July 15, 2021

Fire Prevention/Measure FF Update 

Many of you have requested information about what the City is doing to address fire safety, specifically with the passage of Measure FF, approved by voters in 2020. Below, I’ve included a breakdown of how Measure FF funds are being spent in FY 2022. 

Wildfire Preparedness (36% FY 2022 expenditures)

  • Recruit & hire retired annuitants 
  • Vegetation Management Program (Includes wildfire info. & self-assessment mailer, performing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, internal & contracted vegetation mgmt.) 
  • “Safe Passages” program (assessing streets for adequate emergency vehicle access and recommending solutions)
  • Increase Capacity to Perform Inspections (from 800 to 8000 in Fire Zones 2 & 3)
  • Increase Community Outreach 
  • Outdoor Warning System (Installation, training & community engagement) 
  • Evacuation drills and fire zone education

EMS Recruitment (17% 2022 Expenditures)

Training and Improving Facilities (35% FY 2022 Expenditures)

Program Coordination, Paramedic Tax Deficit, Other (12% FY 2022 Expenditures)

In another positive step toward fire prevention, we’ve recently learned that East Bay Regional Parks will receive additional funding for fire prevention measures: 

Park District Receives $13.5 Million for Wildfire Protection from State Budget

$10 Million Dedicated to Addressing Sudden Tree Die-Off in Regional Parks

To address wildfire prevention and fuels reduction needs in the East Bay hills, the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) received a direct appropriation of $13.5 million in the California State budget which was signed by the Governor this past Monday.

Ten million dollars of EBRPD’s State budget appropriation was proposed by Senators Nancy Skinner (D-9, Berkeley) and Bob Wieckowski (D-10, Fremont) and specifically to remove dead and dying trees in Regional Parks, a new tree mortality phenomenon occurring in several parklands. Three and a half million dollars of the State appropriation was proposed by Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-16, Orinda) to provide for fire equipment that will improve the Park District’s ability to fight fires, including the replacement of its aging helicopter which is relied upon as a primary tool to drop water on fires burning in inaccessible terrain.

First noticed in the East Bay in October 2020, sudden tree die-off is affecting many different species of trees throughout California, including eucalyptus, acacia, bay, and pine. The estimated cost to remove the dead or dying trees in the 1,500 acres already identified is $30 million based on current tree removal contracts.

EBRPD locations most significantly impacted by tree mortality are Anthony Chabot and Reinhardt Redwood Regional Parks in Oakland, Miller Knox Regional Shoreline in Richmond, and Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley/Orinda.

Read the full press release here

Willard Clubhouse Design - Save the Date

Thank you to those of you who have already provided feedback regarding the redesign of Willard Clubhouse. Please save the following dates. Our Parks staff will be hosting one in-person meeting and one via zoom:

  • Saturday, August 14 / 10am -11:30am on site at Willard
  • Thursday, August 19  / 6:30pm - 8:00pm Zoom (link to follow) 

UC Berkeley- City of Berkeley Agreement on Long Term Growth

On Tuesday 7/14, Berkeley City Council voted to authorize a historic agreement governing future growth, city services and more with the University of California at Berkeley. The agreement represents one of the largest financial settlements a UC campus has provided to a host city and paves the way for expanded educational opportunities while balancing community concerns and prospective impacts on City services. More importantly, the agreement assures a voice for the City and Berkeley community in the University’s future development.

The tentative agreement approved by the City Council calls for the University to provide annual payments to the city for a total amount of $82.64 million over the next 16 years. The funding will support fire and city services, and projects supporting residents within a half mile of the UC main campus and Clark Kerr Campus, which encompasses a significant portion of our neighborhood. 

Next week, the University of California Board of Regents will discuss and potentially vote on final approval of this tentative agreement. The final language of the agreement will be available after final adoption and execution by the parties. 

National Night Out - Register Your Event by July 30th

National Night Out is a nationwide effort to make communities safer by building and strengthening relationships among neighbors. Strong neighborhoods help us become more resilient and improve our ability to recover after a disaster. After being canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, this treasured annual event returns on Tuesday, August 3.

Each August, Berkeley neighbors come together for an evening of block parties, BBQs, and ice cream socials. Staff from Police, Fire, and other departments visit events throughout the city to say hello, as do Berkeley's elected officials. Learn more about how to register here

Lori Droste
Berkeley Vice Mayor