Tag Archives: Alejandro Soto-Vigil

Berkeley Asphalt: New technology will reduce odors

Berkeley Asphalt plant on Virginia St. Photo: Mary Flaherty
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Berkeley Asphalt plans to invest in a new manufacturing process designed to reduce emissions and odors in its West Berkeley neighborhood starting in January, officials announced recently.

Its neighbors have complained about the noise, odors, and pollution from the plant for at least 20 years, most recently in June when a group questioned whether the plant has been violating its use permit with excess odors and noise.

What the company has decided to do is convert to a new technology called “warm-mix” asphalt, which produces paving material at a lower temperature than traditional asphalt, yet performs as well on the road and releases fewer pollutants into the air, according to company officials. The decision was the result of negotiations between the company and city staff that began last year.

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Rent Board commissioner Alejandro Soto-Vigil challenges 22-year incumbent Linda Maio in Berkeley’s District 1

alejandro Soto-Vigil
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Alejandro Soto-Vigil, city Rent Board commissioner and aide to Councilman Kriss Worthington, has filed to run for Berkeley City Council in District 1. He is the sole challenger to incumbent Linda Maio, who has occupied the seat since 1992.

Soto-Vigil said he is running to burst what he calls the “bubble” of the current council.

“I think I could take the bubble out, and bridge people who are on the ground to council,” said Soto-Vigil, who grew up in Richmond and graduated from UC Berkeley and the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law in Washington, D.C.  “I want to know what the pulse is of the people.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley asphalt plant emissions dangerous, say residents

Residents allege that the Lehigh Hanson asphalt plant at 699 Virginia St. in West Berkeley is emitting dangerous fumes. Photo: Charles Siler
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A small group of West Berkeley homeowners gathered at City Hall on Monday this week to submit a Public Record Act request, claiming the Berkeley Asphalt & Ready Mix plant on Virginia Street has been violating its use permit by emitting excessive odors and noise.

The company, owned by Texas-based Lehigh Hanson, operates an asphalt plant at 699 Virginia St. in the Oceanview area. The group of residents, who call themselves Oceanview Neighborhood Action, say the plant is constantly emitting noxious fumes, to the point that they can’t go outside or leave their windows open.

“It smells like sulfur most days, like burnt sand,” said Kate Stepanski, a resident of the neighborhood. “It’s making people sick and it’s a public hazard — it’s irresponsible.”  … Continue reading »

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Judge plans to rule today on Berkeley redistricting lines

More than 20 people attended a hearing Tuesday about contested redistricting lines in Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, 4:30 p.m. The judge has ruled in favor of using the council-majority-approved district lines. See his ruling here. (A more in-depth Berkeleyside story on the decision is online here.)

Original post: An Alameda County Superior Court judge is expected to rule Wednesday, April 30, about which district lines the city of Berkeley should use in the November 2014 general election.

Judge Evelio Grillo heard arguments Tuesday from advocates of some kind of compromise map that is different from the map approved by a Berkeley City Council majority in December. The city of Berkeley sued the county registrar of voters and city clerk earlier this year to find out which lines to use after the council-approved map was suspended by a referendum drive.

More than 20 people — most of them in support of a compromise map, of which there are several — attended Tuesday’s hearing. They were represented primarily by Councilman Jesse Arreguín and Alejandro Soto-Vigil, along with attorneys for Councilman Kriss Worthington, Stefan Elgstrand and Phoebe Sorgen, all of whom have been named as “real parties of interest” in the lawsuit.

Attorney Margaret Prinzing, of Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, appeared for the city of Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: We don’t need a redistricting referendum

Xan Join collected a number of signatures in late December. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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There is a campaign afoot to waste Berkeleyans’ time and tax dollars.

On Dec. 17, 2013, the Berkeley City Council adopted a long-awaited redistricting map that rebalances population across Berkeley’s City Council Districts. The vote came after two rounds of redistricting over the last three years, including a total of 17 community forums, public hearings, and Council meetings, as well as a voter-approved amendment to the City Charter. But now, a vocal minority is spearheading a referendum effortContinue reading »

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Tight deadline to get redistricting referendum on ballot

Xan Join collected a number of signatures in late December. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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With only two weeks left to collect 5,275 signatures to force a city council redistricting measure on the ballot, members of the Berkeley Referendum Coalition are holding a rally on Saturday to train volunteers.

Those who are opposed to the redistricting plan approved by the City Council in December plan to meet at Mudracker’s Café at 2801 Telegraph Ave. at 11 a.m. to kick off an intense weekend of voter education.

“We are training people how to get signatures,” said Alejandro Soto-Vigil, an aide to City Councilman Kriss Worthington who is helping plan the campaign. “We are going to be sending teams out, generally two people per team, to certain blocks throughout the city of Berkeley, dispatching them to supermarkets, BART, and the neighborhoods that are going to be adversely affected by the redistricting.”

About 45 people showed up to the first meeting on Dec. 21 and organizers hope many more will turn out this weekend, said Soto-Vigil.

The Berkeley Referendum Coalition hopes to overturn a new redistricting map that they believe creates a less progressive District 7 and which is aimed at forcing out Worthington, said Soto-Vigil. … Continue reading »

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Worthington interns take to the dais for council practice

Kriss worthington interns, July 31, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Wednesday afternoon, interns from Councilman Kriss Worthington’s office took over Berkeley City Council chambers to present and debate 21 items they researched and wrote this summer.

The agenda was a preview into some of what will come out of Worthington’s office this fall; topics ranged from a proposal to set up an annual review for the city manager, to a referral on socially responsible banking and a suggestion on how to include more Cal group housing residences in the “campus district” under discussion by the council in its plans for redistricting.

The mock council meeting was also a way to give interns some hands-on experience with how city government works, said Worthington staffer Alejandro Soto-Vigil. This summer, 17 people took part in the internship program, which has taken place throughout Worthington’s 16-year tenure.

“We believe in supporting the next generation,” said Soto-Vigil on Thursday. “If you’re going to pass on the torch from the baby boomers, the next generation needs to know how the system works.” … Continue reading »

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Sid Lakireddy sues rent board candidates for libel

Lakireddy Bali Reddy leaves court in 2000. Photo: Examiner Collection, Bancroft Library
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The nephew of a notorious landlord who was sent to prison for transporting minors from India for the purpose of illegal sexual activity has filed a defamation lawsuit against four former Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board candidates.

Sid Lakireddy, president of the Berkeley Property Owners Association, said that Igor Tregub, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Asa Dodsworth and Judy Shelton libeled him when they sent an email to supporters that overtly suggested Lakireddy was involved in the criminal case brought against his uncle, Lakireddy Bali Reddy. … Continue reading »

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Final election count shows no change in Berkeley tallies

Staff at the Registrar of Voters count ballots last week. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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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 »

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Board candidate accuses Capitelli aide of trespassing

Pamela Gray, an aide to Laurie Capitelli, took this photo of campaign signs she said she found in Alejandro Soto-Vigil's recycling bin on Monday.
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A candidate for the Berkeley Rent Board, who is also an aide to City Councilman Kriss Worthington, filed a police complaint Monday charging that the aide to City Councilman Laurie Capitelli trespassed on his property.

Alejandro Soto-Vigil said that his wife saw Capitelli’s aide and campaign manager, Pamela Gray, walk onto his property on Berkeley Way around 3:20 p.m. to look at a recycling bin that was stuffed with campaign signs.

“Pam apparently had gone onto our doorstep and porch looking at things and then she went to the recycling area and pulled out some signs and started taking photos,” said Soto-Vigil.

Capitelli told Berkeleyside that he and Gray were delivering campaign material to Soto-Vigil’s neighbor when they saw that the recycling bin contained campaign signs. Since so many of Capitelli’s signs have been torn up or taken during the election, he wanted to see if any of them were in there. They were not. … Continue reading »

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Two slates fight for seats on Berkeley’s Rent Board

Downtown-resized
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A June 2012 grand jury report that slams the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board is at the center of the two-slate race for four seats on the board that oversees the city’s rent control law.

Berkeley Tenants United for Fairness, TUFF,  joined forces over support for the report’s conclusions  that the board “lacks oversight and accountability,” and that it’s up to Berkeley voters to “change the direction of the BRSB.”

The Tenant Convention Slate, TCS, chosen by a nominating convention in July, blasts the report, saying it “relies on inaccuracies, half-truths and innuendo,” and is based on policy concerns rather than evaluating the board’s implementation of the rent control law. … Continue reading »

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Mayor Bates defends his handling of raucous meeting

While Mayor Bates and Councilmembers Laurie Capitelli, Linda Maio, Darryl Moore, and Gordon Wozniak stepped out of the council chambers for a recess while audience members were singing, Councilmember Jesse Arreguin clapped to "We Will Not Be Moved." Councilmembers Max Anderson and Kriss Worthington sang with the crowd. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Mayor Tom Bates said Thursday that the vote the City Council took on Tuesday during a raucous and unruly meeting was legal, and that he has no intention of bringing the matter back to the council, despite critics’ complaint that the vote violated the Brown Act.

Bates said that City Attorney Zach Cowan reviewed the tape of the meeting and determined that there were no violations.

“There is no need for a special meeting” to take another vote, Bates said from northern California, where he is on vacation. … Continue reading »

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