The University of California announced today that it has chosen a site in Richmond as the preferred home for a second campus of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which the university manages. -more-
The Planet received this email this morning, forwarded by Richmond Councilmember Tom Butt:
I received a call this morning from Paul Alivasatos, Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, informing me that they have decided to make the Richmond Field Station and the City of Richmond the home for their second campus.Further details will be available later today.
I would like to thank the Richmond City Council for their enthusiastic support for this important economic development project, the many City of Richmond staff members who worked to provide technical support in the decision-making process, and the Richmond community for providing the warm welcome mat that was undoubtedly a major factor in their decision.
I will provide more details as they become available. In the meantime, please enjoy this great bit of news and let's look forward to continued success.
[Richmond] City Manager
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The University of California announced today that it has identified the Richmond Field Station as its preferred site for the proposed consolidation of its biosciences programs of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The University of California-owned site presents the best opportunity to solve the Lab’s pressing space problems while allowing for long term growth and maintaining the 80 year tradition of close cooperation with the UC Berkeley Campus. -more-
As rain moved into the Bay Area for the first time since—when, November of last year?—Occupy Cal did in fact re-emerge on the UC Berkeley campus.
January 18, 2012, the second day of classes for the Spring semester, saw two illicit banners hung from campus buildings. The most prominent, a long, colorful streamer apparently painted on plastic and bolstered with wood at top and bottom, hung down the west face of the Sather Campanile. -more-
Two pioneering and largely free transportation programs providing shuttles, electric car rentals, bicycle sharing, van sharing, kid’s cab service and 40% off transit passes are now up and running in Richmond, dramatically increasing access to transportation and transportation choices to persons previously transportation challenged.
The FREE Richmond Circular Shuttle began operation through its service provider- TransMetro, Inc. on July 1, 2011. The service is funded through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and can be accessed within a five mile radius to multiple health facilities and clinics, pharmacies, businesses, recreation, residential communities, and employment centers for those traveling to and from the El Cerrito Del Norte and Richmond Intermodal BART stations. -more-
AC Transit today announced the hiring of a veteran transit engineering expert to head the agency’s Bus Rapid Transit Program. Arul Edwin, who has successfully managed similar transportation projects from Boston to Seattle, is now the Program Director for a BRT plan that will modernize and improve East Bay bus service. -more-
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, the latest addition to the city’s burgeoning downtown arts and culture district, is opening to the public on Sunday, Jan. 22. -more-
On the way back from a photo shoot, Friday, at Pepe's pig-out , an all-you-can-eat near campus, I stumbled into a civic meet-on-the-street. The street was Telegraph Avenue, known throughout the world for riots and weird. -more-
Those of us fortunate enough to live in the wonderful, vibrant Bay Area tend to dismiss, indeed look down on other towns and cities in our Golden State. This is a totally incorrect perception, as I hope to prove in the account of my trip to Palm Springs last week. On January 9th, along with 27 members of the Emeryville Senior Center, we met in the parking lot of the old City Hall, and boarded a bus, with driver Greg and a very efficient tour director, Mary Soo-Hoo. Our destination was Palm Springs -- a ten hour trip given rest stops along the way and lunch in Fresno. Driving through the Mojave Desert we arrived at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on North Canyon Drive, too weary for dinner. Ah, but the next morning we woke to brilliant sunshine and had our first glimpse of this beautiful city with its Spanish Colonial architecture and massive Mount San Jacinto mountains in the background, to say nothing of row after row of soaring palm trees. -more-
Our MacCall St. neighbors group lost the $1400 appeal over a mini-lot subdivision, a vacant lot at 5919 MacCall where formerly there was a single family home. Two 1,452 sq. ft., two story buildings on the substandard 4,140 sq. ft. lot where 5,000 sq. ft. would be required were approved at the Residential Appeal Committee Jan. 11. Two of the 3 commissions, Jonelyn Whales, a City of Richmond planner recently appointed by Quan, and Blake Huntsman, a SEIU rep and Dellums appointee, heard the appeal. Both followed the staff recommendation, made no modifications, and peremptorily voted us down. (We're assuming the proposed project at 4812 Lawton in Temescal—check out http://www.savelawton.org/ is also a mini-lot development.) -more-
Berkeley's own Johnny Otis died yesterday at the age of 90. His Greek-American family ran a corner grocery store in an African-American Oceanview neighborhood, and young Johnny fell in love with Black culture, especially music, and joined up for the duration. Here's a good obit: from the Chronicle. -more-
This week I was sorting through the voluminous boxes of paper that came home when we closed the office a couple of years ago and I ran across a handsome glossy brochure headed “MAKING BERKELEY THE BEST IT CAN BE” with subhead “To Do List”. It featured 5 sincerely charming photos of Tom Bates, whose signed statement on the outside describes the document as “my ‘to do’ list for making Berkeley a healthy, vibrant, and green city.”
In fact, it was Bates’ 2008 campaign mailer, sent to every voter in Berkeley, a majority of whom bought his Kool-Aid and re-elected him to a third term.
Since today’s rumor mill reports that Mayor Bates, now almost 73, has decided to run again, in tandem with his wife Loni Hancock’s decision to seek another state senate term, it might be a good time to evaluate his performance using his own checklist. He’s been in office close to a decade now, so he’s had his chance to accomplish something if he’s ever going to. .
Here are his goals (in italics) followed by grades: -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
Yes, yes, I know the email from MoveOn reprinted below is just a fill-in-the-blanks template, and not a comment on the state of the city here in Berkeley, but it makes you think, doesn't it? Anyone up for the challenge? Just click on the links below and see what happens!
The part about making "sure city employees don't lose their pensions" might not resonate the same way with all of us, of course.....
This isn't just a hypothetical scenario—it's exactly what more than 4,000 MoveOn members just like you have been thinking about since taking the first step to run for elective office. And they're not just running for mayor. They're exploring running for offices including school board, town council, and state legislature in cities and towns across the country.
If you've ever thought, "I've got some ideas for doing things differently in Berkeley," or seen a local politician and thought, "If that were me, things would be different," then it's time to join thousands of other progressives across the country and run for office. -more-
When most people think of human trafficking, they envision victims trafficked into the international sex trade. But consider the complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center in the class action case of Mairi Nunag-Tañedo, et al. v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, et al.
The Plaintiffs in this case are 350 Filipino teachers who were recruited by Universal Placement International, Inc. located in Los Angeles and PARS International Placement Agency located in Quezon City, Philippines, to work in Louisiana public schools.
From 2006 to the filing of the lawsuit in 2010, the defendants recruited experienced Filipino teachers to work in Louisiana public schools under the H-1B guestworker visa program. Most of the teachers had to borrow money to pay the recruiting fees, which ranged from $5,000 to $5,500. This is about one and half times the average annual income in the Philippines. The teachers were not told until after the first fee had been paid that they would be required to pay the first three months of their projected salary before they could leave for the United States. The first two months was collected in advance. The third month's salary was to be collected after the first year of employment. If the teachers resisted paying the third month's salary, they were threatened with being sent back to the Philippines and losing the thousands they had already paid. -more-
I’ve lived with a ball python named Shep for something like eight years, and all that time I’ve assumed he was effectively deaf, as snakes were supposed to be. He has never seemed to respond to music, even to bass lines (in contrast to Matt the cat, who leaves the room when fiddle music is in progress.) We all know that the Indian snake-charmer routine works because the cobra responds to the flute-player’s movements, not the sound of the flute. -more-
When my parents separated in 1931, my mother moved to a suburban apartment. Some of the furniture and I accompanied her. Shanin the landlord was busy with his principal business— collecting and shipping boatloads of scrap metal to Japan. On the first of each month, his agent, an amiable woman with a withered arm, knocked on his buildings’ apartment doors to collect the rents and to chat. -more-
My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)
Spiritualists believe in personal immortality as far as any mortal can believe in such an unimaginable horror.
— George Bernard Shaw(probably from the preface to Back to Methuselah or another of his late, long, never-performed plays) -more-
Arts & Events
The year Reagan was elected, I saw my first SF Mime Troupe show, which was written by Joan Holden:Americans, or Last Tango In Huahuatenango, a musical comedy of tropical and topical intrigue. Little did we know what evil would lurk in the next 8 years in Central America.
A decade later—though I saw many more by Joan Holden in between—I saw Back To Normal, in which a mother does not cheer when her son comes home from the two week bombing raid we called the Gulf War. In retrospect that work augured more war evil to come in the decade to follow.
Whether or not she has a touch of the Sybil or can just read the writing on the wall a decade in advance, Joan Holden, whose latest play opens in Berkeley at the Ashby Stage on February 3, has been a force in the theater and, as principal playwright, was a significant reason why the Mime Troupe garnered a Tony for Best Regional Theater. -more-