Editorial: Berkeley Finally Treats Crisis Like a Crisis
Berkeley’s homeless population adds to the downtown area’s “neighborhood character,” and that’s not a good thing. Last month, Laura Jadwin, a homeless resident, was found dead under a tree in an empty lot on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. After weeks of heavy rainstorms, it came as no surprise when exposure was found as the cause of death. These inhumane conditions are well within the city’s power to ameliorate. Such misfortunes are more than an embarrassment; they completely invalidate... more
Modular Supportive Housing Proposal Coming to Berkeley
On a rainy, gusty day in Berkeley, the city’s homeless residents huddled in alleyways, under tarps and in tents, struggling to withstand elements. During last week’s stormy nights, a homeless woman died of exposure one block from city hall. As I walked past Berkeley High, I spotted a group of tourists gawking at an alien-like metal cuboid parked beside the curb that I recognized at once: the MicroPAD had arrived at last. Far from an extraterrestrial spacecraft, Panoramic Interests’ 160... more
Meet the Democrat Who Wants California Democrats to Focus on the Big Issues
Alfred Twu wants your vote. But there’s a catch—if you live in California Assembly District 15, you must show up in person on Saturday to the Albany Library from noon to 2pm. There you can cast votes for him, along with his slate of 13 other Democrats, for Assembly District Delegate. “Tell people to bring a pen,” he says at the conclusion of our interview. “We usually run out pretty quickly.” Does this sound too obscure and pointless to warrant your involvement? If you care about affecting... more
Local Profiles: Dorothy Walker, Berkeley's Self-Taught Planner
Some things never change: for Dorothy Walker, that includes fighting for Berkeley to embrace change. After leading a largely successful city taskforce to desegregate Berkeley’s public schools in the early 1960s, Ms. Walker has hardly rested on her laurels. Instead, she has devoted herself to advocating for a more diverse city overall. The Sisyphean resistance she’s received from the city’s suburban scrooges, even an ostensibly “progressive” coalition originally formed to strengthen tenant... more
Op-Ed: Capitelli Campaign Responds to Attacks
Jill Martinucci serves as Campaign Coordinator in the Laurie Capitelli for Berkeley Mayor campaign. As the Berkeley mayoral race heats up, the two leading candidates have begun sparring on their respective housing policy records. Jesse Arreguín’s campaign recently paid for LaurieFacts.com, a website primarily dedicated to attacking opponent Laurie Capitelli’s votes on affordable housing. The Capitelli campaign released a rebuttal to what they describe as misleading misinformation from... more
Judge Dismisses Berkeley High-Rise Lawsuit
East Bay news source Berkeleyside reports that a lawsuit filed against the proposed development at 2211 Harold Way, approved by the Berkeley City Council late last year, has been dismissed by Alameda County Judge Frank Roesch. Plaintiffs Kelly Hammargren and James Hendry, unable and unwilling (respectively) to bring legal counsel, were found lacking in substantive arguments to stall the development under terms of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The judge found that none of... more
Dissecting the False Dichotomy: Chatting California with Nancy Skinner
I’ve been a fan of Nancy Skinner ever since I saw her speak in a debate in support the idea of raising gas taxes. In a region crippled by underfunded transit services, it’s easy to overlook that highways are in fact our best-funded form of “public transit,” particularly when taxes on gasoline have remained below inflation for decades, but Skinner gets it. Her opponent for State Senate in District 9, Sandre Swanson, seemed to take a stance against them purely out of a blanket opposition to... more
Telegraph Avenue Plan Prioritizes Berkeley's Pedestrians
Recent plans by Taecker Planning and Design present an ambitious proposal for Berkeley’s bustling Telegraph Avenue corridor. Already the city’s densest area outside of the downtown, the main artery of the “Southside” neighborhood would be revamped to ease traffic congestion and create an environment more welcoming of pedestrians. After efforts to preserve a two-story structure from the 1970s failed to stave off a seven-story apartment project, the Telegraph Public Realm Plan seeks to further... more
Seeking to Stop High-Rise, Berkeley Grandstanders Find Shaky Footing in Court
Last year, the saga of Berkeley’s controversial 2211 Harold Way project appeared to have ended with a cliffhanger. City Council voted to uphold approval of the 302-unit building, which plans to replace Shattuck Cinemas with a new theater and contribute $10.5 million into the city’s Housing Trust Fund. Development consultant and former Planning Commissioner Mark Rhoades noted that this money could be leveraged to construct 100 permanently Below Market Rental (BMR) units. Neighborhood... more