October 12, 2016

Happy October! I hope you’re all gearing up for a fabulous fall.

About a year ago, I asked what you all thought about the quota system in the Elmwood Commercial district. My goal in revisiting the quota system was to identify a simpler policy around commercial space in the Elmwood. I wanted to preserve the diversity of the stores currently in business, and at the same time be open to new businesses that might strengthen our community. The majority of responses I received also expressed the same sentiment. At our next Council meeting (10/18), this item is coming full circle. Council will review our Planning Commission’s proposal for a modified system. The proposal would eliminate retail quotas (as has been done in other Berkeley commercial districts) and simplify food quotas to allow for 25 total food businesses (simplified from the current system of three types of food business quotas). Read the details of the proposal here

Our 10/18 Council meeting will also include discussion of tiny homes as a strategy to increase housing for the homeless, increasing the number of parking permits for BUSD teachers and staff, and expanding the downtown arts district. 

My office recently attended a great Council on Student-Neighbor Relations meeting and learned that student leadership of Greek life at Cal now has an email (ifc.complaints@calgreeks.com) that residents can send complaints to directly, and leadership will provide a 24-hr response and 72-hr follow-up action commitment based on complaints. Please note this email for future issues.

As always, I am happy to discuss these or other issues at my office hours (first Thursday mornings at Cafe Roma, at College Ave at Ashby, from 9:30-11am) or by appointment (email me atldroste@cityofberkeley.info to set up a time). It’s my honor to serve as your elected Councilmember.

Lori Droste
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8

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.

Berkeley Public Library:Kenn Adams' Adventure Theater: Haunted House

See this special version of the Kenn Adams Adventure Theater, just for Halloween! Our intrepid hero rushes into a haunted house in order to save her little brother, faces off against zombies, werewolves, witches and vampires, and - of-course - saves the day and the world! (And, yes, someone in the show will eat a banana!) Ages 6 and up!

@North Branch Wednesday, October 19, 3:30pm-4:15pm

@Claremont Branch Friday, October 28, 4:00pm-4:45pm

Sunday Streets in Berkeley

Sunday October 16, 2016 | 11 am to 5 pm, Shattuck Ave from Haste to Rose, Berkeley, FREE. Visit http://www.sundaystreetsberkeley.org/ for more information. 

Sunday Streets (also called “Open Streets”)  closes streets to automobile traffic for a day so that people may usethe space for other physical and social activities. The streets become parks as people replace car traffic. People walk, bike, skate and dance and play. Everyone from businesses and community organizations to musicians and artists use the space creatively, engaging the public and providing spontaneity and discovery.  It sounds simple, yet it really is very different and exciting. 

Cedar Rose Park: Saturday, October 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join us for the City of Berkeley's annual Harvest Festival, a chance to honor the Fall with live music, kids' activities, and celebrate our city's thriving culture of growing and making our own food.

This year's festival - from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cedar Rose Park - will celebrate foods grown, harvested, and prepared by members of the Berkeley community. To inspire more urban farming, homemade food, and healthier eating, the Food and Garden Expo will host:

Crop Swap - Bring your garden's surplus and exchange it with other gardeners.  All types of fruits and vegetables are welcome.

Seed Swap - Swap garden seeds and share gardening tips.  Don't have any seeds to swap? No problem! We will have a generous supply of organic vegetable and flowers seeds on hand (while supplies last).

Food Contests - Enter your best homemade pie, pickled vegetables, cookies, jam, and other homemade goods or homegrown produce. Although all food entries must feature a main ingredient that could feasibly be grown in Berkeley, the actual ingredient does not need to have been grown in Berkeley.  All participants will receive recognition and ribbons will be awarded in each category.  


Join in with Berkeleyans throughout the city on October 20th and participate in a five-minute earthquake drill no matter where you are. At 10:20am on October 20th, practice the three things that everyone should do during an earthquake:

  • DROP to the ground
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

Learning and practicing how to "drop, cover, and hold on" is a brief commitment that can save your life.  Earthquakes are an inevitable part of Berkeley's future. Acting now prepares Berkeleyans for the immediate impact of shaking. Being safe and prepared also helps everyone bounce back quickly from an earthquake's effects.

Individuals, families, businesses or organizations can register at the ShakeOut Website to receive information on how to plan their drill and how to talk with others about earthquake preparedness. Use "City of Berkeley" as the "Parent Organization."

Everyone in the City of Berkeley is encouraged to join the Citywide exercise, either by participating on the 20th, or finding a time that works best for them.  Neighborhood groups who register on the ShakeOut website and participate can count this towards the "citywide exercise" requirement in the Office of Emergency Services'program to qualify for a free dumpster once a year. After participating, check disaster supply kits, review evacuation plans, and practice notifying loved ones of your status. Tips for preparedness are available at the Berkeley Earthquake Website.


Berkeleyans between 14 and 25 years of age are encouraged to apply to be part of YouthWorks, which allows youth to get valuable work experience while getting paid. YouthWorks places local youth in after-school jobs that last up to 7 weeks, for up to 15 hours per week, earning $10.50 per hour, beginning in early January. Youth can work in computers and IT, office administration, childcare and youth development, and more! Applications can be picked up beginning October 3 and are due by Monday October 31, 2016 (or sooner!)

If you need to create your very first resume or spruce up the one you have, YouthWorks and the Berkeley Public Library can help. Come to FREE resume workshops: Wednesdays October 12th and 19th, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM, Central Branch of the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge at Shattuck, 3rd floor electronic classroom. FREE for Berkeley teens aged 14-19. Sign up for the workshops at YouthWorks, 2180 Milvia St. 1st floor - the same place you'll get your YouthWorks job application!

Visit the address below to pick up your 2016 YouthWorks After-School Employment application and sign up for a free resume workshop. 

YouthWorks, 2180 Milvia St., 1st Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704, (510) 981-4970Monday - Friday8 AM - 5 PM http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/youthworks/

Commissioner Spotlight: Alex Mabanta

I'm thrilled to introduce Alex Mabanta as my Commissioner to the Peace and Justice Commission. 

Alex was named after Alex Trebek, the host of the TV game show Jeopardy! Consequently, he has always had a passion for knowledge and learning. Alex grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he attended Saratoga High School and graduated magna cum laude from UC Berkeley with degrees in Rhetoric and Political Science and minors in Human Rights and Entrepreneurship. During his college years, Alex immersed himself in a gamut of activities that ranged from directing the largest student-run tax-assistance center in Northern California to conducting a massive field experiment on religious minorities in India. As a result, he is always up for a game of trivia on any topic (all in preparation for making his own Jeopardy! debut).

Alex is interested in promoting all aspects of social justice, intersectional equity, feminism, and human rights at the local level. He is the Vice Chair of the Peace and Justice Commission, having spearheaded a number of bills ranging from divesting from private prisons, positioning Berkeley to observe the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and passing a resolution that called for the cessation of U.S. military base construction on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Currently, he is leading the planning of the 30th anniversary of the Peace and Justice Commission, with the goal of convening the public to brainstorm long-term social policy for Berkeley. He also can be found writing children’s books, attending or participating in slam poetry events, exploring Northern California, and engaging in public service for the local community.

Alex Mabanta