To the voters, not the courts

CITY AFFAIRS: It is more feasible to focus on campaigning instead of going to court over ballot question language so close to elections

Last week, Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin filed a lawsuit asking the Alameda County Superior Court to amend ballot language for a Downtown development initiative on the November ballot. Read More…

Drinking is a responsibility

The beginning of every academic year, specifically residence-hall move-in weekend, commonly results in an uptick in alcohol-related-illness incidents for students returning to campus. Although the campus has taken appropriate steps to attempt to curb this trend, the responsibility ultimately falls on students to take care of themselves and each other. Read More…

We stand with Ferguson

Michael Brown’s death is not an isolated incident of institutionalized racism run amok; it exists in a continuum of slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow and the almost ageless stereotype of the violent black man. It exists in an ascendant culture of totalitarian police who were armed by an ever-growing military industrial complex by a country that strives to be always profiting at war. To the people of Ferguson, it exists in a timeline of tension wherein a mostly black town is occupied by an almost all-white police force. To the people of Berkeley, it exists as oppression that cannot be borne if any of us is to feel safe or free. Read More…

Loan forgiveness all around

A bill introduced Wednesday promises to extend some of the benefits of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to adjunct professors and faculty, who do not currently qualify based on the number of hours in their workweek. Specifically, this bill aims to offer loan forgiveness to a class of academics Read More…

Save water: ban lawns

The city of Berkeley and the university have reacted to our current severe drought conditions by enacting new water conservation policy. In a February memo from the office of the mayor and the City Council, Berkeley has called for a 10 percent reduction in water consumption, and the university has Read More…

Living Wage Ordinance not enforced

Unfortunately, the LWO and the labor laws that govern the treatment of hourly workers affect the people who can least afford legal counsel or the time and effort it takes to follow through on a complaint of this type. As Taylor herself noted, although she sorely needs the money to which she is probably entitled, she lacks the time and knowledge necessary to secure it. The result is a general squeezing of the permanent underclass in Berkeley. It does no good to raise minimum wage or to require a living wage if the city itself takes every opportunity to deny payment to the most vulnerable class of workers in this city. Read More…

Build for Telegraph’s sake

Telegraph Avenue is historic, colorful and homely. The city of Berkeley has mounted several efforts to clean it, light it and attract business to it. No small effort with balloons tied to it is going to be enough to improve the image of a street that is still dotted with burned-out buildings and darkened storefronts. The initial period of construction will be noisy and ugly, but these are only the growing pains of improvement. For this trouble, local businesses can expect improved foot traffic and better curb appeal in the neighborhood. Read More…

Legalize prostitution now

Prostitution has always existed and will likely always exist. Despite a societal emphasis on monogamy or polygyny, and despite the criminalization of the industry, the profession persists all over the world. In the places where prostitution is legal, sex workers have more rights. They can expect the cooperation of law enforcement when they are the victims of robbery or assault. They are regulated by laws that require their regular medical testing for public safety in many countries. They can even unionize. Read More…

The Albany Bulb homeless problem has not been solved, merely relocated

As the rich of the Bay Area get richer, the poor only become more vulnerable. As we struggle toward a more equitable minimum wage and affordable care, we must keep in mind that the lower classes are often a single disaster away from prolonged camping, living in a vehicle or street-living homelessness. The people of the Albany Bulb were not all cheerful nomads nor lifelong outcasts nor any kind of outliers. Some of them are simply people who fell on hard times and have become living harbingers of the difficulty ahead. Perhaps the real nuisance is that they make our economic divide impossible to ignore. Read More…

Administrative salary increase is needed

While this increase does not directly affect other employees on campus, however, the comparison is not favorable. As GSIs fight for the right to unionize, administrative pay increases. Lecturers and adjuncts struggle without health care coverage or adequate pay in a battle that should be the shame of academia, but administrative pay increases. Facilities age and construction drags on, but administrative pay increases. Tuition soars and will likely increase to the rate of whatever the market will bear, but administrative pay increases. Read More…