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Berkeley District 3 council candidate Mark Coplan outlines his platform

Mark Coplan, retired spokesman for the Berkeley Unified School District and candidate for the District 3 City Council seat, has issued the following statement about his candidacy:

Berkeley Residents: My Platform for Your Review and Consideration

Dear Editor and Berkeley Voice Readers,
I was first asked to consider running for the Council by retired teacher and neighbor Ann Einstein whose endorsement reads, “You don’t have to be an Einstein to know that Mark Coplan is good for our community. You just have to know him.” I would love to have your endorsement as well, and endorsements from friends, neighbors and community leaders are as important to me as those of elected officials and other organizations usually considered critical to a successful campaign, maybe more.

I do not plan to run a traditional campaign, and in fact I am committed to not adding to the offensive stack of junk mail that will flood your recycling bin, and my volunteers and I will be knocking on your door with green-friendly literature to personally ask for your vote instead. I intend to serve District 3 residents diligently, but I’m reaching out to all Berkeley residents as I intend for my service to positively impact all of our fine city.

I am not a career politician, but I have spent my adult life in public service, and what I have to offer is very clear – Service and Commitment. As the Public Information Officer for the Berkeley Unified School District, my energy and passion has helped me to better serve parents and staff, who have always asked, “How can you be everywhere?” Deeply committed to my community, I will bring that energy to District 3 and will commit full time as a Councilperson. I have a reputation of working effectively with all sides of the issues, with a keen ability to listen to all viewpoints and identify mutual ground and consensus. I can work with people to collectively define and implement our best ideas – and I have a reputation for being trustworthy. I will state my positions clearly and vote decisively, insuring that my constituents always know exactly where I stand.

My 20 years of serving BUSD, as a very active parent and in the administration, have given me a solid, strong understanding of protocols, public process, transparency, and a foundation for a window into the workings of city government. I’m just beginning to look more closely at some of our city issues, and I’m seeing some practical solutions that I will be drafting up to share. Furthermore, I have established professional relationships with most of our elected officials, from the local, county, to the state level, their staff, and with City of Berkeley administrators and staff.

I am sensitive to the unique issues of south Berkeley, such as racism, shootings, police relations and the impact of gentrification and redistricting which have transformed District 3’s composition. We have people of all colors, conservative and progressive pockets of young and older families, hipsters, and university students. I will visit our District 3 businesses monthly and hold regular community meetings, and listen to my District’s concerns. I intend to adopt all of the schools in District 3 and participate in their school communities, and I’ll encourage the rest of the Council to do the same (Full disclosure – Daryl Moore did it first).

I have earned community respect on all levels, and I am known for respecting everyone, including those I may disagree with. I will not allow discord with fellow councilmembers to impact my desire to find equitable solutions or mar my positive attitude. Although I may debate passionately for my neighbors, I will not disparage or attack anyone with differing views, in public or in private.
I encourage you to contact me directly with your questions and your support at markcoplan.district3@gmail.com.

Sincerely,
Mark Coplan, City Council Candidate for District 3

Mark Coplan Dec 2015 01

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Richmond: Plan for airport at Point Isabel never got off the ground 50 years ago


Before the Point Isabel proposal, an airport was proposed off of Berkeley in 1945. (San Francisco Public Library History Center)

point isabel airport 10 1966a

If a plan first raised in 1966 had flown with regulators, there might have been an airport for small aircraft along the Bay in Richmond where dogs now frolic, strollers and bicyclists take in Bay views and UC Berkeley is planning its global campus.
The proposal for the Point Isabel airport between Point Isabel and Brooks Island surfaced in the summer of 1966 and was largely embraced by business leaders in Richmond as beneficial to local commerce and the region as a whole. Had the proposal been made 10 years earlier, it might have flown. But plans to fill 225 acres of mudflats now had to go before the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the regulatory panel established in 1965 as a result of the activism of the the Save San Francisco Bay Association (later Save the Bay).
The airport proposal was exactly the type of project Save the Bay tried to halt, but it wasn’t for lack of trying by the idea’s promoters.
The City Councils in Albany, Berkeley and El Cerrito all went on record in opposition, with Kay Kerr, one of the three founders of Save the Bay and the wife of UC Berkeley President Clark Kerr, speaking against the project before the El Cerrito council.

point isabel airport 10 1966

The plan did get as far as being submitted to the BCDC for consideration, but discussion was postponed a few times and the notion ultimately ran out of steam.

On Nov. 16 the Oakland Tribune reported that Berkeley had officially stated its opposition to the project:

OPPOSE AIRPORT
The council also went on record as opposing the proposed Richmond Airport in the bay between Point Isabel and Brooks Island. The project, which is to come before the Bay Conservation and Development Commission on Friday, would require
filling 225 acres in two stages.
The council opposed the project because it would create a noise problem and commit a major portion of the Eastbay shoreline before a regional plan could be drawn up. Councilmen also noted that regional plans call for inland rather than bay airports.

On Nov. 19 the Tribune reported that “BCDC took no action at this time on a request by the city of Richmond for an ‘advisory opinion’ on a proposed airport construction at Point Isabel which would involve filling 225 acres of tidelands. The project would serve small planes.”

A man readies to throw a ball for his dog to fetch while enjoying the sunset at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011.  (Dean Coppola/Staff)

A man readies to throw a ball for his dog to fetch while enjoying the sunset at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. (Dean Coppola/Staff)

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Jewel Lake in Tilden Park replenished by recent rains

jewel lake 12 2015 by Marta Yamamoto

Jewel Lake in Tilden Regional Park in the Berkeley hills is ” is back and lovely as always,” reports our correspondent Marta Yamamoto, who took the photo above. As she reported in September, the prolonged drought had reduced the lake, popular with park visitors and wildlife alike, to what many were referring to as “Jewel Puddle.”
As that story noted, the lake “originated as a reservoir known as Wildcat Creek Diversion Dam, finished around 1921, when water reached East Bay cities via its concrete aqueduct.”

VOI-JEWELLAKE-0904
Jewel Lake as it looked in its dried out state in September. Staff photo by Kristopher Skinner.

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Monarch butterflies return to Albany Hill

Monarch migration

Along with sightings of monarch butterflies overwintering at Aquatic Park in Berkeley (see below) the beloved creatures have made their annual return to the eucalyptus grove on Albany Hill.
This photo was taken by El Cerrito resident Steve Crawford, who reports, “They are harder to get to this year since they have taken up residence in a tree about halfway down the steep west side.”

Monarch butterflies huddle together on the branches of a tree at Aquatic Park in Berkeley on Nov. 24. Bay Area News Group photo by D. Ross Cameron.

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New Berkeley Historical Society exhibit opens with free program Oct. 11

berk hist

“Art Capital of the West: Real and Imagined Art Museums and Galleries in Berkeley” is the new exhibit of the Berkeley Historical Society, opening with a program and reception from 2-5 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center St. Admission is free, donations are welcome.

When artist Jennie V. Cannon visited Berkeley in 1907, she wrote, “I could not believe my eyes—there were artist groups and displays everywhere—so many fine artists that this place surpasses San Francisco as the art capital of the West.” Coinciding with the opening of the new UC Berkeley Art Museum, the Berkeley Historical Society exhibit explores over a century of hopes, dreams, successes and setbacks of Berkeley art museums and galleries. “Art Capital of the West”: Real and Imagined Art Museums and Galleries in Berkeley will run from October 11, 2015 through April 2, 2016 at the Berkeley History Center in the Veterans Memorial Building, 1931 Center Street, Berkeley.

Details: www.berkeleyhistoricalsociety.org or 510-848-0181.

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When Berkeley liked Ike: Presidential candidate made East Bay stops this week in 1952

D. D. Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower is met by a crowd of people, including many UC Berkeley students, at the Berkeley railroad station. (Oakland Tribune Photo)

D. D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower, the Republican nominee challenging Adlai Stevenson, made some brief remarks in his Berkeley whistlestop appearance. (Oakland Tribune Photo)

Republican presidential nominee Dwight Eisenhower was given a welcome befitting a war hero by Berkeley residents this week in 1952. The Oct. 8 appearance was part of a whistlestop swing by train through the East Bay on the way to a speech at the Cow Palace by the acclaimed World War II general. Other stops included Vallejo, Crockett and Richmond, along with a rally at City Hall Plaza in Oakland before he went via motorcade across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco and a scheduled speech at the Cow Palace. The appearances were partly a response to a similar trip through the area by Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson.
Accompanying Eisenhower on his trip through the area were California Gov. Earl Warren and U.S. Sen. William F. Knowland, whose family owned the Oakland Tribune.

eisenhower signs
Signs displayed during Eisenhower’s Berkeley visit included “UC likes Ike” and “Let it rain, let it pour, Ike will lead us safely now, he always has before.”

tribune ike 1952 a

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How Berkeley Iceland kept the rink surface smooth before the Zamboni came along

bg zamboni 01 10 1945a

When Berkeley Iceland opened in November 1940 the invention of the famed Zamboni ice resurfacing machine, now a fixture at ice and hockey rinks, was still almost nine years away.

So how, you ask, was the rink surface at Berkeley Iceland kept smooth enough for skating? This 1945 photo in the Berkeley Gazette shows the answer — giant squeegees, an adaptation of the window-washing device invented in Oakland in 1936. Note that the smoothing task has been turned over to women skaters during the war.

For those wondering about the prose used by the Berkeley Gazette, “Atalanta is the female athlete in Greek myth” and “didoes” are “mischievous tricks or deeds.”

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The first Oakland Raiders game at the new Coliseum was played 49 years ago today

The Oakland Coliseum hosted its first event 49 years ago today, when the Oakland Raiders played the Kansas City Chiefs.

coliseum1966
News media tour of the new stadium, nearing completion in July 1966.

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The completed Coliseum awaits its first crowd. (Lonnie Wilson / Oakland Tribune Staff Archives).

coliseum001
Action from Sept. 18, 1966 – the first Oakland Raiders game to be played at the newly dedicated Oakland – Alameda County Coliseum. (Russ Reed / Oakland Tribune Staff Archives)

coliseum san mateo times 1966
A rave review of the new stadium from the San Mateo Times, which notes that Charles O. Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics of the American League, was among those in attendance.

coliseum daily review
Photo coverage of the first Coliseum game from the Hayward Daily Review.

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When Mickey Mantle and other baseball stars came to Billy Martin’s night club in El Cerrito

A piece of memorabilia capturing a moment in baseball and El Cerrito history has been listed for bidding at online auction site eBay.
The item is an autographed 1961 menu from the opening of Billy Martin’s Cerro Square, a gala event attended by numerous major league baseball players of the day along with former teammates of Martin’s from the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League.

cerro square 1961a
Autographed menu from the opening of Billy Martin’s Cerro Square, offered for auction on eBay.

“Signatures on this menu include Billy Martin, Jim Gentile, Jackie Jensen, Don Drysdale, Mickey Mantle, Bud Foster, Cotton Pippen, Tom Louderback, Ray Larnernno, Woody Hall, Augie Galan,” states the auction listing, reflecting just some of the sporting world figures who attended the event.

At the time of the club opening, the always-combative Martin was nearing the end of his playing career. The Berkeley native, a regular presence in El Cerrito both as a youth and in later years, opened the night club venture at the former New Six Bells owned by the Figone family on San Pablo Avenue at Central Avenue (now a Burger King).

Despite its star-studded opening, the venture was short-lived. The era of clubs and bars that once dominated El Cerrito nightlife for decades was winding down, in part due to the growing presence of television in homes. In addition, according to a former relation of Martin’s by marriage, it wasn’t enough for the ballplayer to have his name on the club — people expected him to be there nightly to greet and talk to them.

cerro square 1961
Longtime Yankees teammates (and carousing pals) Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin, joined by other ballplayers at the opening of Cerro Square in El Cerrito. Photo from the collection of Jack Newell.

billymartincerrosquare
Cerro Square matchbook.