It’s been an eventful year in Berkeley. From strikes and protests to new state housing laws to demographic changes, we rounded up 10 stories that have had a major impact on the community in 2022.
- ‘Are we done yet?’ 8 Berkeley stories of coping with a pandemic that won’t go away
In February, with the omicron surge receding and COVID restrictions starting to ease, we shared eight stories of uncertainty, solitude, grief and appreciation. The pandemic still isn’t over — Berkeley is now in the grip of yet another winter surge — but officials say the city’s high vaccination rate has helped keep its death rate among the lowest in California.
- UC Berkeley must slash new enrollment by a third unless high court intervenes
Cal’s startling announcement in February, set off by a Berkeley neighborhood group’s lawsuit, made national news. In early March the university said it had found a partial workaround, and in mid-March the governor signed a law undoing the enrollment freeze.
- Officials say yes to ‘new vision of public safety’ — and more cops, too
The City Council voted to restore positions on its police force along with a broad package of public safety changes, including the creation of a new civilian mental health team to respond to people in crisis on city streets.
- New state housing laws curb power of Berkeley homeowners
Laws prompted by the housing crisis have combined to limit local governments’ authority over many development decisions. Those laws have also shifted power away from homeowners, as we illustrated in a June story exploring the fight over a 6-story apartment proposal in Northwest Berkeley.
- UC Berkeley halts construction at People’s Park due to protest, occupation
UC Berkeley felled trees in the middle of the night on Aug. 3 as a first step toward building student and homeless housing in the park, but the university backed down after a 12-hour standoff with protesters. Two days later an appellate court signed a stay order temporarily halting construction.
- A changing Berkeley: 6 maps show how the past decade has remade the city
From population to housing to racial diversity, our July deep-dive into U.S. census data looked at how and where Berkeley has changed the most over the last decade.
- 2 Berkeley brothers killed in birthday party shooting
The October death of Jazy Sotelo Garcia, 17, and his brother Angel, 15, devastated the Berkeley community. We covered a vigil held for the teens by family, neighbors and classmates at Longfellow Middle School, and watched as they were laid to rest in a deeply moving funeral.
- $650M infrastructure bond falls short of two-thirds margin
The failure of Measure L leaves questions about what’s next for Berkeley’s streets and affordable housing. Candidates backed by the teachers union swept the school board race in the Nov. 8 election, and the “tenant-first” slate kept firm control over the rent board. See how different Berkeley neighborhoods voted.
- Police union leader implicated in leaked text messages put on leave, chief appointment paused
Text screenshots shared by a fired BPD officer emerged in November showing that Berkeley Sgt. Darren Kacalek made derogatory comments about homeless residents and people of color and pressured officers under his command to increase arrest numbers.
- Thousands of UC Berkeley employees go on strike for better wages, benefits
More than 48,000 academic workers across the UC system, including 10,000 from Cal, joined the picket line in mid-November.