Election 2016: Who is Nate Wollman?

Photo: Courtesy of Nate Wollman
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Name: Nate Wollman

Age: 38

Job: Property manager

What office are you are running for? Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner

What is the main reason you are running? I am a renter as well as a property manager, so my perspective is both unique and sympathetic to those who must find and sustain housing with the prices and demand here in the Bay Area.

I am running for rent board because I have the passion to do the following!

Advocate For All Berkeley Tenant’s Rights!
Advocate For Property Owners Rights!
Bring years of real world experience to the Rent Stabilization Board!
Help Families & Students Maintain Quality Housing In Berkeley !
Represent Tenants & Landlords With Fair Consideration For Both Parties!
Establish Transparent Communication!
Less Politics & More Real World Solutions! … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Judy Hunt?

Photo: Courtesy of Judy Hunt
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Name: Judy Hunt

Job: Non-profit executive and consultant

What office are you are running for? Commissioner, Rent Stabilization Board

What is the main reason you are running? I am running for re-election as a Commissioner. I won in 2012 as a small property owner, raising issues concerning older adult tenants and property owners. I also continue to address critical issues regarding people of color, who reside in West Berkeley and South Berkeley with long term rent controlled units. Issues related to the gentrification of West Berkeley and South Berkeley impact small property owners, whose units remain well below market rates. Tenants in those units are impacted as available housing for seniors, moderate and low income people are not readily available in communities they call home.

Why are you qualified for the position? I am qualified to continue as a Commissioner for the following reasons:

A. I am a small property owner whose property has been under rent control for over 20 years. I know the responsibilities of being a good landlord.

B. I have been a tenant and I know the issues of tenants, their rights and responsibilities. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Christina Murphy?

Photo: Christina Murphy / Courtesy (featured only)
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Name: Christina Murphy

Age: 38

Job: Housing coordinator

What office are you are running for? Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, 2016

What is the main reason you are running? I am the housing coordinator at a South Berkeley non-profit which provides supportive services to chronically under-served, homeless and at risk individuals, many of whom have mental health challenges. I was asked by my community to be the voice for voiceless and I was selected to run for the Berkeley Rent Board by the Berkeley Tenants convention attended by almost 400 Berkeley tenants and homeowners.

Why are you qualified for the position? I have strong support in my community, South Berkeley. I work tirelessly and every day to help Berkeley residents find housing, I convince landlords to accept housing vouchers and work to keep tenants in their homes. I am determined to stay involved in processes that create affordable housing for everyone. … Continue reading »

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Real-estate interests spend $92K to help elect candidates

Mayoral candidates Laurie Capitelli and Jesse Arreguín butted heads Tuesday night over the minimum wage proposal. Photos: Mark Coplan
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The political action committee of the National Association of Realtors has poured $92,486 into the Berkeley election in recent weeks, with almost two-thirds of that going to support Laurie Capitelli in his race for mayor.

The realtors spent $60,382 to send out flyers in support of Capitelli, whose main challengers are fellow City Councilmen Jesse Arreguin and Kriss Worthington. Those two are running in tandem and are encouraging voters to rank them first and second on Berkeley’s rank-choice ballot in a bid to defeat Capitelli.

See all local 2016 coverage on Berkeleyside.

(Berkeleyside reported on Oct. 12 that the realtors had spent $36,342 in support of Capitelli’s campaign, but the group has since filed additional documentation.)

The National Association of Realtors Fund is considered an independent expenditure, which means the organization does not coordinate with the candidates’ campaigns. These groups are not restrained by Berkeley’s $250 limit for individuals.

Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Art Ratner’s miniature buildings

Art Ratner. Photo: John Storey
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Art Ratner has been fixing Japanese cars in Berkeley for more than 30 years. His energy, intelligence and humor make him liked. The best-in-the-Bay work done by his shop, Art’s Automotive on San Pablo between Russell and Oregon, make him sought-after. Many know him, but not many know of his staggering collection of miniature souvenir buildings.

It reminds me of the 1987 episode of Miami Vice when Crockett and Tubbs visit the apartment of their partner, Lawrence “Larry” Zito, who has been killed by a heroin overdose. They discover a large collection of snow globes and Crockett observes that you can know somebody for years and years and still not know what makes them tick. Wisdom from Miami Vice applied to Art Ratner! … Continue reading »

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Man in critical condition after shooting in Southside

The shooting scene in Berkeley on Saturday night. Photo: @iZaynab
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Update, 5:50 a.m. Berkeley police issued a Nixle alert around 5:15 a.m. in which they said the shooting victim was a 35-year-old man. He is in critical condition at an Alameda County hospital. BPD reiterated that the event does not appear to be random and said the man likely had no UC Berkeley affiliation. Officers have left the crime scene but the investigation remains ongoing.

Update, 12:50 a.m. Despite word-of-mouth reports of multiple shootings late Saturday night in Berkeley, authorities say there was just one shooting, and it left a man with serious injuries.

Berkeley Police Lt. Alyson Hart said police got multiple reports of possible gunfire beginning at 11:10 p.m. in the general area of Dana and Haste streets, in the Southside neighborhood near the UC Berkeley campus.

Officers who went to the area found a man lying in the street on Haste just west of Dana. He appeared to be suffering from a gunshot wound, Hart said.

Officers rendered first aid until paramedics were able to take the man to a local hospital for treatment.

He was still alive as of about 12:50 a.m. but his injuries appeared to be serious.  … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 10.14.16

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Bites: Navi Kitchen, Blue Bottle, Wingman, more

Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings

PREETI MISTRY TO OPEN EMERYVILLE RESTAURANT Called Navi Kitchen, it will be Mistry’s second East Bay restaurant, and it will take the place of short-lived Basic Café at 5000 Adeline. Like her first, Temescal’s Juhu Beach Club, Navi Kitchen’s menu will emphasize market-driven Indian cuisine. Inside Scoop reports, however, that Navi Kitchen will be slightly more casual, with all-day counter service, a chai and coffee bar, and plenty of outdoor seating. On the food side, Mistry will serve a daily curry and rice tiffin, Indian twists on Neapolitan-style pizzas, masala-brined rotisserie chicken, and Straus soft-serve ice cream and milkshakes — basically, Indian twists on some American classics. The East Bay Express spoke with Mistry, who gave a few more details on her pizza. Unlike other Indian pizzas at places like Namaste Pizza, the crust will be thin, rather than puffy, and the toppings will be “subtle,” rather than over-the-top. Mistry also told EBX that Navi Kitchen will also have a spice bar offering freshly ground spice blends like garam masala and chai. Navi Kitchen will be designed by Mistry’s wife and business partner Ann Nadeau, who also created the colorful, fun decor at Juhu Beach Club. Mistry hopes to open the restaurant in spring 2017. Navi Kitchen will be at 5000 Adeline St. (near 47th Street), Emeryville.Continue reading »

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A Moroccan journey with Yassir Chadly and Howard Wiley’s Cannonball

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Sufi mystic and Berkeley Recreation aquatics specialist, master of traditional North African instruments, storyteller, and pioneering jazz improviser, Yassir Chadly contains multitudes. Over the years he’s recorded with jazz luminaries such as Randy Weston, Pharoah Sanders, and Omar Sosa, but musically he’s been sticking close to home since the 2012 death of trumpeter Khalil Shaheed. Together, they founded the Mo’Rockin Project, a band that fused traditional Moroccan songs with jazz and R&B, a repertoire Chadly hopes to revisit someday. Until he locates the right partner the Casablanca-born multi-instrumentalist can be found playing traditional music, as when he returns to Ashkenaz Friday with a group of East Bay Moroccan musicians including percussionist Mostafa Raiss El Fenni, who owns Sahara Import on Piedmont Avenue.

“I like to show the people raw Moroccan music, no preservatives,” says Chadly from his house in El Sobrante, where he and his wife recently settled after decades in Oakland. “People like to hear something authentic, as if they’re in Morocco, so they don’t have to travel.”

An informal ensemble that practices at Sahara Imports, Chadly and the Moroccans draw on a shared repertoire of celebratory wedding songs, incantatory Sufi trance music and Gnawa grooves, a tradition brought to the Maghreb in past centuries by West Africans. A skilled percussionist and string player known for his work on oud, castanet-like karkabas, goblet-drum darbuka, and frame-drum bendir, he often leads the ensemble from the three-string bass-like ginbri (or sintir). … Continue reading »


Election 2016 Berkeley: Spotlight on the School Board

From left: Abdur Sikder, Judy Appel, Beatriz Leyva-Cutler and Norma Harrison. Photos: Courtesy
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Berkeleyside wants to help you get to know your 2016 candidates for Berkeley mayor, City Council, School Board and Rent Board. We are publishing questionnaires with the candidates daily at 11 a.m. through Monday.

We’ll also have stories on all the key Berkeley races and initiatives on the ballot, and hope to help readers make informed decisions about the potential leaders and policies that could help shape Berkeley’s future.

See all local 2016 coverage on Berkeleyside.

Q&As with three of the four School Board candidates follow (the other candidate did not fill out the form). We asked why they were running, what sets them apart, what the city’s biggest challenges are and how they hope to solve them. Learn what each candidate thinks is his most inspired idea, and how each candidate plans to be accountable and accessible to constituents. Each questionnaire includes complete campaign info, including social media pages, to help readers connect.

The deadline to register to vote in Alameda County for the Nov. 8 election is Monday, Oct. 24. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Beatriz Leyva-Cutler?

Photo: Courtesy of Beatriz Leyva-Cutler
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Name: Beatriz Leyva-Cutler

Age: 60

Job: Executive Director of BAHIA Inc.

What office are you are running for? Berkeley School Board

What is the main reason you are running? I am running for Berkeley School Board to solidify the focus through policy and practice the expectation of always holding equity and academic excellence of all our students to be a priority. In my work as a board member I have looked at data, programs, results and strengthening and amplifying the programs that are successful; … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Abdur Sikder?

Photo: Courtesy of Abdur Sikder (featured only)
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Name: Abdur Sikder

Age: 48

Job: Scientist/entrepreneur

What office are you are running for? Berkeley School Board

What is the main reason you are running? I want Berkeley School District to be a place where all children have an equal opportunity to have high quality education, all students are taught to enjoy learning not that they have to. As a parent I know what kind of environment requires for students to become lifelong learners. I attended Schools in Bangladesh, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and USA including UC San Diego, being founder of a nonprofit research institute and a for profit Software company in Berkeley I have the diverse background to understand all the stakeholders in BUSD. My two children currently attend Berkeley public institutions.

Why are you qualified for the position? Having a Ph.D. in Computer Science and training in Teaching & Learning in higher education I have the skill, experience and commitment to ensure that we use our resources efficiently. I will listen to all stakeholders and will incorporate their suggestion in the decision making process. Together we can achieve impossible. If elected I will work to have a safe, fun and friendly environment for our children to be successful including special need students. My goal is to facilitate practical oriented curriculum for our children to be ready to go to college or enter into workforce and live a productive life. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Judy Appel?

Berkeley School Board candidate Judy Appel. Photo: Courtesy of Judy Appel
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Name: Judy Appel

Age: 51

Job: Executive director, California School-Based Health Alliance

What office are you are running for? School Board Director

What is the main reason you are running? Every child deserves the opportunity to be seen, valued and challenged at school. This is the kind of society I have been working to create for the last thirty years – as an activist, civil rights attorney, executive director, social justice leader, elected official and the proud parent of two BUSD students. It has been an honor for me to serve on the Berkeley School Board, where I have been driven by my belief in our students and my deep commitment to assuring that every one of them has access to a quality education and appropriate resources.

Why are you qualified for the position? I am currently an elected member of the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education, and served as Board President in 2015. In this role I have been a strong and consistent advocate for quality education for all of our students, with a particular focus on equity within BUSD, to assure we address the needs of our students of color, students with disabilities, and English Language Learning students. … Continue reading »

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