City Council District 5
City Council District 5

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March 7, 2014

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Berkeley Emergency Preparation Fair
Coffee with the Councilmember
It’s Official: The Drought of 2014
Reporting Lights and Potholes: The Online Service Center
Is That Your Dog
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

The San Francisco Bay Area is an extraordinarily expensive place to live. In our local economy it is not only the very poor that are burdened by the escalating costs of housing, health care and transportation, but also the working poor and even the middle class whose wages have not kept pace with inflation. Low-skill workers too often live below the poverty line and are forced to rely on government subsidies and programs. Many in our service-based workforce are forced to live on the outskirts of the urban core where housing is affordable, only to suffer an expensive and hours-long daily commute to and from their work.

In recent months, a national discussion about increasing the minimum wage as one strategy to balance income has taken place. In his State of the Union address, President Obama made a commitment to immediately raise the minimum wage for all federal workers, and to lobby Congress to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. In California, where the minimum wage is currently $8.00 per hour, our legislature has already approved an increase to $9.00 per hour in July of this year, and to $10.00 per hour as of the first of 2016.

What is Berkeley’s role in this effort? Currently we have a $13.34 per hour “Living Wage” for employees of businesses that have a contractual relationship with the City of Berkeley. (There is an additional $2.22 per hour for healthcare if none is provided by the employer.) And our Labor Commission is poised to bring us into the national debate by referring to the City Council a proposal for a Berkeley minimum wage that would start at $10.74 per hour.

In general I am in full support of increasing our minimum wage. Specifically I look forward to our local discussion around the impacts of raising the 'minimum' wage to the 'living' wage over a period of the next several years. And since Berkeley’s small business community is anchored by restaurants and food service, how would an across-the-board minimum wage increase in Berkeley affect their ability to be competitive? Should we consider tipped food servers as a different class of employee?

I want to hear more about the possible consequences to a relatively small community like Berkeley (pop. 110,000) in the broader context of the I-80 corridor (Oakland, Richmond, Albany, El Cerrito with pop. of 550,000+/-). Our wage floor, if the Labor Commission’s proposal is fully implemented, would be considerably higher than others on the corridor. What are the consequences of such a differential? Should we consider coordinating with state and federal increases?

It would ease enormously whatever concerns I might have if Oakland and our other neighbors were to follow suit with a similar ordinance. But then perhaps it is also time for Berkeley to lead the wider local discussion regarding an issue so fundamental to our citizens’ well being.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Berkeley Emergency Preparedness Fair

What: 2014 Berkeley Emergency Preparedness Fair. Free to the Public.
When: Saturday, April 26, 2014, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: North Berkeley BART Station, 1750 Sacramento St. (at Virginia St.), Berkeley.

Kids growing up in earthquake country need a disaster-prepared household. Pet owners need to know how to keep pets safe in a disaster. At the 2014 Berkeley Emergency Preparedness Fair, we invite people at all levels of preparedness to take steps towards emergency readiness for their whole family.

At the FREE community event you'll find family friendly activities, tips and information, on-site training, and interactive demonstrations of safety resources available to you in our community. There will be a showcase of emergency vehicles, prizes, kids’ activities, a blood drive and more.

Join families, kids, pets, schools, community organizations and businesses, and people of all ages to have fun, celebrate our community's resilience and protect those you love by getting ready together!

For more information email the Office of Emergency Services or call 510-981-5506 or see the event flyer.

Organizers are asking for help to set up, break down and man tables. If you are interested in volunteering please sign up here.

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Coffee with the Councilmember

What: No Host “Café” and group discussion with Councilmember Capitelli
When: Wednesday, March 26, 2014. 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Where: Café Roma. 1549 Hopkins St. at Monterey.

The rain was welcome but we missed last month’s coffee. Let’s try again. I hope you can join me for a short discussion about what is going on around town. Bring your questions. Rain will cancel.

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It’s Official:
We Are in a Drought

Despite our recent flurry of rain storms, California is in a drought and its citizens are expected to voluntarily reduce water usage by 10 %. (Please know that the City of Berkeley will reduce water consumption in its operations by at least that amount. Areas of certain parks and medians will get less water, pipes are being checked for leaks, and the City is exploring the use of reclaimed water for street sweeping and the watering of medians.)

At the city Council’s request, the City Manager has provided a list of relevant resources for Berkeley citizens that I would like to share with you:

City of Berkeley Climate Action Plan Water Consumption Analysis

City of Berkeley Graywater Guidelines

City of Berkeley Plumbing Fixture Replacement Guidelines (PDF)

City of Berkeley Rainwater Harvesting Guidelines

EBMUD Water Conservation Resources

EBMUD Home Survey Kit

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Reporting Sidewalks, Streetlights,
Graffiti, Street Trees,
Potholes and More:

Berkeley’s Online Service Center

Get the easy things fixed by calling 311 weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm, or by filing an online request at Berkeley’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.

Under “General Request” residents can report problem street trees, clogged storm drains, non-working street lights and more.

Reporting problems directly to City staff through 311 will expedite a response and provide a direct avenue for staff to follow up with the resident.

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Is that Your Dog?

Last week a long-time District 5 resident and regular neighborhood walker complained to my office about the proliferation of dog poop in our public commons, particularly the sidewalks and parks in her Thousand Oaks neighborhood. She and her neighbors are worried the City’s once successful campaign to persuade dog owners to carry bags and to pick up feces has lost its bite, so to speak. Too many folks are either not prepared with bags or are distracted by other activities and miss the moment.

By some estimates, a third of North Berkeley residents own dogs. I’m one of them. My guess is that most of us owners are responsible and conscientious, for whom picking up the poop is as habitual as recycling or putting litter in a garbage can. Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep our neighborhoods clean.

So please just consider this a gentle reminder to all of us of the ongoing responsibility of dog ownership in an urban environment.

Any person having custody of a dog while on public property shall at all times carry an instrument suitable for removing and disposing of feces which may be deposited by said dog and shall remove any such feces deposited by such dog while on such property (Berkeley Municipal Code 10.04.091). The provisions of this section shall not apply to dogs being used by disabled individuals as service animals.

Additionally, our Animal Services folks have put together a Quick Guide to Owning a Dog in Berkeley that includes a variety of regulations and expectations for dog owners. Please check it out.

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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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