City Council District 5
City Council District 5

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March 4, 2013

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Berkeley Art Museum Moves Downtown
Coffee with the Councilmember
Berkeley Police Neighborhood Update
Be Prepared: City-Wide Disaster Preparedness Exercise
Preparedness Goal for March 2013
Flexpackage: Energy Efficiency Rebates
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

“The truth is, we just don’t want anything to change.” This comment came recently at the end of a long and earnest discussion about several proposed changes within a neighborhood shopping area. It seemed to me a fair and candid assessment of how this constituent and some others in our community genuinely feel when confronted with proposed developments or changes to our city.

I get it. When things are working, or are working for you, why change anything? We live in a beautiful, vibrant and desirable area, where residents can live a quiet, residential life with many urban amenities. We absolutely want to preserve what works and what we love.

But change is inevitable and effective preservation is not about doing nothing. As anyone who owns a house soon learns, home maintenance can take almost as much time, energy and resources as home remodeling. Without creative attention and regular investment to our built world, things deteriorate. Whether on the local, regional, state, national or international level, we have to adapt to the changes that are always unfolding around us.

And there are no prescriptive solutions. On a local level, zoning regulations that preserved a vibrant shopping area a generation ago become unreasonable hurdles in a different economic climate. Streets designed to accommodate street cars in the last century need to be redesigned for slower traffic and safe bike and pedestrian use. An urban park that celebrated grassroots community participation a generation ago is now all but abandoned by the greater community, in a holding pattern for a new public vision.

As legislators we advocate for change even when we are trying to preserve our way of life, our environment, our economy, our heritage. Our challenge is to find that sweet spot that balances very limited resources with community priorities, individual needs with public benefits.

So when you say, “We just don’t want anything to change,” I do hear you. It’s a clear call to action.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Berkeley Art Museum
Pacific Film Archive
Coming to Downtown Berkeley

Construction begins next week on the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive to be located on Oxford Street across from UC between Center and Addison Streets. The construction phase of the project is slated to last through 2015 with the opening scheduled for Spring 2016. The Downtown community is excited to welcome its new neighbor and anticipates the BAM/PFA center will be a dynamic bridge between the City and the University.

Construction will cause impacts to traffic and parking in the Downtown. Beginning March 2, the University Hall parking lot at Oxford and Addison will be closed permanently. For those of you who use the lot in the evenings and on weekends be sure to make other arrangements.

Please see the Parking information regarding closure of University Hall Structure.

For other parking opportunities, check out additional City-owned off street parking. There is also public parking below Library Gardens at 2020 Kittredge, just west of the Main Library.

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Coffee with the Councilmember

What: Coffee with the Councilmember
When: Wednesday, March 20. 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Where: Café Roma, 1549 Hopkins Street, Berkeley

I hope you can join me for a short discussion about what is happening in District 5 and at the City Council. Bring your questions. I will have a few of my own. Rain will cancel.

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Berkeley Police Department
Neighborhood Update

The Berkeley Police Department has released the second volume in their newsletter series. Read about crime prevention strategies and updates on recent crime events.

Go to Neighborhood Updates to see this volume and archived editions.

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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 this April provides 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.

We will continue to promote this event through the month of April. There are flyers and banners available for residents and neighborhoods interested in doing outreach.

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

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

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My Preparedness Goal for February 2013

At the beginning of the year, I invited you to join me in doing one easy disaster preparedness activity thing each month in preparation for the April 27, 2013 CERT Citywide Exercise.

My Preparedness Goal for March 2013:

Locate my home’s gas shut-off valve, the appropriate wrench and test the valve to insure it can be closed. It is not necessary or even advisable to close the valve completely, just nudge it to be sure there is movement. Maybe a one-quarter turn and then back off. If the valve appears to be seized closed, call PG&E and ask them to replace the valve.

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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Energy Efficient Rebates

For a limited time, Alameda County homeowners looking to lower their utility bills and enhance home comfort can qualify for $1,500 in rebates for energy-saving home improvements through Flex Package. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis to owners of single-family homes in Alameda County, and are offered through Energy Upgrade California.

To qualify for Flex Package, homeowners must simply install two or more qualifying measures with a combined point value of 100 or greater using an Energy Upgrade California Participating Contractor. More advanced improvements are worth more points.

Flex Package offers homeowners the flexibility to choose the energy improvements that make the most sense for their home and budget and to earn $1,500 in rebates. For more information about Flex Package and a list of Energy Upgrade California Participating Contractors, visit AlamedaFlex.Org.

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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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