Tag Archives: Jesse Arreguin
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 »
After hundreds of meetings, seven years of contentious debate, and the sting of a ballot referendum still fresh, the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night adopted a new plan for its downtown.
The 8 to 1 vote, with Councilmember Kriss Worthington dissenting, may bring as many as seven tall buildings to the area bounded by Hearst Avenue to the north, Dwight Way to the south, MLK on the west, and Fulton on the east. It creates open space requirements, allows a faster approval process for buildings that are extra “green,” encourages LEED Gold construction, and creates a fund to build more affordable housing.
And, according to critics, it might create a cookie-cutter approach to building construction and a density that is out of character with Berkeley. … Continue reading »
While eyes across the country are focused on Berkeley’s City Hall to see how it responds to Police Chief Michael Meehan’s attempts to get a reporter to change his story, the eyes at City Hall are all focused on Interim City Manager Christine Daniel.
With just a six-month contract that is due to expire in May, the way Daniel handles the Meehan matter may play a large role in whether she gets the job permanently.
Daniel learned on Friday March 9 that Chief Meehan had sent Sgt. Mary Kusmiss to the house of Oakland Tribune reporter Doug Oakley at 12:45 am that day to ask that he change a story on a community meeting about Peter Cukor’s murder. But Daniel did not issue a statement on the matter until around 2:20 pm March 10, hours after the story garnered significant airtime and play in regional publications.
And since then, Daniel has been quiet. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley has issued “cease and desist” orders to two medical cannabis collectives, leading one to shut its doors.
The 40 Acres Medical Marijuana Growers Collective at 1820 San Pablo Avenue stopped operations in late January after Berkeley Code Enforcement sent it a letter informing the group it was operating in violation of the city’s municipal code.
The Perfect Plants Patients Group, or 3pgs, at 2840B Sacramento Street is still in business.
“It has come to the City of Berkeley’s attention that you are operating a medical marijuana establishment that is dispensing medical marijuana in a non-residential zoning district,” Gregory Daniel, the code enforcement supervisor, wrote to the two collectives on Dec. 8. “The establishment is in violation of the Berkeley Municipal Code … and must therefore cease and desist.”
Daniel also told 3pgs that it is operating less than 600 feet from Longfellow Middle School, which is the minimum distance any cannabis entity can be from a school. … Continue reading »
New parking signs have arrived in a Berkeley neighborhood that has been the focus of discontent and confusion over parking restrictions over the past few months — but not everyone thinks they are an improvement on the previous signage.
In early January, we reported on efforts by residents and workers in the area surrounding Trader Joe’s in downtown Berkeley to help drivers avoid parking citations. Handmade signs warning of what they saw as poorly signalled restrictions were erected on private properties and on trees and lamposts in the neighborhood.
Neighbors also voiced complaints that a local towing company was taking advantage of the confusion by swooping in to tow cars whose drivers had misunderstood the parking regulations.
The new signs show a large “P” with a cross through it and they detail both the time period when parking is not permitted on a particular side of the street, and the exceptions. … Continue reading »
By Linda Hemmila
Residents and workers in the area surrounding Trader Joe’s in downtown Berkeley allege that a local towing company under contract to the city is removing signs made by neighbors to warn drivers of possible parking violations. In doing so, Hustead’s, local residents claim, are hoping to drum up more business for themselves as more cars may require towing.
The accusations emerged in a story published on Berkeleyside on January 5 about parking problems in the area of the Trader Joe’s on MLK Jr Way and University Avenue. City signs regarded by many — including Councilmember Jesse Arreguín — to be confusing, have led some local residents to put up their own signs warning drivers of the risk of being cited.
Hustead’s Manager Janice Lee denied the allegations made against the towing company, saying Hustead’s neither contracts with the city nor works in the Trader Joe’s neighborhood. … Continue reading »
By Linda Hemmila
If you’ve received a parking ticket near Trader Joe’s on University Avenue in Berkeley, you’re in good company. So many people have been ticketed there over the past year and half it’s become a neighborhood cause, has provoked defiant action from a “parking vigilante”, and is up for renewed discussion at the next scheduled City Council meeting on January 17th.
The trouble stems from parking signs in the area, which, according to councilmember Jesse Arreguín, are “very confusing”. The city has acknowledged as much by dismissing most contested citations because, it says, the signage is not sufficiently clear to visitors.
It all started in June 2010 when, as part of the redevelopment of the downtown area — and with the June 11 opening of Trader Joe’s — the city altered parking signs in the neighborhood that designated one side of the street as resident-only parking and the other side two-hour parking. The signs on the residential side were adorned with red and white city-made stickers denoting “no parking” that were placed directly over the old sign which said “two- hour parking”. The streets in questions include Berkeley Way, Addison Street, Bonita Avenue and Grant Street. … Continue reading »
Update 10:30 pm: By 10 pm Thursday there were no more tents in Civic Center Plaza. Protesters had left the park by then or thier tents had been picked up by public works crews. The sprinklers were on and about 20 police officers were patrolling the park. Those remaining from Occupy Berkeley were hanging out across the street by Berkeley High School.
Berkeley city workers came into Civic Center Park around 1 pm on Thursday and cleaned out the majority of the Occupy Berkeley encampment.
Workers from the public works department, some dressed in light blue haz mat suits, drove a big truck onto the grass and started loading abandoned tents, sleeping bags, chairs, and other items. The 14 workers were accompanied by about 30 Berkeley police officers who stood ready to moderate any clashes with protestors.
But the bulk of the camp had already vacated. Protestors had taken down more than half of the 70 tents at the park by Wednesday night, and another dozen in the morning.
“What we are doing here is a collaborative project to pick up trash and unattended property,” said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley police department. She said police would not be dismantling occupied tents since it is legal to be in the park in daylight hours.
But the city strategy seemed very effective. By mid-afternoon there were only about seven tents left in the park. The huge mounds of garbage were gone and only ghosts of tents remained, mainly in patches of grass that had turned brown because they had been covered by nylon tents for so long. … Continue reading »
By Frances Dinkelspiel and Judith Scherr
Under the threat of eviction, protestors at Occupy Berkeley took down about 40 tents in Civic Center Park Wednesday night, preparing for the raid that never came.
As a 10 pm deadline to stop camping in the park loomed, many activists were packing up their gear and loading it up on trucks. Some had stashed their possessions in a safe place, but had returned to the park to confront the police if they showed up. Soon, only about 29 out of about 70 tents remained.
“I’ve got my stuff packed but I’m not leaving,” a man who identified himself as Cincinnati said as the deadline loomed. “I’m going to take the streets.”
But the desire to confront police and stand ground was shared by only some of the 150 people who have made up Occupy Berkeley. Maxina Ventura, who has been staying in the park off and on with her children ever since it started two months ago, took down her tent on Wednesday. She said she could no longer stand behind the radical fringe of protestors who seemed determined to fight police at all costs.
“We had to make it clear we were not a front for those people,” said Ventura.
Berkeley police, acting on orders from interim City Manager Christine Daniel, handed out notices on Dec. 20 that the city would no longer look the other way during the park’s 10 pm to 6 am curfew. … Continue reading »
Councilmember Jesse Arreguín, whose 4th district includes Civic Center Park, today urged the city to adopt a health and safety plan for the Occupy Berkeley encampment. It calls for a zero tolerance policy on “all violations of the law and park rules, with the exception of camping in the park overnight”.
“We cannot wait. We have to take action now,” Arreguín said. “We have to be making it clear to people that the laws will be enforced. That will ensure health and safety while at the same time respecting peoples’ rights to assembly and free speech.”
Arreguín’s suggested guidelines for city staff and police comes a day after the city distributed notice to the Occupy Berkeley encampment that enforcement would be stepped up. … Continue reading »
Update, 2:58 pm: The Berkeley Police Department has issued a list of calls for police services at the Occupy Berkeley camp. There have been a total of 24 reported calls since October 23rd, 16 of which can be classified as crimes (this differs slightly from the numbers previously reported by the BPD and cited in our story below). BPD believes there are crimes and other incidents that have gone unreported, as would be expected at any large gathering. BPD says some cases have involved deadly weapons, and that the number of calls has increased in the past week. Read the full list here.
Original story: Without media fanfare or loud demonstrations, the Occupy Berkeley encampment in Civic Center Park has grown to about 90 tents. As Berkeleyside reported, the “radical inclusivity” of the Occupy Berkeley gathering has created tensions. City officials and local police have adopted a policy of monitoring and tolerance, rather than threats and injunctions. City staff and police patrol the encampment regularly. But with both Oakland and San Francisco Occupy sites now closed, what is the likely future for the Bay Area’s last significant Occupy movement site? Not everybody is comfortable with its ongoing presence.
Councilmember Jesse Arreguín, whose 4th district includes Civic Center Park, has views that are echoed by other city officials. “We don’t have any plans to clear people out of the park,” Arreguín said. “I have supported the Occupy encampment from the beginning. There may come a point — I don’t believe the point is now — where we have to ask the people to go. It’s inevitable that the conversation will have to happen.” … Continue reading »
City Councilman Jesse Arreguín will ask the city manager tonight to investigate whether two medical cannabis collectives are operating in violation of Berkeley’s zoning laws.
Arreguín’s announced his intent after a contentious meeting of the Medical Cannabis Commission on Thursday, Dec. 1. The MCC spent a large part of its meeting debating whether to send a letter to city officials drawing attention to the proliferation of collectives in commercial districts, but could not agree on the wording. The MCC will take up the matter again in January.
“I don’t think this should be swept under the rug,” said Arreguín. “It is an important issue. Some action needs to be taken. The city is trying to be sensitive to these particular collectives, which provide medicine to patients. At the same time, they are clearly violating the city’s zoning laws and medical marijuana ordinances.” … Continue reading »
The city government will consider taking action on the issue of the noise pollution caused by news helicopters with councilmember Jesse Arreguín (district 4) bringing an item to the consent calendar at Tuesday’s City Council meeting this week.
“This is a quality of life issue and, as community leaders, we should engage in a dialogue with media organizations to try to find some solutions,” Arreguin said.
Choppers are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and there is therefore a limit to how much Berkeley’s leaders can do to restrict their time in the air.
Because it’s been a news-heavy few months in Berkeley recently — with the Occupy Cal protests, a shooting on campus as well as a series of earthquakes — media helicopters have been taking to the skies at a particularly high rate, causing angst among local residents. … Continue reading »