Tag Archives: West Berkeley

Real estate

Council asks DA to drop criminal charges tied to eviction

835 Page. Photo: Coalition to Defend Black Homes
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The Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday night to ask for criminal charges to be dropped against a 28-year-old black woman who ran into trouble with the law earlier this year while protesting her eviction from the West Berkeley home that had been in her family since 1965.

Councilman Kriss Worthington put forward the item to ask the Alameda County district attorney’s office to drop charges of resisting arrest and failure to obey a court order that were brought against Berkeley native Ayohenia “Ayo” Chaney during the eviction in June.

Many community members and officials have expressed concern about how increasing property values have intensified gentrification and led to significant reductions in the city’s black population. Chaney has said she does not want her family to be another victim of the housing crisis. She thanked council Tuesday night for taking a stand.

“These are pretty ludicrous charges considering this was an illegal eviction,” she told city officials. “I just would like very much to bring the black and brown numbers in Berkeley back up.”

Chaney said, the day before her arrest, she had prequalified to purchase the family home, at 835 Page St., for $450,000. She said she grew up in Berkeley in a single-parent home but now works for a major tech company and would be considered middle-class.

Describing some of the challenges faced by those around her in the community, she noted that many of the friends she grew up with in Berkeley have been killed, and that one had just gotten the death penalty. Chaney has fought for affordable housing in Oakland and said she thinks it’s a critically important effort in Berkeley, too. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police on scene after person stabbed in West Berkeley

San Pablo and Gilman. Image: Google Maps
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A person was stabbed in West Berkeley shortly before 9 p.m., police say, but is expected to survive.

Berkeley Police watch commander Lt. Mike Durbin said officers responded to the stabbing, at Gilman Street and San Pablo Avenue, and remain on the scene taking witness statements and continuing to investigate.

The victim was taken to a local hospital by paramedics but is in stable condition and expected to survive, he said.

Durbin said there is no reason to think the stabbing was related in any way to recent incidents of gun violence in South Berkeley.  … Continue reading »

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More details emerge about carjacking on Friday

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 22-year-old Theodis Evans in connection with the carjacking and crash on Friday that slowed down Amtrak train traffic.

According to police, Evans allegedly commandeered the car of a man parked near the North Berkeley BART station around 12:06 p.m. He allegedly approached a man sitting in his car, punched him, opened the door, and pulled him out of the car, according to Lt. Kevin Schofield. … Continue reading »

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Police

Crash in West Berkeley causes moderate injuries to 3

Car crash. Photo: BPD
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A car crash in West Berkeley on Saturday morning caused moderate injuries for three motorists, authorities report.

The Berkeley Police Department said two vehicles were involved in the crash, which took place at San Pablo Avenue and Addison Street shortly before 8:40 a.m.

BPD and the Berkeley Fire Department responded.

One of the vehicles went into a building, said Lt. Andrew Rateaver, BPD watch commander, and caused minor damage.

All three of the injured parties were taken to the hospital for treatment.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley music collective honors slain rapper ‘AyeGee’

Neighborhood Heavy
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[Editor’s Note: Berkeleyside freelancer Delency Parham knew Alex Goodwin Jr. This story includes some of Parham’s own reflections, as a young Black man himself, on the loss.]

Berkeley-based music collective Neighborhood Heavy honored slain group member Alex “AyeGee” Goodwin Jr. on Friday with the release of a five-track mixtape titled, “#LongLiveAyeGee.”

The project features five previously unreleased songs from Goodwin, who was shot and killed earlier this month on the front porch of his South Berkeley home. Along with the rest of Neighborhood Heavy, the 22-year-old Berkeley native had been hoping one day to make music his full-time work.

Now, as friends and family mourn his death, members of Neighborhood Heavy say they are hopeful their friend and brother can live on through their music.

Goodwin was born and raised in South Berkeley. A product of all Berkeley schools, parks, and recreation centers, he epitomized what it meant to be from this city.

See the GoFundMe page.

His ability to be there when people needed him most is what allowed him to impact so many lives in such a brief period. Not only was he a son, he was an uncle, an older brother, a grandson and a companion to many. Like most young men, he had a passion for sports; some might even describe him as a Golden State “Warriors fanatic.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

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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Crime

Berkeley homicide victim ID’d as Alex Goodwin Jr., 22

Alex Goodwin. Photo: Alex Goodwin/Twitter
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Twenty-two-year-old Alex Goodwin Jr. has been identified as the person who was fatally shot by San Pablo Park late Thursday night.

Authorities have not released the name, but friends have identified Goodwin online and the family has been informed, according to those familiar with the neighborhood.

Thursday night’s shooting became the first homicide of the year after Goodwin was pronounced dead at Highland Hospital early Friday morning.

Multiple callers reported the sound of gunfire to police just before midnight. Numerous callers said they heard three shots around Mabel and Burnett streets.

Berkeleyside broke the news of the shooting at about 2:20 a.m.

Goodwin lived in the 2900 block of Mabel according to records online. A woman called police around the time of the gunshots to report that her brother had left their home but not come back in, according to scanner recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside.

BPD has not confirmed whether that call referred to Goodwin.

The young man attended Berkeley Arts Magnet, King Middle School and Berkeley High.

In a chilling post on Twitter less than a week ago, Goodwin wrote, “When I die, turnup for me… On Mabel in front of Grams house like I would want you to.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Update: Man dead after shooting near San Pablo Park

Image: Google Maps
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Berkeley had its first homicide of the year early Friday after a man in his 20s was shot and critically injured near San Pablo Park.

Police called to southwest Berkeley just before midnight following reports of possible gunfire found a young man down in the street who was breathing but unresponsive.

Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel said shortly before 4:30 a.m. that the man was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

“We don’t believe that there is an immediate threat to the community as the shooting does not appear to have been random,” he said. “The suspects are still at large. Homicide detectives are on scene and working the investigation.”

Frankel confirmed that dispatchers got numerous calls just before midnight Friday about loud reports — possible gunfire — near Mabel and Burnett streets. Several callers reported hearing what sounded like three gunshots. The location is south of San Pablo Park and north of Ashby Avenue. It’s one block east of San Pablo Avenue.

One woman also called police to say her brother had stepped out of their home in the 2900 block of Mabel and had not come back inside, according to unconfirmed scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside.

Officers who responded to the scene found a 22-year-old man down in the street at Burnett and Mabel. Initially it was unclear whether he had been hit by gunfire. … Continue reading »

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Premier Cru owner used coffee shop as hook-up HQ

John Fox, left, at the counter of a Fourth Street store with a young woman. Fox, who admitted to spending $900K to meet women online, drew attention because he showed up so often.
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John Fox, the corrupt owner of wine retailer Premier Cru, didn’t travel far when he spent $900,000 of embezzled funds on women he met online.

The lanky 66-year-old with fading blonde hair used to meet scantily dressed 20-year-olds at least two or three times a week at Artís Coffee on Berkeley’s Fourth Street, less than a five-minute drive from his offices at 1011 University Ave., according to observers.

Fox met the young women so frequently that workers in the neighborhood took note. Some of them even started to snap photos of Fox with various dates because they were curious how a middle-aged man connected with so many young women who looked 40 years younger than him.

“He picked up girls literally a couple times a week,” said one worker, who asked that his name not be used. “They were always really young. You never saw him with the same girl twice.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man charged after aluminum bat attack in Berkeley

Zuber Awad. Photo: ACSO
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A homeless man charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon after an attack with an aluminum baseball bat in West Berkeley in July is scheduled to appear in court to be sentenced Wednesday.

According to court papers, Zuber Awad, 26, was with another man’s girlfriend at University Avenue and West Frontage Road on July 1 when angry words were exchanged.

Police say Awad then hit the other man with an aluminum baseball bat causing an injury that required eight stitches.

According to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, Awad was identified to police as a homeless camper in the area who was known to wear a diving weight around his neck.

Police arrested Awad the day after the baseball bat assault at about 10:10 a.m. at Cedar and Second streets in West Berkeley. According to police, he was on probation at the time of his arrest for battery causing serious bodily injury.

According to police, Awad said he did hit the man but that he did so with his closed fist, not the bat. … Continue reading »

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On the road with the CHP: Your questions answered

Oakland CHP spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld invited Berkeleyside on a ride-along last week. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Last week, Berkeleyside spent a couple hours with the California Highway Patrol to get a sense of what a normal day on I-80 is like for these officers. There are about 100 officers with the Oakland CHP branch, and they handle the freeways from the southern Oakland border up through Berkeley until Richmond.

Carpool violations, cellphone violations, moving violations: most of the stops fell into these categories. During the ride-along we asked readers to send in questions over social media and Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, spokesman for the local office, provided answers. What does the CHP do about carpool violators, and what can other motorists do? What are the rules about lane splitting and what’s the weirdest call he’s been on? What are the penalties for carpool violation tickets, and what kind of excuses do people give when they get pulled over?

The day ended with a glimpse into a long tunnel that runs beneath the freeway, and a look at vehicles involved in fatal crashes. The Storify post that follows sums it up. … Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: ‘A taste of West Berkeley’ tour

Eduardo Morell slices bread at his bakery in West Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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It’s really hard to not fill up on bread when it’s this good. There’s hearty, earthy 100% rye topped with a generous smear of salted Clover butter. And a classic country loaf jazzed up with whole-wheat flour sliced thick, so it’s easier to appreciate its tender, chewy crumb.

We’re at Morell’s Bread, the first stop on Berkeley’s newest food tour, A Taste of West Berkeley. Baker Eduardo Morell is talking to us about his sourdough starter and gluten development. I sneak a few more bites of the rye and butter while I watch Morell’s wife and business partner, Tamsen Flynn, shape country loaves on the large bakery counter behind us. … Continue reading »

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Flare station is replaced at Berkeley’s Cesar Chavez Park

Old flare pipe being removed at Cesar Chavez Park. Photo: Martin Nicolaus
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By Martin Nicolaus

The old flare station at Berkeley’s Cesar Chavez Park, built amid controversy in 1989, is gone. A crew from Innovative Construction Solutions (ICS), aided by Hatton Crane Service, under the watchful eyes of Taylor Lancelot of the City of Berkeley and a representative from SCS Engineers, who built the system originally, took down the rusty leaning tower in a seven-hour session on Tuesday, Aug. 9, under bright skies with a modest westerly breeze.

Cesar Chavez Park is a green cover over what was, until 1983, the Berkeley city dump. Compostable refuse generates methane and other landfill gases. In the 1980s, a group of scientists and environmentalists argued that a flare station was unnecessary at this site. Measurements showed that surface emissions of methane were below levels of concern, probably due to the action of soil bacteria that “eat” methane. This inexpensive natural bioremediation process was sufficient, they argued. … Continue reading »

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