City Council District 5
City Council District 5

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January 7, 2013

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Don't Forget Your Shopping Bags
Coffee with the Councilmember
Saying Goodbye to Two Berkeley Women
Off the Grid is Off of Shattuck
Crime Alert: Burglaries in the Berkeley Hills
Reporting Potholes, Streelights and More
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

As my staff and I begin setting our legislative priorities for the coming year (we will share those next month), I can honestly say we are coming back to work with full hearts. I am honored and excited to be returning to the District 5 office and tremendously grateful to those of you who supported my re-election. Thank you so much. For those who did not support me, I look forward to hearing from you, to working collaboratively to address the many critical issues facing District 5 and our great city.

As we all gingerly step back from the fiscal cliff, and before the wrangling begins on the next round of budget negotiations, we have a brief moment to breathe and to sort through our personal New Year’s resolutions to be safe and healthy. OK, I will be continuing my walks in the neighborhood. But am I prepared for the unexpected? We may have averted a man-made economic disaster (for now), but with the images of hurricane Sandy fresh in my memory, I worry about my own behavior and what I would do in a similar disaster. I, like I suspect many of you, resolve every year to prepare but never quite get there.

Here is an opportunity: The City of Berkeley will be sponsoring a Citywide Emergency Exercise on Saturday, April 27, 2013. There will be more information closer to the event but SAVE THE DATE. In the meantime I plan to use the months leading up to this event to plan for it; to do a few simple things to prepare myself and my family for an unexpected disaster. I invite all of you to join me.

My Preparedness Goal for January 2013:

  1. Call my out-of-area emergency contact and confirm their phone numbers and email address. Let them know that they will be hearing from me after a major event. (It is apparently easier to call out of an area during a disaster than to call within an area.) Distribute their contact information to my family locally and out of the area. Program my cell phone “Emergency Contact” with their phone numbers. After a disaster, family and friends can call this person to find out about me and not have to wade through the overburdened local communication systems in the aftermath.

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

Do a small thing. Do it again. Make it a habit. The habit may save your life.

Oh - and stay away from that cliff.

Happy New Year.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Don’t Forget Your Shopping Bags:
Reusable Bag Ordinance

Starting on January 1, 2013, grocery stores and certain other food retailers in Alameda County can no longer provide single-use plastic carryout bags at checkout.

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority adopted the Reusable Bag Ordinance in January 2012 to reduce the use of single-use carryout bags and promote the use of reusable bags. It went into effect January 1, 2013. The Berkeley City Council has been a long-time proponent of this measure, similar to ordinances that have been adopted in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles County, and other communities throughout California.

Plastic bags are one of the most common litter items found in our waterways, and plastic pollution is a growing threat to oceans and marine life. Plastic bags take hundreds of years to break down or decompose, causing a cumulative litter problem. Shopping with reusable bags helps reduce litter and waste, protects creeks and the bay, and conserves natural resources.

For more information about the ban on single-use plastic bags, go to: FAQ for Shoppers or contact the Alameda County Waste Management Authority through their online contact form, or email

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Coffee with the Councilmember

What: Coffee with the Councilmember
When: Saturday, January 26. 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Where: Thousand Oaks School Picnic Area, near Tacoma and Ensenada.

Please join me for a casual discussion. Bring your questions and concerns. I will bring coffee and snacks. Rain will cancel.

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Goodbye to Two Berkeley Women

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of two local women who, in very individual ways, made significant contributions to the welfare of Berkeley citizens.

Fran Packard is most noted for her leadership role in the League of Women Voters. She served as president of the local chapter and the Bay Area League and was the only Berkeley League member to ever serve as the president of California LWV. Her leadership was instrumental in the League’s statewide advocacy in 1994 of Proposition 186, the ballot measure proposing a single-payer healthcare system. Fran was also active for many years in Berkeley civic affairs, serving on the city's Energy and Landmarks Preservation Commissions, and as Director of the Berkeley Community Fund.

Fran passed away after a two-year struggle with lung cancer during which she continued her various activities, including editing the LWVBAE Voter newsletter, and serving on the Board of the Berkeley Democratic Club. She also continued for several months as a member of the U.C. Police Review Commission.

A memorial service for Fran Packard, who passed away in the early morning of Dec 21, 2012, will be held Saturday, January 26 at 2:00 pm in Haver Hall at Northbrae Church, 941 The Alameda, in Berkeley.

For over twenty-five years, Patricia Hirabara brought boundless energy and dedication to her role as Director of the Live Oak Recreation Center, providing recreation programs to thousands of families and youth in Berkeley. Numerous people who attended her programs as children ended up working for the City of Berkeley, and many of the people she hired and supervised are still City of Berkeley employees some ten to twenty years later.

In 1969, she began working for the City of Berkeley as a part-time Recreation Leader at the James Kenney Community Center under the direction of Bill Haywood. In 1977, she became a full-time Recreation Programmer at the James Kenney Center. Over her 35-year career at the City of Berkeley, she worked at many of the City’s youth programs, including at the City’s Youth Employment Office, the James Kenney Community Center, the Willard Clubhouse, and the Live Oak Community Center, where she was the center director from 1986 to the present.

She was deeply appreciated and will be sorely missed by her colleagues and the many families in Berkeley that shared in her life’s work. Patricia Bulitt, a interdisciplinary artist and dancer who taught at Live Oak and also knew and worked with Pat since the early 70's, recalled, “She wasn’t hidden away in her office. It’s a shock to walk into the center without her laughter and warm greeting.” She has extended family in the Bay Area and is survived by a brother and sister. She was 66 years old.

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Off the Grid is Off of Shattuck

This December saw the last Off the Grid (OTG) food-truck event for North Shattuck Avenue. Many of you have contacted this office and have registered disappointment in the decision made by the North Shattuck Association and the City of Berkeley to end the weekly gathering after an 18-month run.

The primary goal for OTG, as envisioned by the North Shattuck Association (Shattuck Avenue business owners who fund improvements and advertising to promote the shopping district and who were the OTG sponsors), was to promote North Shattuck to a new group of people and to encourage patronage of the local stores and restaurants. They invited OTG to hold an every-Wednesday food truck event in the area also used by the Thursday Farmers’ Market.

Most of the local merchants were originally supportive of giving Off the Grid a try. However, over time, the majority of them and some neighbors found the impacts of OTG – traffic, parking, generator noise and exhaust – ultimately outweighed the hoped-for benefits of exposure and increased commercial activity for the district. In fact, most of the merchants have experienced a significant decrease in patronage and loss of revenue on Wednesday evenings. Despite their original enthusiasm for the event, they decided it was not in their best interests to continue.

OTG is not leaving Berkeley altogether, though. For those who loved their evenings on the street, you can still meet at OTG on Thursday’s at Haste and Telegraph between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

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Crime Alert: Burglaries in the Berkeley Hills

Just before the holidays, Northeast Berkeley hills neighborhoods suffered a significant increase in home burglaries including two events in District 6 where homeowners were victimized by the perpetrators (see the December 21, 2012 Berkeleyside.

The Berkeley Police Department is currently tracking a pattern/trend of residential burglaries in the area. They have significantly increased patrols in the hills and are requesting that residents be vigilant both in reporting events and suspicious activity AND in their own personal crime prevention activities.

In that spirit, our Area Coordinator from the Police Department, Officer Byron White has forwarded the following suggestions for Residential Burglary Prevention:

  • Make sure you secure all of your doors and windows. Over half of the reported burglaries reported involved an unlocked door or window. You should also consider photographing and recording the serial numbers of your valuable items.
  • Increase Natural Surveillance. Make certain the lighting at entryways is lit from dusk to dawn. Criminals do not want to be exposed. Do not let criminals have a place to hide in the darkness.
  • Territorial Reinforcement. Make it clear in your neighborhood that the community is watching through signs, notices, and postings. Crimes happen when you have a motivated offender, a suitable victim, and there is no one to watch what is going on.
  • Maintenance. Keeping up properties, cleaning off graffiti, etc are all ways a potential criminal will know that people in the community are watching/caring about the neighborhood.
  • Create a Security Plan for your household. Have a family sit-down to discuss how your family plans to keep your residence secured. Decide which persons have the responsibilities to do what.
  • Report all suspicious activity to the non-emergency dispatcher: 981-5900. Be prepared to provide a detailed description of the activity and the person including which way the person appears to be going.

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Reporting Potholes, Sidewalks, Streetlights, Graffiti and More

Get the easy things fixed by calling 311 weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm, or by filing an online request at the City’s Online Service Center. You will receive a tracking number that can be used to reference your request if/when you call for an update or for further information.

Reporting problems through a third party application/website significantly delays the response of City staff and eliminates any possibility for staff to ask questions of the reporting citizen.

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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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