Friday, March 25, 2011

Berkeley Bowl Turns Down Union — Again

by Judith Scherr
Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Berkeley Bowl will remain non-union for the foreseeable future. On Thursday, the workers at the Oregon Street store voted 82 to 73 against membership in United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.

In June 2010, the workers, who were union members, voted 99 to 74 to decertify the union. But the National Labor Relations Board said Bowl management had interfered unfairly with the election and scheduled the new vote.

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Alice Waters Joins Twitter

by Ellen Cushing
Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Big news, y'all. Berkeley's very own Alice Waters, patron saint of $10 tomatoes California cuisine, has finally joined the twitters, and the foodie universe has, unsurprisingly, gone more or less apeshit. Word of the account began spreading early this morning; before 10 a.m., she already had over 1,100 followers — despite the fact that she hasn't actually tweeted anything yet. We can only hope that Queen Alice will soon take an impassioned stance on such salient trending topics as #sheprollyahoe and #stuffthatpissmeoff.

Friday Must Read: Quan Picks Ex-Fire Chief to be City Administrator; State Regulators Let PG&E Off the Hook

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 7:01 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Mayor Jean Quan selected former city Fire Chief P. Lamont Ewell to be Oakland’s interim city administrator, the Trib and Chron report. Ewell was Oakland’s fire chief during the 1990s, and then later served as an assistant city manager and acting city manager in Oakland, before moving on to city manager positions in San Diego, Santa Monica, and two other cities. Ewell will serve until Quan can find a permanent city administrator. She said her first choice for the job backed out after receiving a huge raise. Quan also has asked current City Administrator Dan Lindheim to remain on to handle several major proposed projects, including a new A’s ballpark in Jack London Square.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

All-Nighters Make You Happy, UC Berkeley Researchers Say

by Anneli Rufus
Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 9:22 AM

Pulling all-nighters can make you euphoric — but it won't last, and your euphoria might trigger joy-killingly risky behavior, according to a study just published by UC Berkeley researchers.

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Thursday Must Read: Brown’s Tax Measures May Be Doomed; Court Refuses to Restart Gay Weddings

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 7:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Voter support for Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed tax measures is slipping and is now less than 50 percent, the Trib and LA Times report, citing a new poll from the respected Public Policy Institute of California. The poll showed that only 46 percent of likely voters say they will vote for the tax measures. Ballot measures with less than 50 percent support before a campaign begins typically lose. "Whichever way I look, I see bears in the forest,” Brown said to reporters yesterday. The same polling organization showed that his plan had 53 percent support among likely voters in January.

2. The governor, meanwhile, says he’s still hoping to garner Republican support to put the tax measures on the June ballot, and may opt for a November election if he can’t. However, waiting for November would likely require the state to issue IOUs and would probably force the shut down of construction projects around California, according to a spokesman for state Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

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Dog Park Meeting Civil, But Consensus-Free

by Nate Seltenrich
Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 7:00 AM

At least 200 people from the Lake Merritt community and a few from beyond gathered at the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church last night to air their opinions on the neighborhood's latest hot-button issue: a proposed new dog park at the intersection of Lakeshore Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard. Based on the vitriol still fomenting on neighborhood listservs — and on the East Bay Express' website, after we covered the issue last week — one might've expected a healthy dose of political theater at the neighborhood meeting. Instead, the crowd was on its best behavior, sharing views in as constructive a manner as could be asked. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that the two sides could scarcely agree on a thing.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Write Too Long: This Week's Feature, Bite-Sized

by Ellen Cushing
Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM

This week, it's all about art; specifically, the toxic chemicals that show up in many commercial art supplies and which are — and have been, for decades — been causing all kinds of health gnarliness for amateur and professional artists. We're talking cancer, chronic diseases, dizziness, headaches, and more, in addition to the significant environmental damage that comes with these toxins.

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It's all made that much worse by a beyond-byzantine labeling protocol; lack of formal and informal instruction as to how to handle these toxic supplies; the fact that many art schools appear to violate health and safety regulations designed to stop this kind of problem; and a laissez-faire attitude that may be attributable to the mystique of the suffering artist. Reporter Jessica Carew Kraft — herself an artist and art teacher — dives in.

Wednesday Must Read: Brown May Delay Tax Measures Until November; CSU Faces Worst Financial Crisis

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown may attempt to put his proposed tax measures on the November ballot because of his failure to garner GOP support for a June election, the Chron, CoCo Times, and SacBee report, citing anonymous sources. Brown is said to favor a November election over the option of muscling through a proposal for June, because the latter plan likely would spur legal challenges. However, the November election proposal also faces hurdles. The governor and labor unions don’t have much time to launch a ballot-initiative drive, and Brown won’t be able to call the measures “tax extensions” in November because the taxes he wants to maintain expire July 1. Under the November proposal, the state would issue IOUs until voters decide whether to approve the tax measures.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ecology Center Likely to Keep Berkeley Recycling Contract

by Judith Scherr
Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 2:23 PM

After concerted community pressure, it looks like Berkeley's recycling contract will stay with the Ecology Center, a 42-year old city institution. “The turn out [at the March 8 council meeting] helped to turn the tide,” said Ecology Center Executive Director Martin Bourque, underscoring that the decision is yet to be made.

The city manager’s recommendations will be available Thursday; the city council will discuss them March 29. “The Ecology Center... is working with staff,” said City Manager Phil Kamlarz. “We’re re-negotiating with one-person trucks” for recycling.

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Pacific Steel Workers on Strike

by Judith Scherr
Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Some 400 steel workers at Pacific Steel have traded in their hard hats for picket signs. claiming their bosses are unfair.

“We’re asking for a 40 cent per hour wage increase. They don’t want to give us that,” said Manual Duarte, who was picketing on Tuesday in front of one of the gates leading to a plant warehouse of Fifth Street near Gilman in West Berkeley.

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