February 7, 2020

Disney vs. Berkeley PTA

In case you haven’t heard, Emerson Elementary School’s PTA has had some interesting interaction with Disney’s licensing arm. The interesting saga was the #1 story in the nation on many news aggregators, but was covered first in our great local news outlet Berkeleyside. You can read all about it here:

“Disney tells Berkeley parents they owe $250 for screening ‘The Lion King’” 

Disney CEO apologizes for ‘The Lion King’ fee, says he’ll donate to Berkeley school himself

Many of you asked how to help Emerson Elementary. However, this situation is not unique to Emerson Elementary School. Schools across California are facing significant challenges in providing adequate educational resources. I encourage you to donate to your neighboring school’s PTA or the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, if you were moved by this story. 

People’s Park Open House

I recently co-authored an oped about People’s Park with Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmember Rigel Robinson. I believe it’s time for a new People’s Park. 

UC Berkeley is hosting open houses to provide information regarding the proposed development at People’s Park. The project architects and campus planners will host conversations about various aspects of the proposal.  The open house will be informal with no formal start time so you can come by and walk through at any time during the event that works for you and your schedule. Experts will be on hand to answer questions. There will be a series of open houses so stay tuned for future scheduling if you aren’t able to make the first one.  

Open House #1

Monday, February 10, 2020

Drop-in between 4p.m. - 8 p.m.

Location: MLK Jr. Student Union, Ballroom

Focus: Learn about the legacy of People’s Park, envision the potential for transformation, and share potential benefits and concerns.  

Trash and Recycling Bin Placement  

Our office has been receiving inquiries about garbage bin placement on the street. Below is some information from the Zero Waste department on proper set out for the trash bins.  Please let us know if you have any questions.  

To make collection services more efficient, Berkeley is now using automated trucks on most collection routes.  Always place the cart wheels toward the curb.  Make sure carts are one foot apart and three feet from parked cars.   

GoBerkeley Smart Space

As you no doubt have experienced, getting around our neighborhood can be a challenge, whether you live here, work nearby, or are just visiting. Fortunately, help is on the way! The City has received grant funding for a pilot project studying parking and travel needs in the Elmwood and Southside neighborhoods. The goBerkeley SmartSpace project will evaluate ways to reduce neighborhood traffic congestion, increase parking availability, and raise awareness of other ways of getting around Berkeley.

The project team is putting together a Community Advisory Group (CAG) to guide public outreach efforts and allow for closer collaboration with the community. The CAG will meet up to five (5) times over the next two years to discuss and advise staff on the development, refinement, and evaluation of recommended pilot strategies. If you are interested in getting involved, please read more at http://smartspace.goberkeley.info and fill out an application here.  The first CAG meeting will occur in late January/early February 2020. This pilot can only be successful if it meets the unique needs of our neighborhoods, and the application process will help the City convene a group that represents the diversity of perspectives in the project study areas.


Staff are also developing an online commute and travel survey for residents at the project website. Public meetings and open houses will also occur, so there are multiple ways in which people can participate.

Fight the Flu

Unless you have traveled to Wuhan, China or had close contact with someone who has been and is sick, your risk of coronavirus is low. You are far more likely to get the flu. Luckily, the same precautions protect against both. Learn how to protect yourself at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/fight-flu/

COB Resource Guide for Residents and Merchants

Our office has gathered a list of key City of Berkeley Resources with phone numbers and examples of when to call which department for different services.  We hope you find this helpful and we recommend posting them somewhere you can access them easily or saving them into your phones.  

  • Witnessing Urgent Criminal Activity -- Call 911  (Immediate threats to a person or property: assault, fire gunshots, car accidents with injuries)
  • Non-Urgent Criminal Activity -- Police Non-Emergency Line 510-981-5900 (A crime with no suspect present: vandalism, drug use, theft, etc.)
  • Request for City Service -- Call 311 or 510-981-2489 (graffiti, illegal dumping, potholes, missed garbage collection etc.) 
  • Reporting a Public Works Emergency -- Call 510-981-6620 (sewer overflow, traffic signal outage, fallen trees, toxic spills etc.) 
  • Homeless Person in Distress -- Call HOTT 510-981-5273 (Appears vulnerable and in need of services, demonstrating disruptive or concerning behavior etc.) 

Important Census Information

You can complete the census by phone, mail or now online! Just make sure you are counted! https://www.cityofberkeley.info/census/

The 2/11 City Council meeting

Office Hours

I am holding office hours on the second Monday of every month, from 8-9:30am at Cafe Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave (on the corner of College and Ashby). No appointment necessary - just stop by!


Lori Droste

Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8


Want to request a City service? 

Use Berkeley's online 311 form (either through the General Request form or a specific topic) or call 311 from a landline, or 510-981-2489. Please note that my office routes all the service requests we receive through this customer service center, so your request will be handled most efficiently by directly contacting 311. 


Sign up for emergency notifications on AC Alert  and crime prevention/updates on Nixle