Category Archives: UC Berkeley
By Anne Brice/UC Berkeley News
The Campanile clock tower is the campus’s North Star. At 100 years old and 307 feet tall, it’s a landmark everyone knows and trusts. But what happens when the clocks stop? There’s only one person to call: Art Simmons.
“Everybody in Berkeley watches those clocks,” says Simmons. “Not just the people on campus. So when the clocks stop, the whole city knows about it and it doesn’t look good.”
Simmons started working at Berkeley as an electrician 20 years ago. Because the person who took care of the clocks had just retired, Simmons inherited them as his responsibility. “I had no choice, it was in my zone,” he says. “They said, ‘It’s your baby, keep it going.’ So it was a lot of pressure to keep those clocks running and keep them running right.” … Continue reading »
For over seven months, the UC Berkeley police have been surreptitiously planting bicycles equipped with tracking technology throughout campus in hopes of catching bike thieves.
The Bait Bike Program was kept confidential during the spring semester, but UCPD announced earlier this month that 31 arrests have been made since the initiative quietly went live in January. Reported bike thefts are down 45%, the department said in a press release.
“The word was starting to get out a little bit so we figured we would go ahead and let the community know we are trying to do something to impact the theft of bicycles,” said UCPD Lieutenant Marc DeCoulode. … Continue reading »
Cal’s Lower Sproul Plaza is scheduled to re-open in the fall after two years of construction with a new selection of food, coffee and drink purveyors, all of which will be open to the public. The choice will include a burger joint, a salad and sandwich spot, a pizza place and a Mexican restaurant.
The Lower Sproul Plaza Redevelopment program, construction for which began in early 2013, replaces the old, seismically unsound Eshleman Hall with a 50% larger (though shorter) building. It will house the MLK Jr. Student Union which has been upgraded with the addition of a new space on the sides facing Lower Sproul and Bancroft Way, among other renovations.
The new food options will include four restaurants on the plaza level, two coffee shops and a Bear’s Lair Bar and Kitchen at the west end of Eshleman. The dining commons in MLK will have a small stage for student performances and DJs. … Continue reading »
Amid a raucous meeting that ran past 1 a.m., the Berkeley City Council essentially dismissed an appeal that sought to have the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission reconsider an earlier decision not to grant protected status to Campanile Way.
Three council members — Max Anderson, Jesse Arreguín and Kriss Worthington — voted in favor of the appeal, with Mayor Tom Bates opposed and the rest of the council abstaining. The vote came after an hour of public comment and discussion by the council.
The application to landmark Campanile Way came as plans for an 18-story multi-use building at 2211 Harold Way are working their way through Berkeley’s entitlements process. The development was the crux of nearly every public comment at the meeting: Residents and students alike argued that the development would mar the view from Campanile Way, which looks over the San Francisco Bay toward the Golden Gate Bridge.
Since the hearing April 2 before the landmarks commission, Harold Way developers have reworked the building massing so it would intrude even less into the view, said project representative Mark Rhoades. He emphasized Tuesday that this change was due to feedback from the city’s Design Review Committee, and was not a response to the petition for landmark status. … Continue reading »
The group of Berkeley residents that lost a petition to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the view from Campanile Way is now appealing that decision before the City Council tonight. The group, led by former LPC Commissioner Steven Finacom, is concerned that a development at 2211 Harold Way would mar what they argue is a historic view.
Read more about what’s coming up at tonight’s council meeting.
The LPC voted 5-3, with one abstention, against landmarking the path and its view, though nearly everyone at the meeting agreed that the view is fantastic. The commissioners were divided about how much the 18-story development would impact the view. Even if the petition had passed, some commissioners argued, UC Berkeley is not governed by local ordinances and would not be legally required to pay attention to the ruling. … Continue reading »
UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: The July 21 Manchester United vs. San Jose Earthquakes game will be played at Avaya Stadium in San Jose rather than Cal Memorial Stadium, according to Wesley Mallette, Associate AD, Strategic Communications for Cal Athletics. Mallette confirmed UC Berkeley was informed today about the decision, made by Relevent Sports, organizers of the tournament. “We were informed that the change in venue was made in order to better meet Manchester United’s travel and logistical requirements,” he said in a statement Monday night. People who bought tickets to the original game will be issued a full refund and should expect their refund within 5-7 days, Mallette said, adding that specific details about refunds will be issued Tuesday. “We have been informed by the promoter that those who purchased tickets for the match in Berkeley will be eligible for a special pre-sale opportunity to purchase seats before they go on sale to the general public.”
ORIGINAL STORY: The Guinness International Champions Cup soccer game between English Premiership club Manchester United and local MLS team San Jose Earthquakes that was due to be played at Cal Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on Tuesday, July 21 will not be played in Berkeley, according to a staffer in the Berkeley City Manager’s office. The source said the decision was taken Monday. … Continue reading »
After the U.S. Supreme Court decided Friday that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, members of the UC Berkeley LGBTQ community gathered on Sproul Plaza at noon to celebrate the landmark decision with music, an open mic, and each other.
The ruling, Obergefell v. Hodges, falls one day before the official Pride celebration in San Francisco in a community that has been rainbow-colored for weeks.
Alix Schwartz, a Berkeley resident, called it “a historic moment” and said the ruling will be compared to the 1968 case, Loving v. Virginia, that legalized interracial marriage. She said she was not surprised by the ruling.
“I was hopeful,” she said. … Continue reading »
The disputed UC Berkeley land next to Albany’s Gill Tract is in contention no more. Last week, the California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the university to build a senior housing development and Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store on San Pablo Avenue in University Village.
Read more on Berkeleyside’s coverage of Occupy the Farm.
The development, on a long-vacant lot next to the Gill Tract research field, has been the site of protests since April 2012 on the part of Occupy the Farm, which has stated that UC Berkeley’s plans would “pave over a rare natural resource” and that the Gill Tract is “public farmland that belongs to the people.”
Stefanie Rawlings, of Occupy the Farm, originally filed a lawsuit against the city of Albany and UC Berkeley that alleged that the city’s approved Environmental Impact Report was deficient. When Rawlings lost the suit, she filed an appeal on the grounds that the report did not lay out appropriate alternatives for the building plan, and that the city did not appropriately consider the alternatives listed. … Continue reading »
A striking Berkeley chain-link fence covered in found objects, including teddy bears and bras, was recently stripped bare, two days after a story about the quirky ‘art wall’ was published on Berkeleyside.
One person who complained about the fence referred to it as “creepy,” according to Christine Shaff, facilities and real-estate communications director at UC Berkeley, who said a Cal grounds manager asked the creator of the wall to strip it after a formal work order was submitted “at least a week before” Berkeleyside published its June 2 story.
The chain-link fence separates a UC parking garage from the alley running from Ridge Street to Hearst Avenue just west of Euclid Avenue. … Continue reading »
A herd of grass-munching goats swarmed across Cyclotron Road in the Berkeley Hills last week on the way to another plant-clearing mission below Blackberry Gate.
The goats are part of Berkeley Lab’s vegetation management plan to trim abundant grasslands and reduce fire hazards.
Read more about animals in Berkeley.
Berkeley Lab posted a video of the goats on the move to its Facebook page on June 12. The video was shot by Lab employee David Stein (while he was apparently listening to KQED radio!). It proved so popular that it has been viewed more than 2 million times on Facebook since then, helped no doubt by the fact that Berkeleyside reposted it to its Facebook page, and it was then picked up by other media, including NBC, CNN and the Huffington Post. (Watch the video below the fold.) … Continue reading »
As a Cal alumna, I’ve been rooting for my alma mater to be among the first universities to divest from fossil fuels. Alas, Stanford, SF State and Peralta, along with dozens of other universities, religious institutions and cities, including Berkeley, San Francisco, Richmond and Oakland, have already shown us up, divesting billions from the oil, gas and coal companies that are cooking the planet. Yesterday, I put some skin in the game with a pledge to donate $500 to … Continue reading »
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 »
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.