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.


3-day Tibetan event draws hundreds in East Bay

Press Release:

Tibetan Association of Northern California is hosting the 19th West Coast Cultural and Sports Meet from July 4 to July 6. 

The Association organizes this event to preserve and promote the Tibetan cultural tradition.   

This is also an occasion to celebrate the 78th Birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama who has dedicated his life to service of the Tibetan and peace on this earth on July 6 and also to pay tribute to the Tibetans in Tibet who have given up so much for their country. 

During these three days there will be song and dance competition, sports and debate in Tibetan among the Tibetan Communities along the West Coast.  We are also organizing blood drive in collaboration with the Red Cross on July 5 at the Berkeley Adult School from 10am to 5pm. 

The full schedule is here:  TibetanAssociationSchedule


Article archives: 1997 story touts Richmond’s future

Enjoy this story, which appeared in our paper on April 13, 1997. The writer astutely appraised Richmond’s assets amid a challenging context.
Edition: Final
Section: West County
Page: A19

Index Terms:


Author: PAM KING

Dateline: RICHMOND


RICHMOND While cities on the fringes of Contra Costa County are eating up their open space with new development, Richmondis banking its future on redevelopment. 

“By the year 2020, Richmond might look more different than any city in the county,” said Donna Uriyu McCain, Richmondeconomic development marketing director. “A piece of land that has something on it now is very likely to have something else on it.” 

Those who predict a rosy future for this city one that has spent the latter half of the 20th century battling poverty, crime, unemployment and substandard housing base their optimism primarily on geography. 

“We’re in a perfect location,” said Mayor Rosemary Corbin. “We’re on I-80 and 580, so we have wonderful freeway access. We’re the western terminus for the Santa Fe Railroad. With AC Transit, BART and Amtrak, we’re the only intermodal transit point in the Bay Area.” 

Richmondis near the brainpower of UC-Berkeley and has the space and reasonable property values to accommodate start-up businesses. 

With 32 miles of coastline, it offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay and skyline, the San Pablo Bay and Marin coast, and marina slips. 

It is one of the Bay’s three deep-water ports. Covering 55 square miles more territory than San Francisco Richmondhas so much room to grow that land values should remain stable. 

Furthermore, said Kevin Hufferd, senior campus planner at UC-Berkeley and candidate for the university’s city and regional planning program, Richmondbenefits from the overall economic vitality of the Bay Area. 

In other regions of the country, Hufferd said, Richmond‘s problems of crime, an underachieving education system and unemployment might prove intractable. 

Richmondis a size where it really can take a cut at those problems, while larger communities are hampered with a larger array of constituencies,” said Hufferd, who has studied the city’s prospects as a member of the Economic Development Commission. “There is a cohesive self-governance the leaders are pretty pragmatic about what they’re grappling with.” 

“The city government is friendly to business,” Corbin said. “You have to comply with regulations, but you won’t get harassed.” 

The city’s attitude has helped attract the likes of Pixar Animation Studios, Berlex Biosciences and Bio-Rad Laboratories and has helped them expand within the city, rather than relocate. Richmond began courting the biotech industry in the 1980s, when other communities were nervous about environmental implications. As a result, biotech firms account for about 1,200 jobs, and most of the companies have doubled in space and employees during their time in Richmond

The leaders of Richmond are working to turn some of the city’s historical problems into assets. During World War II, when Richmond was a ship-building center, the population swelled from about 23,000 to 120,000. By 1960, with the shipyard closed and the Ford manufacturing moved away, the population had dropped to about 71,000. Richmondnow has about 93,000 residents. 

Those massive population shifts left Richmondwith an oversupply of dilapidated housing, because houses were built so quickly and shoddily in the 1940s, and with “brownfields,” empty lots and abandoned commercial or industrial sites that once served the people who lived there. The Ford plant, for example, is a 500,000-square-foot industrial space, architecturally interesting but seismically unsafe. 

Brownfields have infrastructure in place and are near workers and customers, Corbin said. Returning these properties to productive use can save cities such as Richmond the expense and environmental loss of developing previously unspoiled open space. Last June, Richmondreceived a $200,000 federal Environmental Protection Agency grant to help clean up the brownfields. 

The newly opened Richmond Parkway, which connects Interstates 580 and 80, is expected to open to development vast areas of North Richmond, including the closed Navy fuel depot at Point Molate. The access provided by the parkway is an incentive for property owners to remove contaminants and prepare to market their land. Developers of Hilltop Plaza, a new shopping center featuring Circuit City, Barnes & Noble and OfficeMax, cited RichmondParkway access as one of the assets of the location. 

Pointing at an overhead photograph of the city, Redevelopment Director Dave Thompson identifies handfuls of properties primed for new construction: the Pacific Asian Mall in Richmond Annex, the Department of Health Services laboratory on the site of the fire-ravaged Safeway distribution facility, 51 acres of light industrial and office space near Marina Bay, 644 homes off RichmondParkway. 

“We’re working both with developers and with end-users,” Thompson said. “The investment money is there, to build even without a (commercial) tenant under contract.” 

Richmond‘s political leaders, businesses and residents seem to agree that the city’s future rests on the success of sustainable development. There is relatively less conflict between environmentalists and developers, since much of the new development actually improves contaminated or decaying sites or replaces heavy industry with lighter, cleaner industry. 

The goal of all this economic activity, said Economic Development Director Isiah Turner, is to improve Richmond‘s quality of life. While Turner and his staff are aggressive in attracting business, they are not shy about demanding community involvement from prospective corporate residents. The city expects local companies to offer entry-level jobs and internships to Richmondresidents; longtime corporate citizen Chevron and relative newcomer Berlex have signed alliance agreements with the city to maximize job opportunities for local workers. 

Unemployment which was as high was 14 percent within the past decade is down at 7.6 percent, the lowest since the early 1970s. Just last month, Turner traveled to Washington, D.C., to present Richmond‘s blueprint for linking economic development and work force preparation to the National Association of Private Industry Councils. 

Richmonddoesn’t always give itself credit,” said McCain, the marketing director. “After all, this is the city that converted all those Kaiser shipyards into Marina Bay a very exciting area with housing and commercial development and parks and trails. 

“The closing of the shipyards and Ford, the fire that destroyed the Safeway warehouse these were the kinds of events that caused Richmond to reckon with its economic development. Because of our challenges, we have tended to be out in front of others.”