Author Archives: Guest contributor

Opinionator

Op-ed: How should water be priced in Berkeley?

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What does it cost for a typical Berkeley residential customer to use 500 gallons of water a month? 5,000 gallons? 10,000 gallons?

Given the scope of the drought California is experiencing, the results may surprise you.* After you pay the service charge, water is less than a penny per gallon in Berkeley, no matter how much you use.

As you can see in the chart above, a 500-gallon customer pays about $36/month, whereas a 10,000-gallon customer pays about $140/month. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: The Berkeley Library should apply larger view in naming its buildings

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On Wednesday April 22 at 6:30 p.m., the Board of Library Trustees will meet at the South Branch Library at 1901 Russell St. to review its naming policy and to hear requests to rename the South Branch to honor Tarea Hall Pittman.

The Berkeley Public Library’s Naming Policy strongly favors naming branch libraries only for their geographical location — north, south etc. The Policy sets stringent requirements for naming any of the libraries after any person except “the … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Reforming Prop 13 will benefit our Berkeley schools

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The public school spring gala season is upon us, an annual ritual in which Berkeley parents get to shell out for a bunch of stuff we don’t want in order to bail out our kids’ cash-strapped schools. But there’s a better to raise money for public schools: tax reform.

California voters will soon have a chance to rectify one of the biggest blunders ever to plague the Golden State: Prop 13. Passed in 1978, Prop 13 froze property taxes for … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Down the garden path with Berkeley City Council

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“The City’s budget is a reflection of City policies, goals, and priorities. The budget process assigns resources to address the goals, objectives, and community priorities set by the City Council.” Christine Daniels, City Manager

When the parks tax (Measure F) was passed by an overwhelming majority last fall, most residents probably assumed that the revenue raised would go toward finally fixing the dilapidated state of the city’s parks. After all, all the city council members were firmly on board … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Berkeley needs a better parks, facilities plan

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Berkeley has been ambitious in trying to make our city as beautiful and livable as possible. We have 52 parks, five community centers, 38 picnic areas, three camps, two pools, a marina, and 95 facilities (aka buildings). And that’s only a partial list.

That’s wonderful for a city our size. But… we don’t have the money to maintain it all. That became clear at a March 24 workshop for the City Council where the Parks, Recreation & Waterfront and Public … Continue reading »

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Take a tour of Cal’s historic trees with new phone app

This eucalyptus grove was planted in 1877. Photo: UC Berkeley
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By Cathy Cockrell, UCB NewsCenter 

The London plane trees on the Campanile Esplanade were brought to Berkeley about a century ago, as young saplings, from San Francisco, where they’d been planted for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. And the stately southern magnolia on the north end of Sproul Hall belongs to an ancient group of plants whose large, cup-shaped blossoms evolved to catch beetles.

That’s a little of what you’ll learn from a campus guided tour created by the College of Natural Resources and introduced during last week’s conference at Berkeley celebrating the National Parks’ centennial. … Continue reading »

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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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