TBS Today, May 12

The West Berkeley business community turned out in force this week to beg city leaders to do something — anything — about neighborhood blight and rising crime related to area homeless encampments.

In some parts of Harrison Street, homeless camps and related items now extend out into the roadway, blocking a lane of traffic.

Members of the business community shared horror stories with city leaders along with ideas for solutions during a "business summit" Thursday that was organized by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Berkeley Association.

City pledges cleanup of West Berkeley homeless camps
Members of the business community are pleading with the city to do more to tackle encampments and problematic behavior associated with them.

We also reported today on Twitter on a motion filed by defense counsel seeking to disqualify the DA's office from prosecuting the fatal police shooting in San Leandro that took the life of Steven Taylor in 2020.

Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver argued that former SLPD Officer Jason Fletcher would not get fair treatment by the prosecution, citing statements by Pamela Price where she called the shooting a "murder" and an "execution" prior to her election.

The judge denied the motion. We shared the highlights on Twitter. (Remember: You do not need a Twitter account to view tweets.)

On Thursday, Berkeley had its eighth confirmed incident of gunfire of the year.

Early-morning gunshots wake Berkeley residents
“Nothing like waking up at 4:30am to gunfire,” a reader reported. “Not going to be able to fall asleep easy after hearing that.”
Berkeley gunfire map: Shootings and gunfire in 2023
As of May 11, one person had been wounded due to a shooting in Berkeley in 2023. There have been no homicides.

To date, one person has been wounded and none have been fatal. It's a much better record than Berkeley had last year by this time.

We also reported briefly on a rather astounding car wreck where the driver managed to walk away with minor or no injuries Thursday.

We heard there was a fire last night near the old Reid's Records location on Sacramento Street, but BFD has not yet responded to our inquiry about it.

BPD let us know about an overturned vehicle crash at San Pablo Avenue and Parker Street on Friday at 11:35 a.m. Fortunately, that resulted in a complaint of pain only.

BPD also responded Friday at 12:30 p.m. to a report of two men armed with guns and wearing ski masks who tried to break into a vehicle in the 1200 block of Francisco Street. The pair fled in a light blue sedan.

We have a number of other inquiries into BPD that await a response.

Finally, we attended two court hearings in juvenile court Friday afternoon, including one for the shooting that killed Angel and Jazy Sotelo Garcia. Both were continued to a later date and nothing substantive happened.

In total, we are tracking about 60 cases, mostly from Berkeley but a handful that relate to significant policy changes that could or have taken place under the new DA. There are many procedural hearings to track for each case before anything substantive happens. But we are keeping a close eye on all of them.

In case you missed it

Berkeley Police Chief Jen Louis is now the city’s top cop
For many, the police chief vote this week brought a sigh of relief. For others, it felt like a betrayal.
If you find our news useful, please take a moment and share this newsletter with a friend or relative (or two!). Your recommendations go a long way toward helping ensure the community stays informed.