Tag Archives: North Berkeley


Armed robbery series has Berkeley police on alert

Image: BPD
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Five armed robberies and one robbery attempt have been reported in North Berkeley since last weekend, and most have happened near the UC Berkeley campus, authorities report.

A flurry of Nixle alerts has been released this week by the University of California Police and Berkeley Police departments to try to warn community members about what has occurred and how to stay safe. In addition to the six-robbery series, three other robberies were reported Sunday.

The most recent notice, released Thursday by BPD, included a map of the incidents and information about most of them. BPD released limited suspect information but noted that, “Based on the descriptions of the suspects, the close geographic proximity of the crime scenes, and the victims’ demographics, Detectives believe that the cases are related.” … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Stephen Murphy?

Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Murphy (featured only)
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Name: Stephen Murphy

Age: 44

Job: Associate director, Alameda County Family Justice Center

What office are you are running for? Berkeley City Council, District 5

What is the main reason you are running? I have spent my career dedicated to public service and social justice and I want to build upon my experience and relationships to help my community. As a father of three children under the age of 7, I care a great deal about the quality of life in our neighborhood. I fell in love with Berkeley when I moved here 26 years ago and I want to ensure that Berkeley continues to be a place where everyone has choices for a good life. We must enact new initiatives to ensure that Berkeley is safe, prosperous, and accessible for all.

Why are you qualified for the position? In my professional life, I serve as the Associate Director of the Alameda County Family Justice Center. I deal firsthand with serious problems affecting marginalized communities. I have dedicated my life to pursuing social justice and my desire for justice and equity has resonated with voters. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Sophie Hahn?

Courtesy of Sophie Hahn
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Name: Sophie Hahn

Age: 55

Job: Zoning Adjustments Board member; retired small business owner and attorney

What office are you are running for? Berkeley City Council, District 5

What is the main reason you are running? I am running to represent the people and neighborhoods of Berkeley, and ensure that as we grow and change, we protect and amplify the things that make Berkeley a uniquely wonderful place to live, work, learn and play. With a lifetime of service for our schools, libraries, community and the environment, I will champion equity and forward Berkeley’s great tradition of progressive leadership. Berkeley is facing a crisis of affordability, displacement and homelessness. Addressing this will be my top priority. Endorsed by the Sierra Club, I will continue my work to address climate change and improve Berkeley’s resilience.

Why are you qualified for the position? My qualifications are:
(1) My deep roots in District 5 and close, lifelong relationship with the community I am running to serve; I grew up in District 5, and have raised my family here
(2) My unparalleled record of service to Berkeley’s schools, libraries and to the community
(3) My leadership on the Environment and fighting Climate Change
(4) My education, including graduating from Berkeley High and UC Berkeley (Phi Beta Kappa, with Honors) and receiving a JD from Stanford Law School
(5) My public service as a senior member of the City of Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board and as Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, and as a member of the Solano Avenue Business Improvement District Board
(6) My leadership in the community, serving on Boards including the Berkeley Public Library Foundation, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, the Sierra Club, the Bancroft Library at CAL and Planned Parenthood; as President of the King PTA and Chair of the Governance Council, and more
(5) My work experience, including practicing law, working for a large international organization (the International Planned Parenthood Federation) and starting, growing and operating a small manufacturing and wholesale business. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Isabelle Gaston?

Photo: Courtesy of Isabelle Gaston (featured only)
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Name: Isabelle Gaston

Age: 54

Job: Medical writer (oncology)

What office are you are running for? Berkeley City Council, District 6

What is the main reason you are running? The main reason I am running is because I am profoundly disheartened by the state of our City’s infrastructure, fiscal mismanagement, and seemingly unbridled development — and I want to do something about it.

I am also very concerned about District 6’s safety: our district lacks an earthquake shelter; has not undergrounded most of its utility wires (after waiting decades); and has inadequate police patrolling (only one officer for District 5 and 6 per evening shift).

Why are you qualified for the position? For over four years, I have served as President of the Northeast Berkeley Association (NEBA), one of the largest, oldest, and most respected neighborhood associations in Berkeley. Since being President, I have become very active in City politics; spoken at numerous City Council sessions; and written many articles regarding the City’s budget challenges, structural deficit, unfunded liabilities, and need to rebuild our City’s physical and financial infrastructure. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Fred Dodsworth?

Photo: Fred Dodsworth / Courtesy
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Name: Fred Dodsworth

Age: 65

Job: Retired journalist-businessman-teacher

What office are you are running for? Berkeley City Council, District 6

What is the main reason you are running? The council majority has failed to provide “housing for the rest of us,” while encouraging luxury housing, exacerbating skyrocketing rental rates, changing the ethnic make up of our community.

35% of police calls are for homeless services. Council spends millions criminalizing homelessness failing to resolve homelessness. We need social workers for better outcomes and so we can bill Medi-Cal for services, not taxpayers.

The council majority fails to capitalize on Berkeley’s desirability to demand all new construction be energy neutral and low-carbon, to reduce our energy usage and carbon-footprint. Global warming is a catastrophe which can no longer be ignored.

Why are you qualified for the position? As a 30-year journalist, as a business owner and employer meeting a weekly payroll, I understand the importance of not wasting taxes or resources while fairly treating those who make our community vibrant. We have a moral responsibility to the young, to students, children and grandchildren, to elders and to those less fortunate to make the world equitable and fair, to leave it better than we found it.

As a journalist I’ve covered and exposed corruption and malfeasance in Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, San Francisco, and Martinez. I am familiar with the issues Berkeley faces while I’m not committed to the political groupthink that prevents consideration of innovative responses. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Susan Wengraf?

Photo: Courtesy of Susan Wengraf
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Name: Susan Wengraf

Age: 71

Job: Berkeley City Council, District 6

What office are you are running for? Berkeley City Council, District 6

What is the main reason you are running? I want to continue to represent the needs and concerns of District 6 residents and to bring a rational and civil approach to our city’s governance. I really care about our community and I want District 6 to continue to have strong, progressive representation. The hills have very specific needs that must be … Continue reading »

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After hit-and-run, victims chase suspect vehicle into Berkeley, then overturn after crash

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Firefighters had to extricate a mother and daughter from their overturned vehicle in North Berkeley after they followed another car that hit them, causing property damage, on Monday afternoon, authorities said.

According to Sgt. Andrew Frankel, Berkeley Police spokesman, the first collision happened around noon Monday somewhere between Berkeley and San Pablo.

The mother and daughter were hit, then followed the other vehicle — a late-model blue station wagon that may have been a VW or a Volvo — southbound on San Pablo Avenue.

When the blue vehicle turned left on Camelia Street, then left on Stannage Avenue, the mother and daughter chased them, police said. That’s when the second crash happened. … Continue reading »

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Man suspected of carjacking crashes into house; flees towards oncoming train

A suspected carjacker crashed this stolen car into a house on Sixth Street, then fled on foot to the railroad tracks, where he was arrested. Photo: Berkeley Police
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Berkeley police have arrested a man who allegedly carjacked a car from the North Berkeley BART station, raced through Berkeley, crashed the car into a house in the 1500 block of Sixth St. near Jones Street and tried to escape onto the train tracks while a train approached.

One Berkeley police officer was injured when the suspect got into a fight with police, according to Lt. Andrew Rateaver. The suspect was also taken to the hospital, although it is unclear … Continue reading »

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Ask Berkeleyside: Why no toilets at the Solano Stroll?

Solano Stroll 2016. Photo: Steve Crawford
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It wasn’t a conspiracy, and it wasn’t by design. There were no portable toilets at the Solano Stroll on Sunday due to “a simple error,” event organizer Allen Cain of the Solano Avenue Association told Berkeleyside this week.

Exactly whose error is a matter of dispute. Cain said he emailed in the toilet order months before the huge annual event. The alleged service provider says no order was received. 

Cain, who has spearheaded the Solano Stroll for nearly a decade, said he makes all the arrangements the prior April — five months in advance — to ensure he has all the rental supplies he needs. The toilets are usually set up Saturday, the day before the Stroll, to avoid vandalism to the units or to the properties around them.

(Berkeleyside first reported on the missing toilets Monday.)

Saturday, Cain said he was on the avenue at 5 a.m. to mark off the street with chalk, to prepare for the event, before traffic got in the way. Around 11 a.m. or noon, he said, he started wondering where the toilets were. He wasn’t too worried, though, because they sometimes don’t show up until 8 or 9 p.m.

“At about 3-4 o’clock, we start to get a little nervous,” he said Tuesday night. Organizers tried to call the rental service to find out what was going on. But Cain said they could only reach an answering service. The answering service said it had two numbers for United Site Services, the rental company Cain said he ordered the toilets from. But both numbers went to voicemail, and that voicemail was full. … Continue reading »

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Photo Gallery: The 42nd Berkeley-Albany Solano Stroll

Solano Stroll 2016. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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“I’ve come to the conclusion that at the Solano Stroll, if you don’t see the essence of Berkeley, you’re not paying attention,” wrote Daniel McPartlan to Berkeleyside when sharing with us some wonderful photographs he took at this year’s Stroll, which took place on Sunday. Of course, the Solano Stroll includes Albany too, but we hear what he’s saying. Meanwhile, Berkeleyside contributing photographer Nancy Rubin commented on submitting her amazing portfolio, “I feel the Stroll represents the best of Berkeley — such good feelings, such diversity — of both humans and animals.”

People turned out in droves to the 42nd annual Stroll, despite the vain attempts by the sun to shed any warmth on events, and the unfortunate absence of portable toilets at this year’s event (we’ve asked the Solano Stroll Association for more on this and will update the story when we hear back).

[Update, 4:15 p.m. Allen Cain tells Berkeleyside he submitted his request well in advance, noting, “We go out of our way to provide facilities.” He said there was only an answering service for United Site Services picking up the phone Sunday, and the service could not provide any information. “If they had just told us that they lost the order, we could’ve navigated something but they kept us hanging,” he said.]

The parade was as impressive as always, and this year local election candidates were out in force. And there was a near-constant stream of visitors to the Berkeleyside/Nosh booth and the onsite team — Wendy Cohen, Bethany Del Lima, Kate Williams, Emilie Raguso, Debbie McKeen and Tracey Taylor — were delighted to meet everyone and hear your positive feedback. We will draw the winners of our two raffle prizes — a basket-full of East Bay food and drink goodies and a copy of Kenji López-Alt’s The Food Lab book — shortly.

Meanwhile enjoy the Stroll photographs published here — and thank you for sharing them with us.

See more photos of the Solano Stroll by Nancy Rubin.

See more photos of the Solano Stroll by Daniel McPartlan. … Continue reading »

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Visit Berkeleyside, Nosh at the Solano Stroll

Solano Stroll 2015. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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It’s that time of year again, and the East Bay’s biggest street festival is coming Sunday with the 42nd annual Solano Stroll.

You can find the Berkeleyside team in our usual spot, between Pegasus Books and iScream, where northbound Colusa Avenue hits Solano Avenue. We hope you’ll come by to say hello.

This year, Berkeleyside’s Nosh site will be our booth’s focus. To that end, we’ll be raffling off a big basket of East Bay food and wine, as well as a copy of “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji López-Alt (don’t miss him at our Uncharted festival, coming in October).

This year’s Stroll is set to feature over 500 vendors including 50 entertainers, 50 food booths, 150 government and non-profit agencies, 150 juried hand-crafters, a 75-entry parade, mechanical rides and much more, organizers say. (The parade begins at 10 a.m.) The expected estimated attendance is 250,000.

We invite readers to share Solano Stroll photos with us by tagging #Berkeleyside on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also add photos to our Flickr group or simply email them to tips@berkeleyside.com. (We always love seeing your photographs of any interesting sights around Berkeley.) … Continue reading »

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Pacific School of Religion to build 265-unit senior center

An overview of the senior housing planned for Pacific School of Religion's campus. Rendering: Solomon Cordwell Buenz
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The Pacific School of Religion is teaming up with an Illinois-based non-profit builder to construct 265 apartments for seniors on Holy Hill in Berkeley.

Mather LifeWays will build a “continuing care” facility that features apartments, a memory care unit, and nursing facilities for people at the end of their lives, according to Mary Leary, the president of the company, which is based in Evanston. The bulk of the units would be in five-to-six story buildings on PSR’s main campus along Scenic Avenue, with two six-unit buildings on Le Conte Avenue, she said. The units fronting Virginia Street would be three-stories high and constructed in a Mediterranean style to better blend into the neighborhood, she said.

The Mather in Berkeley, as the complex will be called, would be the first facility of its kind in Berkeley, and one that is sorely needed, said Leary. About 25% of Berkeley property owners are older than 55 , she said. Many professors from PSR, other schools affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union, and UC Berkeley move out of Berkeley after they retire because there are no senior centers to move into, said David Vásquez-Levy, president of the Pacific School of Religion.

“Almost none of our emeritus professors can stay in Berkeley,” said Vásquez-Levy. “That’s the case for a lot of our faculty in all our institutions. We are losing the opportunity to retain knowledge.”

The project would also return land to the tax rolls that is now tax exempt because it is used for religious purposes. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police action on San Pablo after brawl

Photo: Libby Lee-Egan
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Berkeley police responded to San Pablo Avenue and Cedar Street for a disturbance shortly before noon Saturday.

Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver said units are responding to multiple reports of two or three people fighting in the 1700 block of San Pablo.

“Reports from my officers on scene indicate that the fight migrated into the street and was violent,” he said. Officers and Berkeley Fire Department paramedics were on the scene shortly before noon and the investigation is underway.

Libby Lee-Egan told Berkeleyside on Twitter that there was a “street brawl” at San Pablo and Cedar that was blocking traffic at about 11:40 a.m. The fight started in front of the Berkeley Adult School and employees from Enterprise Rent-A-Car tried to break it up, she said.  … Continue reading »

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