Author Archives: Natalie Orenstein
A neighborhood group has sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following its decision to fund fire mitigation efforts in the East Bay hills.
Earlier this month, FEMA announced its decision to grant $5.67 million to the California Office of Emergency Services, which will distribute the funds to UC Berkeley, the city of Oakland, and the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) to remove tens of thousands of eucalyptus trees in the fire-prone hills. Immediately after, the Hills Conservation Network (HCN) filed a lawsuit against FEMA in federal court.
The HCN, a small group whose members live in Claremont Canyon, one of the areas covered by the grants, objects to the plan to “clearcut” the hills’ eucalyptus trees. … Continue reading »
The South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was remodeled two years ago, and soon it might be rechristened too.
On Feb. 10, the city council passed a proposal to rename the library, at 1901 Russell St., after Tarea Hall Pittman, a civil-rights leader who lived in South Berkeley and died in 1991. The Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) will have the final say on whether the change will be made.
Pittman “was just a pillar in the community,” said councilwoman Linda Maio, who sponsored the item. A community petition in support of the name change garnered over 2,000 signatures. … Continue reading »
Three parking spaces in front of Saul’s Deli at 1475 Shattuck Ave. could soon be replaced by greenery and public seating.
Saul’s owner Peter Levitt has applied for a permit to build a parklet, which would be the third approved under the city’s Parklets Pilot Program launched in July 2013. The first parklet opened in front of the Cheese Board Collective in August. A second one was scheduled to open shortly after the Cheese Board parklet, in front of Philz Coffee and Guerilla Café. That scheme ran into some obstacles but is back on track. … Continue reading »
BEGINNER’S PARKOUR CLASS Most Berkeleyside readers know the ins and outs of our city. So why not take a weekend to explore familiar terrain from a new vantage point: upside-down, in the air, or rolling over it. SFParkour hosts monthly introductory classes, which occasionally — such as this Saturday, Jan. 10 — take place at UC Berkeley. Parkour is a sport that involves moving quickly and creatively through obstacles in an urban environment. Participants in the class will learn the philosophy of parkour, safety tips, and the basic moves. Everyone is welcome, but attendees under 16 need parental permission. Wear comfortable clothes and running shoes, and meet at Mulford Hall (north of University Drive) at 12 p.m. … Continue reading »
BHS JAZZ ALUMNI IN THE BAY AREA Alumni of Berkeley High’s renowned jazz program are returning to their native East Bay to ring in the new year at a couple different venues. Brooklyn-based Zongo Junction, an energetic Afrobeat ensemble founded by BHS grad Charles Ferguson, will play at Leo’s (5447 Telegraph in North Oakland) on Friday, Jan. 2. The $20 show is 18+ and starts at 9 p.m. Here in Berkeley on the same night, the Chase Jackson Quintet will play at the California Jazz Conservatory (formerly the Jazzschool) at 2087 Addison St. The eponymous vibraphone player, who now lives in LA, is an alum of the BHS jazz program, and is bringing to the stage with him several other young Bay Area musicians. The $12 acoustic jazz show starts at 8 p.m. … Continue reading »
Two new lively mosaics — one in warm reds and yellows, the other in cool blues and greens — greet passers-by on either end of the Ashby border of Malcolm X Elementary School.
It’s the block where a kindergartener was hit by a car while she was walking to school in 2009. After receiving surgery on her fractured skull, the girl miraculously survived, but the incident shook the community and marked the Ashby and Ellis Street intersection as a danger zone.
Five years later, young artists from Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) placed the final tile on the colorful structures designed to promote safety in the area and notify drivers that they’re near a school. … Continue reading »
Despite being shaken by the appearance of effigies hanging from nooses on campus Saturday morning, UC Berkeley Black Student Union (BSU) leaders said they didn’t want that incident to affect their planned march against police killings of black people. Approximately 300 protesters met at Sproul Plaza at noon and, over the course of nearly three hours, marched to downtown Oakland to join forces with the larger “Millions March” demonstration that had gathered there.
Read more of Berkeleyside’s Berkeley protest coverage.
The march was calm, with the crowd following orders and cues from the BSU organizers in the front. Led by a car, the protesters walked up Bancroft Way to College Avenue, headed south, paused for about 20 minutes to occupy the intersection of College and Ashby avenues, and eventually continued onto Broadway. Police instructed the car to turn off College before entering Oakland. … Continue reading »
HOLIDAY MEAL Each year, dozens — and sometimes hundreds — of student volunteers come to school on a Saturday to serve the community’s homeless and low-income families a hot meal. With Bay Area housing in crisis, plenty of people could use the extra plate of food and holiday cheer this year. The annual Berkeley High Holiday Meal is Saturday, Dec. 13, and there’s still time to help. The event depends on donations — of food, funds, clothes, books, and toys. In past years they’ve collected thousands of pounds of canned goods. Fresh food donations will also be happily accepted on Friday, 4 p.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the main entrance to BHS on Milvia and Allston. Tax-deductible monetary donations are accepted in cash or as checks written to “BHS Student Activities” with “Holiday Meal” in the memo line. Email John Villavicencio email@example.com or (510) 644-8990 with questions. … Continue reading »
Berkeley Pastor Michael McBride: Brown’s death was the final straw that galvanized communities across the nation
Some people, angered by events in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY, take their protests to the streets in Berkeley. Others fly across the country to where the outrage began.
Pastor Michael McBride, who founded the progressive Way Christian Center congregation on University Avenue, recently returned from Ferguson. McBride has gained some national prominence as the leader of Live Free, a nationwide, faith-based campaign against gun violence and mass incarceration. Along with other members of Live Free, McBride has spent about half of his time in Ferguson since Michael Brown was killed on Aug. 9.
MSNBC viewers may have caught a fleeting image of McBride in Ferguson on Nov. 24 as Chris Hayes prepared to interview him. That was before what was assumed to be gunshots were heard and Hayes and the pastor were instructed by producers to leave the scene. (See the dramatic video, below)
While in Missouri, McBride and his colleagues led trainings in political organizing, voter engagement, and healing, and demonstrated alongside the locals.
In a sit-down interview with Berkeleyside conducted last week, before protests and riots erupted in Berkeley, McBride said he was surprised to see the severity of what he described as the “police state” in Missouri. … Continue reading »
HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING Thanksgiving is behind us, and the winter holidays are just around the corner. Downtown Berkeley is kicking off the season with its third annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration. It’s exactly what it sounds like — plus baked goods, holiday crafts for kids, and live music from the Berkeley Chamber Singers. Gather at the downtown BART Plaza on Friday, Dec. 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m to participate. Check in on Yelp for a free gift. Berkeleyside is a sponsor of the event. … Continue reading »
Earlier this year, some male students at Berkeley High School created “slut accounts” on Instagram. The accounts included photos of female students with misogynistic, sexual captions. A number of the instigators were suspended as a result. However, a group of students who have launched an anti-sexual harassment campaign on campus say the punishment doesn’t help curb the culture that set the stage for the incident in the first place.
Similarly, the student campaigners, mostly juniors and seniors, say the policy and preventive actions finally being taken in the wake of sexual assaults on college campuses nationwide are happening too late in students’ lives.
The group has launched “BHS Stop Harassing” with a goal to educate its peers about inappropriate behavior and where they can seek help — and to eventually improve what it perceives to be the vastly inadequate sexual harassment policy and preventive education at Berkeley High. … Continue reading »
BAHA’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY For four decades the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association has advocated for the preservation of Berkeley’s buildings and educated us about our city’s rich architectural history. The public is invited to join BAHA in a free celebration of its 40th anniversary on Sunday, Nov. 23. Members of BAHA and special guests will train their historical lens on their own organization for an afternoon, tracking their origins, roadblocks, and accomplishments. RSVP for the free event by calling (510) 841-2242. The celebration lasts from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the First Church of Christ at 2619 Dwight Way. There will be cake. For those who can’t make it to the event, BAHA’s past is illuminated in an anniversary web series BAHA History, Year by Year. … Continue reading »