Tag Archives: Downtown Berkeley

Police Review Commission asks for suspension of tear gas

A line of police officers marched down Telegraph Avenue during the Dec. 6th protests. Photo: Pete Rosos
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After hearing the testimony of about 10 people who said they were treated unnecessarily roughly during a Dec. 6 protest, the Police Review Commission voted Wednesday to ask Berkeley city officials to restrict the use of tear gas, over-the-shoulder baton hits and firing projectiles as a form of crowd control.

The PRC, which put the issue on its agenda as an emergency measure, is hoping the Berkeley City Council will do the same at its meeting Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Read more coverage of the recent protests in Berkeley.

“Our proposal was for a cooling-off period,” said Alison Bernstein, vice chair of the PRC. “[Using tear gas] is a crowd control technique. We’re not saying it’s right. We’re not saying it’s wrong. But we are hearing serious concerns from the community.” … Continue reading »

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Today: Students stage walkout at Berkeley High

Berkeley High students are walking out in solidarity with the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Photo: Aidan Grundy-Reiner
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Berkeley High School students are expected to stage a “peaceful walkout” today, Dec. 10, at 2:30 p.m.

A message about the event went out over the Berkeley High email list just after 1:30 p.m.

According to the note, from Principal Kristin Glenchur, the administration is aware of the demonstration and will not allow students who walk out of class to come back to campus, or to make up work they miss.

“Their plan is to leave class immediately after fifth period and walk out to Civic Center Plaza where they have organized speakers,” she wrote. “They intend to march after school up to the Cal Campus. Given the last several nights of protests, it is possible the gathering could include a large number of non-students.”

Another group plans to meet at the Cal campus at 4 p.m. to watch a live-stream of a Michael Brown-related tribunal in Ferguson, Missouri, and then plans to march.

Berkeleyside will be at the student march, and will post updates on Twitter. View them here. (A Twitter account is not needed to view the page.) Continue reading »

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Op-ed: 5 myths about East Bay #BlackLivesMatter protests

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I’m a longtime Berkeley resident who has attended two of the last five nights of protests and have been following reportage and readers’ comments on Berkeleyside. There are five areas of misunderstanding I’d like to try to clarify:

1. The protestors have articulated no demands

Numerous demands have been made by the national movement that has now seen waves of protests not only in the East Bay, but in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York, Atlanta, Chicago, … Continue reading »

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2 officials demand investigation into police tear gas use in Berkeley protest Saturday

City Council members Jesse Arreguín and Kriss Worthington told a crowd of protesters yesterday that they want an investigation into the use of tear gas by police. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Hours after Berkeley’s police chief defended his department’s decision to use tear gas on protesters on Telegraph Avenue on Saturday, Dec. 6, two Berkeley City Council members called for an investigation into what they said were police excesses.

Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguín made that call on the steps of Old City Hall shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday. Normally, the two would have been inside the building for the regular council meeting, but Mayor Tom Bates had canceled the meeting earlier in the day, expressing concern that it would be swamped with hundreds or thousands of protesters. Bates said he plans to reschedule the meeting soon.

Speaking through a megaphone to a crowd of more than 200 people that had gathered as part of the fourth night of protest against police killings of and violence against black men, Worthington said Berkeley police had used their batons Saturday to hit students, members of the clergy, journalists and others.

“I am embarrassed that Berkeley police would attack our constituents,” he said. “We will demand an investigation. … We will demand reforms of the way the police operate in the entire city of Berkeley.” … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Talking about violence is not a distraction — The Berkeley protests for Ferguson

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I marched again last night, Dec. 7, in Berkeley with my protest partner Sharon Fennema, and over 1,000 other committed, passionate, and almost entirely nonviolent people. It was astounding to see that there were more people gathered on December 7, 2014 than there had been the night before when protesters were violently attacked by police. As can happen, but doesn’t always, in response to state-sponsored attacks, a movement galvanized and grew; it did not weaken.

Protesters’ commitment to nonviolence and … Continue reading »

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Day Four: Berkeley protesters breach freeway again

Protesters against police brutality march down Center Street, toward the police station in Berkeley, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. Tuesday was the fourth night in a row that demonstrators took to the streets in Berkeley to protest the recent decisions by grand juries in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City to not indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men. Photo: David Yee
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See all of Berkeleyside’s Berkeley protest coverage.  Refresh this page for updates to the live blog.

Update, Dec. 10, 4 p.m. The California Highway Patrol said it had to use force against demonstrators in Oakland late Tuesday night after a mostly peaceful protest for a short time took a violent turn. According to the CHP, “For most of the night, the demonstrators remained largely peaceful.”

But, shortly before 9:20 p.m., a large group of people breached a fence and went onto Highway 24 at 40th Street in Oakland, adjacent to the MacArthur BART station just east of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. In many places, officers guarded vehicular freeway access points throughout the night, but some protesters found another way to achieve their goal. The CHP said demonstrators forced drivers on the freeway “to take evasive action” to avoid hitting them.

“After approximately 23 minutes, CHP personnel were able to clear the freeway, however, some of the demonstrators turned violent, hurling rocks, projectiles, and incendiary devices at CHP personnel. Faced with the threat of physical harm, and in order to protect the motoring public stopped on the freeway, CHP personnel employed less than lethal force to subdue the crowd and effect the necessary arrests,” according to the CHP.  … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Head downtown Friday night to participate in the city's holiday tree lighting ritual. Photo: Youtube
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HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING Thanksgiving is behind us, and the winter holidays are just around the corner. Downtown Berkeley is kicking off the season with its third annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration. It’s exactly what it sounds like — plus baked goods, holiday crafts for kids, and live music from the Berkeley Chamber Singers. Gather at the downtown BART Plaza on Friday, Dec. 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m to participate. Check in on Yelp for a free gift. Berkeleyside is a sponsor of the event. … Continue reading »

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Downtown Berkeley BART reopens after fatality

MacArthur BART station at around 7:15 p.m. after the downtown Berkeley BART station was closed due to a person under a train. Photo: Mori Yagi
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Update, Dec. 5: The person who died after being struck by a train at the downtown Berkeley BART station was Selam Sekuar, according to the Daily Cal. Sekuar, a UC Berkeley freshman and international student from Ethiopia, was 19. Read more about Sekuar.

Original story:

Update, 10:24 p.m.: The downtown Berkeley BART station reopened at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday. A BART spokesperson said service is running normally on the Richmond line although there would be “residual delays.”

To recap: BART received a report at 6:47 p.m. of a person under a train. At 7 p.m., BART confirmed that was the case. At around 7:15 p.m. BART confirmed the person had died. The station was closed from 7-10:10 p.m. while the case was investigated.

Update, 9:40 p.m.: The downtown Berkeley BART station remains closed due to a person who went under a train shortly before 7 p.m. and was pronounced dead. Trains are running through the station but not stopping. BART says to expect 15-20 minute delays. Embarcadero station in San Francisco is also closed due a person under a train. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

85C Bakery Cafe opening in San Diego
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LONGBRANCH SALOON San Pablo Avenue’s Longbranch is now open, according to tipster Amanda Fox. The restaurant, which took over the old Sea Salt location, describes itself as a “New American Restaurant/Gastro Pub.” It serves a range of comfort-food-style dishes and has an extensive list of beers, whiskeys and cocktails. Some dishes have a distinctly British-sounding spin, including potted pork trotter, the goat cheese and leek tart, and bangers and mash. Also on the menu: toasted farro and roasted cauliflower salad, pan-seared black cod and bone-in ribeye with béarnaise sauce. Longbranch is located at 2512 San Pablo Ave. (at Dwight Way) in Berkeley. Connect with the business on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Locals question Berkeley Plaza impact on theater, view

2211 Harold Way. Image: MVEI Architecture and Planning
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Residents came out en masse Thursday night to testify before Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board about possible impacts related to a large mixed-use project planned downtown on Harold Way.

The Residences at Berkeley Plaza, at Harold and Kittredge Street, would rise 18 stories and is set to include a tower reaching, all told, nearly 200 feet. It is slated to feature about 300 units, which could either be apartments or condominiums, as well as a new six-theater cinema complex, more than 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space, and a 171-unit underground parking structure. … Continue reading »

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New club aims to spice up downtown Berkeley nightlife

Screen shot 2014-11-06 at 2.58.52 PM
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Berkeley is saturated with places to eat and drink, but conspicuously missing is a place to dance afterwards. Soon that will change, when a nightclub called Berkeley Underground opens this weekend in the basement space at 2284 Shattuck Ave.

Owners Lisa Holt and David Shapiro, who also own BUILD Pizzeria upstairs, envision a multi-purpose venue that will one night host an internationally known electronic dance music act, and the next a private bar mitzvah party.

“This needed to be something that would marry the idea of being a fun club that people would go to in the evenings, as well as being a live performance venue for all those bands and music artists and comedians that don’t really have a place to go,” Holt said. “If you’re going to go to the [Berkeley] Rep, you need to fill 1,000 seats. And it’s just seats – there’s no milling around or dance floor.” … Continue reading »

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New hotel project is a go again after defeat of Measure R

The developer for a downtown Berkeley hotel proposal at Shattuck and Center said his plans are on hold pending November's election. Image: JRDV Urban International
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Now that Measure R, the initiative that aimed to impose stricter standards on tall buildings, has been defeated, the project to build a hotel downtown is back on track.

Developer Jim Didion of Center Street Partners LLC had stopped all design work on the hotel planned for the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street pending the outcome of Tuesday’s vote. Didion had contended that the requirements called for by Measure R would make the project financially infeasible.

But after Measure R was delivered a resounding defeat — No on R captured almost 74% of the vote, according to the most recent tally — work was set to resume, said Matthew Taecker, one of the hotel’s consultants. He said revisiting the design will be one of the team’s first tasks. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley temporarily blocks sale of main Post Office

Post Office by Darius Wekwerth
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The city of Berkeley has gotten a temporary restraining order blocking the sale of the city’s main post office on Allston Way.

U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled Nov. 5 that the U.S. Postal Service cannot sell the building before he conducts a full hearing in San Francisco on Dec. 10. USPS has committed to not closing a sale on the property before Dec. 17.

The city of Berkeley, along with its outside counsel Antonio Rossmann, filed for the TRO after learning online that the USPS was in contract to sell the building. Despite repeated requests and a Freedom of Information Act request, the USPS has refused to disclose the identity of the buyer.

On Nov. 5, Berkeleyside revealed that local developer Hudson McDonald was in negotiations to purchase the historic property. The firm would like the post office to remain in the front part of the building, according to Chris Hudson, a principal. The firm plans to put retail in the back portion of the property, which is currently sitting empty. … Continue reading »

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