June 3 2015

Dear Neighbor, 

In May, I joined the Mayors of Berkeley and Copenhagen, along with fellow Council members to celebrate Bike to Work day on May 14th. It was wonderful to see so many people out on bikes to celebrate alternative methods of transportation, and I am committed to strengthening Berkeley’s bicycling infrastructure even more.  

City Council recently met and discussed the City Budget, community benefits, and regulations on short term rentals, which is an item I cosponsored with Mayor Bates. Because of the long meeting agenda, that item was held over for discussion until Council’s June 9th meeting. Essentially, the goal of this item is to legalize and regulate short term rentals in Berkeley, ensure that short term rentals do not take existing housing stock away from long term renters, establish protocol for renters and neighbors, and generate revenue to cover enforcement. 

Specifically, the proposal would:

  • require hosts to live in the unit for at least nine months of the year for it be rented

  • require hosts in rental housing to get approval from the builder owner/manager to do short term rentals

  • require hosts to obtain a business license and liability insurance

  • allow hosts to rent their unit up to ninety days per year if they are not present in the unit, with no limit to the amount of rental days if they are present. (If owners/tenants are renting a room within the unit they live in, as long as they are present they can rent the room for any number of days).

  • hosts must provide neighbors with notice that they are doing short term rentals and if they are not present during the rental, they must provide a contact person for neighbors.

I’m also pleased to say that my item to explore a mobile shower program similar to the one in San Francisco was referred to City staff and the Homeless Commission for review. Currently, the City of Berkeley runs two shower programs (one of which is at Willard Park) and I am curious if a mobile program would bring greater efficiency and maximize services to Berkeley’s homeless and transient populations.

Our June 9th Council meeting agenda is available here.   

More updates and announcements:

Community Park Work Day
Come join City of Berkeley Parks staff for our Community Crew Day. We will be planting, mulching, weeding, cleaning the sandbox, cleaning the courts and doing general cleanup at Willard Pool and Willard Park. Anyone who volunteers is asked to join us for lunch. We will supply gloves and tools. All ages are invited to participate.

When: Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 8:30 am to 2:30 pm to work in the park. Willard Park and Willard Pool, 2701 Telegraph. Contact Tom Suttles, Landscape Gardener Supervisor, 510-981-6660

Office hours
My next office hours will be on June 4th (the first Thursday of the month) from 9:30am to 11am at Cafe Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave, Berkeley. No appointments necessary. Evening hours coming soon! 

Soda Tax Update and the Future of BUSD Nutrition Programs
MomsRising and the Ecology Center are hosting an informal gathering of Berkeley parents and other interested folks to discuss the current state of Berkeley Unified School District’s nutrition programs and what people can do to support a strong nutrition program in the future. There will be a panel discussion, followed by Q&A moderated by Ecology Center Executive Director Martin Bourque. Panelists from City Council, the Healthy Child Coalition, and BUSD will address topics such as:

  • Initial outcomes of Measure D soda tax revenues
  • The impact of soda tax revenues on school nutrition programs
  • BUSD’s current school nutrition funding proposals
  • How to get involved and use your voice to impact BUSD budget decisions

When: Thursday, June 4, 2015, 7pm at the Ecology Center 2530 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

City of Berkeley Recreation Offices Now Open at Willard Park
Read more here.

Wanted: Strong, Hard-Working Volunteers June 13-14!
Halcyon Neighborhood Association Work Party - Improve Halcyon Commons: Halcyon Commons is a unique community park initiated and created by the neighborhood in partnership with the City of Berkeley in a space where there was once a parking lot. Next year, we’ll be celebrating the park’s 20th anniversary, and in honor of the occasion we’re refreshing the d.g. pathway to make the park more welcoming and accessible to all. Breakfast snacks, full lunch, water, and snacks provided courtesy of Whole Foods Market. Fresh coffee courtesy of Mokka Café.

When: Saturday, June 13 (first shift, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; second shift, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.Sunday, June 14(one shift, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) Note: spaces are almost full for Saturday morning but we could really use a few more willing volunteers for Saturday afternoon; we’ll also have a small backup team on Sundaymorning 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in case we don’t finish up on SaturdaySign up by contacting HNA Co-Chair John Steere by phone or text (preferred method) at 510-847-0575 or email jsteere@igc.org


National Night Out- Start Planning
Start planning for National Night Out, part of a nationwide effort to build healthier and safer communities through a simple act: getting to know your neighbors. Use the night of August 4th to organize your block, join a gathering in your Berkeley neighborhood, or meet nearby residents. Some neighbors simply turn on their lights and have conversations on their porches. Many areas throw block parties.

Last year, over 58 groups in Berkeley celebrated National Night Out with events that ranged from potlucks and barbecue cookouts to ice cream socials. This year, our goal is 100 groups! Bring your block into the fold in 2015.  If your neighborhood, business, church, association or community agency would like to participate, please contact Berkeley Police Officer Stephanie Polizziani atspolizziani@ci.berkeley.ca.us.

Commissioner Spotlight
I’m happy to introduce Leona Chen as my recent appointee to the Community Health Commission. Leona is a District 8 resident working at UC Berkeley.  

Leona Chen

Leona Chen is a graduate of San Francisco State, where she studied Public Health through a holistic lens. She recognizes the importance of integrating a diverse cultural, historical and interdisciplinary perspective to improve health and quality of life through community engagement. She is currently a health educator at UC Berkeley and is enthusiastic to be involved with the progress of increasing the health equity in Berkeley.  


Lori Droste