Photo: Moon crescent test 6, by Ira Serkes.

Berkeley may host a world-class university, be internationally known as the font of the locavore movement, and boast an outsized reputation. But local issues – zoning, quality of life, local government, are the things that get us talking. This week the Berkeley City Council started deliberations on the latest portion of the West Berkeley Plan, which not only drew more than 60 people to a public hearing, but many more comments here about the merits and drawbacks of the project. Community members were also divided about putting a bond measure on the November ballot to pay for new pools and new police patrols on Telegraph Avenue. And the closure of Berkeley Patients Group, the city’s oldest and largest medical marijuana dispensary with 13,000 members, was also much discussed. And there were grumbles and laughs about the 20-year old who heard a ticking in his car, thought there was a bomb, and called the police.

Of course, all eyes and ears were on the Occupy the Farm folk who have taken over the Gill Tract in Albany, owned by UC Berkeley.

There was also some good news. The opening of Comal, the new Mexican restaurant on Shattuck, the innovative program that pairs female high school students with mentors from Berkeley Lab, the reopening of the renovated Claremont Branch of the library, and that inventive Cal freshman who automated his dorm room and posted a video on YouTube, making him Berkeley’s latest viral celebrity.

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...