Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

Photo slideshow: Berkeley High walkout, protest march

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More than 1,000 Berkeley High students walked off campus Wednesday morning and marched to the UC Berkeley campus to protest the result of the U.S. presidential election. The demonstration was peaceful and the police did not get involved. Read our story. Watch live footage and interviews on our Facebook Live coverage.

And click through the slideshow above, using the arrows on either side, to see photographs taken by staffers, contributing photographers, … Continue reading »

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Target to open new Berkeley store on University Avenue

Target Express downtown Berkeley. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, Nov. 11: Berkeleyside reader Ian Crew asked Target on Twitter when the University Avenue store might open, pointing them to this story. The reply? “We can’t release the official date. But keep in mind, Target only opens new stores three times a year, in March, July and October.”

Original story: Target will open a store at 1414 University Ave. in Berkeley on the site of the former Savers Thrift and, before that, Andronico’s. It will be the second central Berkeley location for Target, which opened a Target Express in downtown last year.

Kristy Welker from Target’s communications department confirmed Target had “signed a lease for a new store on University Avenue in downtown Berkeley.” Welker said she was was able to share any additional information at this point.

Several neighbors in the central Berkeley area said they had observed crews at work on the site, whose cross street is Acton Street, and heard rumors it was being developed for Target. … Continue reading »

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Cal campus covered with graffiti for Jesse Arreguín

Chalk tagging on the UC Berkeley campus on Monday No. 7, 2016. Photo: Courtesy UC Berkeley
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People arriving on the UC Berkeley campus Monday morning can’t fail to have noticed lots of chalk tagging scrawled on many parts of the campus with messages of support for Berkeley mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguín, as well a few mentioning Rent Board candidates. The most common message was “Vote Jesse 4 Mayor,” or variations on that wording.

Christine Shaff said she counted 70 instances of different tags — all of which were made using chalk — after she got to the the campus today.

“They were on Spieker Plaza, Lower and Upper Plaza, Sather Gate, near Dwinelle Hall, Campanile Way and Moffitt Library,” Shaff, who works in the university’s real-estate division, said, noting that the north side of campus had been spared.

Shaff reported the tagging to UC Berkeley Police and began looking into how the marking could be removed.

“We will need to use water to remove it, with power washing, which is not what we want to do,” she said, although she added the campus could use well rather than potable water. Shaff said maintenance crews couldn’t power-wash busy areas during the day so they might have to do it on overtime.
“We have opened a separate work order to track how much it’s going to cost. It’s a distressing waste of our resources.” … Continue reading »

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Volunteers target swing states at the Berkeley-Albany Hillary Clinton campaign HQ

The Berkeley-Albany Hillary Clinton campaign HQ at 1224 Solano Ave. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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A group of women sits around a table, all heads down, tapping into their cellphones. They are also chatting and laughing as they text people they don’t know in North Carolina. The automated message they are sending informs people in this swing state that early voting is available to them. The women are just a few of the many volunteers who are packed into a former toy store on Solano Avenue, now the bustling Berkeley-Albany headquarters for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The phone- and text-banking hub is also the national call center for Clinton as the campaign, whose epicenter is in Brooklyn, determined that California is the state with the most resources. It opened on Oct. 22, and will remain open, said the HQ’s co-lead Allie Janoch, until the result of the presidential election is called.

Barbara Bryant, one of the group of texters, said she had been doing three-hour shifts with her partner for the past four days and would be coming back every day through Tuesday. “We have got to counter the deep sexism of that man,” she said, unable to mention the name of Clinton’s adversary. … Continue reading »


Safeway to buy, rebrand Andronico’s Markets

Andronico's. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Eighty-seven years after founding its first grocery store in Berkeley, the Andronico’s name will disappear for good by the end of 2016, after being acquired by Safeway.

Safeway is buying Andronico’s Community Markets, according to both companies, and Andronico’s five stores will be renamed Safeway Community Markets. Andronico’s two stores in Berkeley, and its other three — in San Francisco, San Anselmo and Los Altos — are slated to undergo the transition in December and each store will be closed for a short period of time during the changeover.

No jobs will be lost as a result of the purchase, said Andronico’s CEO Suzy Monford, who told Berkeleyside that the union that represents both Safeway and Andronico’s staff “wholeheartedly supports” the move, and that she herself is delighted with the development. Monford said there were around 350-400 employees in total across the five stores, with 35 in the group’s corporate office.

Read more about Andronico’s Community Markets on Berkeleyside.

In a statement released to Berkeleyside by Safeway, the grocery giant said Andronico’s approached Safeway earlier this year about purchasing their stores “with the goal of preserving union jobs and keeping the stores operating in the same friendly, local way their customers have come to enjoy.”

Andronico’s, which was founded in Berkeley in 1929 — and at its peak had 14 stores in the Bay Area — declared bankruptcy in August 2011 and was bought by Renovo Capital, along with A.G. Ferrari, another local food group.

Wednesday morning, representatives from Safeway, along with Monford, were on the grocery market floor in Berkeley’s two stores talking to staff about the news and its implications. … Continue reading »

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Home fire closes Ashby between Shattuck and Telegraph

Emergency responders on scene on Ashby Avenue between Telegraph and Shattuck on Oct. 29 around 8:45 a.m. Photo: Couresty BPD
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Emergency crews responded to a fire at a residential structure in the 3000 block of Wheeler Street, near Ashby Avenue, Saturday morning.

The stretch of Ashby between Shattuck and Telegraph avenues was closed to traffic as a result, Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver told Berkeleyside.

Rateaver said nobody was injured by the fire but a dog was rescued from the house.

BPD issued a Nixle alert at 8:52 a.m. warning about traffic delays. It reissued one about 15 minutes later clarifying that Ashby was the street where the delays were happening. … Continue reading »

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Photos: Green Day makes triumphant return to Berkeley

Green Day. Photo: Kelly Owen
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They famously got their start in the late 1980s playing local venues like 924 Gilman and Berkeley Square, and Thursday the mega-band that is Green Day made a triumphant return to their roots by playing the newly renovated UC Theatre on University Avenue.

The concert was a sell-out, as you might expect, and security, including some provided by Berkeley Police, was tight.

Almost as soon as the band took to the stage at 9 p.m. lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was referencing the band’s local credentials.

“The Representative from Alameda County has the floor,” he hollered, slightly altering a line from one of the band’s biggest hits, Holiday, which was next up on the slate. (Holiday is from the 2004 American Idiot album which went on to be adapted for the stage by Berkeley Rep in 2009.) A little later, after playing a couple of other standards, Armstrong reminded the capacity crowd about the group’s origins to much applause, shouting: “We’re fucking East Bay boys!”

If you were at the concert, tell us how you liked it in the comments (now that we have them back).

Kelly Owen took these photographs for Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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Update: Berkeleyside comments, Twitter account back after widespread internet attack

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UPDATE, 1:55pm: Both Twitter and our comments are back in action.

ORIGINAL STORY: The major attack Friday that has caused big websites to go down — including Netflix, the New York Times, The Guardian, Spotify and Reddit — has affected Berkeleyside too.

Our Twitter account is unavailable, as Twitter is one of the sites that has shut down. Our comments are not functioning as they operate on the Disqus platform which also appears to have been affected by the outage.

The New York Times reported that many large websites were inaccessible to some East Coast users Friday morning and to people across the country by the early afternoon after Dyn, a company that serves as an internet switchboard, came under attack. … Continue reading »


Berkeleyside’s 4th annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas: Fighting the good fight

Mark Bittman talks with UC Berkeley's Jill Bakehorn. Photo: Kelly Sullivan
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Sitting down on the stage of the Berkeley Rep Roda theater to talk with Autodesk distinguished researcher Andrew Hessel about the synthetic genome project in the first session of the fourth annual Uncharted Festival of Ideas, Quentin Hardy, deputy technology editor of The New York Times, said, “Uncharted is our humble attempt to make America smart again.” It was a joke, but it resonated throughout the two-day festival.

The Republican candidate for the president was not actually name-checked that often during the festival, but the reasons for his rise and his impact — what speaker Aaron James, author of Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump, described as “American-born fascism” — both in this country and globally, underscored much of the discussion this year.

View photo galleries of the Uncharted 2016 festival: day one and day two.

Uncharted curator Lance Knobel, co-founder of Berkeleyside which produces the festival, deliberately avoids planning the program with a theme in mind, preferring that themes emerge organically. And if there was one that rose to the top this year it was that there is a silver lining to Trump’s ascendency: the fight to ensure he doesn’t enter the White House has brought issues and campaigns that were dormant back on the table. Positive change can be spurred by hatred, negativity and fear-mongering.

Scroll down for ways to connect with Uncharted and to see photos of the 2016 festival. See a gallery of day one photos and day two photos. … Continue reading »


Berkeley’s The Advocate restaurant to close Oct. 27

The Advocate. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The Advocate restaurant in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood will close permanently on Thursday Oct. 27 after just over one year in business. Owners John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman, who also own Comal in downtown Berkeley, said they were not able to achieve the level of business necessary to make the restaurant sustainable.

“We felt a lot of confidence that we could make something that would click in this neighborhood and we weren’t able to pull that off,” Paluska told Berkeleyside.

The Advocate opened in August 2015 after over two years of planning and community outreach — and also delays caused by a lawsuit from the same group that had put a halt to a previous restaurant project at the same location, at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College).

Read more about The Advocate on Berkeleyside.

The restaurant, with its California-meets-Mediterranean cuisine, was designed, like Comal, by Berkeley’s Abueg-Morris Architects, cycled through three chefs in its 14 short months: inaugural chef John Griffiths left in February to be replaced by Michelin-starred Joseph Humphrey, who departed a few months later to take over the kitchen at the recently opened Limewood at the Claremont Hotel.

“It’s never helpful to have chef changes — it was certainly not our desire,” said Paluska. “It’s harder to maintain a consistent point of view.” Paluska added that he felt a confluence of bad luck and bad circumstances stood in contrast to their experience at Comal.  “We’ve ben amazingly lucky to have continuity and consistency at Comal both with our chef [Matt Gandin has been there from the start] and front-of-house staff.” … Continue reading »

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School on alert, students on edge about ‘evil clowns’

Pennywise the Dancing Clown: thought to be an influence for the 'evil clown' phenomenon that put a Berkeley school on edge Friday Oct. 7. Photo:
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The principal of King Middle School in Berkeley contacted the police Friday after becoming concerned about a threat posted on social media about ‘killer clowns’ coming to the campus, as well as to two other local schools.

Principal Janet Levenson sent an email, labeled ‘important message,’ to the school community around 2:45 p.m. explaining that many students had been “on edge all week for fear that these evil clowns will come to King or kidnap students on their way home.”

Levinson said one of King’s students showed her an Instagram posting that stated they “were going after BHS, Longfellow and King on Friday.”

Levinson said the rumor spread on campus that the clowns would arrive during fifth period. Erring on the side of caution, she contacted BPD. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley law students hold ‘Black Out’ demo on campus

Berkeley Law students held a 'Black Out' demo on the UC Berkeley campus on Thursday Oct. 7. Photo: Ted Friedman
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The UC Berkeley Law Students of African Descent (LSAD) group held a ‘Black Out’ demonstration on campus Thursday afternoon to “stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and show our continued questioning and resistance of racism, oppression, and violence against our communities.”

LSAD spokeswoman Samya Abdela, a doctorate candidate at Berkeley Law, said the purpose of the protest was to “continue to raise awareness and keep the conversation going about police brutality and its staggering effects on communities of color.” Abdela added that LSAD was hoping to use Thursday’s event as a launch pad for other projects it is planning in future, including addressing structural reform of oppressive policies at the state level, and supporting Cal’s Black athletes. Ted Friedman took the photographs published here.

On the Berkeley Law website, LSAD describes the purpose of its organization as being “to articulate and promote the needs of Black law students in the law school.”

Berkeleyside contributing photographer Ted Friedman took the photos published here. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Community Fund celebrates 25 years of supporting young scholars with party at UC Theatre

The 27 Berkeley Community Fund High Hopes scholars. Photo: Courtesy BCF
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Saturday Oct. 8 the Berkeley Community Fund will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a big party at the UC Theatre in downtown Berkeley.

“We wanted to do something really special to mark the anniversary,” said BCF Executive Director Joleen Ruffin.

The evening includes a sit-down dinner prepared by Chef Dov and California Rose, wines curated by Narsai David, live music and an awards ceremony.

Read more about the Berkeley Community Fund on Berkeleyside.

The BCF certainly has much to celebrate: its principle mission is to provide $16,000 needs-based scholarships to motivated Berkeley youth from lower income families. In June, it honored its latest cohort of 27 Berkeley High seniors with scholarships. A total of $432,000 was awarded to the students who will receive the funds over the course of the next four years. In all, the BCF has given out $2.68 million in scholarships between 2008-2016, and has 107 active scholars as of this Fall.  73% of its scholars come from families earning less than $50,000 a year, and 90% of them are first-generation college students. … Continue reading »