Tag Archives: Julie Sinai

2020 Vision: Skills improve, absences down, gap remains

Berkeley City Council and School Board special session, Jan. 28, 2014. Photo: Lars Skjerping
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A citywide initiative proponents hope will close the achievement gap in Berkeley public schools appears to be working, though significant disparities remain, according to data presented Tuesday night in a special session before the Berkeley City Council and School Board.

The 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth — called “2020 Vision” for short — is a broad collaboration dating back, in its earliest form, to 2008, and is designed to chip away at the achievement gap among racial groups in Berkeley schools by the year 2020.

According to organizers, African-American and Hispanic students consistently perform “significantly below their peers on state and district standardized tests and other measures that predict academic success, such as chronic absence, truancy, suspension, and dropout rates. By some measures, the disparity in the academic performance of Berkeley students along race lines, commonly known as the ‘achievement gap,’ is one of the widest reported in California.” … Continue reading »

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New school policy protects transgender students

Felix Beaudry, a senior at Berkeley High who has transitioned from female to male, told school district directors Wednesday night why he thought BUSD should adopt policies protecting agender and transsexual students. Photo: Mark Coplan?BUSD
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Just weeks after an agender student was set on fire in Oakland while riding an AC Transit bus, the Berkeley Unified School District has adopted new policies to protect those who are transgender, gender fluid, or do not identify as male or female.

The school board adopted the new policies, which will go into effect immediately, by a 5-0 vote at its meeting on Wednesday Dec. 11.

The new rules will allow people born into one sex but who identify with another to use whatever bathroom or locker room they prefer. They can join the athletic team of their choice and dress however they want. They can use whatever pronoun they prefer to refer to themselves. … Continue reading »

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Group proposes lighted arch over Telegraph Avenue

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A coalition of city and campus groups is proposing to erect a decorative lighted archway on Telegraph Avenue to better define the shopping district.

The arch, which would be erected near Dwight Way, would serve to “emphasize and celebrate the four blocks of Telegraph between Dwight and Bancroft that distinguish it from Oakland’s Temescal and Berkeley’s Downtown,” according to an encroachment request letter submitted to the city. Students standing at the soon-to-be remodeled Lower Sproul Plaza would be able to look down the street and see the arch, and those at Dwight could look north to the campus, creating a visual connection between the University and the Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Julie Sinai appointed to Berkeley school board post

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Julie Sinai, former chief of staff to Mayor Tom Bates and now director of local government and community relations at UC Berkeley, was unanimously appointed to a vacant school board seat on Wednesday night. Sinai emerged from a slate of nine candidates in a quick, non-contentious vote by the four sitting members of the Berkeley Unified School District board.

“I’ve been a parent, I’ve been past staff, I’ve been a partner,” Sinai said in her three-minute presentation at the special board meeting. Before her position with Mayor Bates, Sinai had been director of school-linked programs for BUSD. “I’m ready to help get the work done with the board.”

The vacancy was created when board president Leah Wilson resigned in March because of her appointment as Court Executive Officer for the Alameda County Superior Court. Sinai will serve the remainder of Wilson’s term, which expires in November, 2014.  … Continue reading »

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10 people apply for vacant school board post

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Ten Berkeley residents — including a former aide to Mayor Tom Bates, the former top administrator for the city of Oakland, a UC Berkeley law professor, a nuclear scientist, a Berkeley High math teacher, and a longtime member of the high school’s Safety Committee — have applied to fill the vacancy on the Berkeley Unified School District board.

The applicants are vying to fill the seat vacated March 31 by Board President Leah Wilson. The district will whittle down the list to a set of finalists by April 24. Those candidates will be invited to give a three-minute presentation to the board and the community at a May 1 meeting. The school board hopes to select Wilson’s replacement by May 8. … Continue reading »

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Mayor’s chief of staff leaves City Hall for UC Berkeley post

Julie-Sinai4
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Julie Sinai, chief of staff to Mayor Tom Bates for the last nine years, will be the new Director of Local Government and Community Relations at UC Berkeley starting in January.

“The areas I’m really hoping to be engaged in are developing the innovation, economic and educative pathways for the East Bay,” Sinai said. “There’s a momentum around those issues that wasn’t there a few years ago,”. Sinai cited projects like the East Bay Green Corridor and the recently opened Skydeck from the Berkeley Startup Cluster.

From the start of his first term in 2002, Bates passed up the mayor’s salary (he receives a pension from his two decades as a state assemblyman representing Berkeley) and used the funds to hire Sinai. Sinai was the mayor’s policy advisor on youth, education, jobs, health, social service issues, and inter-government relations. She had previously worked for the Berkeley Unified School District. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley sites for Lab’s second campus in the spotlight

Michael Goldin, a developer of the Aquatic Park West site, stands in front of the view the lab would have if it located there. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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As the Berkeley Lab rolls into town this week to hold three public meetings about a second campus, there has been a lot of speculation about which community will be the best cheerleader. The bar has already been set high: Richmond had drummers and dancers perform at its meeting, Oakland put forward its mayor, and Alameda had a packed house.

But a curious thing happened in each community meeting. Instead of the cities wooing the Lab, the Lab … Continue reading »

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Does new cannabis body provide more accountability?

Marijuana plants for sale at the old location of Berkeley Patients Group
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After months of delay, Berkeley’s new Medical Cannabis Commission will meet for the first time on Thursday, ushering in, city officials hope, a new era of oversight and accountability.

For the past 15 years the medical marijuana business has operated in a gray zone, legal in the city and the state but at risk from crackdowns by the federal government, which does not recognize cannabis as medicine. Despite this uncertainty, the medical cannabis industry has flourished in Berkeley, spawning three … Continue reading »

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Berkeley loses money as cannabis commission idles

Marijuana plants for sale at the old location of Berkeley Patients Group
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Six months after voters approved new laws to expand Berkeley’s medical marijuana trade – in the hopes of bringing more money to city coffers – a new commission to oversee the process has not been seated.

While six city council members have appointed members to a new medical marijuana commission — enough for a quorum – the group won’t meet until all nine members are in place, according to Wendy Cosin, deputy city planner, who sent out an email last week stating there would not be a meeting in May. That way all the members can have a voice in selecting a chair, she said. … Continue reading »

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Anti sit-lie campaigners take protest to City Hall

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A group of about 70 people marched to the City Council Chambers Tuesday evening, after meeting on Telegraph Avenue, to protest a possible sit-lie ordinance in the city.

Although the item was not on last night’s City Council agenda, the protest’s organizer, Michael Diehl, told the Daily Cal that the group wanted to let the council know what they thought before it came to before council members. Diehl distributed fliers and organized the protest, which was attended by several UC Berkeley … Continue reading »

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Local business

Will pharmacy war lead to new restrictions in Berkeley?

This Walgreens on Shattuck is moving within two blocks of a CVS store
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[This story was updated on 4/19/11.]

As the retail war between CVS and Walgreens heats up in Berkeley, Mayor Tom Bates is calling for a new law that prohibits any new pharmacy from locating within 1,000 feet of another pharmacy.

Bates will ask the City Council on April 26 to consider the new restrictions. If adopted, the planning department would work to amend the city’s zoning ordinances to add the changes.

“Everywhere you turn you see a Walgreens or … Continue reading »

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