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City Council District 5
City Council District 5

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April 9, 2012

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Responding to Emergencies: Community Meeting
Coffee with the Councilmember
For the Record: Traffic Collisions
YELLING CLINIC: Art, War & Disability
Celebrating Berkeley Elected Women Past, Present & Future
Recycle a Book on Earth Day
Help track - and slow - Sudden Oak Death
You've Been Scammed!
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

One of the great pleasures of being a Berkeley City Councilmember is having the opportunity to travel through many different aspects of our municipal life (sometimes in short order); to witness the grace, dedication and spirit with which so many of our community members embrace their work and this community.

Take last week, for instance. . .

The weekend started early with an impromptu tour of the Berkeley Art Center at Live Oak Park. BAC Executive Director Suzanne Tan and two of her board members showcased both the excellent closing exhibit and the center's stunning accomplishments over the past two years. From the newly refinished floors to the artistic vision on the walls, the BAC has become a regional draw for artists and art patrons while maintaining the feel of a local treasure. I expect that their upcoming exhibit, "The Yelling Clinic: Art, War and Disability," may exemplify that.

A short drive downtown took me from high art to high honors, as the Berkeley Fire Department celebrated the promotion of nine of their own. I was touched at the support they receive from their families, and of how they readily acknowledged the support that they feel from the Berkeley community. (Our spring community meeting will showcase our Fire Department.)

Walking two blocks from one uniformed environment into another, I reported for my "ride along" with Berkeley Police beat officer Scott Salas. (Yes, I did have to wear a bullet-proof vest. See photo below.) The evening started with the 4 o'clock briefing on the things we should be watching for on our patrol. We then proceeded to maneuver through a wide variety of neighborhoods, all with different needs and challenges. I am continually impressed with how our Police Officers can segue from one type of interaction to another while maintaining their focus and resolve. I am also impressed with the support each of them provides to their colleagues when things get a little tense.

Despite patrolling late into the evening, I awoke early the next morning for my "Coffee with the Councilmember" at Thousand Oaks School Park, but rain cancelled. Many apologies but don't worry: we have rescheduled.

After a short weekend break, I reported for duty downtown to witness the unveiling of the "New Downtown Berkeley". What's new? Clean sidewalks, hanging flower baskets, repainted light standards and garbage cans, vibrant banners, and a crew of hospitality workers in lime green shirts ready to assist visitors, residents and business owners. This initial explosion of order represents the resources and priorities of the reinvigorated Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA) and the Property-Based Business Improvement District (PBID) that supports it. In the months to come we can look forward to continued cleanliness and a rebranding campaign that tells the world, "it starts here." (Check out the DBA Video.)

That evening I walked into the Council Chambers for the last Council meeting before our spring break. Of special note, though perhaps a bit anticlimactic, was the final approval the Downtown Plan (an almost unanimous 8-1 vote). It has been a long, tumultuous road to this moment, but the green vision of our Downtown does start here.

And finally, Saturday, April 7 I had the extreme pleasure of walking up Sonoma Avenue from my house for the grand opening of the newly remodeled North Branch Library. It is stunning. I hope you all take the opportunity to walk through the library, and allow yourself a moment of municipal pride. It is in many ways the center of our District 5 neighborhood and an example of what we as a community can accomplish with vision and commitment.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Responding to Emergencies: Community Meeting

What: Community Meeting on Fire Prevention and Emergency Response
When: Thursday, May 3, 2012. 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Northbrae Community Church, Parlor Room. 941 The Alameda

Please join Councilmember Susan Wengraf, the Chief of the Berkeley Fire Department, Debra Pryor, and me for a community conversation about fire prevention, emergency response and disaster preparedness. I expect plenty of time for questions and answers.

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Coffee with the Councilmember

What: Coffee and impromptu discussion with the Councilmember
When: Saturday, April 28, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Where: Thousand Oaks School Park at the corner of 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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For the Record: Traffic Collisions

My office receives more calls about traffic, parking and pedestrian safety measures than any other City program or service. If a neighborhood is interested in traffic calming, we refer them to the Office of Transportation and its City of Berkeley Traffic Calming Process.

One of the assessment tools the OT uses in evaluating areas for potential traffic calming is the collision history as recorded with the CA Department of Motor Vehicles. Recently we found out that Berkeley Police only come out to the site and file a formal report if the collision includes an injury. If there is no injury, how do collisions become recorded with the state?

If you want/need the incident to be reported formally, and the damage is over $750, you can do so online with the DMV at

This is the standard form used for insurance purposes. Once submitted, the information will also be imported into the state DMV data base that our Office of Transportation uses to assess collision histories for the purposes of traffic calming.

If there is an injury and the police do report to the scene, they will submit the information.

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Art, War & Disability

What: "Yelling Clinic" Art, War and Disability Art Exhibition
When: April 14 - June 2, 2012
Opening reception: Saturday, April 14, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Berkeley Art Center. 1275 Walnut Street. Live Oak Park.

YELLING CLINIC is a disability arts collective comprised of artists that explore the intersections of art, war, and disability through intensely personal and compelling work in a variety of media. Through the lens of wartime experience, YELLING CLINIC addresses the effect of military pollution on people with disabilities through extraordinary work that is hauntingly evocative. This exhibition will include work inspired by a recent trip to Vietnam.

For more information about the exhibition and the artists, see the event flyer or go to The Berkeley Art Center.

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Celebrating Berkeley Elected Women
Past, Present & Future

What: Celebrating Berkeley Elected Women, hosted by the League of Women Voters Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville and the Berkeley Historical Society
When: Wednesday, April 18, 2012. 12:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
See Schedule for more details.
Where: Berkeley City College atrium and auditorium, 2050 Center Street, Berkeley

Everyone is invited to join in for this final event in Berkeley's eight-month celebration of the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote in California. Meet current and former elected women from Berkeley. See a new film by Martha Wheelock, "California Women Win the Vote."

The event will be free, open to all and wheelchair accessible.

Co-sponsors of the group include Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Council Members Linda Maio and Susan Wengraf, Assembly Member Nancy Skinner and State Senator Loni Hancock, Berkeley Community College President Betty Inclan.

Please see the schedule of events. For more information, contact the League of Women Voters, or the Berkeley Historical Society.

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Recycle a Book on Earth Day

What: Used Children's Book Sale
When: Saturday, April 21, 2012. 12 noon to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Friends of the Berkeley Public Library Booth at the Earth Day Event, Civic Center Park in Downtown Berkeley

Volunteers from The Friends of the Berkeley Public Library will sell recycled children's books in good condition for 50¢ each. Stop by the "Friends" booth and fill a bag of good books at bargain prices. Visit us at The Friends of the Berkeley Public Library for information about future sales events.

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Help track - and slow - Sudden Oak Death

What: Volunteer Effort to Track Sudden Oak Death Infestation
When: 1:00p.m. Saturday, April 28 through Sunday April 29, 2012
Where: Training on UC Campus, various East Bay locations

Sudden Oak Death, the fungus-like water mold that is devastating Coast Live Oaks is present in several parts of the Berkeley Hills and almost certainly made significant advances due to 2011's late spring rains.

Please sign up at to help with this year's "bioblitz" survey tracking the pathogen. You can survey where you like, including your own back yard. Organizers also are glad to suggest routes. You can take a 1-hour training on the UC Berkeley campus or find other training sessions around the bay at UC Berkeley SODBLITZ information website.

After laboratory analysis, results are announced on the web and at public meetings in fall.

No cure for Sudden Oak Death has been found. But according to Dr. Matteo Garbelotto of UC Berkeley, who organizes the surveys throughout the Bay Area, "residents with confirmed local SOD infections in their neighborhood can in fact protect their trees from becoming infected rather inexpensively."

For more information on SOD generally, go to For information on the surveys, contact the Garbelotto lab at the UC Berkeley SODBLITZ information website.

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You've Been Scammed!

What: Community Health Commission presentation on health-related scams on the Internet
When: Thursday, April 12, 2012. 7:00 p.m.
Where: South Berkeley Senior Center

There are countless health-related scams on the internet. "You've been Scammed" is a presentation hosted by Berkeley's Community Health Commission and featuring Margarita Quihuis (Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab). The free community event will provide information how to evaluate the credibility and reliability of health related websites.

A flyer containing a description of the event is available here.

To register to attend or for more information, please contact:

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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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