May 12, 2017

Happy May! I’m excited to report that my Legislative Aide Kerry Birnbach is back from her sabbatical. Welcome back Kerry!

Coming to Council: Policing policies and Library Board appointments are just a couple of items on the May 16th agenda, see details below. Please communicate with Council at council@cityofberkeley.info and clerk@cityofberkeley.info to provide your opinion on any of the agenda items.

Policing
Two items will be on the Council agenda on police agreements. Lately, there has been a bit of debate on Council and in the community whether the City should continue with these police agreements. You can find those items here and here. The City Manager recommends approving these agreements to protect public safety and assist in investigations. The staff reports cover several areas of policing:

The first item is for funding of a reinforced paneled van to allow safe transport of police officers and residents. Berkeleyside wrote a piece on this potential acquisition. The second item covers a multitude of topics, some of which were recently discussed in a Berkeleyside piece on police training.

  • Urban Areas Security Initiative–Urban Shield. This is an annual  regional/international multi-day exercise designed to prepare civilian and public safety government officials for natural and human-made disasters. In the City of Berkeley, fire, police, emergency services, public health, and civilian staff participate in this exercise based on real-life scenarios.

  • Urban Areas Security Initiative–Berkeley Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services. Fire Department and Emergency Services have participated in various disaster-related scenarios (water point of distribution, shootings, joint information system planning, etc.). In 2017, Berkeley intends to participate to provide opportunities to test large scale shelter plans in case of an earthquake.

  • Urban Areas Security Initiative–trainings. UASI provides free training to Berkeley Police on medical training for mass casualties, response to school shootings, disaster recovery, hazmat response, explosive devices, etc.

  • Urban Areas Security Initiative–grant funding for terrorism, disaster and emergency preparedness. Over the past nine years, the City has received funding for a live video x-ray system for bomb disposal, 3D laser scanners, the aforementioned panelled van, and other (non-weaponry) equipment.

  • Northern California Regional Intelligence Center Information / Information Sharing- NCRIC is a partnership between federal, state and local public safety agencies, and coordinated with the FBI's Bay Area Joint Terrorism Task Force, facilitates the legal sharing of terrorism and crime information. The City of Berkeley can access this information but only shares suspicious activity reports (see below).

  • Suspicious Activity Reports sharing-The criteria for these reports are outlined in General Order N-17 (a policy which is not up for debate on Tuesday). Non-violent civil obedience, political opinions, religious beliefs are exempted from these reports. In 2016, there was one report. SARs reports are reported to City Council and made public.

Library Appointments
Recently, Council passed a Fresh Start resolution and removed two members of the Board of Library Trustees. City Council will now consider whether to appoint Libby Hadzima Perkins, the new Board of Library Trustees’ recommendation, or Mayor Arreguín’s choice, John Selawsky, to the Board. If you are interested in reading more, Berkeleyside has written extensively about the issue.

Pedestrian Rights
In addition to co-sponsoring a budget referral to increase the City’s traffic calming budget, I'm proposing two items to improve pedestrian safety:

The first item asks the City Manager and the Transportation Commission to review and craft policy solutions to improve pedestrian accessibility immediately surrounding construction or sidewalk upgrades. The second item asks the City Manager and Transportation Commission to develop policies to improve pedestrian crossing at busy intersections, where walk signals come on only when requested.

T1 Implementation and Public Works Capital Improvement Projects
On Tuesday, there will be updates on Measure T1 implementation and capital improvement projects. You can find that information here.

Additional updates:

Berkeley Bike Plan
Berkeley passed a groundbreaking bike plan at the last Council meeting. I requested  that staff address the concerns many of you share around bicycling and pedestrian safety on Claremont Avenue. We also still need to use funding that the City was promised from Safeway to address traffic concerns so embedding this into the bike plan approval directs staff to acquire that money as soon as possible. To learn more, please read Emilie Raguso’s article.

Emergency Access in the Hills and Disaster Preparedness
Along with the Fire and Disaster Safety Commission, I am working alongside Councilmembers Susan Wengraf and Sophie Hahn to address emergency vehicle access in the Berkeley Hills. This is a very important disaster preparedness issue to address and I urge you to take a 5 minute survey located here. Also, please save the date for a Thursday, June 8th community meeting at the Northbrae Church at 7:00pm.

The Berkeley Disaster Prep Neighborhood Network is also looking to get more involved in our neighborhood. For more information on how to get engaged, please contact them at info@bdpnnetwork.org

Budget
At our last meeting, we began to discuss our FY 2018 and FY 2019 biennial budget. We face some big challenges, including a $5M and $5.3 million operating deficit in FY 2018 and FY 2019. We clearly will have some tough choices ahead of us.

Willard Playground Construction
Willard Playground is receiving an upgrade! The tot playground and pathway between tot playground and tennis courts will be closed during renovation. Tennis courts will remain open during daylight hours with modified access on the west side of the courts. Ball wall and practice court area will be closed for staging during construction.

Office Hours
I will be holding office hours on Friday, June 2nd from 9:30 - 11am at Cafe Roma on College Ave. at Ashby Ave.

UC Berkeley Graduation and Moveout 

  • Graduation and Commencement: Berkeley Commencement is on Saturday, May 13 at Memorial Stadium and individual departmental ceremonies will take place from May 13 to 19. Find information about commencement here, and you can learn more about the individual department graduations here.
  • Cal Move Out: Cal Move Out is coming (mid May to early June). The campus is partnering with the city, the ASUC and other student groups to decrease the environmental and social impacts of illegal dumping in near-campus neighborhoods at the end of the academic semester. Student leaders are increasing their outreach to help students to plan ahead to reduce waste, increase recycling and reuse, and avoiding fines for illegal dumping. The city is also planning to increase their citation rate. And all partners will promote the use of pre-paid trash bags to property owners, managers and students. If you are a landlord or property-manager for Cal students, you can download the Cal Move Out Flyer to share with your student tenants and contact the city’s customer service division to request extra trash service. More resource are available online at CalMoveOut.berkeley.edu -- updated regularly. These efforts are in alignment with the zero waste goals of UCOP,the Berkeley campus and the city. Remember, you can always check out upcoming campus events on the campus calendar. The Registrar’s office also has the academic calendar for this and coming years available for you to view.


Sincerely,
Lori Droste
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8
www.LoriDroste.com 

As always, I welcome your feedback. You can email me directly at ldroste@cityofberkeley.info. You can also contact my legislative aide and constituent services coordinator Kerry Birnbach at kbirnbach@cityofberkeley.info

Need a street or sidewalk repair? Want to report illegal dumping?

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.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Family Game Night ALL AGES

Bring your family, friends, favorite board games and prepare to have a great time! Join neighbors from the community for some friendly competition. Whether you enjoy old favorites like Candyland, Monopoly, and Scrabble or if you prefer games like Apples to Apples and Catch-Phrase, all games are welcome. Light food and refreshments will be provided.

Friday, May 12th from 6:00-8:00 at Willard Park. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Call 981-5144 for more info.


Rose Garden Grand Reopening on Saturday, May 13!

Time: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Where: Rose Garden


Interested in Backyard Cottages?

Please join this group to provide your input on creating this type of housing. Come on May 19th, 11:30-2:00 to the East Bay Media Center at 1939 Addison Street in Berkeley. The Facebook Page has more information https://www.facebook.com/events/812855348870593/


Save the Date–Fire and Safety Community Meeting

Please attend a Fire and Safety Community meeting on June 8th at 7pm at the Northbrae Community Church at 941 The Alameda. Police and Fire will be there to present. Stay tuned for details!