District 5 News Header Image

July 19, 2011

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Program Your Neighbor: National Night Out
Abstract Visions
BUSD Community Meeting: Derby Field Project
Clipper Card: Senior Discount
Recycling Poachers
Berkeley Arts Festival
Lawrence Berkeley Labs: Public Meetings on the Second Campus
Berkeley Public Library: Music Online
Solano Stroll
Out of the Office
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

The City Council adopted Berkeley's 2012/2013 Biennial budget on Tuesday, June 28. Not without controversy, or even some rancor, it was the final product of a year's process of weighing priorities within the shadows of shrinking federal, state and local revenues.

Our budget is balanced, but there will be layoffs. Services will be further reduced. City offices will continue to be closed every other Friday. We still face unfunded pension liabilities. (At my request, the city Manager will present strategies for climbing out of our deficit later in the year).

Our final discussion of the budget process, by some accounts an embarrassment, was whether to backfill several social programs and cultural events in the coming year with a hundred thousand dollars from the City's road paving budget. I admit that some of the requests were compelling. I resisted in part because I fundamentally disapprove of the "just a few thousand dollars out of a multi-million dollar fund" budgeting strategy, but mostly because I believe roads are for people too. "People not pavement" is a simplistic reduction of the complexities and priorities of City budgeting.

Since taking office, my priority has been to expand the citywide revenue base for the programs and resources our citizens deserve, and for the services that many folks need (the safety net) through economic activity generated by a vibrant business sector. The financial meltdown of 2008 set us all back, to be sure, and has continued to cripple the budgets of all local governments. I still firmly believe our way forward, and our ability to provide for the diverse needs of our citizenry is in seizing opportunities to create and expand our revenue-generating resources.

In that spirit, I am proud of the work my office has done this year, and some of the projects that will come to fruition in the near future. They include:

  • Economic Development proposal, adopted July 12. Originally designed to bring a variety of new businesses to Solano Avenue, Council adopted many of the proposals for the commercial districts City-wide. These zoning changes will become law in mid August.
  • Solano Avenue Survey. The over 1300 responses to our 2010 Solano Survey informed these proposed zoning changes, particularly a four-year suspension of the restaurant quotas. Our Zoning Department has already received inquiries from businesses interested in coming into the district under the new rules.
  • Sidewalk Seating. It took almost three years to get sidewalk seating in front of Peet's Coffee on Solano Avenue. Starting next month, applicants will be presented with a simplified form (outlining adequate accessible sidewalk area) and minimal fees.
  • Hass School of Business Telegraph Study. Initiated and organized through my office, Haas Professor Nancy Wallace collaborated with Berkeley's Office of Economic Development to present to her graduate students the real-world model of selected real estate development projects around Telegraph Ave. (See Article here). The project was so successful that the Haas faculty team is looking for other Berkeley locations for upcoming classes.
  • West Berkeley Project. Opening West Berkeley to new types of business, particularly research and development spin offs from UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, is key to expanding Berkeley's potential. I have worked directly with the existing West Berkeley business leaders to insure that new opportunities do not undermine the successes of the existing businesses.
  • Solano Avenue Revitalization. My office is working to coordinate streetscape improvements that include grant funding from a variety of sources. Improvements will include safer sidewalks and intersections, additional street trees, better access to transit, more opportunities for sidewalk seating, and more pedestrian friendly lighting.
  • Soft Story Phase Two. There are still over a hundred identified apartment buildings that are vulnerable to collapse in an earthquake. I am now serving on the 4 x 4 Committee with the Rent Board. We will be developing strategies — carrots and sticks — to assist property owners in making those buildings safe.
  • Community Benefit Development Fees. In the fall, Council will review the new zoning ordinance that will implement the Downtown Area Plan overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2010. A key component of the plan is a series of community benefits to be funded by new developments. They include the creation of public open space, affordable housing, transportation management, and other benefits.

I firmly believe our commitment to provide for the diverse needs of our citizenry lies in our ability to expand and maintain the opportunities for appropriate businesses to locate and grow in our community. When realized, residents will benefit by increased revenue for City services, community-wide benefits including improved infrastructure, employment opportunities and vibrant attractive commercial centers. In other words, we can have paved streets AND the ability to implement progressive social services.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Program Your Neighbor:
National Night Out

The Berkeley community is participating in the 28th annual National Night Out on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. What had started many years ago as a unique crime and drug prevention event has, in the City of Berkeley, evolved into a celebration of neighborhood communities.

This year's theme is "Program Your Neighbor." Take the opportunity to do one easy task that will help in case of an emergency: program your neighbors' contact information into your cell phone (and yours into theirs). By prefacing the entry with "neighbor," you have easier search access to your immediate neighbors AND you indentify those who know you in case someone else needs to use your information to help you in an emergency.

Please consider participating with your neighbors this year. You need not be an organized group to join in the celebration. In the past, groups have hosted BBQ's, pot lucks, picnics, ice cream/dessert socials, kids' parades, neighborhood clean-ups and music performances.

HOW TO SIGN UP: Residents can download the registration form here or from the BPD website. To complete the registration, all groups must submit a block permit with the City of Berkeley for street closures for this event. Please read the Block Party permits and necessary requirements to download the necessary forms.

Questions? Contact CSO Patricia Subia at 510/981-4892 or via email at PSubia@CityofBerkeley.info.

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Abstract Visions

What: Abstract Visions: Berkeley Art Center Exhibition
When: Through August 7, 2011
Where: Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut Street, Berkeley

The exhibition Abstract Visions celebrates the centennial of abstract painting. Abstract art has evolved from its original spiritual and utopian stance in the early 20th century to its present vibrant position. Refuting the digital display of the current moment, abstract paintings are simply pictures, brushed by the hand of the artist, in which emotional intuition is framed by the artist's rational mind into dynamic metaphors.

Curated by Peter Selz, noted art historian, curator, and founder of the Berkeley Art Museum, this compelling compilation of work attests to the present-day vibrancy of abstract art.

For more information on the participating artists and hours of the exhibit, go to the Berkeley Art Center.

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BUSD Community Meeting:
Derby Field Project

What: Community Meeting Regarding the Derby Field
When: Monday, July 25, 2011, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: BTECH Academy Multi-purpose Room
2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (cross street Derby)

The Berkeley Unified School District has scheduled two meetings to bring the community up to date and receive further input on the Derby Field Project. One meeting took place on June 27, 2011, and the second meeting will take place on July 25th.

On June 30, 2010 following a multi-year planning process, the Board of Education approved the conceptual design of the "Curvy Derby Field", a multi-use baseball field for Berkeley High School and the BTECH Academy. In November 2010 Measure I was approved by an overwhelming number of Berkeley voters, which included the funding for this project. The architect has been selected to begin the next step in the process. The target date for completion is February 2013.

For more information call 510-644-6066 or email comments to mark_coplan@berkeley.k12.ca.us.

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Clipper Card: Senior Discount

Bob Franklin, BART Board of Directors, tells us that senior discount Clipper Cards can be purchased at:

  • The Lake Merritt BART station on the concourse level
  • 1600 Franklin Street (the AC Transit headquarters) in Downtown Oakland.

Because you have to provide an ID, you must purchase the card in person. Once you sign up, you do not have to renew it and it automatically deducts any senior discount on public transit (62.5% on BART). Alternatively, you can buy a discounted single ticket at Walgreens near the Berkeley BART station, which gives you the same 62.5% discount.

To buy a standard adult Clipper card online, go to Clipper Card.

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Recycling Poachers

Since September of last year, the Police Department has been working with the Ecology Center, the Public Works Department and the Zero Waste Commission on strategies to identify and cite recycling poachers. I know recycling theft has been a huge frustration to many of you, both as violations of personal property and as an obvious loss of revenue for the city.

As part of this effort, we are still encouraging residents to help identify poachers, particularly those using vehicles. Please report recycling theft to the Ecology Center at (510) 527-5555, or to the Berkeley Police non-emergency line at (510) 981-5900. Be prepared to include a description of the poacher, vehicle license number and/or description of poacher's vehicle if possible. For your safety, do not confront the thieves. If possible, discourage poaching by setting out your material on collection morning instead of the night before.

Rarely can the police respond in time to cite the poachers in the act, so please do not be discouraged if they do not. But, reports are recorded, owners of reported vehicles are sent letters from the police and they can be cited at a future date.

The City Council is expecting a report on the coordinated strategy, including a comprehensive list of all the reports, police citations and subsequent enforcement at the county level this November.

To read the staff report on the initiative, go to Strategy for Discouraging Poaching of Recyclables. For more information on Berkeley's recycling program, go to Residential Recycling or the Ecology Center.

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What: The Berkeley Arts Festival
When: July 12 through August 15, 2011
Where: University Avenue and various Berkeley locations

Come Downtown this summer to enjoy performances by some of the most creative people in Berkeley: musicians, composers and writers who bring vibrant talents for all to hear and see.

For a schedule of performances and a listing of ongoing events and exhibits, go to the Berkeley Arts Festival.

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Lawrence Berkeley Labs:
Public Meetings on the Second Campus

The proposed Second Campus for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is an effort to consolidate laboratory programs currently in leased spaces spread throughout the Bay Area, provide room for future Lab growth, and provide long-term cost savings as the Laboratory pursues its scientific research mission.

Of the six potential sites selected by the Lab, three are all or partially in Berkeley: Berkeley Aquatic Park West, Golden Gate Fields, and an Emeryville/West Berkeley site already home to some LBNL offices.

Public meetings have been scheduled for each of the six sites. The meetings will include presentations about Berkeley Lab, information on potential site development, and comments from local officials. Members of the public and community organizations are invited to attend, listen, and comment.

The three public meetings about Berkeley sites are:

Thursday, August 4, 2011 7 - 9 p.m. Aquatic Park West
Frances Albrier Community Center, 2800 Park St. Berkeley, 94702

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. Golden Gate Fields
Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Avenue, Albany, 94706

Monday, August 8, 2011 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Emeryville-Berkeley proposal
Emeryville City Hall, 1333 Park Avenue, Emeryville, 94608

The University and Lab staff will thoroughly review all information on each site compiled throughout the selection process. A final decision on a preferred site is planned for late November 2011.

Go here for more information on Berkeley Lab's proposed second campus, including the full public meeting schedule.

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Berkeley Public Library: Music Online

What: Berkeley Public Library: introduction to Music Online
When: Saturday, August 6, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library's Electronic Classroom

The Berkeley Public Library has a great collection of CDs and vinyl - over 40,000 rock, jazz, classical, opera, world or folk albums. Now you can use your computer or smart phone to access it.

Join library staff for a free introduction to "Music Online," the streaming database that lets patrons listen to music from home.

For more info please call 510-981-6148, visit www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org or see the event flyer at Music Online. Wheelchair accessible.

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Solano Stroll

What: 37th Annual Solano Stroll
When: Sunday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Solano Avenue between San Pablo Avenue and The Alameda

Sunday, September 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. is the 37th Annual Solano Stroll, celebrating "Unsung Heroes." Go to the stroll website to find out about hours, the parade, booth applications and shuttle buses.

I will be manning a booth on the upper portion of the Avenue with Mayor Bates and Councilmember Susan Wengraf. Please look for us and stop by for a chat.

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Out of the Office

The City Council will be on recess from July 20 to September 20. My staff will be on vacation and the office will be closed from August 12 to 19, returning to attend to constituent inquiries on August 22. Our next newsletter will be after Labor Day.

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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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