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Updated: Berkeley Today:Wednesday

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday April 29, 2010 - 03:28:00 PM

A roundup of important events in Berkeley, as reported in other media: 


Divestment Back on the Table at UC Berkeley  

All eyes were on the UC Berkeley student senate Wednesday as they made a final attempt to pass a bill calling for divestment of university funds from companies profiting by selling weapons to the Israeli Army.  

The senate meeting was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. in the Pauley Ballroom in the MLK Student Union Building on the Berkeley campus, but was postponed until 10:30 because of a conflict with another group which had been scheduled to use the room from 6 to 9. UC police at the building said they had insisted that a large enough room be scheduled for the large crowd which was expected. 

According to some ASUC senators, there may be some alternative language proposed at the meeting, and a final vote taken. 

The campus student group Students for Justice in Palestine ( sent out a press release Wednesday saying that if the bill passes, “UC Berkeley will be the most prominent U.S. university to call for divestment, after Hampshire College, the University of Michigan Dearborn and the University of Wisconsin.” 

UC San Diego is expected to vote on a similar divestment bill. 


Cabbie Arrested for Sex Assaults  

An Oakland cab driver was arrested by the Berkeley Police Department Tuesday for sexually assaulting women passengers in his car in January 2008 and April 2010. 

According to his victims, 29-year-old Ali Al Obadi of Oakland asked them to sit with him in the front seat, following which he proceeded to forcibly hold their hands and grope their breasts. 


City Council Turns Down Appeal on Mitch Kapor's Home 

The Berkeley City Council turned down an appeal on software mogul Mitch Kapor's house on Rose Street at Tuesday's City Council meeting, upholding the Zoning Adjustments Board's unanimous approval of the project. 

The 10,000 square foot house with a 10-car garage project made the Home & Garden section of the New York Times last month, with its opponents arguing that the proposed building was too big to be called green. 

The proposed project will demolish an existing two-story 2,477-square-foot residence with three detached garages. 

The Kapors told the zoning board that they had decided to move from San Francisco to Berkeley to be near the UC Berkeley campus, where Mitch Kapor is an adjunct professor at the School of Information and his wife runs the IDEAL Scholars Fund serving minority students. 


More accounts of the meeting can be found in the Daily Cal and the Bay Area News Group papers.  


The full meeting can be watched on the City of Berkeley's web site. 



Citizens Get Ready for Council BRT Decision  

After listening to several hours of public testimony at its April 20 meeting meeting , the Berkeley City Council Thursday (April 29) will vote on whether to forward a build alternative to AC Transit for study in its environmental impact review. 

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Longfellow Middle School, 1500 Derby St. at Sacramento, Berkeley. The most contentious issues on the table include a two-way Telegraph Avenue and dedicated bus lanes downtown. 

The Oakland City Council gave its support for BRT at its April 20 City Council meeting. 


Three Firms to Submit Proposals for New BAM/PFA Design  

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive picked three architecture firms from a list of 10 to design the new museum and film archive at the site of the former UC printing plant at 2120 Oxford St. 

The three firms chosen are Ann Beha Architects of Boston, Diller Scofidio + Renfro of New York and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects of New York, the architectural firm for UC Berkeley’s C.V. Starr East Asian Library.  

BAM/PFA's Board of Trustees is expected to chose the finalist from among the three in June.  

The museum is scheduled for opening in 2014. 


WSJ Talks to UCB Expert on the Gizmodo Case  

The Wall Street Journal interviewed the executive director of the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice at UC Berkeley law school about the legal implications of the Gizmodo raid. 


UC Task Force Debates Sports Funding  


The $13.7 million cost of UC Berkeley athletics was hotly discussed at a campus forum.  


Becky O'Malley contributed to this article.