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April 12, 2011

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Catalogue Choice – Your Choice
Earth Day on the Bay
Earth Day in the Downtown
Paths and Parks: Local Places . . . Sacred Spaces
Ready, Set, Recycle Contest!
Light/Dark: Exhibit from the California Society of Printmakers
Help track – and slow – Sudden Oak Death, April 30-May 1
Berkeley Police Area 1 Update
North Branch Library Closure
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

April is a time of family vacations, college visits, wildflowers, Earth Day, City Council recess - and the occasional hail storm.

Just as folks began to hit the sunnier streets last week, we learned that AG Ferrari had closed its doors on Solano Avenue. Disappointing doesn't begin to describe the frustration of the neighbors and business owners who face daily too many empty store fronts. As a business person on Solano, I understand completely. But, there is room for optimism. The zoning changes proposed by this office for Solano Avenue, designed to provide a bit more flexibility for prospective businesses, are now before the Planning Commission with a scheduled hearing for April 27. If all goes well, the City Council will hear the item on June 14 and adopt a final reading before summer's end. On March 3 the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association hosted its own discussion about the proposal. Members and residents were generally supportive and all attendees were passionate about their desire that the Avenue be vibrant and attractive. I am anticipating some positive changes on the Avenue in the near future.

More startling, certainly, was the news of a shooting incident at Berkeley High School. Along with many other members of the school community, I attended the March 28 community forum and the March 30 BUSD School Board meeting to address the situation. I was impressed with the level-headed and serious response from the whole community and the wealth of strategies to make the campus a safe place for our students. Police Chief Michael Meehan subsequently issued a series of recommendations to the school board that include: closing the campus (at least for underclassmen), requiring more visible ID badges, metal detectors, a more collaborative relationship between the BHS security and the Berkeley Police Department. These proposals will be evaluated by a BUSD Board-appointed subcommittee (including parents, staff and students) and returned to the School Board for implementation.

Before our spring break, the City Council did approve the first piece of legislation regarding the West Berkeley Project. Many thanks to all of you who contributed comments. When Council reconvenes at the end of April, we will continue the discussion focusing on Master Use Permits and research and development. (For an overview of the West Berkeley Project, and FAQs, go to West Berkeley Project: Frequently Asked Questions.)

Since our last newsletter regarding the Solid waste budget and the Ecology Center contract, many of you e-mailed questions about our Solid Waste program. A few answers:

  • According to the Ecology Center, recycling tonnage is up almost 25% since mid October when the split carts were introduced. (See the Ecology Center's assessment of the split cart program.)
  • Refuse tonnage sent to the landfills has declined by 30% since 2008.
  • Over the same period, total organics, which includes our residential green waste, has increased by 14%, almost all of which is composted and recycled.

In more recycling news, Stopwaste.org is sponsoring a recycling contest, and the City of Berkeley is partnering with Catalogue Choice to help residents minimize the paper streamed into our households through the mail.

So while you are reducing, reusing or recycling, take a moment to enjoy the sunshine. Check out the Bay Festival, preserve our native oak trees, or honor the folks who support our parks and the paths we wander. Take a moment to celebrate the sun between the hail storms.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Catalogue Choice – Your Choice

Do you want to eliminate some of your paper waste - catalogues, marketing mailings, donation solicitations and phone books - before it goes in the recycling? Catalogue Choice, a free, local mail preference service, has recently partnered with the City of Berkeley to assist Berkeley's community members and businesses in managing their paper consumption before it becomes recycling.

By stopping unwanted mail, our community will be preserving natural resources and reducing clutter. Even if you already recycle, the waste caused by unwanted mail goes beyond the needless use of trees. The paper production process, the emissions caused by delivery, the space discarded mail takes up in landfills, and the time spent sorting is all waste.

By using Catalog Choice, you will be able to track the environmental benefits of your opt-outs measured in trees, greenhouse gas, solid waste and water saved.

Get started by going to Berkeley Catalogue Choice. You will be asked to set up a secure account. From there you can select the catalogues that you want to receive, and opt out of you those you don't.

The Promise: dramatically less paper recycling.

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Earth Day on the Bay

What: Ribbon Cutting for IScream Ice Cream Store
When: Friday, March 18, 3 p.m.
Where: 1819 Solano Avenue

Spend a day celebrating our beautiful shoreline through music, boat rides, hands-on science activities and great food. Come at 9:00 am and help clean the shoreline. Stay to commemorate and honor those folks who had the foresight to preserve the Berkeley coastal area at a late morning ceremony. Have fun with your friends and family.

The Berkeley Bay Festival, a mix of environmental, educational activities and outdoor fun, has been a community event since 1937! It is sponsored by the City of Berkeley and the Marina Experience Program.

For more information and a schedule of the day's activities, go to the Berkeley Bay Festival or check out the event flyer.

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Earth Day in the Downtown

What: Berkeley Earth Day Festival
When: Saturday, April 23 12:00p.m. - 5:00p.m.
Where: Civic Center Park, MLK & Allston

Berkeley Earth Day is an annual event held in April to celebrate the environmental movement and creatively challenge the problems facing our planet. This year is Earth Day's 41st anniversary! Enjoy cultural performers, speakers and resources to link individuals and groups with each other in community based ecological activities.

For more information: Berkeley Earth Day.

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Paths and Parks: Local Places . . . Sacred Spaces

What: Berkeley Public Library's "Local Places . . . Sacred Spaces."
Berkeley Path Wanderers & Berkeley Partners for Parks
When: Saturday, May 7, 2011. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Central Library's 3rd floor Community Meeting Room
2090 Kittredge at Shattuck

Come learn about two local treasures in your community. The Berkeley Path Wanderers and the Berkeley Partners for Parks, both enhance the life of our community's local places, helping to make them the sacred spaces we both need and want. Presentations by representatives from the two organizations will be followed by Q & A and discussion. The Path Wanderers will be offering their newest edition of their splendid Berkeley paths map as well as paths cards for sale at the program.

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Ready, Set, Recycle Contest!

What: StopWaste.org Recycling Contest
When: The week of April 8
Where: Local refuse containers

StopWaste.org, Alameda County's waste authority, is having a recycling contest for residential and multifamily customers. They'll place a tag on randomly selected residential carts the week of April 8, and will then choose refuse containers to sort the week of April 18. They are looking for the best set-out with the least recyclable and compostable materials in the refuse container. Winners get $50 gift cards and other prizes!

Please visit http://www.ReadySetRecycleContest.org for more details, to make a recycling pledge, and to opt-in or opt-out of the contest.

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What: LIGHT/DARK: Exhibit from the California Society of Printmakers
When: April 2 through May 29 2011
Gallery Hours Wed - Sun, 12:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Where: Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut Street, Berkeley

Chosen from a submission pool of nearly 100 members of the California Society of Printmakers and selected by renowned Bay Area printmaker Enrique Chagoya, this exhibition features 53 works from 53 artists encompassing a range of styles and approaches based in the print medium.

Within the broad exhibition concept of Light/Dark, the selected works address existential themes, graphic imagery, and social commentary with insight and humor. Berkeley Art Center is honored to play a part in recognizing this esteemed organization of California printmakers on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.

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Help track – and slow – Sudden Oak Death, April 30-May 1

What: Volunteer effort to track Sudden Oak Death Infestation
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30 through Sunday May 1, 2011
Where: Training on UC Campus, various East Bay locations

Susan Schwartz, Friends of Five Creeks, has asked us to announce a local volunteer effort to track the sudden oak death infestation in the East Bay.

"Berkeley Partners for Parks is helping UC Berkeley's Dr. Matteo Garbelotto organize a Sudden Oak Death 'bioblitz.' After a one-hour training at UC Berkeley at 1:30 PM Saturday, volunteers will fan out to search for diseased leaves of carrier plants – mostly bay trees. Volunteers are welcome to survey where they want – including their own homes — or we will suggest sites. Suspect samples are turned in at a UC Berkeley drop box by 5 p.m. Sunday. After lab testing, results will be posted on line and on Google Earth. A public meeting in early fall will discuss findings and next steps."

To volunteer for the event, go to http://sodblitz.eventzilla.net.

For more information and related links, go to Help track – and slow – Sudden Oak Death.

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Berkeley Police Area 1 Update 

From Officer Byron White

In the April 2011 issue:

  • Grocery Store Robbery Leads to South Berkeley Chase
  • Attempted Burglary in Westbrae Neighborhood
  • Warm Weather Provides Burglars with Opportunity
  • Coffeehouse Theft
  • Nighttime Vandals Tag Thousand Oaks Neighborhood

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North Branch Library Closure:

What: North Branch Library:
Temporary Closure for Renovations and New Construction
When: Beginning Monday, April 25, 2011, for approximately 12 to 16 months
Where: The North Branch Library, 1170 The Alameda at Hopkins

It is official. The North Branch Library will close for renovation and construction beginning Monday, April 25. The last open day for public service will be Saturday, April 23rd.

The Library will continue to post project information and updates on its website at berkeleypubliclibrary.org/branchimprovements and hopes to see you at the North Branch Library grand re-opening slated for mid-2012. Library staff and supporters look forward to bringing you a current code compliant, seismically safe, fully accessible green building with more public space, enhanced historic features, and a new meeting room for library programs and public use.

Library BranchVan service will begin on Monday, April 25th on Shattuck Avenue at Berryman Street, in front of Live Oak Park Recreation Center. Check out the Library's webpage or pick-up a North Branch Temporary Closure Guide for more service information during the temporary closure including the BranchVan and children's story time schedules.

For more information call (510) 981-6195.

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City Contacts and Resources

Listed below are important city phone numbers to keep close by:

Laurie Capitelli, District 5 Office


Tom Bates, Office of the Mayor


Officer Byron White, BPD Area Coordinator for North Berkeley


Non-emergency (to report a past event or suspicious activity)


Emergency (to report a crime in process or an emergency)
from a landline


From a cell phone 


To report nonfunctioning street lamps, graffiti, missed garbage pick-ups

On Line Service Center
or dial 311

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