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City Council District 5
City Council District 5

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November 7, 2011

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert System
Coffee with the Councilmember
Exhibition: The Paper Quilt Project
Energy Upgrade California
Redistricting: Equal Representation
BPD Smart Boot Program
Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

There were monsters, goblins and fairy princesses galore at this year's Solano Avenue Halloween Parade. The annual parade is always a spirited beginning to the holiday season (and a great opportunity to dust off my fedora and Jerry Garcia tie).

But what frightened me most this fall was the series of small Berkeley-centered earthquakes; Nature's not-so-gentle reminder that some dramatic, possibly destructive changes are completely out of our control. Despite rumors to the contrary, we cannot predict them. The best strategy is to accept they can happen any time, and seize these events as a reminder to prepare for future, possibly bigger events.

Many neighborhoods in North Berkeley have already organized around disaster preparedness. Good job. For those of you who are still procrastinating (most of us, I am afraid), I challenge you to do at least one small thing in the next week to prepare for a major disaster. I asked my appointee to the Disaster and Fire Safety Commission, Lynn Zummo, to suggest five easy to do (and cheap) possibilities:

  1. Make a plan for yourself, your family, or your household on how to evacuate your home, and where to meet following an earthquake. Set two ways out of your house/apartment (if possible) and three meeting places.
  2. Arrange for a long distance (preferably an out-of-state) telephone contact that everyone in your family can use to tell where and how they are. After an earthquake it will be easier to call out of the area code than within it.
  3. Make a "Go Kit" for next to your bed. Include at minimum, a flashlight with batteries, a small crowbar, heavy gloves, a whistle, dust masks and -- if you sleep au natural -- a set of clothes into a bag, along with sturdy shoes and place it all next to your bed in case you need to get out quickly in the middle of the night. (The vast majority of injuries during the Northridge quake were foot lacerations on broken glass.)
  4. Attend the free City of Berkeley CERT classes. Check out the Office of Emergency Services website or e-mail and ask to be placed on a notification list of new classes (since the current list is full).
  5. Meet your neighbors and consider organizing your block (or get involved in current organization efforts). Schedule a block party or neighborhood meeting and ask for someone from the Office of Emergency Services or the Berkeley Disaster Preparedness Neighborhood Network (BDPNNetwork) to come and speak to you and your neighbors about preparedness.

Even if you do just one of these activities, just one, think how happy and secure you will be at Thanksgiving, knowing that you have taken an initial step in securing the safety of yourself and your family. That is something to be thankful for.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert System

At 11:00 am PST on November 9th, people across the state will hear those familiar tones, or see that test message across their screens, saying "This is a test." The difference this time is that this test is happening across the nation. It will be a first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) giving federal, state and local officials the opportunity to make sure vital life-safety information can be communicated from the nation's capital to the public via broadcasters and cable operators.

Following a national or regional emergency, the ability of federal officials to address the public through EAS and other platforms is critical for public safety. This EAS test is an excellent opportunity for local, state and federal emergency officials as well as EAS participants to identify and address potential problems in the system before another real emergency occurs.

While the public does not need to take any action during the test, residents could take this opportunity to review and update their emergency plans and replenish their emergency supplies. They may also wish to use the test as a chance to test their own emergency plans.

For more information please read the EAS frequently asked questions, or visit FEMA: Nationwide EAS Test.

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Coffee with the Councilmember

What: Discussion on Solano Avenue with Councilmember Capitelli
When: Thursday, November 17, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: The bulb out in front of Peet's Coffee, Solano Avenue.
Weather Permitting.

This is the third in a series of casual discussions. Some of the issues we have tackled in the past get-togethers have included residential sidewalk repair, athletic fields, our neighborhood shopping areas and charging electric vehicles.

Please feel free to stop by even for a few minutes.

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Exhibition: The Paper Quilt Project

What: Paper Quilt Project: Collaborations in Contemporary Craft
When: Now through December 4, 2011
Where: Berkeley Art Center 1275 Walnut Street, Berkeley, CA

Paper Quilt Project: Collaborations in Contemporary Craft is a project conceived of by Berkeley artist Lena Wolff, organized around the idea of collaboration and the democratic folk art phenomenon of quilt making. For the exhibition, 14 artist teams were invited to make works on paper and installations based on the quilt with underlying themes of interdependence and interconnectivity.

The Berkeley Art Center thanks the Open Circle Foundation and the Zellerbach Family Foundation for the generous support of this project.

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Energy Upgrade California

A message from our Office of Energy and Sustainable Development:

If you are an Alameda County homeowner, you can qualify for rebates and incentives of up to $4,000 to help pay for home improvements that save energy and water, improve indoor air quality and increase home comfort in hot and cold weather.

Energy Upgrade California is a new, statewide program for homeowners to find everything they need to increase the energy and resource efficiency of their entire home. Alameda County homeowners can qualify for rebates for energy upgrades that can increase the energy efficiency and comfort of their homes. In addition to energy efficiency, the program promotes water efficiency, waste reduction, resource conservation and green building improvements.

All funding is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Check out the most recent press release describing the program or the Energy Upgrade California website where you can learn more about the program, available rebates, locate a certified contractor, and begin to improve your home's efficiency and comfort. If you have a specific question about the program, email: or call the Bay Area's Energy Upgrade Helpline at 1-855-464-8484.

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Redistricting: Equal Representation

What: Community Meeting to Review Redistricting Plan Proposals
When: Wednesday, November 9, 2011. 5:30 p.m.
Where: North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave., Berkeley

Every ten years, after the publication of the US Census results, the City is required to readjust its City Council District boundaries so all eight districts contain approximately the same number of residents. Citizens are invited to submit redistricting proposals to the City for City Council approval.

The League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany & Emeryville (LWVBAE), in conjunction with City staff from the offices of the City Clerk, the City Attorney, the City Manager and the Department of Information Technology, invites the public to a community meeting to view the 2011 proposals, based upon the 2010 Census. There will be opportunities to ask questions of staff and the proposals' authors.

To learn more about Berkeley's redistricting process and to see the actual proposals, please see the LWV flyer or go to City of Berkeley Redistricting. The City Council will review the proposals at a public hearing on November 15 during their regular City Council meeting.

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BPD Smart Boot Program

Beginning October 18, 2011, the City of Berkeley will begin "booting" vehicles that have 5 or more outstanding parking citations that are more than 30 days old. This program is a substitute to the current practice of towing eligible cars and then impounding those vehicles.

Under the previous system, drivers or owners of impounded cars would have to go to the City of Berkeley Customer Service Center and the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) before being able to retrieve their cars from the impound lot. Under the Smart Boot Program, motorists can call the Paylock 24-hour Help Center at 877-205-5566 and pay their citations over the phone. They can then release the boot from the car and return it at their convenience.

For more information, including Frequently Asked Questions, go to Berkeley Smart Boot Program.

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Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund

Established by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in 2006, the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund supports projects and programs that establish, extend and strengthen collaborative partnerships between UC Berkeley and the wider Berkeley community. The Fund seeks to enhance the quality of life for people who live and work in Berkeley by providing grant funding to neighborhood improvement projects and community service programs that link the university's energy and resources with those of the community.

The next cycle of the Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund grants has been launched. Interested applicants or project partners can download the materials at the Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund to learn more about the Fund, grant requirements and the application process.

Completed Pre-Application Forms are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 1st.

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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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