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October 7, 2010

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Community Meeting: Fire Safety and the November Election
Automatic Gas Shut-Off Valves
Last Chance to Take the Solano Survey
New Recycling Carts: One Container, Twice as Easy
Berkeley Takes Action: 10/10/10 Work Parties
Tree in a Box?
Support Our Parks with Your Vote for Berkeley Partners for Parks 
Community Meeting: Low Income Service and Housing Needs 
Safe Bicycling in the Berkeley Hills

Note from the Councilmember

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

This past week I held a meeting about urban deer with City staff, a UC Berkeley biologist and State Fish and Game representatives. We were able to get an overview of the situation in the East Bay and Berkeley, review current research and empirical data and assess available resources.

Here is what we learned:

  • The deer we see in our residential neighborhoods are NOT migrating daily down from Tilden Park. These animals have found habitat among us not unlike raccoons, squirrels and other wildlife.
  • To relocate deer to more "appropriate" habitat is a death sentence. Evidence shows that 95% of deer do not survive after relocation.
  • Current oral birth control methods are effective for only two years and are difficult and expensive to distribute.
  • All reported aggressive deer interactions have happened during the same four-week period in the spring. They have all included interactions with dogs. Reported interactions are a very small number per year.
  • Berkeley Animal Control will intervene only if there is clear evidence that an animal is sick or injured.
  • Berkeley Animal Control picks up 50 to 60 dead deer per year within the City Limits. That number has not changed since the mid 1990's when the numbers were briefly higher. On the whole, there is no evidence that deer numbers have increased significantly in the past 15 years.

So where do we go from here? Clearly there are no simple answers and unfortunately no community consensus on how to treat certain kinds of wildlife that have found habitat in our neighborhoods.

As a start, my office will be working with our coalition of animal experts and City staff to produce a fact sheet, resources and best practices that we will post on our website next month. In the spring, in the areas of expected activity, our Animal Control will post signs alerting folks to deer, suggesting that dogs be kept on leashes and dog walkers carry a walking stick. In the meantime, please report unusual experiences to our Animal Control staff or to the California State Department of Fish and Game (510-758-1024). My take is that our relationship with these animals as neighbors is still evolving, as is our municipal approach to managing them. Please stay tuned.

Next week we will be discussing other forms of preparedness at our fall Community Meeting. Fire Chief Deborah Pryor and member of her staff will talk about Fire Safety, and the City Clerk (along with Councilmember Wengraf and myself) will be addressing the November ballot both structurally and substantively. Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson will be our special guest. Please join us!

Other opportunities: Check out Berkeley's new recycling bins. Consider "acting locally" during the 10 - 10 - 10 Global Work Party. Take the Solano Avenue Survey if you haven't already (only 5 days left). Vote in support of Berkeley parks.

And as we plan for the future, a view to the past always helps give us perspective. As you check out the new Clipper Card offered by our local transit agencies, take a look at this footage filmed from a Berkeley Street car in 1906. Maybe they were the good old days.

Please don't forget to vote November 2!


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Community Meeting
Fire Safety and the November Election

What: Town Hall Meeting: Fire Chief Debora Pryor, Supervisor Keith Carson, Ranked Choice Voting and 2010 Ballot Measures
When: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda

Fire Chief Pryor and BFD staff will present fire safety strategies including vegetation management and general fire safety for North Berkeley residents, particularly those who live in the hills. Keith Carson, our Alameda County Supervisor, will lead off the meeting with an overview of what is going on at the county level. (Check out his newsletter.) Staff from the Berkeley City Clerk's office will be on hand to explain "Ranked Choice Voting," new to Berkeley this election cycle. Councilmember Susan Wengraf and myself will do a short overview of the measures on Berkeley's local ballot issues.

This is an opportunity for you to meet your county and council representatives and members of the City staff in order to express your ideas and concerns as well as ask questions. Hope to see you there!

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Automatic Gas Shut-Off Valves

At their first meeting of the fall session, City Council approved an addition to the Municipal Code mandating the installation of automatic gas shut-off valves for new construction and for alteration/remodels with a valuation greater than $50,000. Because of recent technological advances that allow these devices to be exceptionally reliable and easier to reset, these valves will now be considered an essential tool within a homeowner's disaster preparedness plan.

More information on automatic gas shut off valves can be found at PG&E's website. Many neighborhoods have already installed these valves as part of their earthquake preparedness program. One need not wait until a major remodel to install one. If several homes do the installation at the same time, discounts can be negotiated.

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Last Chance to Take the Solano Survey

Thank you to all of you who have responded to our survey about Solano Avenue. As of this newsletter, we have received over 1000 responses! Our plan is to close the survey by Sunday, October 10. If you have been waiting to go on line and tell us what you think, you still have a few more days to do so.

The survey can be found at solanosurvey.com, or visit Solano Survey on my website.

We will post the results in time for the November newsletter.

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New Recycling Carts: One Container, Twice as Easy

The rolling recycling carts are coming! An expansion of our current recycling program, the new blue can will eliminate the blue bins and paper bags that residents previously used. The new rolling carts are more convenient, tidy, and easier to use. All cart lids will have colorful, graphic instructions for use.

Why a split can? Residents will continue to separate cans and bottles from paper and cardboard. Clean, uncontaminated paper is more valuable, hence more recyclable than paper mixed with glass bits and residue from dirty containers.

Large cardboard must be cut to fit in the cart or flattened, bundled and set out next to the cart. Carts must be at the curb by 7am on collection day. Recyclables will still be collected on the same day as rubbish and compostables.

The new cans will be delivered to your home between October 15 and November 15th.

For further information go to the Ecology Center or call the hotline (527-5555).

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Berkeley Takes Action: 10/10/10 Work Parties

Circle 10/10/10 on your calendar. That's the date. The place is wherever you live. And the point is to do something that will help deal with global warming in your city or community.

As part of the international 350.org effort to combat climate change through local projects, Berkeley volunteers invite residents to participate in a community project or start their own. The day will culminate in a celebration at the downtown Martin Luther King/Civic Center Park 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Berkeley's 10/10/10 organization is sponsored by the City of Berkeley (Office of Sustainability and Development), the Ecology Center and the Victory Garden Foundation.

In District 5, Thousand Oaks School is hosting a Garden Party from 10 am to 2 pm. For more information and registration, go here.

Help to restore lower Codornices Creek at 10th and Harrison with Friends of Five Creeks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information and registration, go here.

To learn more about Sunday's local activities and a list of other Berkeley projects looking for volunteers, go to Berkeley Takes Action: 10/10/10.

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Tree in a Box?

A small handful of Coastal Live Oak trees in Berkeley parks have been victimized by intentional poisoning, according to the city’s Parks maintenance staff. The recently constructed “boxes” installed around these trees are designed to prevent further applications of any herbicides.

If you observe anyone engaging in some suspicious activity that is contributing to this serious problem, please alert the police at 510-981-5900 or the Parks and Recreation Office at (510) 981-6700 or the City's Forestry Division at (510) 981-6660.

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Support Our Parks with Your Vote for Berkeley Partners for Parks

Berkeley Partners for Parks is a local non-profit that supports community activities in and around our City Parks. A vital agency, it is the fiscal sponsor — the legal nonprofit — providing bookkeeping, tax reporting, liability insurance, and the ability to receive tax-free donations to volunteer citizen groups who transform our outdoor and recreational spaces. BPFP is the legal entity behind The Berkeley Path Wanderers, Friends of King Park, the Thousand Oaks Urn Project, Friends of Five Creeks and more.

Mark Liolios, head of Aquatic Park EGRET, has been chosen as one of five "Cox Conserve Heroes" for San Francisco Bay by the Trust for Public Land. This honors more than a decade of effort in environmental education and restoration, and EGRET's work with volunteers restoring beauty, habitat, and historic values to the often-neglected, WPA-built lagoons east of the freeway. Mark gets $1250 for the nonprofit of his choice -- or $5000 if he gets the most votes online. He has chosen Berkeley Partners for Parks. Please help BPFP win this award.

1. Please click here to go to the website where you can see short videos on the five "heroes."

2. They are all inspirations, but by "voting" for Mark Liolios, you will be voting to support Berkeley Partners for Parks and their support for efforts like this.

3. Please send an e-mail to family, friends, colleagues, other groups, asking them to vote, too. A version of this message easily posted to Facebook and other social media is at www.bpfp.org.

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Community Meeting
Service and Housing Needs for Low Income Residents

What: Joint Commission Meeting: Berkeley Public Hearing on Community Needs of Low Income Residents
When: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Where: South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street

The Homeless, Housing Advisory, Human Welfare and Community Action, and Parks & Recreation Commissions will be holding a joint public hearing to hear from any residents of Berkeley what services and housing are needed by low-income people in Berkeley.

This information will be used by the four Commissions in prioritizing resources for services and housing needed to meet community needs. The information will also help shape various plans submitted to the State and Federal government.

Please refer to the flyer for this event, or contact Kristen Lee, Community Services Specialist, City of Berkeley Housing & Community Services Department kslee@ci.berkeley.ca.us

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Driving and Bicycling Safely in the Berkeley Hills

One of my constituents asked me to remind those residents who drive and/or bicycle on Grizzly Peak and Wildcat Canyon Roads to please pay more attention while sharing the road. Drivers need to be alert to regular bicyclists, possibly around blind curves. Riding bicycles two or more abreast on narrow winding roads is dangerous for both bicyclists and drivers. While construction work continues on the fourth bore of the Caldecott tunnel, more drivers may be using the hills corridor to commute.

Please be alert and stay safe!

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