Tuesday night’s council meeting ended abruptly with a split vote to adopt new laws proponents say will help clean up Berkeley streets and provide storage and improved restroom facilities for the homeless.
The Berkeley City Council passed a series of measures early Wednesday morning to address issues raised by the behavior of some members of the homeless population, including a new rule that will limit the amount of space on which people can spread their stuff on the sidewalk.
Tuesday night, advocates for the homeless are set to duke it out with supporters of more stringent standards for behavior on Berkeley sidewalks over three items on the City Council agenda related to those living on the streets.
More than 100 people crowded into the North Berkeley Senior Center on Saturday to strategize about how to address problematic behavior in Ohlone Park linked largely to the area’s growing nomadic homeless population.
City officials, parks and homeless outreach staff, police and community members will come together Saturday to discuss a range of problems that have cropped up recently at Berkeley’s Ohlone Park.
Twenty years ago, the late Dona Spring, a City Council member, asked me to find an American Indian artist to paint a mural on the BART vent building in Ohlone Park. The building was a graffiti-covered eyesore, crying out for public art. The city, having recently changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, wanted to honor the Ohlones, who are native to this land.
Ohlone Dog Park is the only fenced facility where dogs can run free in Berkeley. Park users spontaneously provided chairs at their own expense for years until the City got rid of them, allegedly for safety reasons. This is the nanny state run amok. We want out chairs back.
Matt Raimi was sitting in Ohlone Park at 11.30 in the morning on the Thursday before Thanksgiving chatting on his cell phone with a cabinet maker about a possible kitchen remodel when he felt something nudge him in the side. He looked up and saw a young man who demanded that Raimi hang up and give him the iPhone. The man — black, aged between 16 and 20 and about 5’7″, according to Raimi — had a semi-concealed gun in his pocket and was pointing it straight at him.