March 22 2016

Since my last newsletter, I wanted to update you on several short terms solutions that are being implemented to ensure pedestrian safety around John Muir elementary. I’ve spoken with Berkeley Police who will provide increased traffic enforcement on Claremont Ave., I’ve met with the City Manager who is going to explore enhanced lighting options on the street, and Transportation staff will be painting yield indicators on Claremont Ave.

In the longer term, the Mayor and I have agreed to put forth a budget proposal to fund overhead flashing pedestrian lights, additional signage, and enhanced pedestrian crossing measures at Claremont Ave and Claremont Crescent. While City staff has diligently applied for Safe Routes to School funding for these improvements, I want to be sure they happen as soon as possible. Thank you to Principal Audrey Amos, Darryl Bartlow, and all the parents who spoke out encouraging action on pedestrian safety at the last Council meeting. I take your concerns and comments very seriously. My heart goes out Lillia and I hope for a speedy recovery.

Berkeleyside pic
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As the weather gets warmer this spring, I wanted to share a list of places to visit, activities and spring break camps available for Berkeley’s youth. As a parent of young children, I’m thrilled to have so many options for children’s recreation. Join me in exploring these great options this spring - find a list of these activities here.

Child Abduction Attempt - Please Stay Alert

A student from Malcolm X elementary school reported that two men in a green van followed her to school last week, and one tried to grab her, prompting her to run away. The description of the van is similar to the description of a vehicle used in one of the five child abduction incidents in the fall. The Berkeley Police Department is investigating. According to Principal Hunt, the young student left her home near the school around 8am to walk to Malcolm X on Prince Street near Ashby Avenue. “The student reported that a green van pulled into a driveway in front of her, with two men in the vehicle,” Hunt said in the email. “They waved her ahead/told her to go ahead. The passenger allegedly got out and was walking behind her. The child said she felt him getting closer and reach for her, and she started to run to school.”Full Berkeleyside story.

Lori Droste
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8

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Office Hours

My next office hours will be on Thursday, 4/7 from 9:30 -11am at Cafe Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave. Feel free to drop by – no appointment necessary.

City of Berkeley Resilience Strategy Community Event  

The City is hosting a community event to announce the release of the Berkeley Resilience Strategy and to launch the new Community Resilience Center Program. The event will take place at Le Peña Cultural Center, which is one of the first Community Resilience Centers partnering with the City to host disaster preparedness, public health and other trainings and to serve as a conduit to information and services that are tailored to the needs of the people whom the organization serves. Community Event: Berkeley Resilience Strategy, Friday, April 1, 2016, 3:00 – 5:00 pm, La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Wheelchair accessible. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Commissioner Spotlight

I’d like to introduce my Arts Commissioner, Weston Taruya.

Weston Taruya Weston Teruya was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i and has lived in Berkeley since 2006. His love of the visual arts sprung from the words of encouragement from elementary school teachers and summer art classes as a child. While at Pomona College studying to be a Studio Art major, he also became heavily involved in student activism leading to the establishment of an Asian American Studies department at the Claremont Colleges. Since then, he has deeply believed in the connections between art and social justice issues. While working in Los Angeles after his undergraduate degree, he worked for a youth leadership program facilitating young artists teaching workshops at a juvenile hall. In the years since then, he received his MFA & MA from California College of the Arts and worked for the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Cultural Equity Grant program (now known as Community Investments) for eight years. He has since moved on from the SFAC, but continues to work with organizations of color and individual artists to write grants and seek out professional resources.

Weston is currently an artist-in-residence at Recology SF, having recently also completed residencies at Mills College and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He’s most excited about recently co-founding the Related Tactics collective, a group of artists, writers, curators, and educators of color creating projects and opportunities at the intersection of race and culture.