Category Archives: Community

2 men take plea deals after 1 is beaten on video

Downtown Berkeley ambassador assault. Image: Bryan Hamilton
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Two homeless men shown on video in a heated interaction that turned violent, when a Downtown Berkeley Association staffer appeared to punch one of the men repeatedly in the head, entered no contest pleas on Monday to misdemeanor battery and will be sentenced to two years of probation, authorities said.

According to a video of the March 19 incident that was posted on YouTube by local resident Bryan Hamilton, two association workers had asked the pair to leave the alleyway behind the downtown Berkeley CVS, at Shattuck Avenue and Bancroft Way, when one of the men became upset and proceeded to shout invectives at a DBA worker identified in court documents as Jeffrey Bailey. In the video, Bailey then appears to punch the man — identified as 30-year-old James Cocklereese — at least 10 times, pushing him to the ground.

Bailey initially reported the incident and told police he was only defending himself, and officers arrested Cocklereese and his associate Nathan Swor, 23, who can be seen in the video using a pole that authorities said had a blade attached to it to try to stop the apparent attack on Cocklereese. Both men were arrested Thursday night, March 19, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats.

This week, however, police became aware of the video and, after watching it Wednesday, March 25, they alerted the Alameda County district attorney’s office to it, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. … Continue reading »

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Dog lovers to help eliminate foxtails in César Chávez Park

Foxtails at Pt Isabel. Photo- Kathy
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Dozens of dog lovers are expected to join a city of Berkeley crew in the off-leash area of César Chávez Park on Saturday, March 28, in a novel attempt to rid the area of foxtails.

Berkeley has been mowing a 2-acre patch of the 17-acre off-leash area for 15 years, but the effort has not eliminated foxtails, an invasive grass whose barbed seed heads can cause serious injury to dogs. The city has left the grass about 6 inches high so it could also act as a ground cover for squirrels and other animals in the park.

In 2014, dog owners complained to the city that the drought was making the foxtail situation worse and asked that officials step up their mowing and even consider mowing a larger area. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky was Berkeley? Politics as Theater

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Berkeley was a crucible for New Left politics in the 1960s and 1970s. Often forgotten when we speak of the Free Speech Movement, the Vietnam Day Committee, People’s Park, and anti-war/anti-imperialism movements, are the several New Left ventures into electoral politics, three of which introduced an element of theater not typically seen in political campaigns.

The first radical venture into electoral politics was the most serious – Robert Scheer’s 1966 primary challenge of Rep.Jeffrey Cohelan, a pro-war Johnson liberal who had served in the House since 1959. Scheer campaigned on the war, poverty, and a new style of politics. … Continue reading »

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Wall Street Journal joins the fun after a thoughtful note to a Berkeley thief goes viral

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The Wall Street Journal couldn’t resist joining in the fun after it read about a note written by local businessman and photographer Richard Nagler to a thief who had deprived him — on and off for ten years — of his subscription to the newspaper.

Yesterday, two people, working on behalf of the Journal, posted two notes outside Nagler’s Skylight & Sun store, in the same place as Nagler’s now celebrated note to the newspaper thief. (See the notes below.)

Both notes are signed by Gerard Baker, editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal. One is addressed to Nagler and offers him a free iPad with the WSJ app “to make up for your loss.” The other is addressed to “the Berkeley man who took Richard Nagler’s paper over so many years,” and it offers him a subscription to the paper for $12 for the first twelve weeks. (He simply needs to click on wsj.com/subscribedontsteal). … Continue reading »

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Community

Berkeley email spam mishap spawns community spirit

About 70 people attended a picnic to celebrate an email list mishap last week that brought thousands of strangers together. Photo: Drew Wheeler
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Thousands of Berkeley voters got stuck in an email storm last week after a technical glitch became a viral meme that prompted around 70 residents to hold a potluck picnic Sunday.

It all started late last Tuesday when Nigel Guest, president of a Berkeley community group called the Council of Neighborhood Associations, attempted to send an email to himself that mistakenly hit the inboxes of thousands of registered voters.

The brief email, with the subject line “test,” included a single character: “x.” Instead of ignoring the message, some of the recipients responded to ask why they gotten it. And, rather than replying only to Guest, they made the fateful, likely unintentional, decision to reply all.  … Continue reading »

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12 apply to operate Berkeley’s fourth cannabis dispensary

Forty Acres cannabis collective is on the second floor of 1820-1828 San Pablo Ave. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Twelve organizations have submitted applications to open a fourth medical cannabis dispensary in Berkeley, according to city officials, but the public won’t know who they are for 45 days.

The deadline to apply for one of the lucrative franchises was 4 p.m. on March 20. But Berkeley won’t release their names during a review period in which staff determines all the applications are complete.

Read more about medical cannabis issues in Berkeley.

“In order to keep a level playing field among applicants until applications are finalized, we won’t be releasing more information until all applications are complete,” Elizabeth Greene, a planner who staffs the Medical Cannabis Commission wrote in an email. “This period is expected to last approximately 45 days.” … Continue reading »

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Op-eds: On soda tax, accessory units, and homelessness

A "family" of homeless youth in Berkeley. Photo: Keith Chastain
Homeless youth in Berkeley: two op-ed pieces published recently on Berkeleyside address the recent vote by City Council to tackle the impact of homelessness. Photo: Keith Chastain
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In the past few days Berkeleyside has published several opinion pieces worth highlighting.

Robert Reich, Laurie Capitelli and Dr. Vicki Alexander put their names collectively to an op-ed in which they argue that, while Berkeley may have passed a historic soda tax in November, the campaign has not ended for Big Soda. “Having spent over $2 million (almost $50 per voter!) during the campaign, Big Soda has embarked on a campaign to discredit Measure D even before it has a chance to take effect,” they write, citing as an example concerns expressed by soda distributors in an article published on Berkeleyside. Read the full op-ed in our Opinionator section. … Continue reading »

Photos: Humans of Berkeley and the Bay Area/4

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Nancy Rubin is chronicling the people of Berkeley and beyond with her project, Humans of Berkeley and the Bay Area, or HUBBA. Today we publish a small selection of her extensive portfolio, the fourth time we have done so. Read our interview with Rubin in which she talks about what inspired her to start the project and its philanthropic element.

Follow HUBBA on FacebookTumblr, Twitter and Instagram to see new photos when they appear, and to read extended captions for the beautiful images shown here. … Continue reading »

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Hills group sues FEMA over plan to cut down trees

Thousands of the Berkeley hills eucalyptus trees may be removed with funding from FEMA. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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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 »

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Photos: With some rain comes a rainbow over Berkeley

Rainbow at the Marina by Claudia Rice
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The sun peeked through the clouds early this morning creating a dramatic rainbow that appeared to plunge into the bay, perhaps leaving its treasure there?

At least four readers thought it was precious enough to photograph, and they shared their images with us before 8 a.m. (After this post was published, several more readers sent us their rainbow photos and we have added them to the collection.) … Continue reading »

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Remembering Carol Berry, BPD’s first female patrol officer

Carol Ann Berry
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Carol Ann Berry, the first woman to work patrol for the Berkeley Police Department, passed away at home surrounded by her loving family on March 7, 2015. She was 66.

Carol, a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, received her education in Oakland public schools, graduating from Castlemont High School. Carol received her BA from Cal State East Bay. Shortly after high school, Carol met Glenn Berry, the love of her life. He caught her eye because he was driving a turquoise and cream 1955 Chevrolet hardtop convertible. They married in May 1970 and welcomed two sons to their family, Erick and Bryan.

Read the full obituary for Carol Berry in Berkeleyside’s Obituaries section. And feel free to leave your messages of condolence and memories of Carol in the Comments section there. … Continue reading »

A Berkeley note to Wall Street Journal thief gets results

The original note posted by Richard Nagler addressed to the paper thief. Photo: Marty Schiffenbauer
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After we published the story of a novel note to a newspaper thief earlier today, things began to fall into place.

We now know that the note, signed “Richard” and placed outside Skylight & Sun on Blake Street in Berkeley, was written by the owner of that business, Richard Nagler, who also happens to be an accomplished photographer whose work has been featured on Berkeleyside.

Nagler tells us the carefully crafted note — which has drawn widespread admiration from both passers-by on Blake and those who saw it on Berkeleyside — has, in fact, had an impact.

Nagler’s copy of the Wall Street Journal has been on his doorstep ever since the thief read the note.

How do we know he read the note? Because, just as Nagler’s surveillance video captured the thief taking the newspaper ever since he installed it March 9, it also caught him looking at the note.

“The perp read the note carefully (we have him on video) but I’m afraid he has yet to take me up on my proposal,” said Nagler on Thursday — referring to his offer to let the man take the paper and read it, on condition he returned it in “a relatively crisp state with no coffee stains.”

“I have gotten the WSJ every day since the note went up,” Nagler said.

It turns out Nagler hasn’t been seeing much of his subscription copy of the Wall Street Journal for more than a decade — yes, that long. … Continue reading »

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Community

Dead birds, 2 animal legs, wash up on Berkeley beach

This headless chicken and other animals and animal parts washed up Thursday on a Berkeley beach. Photo: Susi Jensen
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A woman on a walk along the beach in Berkeley with her dog on Thursday came across two decapitated chickens, two skinned mammal legs with cloven hooves, and several dead shorebirds.

Susi Jensen, a Berkeley writer, said it isn’t unusual to see a dead carcass on the beach. But she described the number and kind of animal parts she saw Thursday morning as “unexpected.”

“The shoreline is imperfect, but we enjoy it for what it is,” she said. “This time it was a little grosser than normal.”

Jensen was walking her golden retriever, Luna, on the beach along the San Francisco Bay Trail. The trail runs along West Frontage Road between University and Ashby avenues in Berkeley and continues into Emeryville.  … Continue reading »

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