Author Archives: Guest contributor

Op-ed: We must address the affordability crisis faced by Berkeley teachers

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Recently a fifth grade student in my class told me that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. I was incredibly pleased, a bright young person deciding that they want to be an educator is an amazing thing. It also made me feel pretty proud that perhaps I had played a role in inspiring such an ambition.

However, another part of me wonders what will the teaching profession look like ten years from now when she is graduating … Continue reading »

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Urban planning

Op-ed: Let’s build the housing that Berkeley needs

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Berkeley is in urgent need of affordable housing. We do NOT need more market-rate and upscale rentals and condos; that need has been more than adequately served. We need housing for families and low-income people who are being pushed out of Berkeley.

The adult children of middle class families cannot find affordable housing in their hometown. If Berkeley is to retain its valued character based on economic, racial, and cultural diversity, we must slow the rapidly rising rents that encourage … Continue reading »

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Obituaries

Cheryl Marsh, much-loved educator in Berkeley community

Cheryl
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Cheryl Marsh, for 31 years a speech therapist and teacher for Berkeley Unified School District where she created and ran a model special education program for children with severe communication disabilities, died peacefully at her home in Berkeley on March 12.

Cheryl, who retired in 2012, was 68.

With her son, Evan Marsh, her sister, Gail Craver of Syracuse, New York, and life partner Don Klose at her bedside, she died after battling advanced ovarian cancer for two and a … Continue reading »

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The Campanile at 100: The woman of the tower

Tthe Campanile and the Golden Gate Bridge across the bay, seen from the hills east of campus. Photo: UC Berkeley
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By Gretchen Kell

The Campanile is the most distinctive building of the Berkeley skyline. It turns 100 this year and in honor of its anniversary, UC Berkeley has been holding special events. Gretchen Kell, who writes for UC’s NewsService, interviewed the woman at the top of the tower.

If you’ve ever taken an elevator ride in the Jane K. Sather Campanile, you’ve probably met Lilyanne Clark. “I spend four hours in the elevator a day,” she says, matter-of-factly, “and on busy days, I can make 10 to 15 round trips an hour.” That’s up to 60 round trips daily. It’s a question she thinks she’s answered nearly as many times.

There are other questions Clark prefers to answer. Having worked at the Campanile since 1993, she enjoys sharing her colorful experiences as the tower’s keeper and as a Visitor Services staffer who helps show the public this iconic Bay Area treasure. Last year, more than 100,000 people took a tour, and the crowds grow annually. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley should ease parking rules for in-law units

The interior of the ADU designed by Motzkin.  Photo: Patricia Motzkin Architecture
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As we know, our population is aging and more people are confronting the need to plan for appropriate living arrangements. An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), either for a caretaker’s apartment or as a downsizing option, is becoming increasingly popular. The concept is not new. Commonly known as “in-law” units, these small dwelling spaces exist in a variety of forms, from basement or attic apartments to independent structures.

A major advantage of adding an ADU is that people don’t have to leave … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: In Berkeley, how much tolerance is too much?

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In preparation for relocating to Berkeley five years ago, I arranged to pick up some moving boxes. It turns out, the couple giving me the boxes had just moved from Berkeley. When I asked why they left, they shared some nervous laughter and said something about getting out of there as quickly as they could. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to flee from Berkeley, a small city known for tolerance, fruit trees, beautiful weather, and a world-class university … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Berkeley’s new homeless vote: A victory of style over substance

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For a city that prides itself on substance on the issues of environment, free speech, locavore food politics, etc., Berkeley embarrassed itself Tuesday night on the substantive issue of caring for some of its neediest community members, opting for style over substance in the form of tidy sidewalks.

Tuesday night the Berkeley City Council rejected the will of Berkeley voters by resurrecting and moving forward with anti-homeless measures that were voted down in 2014 with the defeat of Measure S.

Though not … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: The Berkeley tax may have passed, but the campaign has not ended for Big Soda

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For us in Berkeley, the historic campaign to pass Measure D (the soda tax) ended on Nov. 4, 2014, when over 76% of Berkeley overwhelmingly voted yes. Yet the campaign has not ended for Big Soda.

Having spent over $2 million (almost $50 per voter!) during the campaign, Big Soda has embarked on a campaign to discredit Measure D even before it has a chance to take effect.

In a recent Berkeleyside article, a few distributors expressed concerns regarding … Continue reading »

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In memoriam: Lee Marsh, Berkeley commissioner, co-founder of the JCC East Bay

Lee Marsh
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By Nicki Gilbert

Lee Marsh, beloved husband, grandfather, father, friend, and inspiring community leader, passed away on March 7 at the age of 96.

As one of the very first people to recognize the need for a new communal Jewish home in the East Bay, Lee had a profound impact on the Bay Area Jewish community. In 1978, together with Esther Redel and Ursula Sherman, he co-founded the JCC East Bay.

Their vision to create an educational and cultural center … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Smokefree housing: Berkeley scores a win for public health and citizens’ wallets

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Do you or someone you live with smoke? If you answered “no” to this question you already may know that smoking and secondhand smoke isn’t your problem, but research proves that other factors may still affect you.

According to “The Cost of Smoking in California” (1) a report released in October 2014, smoking costs Alameda County $702,063 per year, which works out to be a whopping $467 per every resident whether they smoke or not. The total number represents the … Continue reading »

Celebrating the life of artist and curator Susan O’Malley

Susan-OMalley_Art-Moves-Festival_Poland-2012
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By /KQED

Many people far and wide are reeling from news of the sudden passing of beloved Bay Area artist and curator Susan O’Malley (1976-2015), who collapsed on Feb. 25 and never regained consciousness while in her last week of pregnancy with twins, who survived only briefly. It is a catastrophic loss that cannot be softened. Now we must do the painful work of focusing on the life she lived and the optimism in her work, even as we grapple with incomprehensible tragedy. It is the only way forward to honor her life and celebrate her legacy.

O’Malley’s artwork is deeply engaged in social practice, participatory exchanges, public art and positive messaging. Often drawn from conversations, the work is generally text-based and takes the form of prints, posters and buttons, large-scale vinyl signage and billboards, as well as interventions, among other media. As a curator she worked with hundreds of artists to organize exhibitions for numerous organizations — she is widely recognized as a champion of diversity across culture, gender and age. Her rare generosity of spirit provided a tremendous example for those around her, myself included. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Rep trains the next generation of theater pros

The 2014-2015 class of Berkeley Rep fellows. Photo: Berkeley Rep
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By Michael Berry

For 15 exemplary recipients, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Fellowship program is world-class learning opportunity, a chance to immerse themselves for eleven and a half months in the business and artistry of an award-winning theater company.

Sponsored by American Express and administered through the Rep’s School of Theatre, the program provides hands-on experience in a wide array of artistic, administrative and production disciplines, including development, marketing, dramaturgy, costuming, stage management and scenic design. It has served as a launching pad for exceptionally talented individuals who have forged acclaimed careers in the Bay Area and elsewhere.

One fellowship in particular serves as a reminder of a promising theater career cut off too soon. The Bret C. Harte Directing (Artistic Administration) fellowship, the first of three named fellowships, recognizes the legacy of a young director from Moraga, killed in a car accident in March 2005. Past recipients include Marissa Wolf, Director of New Works at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and Mina Morita, recently hired as Artistic Director at Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco. … Continue reading »

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Obituaries

In memoriam: William Ker “Sandy” Muir

Muir
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William Ker “Sandy” Muir, 83, died Feb. 26, 2015.

Born Oct.30, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan, Muir taught political science at UC Berkeley from 1968 and finished his last class in 2012. The recipient of several teaching awards, Muir also authored five books, the last of which, “Freedom in America,” was published in 2011.

He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Paulette, his two daughters, Kerry and Hattie, three grandchildren, Mac, Joey and Maggie, and his elder brother, Howie, of … Continue reading »

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