Author Archives: Guest contributor

Op-ed: Measure R will kill emerging downtown renaissance

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Berkeley has an international reputation as a free-thinking, expressive, welcoming and experimental city.  The current battle over the city’s downtown and November’s Measure R contradicts this image of ourselves, and in the worst possible way.

While promoted as a “soak-the-evil-developers” proposal, in reality Measure R is a thinly disguised attempt to freeze Berkeley in the past and wall off a potentially larger and more vibrant downtown to new residents. Rather than being progressive and welcoming, Measure R will keep people … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Measure D — a doctor’s perspective

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I am a Berkeley doctor. I support Measure D, and want to comment on specious and incorrect arguments by Jill Herschman and Dan McDunn, both of whom argued against the measure in op-ed pieces published on Berkeleyside.

I assume that the flyers with the allegations summarized below, and distributed door to door with the statement “Paid for by No on D ….” by the American Beverage Association PAC ” do contain original belief statements written by the two Berkeley residents named … Continue reading »

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Out of Darkness walk aims to end silence around suicide

Two people at the Out o Darkness Walk stop in front  of a makeshift remembrance of those who have committed suicide. Photo: Vivian Liu
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By Katherine Griffin

Nine years ago this month, Dale Boland’s son Gulliver took his own life. He was just 14.

In the months that followed, Boland, a  music teacher in Berkeley, remembers her family’s grieving being compounded by how hard it was to talk openly about the way Gulliver died. “People don’t talk about suicide,” she said. “It just has such a stigma.”

That’s beginning to change.

On Saturday Oct. 18,  Boland, her 17-year-old daughter Marielle, and several friends, were among more than 600 people who gathered before dawn at Lake Merritt for the sixth annual Out of the Darkness walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The walk, one of several hundred held each year around the country, is intended to give survivors of suicide loss a way to grieve and publicly remember their loved ones — and to help end the silence and shame that still keeps suicide hidden. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Linda Maio is not the best environmental candidate

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The Sierra Club Bay Chapter made a big mistake when it endorsed incumbent Linda Maio for Berkeley City Council.

In 2013, Maio led the move to gut a proposed ordinance that would have improved the information that dental patients receive about mercury dental amalgam fillings. She killed the mandates that two Berkeley commissions had spent six months crafting, which included informed consent for dental patients and signage requirements for dental offices.

Pro-environment Councilmember Arreguín and others tried to continue the issue for further study, but Maio, in her leadership role as Vice-Mayor, convinced the majority … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Support Berkeley’s important cell phone safety bill

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Working at schools sites across Berkeley, I constantly see students carrying cell phones in their pockets and using them when they should be in class. It seems every year, younger and younger children are using cell phones.

Yet how many people are aware of the fine print safety warnings hidden in nearly every cell phone manual? Some manuals such as the BlackBerry even instruct users to keep the “device at least .98 in. (25 mm) from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women and … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Vote no on Measure R — it’s a misleading initiative

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Most of us want a new downtown; why are we asked over and over to keep the old one? Why do we have to fight another misleading initiative — Measure R?

After years of debate on a plan to revitalize our downtown, we had the first initiative campaign to stop it, and a subsequent election, in which the plan was approved overwhelmingly by voters in every precinct in Berkeley. It provided for a new green downtown with new housing for … Continue reading »

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Emma Goldman: Still too hot to handle? UC Berkeley set to pull plug on anarchist’s archive

Emma Goldman in a mug shot taken in 1901. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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By Rebecca Spence / J Weekly

As UC Berkeley celebrates the 50th anniversary of the free speech movement this month, a long-simmering feud over funding for the Emma Goldman Papers — an archival project dedicated to the life and work of the iconic Jewish radical and free speech advocate — is coming to a head.

After 34 years of UC Berkeley affiliation, and more than $1.2 million of funding spread across the decades, the project could be reaching the end of the line. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Big Tobacco and Big Oil have no place in Berkeley politics

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If you’ve lived and voted in Berkeley for a long time, as I have, you’ve no doubt noticed that our election campaigns typically pit one Democrat against another with nary any interest from anyone outside the East Bay. Now that has changed.

For the first time ever, two “independent expenditure” committees, or PACs, have already spent more than $200,000 in the contest for the 15th Assembly District seat, which encompasses all of Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, and North Oakland plus several … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Soda Tax is wrong formula, regardless of ideology

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Next month, voters in Berkeley and their neighbors across the Bay in San Francisco will go to the polls to determine whether their cities would be the first in the country to pass taxes on sugar- sweetened beverages. Berkeley’s “Measure D,” a 1-cent-per-ounce proposal, would mean a 50 percent cost increase for soda in the checkout lane. San Francisco’s two-cent-per-ounce “Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Ordinance” could double the cost of a twelve-pack of soda. But the hit on their wallets is … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: School district overcrowding is an opportunity that begins as a problem

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Last week’s Berkeley School Board meeting kicked off a series of important community input meetings to address the issue of overcrowding in our schools. Parents from local elementary schools shared observations about how increasing demands on our teachers, classrooms, schoolyards and cafeterias undermine the quality education that we want for Berkeley’s kids.

Although our schools are overflowing, the school board meeting felt strangely empty. Four of our ten elementary schools were represented, and no middle school or high school parents … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley, not Big Soda, knows what’s best for Berkeley

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If an alien were to drop into Berkeley this election season, one could not fault her for presuming that the staunchest protector of our community’s collective wellbeing is the American Beverage Association, the bank and voice of Big Soda.

Loudly and ubiquitously, Big Soda professes its concern for us from placards plastered on our bus stops, bulletins be-decking our BART stations, campaign signs splashed around our traffic circles and roadway medians (the subject of a cease-and-desist letter from the City … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Refuse to be confused — vote Yes on Measure D

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As a Latino health professional, as a father of two, and as a citizen of Berkeley, I am voting Yes on Measure D.

The science that the overconsumption of sugary sweetened beverages can cause diabetes is not in dispute in the Berkeley initiative to place a 1 cent per ounce excise tax on the distributors who bring these products into our city. The research that shows that one out of every two African American and Latino children will get diabetes … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Bayer needs to come clean on Aspirin’s inventor

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This past March I attended the 100th birthday of my uncle. Many of my relatives were gathered, including cousins from Israel. I learned that one of our distant cousins, Arthur Eichengrün, invented Aspirin, the most widely used drug in the world, with over 50,000 tons of it consumed annually.

There’s understandable family pride in having such an illustrious ancestor. But for me in Berkeley, that pride is tainted because of the actions of Bayer — which has a large presence in … Continue reading »

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