The Berkeley Wire: 01.30.15

Photo by Brock Slinger, taken Jan. 29, 2015

Photo by Brock Slinger, taken Jan. 29, 2015

Berkeley School board adopts compensation guidelines (Daily Cal)
Navy is investigating jet’s loud flyover over Berkeley (CoCo Times)
Talking with Berkeley man who uncovers river of $$ in politics (J Weekly)
An interview with Quirky Berkeley’s Tom Dalzell (Daily Cal)
The fire on the 57 bus in Oakland (NYT)
Bursting at the seams, Berkeley juggles students, classes (Mercury News)
First Person: UC Berkeley’s bold new moves (Berkeley Reporter)
Love, Rock, and Revolution photo show opens at J School (UCB News)

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Bites: MeloMelo and Zing Café open in Berkeley

Melo Melo Kava Bar
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Openings, closings…

MELOMELO OPENS ITS DOORS Berkeley residents looking for an alternative bar atmosphere now have a new destination. MeloMelo Kava Bar (pictured above), a coffee- and alcohol-free watering hole, opened softly this past Tuesday. As we reported in September, kava is a Polynesian drink, made from the roots of the kava-kava plant, that has a mild sedative effect. Along with a rotating selection of kava, MeloMelo is serving kombucha on tap and a weekly “kava koncotion” special. You can learn more about the history and science of kava on MeloMelo’s website. MeloMelo Kava Bar is at 1701 University Ave., Berkeley. Connect with MeloMelo on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Academy Award nominated shorts

Boogaloo and Graham
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It’s time once again for me to thoroughly embarrass myself by incorrectly handicapping this year’s short subject Academy Awards, which open this Friday, Jan. 30 at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas. I think I have a perfect record over the last few years – let’s see if I ruin it by actually picking a winner for a change!

I’ll start with the most clear-cut category, and by clear-cut I mean ‘most likely to make me look daft when they open the envelope’. I’m talking about the animated shorts, and I have to believe that Disney’s Feast, a cute tale of a hungry pup attached to last year’s animated feature Big Hero 6 (itself a feature nominee), will win.

That’s despite the fact that it’s by no means the best of the five nominated films. In a perfect world, the barely two minutes long A Single Life would win for its delightful take on time travel via turntablism, but its brevity will prove its undoing: Academy voters don’t like short subjects which are, well, too short. … Continue reading »

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If measles breaks out in Berkeley, unvaccinated children will be quarantined for 21 days

The current outbreak of measles in California can be traced back to Disneyland. Photo /Creative Commons
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If measles breaks out in any Berkeley school, the Berkeley public health department will direct all unvaccinated children to stay at home for 21 days, the department announced on Jan. 29. This applies to both public and private schools.

The announcement comes as California is experiencing an unprecedented number of measles cases, most linked to a December outbreak at Disneyland. There have been more cases of measles reported in January 2015 than there were in all of 2014, according to Dr. Janet Berreman, Berkeley’s director of public health. Since measles is highly contagious, those numbers are expected to climb.

“I am strongly encouraging families who didn’t vaccinate their children to reconsider that decision in the face of a statewide outbreak of measles,” said Dr. Berryman. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Theresa Wong: Have cello, will travel

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Theresa Wong calls Berkeley home, but she forged her artistic identity via a long and winding journey abroad, soaking up creative currents in Salzburg, Vienna, Venice and beyond. A cellist, vocalist, composer, and graphic artist who can often be found enmeshed in gripping multi-media productions, Wong joins forces with guitarist/vocalist Fred Frith at the Berkeley Art Festival space 8 p.m. Saturday for a set of duo improvisation (a double bill with the electronics, piano and percussion trio Dapplegrey benefiting Doctors Without Borders).

In many ways, Frith has played a central role in Wong’s unlikely transformation from Stanford University-trained product designer to performance artist responsible for riveting works like The Unlearning, a multi-media collaboration with violinist/vocalist Carla Kihlstedt inspired by Goya’s disquieting Disasters of War etchings (the album was released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label).

A long-time member of the music faculty at Mills College, Frith first gained renown as a pioneering experimentalist when he co-founded the avant-garde British rock band Henry Cow in 1968. He’s dauntingly prolific artist who works on multiple fronts as a composer, educator, and globe-trotting musical explorer, and his path first crossed with Wong’s when she attended the Venice Biennale in 2003.

“It was the first time I heard Pamela Z, Julia Wolfe, and Fred Frith,” Wong recalls. “I still have my book of notes, trying to make sense of what makes this or that performance work. Everyone was so friendly. I’d go to talks and lectures. I heard Fred playing solo, and saw that he teaches at Mills, near where my parents live.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police ask for help to find suspect after iPhone robbery of elderly man (video)

Police are asking for help to find a man responsible for a robbery in December. Image: BPD
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The Berkeley Police Department is asking the community for help to find a man who robbed an elderly shopper of his brand new iPhone on Fourth Street the day after Christmas.

According to a statement released by police Thursday, an 83-year-old man was walking with a family member on Fourth near Hearst Avenue shortly after 1 p.m. Dec. 26 when the strong-arm robbery took place.

“They had just left the Apple store after purchasing a new iPhone,” police said in the statement. “The suspect followed the victim, and then forcibly took the iPhone … injuring him in the process.”

Police released a video of the robbery, and shared it with the media Thursday. It appears below. … Continue reading »

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Community

Public meeting on Adeline corridor on Saturday

Image: City of Berkeley
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Those interested in the future of Adeline Street in South Berkeley are invited to a meeting Saturday morning at the senior center on Ellis Street.

The city of Berkeley received a $750,000 planning grant last year to look at transit improvements and other development issues along the Adeline corridor, and Saturday morning will be the public’s first chance to participate in that process since last year.

Read more about Adeline Street in past Berkeleyside coverage.

According to a notice posted by Mayor Tom Bates’ office, “The purpose is to provide information about City planning for the area, answer questions, gather community ideas on the effort and learn on how you might like to be involved.”

The meeting is slated to take place at the South Berkeley Senior Center, at 2929 Ellis St., at 10 a.m. Saturday. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 01.29.15

Front yard chair by ginaG10. Photo taken Jan. 27, 2015

Front yard chair by ginaG10. Photo taken Jan. 27, 2015

USPS makes motion to dismiss city lawsuit; removes building from market (Daily Cal)
Berkeley actress returns home to share her story (CoCo Times)
A look back: student athletic recruiting violations in 1939 (CoCo Times)
Berkeley Rep named to list of 10 best theaters (Stark Insider)

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Comedian W. Kamau Bell reports being victim of racism at Berkeley’s Elmwood Café

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By Tracey Taylor and Frances Dinkelspiel

UPDATE: 1.30.15: The Elmwood Café posted on its Facebook page around noon that it has fired the employee who made the unacceptable remark.

UPDATE, 1.29.15, 6:40 p.m.: Bell posted on his Facebook page at 4:48 p.m that he spoke to Pearce after this article was published. He wrote: “My wife & I just talked to Michael Pearce, the owner of Elmwood Cafe, & we’ve decided to have a public conversation about this. Details soon.” On its Facebook page, the Elmwood Café appears to have deleted its first post in which it expressed how horrified it was (see a screen-grab captured by Berkeleyside). At 5:31 p.m., it posted the following: “We have reached out [sic] Mr. Kamau Bell and expressed to him how truly sorry we are. He and his wife have graciously accepted our invitation to have an open dialogue about the incident, and what steps can be taken. This conversation will be forthcoming and transparent and public as to what went wrong, and what actions we take to rectify what happened.”

ORIGINAL STORY: A popular African American comedian took to the Internet on Thursday to complain that an employee of the Elmwood Café on College Avenue told him to “scram,” or words to that effect, Monday while he was talking to his white wife and her friends at one of its outdoor tables.

W. Kamau Bell, who performs regularly in Bay Area comedy clubs, said he was shocked when the employee tapped on the window from inside the café and indicated that he should leave the area. The employee apparently thought Bell might be trying to sell something. Bell said he was dressed in a dark Oaklandish-brand hoodie at the time.

“It is the definition of prejudice,” Bell, a Berkeley resident, said. “They looked at me, they judged me against other people, an idea they had in their head about what a person like me is going to do, and then they acted in stupidity and ignorance.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley council adopts new building sustainability law; small properties exempt for now

Berkeley is not moving fast enough toward its Climate Action Plan goals, says city staff. Image: City of Berkeley
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The Berkeley City Council unanimously adopted a new law Tuesday night aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making local buildings more sustainable, but included carve-outs — at least initially — for properties with up to four units.

Many Berkeley homeowners had expressed concern in recent months about the new law, which would have required energy audits by homeowners every 10 years, as well as the payment of new fees to the city.

The city has described the new energy law as a critical part of Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan, which the voters approved in 2006. The plan calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2000 levels by 2050, and set a 33% reduction goal by 2020. … Continue reading »

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Easy, superfood recipe: Quinoa and kale patties

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 12.32.47 PM
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After six years of growing food in our backyard, we’re finally really getting what works and what doesn’t. It pained us to tear out our entire raspberry patch when we accepted that it just wasn’t getting enough sun. But when it comes to greens and herbs, we can rock them all year round.

Kale is still the family fave and we have a whole bed devoted to growing all sorts of varietals — now we don’t even have to make a trip to the market to procure some tasty greens. This makes my inner lazy cook especially happy! … Continue reading »

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Sponsored post

Home Truths: Why Berkeley has become one of the Bay Area’s hottest real-estate spots

Photo: Daniel Parks
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Those of us who live in Berkeley have many reasons to love it: it’s urban yet suburban, offers great schools, and has relatively easy access to water, hills and (if it ever gets cold again) snow.

But these factors only partially explain why real-estate prices in Berkeley have skyrocketed. 2014 was a record-breaker, with median price reaching an all-time high of $884,500. That’s up 9% in one year, 51% in 10. And homes sold an average of 14% over their asking price, the second highest difference in the Bay Area (after Albany). … Continue reading »

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How Quirky was Berkeley: The social justice posters of the Red Sun Rising collective

The Red House collective was at Parker St. This poster of the collective was made in 1972.
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To the Berkeley of 2015, the Berkeley of the 1960s and early 1970s seems a long-gone relative. Some of us remember what it looked like, but it is a distant memory. Even so, the Berkeley of then informs both the perception and reality of Berkeley today. The intact collection of the social justice posters of the Red Sun Rising collective is a powerful reminder of those days.

Berkeley was filled with communes and collectives in the late 1960s and early 1970s, intentional communities in which New Left politics and counterculture values and behaviors coexisted in a way that they never had before or have since.

Red Sun Rising existed for several years on Parker Street. It was, along with the Red Family on Bateman and several others, at the radical end of the spectrum. Several other collectives called Parker Street home, including the Cholima Collective (Chollima was a 1956 state-sponsored movement in North Korea intended to promote rapid economic development), and an anarchist collective that embraced the philosophy of Nestor Makhno, an anarchist/communist Ukrainian revolutionary who led a rogue anarchist army during the Russian Civil War. … Continue reading »

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Mrs. Dalloway’s to give Berkeley teachers $100 in books

Mrs. Dalloway's books
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Every kindergarten and first grade teacher in the Berkeley Unified School District will soon have the opportunity to buy $100 worth of books, thanks to an offer made by Mrs. Dalloway’s bookstore and the best-selling author James Patterson.

The bookstore at 2904 College Ave. applied for a grant from Patterson to distribute gift certificates to teachers. It learned this week it had gotten $8,500, according to Marion Abbott, one of the store’s owners. That means 85 teachers will get $100 apiece.

“It’s very exciting,” said Abbott. “Unlike some book stores that are putting in new floors or buying vans, we are putting the money into teachers’ hands. I think it is really going to make a difference.” … Continue reading »

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