City Council District 5
City Council District 5

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June 6, 2011

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
The Trucks Are Coming, The Trucks Are Coming
Join the Fountain Family
All That Jazz at King Middle School
King Park Watershed and Community Mural
Liberating Our Sidewalks. Walking Safely.
Serve a Meal for the Berkeley Food and Housing Project
Using Technology for Disaster Preparedness
Lane Closure on Piedmont Avenue May 23 - August 28
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

The vibrancy of a city's public spaces displays to the world its sense of community and its economic vitality. For Berkeley, out-of-town visitors look to both our Downtown and Telegraph Avenue as icons of Berkeley's identity. And Telegraph Avenue does telegraph the city's relationship with it largest employer, the University of California.

This Spring I had the pleasure of working with two groups of graduate students from UC Berkeley about the interface between the University and the City. One group was from the Haas Business School and the other, from the UC Graduate Assembly.

The Haas project came from an introductory course in real estate investment analysis, taught by Professors Nancy Wallace and Bob Helsley. The was a mix of lectures and case discussions, and brought City staff, business people and those in the non-profit sector into the classroom. They provided a broad overview of the challenges and the opportunities of developing residential and nonresidential real estate, and focused on the Telegraph Ave. area for four possible development projects. The students, operating in groups to analyze these specific proposals near campus, worked with the property owners, leaseholders, neighborhood stakeholders, university representatives and city staff in doing the research that informed their analyses and recommendations. Nancy Wallace, the lead professor in the program, was thrilled with the real life experience for the students, and plans to branch out to projects in other areas of Berkeley for subsequent classes. An article on this collaboration will be published in the Haas Alumni Magazine in July, and I will forward that link in my summer newsletter.

In April, I participated in a City-University public forum, sponsored by the UC Graduate Assembly, and suggested the possibility of creating a student survey to capture UC students and staff attitudes toward and patronage of the Telegraph Avenue and Downtown commercial areas. My office collaborated with the GA to organize this project and the results were released this week. The initial results of the UC Graduate Assembly Survey portray a student population that at best feels ambivalent about Telegraph, at worst avoids it because of perceived safety issues. Students do eat out on the Avenue but prefer the Downtown and travel farther afield — to San Francisco and Emeryville — for late night entertainment and serious shopping.

Engaging students in identifying the challenges and opportunities in their immediate community helps to bridge the town/gown divide. It informs us, the policy makers, as to how to move forward, to improve their options and perhaps even persuade students to stay and invest in the larger community.

We all benefit from an attractive and vibrant heart to our City. Economic activity will expand Berkeley's tax base, granting us the ability to provide adequate services for our residents. Enhancements to our public spaces will attract locals and visitors alike — and present Berkeley as a city where the public arena is valued.

* * * *

Despite the rain, our summer season is upon us. I am thrilled to announce North Shattuck as the new once-a-week home to Off the Grid this summer and I encourage everyone to check it out. If you are thinking about volunteer activities, consider helping with our beloved Fountain at the Marin Circle (yes, it is solely maintained by community volunteers) or helping to serve food with Berkeley Food and Housing.

In the context of personal safety, one of my constituents has requested a friendly reminder about keeping our sidewalks clear of shrubs and debris. Another has alerted us to a new iPhone app for locating Red Cross shelters. Though I doubt we will be suffering from tornados or hurricanes this summer, preparing for the next big earthquake should a continual effort.

And not to be outdone by my Council colleagues, I have jumped into Twitter. I hope you will follow me beyond Council meetings, down accessible sidewalks, gourmet eating events and past the new mural at King Park. But for the short term, I will be taking a detour at Piedmont Avenue.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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The Trucks Are Coming, The Trucks Are Coming

What: Off the Grid: Food Truck Event
When: Wednesdays starting June 8th, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where: North Shattuck "Farmers Market" Plaza

Chicken tikka masala burritos, Chinese duck tacos, ahi tuna sliders, falafel and crème brûlée are just some of the many options coming to North Shattuck this summer. "Off the Grid," a San Francisco-based mobile food vendor, is opening its first Berkeley location in early June. At least six food trucks, offering a wide variety of cuisines with dishes usually under $10, will be occupying the same spot as the Thursday Farmers' Market every Wednesday from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. In keeping with Farmers' Market standards, the food will be primarily local and sustainably grown and all containers will be recyclable or compostable. The event will be alcohol-free and vendors will try to provide foods not yet available in the area. There will even be a truck set aside for local restaurants that want to try their hand at street food.

Read more about Off the Grid. . .

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Join the Fountain Family

What: Friends of the Fountain and Walk Volunteers
When: First Saturday of the Month, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Where: The Fountain at Marin Circle and 1992 Los Angeles

Friends of the Fountain and Walk volunteers have been helping to maintain the landscaped areas around The Circle and down Fountain Walk since September 1996, when the fountain was dedicated to the City of Berkeley.

From Sara Holmes, their volunteer coordinator:

"We would love to add some new volunteers to our work force. Tools are provided, though you can bring your own. No expertise is required - there are plenty of veterans who can help you get started. The work is generally light - sweeping, weeding and trimming. An email reminder is sent a few days before the first Saturday each month.

"We have a good 'skeleton' crew, however we have been doing this every month for 15 years, and some of us are "aging" out. Our oldest volunteer is in her late 80's and has macular degeneration, but she so enjoys coming. We enjoy one another's company, and have become sort of a family.

"Please come and join us!"

For more information, go to Friends of the Fountain and Walk, or call Sara Holmes at 510-526-5347.

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All That Jazz at King Middle School

What: Spring Fundraiser for MLK Jr. Middle School Jazz Band
When: Wednesday, June 8, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School Auditorium
1781 Rose Street (corner of Rose & Grant)

Enjoy an evening of dynamic jazz with.

The MLK Jr. Middle School Jazz Band
Mr. Jesse Anthony, Musical Director
The Potential Jazz Ensemble

Admission is FREE - but please consider making a donation. This is a fundraiser for the MLK Jr. Middle School Jazz Band.

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King Park Watershed and Community Mural

What: King Park Watershed Mural
When: King Park, Hopkins Street Play Area

For those of you who have children who frequent King Park, or who walk through the park on your way to the track or the soccer field, be sure to check out the marvelous addition to the play area. Friends of King Park, in a collaboration with the Kala Art Institute and their "Artists in Schools" program, have put the finishing touches on a "Watershed Mural" that graces the wall behind the rope climbing structure. It was designed and crafted by neighborhood residents and artists Eduardo Pineda and Joaquin Newman through generous funding from the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund, the Clif Bar Family Foundation, the Open Circle Foundation and the Alameda Countywide Stewardship Program.

I want to personally thank residents (and "Friends") Jeanine Strickland and Lessly Field for having the vision and tenacity to see this (and other park projects) through to completion. You can thank them for the red and green climbing structure. Their goal for the mural is "to beautify the park, educate viewers about the water cycle and environmental connections, as well as reduce graffiti on the wall."

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Liberating our Sidewalks. Walking Safely.

Berkeley is well known for our pedestrian-friendly way of life, and traveling our sidewalks is a great way for everyone to explore our unique neighborhoods. Overgrown landscaping, however, can make it hard for walkers and wheelchair users to travel freely. All residents are encouraged to ensure that their sidewalks offer good visibility and are clear and easy to travel.

Please, please keep the sidewalk in front of your house clear of debris, shrubbery and vehicles. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation requires six feet of clearance. Instead of a tape measure, I suggest you just walk with a friend in front of your home, side by side and trim any growth that trips you, rubs against you or impedes your vision of oncoming traffic. This will serve ALL pedestrians including those traveling in wheelchairs.

My office also has a Courtesy Notice (printable pdf) that can be left at a property anonymously, to let the owner know their sidewalk is difficult to maneuver.

Broken and deteriorating sidewalks should be reported to Public Works at or by contacting my office. Be sure to include the exact address. The city will do an asphalt "make safe" or repair sidewalks impacted by City street trees, and notify property owners of their responsibility to repair other situations.

If street trees (those planted in the planting strip next to the street) are overgrown and encroaching into the pedestrian's path, please contact my office (again with the exact street address) and we will alert our forestry department.

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Serve a Meal for the
Berkeley Food and Housing Project

Berkeley Food and Housing Project needs volunteers to serve food, Monday through Friday every week between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. until September 6th. If you can help even one day please contact them at:

Thanks so much for helping BFHP to make sure that every one has a filling and nutritious meal at least once a day.

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Using Technology for Disaster Preparedness

The American Red Cross is adding technology to the many ways it helps people to get prepared. The Red Cross has developed a free iPhone app that gives the location of all open Red Cross shelters. The app not only maps the location of a shelter, but also shows current capacity and population. To download the app, users can visit the iTunes or iPhone App Store and search "American Red Cross Shelter."

For those without an iPhone, the same shelter information also appears on the Red Cross website and can be accessed by visiting American Red Cross and clicking on "Find a Shelter." Both are refreshed with updated information every 30 minutes.

In addition, the Red Cross Safe and Well website now allows users to update their Facebook and Twitter status when they register on the site. Safe and Well is a secure way to let your loved ones know where you are going during an emergency evacuation or that you are "okay" in the aftermath of a disaster. If users choose to do so, they can easily let their entire network of friends and family know they are safe in one step. Read more in the Red Cross press release, American Red Cross Using Technology to Help People Prepare for Hurricane Season.

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FYI - Lane Closure on Piedmont Avenue
May 23 - August 28

The east side of Piedmont Ave. from Bancroft Way to the Haas School of Business is scheduled to close to vehicles and pedestrians beginning Monday May 23 to allow for construction - utility upgrades and sidewalk repair adjacent to the new Student-Athlete High Performance Center - that will take place through the summer. The roadway is scheduled to be closed at all times (including evenings and weekends) through late August 2011. North and southbound vehicle traffic will share the roadway on the west side of Piedmont Ave. during this time.

Campus shuttle and AC Transit bus stops on the east side of Piedmont will be temporarily relocated. No street parking will be available on Piedmont Ave. between Bancroft Way and the Haas School of Business for the summer. Pedestrians should use the west side of Piedmont Ave. at all times.

Piedmont Ave. is never expected to be closed completely due to the construction, but traffic delays are anticipated. Flaggers will be in place to assist with traffic during work hours. Please respect their direction and any detour signs.

Questions about this work should be directed to UC Berkeley Capital Projects at 510 643-4793 or

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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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