City Council District 5
City Council District 5

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September 7, 2010

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Save the Date: Community Meeting
Solano Stroll: A Global A-Faire
Celebrate Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto: Spice of Life Festival
Community Health Commision
Berkeley Folk Dancing: A "Green" Opportunity
Smart Meter Update
North Berkeley Police Reports

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

The increasingly short days of September not only signal the beginning of school, but also of immanent election campaigning, Indian summer, and a seasonal round of block parties and neighborhood potlucks. I am fortunate to be invited to many neighborhood events in District 5, and to have the opportunity to discuss local problems, concerns and upcoming legislative issues with concerned neighbors.

I asked one block organizer if there were any specific topics I should be prepared to discuss, and his response was, "Recycling theft, car/home burglaries, traffic control, shutting down Helios . . . who knows." In other words, he and his neighbors are concerned about personal and public safety, and the viability and live-ability of our fair City. These are certainly my priorities as your representative.

I look forward to having these conversations each year. It is up to all of us to envision the City we want and to share that vision with our neighbors. It is up to the City Council to listen and to prioritize our limited resources in order to keep it all moving in the right direction.

In that spirit . . .

The season's biggest block party is Sunday, September 12. I will be manning a booth at the Solano Stroll with Mayor Bates and members of our respective staffs. Please stop by. My staff and I will be asking folks to complete a short survey about Solano Avenue. Information form the survey will be used to inform me and the Solano Avenue Association about future amenities for the Avenue. You will also have the opportunity to take the survey on line. We'll send you the link soon.

Please read below about our next Community Meeting. Our special guest will be Fire Chief Deborah Pryor who will be talking about fire safety and disaster preparedness. The City staff will be on hand to explain our new candidate election procedure; Ranked Choice Voting.

Don't forget: November 2 is Election Day. District 5 residents will be facing state measures and candidates, several local measures and candidates for Rent Stabilization Board and School Board. (Mayor and Council districts 2, 3, 5, 6 are up in 2012.) Several very important local policy measures will be on the ballot including a plan for Downtown Berkeley and a revision of the 2008 approved citizen's initiative (Measure J) that allowed a certain number of medicinal cannabis dispensaries. At the October 13 community meeting, Councilmember Wengraf and I will give an overview of these important measures, and will answer questions. I hope you review these measures carefully, particularly within the context of public safety and economic opportunity.

I have been honored by my peers on the Council who have elected me to represent the City's interests on the newly formed Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). A hybrid of the Alameda County Congestion Management Authority (ACCMA) and the Alameda County Transportation Authority (ACTA), ACTC is charged with reviewing and funding transportation and transit projects for Alameda County through the Measure B gasoline tax proceeds. I look forward to this challenge and to spearheading the approval and realization of important local projects.

So enjoy the upcoming warm weather. I hope to see you many of you at the Stroll or a neighborhood potluck. I'll bring the hot dish.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Save the Date: Community Meeting
Fire Safety and the November Election

What: Town Hall Meeting: Fire Chief Debora Pryor, Ranked Choice Voting and 2010 Ballot Measures
When: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda

Fire Chief Pryor and BFD staff will present fire safety strategies including vegetation management for North Berkeley residents, particularly for those who live in the hills. Staff from the City Clerk's office will be on hand to explain "Ranked Choice Voting," new to Berkeley this election cycle. Councilmember Susan Wengraf and myself will do a short overview of the measures on Berkeley's local ballot issues.

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Solano Stroll: A Global A-Faire

What: 36th Annual Solano Stroll
When: Sunday, September 12, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Solano Avenue between San Pablo Avenue and The Alameda

Come celebrate the international flavors of our local community! After the kick-off parade I will be manning a booth with Mayor Bates and council staff in front of 1799 Solano on the corner of Colusa Avenue and Solano Avenue, in front of Starbucks. Please stop by and talk with us. We look forward to seeing you there.

This is a smoke and alcohol-free event. Free shuttles run 10p.m.-7p.m. from the North Berkeley BART station, up and down Marin Avenue. Stops are at lighted intersections. Shuttles are wheelchair accessible and are provided courtesy of the event sponsors.

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Celebrate Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto:
Spice of Life Festival

What: Spice of Life Festival
When: Sunday, October 17, 2010, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: North Shattuck Avenue from Rose to Virginia Streets

Join thousands of your closest friends for a community celebration of food and wine within Berkeley's gourmet ghetto along North Shattuck Avenue. This five-block long food and art fair celebrates the spice of life with cooking demos and samples by local chefs, gourmet food, beer and wine, a farmers market, artist exhibitions, yoga and bodywork demonstrations, and lots of kids activities.

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Community Health Commission

District 5 has one opening on the City's Community Health Commission. If you are a physician, if you work in a private or public educational institution, or you have a particular interest in the health of women, children or adolescents, AND you would be interested in participating in policy discussions in an advisory capacity to the City Council, please contact the office at (510) 981-7150.

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Berkeley Folk Dancing: A "Green" Opportunity

A Note From District 5 Residents Claire & Al George:

Within our district is a wonderful non-profit, public benefit organization that promotes dancing. Dances taught are international couple dances, set dances, and non-partner dances where people are joined together in a line or a circle. Participation involves both physical and mental ability: dancing also helps to maintain physical and mental well-being. You will look forward to learning new skills, making new friends and having a fun evening once a week.

We invite you to start dancing with us on Thursdays, 7:45-9:45 p.m., during September & October for just $30. We have more advanced classes on other nights but this class is for new people. It continues on through mid-August 2011.

Teens and adults are welcome. The first class starts on September 9, 2010. The Class is at Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. Try to come at 7:30 the first night.

What better way to go "green." Dancing will enrich your life.

          Claire & Al George, Teachers

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Smart Meter Update

Many of you have called and e-mailed about PG&E's Smart Meter program. Concerns include privacy issues, accuracy and dependability. Though I believe that ultimately these kinds of meters will provide the appropriate consumer information needed to make real choices about energy usage — a critical component of energy conservation — I do believe that PG&E must answer these concerns and provide to the public objective testing results that will verify their claims.

On July 6, 2010, the City Council approved a letter to be sent to the PUC requesting that PG&E do appropriate testing and provide provisions for an opt-out program. You can view that letter here.

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North Berkeley Police Reports

Our liaison to the Berkeley Police Department, the charming and unflappable Officer Casimiro Pierantoni, provides to the community regular reports about very local crime and efforts by citizens and police to combat it. I usually do not forward these reports, in large part because Cas is happy to include folks who want to receive them directly. If you do not receive them but would like to, just e-mail Cas at

You can find an archive of Officer Pierantoni's reports at Area One Crime Updates.

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