Category Archives: News

Residents ask: Why the recent power outages in Berkeley?

Customers at Tap Haus watch the Warriors game on televisions powered by generators during the second power outage to hit the Southside area in three days, in Berkeley, on Thursday, June 2, 2016. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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When the power went out during the first half of a Warriors game on June 2, it was the last straw for many Berkeley residents. “Roving blackouts or just Berkeley living?” posted Jeff Terry on Twitter. Also on Twitter, Kelsey Waxman wrote: “#poweroutage in Berkeley for 2nd time this week. @PGE4Me what is going? Electricity was more reliable in rural #Uganda.”

“I’m really curious why this is happening,” emailed a reader to Berkeleyside. “PG&E hasn’t given any substantive explanation other than ‘underground wiring issues’… as the power losses continue to affect thousands of Berkeley residents, explanations for them should be given.”

“Isn’t the frequency of these things getting a little spooky?” asked another reader, also in an email.

Read past power outage coverage on Berkeleyside.

The June 2 outage, which affected 4,100 PG&E customers at its peak, was caused by an underground equipment failure at University and Bonita avenues, according to PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian. It followed close on the heels of another outage two days earlier, on May 31, which affected more than 10,000 customers downtown and in Southeast Berkeley, and was also, according to Sarkissian, caused by an underground equipment failure. Why the equipment failed in both cases was still under investigation when this story went to press. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 06.10.16

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Why is the water in Strawberry Creek bright green?

The "green" Strawberry Creek by citizen reporter
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If you have been walking along Strawberry Creek on the UC Berkeley campus recently, you may have done a double-take: much of the water is a bright green.

One reader, Linda Schacht Gage, was so taken aback by the color that she sent Berkeleyside the photo above, snapped on the north side of campus near University House. She asked us to investigate.

We turned to the person who knows Strawberry Creek the best (or at least has a public contact number) : Tim L. Pine, an environmental specialist at UC Berkeley’s Office of Environment, Health, & Safety.

Pine said the green comes from a non-toxic dye that is used to check the quality of the pipes that feed into the creek. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 06.09.16

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Berkeley City Council OKs spare bedrooms, but not backyard cottages, for short-term rentals

The owners of this rent-controlled apartment complex at 3100 College Ave. are renting out three of its apartments on Airbnb. Berkeley law does not allow rentals shorter than 14 days. Photo: Melati
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The City Council adopted strict new laws on short-term rentals on May 31 that would allow homeowners to rent out spare bedrooms, but not their backyard cottages.

The new rules also make it clear that owners of multi-unit apartment buildings cannot rent their apartments for less than 14 days. Hundreds of these kinds of units are listed for rent on short-term rental sites like Airbnb, Home Away, FlipKey, Craig’s List, SabbaticalHomes.com and VRBO. Many believe that those kinds of rentals have contributed to the housing shortage.

“We’ve gone years letting large landlords take entire buildings and a sizable number of rental units off the market,” said City Councilman Kriss Worthington.… “We need to start enforcement on large landowners who are constantly breaking the law and raking in lots of money… We need to stop that as fast as we can.” … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 06.08.16

Radio, Second Street, by David Gould. Photo taken June 5, 2016

Radio, Second Street, by David Gould. Photo taken June 5, 2016

Council approves ballot measure to increase tax on landlords (Express)
City Council to return to Old City Hall for meetings (East Bay Times)
Berkeley rabbi to speak at Muhammed Ali’s funeral (East Bay Times)
Cal alum opens Famous Bao, a Chinese restaurant, on Durant (Daily Cal)
Homecoming’ by Berkeley author Yaa Gyasi is a sprawling epic (NPR)
26-year-old Berkeley author mines dark history for novel, ‘Homecoming’ (Time)
Basking in books at Bay Area literary festival (SF Chronicle)

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City begins first phase of Rose Garden trellis restoration

Rose Garden. Photo: Colleen Neff
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The trellis at Berkeley’s storied Rose Garden is to be rebuilt, and on Monday afternoon a small event was held to mark the  ‘groundbreaking’ for Phase 1 of the Rose Garden Trellis Restoration Project.

This phase consists of the documentation and demolition of the existing trellis; the salvage of existing wood members; the reconstruction of the center portion of the trellis; pathway accessibility upgrades; and lighting and safety upgrades, according to the city, and is estimated to cost $391,620. It is being underwritten by the Measure F parks tax, the General Fund, and the East Bay Regional Parks District (Measure WW).

Read the city’s plan for the Rose Garden trellis restoration.

The second phase of the restoration would be to complete the trellis reconstruction and accessibility upgrades, and is tentatively scheduled for 2018, dependent on raising the necessary funds. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 06.07.16

Summer Fog by Daniel H. Parks, taken June 4, 2016

Summer Fog by Daniel H. Parks, taken June 4, 2016

Berkeley is 2nd-fastest rental market in Bay Area, average rent is $3,500 (SF Curbed)
Berkeley Festival and Exhibition back in stride (SF Classical Voice)
Bob Dylan at the Greek Theatre (Oakland Magazine)
Mu-Ming Poo wins $500K Gruber Neuroscience prize (UCB News)
Center Street garage to close for reconstruction (East Bay Times)
NLRB says there is ‘merit’ in former Berkeley employee’s suit (Business Insider)

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out All the News.

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Green Party’s Jill Stein joins Berkeley Post Office rally

Rally at the downtown Berkeley Post Office on Friday June 3. Photo: Ted Friedman
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US Presidential Green Party candidate Jill Stein took part in a rally at the downtown Berkeley Post Office Friday whose broad stated aim was to “let voters and the Department of Justice know how to keep the public sector viable.”

The US Post Office wants to sell the Allston Way post office, but has met resistance from the city and some Berkeley residents. In the latest salvo — in a battle that dates back four years to 2012 when the intended sale was announced — the DoJ warned the city of Berkeley that a lawsuit could be coming over the city’s “interference” with USPS plans to sell the building.

Read more about the fight surrounding the downtown Berkeley post office.

Friday’s rally, which was organized by the Green Party and the Berkeley Post Office Defenders group and attended by around 50 people, aimed to raise awareness of “public resources facing privatization by high-profit corporations;” to defend union jobs; to encourage the “wise use of common space; to allow access to the so-called Berkeley Post Office Community Garden established by protesters who camped outside the building for months before they were evicted; to promote postal banking; and to take action faced with “corporate control of government and media.” … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 06.06.16

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Berkeley High may overhaul schedule, classes to address achievement gap

Berkeley High School. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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For the past ten months, a group of Berkeley High School administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students has been spending long hours brainstorming ways to reduce the school’s achievement gap.

While African-American and Latino students have made great strides in recent years, many are still not performing at the level of their white and Asian peers, according to school officials. And often they are not getting access to the kinds of classes and opportunities that could help them excel.

Consider these statistics:

The graduation rate for African-American and Latino students at Berkeley High is markedly higher than the rates for surrounding schools and the state, according to BUSD statistics. And they are going to college in large numbers. Eighty-five percent of the African-American students who graduated in 2013 were enrolled in college within two years of graduation; the rate for Hispanic and Latino students was 83.3%, according to Sam Pasarow, the BHS principal.

Yet white students are four more times likely to be in an advanced math class than African-American students, and seven times more likely to be in an AP science class than Latino students.

“There is still a fairly profound achievement gap,” said Tamara Friedman, one of the co-facilitators of the Berkeley High Design Team. “A value that is held in the school and the city is one of social justice. We feel we could do better.” … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 06.03.16

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The Berkeley Wire: 06.02.16

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