Tag Archives: Alameda County
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 »
Alameda County is the first populous county in California to complete its election count, according to Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald (“If I can brag a little,” he said). The countywide turnout of 74.3% was slightly down on 2008, when it reached 78.3%. The registrar published the final, uncertified count last night.
Detailed precinct by precinct votes will be available shortly after the results are certified, which Macdonald expects to do next Wednesday. Today and Monday, his staff are doing the required 1% tally before certification: a random 1% of precincts is checked manually to see whether there are any discrepancies between the voter machine-reported tally and the manual tally.
In Berkeley, the final count revealed no changes since election day. The close count on Measure T, which would have changed zoning in West Berkeley, finished with the opponents ahead by 512 votes. The narrow margin Alejandro Soto-Vigil had for the fourth seat on the Rent Stabilization Board also held up: Soto-Vigil finished 210 votes ahead of incumbent Igor Tregub. Yesterday, Councilmember Jesse Arreguín appointed Tregub to the Zoning Adjustments Board. … Continue reading »
The latest Berkeley vote tallies, updated with some of the vote by mail and provisional ballots, have further narrowed the gap on Measure T, which would revise some of the zoning in West Berkeley. Overnight, opponents to Measure T had a 123 vote lead. That’s now down to 26 votes.
Measure S remains close, but the gap is still significant at 1,001.
Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald released the latest figures this afternoon shortly after 4:00 p.m. and will be doing so daily until all the ballots are processed.
“This election has been very typical,” Macdonald said, responding to questions about the volume of uncounted ballots. “We have 100,000 vote by mail and 40,000 provisional ballots left countywide. It’s been a very smooth election.” … Continue reading »
In response to a critical report by the Alameda County Grand Jury, the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board will commission an outside expert to review the appropriateness of the program’s workload and staffing.
And while the board will not consider reducing the director’s $183,000 salary, it will conduct an annual assessment of his performance in addition to the full-scale review it now does every three years.
Despite agreeing to those changes, the Rent Stabilization Board took issue with the tone and conclusions of the Grand Jury Report, which was released in June and stated the board was a “self-sustaining bureaucracy that operates without effective oversight and accountability.” … Continue reading »
By Phil Catalfo
Over the last two months, a small cadre of volunteers has fanned out across Berkeley to enroll their neighbors in an effort to support the work of the Berkeley Food Pantry and help feed hungry families in our community. Since 1969, the Pantry, a project of the Berkeley Friends Church, has been combating hunger, feeding about 700 families a month by utilizing food obtained from the Alameda County Community Food Bank, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, other sources, and donations. The new effort, dubbed the Berkeley Neighborhood Food Project (BNFP), aims to supplement the invaluable work that the Pantry, the food bank, and others have been doing—and to provide Berkeley residents with a more immediate way to help the hungry in our town.
The design of the project is brilliant in its simplicity: People are asked to buy one extra non-perishable item each time they go grocery shopping. These items are saved up in a reusable green shopping bags (emblazoned with the BNFP logo) until they are collected by project volunteers (who replace them with empty bags for the next collection). The bags are picked up at donors’ homes every two months, always on the second Saturday of an even-numbered month. … Continue reading »
A highly critical report by the Alameda County Grand Jury has found that the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board is a “self-sustaining bureaucracy that operates without effective oversight and accountability.”
This rent board pays Jay Kelekian, its director, $183,000 a year to oversee a $4 million budget and manage just 21 employees – which is more than the city Berkeley pays its director of public works, who oversees 326 employees and has a $90 million annual budget, according to the report.
“The executive director makes an exorbitant salary that comprises nearly 5% of the entire budget of the agency,” according to the report. “The Grand Jury finds this unacceptable and concludes the board needs to reprioritize services and to reduce costs, not only in its administration but in services to the citizens of Berkeley.” … Continue reading »
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul David Seeman has been charged with elder financial abuse and was in custody Thursday night on $525,000 bail.
Seeman, 57, has been under investigation by the Berkeley police for many months, according to media reports. He is accused of stealing as much as $1.6 million from his neighbor, Anne Nutting, 97, after her husband, Lee, died in 1999 at age 90. He also allegedly sold her art and other possessions, tried to bar her from her own home, and used her garage to store his 1957 Ford Thunderbird, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Court documents state that Seeman began stealing from Nutting in 1999 after she and her husband were banned from living in their home on Santa Barbara Road in Berkeley because it was deemed to be uninhabitable. The couple were hoarders and the Berkeley Fire Department deemed it unfit during a visit to treat Lee Nutting, 89, for a fall. … Continue reading »
The largest part of last night’s City Council meeting was consumed by public comment and council debate over potential ballot measures for the November election (full report coming later). But a number of other important items were on the agenda as well.
Police community engagement
At a special, one-hour meeting before the regular council, Berkeley Police Department Captain Andy Greenwood presented a number of new community engagement initiatives, including an online crime reporting system, a revamped CrimeView site, and an expanded program of “coffee with the commanders”.
The online reporting system, dubbed CopLogic, enables residents to self-report non-emergency matters, where there are no witnesses or suspects. Greenwood said the types of crimes where the system could prove helpful include auto burglary and theft from autos, identity theft, petty theft, harassing phone calls, and vandalism. … Continue reading »
Andre Green’s mission is both simple and heartfelt: no one should go hungry. It’s a mantra that has worked for him in his more than seven years serving food to the homeless and poor.
After a long stint in the kitchen at the East Oakland Community Project, Green began cooking for Berkeley’s most vulnerable residents on Valentine’s Day this year, as the new food services coordinator for Berkeley Food & Housing Project. The non-profit group serves hot meals to homeless men, women, and children from food purchased from the Alameda County Community Food Bank and wholesale grocery stores, along with donations from individuals, organizations, and businesses. … Continue reading »
At a time when an increasing number of families need help putting a meal on the table, the Berkeley Food Pantry has a severe financial shortfall that threatens to jeopardize its emergency aid program.
If a promised check from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, doesn’t show up within days, the pantry may not be able to help hungry Berkeley and Albany residents who line up for two bags of groceries later this week.
The 42-year-old program, which operates three afternoons a week out of the Berkeley Friends Church on Sacramento Street, has just $190 in its account, said director Bill Shive. In less dire times pantry expenses amounted to $3,000 a month, though it has spent as much as $5,000 a month on both perishables and pantry items to provide sustenance to people in need, said Shive.
Last year, the pantry received federal funding totaling $24,000, in two payments. This year their funds, like other aid groups, have been cut 40%. But the pantry has yet to receive any money from FEMA in 2011, though a check for half the program’s funding ($8,400) is said to be on its way.
And even if the money does come, the organization is so seriously strapped for cash — it has borrowed $6,000 from the Alameda County Community Food Bank this year to cover costs, said Shive — that it’s likely to be an extremely lean time leading into the holiday season. “What this means is that we’ll have less food, less variety, and we’ll be able to help fewer people,” he said. … Continue reading »
HAYWARD — Nine teenage boys and one teenage girl sat grouped around a set of desks arranged in a rectangle. Their eyes were focused on another boy standing in front of them, who was reading from his report on the effects of marijuana.
“People are introduced to marijuana usually by their friends, older sister or brother, or someone they know,” said the speaker, who looked up from his paper to flash a smile at his classmates, who then started to talk.
“You are doing very well,” said Annie Green, the teacher, who, without missing a beat, turned to the class and told them to tone down their chatter. “Save your comments for later,” she said. Green then turned her attention back to her standing student and started to probe some of the points he made in his presentation, particularly what marijuana does to pregnant women.
The scene could be one from any Bay Area high school with its mix of restless students and a teacher trying to tamp down their chatter. But this didn’t happen in an ordinary school. It took place recently at the Hayward Community School, a school run by the Alameda County Office of Education for students who have been expelled by their own school districts for truancy, bad behavior, repeated suspensions, and violent acts like carrying a weapon to school. Some may have served time in juvenile hall.
Nestled in the back of the bright yellow Eden Youth and Family Center on West Tennyson, right next to a pediatric clinic, a day care center and a day labor program, the Hayward Community School serves 64 of Alameda County’s toughest students, those, who, despite repeated chances, could not make it at their own high schools. They have been sent to the community school to sit out their expulsions, which may range from a semester to a year.
Four of the students at the Hayward Community School live in Berkeley, and soon, in the 2011-2012 school year, students like them might be able to attend classes in their hometown rather than have to travel to Hayward. The Alameda County Office of Education and the Berkeley Unified School District are proposing to create a small community school inside the Berkeley Adult School on San Pablo Avenue near Virgina. … Continue reading »
Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, who represents Berkeley, is calling for community input into how to re-draw county district lines.
County officials adjust the boundaries of the supervisorial districts every 10 years after census results are released. Carson represents the Fifth District, which includes Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, Piedmont, and parts of Oakland.
The population in the district has changed during the past 10 years. Berkeley’s population, for example, went up 9.6% between 2000 and 2010, from 102,734 to 112,580, according to census figures. Carson’s district now has 6,040 people more than the median for the other supervisorial districts.
The deadline for submitting ideas for new district lines to the Alameda County Community Development Agency is June 10. Carson will be holding a meeting Monday June 6, from 6 pm to 8 pm, at the Northbrae Community Church at 1941 The Alameda. He is seeing input into some proposed changes to the county district lines.
Dan Marks, Berkeley’s planning director, will also talk about proposed development changes in the region.