Author Archives: Natalie Orenstein
UNCHARTED Wake up tomorrow morning and mingle with some of the most prominent and captivating thinkers across the disciplines. Berkeleyside presents the second annual Uncharted, a two-day festival jam-packed with stimulating discussion and debate. On Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25, festival speakers and participants will gather at Berkeley Rep and Freight & Salvage to engage with big, daring, and dangerous ideas. This year’s exciting program includes musings on robotics, new energy, stereotyping, marriage equality, and 3D printing. A few one and two-day passes are still available for the extravaganza, which lasts 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with workshops, coffee breaks, and a party on Friday evening. Find out more. … Continue reading »
Big outside money is playing a large role in California legislative races this year, and the East Bay is not immune to the trend.
Independent Expenditure committees have donated $265,600 so far in support of State Assembly District 15 candidate Tony Thurmond, a former Richmond city council member and $150,775 to his opponent, Elizabeth Echols, the regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Petroleum and cigarette interests are two of many contributors to the independent expenditure groups backing Thurmond, prompting Echols to send out mailers warning voters about the “Big Oil,” tobacco, and “predatory lenders” backing Thurmond.
But a firefighters union, the AFL-CIO, PG&E, and pharmaceutical and real estate groups have also been giving to the vaguely named independent expenditure (IE) committees that have been spending generously in support of Thurmond. Since the start of the year, the Alliance for California’s Tomorrow, A California Business Coalition (ACT) has reported spending $202,516 in support of the candidate. Keep California Strong has spent $63,084 and he has also received outside support from the nurses union PAC. … Continue reading »
BERKELEY CITY COLLEGE 40TH ANNIVERSARY Berkeley may be best known for one of its higher-ed institutions, but this week a much-deserved spotlight will be trained on the other. Although it has gone by many different names over the years, Berkeley City College has been producing scholars for four decades. BCC’s 40th anniversary celebration will kick off Friday, Oct. 17, and will continue with various events and activities throughout the coming year. Starting at noon, the day will be packed with discussion panels, live music, campus tours, and presentations by a host of officials including Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. At 5:15 p.m. there will be a dedication of “From the Ground Up/Desde las raices,” a brand new mural created by local artists including BCC students. The college is located at 2050 Center St. RSVPs are encouraged. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley is offering a $1,000 reward for the identification of the person or people responsible for the recurring vandalism of the solar calendar installation at César Chávez Park.
Since the spring, educational placards have been repeatedly smashed and dozens of stones have disappeared from the installation, which is a memorial to the late labor organizer.
“It stops for a little bit, maybe a week or two, then comes back,” said Santiago Casal, director of the project. “We recently got hit twice in the matter of a few days.”
So far over 200 stones from the installation’s retaining wall have been taken or tossed around, requiring 28 hours of repair work, Casal said. … Continue reading »
The two candidates in a competitive state Assembly race had the chance to woo Berkeley voters at a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters at Berkeley City College on Tuesday.
Elizabeth Echols and Tony Thurmond are vying to fill the District 15 seat that will be vacated by Nancy Skinner. Elected in 2008, Skinner is termed out, but modifications to the term limits in 2012 mean one of these candidates could claim the seat for the next 12 years.
Echols and Thurmond are both liberal Democrats who have similar platforms — focused on the environment, education and jobs — but highly different backgrounds and careers. … Continue reading »
JENNIFER KOH Violinist Jennifer Koh is no stranger to Berkeley, although Berkeley audiences may know her as Einstein, a role she undertook when she played in Einstein on the Beach at Cal Performances. This time she plays as herself — a powerful soloist — when she performs Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with the Berkeley Symphony tonight, Thursday Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. Also on the program are Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Oscar Bettison’s Sea Shaped in its world premiere. Tickets for the Zellerbach Hall show cost $15-$74. … Continue reading »
References to the Grateful Dead are everywhere — on pints of Cherry Garcia ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s, or at the San Francisco Giants’ Jerry Garcia Night.
The late lead singer has “become this sort of cross between Santa Claus and Smokey the Bear, this kind of patron saint in many ways,” said Peter Richardson, a lecturer in humanities at San Francisco State University.
But behind these watered-down homages and caricatures is a complicated and unlikely story — one that Richardson explores both in a book due out in January, and at a new course beginning October 1 at UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). … Continue reading »
California is catching up with France: dogs will be allowed on restaurant patios and in other outdoor dining areas when a new law goes into effect January 1.
The change may be unnoticeable in Berkeley, where many restaurants have allowed dogs to join diners outdoors for years. The little-known prohibition was rarely enforced.
“We don’t get a lot of complaints, maybe three to five a year, so we would respond to those to enforce the state law if it was violated,” said Manuel Ramirez, director of Berkeley’s Environmental Health Division. … Continue reading »
Tucked away in the Berkeley Hills is a swath of land where females are in charge and always get first dibs on dinner.
It’s no feminist utopia — just UC Berkeley’s captive colony of spotted hyenas. The noisy animals, whose whoops are audible from the fire trails, have been fixtures at the Field Station for the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Reproduction for decades. But when the researchers who study them lost their funding, the animals had to start finding new homes. In a couple weeks the colony will shutter for good.
The 30-year project was one of a kind. In 1985, UC Berkeley biologist/psychologist Stephen Glickman, and animal behaviorist Laurence Frank, brought 20 newborn spotted hyenas from the Maasai Mara region of Kenya to Berkeley. What followed was unprecedented research on hormones, reproduction, and social behavior. … Continue reading »
EPA settlement calls for repairs to East Bay’s faulty sewage lines; Berkeley to pay $133,500 civil penalty
The recent settlement of a lawsuit between the Environmental Protection Agency and several cities, including Berkeley, will lead to major repairs of the East Bay’s deteriorating sewage system — and less wastewater discharge into the bay.
The federal government had sued Berkeley, Oakland, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), among others, to stop sewage overflows that released hundreds of millions of gallons of raw or partially untreated sewage water in the Bay. The spillage could be particularly acute during heavy rains, as storm water enters the East Bay sewage system through flaws in the aging pipes. … Continue reading »
There are mounds of dirt where once there was ice, and construction crews where there used to be skaters. If work continues on schedule, Sports Basement will open on Nov. 1 at 2727 Milvia Street, the former site of Berkeley Iceland.
The 71,862-square foot building is currently undergoing a seismic upgrade. Heavy construction began in June 2014, with crews building a new roof and new walls on the north and south sides of the building, and beginning rough plumbing and electrical work in the interior.
This is the sixth location for the Bay Area sporting equipment chain, which started in San Francisco in 1998. … Continue reading »
MIME TROUPE Each year the San Francisco Mime Troupe unleashes its Bay Area brand of political satire on the issues du jour. This year’s are no surprise: out-of-this-world rents, techie transplants, Silicon Valley, and surveillance. The 55th annual production, “Ripple Effect,” finds members of San Francisco’s various rival factions all stuck on a boat together in the middle of the Bay. The show makes its third and final Berkeley stop this weekend, at Willard Park (2730 Hillegass) at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Music starts a bit earlier and the whole thing’s free. … Continue reading »