Author Archives: Frances Dinkelspiel

City Council moves temporarily to school board building

BUSD board room Photo Google StreetView
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The Berkeley City Council is packing up and moving its meetings.

Tonight will be one of the last times that council convenes at Old City Hall, at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way – at least for a few months.

Starting March 15, council will meet in the Berkeley Unified School District boardroom at 1231 Addison St. behind its HQ at 2020 Bonar St. It is part of a two-and-a-half-month pilot program through May 31 to see if the school headquarters is an appropriate place to convene.

The City Council has been looking for a new meeting space since 2011 because its current space, in the Maudelle Shirek Building, is dilapidated, too small for large crowds, and not seismically safe. In addition, there aren’t many toilets and the elevator doesn’t always work, restricting access to the second-floor chambers. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 03.03.16

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Customers confront owner of bankrupt wine store

John Fox, (left) who co-owned the now bankrupt Premier Cru wine store, came to a creditors' hearing with three attorneys, including Dean D. Paik, his criminal defense attorney (standing to the right f Fox) Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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John Fox, the embattled co-owner of the wine retailer Premier Cru, faced some of his long-time customers at a creditors’ hearing in Oakland on Wednesday. But rather than explain how his Berkeley company went bankrupt, leaving $70 million in debts and only $7 million in assets, Fox took the Fifth Amendment more than 50 times.

If Fox’s criminal lawyer, Dean D. Paik, had had his way, Fox would not have even stayed around to assert his right to take the Fifth. Before the proceedings began, Paik asked Michael G. Kasolas, the bankruptcy trustee, and Mark Bostick, the trustee’s attorney, if his client could leave because he had no intention of answering any questions.

“There really is no point in having him sit here,” said Paik, a former federal prosecutor who now specializes in defending white-collar criminals. “What is his obligation to appear here? He isn’t the debtor. The debtor is a corporate entity.”

                                        Read more on the Premier Cru story.

Paik then expressed concern that Fox would receive a “public flogging,” at the hearing.

Bostick responded: “If you feel a corporation can file for bankruptcy and no one has to show up, you are mistaken.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Nabolom Bakery to reopen Monday

Aron Ford (left) will share baking duties at the new Nabolom Bakery. Here Ford and Julia Elliott discuss  details about the bakery. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Julia Elliott hasn’t been getting much sleep lately as she prepares to re-open Nabolom Bakery which shuttered in August 2015 after nearly 40 years operating in the Elmwood.

For the past few weeks, Elliott and her business partner, Sabra Stepak, have been on overdrive as they stripped away decades of grime from the space at 2708 Russell St., refurbished old but reliable baking equipment, updated the electrical systems, painted, and worked with two bakers to perfect recipes long loved by the community: cinnamon twists, cheese Danishes, challah, multigrain bread, and peanut butter, chocolate chip, and Snickerdoodle cookies, among other goods.

“Who sleeps?” Elliott, 48, said on Monday shortly after placing a large order with the rep from Challenge Butter. “I am working on two hours of sleep a night.”

The push is necessary because opening day is Monday, Feb. 29, at 7 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Former Berkeley High student, 20, dies in auto accident

David Ponce Garica, known as Tony, in 2012. Photo: Facebook
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Services will be held today and tomorrow for David Ponce Garcia, also known as Antonio or Tony, who died in a car crash Feb. 17 in an unincorporated part of Alameda County near Pleasanton.

Garcia, 20, attended Berkeley High School. He was killed when he pulled an illegal U-turn on Stanley Boulevard around 1:30 p.m., according to a CHP officer in the Dublin division. Another car traveling eastbound on Stanley Boulevard could not stop in time, broadsided Garcia’s car, and pushed it into a guardrail. The car caught on fire, killing Garcia.

There will be multiple services for Garcia, according to a sign posted at his mother’s store near Cole Coffee on College Avenue. There will be a Velación, or wake, from 4-8 p.m. Feb. 22 at Sunset View Cemetery at 101 Colusa Ave., El Cerrito.

On Feb. 23, there will be a mass at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph the Worker Church, 1640 Addison Ave. in Berkeley. That will be followed by a burial at Sunset View Cemetery. There will be a gathering to remember Garcia at the El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moser Lane, after the burial. … Continue reading »

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Van with $350,000 of rare books stolen; man arrested but books are missing

Berkeley police lead away Joshua Anderson, whom they arrested in connecting with selling stolen rare books at Moe's. The books came from a stolen van that contained $350,000 worth of books. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Berkeley police have arrested a man linked to the theft of $350,000 in rare books, but the books and the van they were housed in are still missing.

Police arrested Joshua Anderson, 30, of Concord after he and a companion allegedly tried to sell four of the stolen books — worth an estimated $13,000 — to Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue. Anderson, who had two outstanding warrants for his arrest, was arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property. He is being held on $45,000 bail in the Berkeley jail. His companion has not been apprehended.

The books belong to Lawrence Van De Carr, a Chicago rare-book dealer. Van De Carr had driven a 2008 silver Ford Econoline XLT van with 30 boxes of books to Pasadena last weekend for an antiquarian book fair. On Monday, he drove to Oakland to stay at a friend’s house. He parked the van outside the home in the 200 block of Whitmore St., near 51st and Pleasant Valley. When he got up Tuesday, Feb. 16, around 10 a.m., the van was gone, he said. … Continue reading »

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Heyday names Steve Wasserman as new publisher

Steve Wasserman will take over as publisher of Heyday in July. Photo: Yale University Prss
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Heyday has selected Yale University Press editor and Berkeley High graduate Steve Wasserman to be the company’s new publisher and executive director.

The selection of Wasserman, who is well respected in the book world, represents a monumental shift for the 41-year old company, which was founded by Malcolm Margolin in 1971. Margolin, a brilliant and idiosyncratic man whose book, The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area, was named as one of the 100 most important books of the twentieth century by a western writer by the San Francisco Chronicle, shaped the press through his humor and interest in nature, native culture, and California history. Margolin was famous for “adopting” people, inviting those he found interesting into the family of Heyday. He would mine everyone for their thoughts on what was important in the world and the state and he often converted those thoughts into books.

Wasserman also has deep roots in the West, although he has spent the last decade on the East Coast. He was editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review and was a chief architect of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, considered one of the most prestigious book festivals in the country. Wasserman is happy to be returning with his family to California, according to a release put out by Heyday. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 02.17.16

McGee Ave Valentines Day by Deborah Matthews. Photo taken Feb. 14, 2105

McGee Avenue Valentine’s Day by Deborah Matthews. Photo taken Feb. 14, 2016

Review: The new Berkeley Art Museum is a study in extremes (LA Times)
Forum considers ways to speed construction of affordable housing (CoCo Times)
Students rally against non-renewal of permits for food trucks (Daily Cal)
New apartment complex to open on Telegraph Avenue in March (Daily Cal)
Metallica’s Lars Urich and special guests to perform, talk at Cal (Daily Cal)
Nonprofit launches with ‘cradle to career’ approach (SF Chronicle)
Tenant advocates decry attempt to move eviction hearings to Hayward court (Express)

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Berkeley considers ways to build more affordable housing

City Council members talk to Cynthia Kroll, ABAG’s chief economist, at a special meeting to consider affordable housing issues. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Transferring development rights to allow for taller buildings. Increasing the amount of affordable housing required for large developments. Offering developers a discount if they pay into the Housing Trust Fund at the beginning of the development process rather than the end.

Read more about Berkeley affordable housing.

These were some of the ideas tossed around Tuesday night at a special city council meeting held to discuss affordable housing. While nothing was decided, the meeting brought together a broad array of people involved in housing, from economists at  the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), to UC Berkeley professors specializing in housing and gentrification, to developers, consultants, affordable housing developers, Berkeley planning staff, and people involved with government subsidized housing. … Continue reading »

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Troubles mount for Premier Cru as FBI steps in

In December 2011, John Fox was all smiles as he held large scissors to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of Premier Cru's new retail store at 1011 University Ave. Photo: Premier Cru
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The troubles of John E. Fox, the co-owner of the high-end wine company, Premier Cru, are mounting.

The FBI confirmed Wednesday that it is looking into the company, which filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 8 listing assets of $7 million and liabilities of $70 million.

Read more on the Premier Cru story.

“The FBI is investigating claims of a Ponzi scheme involving the Berkeley wine company Premier Cru,” said spokeswoman Michele Ernst. “It appears there is enough evidence that the FBI has determined an investigation is warranted.”

Ernst is asking anyone with complaints, concerns, or tips to email them at a specially created email address, premiercru.complaints@ic.fbi.gov. … Continue reading »

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Authors of new book on ADHD come to Berkeley to debunk myths, provide advice

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Hinshaw and Ellison explain the brain chemistry that causes ADHD, how a parent can get a diagnosis, and why it’s important to diagnose ADHD early. They take an impassionate approach to the question of taking drugs, but also discuss other approaches to controlling it, such as counseling and exercise – all in an easy to understand Q&A format.

The dedication gives a hint at the sense of humor that also pervades the book:”We dedicate [the book] to anyone who has ever wondered whether the occasional joy of spontaneity are worth the annual costs of replacing lost sunglasses, keys, and cell phones, and to everyone willing to make the effort to understand, appreciate, and occasionally forgive the blessings and challenges of neurodiversity.”

Hinshaw and Ellison will be talking about the book and ADHD at Books Inc. at 1491 Shattuck Ave. on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.

Berkeleyside: Isn’t ADHD just an excuse for bad parenting, lazy, bratty kids, and pill-poppers?

Hinshaw and Ellison: This is a prevalent myth — and one we spend a lot of time debunking in our book, in interviews, and in our public talks. Despite the skepticism and the stereotypes, substantial research has shown that ADHD is a strongly hereditary neurodevelopmental disorder. The quality of one’s parenting doesn’t create ADHD — although it can influence a child’s development — and children with this condition are not lazy but instead handicapped in their capacity to focus attention and keep still.  … Continue reading »

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Downtown Ace Hardware moving 2 blocks to Milvia Street

Ace Hardware will move to 2020 Milvia St. soon. Photo: Google Streetview
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Ace Hardware, which has been operating out of its space at 2145 University Ave. since 1945, will be moving sometime in the spring to 2020 Milvia St, just two blocks away.

Bill and Virginia Carpenter have to move their 16,000-square foot store because the building they are in is supposed to be extensively remodeled to make way for the 205-unit Acheson Commons apartment complex. (Equity Residential, which owns the entitlement rights to build Acheson Commons put them and its entire Berkeley portfolio up for sale last year, however.)

The Carpenters have been looking for a new space since 2012, even before the city council approved Acheson Commons in 2013. They almost moved into the old Andronico’s space on University Ave., but later decided it was not right for the store. Savers Thrift took over the space instead, but shut its doors in January.

The Carpenters wanted to stay in downtown Berkeley, where a version of the hardware store has been since 1895, said Bill Carpenter. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley commission shortlists 3 for cannabis dispensary

More than 50 people crowded into a room at City Hall on Feb. 4 to listen as the Medical Cannabis Commission selected three finalists for the fourth dispensary. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley’s Medical Cannabis Commission selected three finalists for the city’s coveted fourth dispensary opportunity Thursday. This despite the fact that a number of the commission’s members wanted to recommend all six dispensary finalists to the city council as a way to suggest that Berkeley needs more medical cannabis in the community.

The top vote getter was Berkeley iCann Health Center at 3243 Sacramento St. near Alcatraz Avenue. Its proprietor, Frances Sue Taylor, is a Berkeley resident who is on the board of the Alameda County Advisory Commission on Aging. iCann would focus on reaching out to the senior community, she said. Six commissioners put iCann at the top of their list.

Read more about medical cannabis issues in Berkeley.

The next highest vote getter was Berkeley Innovative Health, which would be located at 1229 San Pablo Ave., between Gilman and Harrison streets. Its proprietors are Shareef El-Sissi and Soufyan Abou-Ahmed and the dispensary would be modeled after their Garden of Eden dispensary in Hayward. Five commissioners put BIH near the top of their lists.

The third recommended dispensary is Berkeley Compassionate Care Center, which would be run out of the Ameoba Records building at 2465 Telegraph Ave. The owners of that dispensary would be Marc Weinstein and David Prinz. Its manager would be Debby Goldsberry, a founding member of the Berkeley Patients Group, and a board member of NORML, a nonprofit that has worked to legalize marijuana since its founding in 1970. BCC got four votes. … Continue reading »

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