City Council District 5
City Council District 5

District 5 News Header Image

May 2, 2014

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Coffee with the Councilmember and the School Board Director
Berkeley Police Community Meeting: Patrol Beats
Berkeley Police Network: The Nixle Project
Lunch, Love, Community
Berkeley Dines Out to Help School Gardens
Thank You from the Friends of the Fountain and Walk
Taste of North Berkeley
Residential Preferential Parking Renew Online
From the Berkeley Public Library
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

What do the Solano Walgreens* proposal and the minimum wage increase have in common? Certainly both issues have inspired passionate and well-organized advocacies. But both proposals represent critical trade-offs for our neighborhood-serving commercial districts and the small, independent businesses that reside there.

For many, Walgreens represents the “corporatization” of our neighborhood. It is too reminiscent of big box retail and the paved-over shopping centers in which they reside. The exterior design and the interior product mix bring nothing unique to our community. It could be a Walgreens in Anytown, USA.

Supporters of the project, or more truthfully residents who see some local benefit to a Walgreens, cite corporate deep pockets that can afford the ultimately-required gas station remediation, provide more public space, and that pay decent wages with benefits.

The increase in the minimum wage, on the other hand, is most often characterized as a social justice issue. But for our very small businesses it is primarily an economic one and integrally linked to their ability to remain as one of the small, independent businesses we all say we want. In the past several months I have spoken with dozens of Berkeley’s small business owners, most of whom support an increase in the minimum wage (as do I). But they also have to balance increased rents, increased costs of goods, increases in insurance and workers comp, all while retaining price structures that will still attract you, the consumer.

So this all comes down to one thing: if you want neighborhood-serving shops in your neighborhood, small independent businesses that pay a decent wage to their employees, vote with your wallet. They need you. If we do much of our shopping at Costco, Home Depot and Amazon, our neighborhood shops will not survive . . . or at least not in Berkeley.

And yes, they may be a bit more expensive. But consider what you get in return: access to a beautiful, thriving walkable neighborhood that we all can enjoy and the support and gratitude of the owners and their employees.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

* At this writing there is no new news about the Walgreens proposal. Staff is still working on the application and has not yet scheduled the first hearing before the Zoning Adjustments Board.

Back to top

Coffee with the Councilmember
and the School Board Director

What: Conversation with School Board Director Julie Sinai and Councilmember Laurie Capitelli.
When: Thursday, May 22. 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Where: Café Roma, 1549 Hopkins Street (across from Monterey Market).

Berkeley School Board Director Julie Sinai will be joining the neighborhood discussion this month providing an opportunity to explore kids’ and school-related issues along with the usual fare. You bring the questions. Rain will cancel.

Back to top

Berkeley Police Community Meeting:
Patrol Beats

What: Berkeley Police Department Community Meeting Regarding Deployment and the Beat System. Cosponsored by Councilmembers Susan Wengraf (District 6) and Laurie Capitelli (District 5).
When: Thursday, May 15. 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Northbrae Community Center. Haver Hall. 941 The Alameda.

The Berkeley Police Department (BPD) is currently undertaking a review and reevaluation of its beat structure in order to ensure that the most efficient and effective police service is being provided to those who live, work and visit the City of Berkeley. To that end, the BPD asked Berkeley citizens to take a survey regarding police patrol deployment. (Responses were due April 11, 2014.) The next step is for interested North Berkeley residents to attend their community meeting on May 15.

In May of 1993, the Berkeley Police Department adopted a system whereby the City was divided into 18 police patrol beats. This beat system was based primarily on crime trends, calls for service, crime statistics, and staffing levels. While there have been changes over the last 20 years related to crime trends, calls for service, and staffing levels, the Department continues to operate with the same beat system designed in 1993. In light of the changes that the Department and the City have undergone since that time, the Department decided to analyze its beat deployment strategy.

Any recommended changes to the geographic beat areas will take into consideration an even distribution of workload across beats, boundaries which utilize efficient routes of travel, the minimization of natural barriers and the minimization of neighborhood divisions. Any proposed changes will be brought to the City Council for review and discussion.

If you have any questions about the survey and/or the evaluation process, please feel free to contact Matrix project manager, Richard Brady, at (650) 858-0507 or

Back to top

Berkeley Police Community Network:
The Nixle Project

Through October of this year, the Berkeley Police Department (BPD) will be conducting a pilot program called “Nixle", a social media platform designed to convey non-emergency public safety information to the community. Nixle will allow the BPD to push out information periodically to community members while developing a messaging structure that best adapts to certain social media platforms.

The City of Berkeley website will remain the City’s primary and predominant internet presence. In general, content posted to alternative City communications platforms will contain hyperlinks directing users back to the City’s official website for more in-depth information, forms, documents or online services necessary to conduct business with the City of Berkeley.

There is no enrollment cost to the community subscriber. Subscribers can sign up now to receive the City’s alerts at Nixle or by sending a text message with their zip code to a 6-digit number: 888777. The City encourages community members to establish a free account to allow greater personalization of the service.

Back to top

Lunch, Love, Community

What: Short films and an evening with filmmaker Helen De Michiel and special guests. Presented by the David Brower Center in partnership with the Berkeley FILM Foundation and Impact Hub Berkeley.
When: Wednesday, May 7th, 7:00 p.m.
Where: David Brower Center. 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

What happens when a community, in the name of their children’s health and well-being, moves from anger to action?

“Lunch, Love, Community”, an open space documentary project, is a true story of how farsighted and dedicated individuals united to change how children eat, how they learn in school, and how to restore healthy food systems in a climate-changing world. In the 1990s, a diverse group of Berkeley parents decided to change the schools' food offerings because it wasn’t working for children. Since then, they’ve gotten kids into the gardens, into kitchens, linking growing, cooking, and eating healthful and good-tasting foods. They’ve transformed our public school food offerings, and they’re making education and nutrition policy history. These short films document, and celebrate, these achievements.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to Reel to Real Film Series.

Back to top

Berkeley “Dines Out” to Help School Gardens

What: The 2nd Annual Berkeley Dine Out to benefit the Berkeley Public Schools Cooking and Gardening Program
When: Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
Where: Participating Berkeley Restaurants.

The Berkeley Public School Cooking and Gardening Program is partnering with local restaurants and eateries for an evening of wining and dining in support of connecting student learning with real world experiences around food, while exploring topics of health, wellness, and personal and community growth. With generous support from the Berkeley community, organizers hope to garner the financial support needed to sustain these programs for the coming year.

Go to Berkeley Dine Out for more information about the event and the schools’ cooking and gardening programs.

If you and your restaurant, café, or eatery would like to participate in the 2nd Annual Berkeley Dine Out please contact Mia Villanueva or Jezra Thompson or call 510-486-9351.

Back to top

Thank You to the Community
From Friends of the Fountain

Friends of the Fountain and Walk (FOFW) has completed the second phase of repair projects to the fountain, balustrades and the walk. Members of FOFW thank the community for its gracious support this project.

From Sara Holmes, project coordinator:

Since we completed the first phase of repairs in October 2013, here is what we have accomplished with your generosity:

  • Replaced an additional 11 balusters, for a total of 90.
  • Installed a concrete pad for our spare bench on the grassy median in front of the Millennium Oak Tree.
  • Fountain Walk steps and sidewalk have been repaired – the City shared the cost.
  • 21 of the 22 coping cap sections surrounding the fountain pool (where you sit) were loose and have been secured.

The City has also gotten into the spirit of fountain maintenance, and in addition to helping with the cost of Fountain Walk repairs, has also:

  • Replaced all of the original light fixtures in the middle and upper bowls, many of them corroded, and replaced them with LED fixtures.
  • Replaced one of the leaking pool lights.
  • Taken the lead to replace the main and filter pumps for the fountain, which are both rusted.

We could not have done this without your support. We invite you to visit our web site at Friends of the Fountain and Walk for more information and a detailed spreadsheet of project donations and expenses.

As always, we welcome volunteers (first Saturday of every month for landscape maintenance) and donations for our reserve fund.

Back to top

A Taste of North Berkeley

What: 5th Annual Taste of North Berkeley; Gourmet Ghetto Restaurant Walk.
When: Tuesday, May 6, 2014. 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Gourmet Ghetto, North Shattuck, Berkeley.

Experience twenty-six North Berkeley shops and eateries at our neighborhood’s 5th annual Taste of North Berkeley. Visit the Gourmet Ghetto’s newest restaurants - the Source Mini in Epicurious Garden and Le Petit Cochon - along with neighborhood favorites like The Local Butcher Shop, Gregoire, Saul's and Cha Am Thai. Plan your route after you see the full menu at the event’s Facebook page.

Tickets are just $25 for tastes at all 26 locations. Advance tickets online for will call through Brown Paper Tickets and at these neighborhood shops:
M. Lowe & Co. - 1519 Shattuck Ave.
ACCI Gallery - 1652 Shattuck Ave.
Darling Flower Shop - 2004 University Ave.

All proceeds will go directly to the Berkeley Lions Community Fund for charitable activities. No administrative expenses are deducted from these proceeds.

Back to top

Residential Preferential Parking
Renew Online

Residents who live in Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) zones and have to renew permits, or who want to buy one-day permits to park in their neighborhoods can now do so online. (First-time permit applications still must be done in person with appropriate identification.)

For more information about the program including instructions on how to buy permits online, go to Residential Preferential Parking Program.

Back to top

From the Berkeley Public Library:
Streaming Music, Movies and a Library Newsletter

The Berkeley Public Library has a great new service for patrons who love listening to music and watching videos—Freegal. All you need is your library card number to get free downloads and streaming of digital music and movies. What exactly is Freegal? It means “free and legal” music and movies now available through the Library’s website. Free for patrons, that is. This service is underwritten by your local library.

Freegal® offers access to over 6 million songs and streaming of movies and television shows. It has free mobile apps, available from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

For more information call 510-981-6241 or go to Downloads and Streaming to start.


Berkeley Public Library is excited to introduce yet another way for you to stay in touch –their new monthly e-Newsletter, which is full of great programs, events and services being provided at all the Library locations. Check it out! For more information call 510-981-6195.

Sign up can occur from the Library’s webpages (Contact Us, About/Press Releases, and Events) as well as the Library’s Facebook page.

Back to top

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

Back to top

Home | Residents | Businesses | Visitors | Services | Elected Officials
Web Policy | Text-Only Site Map | Contact Us
City of Berkeley - Central Administrative Offices, 2180 Milvia St, Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903