The Berkeley Wire: 10.30.14

Gorgeous Fall. Photo taken by Carter Tomassi on Walnut St. on Oct. 25, 2014

Gorgeous Fall. Photo taken by Carter Tomassi on Walnut St. on Oct. 25, 2014

18 reasons Berkeley is the best college town in the US (Thrillist)
UC buildings use city services, pay nothing (Council of Neighborhood Assoc.)
Richmond Bay campus to be transformed into Berkeley Global College (Daily Cal)
80% of all Cal recruits must have a 3.0 GPA by 2017-18 (Mercury News)
4 candidates run for open District 8 seat (Daily Cal)
Berkeley Youth Symphony to feature all-French program (CoCo Times)
Post office under contract for sale with unnamed buyer (Daily Cal)
Wineries in Berkeley? (Opinionated Wine Guide)
Talking with… a Berkeley archivist steeped in SF history (J-Weekly)

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Berkeley councilman says city mishandled legal fees in Measure S redistricting lawsuit; city disagrees

The BSDC map approved by Judge Grillo will be used in November, unless an appeal overturns the decision.
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Less than a week before Berkeley voters will decide whether to adopt new council district boundaries, a local official has criticized the city for how it handled legal fees for a lawsuit over the proposed council lines that are on the Nov. 4 ballot with Measure S.

It’s the latest rebuke in a prolonged public battle over district lines that began in earnest last year. City officials and staff have countered that proper procedure was, in fact, followed, and that nothing inappropriate occurred.

At Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting, local resident Stefan Elgstrand told officials he had been dismayed to learn about the payment by staff of $140,000 — which he said council did not approve — to lawyers who represented the city in a lawsuit related to redistricting earlier this year. Elgstrand, who was previously an intern for Councilman Kriss Worthington, authored a map last year that was rejected by council and has been among those leading the charge to have the adopted map thrown out. He’s also a lead organizer in the opposition campaign against Measure S. Since Elgstrand’s public comment Tuesday, Councilman Jesse Arreguín and his aide Anthony Sanchez have added their voices to the criticism, and publicly excoriated the city for how it handled the payment of the legal fees.

City officials have been working to adopt new district lines for several years, but the process has been contentious. Council adopted a new map in December, and said the boundaries had garnered widespread community approval and complied with all legal requirements. Critics of that map — including Elgstrand, Arreguín, Worthington, Phoebe Sorgen and Council 1 challenger Alejandro Soto-Vigil — then led a referendum drive to force council to rescind that map in favor of a compromise, or put the issue to the voters.

The referendum drive was successful, which suspended the use of the map council had adopted. The city then took to the courts to determine which lines should be used leading up to the November election. A judge ultimately ruled that the map council adopted should determine the districts up through Nov. 4.  … Continue reading »

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An ideas festival in Berkeley unfolds over social media

Tanya Holland and Twilight Greenaway by Pete Rosos
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[View the story "Uncharted The Berkeley Festival of Ideas 2014: As it happened" on Storify]

Note: the Storify above does not necessarily reflect the chronological order of the festival program.

Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas, which launched in 2013, is organized by Berkeleyside as a community event to expand horizons, bring Berkeley to the fore, and help sustain Berkeleyside in the long run. If you were at Uncharted 2014, take a quick survey so we have your … Continue reading »

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Op-eds: Measures D, R, F, Berkeley High Rally Day, Prop O

Rally Day in 2012, the last one to happen after it was canceled due to what the district said was
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Opinion pieces keep on rolling in to Berkeleyside as we get closer to election day. All of them are published in our Opinionator section.

Measure D (the proposed Berkeley soda tax) and Measure R (the downtown initiative) continue to prompt the most debate. Since we last rounded-up our op-eds ten days ago, we have published three on the former and three on the latter.

Bryden Johnston, Holly Scheider, and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, all write in favor of Measure D.

Anthony Bruzzone argues against Measure R, as does Matthew Taecker; while Lisa Stephens urges us to vote yes on the subject.

The League of Women Voters argues for a yes vote on Measure F, the proposed parks tax.

Meanwhile, Joshua Spivak says Prop. O, while not garnering as much attention as other measures, is a useful fix to the law. And Joseph Taecker-Wyss, a senior at Berkeley High School, addresses the mob scene and violence that erupted at the school last week on Rally Day. He argues that, while the student body shares responsibility for the events that happened, so should the administration. … Continue reading »

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

"The Magic Shoes," about an Iranian boy and his Air Jordans, is one of several USC student films showing this weekend at the Berkeley Video & Film Festival. Berkeley High students can see the student films for free. Photo courtesy of BVFF
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FILM FESTIVAL The Berkeley Video & Film Festival is a two-weekend feast of independent film, and it starts tonight, Oct. 30. Each year the East Bay Media Center narrows down(but not by much!) more than 100 submissions to a spectacular and international selection of shorts, animations, documentaries, and feature films. From a global dance documentary to animated sexual organs, there’s something for everyone. It all starts with a Student Film Marathon this weekend, and Berkeley High students get in free with ID. Otherwise, tickets for each film cost $10, or $5 for students and seniors, and they’re available at the door or by calling (510) 843-3699. A $25 pass gets you access to the whole festival. All films are screened at 1939 Addison Street. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley Chancellor: Bill Maher must speak

More than 2,500 people have singed a petition protesting Bill Maher's appearance at Cal's December commencement. Photo: Bill Maher
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Hours after a student group uninvited Bill Maher to speak at UC Berkeley’s December commencement, Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks invited him back, citing his constitutionally protected right to free speech.

“The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech,” the university said in a prepared statement. Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 10.29.14

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Photo Gallery: Uncharted 2014 — a festival fit for Berkeley

Ken Goldberg with Quentin Hardy by Pete Rosos
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How do you sum up the essence of a two-day festival of ideas like Uncharted?

Festivalgoers were exposed to, and engaged in, such a wide range of conversations, covering the gamut from robotics to food movements, from aging to cloning, from technology to language, and from race to equality… that capturing the spirit of the event, which also included many inspiring musical performances, as well as dazzling bay views from the Uncharted party deck, is near-on impossible.

KQED Arts did a good job in a story published Wednesday, writing: “Uncharted gave … ideas … an ecumenical airing. In the parlance of [Uncharted speaker] Brian Christian, it was full duplex — open channel cross talk like in a bar — not the reductive half duplex talk of one-at-a-time messaging, which is what a robot can handle. In such as atmosphere, easy problems may still be hard … But hard problems are at least easy to talk about.”

One festivalgoer said simply that the experience of Uncharted reminded her why she loved to live in Berkeley, a city known for people who are curious, hungry for knowledge, and not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Here we present a visual record of the event, with stunning photographs by Pete Rosos and Nancy Rubin, two photographers whose work we are always honored to publish on Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »


Dumpster-dive dinner: This book shows you how

Maximus Thaler, author of Curious Harvest
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Of all the things one learns while in college, dumpster diving isn’t usually one of them. But for Maximus Thaler, who is now living in Berkeley, “dumpstering” as he calls it, became a “weekend, recreational thing.”

Originally from New York’s Hudson Valley, Thaler is now taking a few courses at Cal in the hopes of getting into graduate school here. He is also the author of a new cookbook, A Curious Harvest: The Practical Art of Cooking Everything, which is illustrated by fellow Tufts alumna Dayna Safferstein.

Thaler, 24, lived in a communal house called the Crafts House at Tufts University, graduating in 2013. He majored in engineering, but hopes to study evolutionary biology, which, he says, is “directly relevant to all of this, as I see it as much more cosmic than just reducing food waste,” but that’s a topic for another article.

“The Crafts House appealed to me for a lot of reasons,” he said. “It was its own little world, where the morality, values and aesthetics were different, as was the relationship with private property. It was less of a thing than in the world outside.” … Continue reading »

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Photo essay: Berkeley, a city consumed by a soda tax

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On Nov. 4, Berkeley voters will show where they stand on Measure D, the so-called Soda Tax. The proposed tax on sugary beverages has been one of the most hotly debated Berkeley issues in the city’s history, and certainly one that has brought in record levels of campaign expenditure. The No on Measure D lobby has spent $2.3 million in an attempt to defeat the tax, according to campaign finance reports. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has contributed $432,071 in support of the soda tax. (That includes $265,235 for network advertising for commercials during the World Series, $96,836 for cable ads, and a cash donation of $170,000 to the Yes on Measure D effort.) UC Berkeley’s Robert Reich has been vocal in his views — writing a blog post about the issue titled “In its battle with Big Soda, Berkeley may once again make history,” and shooting a video on the same subject.

Read Berkeleyside’s detailed coverage of Measure D

Gael McKeon has spent several weeks documenting both sides of the campaign with his camera to create this photo essay of a pivotal moment in Berkeley’s political history, one that may set the stage for change nationwide. We publish it exclusively on Berkeleyside. (The ‘No on D’ campaign declined to participate in this story.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeley author Mac Barnett tickles many a funny bone

Cover of Telephone by Mac Barnett
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Berkeley author Mac Barnett knows how to tickle the funny bone of a 4-year-old. He also knows how to write picture books that are fun for a parent, teacher or grandparent to read aloud. In fact, he takes great care to consider both the “performer” who reads, and the audience who listens to his stories. Once I learned that he wrote Battle Bunny—and that he’s a local guy—I had to set up a meeting.

My granddaughter loves that book, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to increase my cred by getting to know the author. Over coffee in North Berkeley recently, I had the opportunity to talk with him about his projects, his process, and what he’s doing next.

Back when he was working summers as a counselor at Strawberry Canyon, Mac was in charge of story time, in addition to his other duties while taking care of the 4-year-olds. He loved the old picture books he read to the kids, and discovered a few new ones, such as Jon Scieszka’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. He loved this book as much as the kids did, and couldn’t believe they all laughed at the same things. He’d always wanted to be a writer, Barnett says. But “writing doesn’t mean much until you figure out who your audience is.” Those 4-year-olds? They turned out to be the people Barnett wanted to make books for. … Continue reading »

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Man killed near Seabreeze market in West Berkeley

The killing took place in the parking lot of Seabreeze Market
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Update Oct. 30: Sgt. Tyrone Davis of the EBRPD police said that video taken at the scene indicated the victim knew his assailants. “It appeared based on the interaction that prior to the event they knew each other.” Sgt. Davis said it looked like there were three people at the scene at the time of the shooting. The victim was shot multiple times. Police have not yet released his name.

Original story: A man in his 20s was shot and killed Tuesday night in the parking lot of a market near the Berkeley Marina, according to East Bay Regional Park District police.

Berkeley police received a call around 8 p.m, that there had been some sort of disturbance at the Seabreeze Market, which is located at the corner of University Avenue and West Frontage Road. They arrived to find a man, whose identity was not released, lying on the ground. EBRPD police arrived as well. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?


Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments.

Photo: Tracey Taylor.

Send your submissions for “Where in Berkeley?” photo contest to The more obscure the better — just as long as the photos are taken in Berkeley. Thanks in advance!

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The Berkeley Wire: 10.28.14

Giants mania at the Claremont. Photo by Ira Serkes. Taken Oct 25, 2014

Giants mania at the Claremont. Photo by Ira Serkes. Taken Oct 25, 2014

22-year incumbent, 2 challengers vie for District 1 city council seat (Daily Cal)
Redwood Gardens community pressured by management (Daily Planet)
PG&E awards $500K to Maximino Martinez Commons  (Student Affairs)
AC Transit and BART seek campus views on transit (UCB News)
Facing a terminal diagnosis, Brittany Maynard plans to end her life (California)
Three Berkeley students robbed in less than four hours (Mercury News)
Cal basketball/football graduation ranks improve; still last in Pac-12 (SFGate)
The skinny on soda taxes in less than 3 minutes (UCB News)

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

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