Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

Berkeley neighbors take on ‘noisy and drunken parties’

A student is taken care of by BFD. Image: ABC 7’s I-Team
Print Friendly

Dozens of concerned neighbors met Monday night at the Berkeley Police Department to strategize about how to cut down on “noisy and drunken disturbances,” particularly in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood.

The city of Berkeley is working on an ordinance to try to curtail problematic behavior, which has at times taxed the city’s emergency services and overwhelmed its main emergency room. The ordinance has been scheduled twice to come before the Berkeley City Council in recent weeks, but has now been delayed for consideration until the fall to allow stakeholders in the university community to weigh in.

In the interim, the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee — which hosted Monday night’s meeting — is bringing local residents into the discussion. At the end of the meeting, attendees agreed to form a working group to try to ensure that their views and input are part of the city process.

Jim Hynes, assistant to Berkeley’s city manager, told the group of about 30 that the city decided to consider expanding existing laws about mini-dorms to all group living accommodations following media attention to the issue, as well as concerns expressed by the Alta Bates emergency room.

“There were weekends where 50-75% of their emergency beds were filled with drunk students,” he said, forcing the hospital to divert other incoming patients to Highland and Summit hospitals in Oakland. “There were times when they couldn’t divert, and had to set up, essentially, disaster triage areas for drunk students.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Crime

Panhandlers arrested after double stabbing on Telegraph

Image: Google Maps
Print Friendly

Two panhandlers were arrested early Saturday morning after police say they stabbed two bar patrons on Telegraph Avenue.

According to a statement released by the University of California Police Department, officers responded to a call at about 1:40 a.m. about an assault with a knife that had just taken place on Telegraph.

Two men were leaving a bar near Telegraph and Channing Way when two panhandlers approached them.

“An altercation ensued and the panhandlers stabbed the two bar patrons,” according to UCPD.

Both men were taken to Highland Hospital to be treated for their injuries. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,
Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 16-22

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.
Print Friendly

This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@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. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern.

From April 16-22, there were reports of seven robberies16 burglariesseven assaults or batteries, four weapon-involved calls and four sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also eight stolen vehicleseight disturbances and 39 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Reported incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included one call involving a weapon. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

Thursday, April 16

There were two home burglaries, at 1:50 p.m. in the 1600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and at 9:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Spruce Street.

There was a robbery at 2:45 p.m. at Grant Street and Channing Way.

There was a report of an injury collision at Telegraph and Ashby avenues at 3:18 p.m. that possibly involved a semi-truck and pedestrian. According to the preliminary investigation, a driver in a Volvo station wagon heading north on Telegraph was turning right onto Ashby when he struck a female pedestrian. The pedestrian’s injuries were classified as serious, but she was expected to survive, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

There was a misdemeanor sexual assault at 5 p.m. in the 2600 block of Shattuck Avenue.

A vehicle was stolen at 10 p.m. at Le Roy Avenue and Cedar Street. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Nonprofit accuses city of Berkeley of ‘unethical contracting practices’ for new homeless center

Berkeley's new approach to homeless services. Image: City of Berkeley
Print Friendly

The city of Berkeley says it will change its commission recommendation process after a community agency brought allegations of serious conflicts of interest during a recent bid for municipal funding.

Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) raised these concerns in an April 16 letter to city officials after bidding to run a new one-stop homelessness services center for which the city plans to issue a contract next month.

Read more about homelessness in Berkeley.

BOSS and one other agency, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project (BFHP), put in bids in December to run the new center. Both service organizations are based in Berkeley, and have worked in the city since the early 1970s. BOSS requested $450,145 to run the center, and the BFHP requested $996,899 for the job. The city’s Homelessness Commission and city manager have recommended that the contract go to the BFHP, and council is slated to make its decision next month.

The commission report said only that the BOSS application did “not contain all of the necessary functions” required by the city in its request for proposals.

BOSS challenged the commission recommendation in April, saying two Homeless Commission members affiliated with the BFHP and another group, YEAH, should not have taken part in the discussions. BOSS wrote that their “organizations will gain financial resources as a result of their participation in the funding discussions and eventual funding recommendations” made by the commission and the city. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Crime

5 charged after Telegraph Avenue fight leaves 3 victims

An officer keeps watch outside Pappy's on Telegraph in 2013 (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Five men were charged this week after a dispute that began over a spurned dance invitation inside Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, police said.

According to court papers, the men “had possibly ‘thrown up’ gang signs and yelled that they were affiliated with a gang” before the attack. The victims told police they had no gang affiliation and had not met their assailants before that night.

Police responded Sunday at about 1:50 a.m. to reports of a large fight on the corner of Telegraph and Durant Avenue, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman.

Coats said one group of people had been inside Pappy’s, at 2367 Telegraph, when members of another group approached and asked some women to dance. The women refused. According to court papers, the first group had been celebrating a birthday.

“The suspects left and there were no other issues inside the business,” Coats said.

The birthday group left and was standing on the corner when violence struck. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Police arrest 3, with replica gun, tied to BHS fight

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Police have arrested an Oakland man and two teenagers with a replica gun who authorities say planned to help with a fight involving two Berkeley High students on Wednesday.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, police learned from Berkeley High earlier in the day about “a group of students from Oakland who were coming to Berkeley to fight.”

School staff, in response, asked students to stay on campus at lunch and limited visitor access to the campus, at 1980 Allston Way.

Coats said police worked with Berkeley High staff and assigned officers to watch the area surrounding the school to help keep the area safe.

During the lunch period, police contacted three Oakland residents — one of whom was later found to have a replica gun — who said they had come to Berkeley to help with a fight between two Berkeley High students, said Coats. Police detained the trio on Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

City may boost affordable housing with density bonus

This proposed four-story, 23-unit project on San Pablo Avenue is partially funded by Berkeley’s Housing Trust Fund. Image: HKIT Architects
Print Friendly

The city of Berkeley is looking at how to build up its affordable housing stock by giving developers an alternative to a state law that grants them extra density in exchange for including affordable units on site.

Under the proposal, from Mayor Tom Bates and Councilman Laurie Capitelli, developers of rental housing seeking a density bonus would not have to include below-market-rate units in their projects. They would instead pay new fees that could potentially bring millions into the city’s Housing Trust Fund for affordable housing, Bates said.

The state density bonus allows developers who include 11% below-market-rate units meeting very-low-income standards to add 35% more units to the project. Council previously created a $20,000-per-unit fee for developers who prefer not to include affordable units on site and do not seek the density bonus. But most projects that have come before the city have elected to take the bonus — to get the extra units — which has meant that little money has come into the city’s Housing Trust Fund. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,
Community

Berkeley man strikes lotto jackpot twice, wins $5M

Roberto Dos Santos. Photo: California Lottery
Print Friendly

Berkeley native Roberto Dos Santos won $5 million on a California Lottery ticket last Friday, just months after a $1,000 win on a prior ticket, lotto officials announced Tuesday.

Dos Santos bought his recent winning “Scratchers” ticket at the 7-Eleven at 1501 University Ave., at Sacramento Street.

“I screamed!” said Dos Santos, in a prepared statement, of the moment he realized he won. Continue reading »

Tagged
Transportation

Berkeley Bicycle Plan workshop draws a crowd

Attendees at Monday's bike plan workshop gave feedback about what they like, and don't like, about cycling in Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

More than 100 people turned out Monday night to offer feedback to the city of Berkeley, which is updating its Bicycle Plan for the first time in over a decade.

The city held a public workshop on the bike plan at the Central Library, complete with interactive exhibits, snacks and activities for children.

The plan itself, which was adopted in 2000, is an overview of the city’s existing bike networks, facilities and programs. It discusses local bike use, problems in the infrastructure and how cycling fits into the city’s overall sustainability goals. The update will help the city figure out how to improve its facilities going forward, and get a better sense of existing conditions.

Participants perused informative displays — many of which sought comments in various ways — that were set up around the library’s community room. They included data about who is cycling in Berkeley, the economic benefits of cycling, attitudes of local residents about cycling, funding for bike projects, collision information and much more.

Eric Anderson, a transportation planner for the city, called the turnout “incredible.”  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Government

The Lowdown: Berkeley council on density bonus, housing plans, public budgeting, solar taskforce, water cutbacks

Berkeley City Council, Jan. 27, 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. with a worksession on social service funding for the next two fiscal years. At its regular 7 p.m. meeting, council is set to vote on that plan, which includes funding related to homelessness and other services. Also on the action calendar: a proposal for a new city “density bonus” approach for developers, and a plan to engage citizens with the city’s budget. Council is also set to consider whether to establish a “solar taskforce” to help the city increase its solar energy capacity. N.B.: An item on the city’s approach to mini-dorms, as well as fraternities and sororities, has been postponed (again) until the fall. … Continue reading »

Tagged ,
Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 9-15

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.
Print Friendly

This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@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. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern.

From April 9-15, there were reports of two robberies16 burglaries19 assaults or batteries, no weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 13 stolen vehicles11 disturbances and 31 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Reported incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included one burglary and four vandalism calls. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

Thursday, April 9

There were two home burglaries, at 11:30 a.m. in the 1700 block of Walnut Street, and at 9 p.m. in the 1700 block of Portland Avenue.

A 53-year-old Berkeley woman was hit in a crosswalk by a vehicle just after noon. She was knocked to the ground but declined transportation to the hospital, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. The woman had been crossing Spruce Street at Marin Avenue when the driver turned onto Spruce from Marin and hit her. Coats said the driver, a 67-year-old Kensington man, failed to yield to the woman in the crosswalk, which was the apparent cause of the collision.

A 78-year-old Berkeley man walking on Vine Street at about 4:30 p.m. was struck in the crosswalk by a vehicle at Martin Luther King Jr. Way, according to Coats. Coats said the driver, a 73-year-old Emeryville woman, had been southbound on Martin Luther King approaching Vine when she hit the man, who had been walking east in the crosswalk. The man was taken to Highland Hospital with serious injuries. Police do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision. The man’s injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Coats said.

There was a felony sexual assault at 6 p.m. in the 2000 block of Shattuck Avenue.

There was a commercial burglary at 6 p.m. in the 1600 block of Bonita Avenue.

Two vehicles were stolen, at 7 p.m. in the 800 block of Bancroft Way, and at 10:49 p.m. at California and Derby streets. Police arrested Shamari Thompson, 26, in connection with the second incident. He is no longer in custody but is scheduled to return to court April 27 for a preliminary examination hearing.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Counter Culture coffee roaster arrives in Emeryville

The front room and tasting table at Counter Culture. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

National coffee wholesaler and barista training organization Counter Culture is launching its new roastery in Emeryville on Friday — just blocks from the Berkeley border — with a free tasting at 10 a.m., followed by an open house Saturday to show off the new space.

The facility is generally not open to the public, and isn’t set up for retail, but the open house, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, will feature brewing workshops, limited-edition giveaways and more. Counter Culture also has “Tasting@Ten” sessions every Friday morning, which are free and open to all.

The North Carolina-based coffee roaster celebrated its 20-year anniversary last weekend. Until now, its only roasting facility has been in Durham, North Carolina. The new Emeryville roastery will give Counter Culture a West Coast presence that will allow it to speed up shipping and deliver a fresher product to customers, which include both coffee shops and restaurants, said Nathan Brown, a company spokesman. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Berkeley bike festival, cycling plan open house coming up

Get your bike on with two important events coming up in Berkeley in the next week. Photo: Bikes in Berkeley
Print Friendly

Berkeley cycling aficionados have two big events coming up in the next week: the city’s third annual Bikes in Berkeley Festival on Sunday, followed by an open house Monday focused on a major update to the city’s Bicycle Plan.

The Bikes in Berkeley Festival is scheduled to take place Sunday at Malcolm X Elementary School, 1731 Prince St. (between Ellis and King streets), from noon to 4 p.m. It is set to kick off with a family cycling workshop (more information and a pre-registration form is here), followed by a youth bike swap (details here) and the festival itself.

The festival, called Fiesta de la Tierra — a nod in part to this week’s Earth Day (on Wednesday) — will have a bike and helmet decoration station, a “bike rodeo” to practice rules of the road, helmet fittings, bike-blended smoothies, bicycle-inspired entertainment, a cargo bike demo station, “and a whole lot more to inspire, educate and encourage bicycle riding,” according to organizers. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,