Category Archives: Government
Discussion about potential rival ice cream stores on Telegraph Ave. consumed nearly two hours of the Berkeley City Council meeting on Tuesday night, with supporters of the two retailers crowding the chamber. For the first public hearing on the city’s budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, and comments on the citywide work plan for FY2014? Less than an hour in a council chamber emptied of the public, but with every city department head in attendance.
But despite the apparent lack of public interest, a lively debate sprung up among council members about how the city should be using technology.
“We’ve cut our employees and we’ve cut our days of work and we’ve been able to maintain core services very well,” said Councilmember Susan Wengraf. “But as we continue to cut and try to be more effective we have to pay more attention to our technology department. This is basically the circulation system of the entire city. The key to becoming more effective in the future is to implement better use of the Internet and to get more efficient programs for whatever the city has to do.” … Continue reading »
The Fair Campaign Practices Commission on Thursday levied its second heaviest fine in 20 years on a landlord-backed group that spent more than $42,500 during the 2012 election.
The FCPC approved a stipulation agreement worked out between city staff and the people behind a Slate Mailer Organization that sent out five campaign mailers in support of the TUFF (Tenants United for Fairness) Rent Board slate. … Continue reading »
It was four days to D-Day and the place was hopping.
Painters rolled on a last coat of paint. IT guys fiddled with computer wire while architects strolled around looking for last minute glitches. Carpenters nailed sheets of plywood to a storage area.
In just a few hours, the new South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was set to open. And, while the bulk of the construction was done, there were numerous small things that hadn’t been completely finished, like the landscaping, shelving all the books, installing all the computers, and the final build-out of the Tool Library.
“We have a lot to do in the next few days but we are feeling good about it,” Donna Corbeil, the city librarian, said on Tuesday. When pressed, though, about whether it would be finished, she took a long pause before answering with a resounding “Yes!” … Continue reading »
Update 9:00 p.m.: US Attorney Melinda Haag told the Oakland Tribune in a prepared statement that “we continue to take a measured approach and have only pursued asset forfeiture actions with respect to marijuana retail sales operations very near schools, parks or playgrounds, at the request of local law enforcement, or in one case, because of the sheer size of its distribution operations.”
City and state officials and medical cannabis advocates vowed Wednesday to fight back against … Continue reading »
After a heated public comment period Tuesday night before the Berkeley City Council — which led police officers to drag a man from the room and caused Mayor Tom Bates to shout for order after CopWatch supporters refused to cede the floor — participants in the fight for “justice for Kayla Moore” may be one step closer to discovering what happened the February night Moore died in police custody. (See Berkeleyside’s videos of the incidents below.)
Family members of the deceased Moore told the council they have received no information or communication from police or the city since the death, which took place Feb. 12. The Berkeley Police Department released a preliminary statement on the incident in February, but has otherwise declined to comment while the Alameda County coroner’s office completes its report on the death investigation. … Continue reading »
As the weather heats up — the National Weather Service is predicting that the temperature will hit 87 degrees by Thursday – officials have issued a Red Flag Warning for the East Bay Hills for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The wind is expected to pick up speed around 6:00 p.m. today, with heavy gusts of up to 50 mph possible by early Wednesday morning. The strong winds should last until 6 p.m. May 1.
The official fire season in Berkeley hasn’t started yet, but the fire department is taking extra precautions in anticipation of the heat and wind, according to Avery Webb, interim deputy fire chief and public information officer. Firefighters have been asked to check their wildland firefighting gear and put it in their vehicles, he said. … Continue reading »
Three new AT&T wireless sites, made up of 36 antennas, were approved nearly unanimously Thursday night by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board.
An AT&T representative said all three sites are needed to fill coverage gaps around Berkeley, and that all three comply with the municipal code and federal guidelines. The Design Review Committee approved the sites last week.
A handful of residents spoke against the applications, primarily citing health concerns, while several other speakers asked the city to approve the applications to improve cell coverage in Berkeley for residents, businesses and the disabled community. (Municipal governments are not allowed to consider potential health concerns due to existing federal law, as long as companies follow radio frequency emission rules.) … Continue reading »
Following this week’s disclosure by Berkeley city staff that roughly 11,000 municipal employee social security numbers had been erroneously divulged to a local media outlet in March, the media outlet’s managing editor said Tuesday that he doubted the data could have been compromised, though it had been “passed around” by employees over email.
Bert Robinson, managing editor for the Bay Area News Group, said the news outlet collects public employee salary and benefit information each year for an online database that is “very popular” on the company’s website. Reporters send 900 requests each year to public agencies to collect data for the project. Robinson said this was the first year “usable information” had been received from Berkeley. … Continue reading »
It emerged Tuesday afternoon that more people than previously thought had their social security numbers inadvertently released to a local news organization due to an error by a city of Berkeley employee.
City Manager Christine Daniel said Tuesday that the social security numbers of about 11,000 active and former employees were included in its response to a public information request about salaries from the Bay Area News Group last month.
On Friday Daniel said letters were sent to about 2,000 active city employees on April 15 alerting them to the mistake. … Continue reading »
In the next few months, city representatives will start taking steps to determine how to allocate $30 million from Measure M, which voters approved in November to improve Berkeley’s streets and watershed.
The first session will take place May 2 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. Commissioners will explain and answer questions about the planning process, the schedule, and the ways the public can contribute their views. City staff will provide technical background on street paving, watershed management and transportation programs. … Continue reading »
A Berkeley municipal staff member mistakenly disclosed the social security numbers of everyone who works for the city while responding to a public records request, and the city recently sent a letter to staff informing them of the error.
One staffer, who asked not to be identified, called the mistake “appalling,” and another criticized the city for taking weeks to inform employees about the breach. … Continue reading »
There’s a whole lot of information languishing around in Alameda County.
Like the number of times people have reported bedbugs. Or the county’s various fictitious business names. Or the reports of disease.
Now officials are hoping some clever programmers, coders, community activists, and entrepreneurs will come together to turn the county’s raw data into web and mobile applications. Alameda County is sponsoring its second “Alameda County Apps Challenge,” on Saturday April 27 at Berkeley High School. “Got code?” is the theme of the daylong hackathon. … Continue reading »
UC Berkeley officials held a public hearing Wednesday night on plans to build a new aquatics center at 2222 Bancroft Ave., east of Oxford, and were told the one-story building is a lost opportunity for improving the area and would be too disruptive to parking.
UC hopes to start construction on the $15 million project in August to alleviate the crowding that now takes place at Spieker Pool. Currently, all 120 of Cal’s swimmers, divers and water polo athletes, as well as recreational swimmers, must use that facility, putting a severe strain on its capacity. … Continue reading »