Tag Archives: Jesse Arreguin
A local couple has added an ample splash of spice to Berkeley’s food scene with a new shop downtown devoted to hot sauce and all things chili.
There are Atomic Fireballs, spiced nuts and fiery chocolates; mango lollipops covered in chili powder; and small bags of dehydrated chilies from a family farm. There are “warming” fruity beverages spiced with capsaicin, the ingredient that makes peppers spicy. And there are crushed and powdered peppers in a range of varieties.
Then, of course, there’s the hot sauce: more than 200 varieties from producers around the country, and around the world, many of which are small businesses.
“The ones that are widely known tend not to be as good as the ones made in small batches by the people who are really passionate about it,” said Heat co-owner Dylan Keenen. Keenen, 23, has been in the process of opening Heat Hot Sauce Shop — at 1922B Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley — with girlfriend Becky Gibbons, 22, since early December. The Oakland-based couple will celebrate the shop’s grand opening Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a 10%-off sale. … Continue reading »
A 205-unit apartment complex planned for downtown Berkeley is going back to the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board after an appeal before the City Council on Tuesday night.
Acheson Commons, at 2133 University Ave., was approved by the zoning board in December, but appellants questioned numerous aspects of the project and the council voted unanimously to ask the board to take another look. (See project materials on the city website. The complete administrative record is available here.)
According to the staff report prepared for Tuesday’s special session, the project is set to increase annual tax revenue by $57,000 and bring in $360,000 to support the city’s Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan. (Update, 1 p.m.: A representative for the developer, Mark Rhoades, said the per-year tax basis increase is closer to $600,000. Scroll down to see a chart of the five-year financial projections he provided.) … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday night to ask the U.S. Postal Service to press the pause button on its plans to relocate its downtown services and sell the Allston Way facility — for at least one year.
Members of the public who hope to keep the post office open were more subdued than those who attended a meeting in late February, with just a handful of people speaking about the historic building’s importance and why it should maintain its postal services. But they cheered and clapped throughout the meeting as council members expressed unanimous support to fight to keep the building open.
The postal service has said, in a written statement, that the building will likely be sold because of a “26-percent drop in total mail volume over the past three years, brought about by the diversion to electronic communication and business transactions.” … Continue reading »
The view from the L-shaped deck off the penthouse apartment at 2055 Center St. is spectacular. One side looks west toward San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Another side offers a sweeping vista of Berkeley’s downtown and hills.
For $6,300 a month, the amenities ought to be top-of-the-line, and at the recently opened Berkeley Central — formerly known as the Arpeggio Building — they are. From Bosch appliances and stainless steel designer lights to the wood floor (dark or light, depending on the unit), the six penthouse units on the ninth floor promise an urbane, urban lifestyle.
The building, which the developer CityView acquired in a fire sale in July 2012 for $60 million, has been open for about seven weeks, and about 35% of its 143 units have been leased, according to Natasha Moses, a property manager for Riverstone Residential Group, the leasing agent. … Continue reading »
On Wednesday this week, 233 volunteers fanned out across Alameda County and approached 2,000 people at soup kitchens and food pantries, on the street and in parks, with a view to securing 1,000 interviews with homeless people. The resulting data is used to compile a census of how many people are without homes in the county, and also what types of people they are — be it vets, singles, families or minors.
People’s Park in Berkeley was one of 33 service points at which interviews took place. The count is orchestrated every two years by EveryOneHome, a government agency that coordinates homelessness efforts countywide. At the last homeless count which extrapolated Berkeley data, in 2009 Berkeley’s total homeless population numbered 680. That compared to 2,091 for Oakland. The latest total for the county, in 2011, was 4,341. The 2011 count showed a 13.6% drop in the overall homeless population in Alameda County over 2007. (All the data for the counts, including breakdowns, trends and regional comparisons is available on the EveryOneHome website.) … Continue reading »
After an acrimonious battle last year over Measure S, which sought to prohibit sitting on commercial sidewalks, Berkeley’s City Council pointed the way on Tuesday night to a more consensual approach to homelessness.
Councilman Jesse Arreguín’s Compassionate Sidewalks plan calls for a working group on homelessness to “conduct a series of focused workshops and discussions on a wide range of issues related to homelessness and to develop an action plan with policy, program, and funding recommendations around ending homelessness.” (Arreguín wrote about his proposal in a Berkeleyside op-ed on Monday.) … Continue reading »
Berkeley City Council last night unanimously approved both the Downtown Streets & Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP) and a schedule of fees that will help fund the proposed projects. SOSIP aims to help create a more pedestrian-oriented neighborhood downtown, and will help guide the design of parks, plazas and streetscapes in the area.
The SOSIP is the first concrete action on the streets and open space provisions of the Downtown Area Plan, which was approved by the council in March 2012.
“I’m very excited about a lot of the projects put forward,” said council member Jesse Arreguín, whose district includes downtown. ”If we can do even a fraction of these projects, it would really make a difference in making downtown a much more pedestrian friendly and vibrant environment.”
The major projects identified in the SOSIP as priorities are: … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s General Fund projections include a deficit of more than $5 million over the next two years, requiring city leaders to take a tough look at its more cash-strapped departments to reign in costs.
To close the gap, the city’s budget manager has recommended recurring 2% General Fund reductions across the board for city departments. Departments will present their recommendations to the city manager and City Council in the coming months.
In a work session last Tuesday night, the city’s budget manager gave Berkeley City Council members a forecast for the next two years, and pointed to areas that may pose challenges going forward. (See a PDF of her presentation.)
Three more work sessions have been planned to allow council members, city staff and members of the public to learn more about, and weigh in on, city finances. Scroll to the bottom of this story to see the dates for upcoming public meetings on the budget.
Although Berkeley voters rejected Measure S, a controversial proposal that would have criminalized sitting on commercial sidewalks, we shouldn’t mistake it as an endorsement of inaction. The simple fact still remains: we need to address homelessness.
I didn’t support Measure S, but I’m not calling it a day as many do post-election. Next Tuesday, City Council will have the opportunity to continue the critical conversation around homelessness with the Compassionate Sidewalks Plan — a blueprint for creating consensus-based solutions … Continue reading »
Berkeley in 2012 was filled with drama — a contested election, a failed nomination for a new school superintendent, a few missteps by the Chief of Police, and major changes at the University of California, among other events. Here’s a recap of the issues that had the deepest impact on Berkeley, plus a few fun ones thrown in.
The year got off to a tragic start with the untimely death of 37-year-old City Clerk Deanna Despain. She fell down the stairs of her Oakland home on Jan. 8. Her husband discovered her body when he returned from a late-night meeting. Their daughter was soundly asleep upstairs. Since then, Mark Numainville has been filling in as acting city clerk. In May, after serving as interim city manager for six months, the City Council appointed Christine Daniel permanently to the job. She replaced Phil Kamlarz, who had held the city’s top job for eight years. … Continue reading »
In a surprising twist, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to decline requests from U.S. immigration officials to apply more stringent detention rules to arrested individuals depending on citizenship status.
Advocates in attendance said the council made a landmark policy decision believed to be the most comprehensive and definitive in the nation as far as refusing altogether to cooperate with a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program to detain and potentially deport non-citizens who are arrested.
The decision will, at least initially, have a limited impact given that the vast majority of these individuals ultimately are turned over to county agencies that do cooperate with the feds. Advocates said they believe, however, that the decision will have a ripple effect throughout the state to convince other jurisdictions to take a similar stand. … Continue reading »
More than 40 residents in one of Berkeley’s busiest districts came together last week to voice their frustration about traffic issues on their neighborhood streets.
Constant cut-throughs, shrugged-off stop signs, overgrown round-abouts and high speeds were among the concerns shared at a meeting Thursday night hosted by District 4 Councilman Jesse Arreguín. City Manager Christine Daniel and Berkeley Police Sgt. Robert Rittenhouse also were in attendance.
Arreguín said he scheduled the meeting, at Congregation Beth Israel, because of neighborhood complaints related to pedestrian safety and demands for traffic-calming measures. He noted a recently received petition, signed by several hundred people, calling for the installation of a four-way stop sign at one dangerous intersection. Arreguín also said he was working to bring resident concerns to city officials to have them addressed.
District 4 encompasses downtown Berkeley and is bound by Oxford St. to the east, Sacramento to the west, Dwight Way to the south and Vine St. to the north.
Concerns expressed at the gathering included high-priority intersections, such as the junction of McKinley Avenue and Channing Way, where attendees said they hoped to see traffic-calming tools or more stop signs. Others said they want the city to install barriers, such as those that exist around the Elmwood district near Ashby Avenue, to keep out through-traffic altogether. … Continue reading »
Drivers on University Avenue might have noticed large billboards for mayoral candidate Kriss Worthington in the last week. But Worthington’s campaign did not buy the billboards. Instead, the Committee for a Progressive Berkeley, an independent organization established by Council Member Jesse Arreguín, spent $1,000 with CBS Outdoor for the billboards, one at Grant for eastbound traffic, the other at Curtis for westbound traffic.
“I did see the billboard when I was cycling on University,” Worthington told Berkeleyside this morning. “I didn’t know who paid for it.” … Continue reading »