Tag Archives: City of Berkeley
Two months after city employees and the NAACP raised issues about job discrimination, unfair housing practices, declining health services and racial profiling of African Americans in Berkeley, city officials are taking steps to investigate those concerns.
Berkeley has been in a dialogue with the NAACP since December 2012 regarding complaints from the community about city employment practices. On Sept. 6, City Manager Christine Daniel announced in a memo that the city is preparing to retain Mason-Tillman and Associates to investigate the complaints. It has taken some time to work out major kinks on how to protect the confidentiality of those who participate in the investigation, according to the memo. The firm now has the contract, but no date has been set yet for when the investigation will begin, said Matthai Chakko, the assistant to the city manager. … Continue reading »
As you putter around Berkeley this summer, you may notice various construction projects that have taken over your secret downtown parking spot, halted traffic for several finger-drumming minutes, or even forced you to step off the sidewalk and take a detour.
Berkeley is facilitating free lunches and snacks for under-18-year-olds this summer at locations across the city.
In the Berkeley Unified School District, 42 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch during the school year, which is easily accessible when school is in session but can become difficult to find during the summer. City Councilwoman Linda Maio recently sent an email to her district asking her constituents to spread the word about the free summer lunch program.
Berkeleyside has created a map, above, that shows where the lunches are distributed. Below is a list of the dates and locations of the free lunch and snack programs. … Continue reading »
Following this week’s disclosure by Berkeley city staff that roughly 11,000 municipal employee social security numbers had been erroneously divulged to a local media outlet in March, the media outlet’s managing editor said Tuesday that he doubted the data could have been compromised, though it had been “passed around” by employees over email.
Bert Robinson, managing editor for the Bay Area News Group, said the news outlet collects public employee salary and benefit information each year for an online database that is “very popular” on the company’s website. Reporters send 900 requests each year to public agencies to collect data for the project. Robinson said this was the first year “usable information” had been received from Berkeley. … Continue reading »
It emerged Tuesday afternoon that more people than previously thought had their social security numbers inadvertently released to a local news organization due to an error by a city of Berkeley employee.
City Manager Christine Daniel said Tuesday that the social security numbers of about 11,000 active and former employees were included in its response to a public information request about salaries from the Bay Area News Group last month.
On Friday Daniel said letters were sent to about 2,000 active city employees on April 15 alerting them to the mistake. … Continue reading »
A Berkeley municipal staff member mistakenly disclosed the social security numbers of everyone who works for the city while responding to a public records request, and the city recently sent a letter to staff informing them of the error.
One staffer, who asked not to be identified, called the mistake “appalling,” and another criticized the city for taking weeks to inform employees about the breach. … Continue reading »
At its meeting last night, the Berkeley City Council rejected a recommendation from the Peace and Justice Commission to establish a No Drone Zone in the city. Instead, the council referred the issue to three commissions — the Peace and Justice Commission, the Police Review Commission, and Disaster and Fire Safety Commssion — with guidelines for public safety agencies’ use of drones to be reviewed at a future council workshop.
During public comment more than a dozen people spoke in favor of the Peace and Justice Commission proposal, which would have banned all drones except for hobbyist use (and those would have been restricted to drones without cameras). … Continue reading »
Moody’s Investor Services, one of the two dominant bond ratings companies, announced on Tuesday that it was reviewing the ratings of 32 California cities, including Berkeley. Three issuances by Berkeley are under review by Moody’s: the $28 million 2003 certificates of participation, the $5.8 million 2010 animal shelter financing, and the $9.1 million 1999 lease revenue bonds.
Refinancings were recently agreed on both the 2003 and 1999 issuances, with new AA ratings from Standard & Poor’s. According to City Finance Director Robert Hicks, both of the refinancings will be completed before the Moody’s review. That is likely to mean that only the $5.8 million animal shelter financing, currently rated Aa3, will be subject to review.
According to David Jacobson, a spokesman for Moody’s, the overall economic and legislative climate in California triggered the reviews.
“The factors here don’t apply just to Berkeley,” he said. “Over the last few years, California municipalities have been through interesting developments. There have been three bankruptcies. Over 50 have declared fiscal emergencies. We reanalyzed all the 90 cities in California that we rate. We determined that there were about 30 where we decided to place the rating on review and decided to just make sure they were rated appropriately.” … Continue reading »
Deanna Despain, Berkeley’s City Clerk since 2008, died on January 7th after apparently falling down the stairs in her home in Oakland. Interim City Manager Christine Daniel issued a statement to staff yesterday afternoon:
“I am deeply saddened to share with you that early Saturday morning, our friend and colleague City Clerk Deanna Despain passed away. Her family has shared with us that, although it is too soon to expect an official report, Oakland Police Department and the Coroner’s Office officials have told them that her death was a result of a terrible accident. This was very sudden, and our hearts are with her family as they come to terms with this unexpected tragedy.
“We realize this comes as a terrible shock to everyone who has been lucky enough to work with Deanna, who has been the City Clerk since May 2008. We are working with her family on how COB staff can support them, especially her husband and 10-month old daughter.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley High School Principal Pasquale Scuderi says supervising BHS students during the lunch hour and after school has become more challenging for the school with the growth of the Occupy Berkeley tent-city in Civic Center Park.
In a letter to the BHS community sent out by email Wednesday, Scuderi noted that the burgeoning camp has made it more difficult for school administrators and safety staff to keep an eye on and visually identify students among the settlers in the park, a number of whom “may not be connected to or interested in the advocacy being conducted by the actual Occupy Berkeley movement”.
Scuderi, who estimates there are now around 90 tents in the park, says there have been no negative interactions with the campers. The school currently has two administrators monitoring the park during the lunch hour. … Continue reading »
On Tuesday, October 11th, at about 4:00 pm, a power outage in Berkeley shut down the downtown BART station and disabled the city’s computer system, which meant services and documents for elected officials, city agency staff, and city residents were inaccessible for several hours.
On the same day, owners of BlackBerries across the country — which includes all senior City of Berkeley personnel — were experiencing outages on their handheld devices after a system hardware glitch caused a backlog of data to build up in the European servers of Research In Motion, the makers of the BlackBerry.
Both incidents highlight Berkeley’s dependence on potentially unreliable technologies. They also underscore how vulnerable our city’s government might be in a state of emergency. … Continue reading »
Most of us in Berkeley have got used to ditching our garden and food waste into our big green wheelie bins and hauling them out for regular collection by the city.
What some of us didn’t know is that, since January 1, had we decided for some reason not to separate our plant debris from the usual landfill-destined trash, we would have been breaking the law. Since the beginning of the year, Alameda County requires that all plant … Continue reading »