Nearly 100 firefighters battle blaze at apartment building under construction in Berkeley

Nearly 100 firefighters battled a major six-alarm fire Saturday evening at a multi-story apartment building under construction in downtown Berkeley.

The fire, in the 2000 block of University Avenue between Milvia Street and Shattuck Avenue, was reported shortly after 6 p.m. Originally designated as a two-alarm fire, Berkeley firefighters eventually upgraded the incident to a six-alarm fire, receiving mutual aid from fire departments in neighboring Oakland, Piedmont, Emeryville, Albany and El Cerrito. The Alameda County Fire Department also assisted.

Residents in neighboring apartment buildings were evacuated as a precaution. Berkeley fire officials said none of the existing buildings ended up being damaged by the fire.

There are no reports of injuries.

Much of the fire has been extinguished, but firefighters will remain on scene through the evening to extinguish hot spots.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and will be under investigation.

Both directions of University Avenue remain closed between Milvia Street and Shattuck Avenue. The location of the fire is two blocks west of the University of California, Berkeley.

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Yes On Prop 24 Campaign Announces Endorsements From Nurses, Firefighters, And Education Leaders

Yes On Prop 24 Campaign Announces Endorsements From Nurses, Firefighters, And Education Leaders

PR Newswire

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 21, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Yes on Prop 24 campaign announced important endorsements from the United Nurses Associations of California (UNAC), California Professional Firefighters, immediate past President of the California Teachers Association (CTA), Eric Heins, past President of CTA, Dean Vogel, and immediate past President of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), Joshua Pechthalt.

Yes on Privacy, Yes on Prop 24 (PRNewsfoto/Californians for Consumer Priva)
Yes on Privacy, Yes on Prop 24 (PRNewsfoto/Californians for Consumer Priva)

“With our students spending the majority of their instructional time online, it’s our job to protect their safety — just like we do when they are in a classroom,” said Eric Heins, immediate past President of CTA. “Proposition 24 will expand the security for our kids and triple the fines against those who would do them harm.  As a career educator it is my responsibility to always keep our focus on the students.  Please join me in voting Yes on 24.”

Other prominent school leaders and endorsers include:
Dianna MacDonald – Past President, California Parent Teacher Association
Hon. Ann Crosbie – Trustee – Fremont Unified School District and Chair of the California Democratic Party Children’s Caucus
Hon. Larry Allen – Trustee – Middletown School District
Hon. Tim Sbranti – Trustee – Chabot-Las Positas Community College District
Hon. Greg Bonaccorsi – Trustee – Ohlone Community College District
Hon. Melanie Blake – Trustee – Sonoma Valley Unified School District
Hon. Jonathan Abboud – Trustee – Santa Barbara Community College District
Hon. Valerie Amezcua – Trustee, Santa Ana Unified School District
Hon. Laura Capps – President, Santa Barbara Unified School District
Hon. Megan Kerr– Trustee Long Beach Unified School District
Hon. Kathy Rawlings– Trustee Carlsbad Unified School District

Proposition 24 would:

  1. Protect your most personal information, by allowing you to prevent businesses from using or sharing sensitive information about your health, finances, race, ethnicity, and precise location;

  2. Safeguard young people, TRIPLING FINES for violations involving children’s information;

  3. Put new limits on companies’ collection and use of our personal information;

  4. Establish an enforcement arm—the California Privacy Protection Agency—to defend these rights and hold companies accountable, and extend enforcement including IMPOSING PENALTIES FOR NEGLIGENCE resulting in theft of consumers’ emails and passwords;

  5. MAKE IT MUCH HARDER TO WEAKEN PRIVACY in California in the future, by preventing special interests and politicians from undermining Californians’ privacy rights, while allowing the Legislature to amend the law to further the primary goal of strengthening consumer privacy to better protect you and your children, such as opt-in for use of data, further protections for uniquely vulnerable minors, and greater power for individuals to hold violators accountable.

Paid for by Yes on 24, Californians for Consumer Privacy

Committee major funding from Alastair Mactaggart



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University Heights firefighters agree to wage freeze as city deals with pandemic finances

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — The city and its firefighters union have come to a contract agreement in which the International Association of Firefighters Local 974 agreed to a wage freeze for the first year of the three-year deal. City Council agreed to the new contract during its Zoom meeting held Monday, Oct. 19.

With the city facing uncertainty as to its tax collections in a year in which COVID-19 has played havoc with communities’ budgets, Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan was grateful for the union’s consideration.

“Everybody is rising to the occasion during this pandemic,” Brennan said. “If we could give them raises, we would give them, but we can’t commit to that right now, and the fire union understands that. They look out for us every day in their capacity as firefighters, and they were looking out for us with this (agreement).

“It means the world to me. It’s not typical for a union not to seek a raise, but they understand it. They understand what’s going on in the community.”

The city and the union plan to get together next summer, by June 30, when the deal’s first year expires, and attempt to come up with a satisfactory amount for raises for the second and third year of the agreement. “We’ll pick it up again next year when we have a better idea of where we are (financially),” Brennan said.

It is the first of four contracts the city has to hammer out with its unions. Still to come are agreements with police officers and police administrators, and public service department workers. Brennan said he would not negotiate via the press and state whether he would ask the other unions to accept a wage freeze, but usually union agreements within a city are similar, which likely means that other unions will also be asked to accept a wage freeze for the first year of their deals.

“We’re appreciative of what the firefighters did and we hope the rest of our employees understand the situation,” Brennan said.

Meanwhile, council also approved Monday pay for city employees who were furloughed four hours per week, each Friday beginning in June, for 16 weeks, as the city attempted to save money. In all, council approved $44,682 for the employees. Brennan said he felt it was important that employees get paid for the time they missed due to something that was not their fault.

“They all worked fewer hours, but they all completed their work every week,” he said. “It’s important for us to stand by them, just as they stood by us and worked hard for us.”

Brennan said that firefighters were also prepared to take less, “to do something in solidarity” with their fellow, non-union employees. Firefighters were not furloughed, but Brennan said it was another example of the firefighters understanding of the city’s financial situation.

The firefighters did, as part of the new contract, receive a new vacation tier for those who have served with the department at least 24

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