Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz will retire at the end of November after 36 years as a City of Berkeley employee. He has been City Manager for 8 years, succeeding Weldon Rucker, under whom he served as Deputy City Manager. It has been widely rumored that the baton will again be passed to a City Hall insider, in this case to Deputy City Manager Christine Daniel. -more-
Report on Berkeley City Employee Costs, Proposed Savings and Action Plan Released:
An Updated Comparison of 12 Greater Bay Area Cities
The Berkeley Budget SOS organization has prepared and forwarded to the Berkeley City Council a report and updated analysis of costs for city employee salaries, benefits and overtime/other cash payments for 12 Bay Area cities, including the City of Berkeley. It is based on the Public Employees Database (PED) and data provided directly to Berkeley Budget SOS by City of Berkeley staff.
According to the report, in all categories Berkeley ranks significantly above the 12 city average, and in some cases is the highest of all cities in the survey.
The analysis estimates that the City of Berkeley could realize annual recurring savings of $68 Million to $100 Million if the aggregate of employee costs were reduced to that of the regional average.
As a means of achieving this goal Berkeley Budget SOS proposes the implementation of a 10-Point Action Plan.
The full text of the report can be seen here. -more-
Alta Bates Summit, Nurses' Union Dispute Responsibility for Patient's Death after Replacement Administers Wrong Medication
Hospital officials and union leaders traded blame yesterday for the death of a patient at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland early Saturday due to a medical error by a replacement nurse. -more-
Republican students at UC Berkeley are holding a controversial "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" on campus today to highlight their opposition to state Senate Bill 185. -more-
"Every school a garden, every child a gardener, every plant a learning experience"—Kid Grow Australia
The typical schoolyard of unappealing, hard, grey, uneven, and usually broken asphalt fosters little interaction or playfulness and does nothing to connect children with nature, play, or learning. In addition there is great concern about the substantial rise in child obesity and diabetes throughout the country and the amount of time children are bound up by electronics, and not in contact with nature. It’s vital that we help kids to be better informed and more aware of the food they eat, to get them outdoors, and be more active.
Gardening is about all of this plus it fosters imagination and optimism. The idea that you plant a tiny seed and it turns into a plant is magical in itself. Last week a new light appeared that is prominently working to shift drab grey to bright green and moving towards creating a new generation that is closer attuned to nature and the environment.
Engaging Our Grounds, the first International Green Schoolyard Conference in the United States was held September 16-18, 2011 with events held in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. The three-day conference brought together a world of designers, architects, landscape architects, teachers, administrators, parents, publishers, and gardening experts to share and learn about programs already thriving as models in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and here in the Bay Area. The sponsors for the event included Bay Tree Design—a landscape architecture and planning firm, based in Berkeley; the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance—a non-profit, focused on San Francisco schools; and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR)/New Village Press—a green building non-profit and publisher. Several dozen exhibitors provided valuable information and resource materials on the event’s opening night in San Francisco. -more-
“Park(ing) Day” came to Berkeley on September 16, 2011. The annual worldwide event originated in San Francisco in 2005 when the Rebar design studio temporarily turned a parking space into a mini-park, with turf, seating, and a boxed tree. It was a statement about creating “temporary public spaces” where the car is dominant, and/or urban outdoor space is scarce. -more-
Police are investigating the death of a patient at an Oakland hospital who appears to have been given a lethal dose of medication by a replacement nurse. -more-
The unofficial mayor of Telegraph, who was busted last week for interfering with a cop outside Caffe Mediterraneum was back on the ave late Saturday after the Alameda County district attorney refused to charge him with resisting arrest. -more-
A little unexpected September rain sprinkled a stroll on Telegraph avenue Sunday.
It wasn't a stroll--the way Solano stroll is--and it wasn't a music festival, but as event organizer Al Geyer, 63, put it, "there'll be a little strolling and a little music, and a little strolling into businesses; the street will not be closed." -more-
Two University of California at Berkeley graduates who were detained in Iran on espionage charges for more than two years are expected to return to the United States today, after spending three days in Oman following their release from Iran. -more-
Two people were arrested on the University of California at Berkeley campus Thursday night during protests of the UC system's proposed plan to hike tuition by as much as $10,000 per year.
Students and other demonstrators gathered at noon in Sproul Plaza to express their frustration over the university's plan to require more money from students because of wavering funding support from Sacramento. -more-
A nursing strike at Bay Area hospitals is over today, but participating nurses at Sutter hospitals and Children's Hospital in Oakland have been told they cannot report back to work before Tuesday, officials said today. -more-
Student, staff, and community demonstrators kicked off a fall season of budget cut and fee increase protest at the UC Berkeley campus on Thursday, September 22, 2011, with a modest but spirited noontime rally, followed by a march through campus and occupation of classrooms.
At day’s end some of the group was gathered, watched by campus police, in part of Tolman Hall, the sprawling Education / Psychology building in the northwest corner of the campus along Hearst Avenue.
I watched part of the Sproul Plaza demonstration and march that fell during my lunch hour. An array of speakers focused on placing the campus protests in the context of national efforts to stop budget cuts, protect labor rights, and reverse growing economic inequality in the United States.
I arrived when Professor of Geography Dick Walker was speaking. “This is not a pay for play institution”, he told the crowd. “It is a public institution.” -more-
Commentary on the 9/11 Anniversary wasn't confined to the news pages and editorial section of our daily papers. It also flew smack into the middle of the Sunday comics. The various ways America's mainstream cartoonists addressed the anniversary tells us something about how the nation continues to process the trauma of that day. In most cases, the response was a retreat into unquestioning patriotism; in other cases, there was simply a sense of fatigue; in a few rare instances, there were surprising expressions of dissent. -more-
Dozens of protesters are occupying Tolman Hall on the University of California at Berkeley campus today, and there has been at least one confrontation with a university police officer involving pepper spray, according to police and protest organizers. -more-
New: "Unofficial Mayor" of Telegraph Busted for "Interfering" with a Cop As Medheads Get Front-Row Seats
He was the unofficial "mayor of Telegraph", with a list of friends as long as his waist- length silver hair and lanky frame. Dubbed in a Planet piece, "a good samaritan" who broke up a chain-whipping in People's Park in May, he may have tried to samaritan the wrong man Tuesday. -more-
Workers at Bayer’s pharmaceutical plant in Berkeley cast ballots yesterday in an election that sent the company a stinging rebuke for refusing to provide employees with job security after company officials took millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies that were supposed to protect well-paying jobs. -more-
Tens of thousands of Northern and Central California nurses are striking today to protest hospitals' proposed labor concessions and other grievances that they say are unnecessary and unwarranted.
As picketing RNs in the Bay Area held rallies and marches, hospital officials said their facilities are still functional with the aid of replacement nurses and those who have crossed the picket lines in the 24-hour strike.
Nurses are striking at the region's two largest hospital chains, Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health(including Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley), and at Children's Hospital in Oakland, among other hospitals. -more-
Some 23,000 registered nurses throughout much of the state are expected to rally during a one-day strike today in a bid for RN rights -more-
The thirty grieving friends who attended Gina Sasso's 50th birthday party Friday were greeted at the door by Gina's three-year old "granddaughter," who gleefully announced, "it's Gina's birthday; it's Gina's birthday." Sasso died May 25 of complications of pneumonia. But "she" returned from the grave to appear later at the party. -more-
This year’s Berkeley Indigenous People’s Day Pow Wow, on Saturday, October 8, is dedicated to the memory of Mark Gorrell who, with his wife Nancy, for two decades worked for the rights of native people and all people, and made profound contributions to the origin, celebration, and meaning of Indigenous Peoples Day, but now has walked on. -more-
Two University of California at Berkeley graduates who have been detained in Iran on espionage charges for more than two years were finally released today, according to their families.
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, and a third UC Berkeley graduate, Sarah Shourd, were arrested on July 31, 2009, after embarking on a hike in Iraq's Kurdistan region near the Iranian border.
Iran accused all three of them of espionage and last month Bauer and Fattal were sentenced to eight years in prison. -more-
Iran's official Press TV has reported that two U.S. hikers who have been detained in Iran since 2009 were released early this morning. -more-
In another step to privatize Berkeley's 75 occupied public housing town-homes, billionaire Stephen M. Ross, CEO and founder of The Related Companies, and 95% owner of the Miami Dolphins, is in talks with the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) to buy Berkeley's occupied public housing units, through one of his companies. -more-