May 9 2015

Dear Neighbor -- 

May is getting to be a busy month - City Council had a meeting about community benefits required for downtown developments and at our meeting on May 12th we’ll discuss the city budget and then have a public hearing on it. I would encourage you to provide public comment. We’ll also look at a proposed buffer zone around tobacco retailers, and discuss participatory budgeting as a potential model for Berkeley. The full agenda is here.

Over the past month, many of you have reached out to my office with concerns about the growing homeless encampments and problematic street behavior around Willard Park. Please know that my office is meeting with our area coordinators, police, and homeless advocates to talk about this issue. If you see illegal behavior, please report it in a timely manner to BPD at 510-981-5900 along with details about the incident - where it specifically took place, what time, what the person looked like, etc. BPD uses incident reports to identify areas in need of more frequent patrolling. In terms of longer term solutions, the budget that we’re discussing on May 12th includes improved funding (and more staffing) for our Mental Health Division (see pages 16 and 17 of the budget).

Mark your calendars!
May 14thBike to Work Day - I hope to see you out and about!
June 10th: Community Work Day on June 10th - 8am - 12 noon at Willard Park…. details to come

My Op-Ed featured in the Daily Cal
Read how we can address Berkeley’s housing shortage here.

Support Take to the Hills - Repair the Steps Above Clark Kerr Campus
A new group, Take To The Hills, working in conjunction with Berkeley Partners for Parks, has secured permission from UC to repair the stairs above Clark Kerr Campus. They will work this winter when the soil is soft again. A skilled volunteer team from Berkeley Path Wanderers has agreed to work on the project, all we need to do is raise $2,000 for materials and lunch for the crew. This is a great opportunity to repair a local resource with hand labor and locally sourced eucalyptus treads. Complete information is

City Water Use Declines During Drought
The City of Berkeley slashed water use last year by 26% after scaling back irrigation, fixing leaks and using more water efficient fixtures - steps also recommended for businesses and residents. Read morehere.

Happy Neighbors Workshop
Happy Neighbors, created by a group of Cal students in 2009 to create awareness and optimal neighbor relations through peer education and outreach, will be holding a workshop for property owners and management teams regarding student/alcohol impact on May 20th. For more information, email Leona Chen at  or call (510) 502-9880.

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.

Commissioner Spotlight

I’m happy to introduce Ben Bartlett as my recent appointee to the Police Review Commission. Ben is a 5th generation Berkeley resident and has demonstrated a real commitment this city.

Ben is a graduate of Colby College in Maine, and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.  He is a business consultant who is committed to extending the circle of prosperity to all people. He currently serves on the development committee for the Berkeley Food and Housing Project.


Lori Droste