Author Archives: Lance Knobel

Events

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Edible Schoolyard. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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EDIBLE SCHOOLYARD The annual plant sale and celebration at King Middle School’s Edible Schoolyard opens on Saturday, May 10 at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. Get your garden off to a strong start with tomatoes, vegetables, fruit trees and berries, herbs, perennials, annual flowers, and more. Plenty of gardening advice for novices and experts alike. In addition to the plants, there’s locally food, student-guided tours of the garden, music, and raffle prizes (dinner for two at Chez Panisse Café anyone?). Edible Schoolyard, King Middle School, 1781 Rose St. … Continue reading »

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Community survey shows difficulties for ballot measures

No city has yet been successful in passing a sugar-sweetened beverages tax. Will Berkeley be first? Photo: Vox Efx
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A second round survey of likely voters in Berkeley reveals the difficulty some likely ballot measures will face for passage in November.

The City Council commissioned the survey to test the waters for potential ballot measures. The first council-directed survey done in early March showed good support for a potential tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Other measures, including a parks parcel tax, commercial vacancy tax, and a pools bond, received tepid support. The latest survey, done in the second week of April, showed diminished support for the sugar tax, some hope for supporters of the commercial vacancy tax, and a continuing struggle for parks funds.  … Continue reading »

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Schools

BHS principal Scuderi moves to assistant superintendent

Pascuale Scuderi at Berkeley High. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Pasquale Scuderi, principal of Berkeley High School since 2010, will become Berkeley Unified’s assistant superintendent for educational services at the end of this school year. Scuderi will take over the role from Neil Smith who is retiring after 25 years with the district.

“The upside to this is that I could move along my career trajectory and still remain connected to the work we’re doing here at Berkeley High,” Scuderi said. “But it’s certainly a little bittersweet. I’ve not really connected yet with what it will mean not being with the kids on a daily basis.”  … Continue reading »

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Cal Performances season offers ‘world-beating innovation’

Robert Wilson's production of The Old Woman, with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe. Photo: Courtesy of Cal Performances
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Cal Performances this week announced its 2014-15 season, which includes cellist Yo Yo Ma performing Bach solo cello suites, Robert Wilson’s production of Daniil Kharms’ The Old Woman, with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe, a residency with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Australian Ballet’s Swan Lake (which includes the love triangle of Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles), and Project TenFourteen, where the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players perform ten world premiers.

“You have world-beating innovation here,” said Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of London’s Barbican Centre, at the launch of the program. “Anywhere in the world would be envious of what you have in this season.”  … Continue reading »

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Judge rules for council-majority-approved map in bitter Berkeley redistricting battle

The BSDC map approved by Judge Grillo will be used in November, unless an appeal overturns the decision.
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Judge Evelio Grillo ruled today in favor of using the council-majority-approved district lines in the November 2014 election. Grillo heard closing arguments in City of Berkeley v. Tim Dupuis and Mark Numainville Tuesday.

In a 35-page opinion, Grillo determined that the council-approved map, also called the BSDC map, “is the one that best complies with meeting the mandates of equal protection and minimizing any disruption to the election process.”  … Continue reading »

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News

Berkeley ranks 10th for income inequality among U.S. cities

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News and financial information giant Bloomberg ranks Berkeley the city with the tenth highest income inequality in the country.

Berkeley’s rank is based on Bloomberg’s computation of the Gini coefficients for 300 cities with more than 100,000 people in the U.S. A Gini coefficient of 0 would represent perfect equality (everyone with the same income), while a coefficient of 1 would show perfect inequality (one person with all the income). Bloomberg calculates an average Gini in U.S. cities of 0.4757. Berkeley’s Gini is 0.5438. Atlanta, Ga. has the most income inequality, according to Bloomberg, with a Gini of 0.5882.  … Continue reading »

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Events

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Berkeley CERT training, May 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FAIR The city of Berkeley is holding a free fair to encourage emergency preparedness on Saturday, Apr. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Berkeley BART station. The theme this year is on protecting kids and pets, and among the demonstrations will be one on pet first aid and hands-only CPR led by the Red Cross, and one on animal safety, led by Berkeley Humane. In addition, there’s live music, food, children’s activities, survival demonstrations, fire extinguisher practice and family preparedness games. North Berkeley BART, 1750 Sacramento St.   … Continue reading »

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Mayor proposes East Bay regional minimum wage

Mayor Tom Bates. March 5, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates today proposed that a number of East Bay cities, including Berkeley, join together to enact a regional minimum wage.

Bates’ proposal comes little more than a week before the Berkeley City Council holds a special meeting on a citywide minimum wage on May 1. Richmond has already had the first reading of a minimum wage ordinance, and a minimum wage initiative for the November ballot is being circulated in Oakland.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Council hears minimum wage increase pleas

Waiters at Comal. Photo: Postcard PR
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Berkeley’s adoption of an increased minimum wage moved a step closer this week. The City Council heard a long line of advocates urging adoption a $10.74 minimum wage for employees in Berkeley.

The City Council will have a special meeting on May 1 on a minimum wage ordinance.

The Commission on Labor’s recommendation to the Council is to set a $10.74 minimum wage (the same as San Francisco’s) for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and non-profits, to include a medical benefit requirement, and to adjust the minimum wage annually in line with CPI. For “corporate franchises” or businesses with over 50 employees, the commission recommends a minimum wage increase to “the equivalent of the Berkeley Living Wage,” which is currently $13.34 per hour. … Continue reading »

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News

5 Berkeley stories you will not want to miss

Freshly picked asparagus are washed off at the Willard Middle School garden. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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Every week, Berkeleyside publishes dozens of articles about what’s going on in Berkeley. You’re busy — some of them might have passed you by. Here are five stories we think you’ll want to catch up on. 

1. Police respond to 3 shootings this week

Two shootings on Harmon Street in South Berkeley and one on Bonar Street in West Berkeley raised safety issues around the city.

2. School district finds funding for reduced gardening program

Berkeley’s famed school cooking … Continue reading »

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Berkeley teachers, district, reach tentative agreement

Berkeley teachers protest
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Berkeley Unified School District and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers have reached tentative agreement on a 2013-2015 contract, subject to ratification by the school board and the BFT. Agreement seven months into the school year is rapid compared to some recent contract negotiations.

In the agreement, all teacher wages, including salaries, stipends, daily rates and hourly rates, will be adjusted to reflect a 1.5% increase backdated to July 1, 2013, and an additional one-time bonus payment equal to 2.0% of the teacher’s 2013-2014 salary. Each teacher will also receive a 2.0% increase effective July 1 this year.  … Continue reading »

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Smitten: High-tech, organic ice cream to Rockridge

Smitten founder Robyn Sue Fisher started her business serving ice cream out of a red Radio Flyer wagon. Photo: Smitten
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The dreams of most Stanford MBA students tend to Silicon Valley start-ups, prestigious consulting firms, and high-paying investment banks. It’s a fair bet that Robyn Sue Fisher is unique: she spent the first two years after graduated from Stanford prototyping an ice cream machine.

What was a quixotic quest at the start has grown into the acclaimed Smitten ice cream business, which plans to open its first East Bay outpost at 5800 College Ave. in Rockridge on April 1.

“I was naive and optimistic,” Fisher said. “It took two years and all my life savings to get a prototype.”  … Continue reading »

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Events

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Yiddish singer Anthony Russell
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CONVERGENCE One of the highlights of this year’s Jewish Music Festival will be Sunday night’s performance of Convergence by Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, together with Bay Area klezmer trio Veretski Pass. “I knew no precedent of a Yiddish song organically growing out of a Negro Spiritual, but inside my own head — and I hesitate to say this, but in my heart — I felt I didn’t particularly need a precedent,” explains Russell. Convergence combines diverse strains of traditional Jewish and African-American music to explore exile, spirituality, hope and redemption. The performance includes animation work by San Francisco-based artist Meredith Leich. Tickets ($25, $22 for students, seniors and JCC East Bay members) are available from Brown Paper Tickets. 7 p.m. Sunday, March 23, JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St.  … Continue reading »

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