Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

Community

What are Berkeley’s values? What does the future hold?

Books Inc estimated the crowd at 150-200 for the "Why Berkeley?" event on Monday July 20, 2015.
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On Monday July 20, the newly relocated Books Inc. on Shattuck Avenue was packed to the rafters for a discussion titled “Why Berkeley?”

Hosted by Malcolm Margolin, executive director of Heyday, a number of invited speakers reflected on what Berkeley meant to them, its values now and in the past, and the city’s possible future. Below the fold, we bring you highlights from our live coverage of the event on Twitter. … Continue reading »

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After brouhaha over Berkeley racism incident, Kamau Bell does comedy in his new hometown

Kamau Bell
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With two young daughters — Sammy, 4, and Juno, 7 months — W. Kamau Bell needs to be home early these days. Hence the name of his new stand-up show, “Home by 10,” running at The Marsh in Berkeley through Aug. 22.

The comedian, who is known for his unfettered jokes about race and racism — he hosted the FXX TV series “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” and his new CNN show, “United Shades of America” has just finished shooting — has supplemented his repertoire with funny stories about parenting and kids.

On the second night of the run, Bell riffed about the fine line between being a father and being a friend to one’s child, and related how he and his wife, Melissa Hudson Bell, picked a preschool for Sammy after they moved to Berkeley from New York about six months ago. (They are so happy with their choice that a portion of the proceeds of the show is going to Heart’s Leap Preschool on College Avenue.)

But race surfaces often: He also touched on how strangers wax lyrical about how beautiful his kids are — something he believes is likely an overcompensation through praise by white people to the fact the children are bi-racial (Hudson Bell is white).

“Why are we making such a great deal of it?” Bell asks rhetorically a few days after the show, as he sits drinking coffee at Au Coquelet in downtown Berkeley. He knows from the reaction of the audience, however, that this joke hits the spot. … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley, protesters get naked to try to save trees

Protesters get naked in the eucalyptus grove at the Grinnell Natural Area of UC Berkeley on Saturday July 18, 2015 to show opposition to tree cutting proposal. Photo: Ted Friedman
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An estimated 50-75 people took part in a staged protest today at a eucalyptus grove on the UC Berkeley campus, many of them stripping naked in doing so, to make clear their opposition to a proposed FEMA-funded tree-clearing program in the East Bay hills.

The event was orchestrated by the Tree Spirit Project whose mission is “to raise awareness of the critical role trees play in our lives, both globally and personally.” Jack Gescheidt, who founded the project, does this partly by taking fine-art photographs of people, often naked, communing with trees and nature.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency in March allocated $5.7 million to the California Office of Emergency Services to remove eucalyptus trees as part of fire hazard abatement in Claremont Canyon — scene of a devastating wildfire in 1991 — and other nearby areas, such as Tilden Park and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. The funds will be distributed to UC Berkeley, the city of Oakland, and the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD). … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Photos: At our Open Office, a chance to meet, catch up

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Thank you to all of you who came to Berkeleyside’s latest Open Office on Wednesday evening at WeWork Berkeley, where Berkeleyside has its HQ. It was lovely to see so many of our talented contributors there — including Nancy Rubin who took all the photographs published here — as well as many loyal readers and members.

(If you spot someone in the photos who hasn’t been identified in the caption, let us know and we’ll update it.)

Until the next time! … Continue reading »

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Water main rupture causes Berkeley street to buckle

Police officers walk through the rushing waters of a water main break on Parker Street, near Regent Street, in Berkeley, on Monday, July 13, 2015. Photo: David Yee ©2015
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On Monday evening a water main rupture flooded Parker Street near Regent in central Berkeley and caused part of the street to buckle. Water gushed down the 2500 block of Parker for nearly an hour before East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) was able to shut off the flow.

The Berkeley Fire Department received a call at 5:49 p.m. alerting it to the water main break, according to BFD Deputy Chief Avery Webb. Webb said an engine responded and firefighters found the water main break to be in the roadway in front of an apartment building at 2511 Parker St. … Continue reading »

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Special Olympics ‘flame of hope’ torch comes to Berkeley

The Special Olympics torch on the Sacramento stretch of its final leg. The torch will be coming through Berkeley Tuesday July 14, 2015. Photo:
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On Tuesday, an international team of law enforcement officers will bring the Special Olympics “flame of hope” torch through Berkeley as it makes its way to the opening ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles Coliseum which open on July 25.

The torch run is on its final final leg through California, and Berkeley will mark the occasion with a ceremony at 11:30 a.m at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Mayor Tom Bates will speak at the ceremony, as will Special Olympic athlete and Final Leg runner William Corsi from the Florida Torch Run Program.

The final leg began on July 13 at the State Capitol Building in Sacramento, and, by the time the torch reaches LA it will have been carried through more than 120 cities, towns and communities across the state. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley woman pistol-whipped during attempted robbery

Somerset Place map
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A 58-year-old woman was threatened with a gun and then pistol-whipped in North Berkeley on July 10 during an attempted robbery, according to the Berkeley police.

The incident occurred on Friday July 10 at approximately 9:20 p.m. on Somerset Place near Southampton Street, according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

The victim, a resident of Berkeley, had just arrived in the area and parked her vehicle. As she was getting out of her car she was approached by two male suspects. One of the suspects, who was armed with a gun, demanded her property. The victim and suspect struggled as she tried to close her car door and the suspect struck the woman several times with the gun. The victim started to honk her horn and the suspect fled. … Continue reading »

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With café, market spot it’s Red Bay Coffee’s moment

Early rendering of the Red Bay coffee shop that will be at Hive in Uptown Oakland. Image: Gensler:NAF Korea
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Red Bay Coffee is on a roll. The socially conscious East Bay roaster is working on opening its first café in Uptown Oakland, having exceeded its $80,000 Kickstarter goal last month — the most successful coffee campaign ever on the crowdfunding site, according to Red Bay founder Keba Konte. Shortly afterwards, the startup emerged victorious in a hotly contested race to be the sole coffee vendor at Berkeley’s downtown farmers market — the place Blue Bottle, now a poster child for third-wave coffee, got its start.

In addition, Red Bay has launched a regular coffee popup on Fridays on the patio at Miss Ollie’s in Swan’s Marketplace, following a guest appearance at the Caribbean soul food spot during a shoot with TV star Anthony Bourdain.

It’s no wonder that Red Bay is busting out of the cozy ‘coffee dojo’ which is the heart of the startup’s operations.

“We’re remodeling now,” Konte said of the workspace which he carved out under his Victorian home in Fruitvale to house the company. “We need to maximize the space until we can get proper location.” … Continue reading »

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Library fans voice concerns over weeding of books

The Berkeley Public Library at 2090 Kittredge St. Photo: Anne Holmes
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An orchestrated clearing out of books at the Berkeley Central Library, ordered by the library’s director, Jeff Scott, has sounded alarm-bells for some current and former librarians, as well as community members. Their concerns, which they have shared with the city’s mayor as well as the Board of Library Trustees, center on who is doing the weeding of books — what is technically referred to as “deaccession” — the number of discarded volumes, as well as their fate.

Scott said the weeding — a standard library practice — is overdue, as it had been done irregularly prior to his arrival in late 2014, and that, once it’s completed, the library will actually see a net gain in books as new ones are brought in. He said the total will rise from 452,000 to 470,000. Full capacity for the main branch is half a million books, he said.

Read more about Berkeley’s libraries on Berkeleyside.

The method used to weed books is a process called CREW (Continuous Review Evaluation Weeding), Scott said, which begins by extracting and evaluating books from shelves that have not been checked out from the library for three years or more (10+ years in the case of art and music books). … Continue reading »

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Oakland’s Bay Wolf restaurant closing after 40 years

Bay Wolf deck
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Bay Wolf, a destination restaurant in the East Bay for four decades, will close its doors for good on Sunday Aug. 30.

“It’s time,” said co-owner Michael Wild on Wednesday. “This was my life. It was everything, but when you’ve run a restaurant for 40 years, it’s time,” he said.

Wild, 75, opened the warm, wood-paneled restaurant in a Craftsman house on Piedmont Avenue with partners Michael Phelps, and Larry Goldman, also 75, on Sept. 21, 1975, three years after Chez Panisse opened in Berkeley. Like Alice Waters’ celebrated, and similarly styled, restaurant, Bay Wolf was known from the start for its locally sourced, seasonal menu.

“We did that together,” said Wild. “Focusing on local food was a given, given where we live.” The restaurateurs always aimed to source their food from within 100 miles, apart from the few times, “in the dead of winter,” when they’ve had to venture a little further. … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Manchester United – San Jose Earthquakes game moved from Berkeley to San Jose

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and Stephen Quinn of Hull City
Barclays Premier League 2014/15 Hull City v Manchester United KC Stadium, West Park, Hull, United Kingdom - 24 May 2015

 (Rex Features via AP Images)
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UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.:  The July 21 Manchester United vs. San Jose Earthquakes game will be played at Avaya Stadium in San Jose rather than Cal Memorial Stadium, according to Wesley Mallette, Associate AD, Strategic Communications for Cal Athletics. Mallette confirmed UC Berkeley was informed today about the decision, made by Relevent Sports, organizers of the tournament. “We were informed that the change in venue was made in order to better meet Manchester United’s travel and logistical requirements,” he said in a statement Monday night. People who bought tickets to the original game will be issued a full refund and should expect their refund within 5-7 days, Mallette said, adding that specific details about refunds will be issued Tuesday. “We have been informed by the promoter that those who purchased tickets for the match in Berkeley will be eligible for a special pre-sale opportunity to purchase seats before they go on sale to the general public.”

ORIGINAL STORY: The Guinness International Champions Cup soccer game between English Premiership club Manchester United and local MLS team San Jose Earthquakes that was due to be played at Cal Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on Tuesday, July 21 will not be played in Berkeley, according to a staffer in the Berkeley City Manager’s office. The source said the decision was taken Monday. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Calling Le Corbusier as a witness in Berkeley

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The Court of Public Discussion on current Berkeley development matters now evokes Time magazine’s ‘Architect of the Century’ for his take on things.

When the leaders of post-Great War Paris decided on massive ‘slum’ clearance—the second in 60 years—the rising, Swiss-born Le Corbusier presented a comprehensive solution, gratefully not taken. Influenced by the emerging International Style, stiffly formal French and English gardens, and the motorcar, he envisioned in 1922 a gridded flatness of towers isolated by gardens and expressways as … Continue reading »

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Op-eds: Berkeley Technology Academy, rentals, UC and fossil fuels, Adeline Street, $15 wage, Harold Way

Berkeley Technology Academy. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeleyside’s Opinionator section continues to draw passionate, well-articulated argument on a number of topical issues.

In case you missed them, here’s a recap of six recent op-eds:

BERKELEY TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY After Berkeleyside published a lengthy investigative story on the troubled Berkeley Technology Academy, the city’s second high school, John Fike, a teacher on special assignment there, advocated for a positive response. “Rather than cast blame, point fingers and re-count unfortunate anecdotes of past and current students in crisis situations, I’d like to take this opportunity to provide additional context about the challenge of our school, and how some of us think and hope we might become better and more effective at serving our students, who are indeed — as our Principal Quintana accurately states — simultaneously “brilliant kids” and “traumatized,” he writes.Continue reading »