Berkeley in the News Archive

The links to the stories summarized on this page are time sensitive, so stories might no longer be online at that URL. We also include links to the original source publication itself.

Friday, 9 May 2014

1. Underwater homes: Minorities still suffering from housing collapse
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

A new study by Berkeley's Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society looked at the nation's 100 cities with the highest percentages of underwater mortgages and determined that 71 have populations that are more than 40 percent African American and Latino. The East Bay cities of Richmond, Antioch, and Vallejo were on the list, as well as 15 others in California. The affected minority populations were initially targeted by subprime lenders and then suffered the steepest declines in home prices during the housing crash. "While we talk about recovery, a large part of the country is not only not recovering, it is largely being ignored," says law professor John Powell, director of the Haas Institute. "They are disproportionately black and Latino communities. It affects not just homeowners, but cities and states. ... In places like Richmond and Vallejo, cities can't function." The authors call for more federal action to help the cities. Stories on this topic appeared in more than a dozen sources nationwide, including KCBS Radio (link to audio), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and WNPR Online (link to audio). Full Story

2. How Do You Survive a High-fat Diet? Ask a Polar Bear
Voice of America Online

A study led by integrative biology professor Rasmus Nielsen, of Berkeley's Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genomics, has tracked genetic changes in the polar bear that enabled it to thrive on the high-fat diet required to survive Arctic conditions without suffering heart disease. "For polar bears, being very fat is no problem," co-author Eline Lorenzen says. Stories on this topic appeared in more than 100 sources worldwide. Full Story

3. Obama praises energy efficiency at local Walmart
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

A story about President Obama's choice of a Walmart store as a place to give a speech about his energy initiative quotes energy professor Daniel Kammen, co-director of Berkeley's Institute of the Environment. "Walmart has a very aggressive and thoughtful office that looks at energy efficiency in the entire supply chain," he says. "While they often get beat up for labor and (importing) low-cost goods from China, they have also done a lot on energy efficiency." Full Story

4. Robert Reich Trashes White House 'Numbskull' For Walmart Event
Huffington Post

Public policy professor Robert Reich expressed his disdain for the choice of a Walmart store as a place for President Obama to give a speech about his energy initiative. He asks, “What numbskull in the White House arranged this?” Not only is the company one of the country's “worst employers,” with “low wages, unreliable hours, few benefits, discrimination against women and anti-union,” he says, but also: "Its greenhouse emissions grew 2 percent last year to nearly half a million metric tons, and it lags badly behind other large companies on renewable power.” Full Story

5. Richmond: Leaders, community discuss proposed UC lab research facility
Contra Costa Times (*requires registration)

City leaders joined UC officials and community and labor groups Thursday to discuss expectations for the Richmond Bay Campus, a planned research facility set to be co-developed by UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Although funding has yet to be determined, the project is moving forward in the planning stages. "This is a partnership that will evolve," said Julie Sinai, UC Berkeley's director of local government and community relations. "We're in the ninth inning of the first game of the World Series," she said. "It's started, but it's early." Pastor T. Mark Gandy, of Miracle Temple Church, said: "This campus could be the most important single development in Richmond since the World War II shipyards." Another story on this topic appeared on KTVU Online. Full Story

6. White privilege 101: Here’s the basic lesson Paul Ryan, Tal Fortgang and Donald Sterling need

A commentary on recent high-profile instances of racism includes a discussion of the concept of “Perceptual Segregation,” first set forth in a law review article by Berkeley law professor Russell Robinson. The writer says Professor Robinson argues that the very different frameworks in which most blacks and whites are raised and live give rise to very different experiences of the world, even when they are physically present in the same place together. Because their life situations remain highly segregated for a large part of their lives, their resulting perceptions of the world remain segregated as well—although in a way that white people usually don’t even see. "While many whites expect evidence of discrimination to be explicit, and assume that people are colorblind when such evidence is lacking, many blacks perceive bias to be prevalent and primarily implicit," Professor Robinson had written. Full Story

7. Could Donald Sterling succeed in a legal fight against selling the Clippers?
Christian Science Monitor

Law professor Jesse Choper, a constitutional specialist, is quoted in a story about Donald Sterling's legal options in his fight against being forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team after a recording of him making racist remarks was made public. Professor Choper says the remarks were recorded illegally and disseminated without Sterling’s consent, and therefore might not meet the NBA constitution’s admonition that “an owner will not take any position or action that will materially and adversely affect a team or the league,” as ESPN had phrased it. “This was a confidential conversation with a lady friend: He certainly wasn’t taking any position, and he never made it public. .... The key words are ‘position’ and ‘action.’” Full Story

8. Oakland Diocese requiring educators to conform to church teachings
San Francisco Chronicle

Law lecturer David Rosenfeld comments on the legality of the Diocese of Oakland's new requirement that its East Bay Catholic school teachers sign a new contract pledging they will conform to church teachings outside the workplace. Legally, Rosenfeld says, such contracts would be protected by the First Amendment. "A private school like this has the right to impose any religious restrictions it wants. ... If they got wind that somebody was buying contraceptives, they could fire them." Nevertheless, he notes that the change is "a bizarre, bizarre thing," given that Catholic schools have shown no hesitation in hiring non-Catholics for years. "They've tolerated that, if not encouraged it, as long as you don't preach your religion in the classroom." Full Story

9. Multiple Cal Olympians train together on campus
San Francisco Chronicle

Numerous Olympic swimming champions are training alongside students at Berkeley these days. They include Natalie Coughlin, Nathan Adrian, Anthony Ervin, and Missy Franklin. "It's a unique setup we have," coach David Durden says. "At a particular time we could have over 20 Olympic medals in one lane." Full Story

Today's Edition of UC Berkeley in the News