Tag Archives: Livable Berkeley

Berkeley zoning ballot language heading to court

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Berkeley City Councilman Jesse Arreguín filed a lawsuit against Berkeley on Wednesday seeking to overturn ballot language that will be used to describe a downtown zoning initiative.

Arreguín wants an Alameda County Superior Court judge to take up the matter immediately, since final ballot language for the November 2014 election is due Sept. 2. … Continue reading »

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Wording of Berkeley ballot initiative headed to court

Downtown Berkeley, May 2014. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The backers of a downtown Berkeley initiative that voters will consider in November plan to file a lawsuit next week to force the city to change the wording in the ballot measure. They contend that the summary is inaccurate, biased and misleading.

The decision to go to court was in response to Berkeley’s decision not to voluntarily change the wording of the ballot measure. City Councilman Jesse Arreguín had sent a letter on July 21 to City Attorney Zach Cowan asking for changes, but Cowan responded in a July 24 letter that he did not have the power to modify the wording. Only the Berkeley City Council, which is in recess until September, can make those changes, Cowan said.

“It is unfortunate that the City Council was not advised, at the time the biased and factually inaccurate Ballot Statement language was put forward, that such language violates legal standards,” Arreguín wrote Cowan on July 30. “In light of that omission, and given that the City Council is on recess, we have no choice but to seek judicial relief to protect the rights of all Berkeley voters to fair elections.”

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At B-Side: Implications of downtown Berkeley initiative

At the first B-Side forum co-sponsored by The Hub and Berkeleyside, participants debated the merits of this fall's downtown initiative. From left, Lance Knobel of Berkeleyside, Jesse Arreguín and Eric Panzer. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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About 50 people gathered at Berkeley’s David Brower Center last week for a discussion about the ballot initiative supporters say will put more “green” in local development, but which opponents argue will stop new projects that are contributing to a downtown renaissance and are bringing critical amenities to the city.

Berkeley Councilman Jesse Arreguín faced off against Eric Panzer, chair of Livable Berkeley and the treasurer of the group opposing the initiative. They joined Berkeleyside co-founder Lance Knobel at Impact Hub Berkeley last Tuesday evening in the first of a series of informal discussions about Berkeley issues — co-sponsored by Berkeleyside and the Hub — called The B-Side.Continue reading »

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Group proposes lighted arch over Telegraph Avenue

Telegraph arch
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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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The It List: Five Things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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IMAGINE NONVIOLENCE In response to the March 16 shooting at the club, which injured two employees, and violence in general, Ashkenaz is sponsoring an event called “Imagining Nonviolence” on Friday April 19. “This event explores, celebrates, and shares numerous ways that we heal from violence, individually and within community. Starting with a hands-on healing art workshop, participants will collage and may post their art to build a Wall of Peace in our Back Studio. There will be counselors available and a drum circle for kids. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with a kids’ drumming circle and then a community drumming circle. At 9:30 p.m.,  SambaDá and cosmos Percussion Orchestra – the same bands that were playing the night of the assault – will perform. Tickets are $10-$12. The Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center is at 1317 San Pablo Ave. … Continue reading »

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Council supports Sunday Streets, looks to find funds

2012 Sunday Streets. Photo: Alan Tobey
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Last October, Berkeley held a Sunday Streets event for the first time, and an estimated 40,000 people flocked to Shattuck Avenue to stroll, bike and skate the length of 17 blocks enjoying the car-free environment, al fresco eating, music, yoga and chess playing. By most accounts, the event was a success, but to make it happen again this year and going forward, the organizers are asking officials to stump up the funds to cover city costs.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, officials expressed their support for the event, but were hesitant, given Berkeley’s tight budget, to commit to the full amount needed to cover city costs for a 2013 repeat performance, as well as funds for future years. They also said they were uncomfortable making financial decisions separate from the context of the rest of Berkeley’s events. … Continue reading »

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Shattuck Avenue goes car-free for 17 blocks on Sunday

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More than a mile of Berkeley’s Shattuck Avenue will be open to pedestrians, cyclists, roller-skaters, dancers, and kids on Sunday Oct. 14 — but not cars — as the city holds its first Sunday Streets event from 11 am through 4 pm.

Seventeen blocks, from Rose to Haste streets, will also be a hive of activities as merchants, musicians and community organizations take the opportunity to engage with and perform for local residents. The offerings run the gamut from free free bike repairs courtesy of Mikes Bikes, Missing Link Cooperative and the Bike Station, to street soccer games, free yoga classes, belly dancing, hands-on science activities for kids, and a performance by the UC Berkeley Gospel Choir.

The idea of Sunday Streets, or Open Streets as they are also known, originated in Bogatá, Colombia and has spread around the world, including to San Francisco where it has been a regular occurrence in different neighborhoods for a couple of years. … Continue reading »

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Can car-free ‘Sunday Streets’ come to Berkeley?

On May 6, parts of the Mission District in San Francisco were closed to cars for that city's "Sunday Streets" program. Photo: Emunah Hauser
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Thirty-six years ago, the mayor of Bogatá, Colombia had a novel idea. He wanted to close some of the city streets on Sundays to give bicycle riders, roller skaters and pedestrians a chance to enjoy the city in a different way.

The street closure was a huge hit, and over the years the concept has expanded to include 70 miles of closed streets every Sunday. About 1.5 million people take advantage of the car-free environment each week, about 20% of the population. They not only walk and bike, they dance, do yoga, and have aerobics classes

The idea, termed “Sunday Streets” or “Open Streets,” has been so popular that it has spread around the world, to cities like Kiev, Tokyo, and San Francisco. Now a group of Berkeley officials and activists want to bring the concept to Berkeley. They hope to close off a 10-to-16-block stretch of Shattuck Avenue to cars on a Sunday in October. … Continue reading »

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