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In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Climate Action
Live Oak Park Fair
Civic Center Art Exhibition
Dance Thursday Nights at Live Oak Park
Update: Tree Hole Mosquitoes
Update: Rising Sun Energy Center

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

It has been over a week since our community budget meeting with the City Manager, and I want to thank all of you who took the time to come out to share your opinions and ask questions of City staff. Despite the City's currently balanced budget and staff's "cautious optimism" for the future, residents related their personal experiences that the immediate economic situation is bleak. And at this time of financial constraint it is imperative for Council to have an honest public discussion about priorities so that precious resources are not wasted.

These are uncertain times. Like all cities we are suffering from slumping home sales and a reduction in sales tax revenue. To compound matters, the state will be reaching down into both our general fund and our property tax receipts to borrow over 8 million dollars, only a portion of which can be bonded to meet current expenses. State services, including health, education and recreation programs are being cut and we have already been contacted by service providers and constituents hoping the City can backfill their budgets to prevent service and program reductions.

We can take heart that despite slumping home sales our property values have held fast and are expected to remain constant. The Council will approve a balanced two-year budget this month and will continue to review the budget every six months as situations change. The City is taking advantage of federal stimulus money (we are repaving University Avenue) and is in the process of applying for further grants. Funding for Public Safety, Police and Fire, undoubtedly the highest priority services for District 5 residents, will not be cut in the coming year. We will do everything on our part to maintain services at the current level as we move forward.

So what can we do as a community? One thing is to keep our retail dollars close to home.

How many of us shop on line? Books, videos, clothing, home furnishings? The convenience and savings may sometimes be significant, but so is the impact on our local economy. Dollars spent locally, especially those received by independent businesses, in large percentage stay local and benefit the local economy.

I am heartsick to say good-bye to Black Oak Books. Despite the dedicated patronage of the neighborhood and the negotiating efforts of my office and our Office of Economic Development to insure their continued iconic presence on Shattuck Ave., the storeowner closed the doors. He decided the only way to sustain the business was to vacate the too-large space and to establish a more internet-based business model.

The only way to keep healthy our local businesses and the larger commercial districts in which they reside is to patronize them. Buy Local. Encourage your friends and colleagues from out of town to patronize them. In that spirit, I will be presenting a proclamation at the June 23 City Council meeting announcing "Independents Week," July 1 through July 7, part of a national effort to honor local, independent businesses and to challenge residents, for that week at least, to meet all of their needs exclusively by shopping at locally owned, independent Berkeley businesses. Part of the "Buy Local Berkeley" consortium of businesses, the challenge reminds us that:

  • 85% of businesses in Berkeley are independently owned
  • Local independents give to local charities at three times the rate per employee than their chain store counterparts
  • Local businesses provide local jobs, needed products and services and local tax revenue

I'll be taking the challenge, hoping to join you in and around the neighborhood with our shopping bags.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Climate Action

On Tuesday, June 2, 2009 the City Council unanimously passed the Climate Action Plan. The recent community discussion around the plan informed the staff creating it and inspired the City Council to eliminate mandates and refer the larger land use proposals for further scrutiny. Like our budget, we will be revisiting it as situations and technologies change. I am convinced that moving forward as a community coming from consensus is the only way we can be successful in meeting the significant challenges that face us. I look forward to an ongoing participatory process as we begin to implement the details of the plan.

For those interested in starting now, or who would like an energy assessment of their home, check out the offer below from the Rising Sun Energy Center

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Live Oak Park Fair

What: North Berkeley's 39th Annual Live Oak Park Fair
When: Saturday and Sunday June 13th and 14th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck Ave.

The annual crafts fair is returning to Berkeley's Live Oak Park with artist exhibitions, crafts, and entertainment that all ages can enjoy. The schedule includes five spectacular bands. Parking is limited so fair organizers encourage attendees to arrive by transit. There will be FREE shuttles to the Fair running every 20 minutes from 10 am - 6 pm both days from the North Berkeley BART Station via Rose and Cedar Streets.

For more information, go to http://www.liveoakparkfair.com/

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Civic Center Art Exhibition

What: Civic Center Art Exhibition and Reception
When: Tuesday June 16th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Building, 6th Floor, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704

The City of Berkeley Public Art Program and the Civic Arts Commission announce a reception for their ongoing exhibit in at the Civic Center building. Showcasing the work of over 30 contemporary Berkeley artists, the exhibit is a collaborative effort with the Berkeley Art Center and the Kala Art Institute. The June reception includes live entertainment by the Young People's Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble as well as remarks by the Honorable Mayor Tom Bates and other elected officials and City staff.

For more information, contact the Civic Arts Program at (510) 981-7539.

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Dance Thursday Nights at Live Oak Park

What: Classes in International Dance with Berkeley Folk Dancers
When: Thursday evenings June 18th - August 7th
           7:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m. - dances for the whole family to enjoy
           8:30 p.m. -9:30 p.m. - dances for dancers 14 and older
Where:Live Oak Park Recreation Center

Join the Berkeley Folk Dancers on Thursday nights for classes in international dance. Teens and adults are welcome to come and spend time with family and community to gain dance experience as well as exercise during these recreational classes. Provided as a gift back to the community, the non-profit, public service organization, Berkeley Folk Dancers (BFD), offers this Summer Program as a resource for music and dance.

Price per night: Children- $2 with an adult, Adults- $5
Price for 8 weeks: Children- $12 with an adult, Adults- $30

For more information, go to http://www.berkeleyfolkdancers.org/

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Update: Tree Hole Mosquitoes

The Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District has issued a local warning about tree hole mosquitoes- the primary carrier of heartworm disease in dogs. The mosquitoes usually bite at night or in shady areas during the day and appear as white specks.

The District advises Berkeley residents to take the following steps to abate the tree hole mosquitoes:

  • Check your property for any standing water, including toys, buckets, drain pipes, etc.
  • For those who collect water for the garden or other purposes, drop doughnut-shaped Mosquito Dunks into the water, which are repellents designed to kill mosquitoes before they hatch ($11.95 for six in hardware stores and nurseries).
  • If you see mosquitoes, please contact the district by phone (510) 783-7744 or email at acmad@mosquitoes.org, and leave a service request.

For further information on the pests, the report can be viewed at http://www.mosquitoes.org/treehole.html.

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Update: Rising Sun Energy Center

The Rising Sun Energy Center is proud to announce their newest program: California Youth Energy Services and Smart Solar, launched in partnership with the California Energy Services Corporation. The California Youth Energy Services offers FREE 'green house calls' to homeowners and renters. Their Youth Energy Specialists will perform a FREE energy efficiency audit in your home and install FREE energy and water saving equipment.

A CYES 'green house call' is a great way to save money, help the environment, and support young people all at the same time. Their summer program runs for six weeks starting June 30th, so call early to reserve your appointment. Call 510-665-1501 x10 to sign up, or visit their website at www.risingsunenergy.org for more information.

If you are interested in Solar, their new Smart Solar program can provide you with free unbiased information about solar products, services, financing, and grants. Call 510-981-7750 or visit www.ebenergy.org/smartsolar for more information about solar.

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