Tag Archives: Berkeley Chamber of Commerce

New 8-story Berkeley building wins easy approval

Stonefire. Image: Johnson Lyman Architects
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Berkeley’s zoning board unanimously approved a new 8-story building on University Avenue, at Milvia Street, on Thursday night.

StoneFire is set to take the place of the Firestone tire shop at 1974 University Ave..

No one spoke against the project in the relatively short hearing before the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday. It was the project’s first official review by the board, after a preview session in April. The project also received unanimous support from the city’s Design Review Committee after three sessions with that panel in 2013 and 2014.

Read more about development in Berkeley in past Berkeleyside coverage.

Developer William Schrader Jr., of Alamo-based The Austin Group, told the zoning board the project has been in the works for a couple of years, and that he has met extensively with the city, neighbors and stakeholders to make sure they’re on board with his plans.  … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXXVIII

cara1
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Openings…

CARAVAGGIO We brought you news in August that a new Italian gelateria was opening in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. Well it’s here: Caravaggio (pictured above), at 1797 Shattuck Ave. (just north of Delaware), is having its soft opening Saturday, Nov. 16, after also participating in A Taste of North Berkeley earlier this week. Co-owner Emiliano Cecchetti said there will be eight flavors to begin with, but expect sorbet and vegan options down the line. The ice cream is made to exacting standards in authentic Italian style and uses all natural ingredients. Look out for a fuller story on Caravaggio from us next week. … Continue reading »

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Local business

Berkeley Chamber awards first Visionary awards

PolyPlus Battery co-founder Steven Visco. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Scientist Steven Visco and developer Patrick Kennedy received the inaugural Visionary Awards from the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce on Monday night in a casual ceremony at the startup accelerator Skydeck in downtown Berkeley.

Chamber CEO Polly Armstrong said the awards were designed for “those individuals with both the imagination and persistence to innovate in the City of Berkeley. Our town has a long history of activism and is proud of its heritage. However, our colorful history has also fostered a cautious if not skeptical view of change and the role that local businesses play in the economic health of the city.” … Continue reading »

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Redistricting meeting sheds light on past process

Council approved the "Berkeley Student District Campaign" map in December.
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A small group of community members came together earlier this week at the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce to learn how the city’s redistricting process, underway for the past two years, will impact the city going forward.

Redistricting takes place in Berkeley every 10 years, when U.S. Census data are released, to ensure that districts have roughly equal populations.

Since at least 2000, students and others who live around the UC Berkeley campus have been trying to establish a student-majority district with the aim of giving students a larger voice and role in city decisions. In 2000, a proposal that essentially created a ring around campus was rejected by the city attorney because it didn’t comply with the city charter’s rules for redistricting. Last fall, Berkeley voters passed Measure R to change the way redistricting takes place. … Continue reading »

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Local business

Berkeley considers city-wide minimum wage hike

Some Berkeley business owners said last week, at an info session hosted by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, that a new minimum wage would pose challenges and have unintended consequences. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A mayor’s office request to set Berkeley’s minimum wage more than $2 above than the state-mandated $8 per hour will be discussed at two city meetings this week.

The proposed policy shift has some local business owners concerned about whether they can afford the change, and how it might affect the city’s economy. Proponents of similar measures say they increase income equality and provide the people who earn the least with more room for discretionary spending. … Continue reading »

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Crush: East Bay wine, food fest in Berkeley for 17th year

Crush 2011-2
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Crush, the annual East Bay wine and food festival, takes place this Sunday, Nov. 11, and, incredibly, the gourmet get-together is marking its 17th year in Berkeley.

OFFER: Berkeleyside has four Crush tickets (worth $50 each) to give away to our readers! Simply scoot on over to our brand new NOSH Facebook page (and learn about our incredibly exciting imminent food launch), then “Like” us there and confirm you have done so in an email to nosh@berkeleyside.com (or Facebook message us at NOSH). We will make sure the winners, drawn from a hat, are notified and your  tickets will be waiting for you at the door at Crush.

This year promises to offer the same wide variety of tasting options, be it ultra locavore sips from Berkeley establishments such as Pyramid Alehouse, Takara Sake, or wineries Urbano Cellars and Donkey & Goat — all of them located in what Berkeleyside likes to refer to as the city’s “drinks district” — or pours from many equally well-regarded vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. … Continue reading »

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Local business

DeClercq stepping down as joint CEO of Berkeley Chamber

John Declercq photo(1)
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John DeClercq will step down as joint-CEO of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce at the end of this month after 18 months in the job. Polly Armstrong, with whom he shares leadership responsibilities, will continue to head up the local business organization solo, most likely on a part-time basis.

DeClercq is returning to the commercial real estate field after being approached about a job by a company that owns a portfolio of low-income housing across the country. He says the Chamber is now on a steady footing and that, for financial reasons, he needs to take up a full-time job.

DeClercq was appointed as joint-CEO with Armstrong in January 2011 and they have brought some consistency to the organization. The previous three years saw four CEOs arrive and depart in quick succession.

“There were rough waters before Polly and I took over and crafted a job that was good for both of us,” he says, adding that the past 18 months have been about stabilization. The Chamber’s membership is now approaching 400, he says, and he feels optimistic about the future for businesses in Berkeley. “The downtown P-Bid passed and we’re excited that the West Berkeley Project and civil sidewalks are both on the November ballot,” he says. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s second Coffee & Tea Festival leaves a buzz

Photo 17
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The second annual Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival took place on Saturday morning at the Hotel Shattuck and, if you attended, you’re probably only now coming down from the caffeine- and sugar-induced buzz it induced.

Hundreds of people wandered the hotel’s elegant ballroom and exterior patio, sampling espresso drinks and fine teas, miniature bundt cakes, chocolate bites and gelato… not a bad way to spend a lazy weekend morning, many participants agreed.

The Coffee & Tea Festival was orchestrated by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and included a program of talks, and both coffee and tea ceremonies. Exhibitors included Berkeley Coffee & Tea, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Café V, Twenty Twenty Studios, Madecasse Chocolate, Genuto Gelato, Jade Chocolates, Five Mountains, Café Clem, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Tisano Tea. … Continue reading »

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Perk up at the Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival

Latte Art by Wikimedia Commons
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Sina Carroll is a committed tea enthusiast. She travels to China twice a year to source high-end tea from local farmers and sells a wide selection through her online store Red Circle Tea. Carroll has no employees and acts as the company’s owner, accountant, and buyer; her favorite part of the job, however, is teaching others about the craft of tea making.

“I love the process of steeping tea for others,” said Carroll. “I like to show people how easy, elegant, and fun it can be to make tea in this beautiful and traditional way. The look of wonder on their faces when they see this ritual is amazing.”

Carroll’s favorite place to share her enthusiasm and meet other tea connoisseurs is the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce’s Coffee and Tea Festival. The second annual festival, which will be held on Saturday, August 18th at Hotel Shattuck Plaza, will feature dozens of local coffee, tea, and dessert vendors. Along with Carroll’s Red Circle Tea, other offerings will include traditional lattes from Berkeley favorite Caffe Mediterraneum, and unique Vietnamese coffee from V Café. (See below on how to win free tickets to the Festival!) … Continue reading »

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LifeLong Medical Care: Helping community for 36 years

Alison Roberts doing an ultrasound on Kwanjir Pupairoj at Lifelong Medical Care clinic
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The pain in Gordon Loncz’s mouth one Friday afternoon in February was intense. A tooth was so tender that touching it sent spasms through his mouth. The filling had fallen out, leaving Loncz’s root exposed.

It had been three years since Loncz had seen the dentist; his last cleaning had been in 2009 before the state of California cut Medi-Cal funding for dental work. But Loncz, a disabled senior who lives in north Berkeley, knew he had to take action. And he knew where to turn: the dental clinic at LifeLong Medical Care.

For the last 36 years, LifeLong Medical Care has been providing high-quality medical, dental, and other services to Berkeley’s most vulnerable residents. Started by the Gray Panthers as the Over 60 Health Clinic in 1976, LifeLong has now grown into nine different facilities around the Bay Area, with most centered in northern Alameda County. … Continue reading »

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Commission aims for more transparency in elections

The Fair Campaign Practices Commission will meet at the North Berkeley Senior Center
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Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission will consider changes to local campaign laws on Thursday that members hope will bring greater transparency to election finances.

The commission will consider adding new restrictions on independent committees, which are defined as groups spending money independently rather than in coordination with a candidate or measure. While the 1974 Berkeley Election Reform Act prohibits businesses from contributing to a candidate, and limits individuals to a $250 donation, businesses and other interested parties can set up separate independent committees that accept unlimited donations. The independent committees can then use those funds in support of ballot measures and candidates.

The proposed law would require any independent committee spending $1,000 or more on a ballot measure to notify the City Clerk’s office of that expenditure within 24 hours. The City Clerk would then be required to post that expenditure online within two business days, and to alert those affected by the expenditure. The law would apply 40 days prior to an election. … Continue reading »

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New to Berkeley: Festival celebrates all things caffeine

coffee
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Whether you’re partial to a cup of third-wave, single-origin, shade-grown espresso, a frothy decaf cappuccino, or a low-fat soy chai, it’s likely you enjoy coffee or tea in some form.

Cognizant of this, and of the fact that there are dozens of coffee and tea purveyors in our midst, the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce is holding the first Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival on Saturday September 24th at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in downtown Berkeley.

More than 30 … Continue reading »

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News

Berkeley bids for second Lab campus fly under the radar

LBNL's primary campus in the Berkeley hills
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Richmond is pulling out all the stops in its bid to persuade the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to build its second campus there. A full-blown, city-sponsored advertising campaign includes a billboard on I-80, lawn signs for residents’ front yards and “Richmond (Heart) LBNL” buttons available for all to wear.

Alameda, another bidder for the site, has put $20,000 behind a “Let’s put the (Alameda) Point to work” campaign.

Three Berkeley sites are also on the Lab’s shortlist of six — but if there’s a Berkeley welcoming committee, it’s certainly not making its efforts very visible.

The main reason for that is that the three Berkeley-related bids were submitted by private companies, unlike in Richmond and Alameda where the cities signed off on the bids. … Continue reading »

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