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April 3, 2013

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Be Prepared: City-Wide Disaster Preparedness Exercise
Preparedness Goal for April 2013
Supporting Our Teachers, Our Schools
Volunteer to Track Sudden Oak Death
Farms in Berkeley?
Plan Bay Area
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

Potholes. Tree roots. Patchwork asphalt. Weeds. Some days our streets look and feel more like a Whack-a-Mole game at an amusement park than an integral part of Berkeley's transportation infrastructure.

Despite some recent progress (rebuilding of University Ave., Sacramento St., Martin Luther King Jr. Way), too many Berkeley streets are in desperate need of attention. I'm sure that's why last year Berkeley voters supported Measure M. Add to our infrastructure woes an EPA court-ordered mandate that requires Berkeley (and all East Bay municipalities) to proactively improve the quality of water runoff into the bay, and we have a significant challenge that is both structural and environmental.

Berkeley’s Measure M, passed by City voters in November 2012, was designed to address this challenge – in part. The City Council carefully crafted a proposal that would improve the rate at which we repave our streets while providing resources, when appropriate, to address the storm water issues as they relate to the street/curb/drain infrastructure. Think opportunities for water to percolate into the ground instead of running down gutters and storms drains and flooding West Berkeley. Policies have been indentified in the Watershed Management Plan, and Measure M can provide funds for repaving while proving committed community support for clean water grant applications.

Council now has to approve an expenditure plan that maximizes our resources and insures they are distributed fairly. Our process began with the March 19, 2013 Council Worksession when Public Works staff presented their 2014-2015 Capital Budget and their projected Capital Improvement plan. (Go to page 8 for Pavement Management.)

We need to develop a plan collaboratively and promptly. Public input through the Public Works and the Community Environmental Advisory Commissions needs to be considered, filtered, prioritized and brought back to Council within six months. During our Council discussion, I challenged my Council colleagues to take a blood oath: that we accept the fact that none of us will get everything we want from the bond projects. If we waist time, years, by obstructing a compromise plan, we won't have the money to do half of what we could have done. (Remember our Animal Shelter project. The bond was approved in 2002. Conflicting interests took 7 years to agree to a location and plan. Eleven years after approval our resources at hand were diminished significantly.)

I look forward to reviewing the commissions' recommendations and working with my Council colleagues to develop a comprehensive, equitable and timely plan to make our roads safer and better integrated with our watershed plan.

One final thought: just because our newly paved streets will look faster, please don't be tempted. Talk to those who live along Spruce, The Arlington, Marin and other recently repaved commute thoroughfares. For some residents those speed-limiting patches and potholes are looking pretty good.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Be Prepared:
CERT Citywide Exercise

What: A simulated 6.9 earthquake on the Hayward Fault
When: Saturday, April 27, 2013. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Where: Your neighborhood

The Berkeley CERT Citywide Exercise will provide residents an opportunity to work with the City and their neighbors to take next steps in emergency preparedness. Some folks may be editing supplies and testing equipment already stashed, while other groups may be in the beginning stages of sharing contact information. Everything and anything you do advances the community, and you, closer to preparedness.

“Any community group or individual can participate in this exercise, it’s not just for CERT groups,” said Berkeley Interim Fire Chief Gil Dong. “This exercise is designed to provide all of us an opportunity to bolster our emergency preparedness and it also gives the City and the community a chance to work together to practice disaster response in Berkeley neighborhoods.”

What can you do to participate?

If you’re an individual:

If you’re a neighborhood group or organization:

  • Visit the exercise web page for information about the exercise;
  • Download the Participant Handbook, which provides details on how to participate;
  • Register your group as an official exercise participant;
  • Demonstrate effective communications within your neighborhood and with the City.

Registration is open NOW and is available to everyone. You can find the REGISTRATION link by going through the CERT Exercise web site.

Questions? See the CERT flyer or email the Office of Emergency Services.

About Berkeley CERT: In a catastrophic disaster, government resources (people and supplies) may not be available in every neighborhood for several days following the event. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program provides education in disaster preparedness and provides training in basic emergency skills. Curriculum includes basic disaster preparedness, fire safety, disaster medical operations, search and rescue and more.

Berkeley CERT approaches community preparedness through three key components: Response, Training, and Volunteering. Looking at the community's role even before a disaster, citizens must take steps to respond to their own needs for training. Community members plug into preparedness by working on program development, as volunteer trainers, as subject matter experts and as community volunteer responders.

For more information, visit Berkeley CERT’s webpage. Residents with questions about participation can contact Khin Chin at (510) 981-5506 or Khin Chin.

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My Preparedness Goal for April 2013

Sign into the Berkeley Emergency Notification System (BENS) and sign up for an emergency exercise text message.

During the April 27 simulated Earthquake, I will:

  • Anxiously await my BENS text message on April 27.
  • Call my out-of-area contact.
  • Invite my neighbors for coffee and share contact information and emergency contacts and schedule another meeting in the not too distant future.
  • Listen to 1610 AM radio.

For more information, go to the City’s Office of Emergency Services.

Do a small thing. Do it again. Make it a habit.

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Supporting Our Teachers, Our Schools

What: Berkeley Public Education Foundation Luncheon; a Fundraising Event in Support of Berkeley Public Schools
When: Friday, May 10, 2013. 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Where: Hs Lordships Restaurant on the Berkeley Marina

As a parent and former teacher, I have been a long-time advocate and passionate supporter of our public schools. For almost twenty years I served as a board member of the Berkeley Public Education Foundation (BPEF) and am honored to return each year as the MC for their annual spring luncheon.

The BPEF, through its community volunteers, donations and fundraising efforts, provides significant additional resources for Berkeley’s public schools. Classroom grants awarded directly to teachers fund everything from field trips to science labs to art projects to expanded libraries.

To learn more about the BPEF and its luncheon, please go to the Berkeley Public Education Foundation Spring Luncheon. I hope you can join us.

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Help Track Sudden Oak Death

What: Annual Volunteer Effort to Track Sudden Oak Death Infestation
When: Training at 1:00 pm Saturday, April 27. Volunteer tracking through Sunday April 28, 2012
Where: Training at Mulford Hall UC Campus. Tracking at various East Bay locations

Sudden Oak Death, the fungus-like water mold that is devastating Coast Live Oaks, is present in several parts of the Berkeley Hills. No cure has been found for it, but tracking the pathogen shows when to take timely action to slow spread or protect specific trees. Loss of oaks affects scenic beauty, watersheds, and birds and other wildlife that depend on these trees. Dead and dying trees increase fire hazard and danger to people or property.

To be a part of this year’s volunteer effort to survey and track the pathogen, sign up at Sudden Oak Death Bioblitz. You can survey where you like, including your own back yard. Organizers also are glad to suggest routes. You can take a 1-hour training on the UC Berkeley campus or find other training sessions around the bay at UC Berkeley SODBLITZ.

After laboratory analysis, results are announced on the web and at public meetings in fall.

For more information on the pathogen or on other trainings, including how to protect trees, go to the California Oak Mortality Task Force or the SOD Blitz Project sponsored by the lab of UC Berkeley's Dr. Matteo Garbelotto, organizer of the annual surveys. The local survey is co-sponsored by Friends of Five Creeks.

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From Farm to Urban Farming:
Berkeley’s Agricultural History

What: Berkeley: From Farm to Urban Farming 1850-2013. Museum exhibit
When: Exhibit Opening and General Meeting: April 14th, 2013. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Center Hours: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Where: The Berkeley Historical Society, 1931 Center Street, Berkeley

The King School garden was not the first as illustrated by the next exhibit at the Berkeley Historical Society. It highlights the farms, dairies, nurseries, and orchards that dotted the land in the early days, and chronicles the continued importance of agriculture in Berkeley’s life today through the community farm and urban farm movements. It will bring together a collection of photographs, maps, objects, and first-hand accounts to tell the story of how Berkeley developed from rural territory in the 19th century into a residential, educational, and manufacturing community in the 20th century, to the thriving urban farm and community garden movement today.

For information go to the Berkeley Historical Society.

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Comment on the Draft Bay Area Plan.

Plan Bay Area is an integrated land use and transportation plan created through One Bay Area, a joint initiative of four of the San Francisco Bay Area’s regional government agencies – the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). All regions in California must complete such plans under Senate Bill 375, the law which calls upon California’s 18 metro areas to plan jointly for transportation, land-use and housing with the ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light-duty trucks.

Plan Bay Area looks forward to the year 2040 and charts a course for the nine Bay Area county’s first ever “Sustainable Communities Strategy.” The Draft Plan Bay Area and its Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) are now available for public review and comment. This will start the public comment period for the long-range plan that has been discussed and developed over the past two years.

Go toPlan Bay Area to find out how to access a copy of the plan and to see a schedule of public meetings and public hearings.

MTC and ABAG are slated to adopt Plan Bay Area this summer.

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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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