles and six stolen vehicles, according to CrimeMapping.comFive robberies20 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and one sexual assault were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included a burglary and a vehicle theft. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

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

Thursday, Oct. 30

A felony sexual assault was reported at midnight at Piedmont Avenue and Parker Street.

There were two robberies, at 12:26 a.m. at College Avenue and Webster Street, and at 11:03 a.m. at Hearst and McGee avenues.

There were two home burglaries, at 4 a.m. in the 1500 block of Oxford Street, and at 4 p.m. in the 2500 block of Hillegass Avenue.  … Continue reading »

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