City Council District 5
City Council District 5

District 5 Newsletter

March 6, 2009

Dear District 5 Constituents,

It has been a busy first few weeks of the New Year.  With terms like “stimulus,” “shovel ready” and “bail out” trickling down from the feds, those of us on the municipal level are hoping for a flood of relief and capital opportunities like, well, weeks of rain after dire predictions of drought.  It’s possible.   We have just heard from Public Works that one local stimulus project will be the repaving of University Avenue.   Now that the state has adopted its budget, our Budget Director can move forward with proposals for the City’s 2009/2010 budget.   It will certainly be Council’s priority in the months to come.

Locally, we have held a very successful community meeting on Property Crime and Crime Prevention.  Councilmember Susan Wengraf from District 6 and I plan to sponsor further meetings, focusing on the downtown plan, climate action and disaster preparedness.  We are open to suggestions for other meetings. 

During the fall, we heard from many North Shattuck neighbors about the recycling/redemption center at the North Shattuck Safeway.   We hope our efforts described below have improved the situation.

Below are several alerts from the Berkeley Police regarding ongoing investigations.   Please read them carefully.  So often observations and subsequent reports from individuals are the keys to solving local crime.

And finally we have several announcements about opportunities to beautify our community and honor local citizens.  Enjoy the rain!




Budget Basics

The good news is that we finally have a state budget.  The uncertain news is how the state’s budget cuts and extensive borrowing will directly impact the City, its constituents and how far President Obama’s stimulus package will go in mitigating some of the more drastic cuts.  Schools, social services and transit will certainly be hurting.  And as we try to readjust our General Fund expenditures, expect impacts in Parks and Recreation, and general government services as well.

Thanks to your generosity, the passage of Measure GG last November will secure a high level of service from our Fire Department.  And late this summer a new Director of Emergency Services should be in place in addition to expanded CERT and other disaster training programs.

The City Budget Director, Tracy Vessely, has put together an excellent synopsis of the budget and the City Council’s budget calendar.  For those of you want to dive into the entire budget, check out the Budget Office website.


Notes on Crime Prevention

Thursday evening, February 5 at the Northbrae Community Center, Berkeley Police Chief Doug Hambleton and Officer Casimiro Pierantoni, our Area Coordinator, provided an overview of the Berkeley Police Department and offered up strategies for protecting properties against crimes of opportunity.  They fielded dozens of thoughtful questions about staffing, reporting of crimes and prevention.   I appreciate tremendously the Police Department’s time and attention to our community.  Attendees felt reassured about the Department’s expertise and professionalism.


The bottom line for all of us:

Report all crime activity and suspicious behavior to the Police Department.


Crime in action or suspicious behavior.  911 (from land line),

510-981-5911 (from cell phone)

Cold call: After the fact.  510-981-5900


Notes from the meeting and answers to those questions can be found at:

 Property Crime and Crime Prevention and FAQ about Property Crime


Crime Updates

Residential robbery on the 600 block of Santa Barbara Ave.  on 2-24-09 at 9:20 pm.  Six suspects, some of them armed, forced their way into the house after the resident answered a knock at the front door.  The suspects took personal items from the residents and electronic items from the home.  The BPD Robbery Detective Division is aggressively following up on investigative leads in the case.  As of March 3, 2009, the Police state that this is an ongoing and intensive investigation.  They are encouraged by good evidence and positive investigative leads. 

Police Solve North Berkeley Murder.  Berkeley Police have just recently announced an arrest in the death of an El Cerrito teenager that occurred at a North Berkeley party in 2006.  I would like to personally congratulate the Department’s Homicide division and recognize their tenacity in revisiting this crime after three years.

Please do not hesitate to report any suspicious activity to the police.  Any situation that makes you wonder if you should call the police is definitely a situation that warrants a call.  For more information about this and other incidents, contact our Area Coordinator, Officer Pierantoni at (510) 981-5773

Fax: (510) 981-5819 or


Recycling at the North Shattuck Safeway

Our office has been working with the police, the business community, Safeway and their recycling contractor, NexCycle to minimize the impacts of their recycling/redemption program at the North Shattuck store.  Many neighbors have called with issues about noise, garbage, loitering and the poaching of recyclables from our curbside recycling program.  By state law, Safeway (and all major beverage retailers) are required to provide a beverage container redemption opportunity or be within one half mile of one.  Safeway, as a matter of corporate policy, provides that service on their sites, thereby keeping all other beverage retailers within one half mile in compliance. 

We are very pleased that Safeway and NexCycle have brought in a new manager for the site, and have relocated the redemption center so it more easily maintained and away from the sidewalk.  


Thousand Oaks School Clean Up Day

When:  Saturday March 14, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Where:  Thousand Oaks School

Who:   UC Students as part of “Berkeley Project Day,” Thousand Oaks School PTA,  Solano Merchants, Office of Laurie Capitelli

Community members are welcome to join parents, student and neighbors in a collaborative effort to clear weeds, overgrowth and prepare the gardens for spring.  Bring gloves and hand tools


UC Chancellor’s Fund

A new Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund established by the University of California, Berkeley, will distribute $200,000 in grants this year to support projects that link UC Berkeley with the community to improve the quality of life for Berkeley residents. Funds will be made available annually through 2020.

Local community groups, non-profit organizations and neighborhood associations that establish a project in partnership with a UC Berkeley academic or administrative department or with individual faculty and staff members or students will be eligible to apply for funding.

For more information, go to the Chancellor’s Fund


International Women’s Day at the Berkeley Library

When:          Monday, March 9th, 6:30-8pm

Where:         Main Branch Library, 2090 Kittredge, 3rd floor Community Room

Who:            Friends of the Library

Berkeley Public Library will present rare historic film clips of women rock and soul performers.  Music historian and reviewer Richie Unterberger will present his collection of film gems of women singers from the 1950s to the 1980s. Included will be clips of Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, The Ronettes, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield, Janis Joplin, Patty Smith, and others.

This FREE event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library. For more information, please call 510-981-6241 or visit  For accessibility information, call 510-981-6108, TTY 510-548-1240





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