Currently sophomores, we used to live in a ski lodge cozy Northside dorm known as Foothill.

We never understood the rationale behind the name. As any Foothill resident or ex-resident knows, Foothill is certainly not at the foot of any hill. Ironically, Foothill is notorious for being more towards the top of a hill, a fortress you can only breach by taking a series of treacherously long staircases. We can’t count how many times we’ve tripped up, down, and all around those cursed steps.

Pretz

In Berkeley lore, Foothill is “that Northside dorm” few Southside residents ever venture to, no matter how tempting Foothill’s Late Night steak may be. Foothill is also known as the home of reclusive future engineers. From our experience as residents, however, we found that Foothill had plenty of variation in engineering personalities, as well as in intensity of social life, that differed from floor to floor, building to building, and suite to suite.

Luckily for us, we ended up in a suite where most of us got along pretty well. In fact, we currently live in the same apartment with some of our suitemates, now close friends. Although we live close by, we don’t see these suitemates nearly as often as we once did back at the dorms—which brings us to the difference in social life between apartments versus dorms: read more »


Hopefully now that school is starting you all have places to live, are no longer sleeping on friends’ couches, and you’ve successfully retrieved the security deposit from your last living arrangement. That is unfortunately not the case for our esteemed university president, a one Mark Yudof.

Except his security deposit was $32,100, paid for by the University of California, and instead of staying on a friend’s couch while looking for new digs he stayed in the Claremont Hotel. He and his wife have now settled into their new place, but left behind damage at the old one, including a scratched marble bathtub, a broken window shade and a whole bunch of damaged plaster from hanging things on the wall.

For real, Mark Yudof, you couldn’t have spackled before you left? read more »


Wuuuut?!SQUELCH! announces its executive slate, which is full of familiar, self-proclaimedly intoxicated (Cough, Sarah Jeong at the elections forum last year, cough) faces. [Daily Cal]

We might also have forgotten to post  Student Action’s slate. Sorry about that. The only really exciting thing you missed is that the EAVP candidate’s name is Bundit Kertbundit. “Bundit like Beckham,” anyone? How about “Bundit the pundit”? [Daily Cal]

Yes, Berkeley’s takeover of Washington, department by department, is going perfectly according to plan. Muahaha. Uh … we mean, congrats Haas professor emeritus, Janet Yellen!  [NY Times]

Berkeley allows mixed-gender dorm rooms? Hm. News to us. Although, if it’s allowed at any schools, we’re somehow unsurprised that ours is one of them. [LA Times], via Jezebel

Earlier: What Do Yoo and Redwoods Have in Common?


If moving out of your own house isn’t bad enough, try following the drama surrounding the Berkeley Housing Department. This stuff was going on for years, but now it seems people are suddenly dropping off like flies. City Manager Phil Kamlarz better watch out.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has called Berkeley’s own department “troubled” for years now. And it’s not getting any better.

First, 22 people from housing authority got the boot. Then the director of the department resigned. Now the city manager’s getting hated on.

You know what, if Berkeley continue up this ladder, it may finally impeach Bush.

Yeah, don’t count on it.

As city manager, Kamlarz is responsible for all of Berkeley’s departments and relies on department heads to help him inform his decisions. But many City Council members, including Mayor Tom Bates, don’t think it’s fair to put Kamlarz’s job on the line.

The Oakland Tribune has council members speak out:

bq. “I think Phil Kamlarz has been a very good city manager,” council member Gordon Wozniak said Thursday.

bq. “He’s working hard to clean it up. He may have made a wrong call, but if an umpire makes a wrong call, you don’t necessarily fire him. I give him the benefit of the doubt. I think he takes it seriously.”

No, you don’t fire the ump, but you give him a helluva ass-whoopin’ in the parking lot.

We did not just say that. That’s completely inappropriate.

So what’s the other side of the story?

bq. “The fundamental problem is that the city manager has never been reviewed,” (Councilmember Kriss) Worthington said. “I’ve brought it up a half dozen times. I also submitted a council item saying he should be reviewed, and it was approved, but it hasn’t happened.”

Despite Worthington’s concerns, though, Kamlarz appears to be okay. He’s still not in the clear, but it seems unlikely he’ll lose his job over this. Much of the City Council seems to be very supportive.

Well then. Onto impeaching Bush, shall we?

Official Latest to Feel Heat On Housing [Daily Cal]
Berkeley city manager may survive scandal [Oakland Trib]


Just when you thought that all the Housing Authority did was raise your rent every now and then, guess what reared its ugly head. Scandals!

The Oakland Tribune is reporting that the Berkeley Housing Authority misused federal funds and that two city reports are asking the Berkeley City Council to fire the Housing Authority’s staff of 22.

The reports–one of them made by Manuela Albuquerque, the city attorney–state that the Housing authority gave federal subsidies to landlords who had at least 15 deceased tenants. Added to that, subsidies were given out to residents who did not qualify for them.

Albuquerque said that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been notified.

This is a huge snafu for the city council, who is the governing body of the Housing Authority. Even though they were not directly involved with the matter of who got subsidies and whatnot, the council still feels that they were somewhat responsible. Cue councilmember Gordon Wozniak, who agrees with us:

bq. We have egg on our face. This looks very bad on the city. We’ve always been told (by the staff) that HUD is the bad guys, that their reporting requirements were onerous. But I do take some responsibility.

bq. We had these audits and we never dug in enough. We should have asked some tough questions. I think this will be a shock to the council because this is the first we’ve heard there’s a problem.

HUD? The bad guys? Usually people don’t like the big federal government meddling with a little city’s plans, but it looks like if the council had just listened to HUD, this may have been prevented. HUD is now asking the city council to give governance of the Housing Authority to an independent commission.

Maybe the council should cede governance and just stick to trying to impeach President Bush.

Berkeley Housing Authority paid rent for at least 15 dead tenants [Oakland Tribune]