Tag Archives: Kriss Worthington

Berkeley redistricting referendum effort prevails

Xan Join collected a number of signatures in late December. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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An effort underway over the past month to force the Berkeley City Council to revoke a recently adopted redistricting map, or put the council district issue before the voters later this year, has officially collected enough signatures for the referendum to proceed, city staff said Monday evening.

The Berkeley Referendum Coalition turned in 7,867 signatures, which were filed with the Berkeley city clerk Jan. 21.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters examined a random sampling of 429 of those signatures, and found that the group would have more than enough valid names on the list, said city spokesman Matthai Chakko. To force a referendum, 5,275 of the signatures needed to be valid.

The successful signature drive means the redistricting ordinance adopted in December is now suspended. Council will consider whether to take back its vote and reconsider the topic, or put the issue before the voters.  … Continue reading »

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Long-time Berkeley progressives back referendum drive

City council members Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguin and members the Berkeley Referendum Campaign turn in signatures to the city clerk’s office on Jan 21. Photo: Anthony Sanchez
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The group that collected 7,896 signatures to force a City Council redistricting plan onto the ballot spent more than $5,000 on paid signature gatherers in January, but only raised $2,790, according to a campaign disclosure report filed with the city.

The single largest contributor to the campaign was Michael O’Malley who co-owns The Daily Planet with his wife Becky. The O’Malleys are a politically progressive couple who are often critical of Mayor Tom Bates and his more moderate allies on the council. Michael O’Malley contributed $1,000 to the referendum effort. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Violent threats, man with knife reports scare neighbors

Image: Google Maps
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Twice in just four days this month, Berkeley Police officers received reports of suspicious men in the Halcyon neighborhood in a small cul-de-sac near Ashby and Telegraph avenues.

In one of the incidents, a man was arrested after threatening to kill a woman who was returning home with her dog to the 3000 block of Halcyon Court. No one was arrested in the other case, which had happened several days prior, and police do not know whether the same man was involved in both incidents, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman. … Continue reading »

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Redistricting opponents secure signatures to force vote

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Opponents of a redistricting plan adopted by the City Council in December turned in 7,876 signatures to the City Clerk’s office on Tuesday that they hope will lead to a redrawing of District 7 boundaries.

Despite the fact that UC Berkeley students, who would be most affected by the changes, were on vacation during the 30 days opponents had to collect signatures, the Berkeley Referendum Campaign gathered more than the 5,275 necessary to reconsider the map, according to City Councilman Kriss Worthington. He led the drive along with City Councilman Jesse Arreguin. That response shows just how disenfranchised many Berkeley residents felt by the new redistricting lines, he said.

“Many progressives saw it (the redistricting plan adopted by the council) as classic gerrymandering for the advantage of a moderate candidate,” said Worthington. … Continue reading »

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Crime

South Berkeley robberies on the rise near Ashby BART

There have been at least 14 reported robberies around the Ashby BART station in the past 60 days, with several others also in the vicinity. At least seven of the robberies near the BART station involved firearms. Image: CrimeMapping
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Armed robbers have been targeting the South Berkeley neighborhood east of the Ashby BART station in recent months, with a spike in robbery reports since mid-November.

Over the past 60 days, there have been at least 28 robberies reported in the area between Adeline Street and Telegraph Avenue — between Ashby and Alcatraz avenues — in South Berkeley and North Oakland. (That number includes several reports just outside those borders.)

From mid-July to mid-September, there were six reports in that area, according to crime statistics posted online by local police agencies. During the next two months there were seven robberies reported in the vicinity. Most of those incidents, from both periods, took place in Berkeley. Then, from mid-November through mid-January, there were 15 reports, split nearly equally between Berkeley and Oakland. At least eight of those involved firearms. (One of those incidents happened Tuesday and does not yet appear as part of the available data set.)  … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: We don’t need a redistricting referendum

Xan Join collected a number of signatures in late December. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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There is a campaign afoot to waste Berkeleyans’ time and tax dollars.

On Dec. 17, 2013, the Berkeley City Council adopted a long-awaited redistricting map that rebalances population across Berkeley’s City Council Districts. The vote came after two rounds of redistricting over the last three years, including a total of 17 community forums, public hearings, and Council meetings, as well as a voter-approved amendment to the City Charter. But now, a vocal minority is spearheading a referendum effortContinue reading »

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Berkeley merchants locked in dispute with city

Merchants in the Telegraph Channing Mall have asked the city, their landlord, to offer help due to the tough economy. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Longtime merchants in the city-owned Telegraph Channing parking garage mall have been locked in a dispute with the city for several months over what the merchants say are unfair rents and poor conditions exacerbated by years of neglect.

The merchants have been asking for rent reductions, and have told the city they do not believe a private management company should be hired to oversee mall operations. (The city began the process to investigate whether to hire a private manager last summer.)

In a report written by city staff in December, the city shifts the burden back onto merchants, noting the “declining market” for several businesses in the mall. While the report indicates a willingness to work with merchants who want to help themselves, there is also resistance to the need for broad changes for all: “There would be little value for the Telegraph area market or the City to renegotiate rents with businesses that are likely to fail because the market for their product is declining and they have no plan to reverse their situation.” … Continue reading »

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Tight deadline to get redistricting referendum on ballot

Xan Join collected a number of signatures in late December. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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With only two weeks left to collect 5,275 signatures to force a city council redistricting measure on the ballot, members of the Berkeley Referendum Coalition are holding a rally on Saturday to train volunteers.

Those who are opposed to the redistricting plan approved by the City Council in December plan to meet at Mudracker’s Café at 2801 Telegraph Ave. at 11 a.m. to kick off an intense weekend of voter education.

“We are training people how to get signatures,” said Alejandro Soto-Vigil, an aide to City Councilman Kriss Worthington who is helping plan the campaign. “We are going to be sending teams out, generally two people per team, to certain blocks throughout the city of Berkeley, dispatching them to supermarkets, BART, and the neighborhoods that are going to be adversely affected by the redistricting.”

About 45 people showed up to the first meeting on Dec. 21 and organizers hope many more will turn out this weekend, said Soto-Vigil.

The Berkeley Referendum Coalition hopes to overturn a new redistricting map that they believe creates a less progressive District 7 and which is aimed at forcing out Worthington, said Soto-Vigil. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley redistricting map splits council, community

Map from BSDC
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What some described as a historic move by the Berkeley City Council to approve a new student-majority district centered around Telegraph Avenue was decried by others Tuesday night as political “gerrymandering” aimed at splitting the city’s progressive voice and excluding some of the most active students from the mix.

The council voted 6-3, on second reading, to adopt a new redistricting map, with council members Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguín and Max Anderson voting against the proposal.

The fate of Worthington’s district, District 7, has been the focus of most of the outcry about the city’s new redistricting map. Much of the discussion since July has revolved around whether the city would adopt a map that’s been part of the public dialogue since April, or one submitted in July after the submission process had officially ended. The newer map was created by Stefan Elgstrand, an intern in Worthington’s office.

The earlier map, via the Berkeley Student District Campaign (BSDC), has District 7 concentrated mostly on the south side of campus, while Elgstrand’s map, the United Student District Amendment (USDA), includes parts of northside, with fewer blocks included south of campus.

“We have no choice but to go forward with a referendum,” Elgstrand told the council during public comment Tuesday night. He said the BSDC map excludes too many students, many of whom live in Cal co-op houses, several dorms and International House. … Continue reading »

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Government

Redistricting map approved, referendum idea looms

Students crammed in to the Berkeley City Council chambers Tuesday night for a vote on new district lines in Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council approved a new redistricting map to redraw council boundaries to reflect the city’s population changes over the past decade and increase the number of student-aged voters in District 7.

Proponents of the new map say District 7 will become the first student district in the country. Cal students have helped spearhead the campaign to build support for the map, which they said has broad support on campus and in the neighborhoods nearby.

But detractors of the new map say it is a watered down district that will dilute progressive student power, and pushed for a different proposal. The vote split the council, with council members Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguín voting against it, and Councilman Max Anderson abstaining.

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Berkeley City Council’s Nov. 19 meeting: The highlights

Opponents of a Starbucks planned for 3001 Ashby packed last night's City Council meeting. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Berkeley City Council last night unanimously voted to refer the appeal of a Zoning Adjustments Board decision on a Starbucks at 3001 Telegraph Ave. to a public meeting. But before that debate, there was plenty of other action in the council chambers. We’ve Storified what happened so you can follow the action. Read on. … Continue reading »

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Rape awareness event comes to Berkeley Saturday

This weekend's event will include workshops on rape myths and culture, and survivor support. Photo: Ben Schumin
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A city-wide sexual assault awareness session will take place Saturday in Berkeley, prompted in part by the increase in reported rapes announced earlier this year, and a state audit underway to analyze UC Berkeley’s sexual assault policies.

Cal senior Ella Bastone said the idea for the event came from Councilman Kriss Worthington, who attended a Take Back the Night march Bastone organized last spring. Worthington told her he was interested in sponsoring an awareness or outreach session, and she put him in touch with local advocates from Bay Area Women Against Rape. Over the summer, Bastone interned for Worthington, and he asked her if she could spearhead the effort.

The Berkeley Sexual Assault Awareness and Education Day is set to include workshops on rape myths, rape culture, risk reduction, reporting and resources, and survivor support. A session on increasing personal safety and awareness, with audience participation, is also planned. Bastone said it is the first city-sanctioned event of its kind in recent memory. … Continue reading »

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Local business

Telegraph Channing Mall merchants ask city for relief

Telegraph Channing Sather Gate mall merchants, Sept. 17, 2013, City Council. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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More than a dozen merchants from the city-owned Telegraph Channing Mall came before the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night to ask for management improvements and financial help following a surprise property tax bill that was delivered to them last month.

The 14-shop mall sits at the base of the city-owned Telegraph Channing (formerly “Sather Gate”) Parking Garage just west of Telegraph Avenue between Durant Avenue and Channing Way. The 16,000-square-foot retail space netted about $200,000 for the city last year, despite two vacancies, and one unit that was rented to the library at a discounted rate, according to the staff report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting.

In July, the council requested a report on the mall’s finances and, more recently, the city has been investigating the possibility of hiring a private management firm to take over mall operations.

Merchants speaking before the council, along with several council members, said it would be better for the city to keep the management in-house and invest more to improve the mall, which one official described as a “dismal, dark, dingy plane” that “smells like urine a lot” and “smells like other things a lot.” Neighbors and merchants said the mall is neighborhood-serving, and offers a range of businesses that are hard to find nearby, such as shoe repair, picture framing, copies and mail services and more. … Continue reading »

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