Tonight’s March for Safe Streets event in South Berkeley cancelled

A Family March for Safe Streets event in South Berkeley originally scheduled for tonight (Sept. 29) in response to several recent incidents of gun violence in the area, has been cancelled.

The announcement was made early this morning in an email from resident and event organizer Heather Marléne Zadig that gave the reasons behind the decision:

Dear fellow concerned community members,

I am deeply saddened to cancel this event based on new information and input from many community leaders and residents. First, it has been just now fully brought to my attention that there is a severe conflict with another, more crucial event in the neighborhood that is actively attempting to solve local community problems, and that this march was drawing needed attention away from that event, which has been planned for quite awhile. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/power-of-faith-2016-together-we-serve-tickets-26692456857

Second, I have received several messages indicating community outrage at the nature and tone of this event, specifically that the event did not overtly focus on the murder victim and other victims of violence, and that it had a focus on public safety, which was construed as being self-serving. This was completely the opposite of my intent. The updated route was chosen to weave through specific sites of recent violence and end at the site of the recent murder. My reasons for not emphasizing the victims in announcements about the event was not at all for a lack of concern, but rather only because of the intended family-and-small-children emphasis on community engagement against the violence. To be clear, I am outraged and sickened as a mother that Ignacio Francis Jr.’s mother had to bury her child, and that the other recent victims—young teenagers—were also in fact children. This is one of many reasons why I wanted to get children involved.

It has become clear from these many messages that to continue with this march would not only upset some members of the community but also cause divisions, which is completely anathema to the goals of the march. In fact, it renders the march entirely pointless. I am devastated that people have felt slighted by what was intended as a positive way to engage residents such as young families and children who may otherwise feel powerless to constructively contribute.

I appreciate the outpouring of support from others, the vast amounts of time people have spent trying to help make this happen, and I hope to achieve the goals of this march in other ways.

The Berkeley Police Department, which had planned to participate in the march, issued the following announcement:

Today’s scheduled Safer Streets March has been cancelled by its organizer, who is guiding concerned community members to consider attending another community event, entitled “Power of Faith 2016 – Together We Serve”, which will be held at the Ed Roberts Campus from 4 PM -7 PM. The march had been scheduled to begin tonight at 5:00pm from the parking lot of the Sweet Adeline Bakeshop.

The Berkeley Police Department stands in support of all efforts to build a safe and caring community. For our part,  extra patrols in the areas affected by violence will remain in place, as we work to ensure that residents are safe in their homes and on the street, and that our Department is committed to strong and safe neighborhoods. Our vigorous investigation into the two homicides and several shootings continues.

Our efforts to engage and inform our community will continue.


TBT: The scene of last weekend’s downtown Berkeley fire as it looked in the 1940s

key university shattuck 1948142

A downtown fire in Berkeley last weekend damaged a city-designated “structure of merit” at 2111-13 University Ave.

As the photos above, from 1948, and below, from 1946, show, the building (built in in 1911) was once the Varsity Market.

“I’m very glad there are no reported injuries and the fire appeared to be controlled before it spread too extensively on this extremely important historic block,” said Berkeley Voice columnist Steven Finacom of the Berkeley Historical Society and the Berkeley Architectural Association. “As a historic preservationist, I’m concerned that the damaged building not be demolished as a result of this fire. The City of Berkeley has approved a plan to renovate this building and other structures on the block, with restored historic commercial facades, and new apartments built behind. It’s extremely important that this facade be retained and incorporated into that project.”

key university shattuck 1946143

Finacom provided the photos of the weekend fire below, as well as the information on the building from the historical designation of the Acheson block.

(Courtesy Steven Finacom)
(Courtesy Steven Finacom)
building history. 2111-13 University Avenue
(Courtesy Steven Finacom)


UPDATE: From Daniella Thompson of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association:

2111-2113 University Avenue is not a designated Structure of Merit. This erroneous information, cited by consultant Frederic Knapp in his Historic Outline for the Acheson Block (June 1910), was gleaned from a City of Berkeley document, the Downtown Berkeley Design Guidelines, Appendix, List of Landmark and Significant Buildings, 1994.

Here is the complete list of designated Structures of Merit:http://berkeleyheritage.com/berkeley_landmarks/structures-of-merit.html


Berkeley seeking nominees for annual Outstanding Women of Berkeley recognition

Berkeley is seeking nominees for its annual Outstanding Women of Berkeley honors. Nominations are due by Aug. 31. The full announcement from the city:



City’s Commission on the Status of Women Seeking Candidates for Annual Honor
3 Awards for Individuals, 1 for Organization
Nominations can be submitted in two ways:
1) Visit http://bit.ly/BerkeleyCOSOWAwards to complete an online nomination form on or
before Wednesday, August 31st, or
2) Complete this nomination form, scan and submit electronically to Maritessa Bravo Ares,
Chair at BerkeleyCOSOWAwards@gmail.com on or before Wednesday, August 31,
or mail nomination form to Eric Brennan postmarked by August 31.

Similar scenario to 1991 Oakland firestorm played out in 1913

claremont hotel 1920s

An October fire fanned by high winds and fueled by abundant eucalyptus trees and tall grass sweeps through the Oakland-Berkeley hills and threatens the landmark Claremont Hotel. That describes the events of the disaster known as the Oakland Firestorm of Oct. 19, 1991 that is coming up on its 25th anniversary.

It also sums up a fire that broke out on Oct. 6, 1913 in the Berkeley hills that overwhelmed the young city’s firefighting capability. The Claremont residential district in Berkeley had been established for less than a decade and was still developing. The hotel itself had been under construction for a number of years, stalled at points by financial issues.

“Following an architectural competition, ground was broken in 1906 for the Claremont
Hotel, designed by Charles W. Dickey,” the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association writes on its website. “It was not only to be a glorious destination site, seen from all vistas around the Bay, but it was also to be a large garden park enhancing the environment for the building of beautiful homes.”

According to Historic Hotels of America, “construction was held up — first by the earthquake of 1906 and then subsequently, the Panic of 1907.”

The fire was reported by a resident around noon, the San Francisco Call reported, and Berkeley soon had to seek assistance from Oakland in battling the blaze. (Berkeley’s department had been a full-tme professional company for less than a decade, formed in 1904 after City Hall burned down.) Also assisting were “hundreds of residents.”
claremont hotel fire 10 6 1913
Coverage from the San Francisco Call
of the Oct. 6, 1913 fire that swept
through the hills, a scenario similar
to what happened on Oct. 19, 1991.

The blaze threatened not only the hotel, described by the Call as “one of the largest framed hostelries of the west,” but homes in the fashionable Claremont neighborhood. The fire did not claim the hotel, but did spread unchecked along Tunnel Road through the largely unpopulated hills, “fanned by a high wind” and burning down “trees set out by the People’s Water Company (a forerunner of EBMUD) five years ago.”

The fire burned several hundred acres in the hills, according to the Call account, but no property damage or injuries were reported other than the loss of the trees.

The hills would be much more developed by the time of the 1991 firestorm that claimed 25 lives and destroyed 3,642 homes, with damages estimated at $1.68 billion. Some claimed at the time that resources were diverted to from fighting that fire to prevent its spreading to the Claremont Hotel. Others say that if the fire had reached the Claremont, it would have more easily spread into lower Berkeley and possibly reached the UC Berkeley campus.

The Claremont finally did open in May of 1915, in time to serve tourists to the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

claremont opening 05 03 1915


Berkeley sculptor Tyler James Hoare to give free talk on Sunday

D. Ross Cameron STAFF 9/17/06 Tribune News Local artist Tyler Hoare with his Sopwith Camel biplane sculpture at the Emeryville mud flats Sunday.

D. Ross Cameron STAFF 9/17/06 Tribune News
Local artist Tyler Hoare with his Sopwith Camel biplane sculpture at the Emeryville mud flats Sunday.

Berkeley artist Tyler Hoare will give a talk and show a selection of his sculptures at a free program at 4 p.m. Aug. 14 in the Fabrefaction Gallery at the Compound Gallery, 1145 and 1167 65 St. in Oakland.

Join us for an Artist Talk with Tyler on Sunday, August 14th at 4pm sharp. Snacks and libations will be served 3-6pm. The talk is free and open to the public.

The Compound Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring the work of the esteemed Emeryville mudflat artist, Tyler James Hoare. A collection of masks, sculptures, and historical documentation will be exhibited in our more intimate Fabrefaction Gallery located at 1145 65th st. Oakland, CA. This show is in conjunction with our show Laserbeam Technomania in our Main Gallery next door. Gallery Hours will be Wed-Sun 12-7pm (please go to our Main Gallery at 1167 for entry).

Missouri-born Hoare has been placing sculptures along the Emeryville and Berkeley shoreline for more than half his life. He moved to Berkeley in the 1960s, and was driving past the remains of a pier in 1975 when his artistic muse struck. –SFGate.com

b. 1940. Sculptor and printmaker, Born in Joplin Mo. attended the University of Colorado, the Sculpture Center in New York, the University of Kansas (BFA 1963), and CCAC. He assembled figures in often humorous combinations of found and tooled objects, primarily of wood, coupling a basically cubist style with overtones of Surrealism. Some of Hoare’s pieces occupied the anonymous, grassroots sculpture garden that began to flourish in the mid-1960’s on the mudflats of Emeryville. In the 1970’s he was one of the earliest Bay Area artists to experiment with color xerox as a medium for printmaking. -From Art in The San Francisco Bay Area 1945-1980 by Thomas Albright.