Category Archives: UC Berkeley

Berkeley neighbors take on ‘noisy and drunken parties’

A student is taken care of by BFD. Image: ABC 7’s I-Team
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Dozens of concerned neighbors met Monday night at the Berkeley Police Department to strategize about how to cut down on “noisy and drunken disturbances,” particularly in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood.

The city of Berkeley is working on an ordinance to try to curtail problematic behavior, which has at times taxed the city’s emergency services and overwhelmed its main emergency room. The ordinance has been scheduled twice to come before the Berkeley City Council in recent weeks, but has now been delayed for consideration until the fall to allow stakeholders in the university community to weigh in.

In the interim, the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee — which hosted Monday night’s meeting — is bringing local residents into the discussion. At the end of the meeting, attendees agreed to form a working group to try to ensure that their views and input are part of the city process.

Jim Hynes, assistant to Berkeley’s city manager, told the group of about 30 that the city decided to consider expanding existing laws about mini-dorms to all group living accommodations following media attention to the issue, as well as concerns expressed by the Alta Bates emergency room.

“There were weekends where 50-75% of their emergency beds were filled with drunk students,” he said, forcing the hospital to divert other incoming patients to Highland and Summit hospitals in Oakland. “There were times when they couldn’t divert, and had to set up, essentially, disaster triage areas for drunk students.” … Continue reading »

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Photos: Hundreds march, light candles at vigil for Nepal

People hold hands and observe a moment of silence at a candlelight vigil on the University of California campus, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, to bring attention to the victims of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25. Several hundred people participated in the vigil, sponsored by the Nepali Student Association. Photo: David Yee ©2015
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The Nepali Student Association at UC Berkeley organized a vigil Wednesday night to raise awareness and funds after the April 25 earthquake that killed thousands and has devastated many parts of the country.

People began gathering on Sproul Plaza shortly before 7:00 p.m. after which they marched in silence to the area in front of Wheeler Hall where they lit candles and arranged them to spell “Stay Strong Nepal.” The organizers then photographed the group around the candles from overhead, using a drone. They hope to use the images to bring attention to the plight of the victims of the quake.

Berkeleyside sent photographer David Yee to document the event.

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Photos: Cal Day draws thousands to UC Berkeley campus

Cal Day 2015. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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The UC Berkeley campus was teeming with life and a host of free celebratory events on Saturday for the annual Cal Day. At its core, Cal Day is for newly admitted students, but a majority of the activities are designed to appeal to the broader community. Among the highlights this year were performances by San Francisco-based vertical dance company Bandaloop who helped mark the centennial of the Campanile by, literally, jumping off its roof. (See Cal Day’s full program.)

And, like any Cal event, there was a bit of politics on offer. Members of the Black Student Union blocked Sather Gate in the morning to protest the university environment for Black students. The BSU redirected visitors as a way of pressuring Cal Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to respond to ten demands it submitted three months ago.

Contributing photographer Nancy Rubin captured the day for us. … Continue reading »

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Robert Reich makes the case for $15 minimum wage

UC Berkeley professor Robert Reich at a McDonald's in Oakland on the morning of April 15, 2015. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Fight for 15, the campaign for an increase in the minimum wage, hit the streets of Berkeley and Oakland yesterday.

UC Berkeley Professor Robert Reich was at the center of the protest in Oakland’s Temescal district in the morning. He gave a rousing, impromptu speech on the importance of the campaign. (Watch the 2-minute speech in the video below, exclusively published by Berkeleyside.) … Continue reading »

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‘Fight for 15′ rallies planned for East Bay on April 15

Fast food workers march in Oakland in December. Photo: Annette Bernhardt/Flickr
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This Wednesday, Bay Area workers and activists plan to take to the streets as part of a worldwide mobilization of low-wage workers demanding higher pay.

Fight for 15, a national organization launched in 2012 and funded by major labor unions, is calling for a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. Organizers say this week’s protests will be their largest action to date — and, they claim, perhaps the most widespread workers’ protest in U.S. history. Over 200 U.S. cities will see strikes and workers’ rallies, while sympathetic actions will occur on six continents.

Across the Bay Area, fast-food workers are preparing to walk off the job to protest low wages. These workers will form the heart of rallies and marches in Oakland and Berkeley that will also include home-care and childcare providers, industrial laundry, airport and Walmart workers. … Continue reading »

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View from UC Berkeley Campanile will not be landmarked

A group of protesers marched from the Campanile to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on April 2 to urge the landmarking of Campanile Way. Photo: Ted Friedman
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The view from the UC Berkeley Campanile looking west toward San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge is iconic, but it should not be landmarked, the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided Thursday, April 2.

The 5-3 vote, with one abstention, came after almost four hours of testimony from residents who are concerned that a proposed 18-story building at 2211 Harold Way will partially block the view from campus. Those in favor of landmarking urged the LPC to preserve the view for future generations by making sure developers could not impinge on the vista.

“Campanile Way is a terribly important part of the history of the campus and the Berkeley community,” said John English, who has lived in Berkeley for more than 55 years. “It is totally obvious it deserves landmarking. Let’s recognize its importance and celebrate its 100th anniversary by landmarking Campanile Way.” … Continue reading »

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Take a tour of Cal’s historic trees with new phone app

This eucalyptus grove was planted in 1877. Photo: UC Berkeley
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By Cathy Cockrell, UCB NewsCenter 

The London plane trees on the Campanile Esplanade were brought to Berkeley about a century ago, as young saplings, from San Francisco, where they’d been planted for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. And the stately southern magnolia on the north end of Sproul Hall belongs to an ancient group of plants whose large, cup-shaped blossoms evolved to catch beetles.

That’s a little of what you’ll learn from a campus guided tour created by the College of Natural Resources and introduced during last week’s conference at Berkeley celebrating the National Parks’ centennial. … Continue reading »

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The Campanile at 100: The woman of the tower

Tthe Campanile and the Golden Gate Bridge across the bay, seen from the hills east of campus. Photo: UC Berkeley
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By Gretchen Kell

The Campanile is the most distinctive building of the Berkeley skyline. It turns 100 this year and in honor of its anniversary, UC Berkeley has been holding special events. Gretchen Kell, who writes for UC’s NewsService, interviewed the woman at the top of the tower.

If you’ve ever taken an elevator ride in the Jane K. Sather Campanile, you’ve probably met Lilyanne Clark. “I spend four hours in the elevator a day,” she says, matter-of-factly, “and on busy days, I can make 10 to 15 round trips an hour.” That’s up to 60 round trips daily. It’s a question she thinks she’s answered nearly as many times.

There are other questions Clark prefers to answer. Having worked at the Campanile since 1993, she enjoys sharing her colorful experiences as the tower’s keeper and as a Visitor Services staffer who helps show the public this iconic Bay Area treasure. Last year, more than 100,000 people took a tour, and the crowds grow annually. … 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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UC Berkeley to cut down trees in People’s Park for safety

The People's Park.
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UC Berkeley plans to remove an estimated 29 trees in People’s Park and prune and stabilize others next week, during the university’s spring break, as part of what it describes as necessary safety and maintenance work.

The decision was taken after consultation with an arborist who identified a significant number of trees as being potentially hazardous, according to Christine Shaff, director of communications in UC Berkeley’s Real Estate office. Some trees in the park, which is Cal property, have been identified as in poor health or potentially hazardous and need to be removed, the university said, while others will be preserved with thinning or with support systems.

The issue came to light at Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting when one member of the public suggested UC Berkeley was going to remove all the trees in the park, as well as its permanent stage. The speaker, who did not identify himself, said he had been alerted to the proposed work by the Berkeley campus student government group, the ASUC, and he called for people to resist the move. He declared next week to be “People’s Park Defense Week”: “It is going to be a hardcore Occupy. It is going to be the battle for People’s Park,” he said. “It’s going to be like December all over again.” … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Niyar stars as Lakshmi in the movie "Sold"
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WATCH THE MOVIE ‘SOLD’ The movie Sold, directed by Jeffrey D. Brown, has been lauded at film festivals around the globe as a searing look into the widespread practice of sexual slavery of young girls. Based on Patricia McCormick’s 2006 novel, “Sold,” the film traces the story of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old girl from Nepal. After a monsoon devastates her house, she decides she will help her family by going to work as a maid for a wealthy woman in the city. Lakshmi instead finds herself sold to a brothel, named the“Happiness House. The Berkeley Anti-Trafficking Coalition and the Institute for South Asian Studies at UC Berkeley will be showing the film Friday at 6 p.m. in Room 2040 of the Valley Life Sciences building. It stars Niyar, Gillian Anderson, and David Arquette. Brown, who plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to distribute the film in theaters, will do a Q&A session after the screening. Suggested donation is $5. … Continue reading »

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Semi-pro Ultimate frisbee team moves to Berkeley

The San Francisco Dogfish, a Major League Ultimate frisbee team, is moving to Berkeley for its 2015 home games.
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For being the lone teenager in a group of adult professionals in last Sunday’s practice, Colby Chuck showed his San Francisco Dogfish teammates he was no greenhorn in Ultimate frisbee.

Perhaps home advantage came in play for the Berkeley High junior. After two years bouncing around in San Francisco, the Dogfish, one of eight teams in the semi-professional Major League Ultimate, is moving to Berkeley and will call Yellowjacket Stadium in Berkeley High its new home starting next month.

Chuck can’t play for the Dogfish due to his status as a high-school student, but he is gaining valuable experience by practicing every week with the team.

“The players mentor me to get better for college and beyond,” Chuck said. “It’s just great that they can correct my game and make me get better.” … Continue reading »

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53 trees come down on UC Berkeley land as grocery store, senior living project kicks off

Activists said they planned to meet in Albany on Thursday night to discuss next steps, after UC Berkeley cut down trees at University Village to prepare for a development project. Photo: Ed Fields
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UC Berkeley has begun the process of removing dozens of trees from its University Village property in Albany as work begins on a vacant lot slated for development that has been the site of numerous protests in recent years.

University spokeswoman Christine Shaff said Thursday afternoon by email that 53 trees will be removed from the property, on San Pablo Avenue near Monroe Street. Those trees will be replaced on a 2.5-to-1 basis, she added.

The project, which received formal approval last year from the Albany City Council “will bring senior housing and retail, including a grocery store, to serve nearby student-family housing as well as the Albany and west Berkeley communities,” Shaff said. … Continue reading »

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