September 9 2015

Dear Neighbor -- 

I hope you’ve had a great summer; it was certainly wonderful to have a week of vacation with my family to rest and recharge, and I hope you had a similar break. As the school year begins (remember to drive safely around schools) and Council gears up for a new session, I’m excited to get back into action.

My appointee to the Planning Commission, Karen Chapple, just released a study on the important issue of displacement and gentrification. This week I have met with affordable housing policy experts Carol Galante (Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy and former Obama Ass't Secretary on Housing) and Jeff Vincent (Deputy Director for Center of Cities and Schools) on what we can do to ensure that Berkeley and the Bay Area remains affordable for all! I’ll be sharing more pieces and updates through my new Facebook page. 


City Council meets on 9/15 and we’re kicking off the new session with some incredibly timely topics, including Berkeley’s minimum wage ordinance, restrictions on tobacco retailers, an update on crime in Berkeley, and more. See the full agenda here. At our second meeting in September (9/29), we’ll likely be discussing group living accommodations/mini dorms. The agenda for that meeting has not yet been posted.  

I also want to take a moment to highlight the City’s 311 customer service line, which you can reach by phone (by calling 311 on a landline, or 510-981-2489 on a cell phone) or online for City service requests like sidewalk repair, trash removal, tree removal, etc. Many of the requests my office receives can be more quickly addressed through 311 so I encourage you to use it. 

I have included several updates below. 

Lori Droste

Check out my website:

Measles Case in Berkeley: A Reminder to Vaccinate
Read more here.

Fire Preparedness and Community Meeting

As we approach our more traditional fire season, be safe by doing your best to mitigate the likelihood that your house is the one that burns by continuing to clear brush, dry grasses and debris around your property. Make and practice a plan to evacuate safely out of the area if a small fire becomes a big fire. Where possible, get into the habit of parking off street to allow easier and quicker access by first responders and, most importantly, safe egress for you, your family and your neighbors. In the coming weeks, my office will be sending out more detailed information on what you and your neighbors can do to prepare for fires and other disasters. In the meantime, more information can be found at

My office will also be participating in a Community Meeting on Emergency Preparedness, and I encourage all of those interested to attend. When:Thursday, October 1st, 7pm in Haver Hall at Northbrae Church, 941 The Alameda,  Berkeley.

Berkeley Bicycle Plan Update Bike Tour

Please join City of Berkeley staff and Berkeley Transportation Commissioners for a presentation and Bike Tour highlighting key bicycle issue and opportunity areas in Berkeley. The input from the Bike Tour will inform the recommendations for the Bicycle Plan Update.

City of Berkeley staff and consultants will lead a bike tour starting at 10:00am with a short presentation at Sports Basement (2727 Milvia St), followed by the Bike Tour from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, during which the group will stop at points along the way for discussion. Sports Basement has offered a 20% discount for Bike Tour participants to apply to any day-of purchases.

Please note that there are a limited number of spaces available on the bike tour. To reserve your spot on the ride portion of this event, please RSVP to with “Berkeley Bike Tour” in the subject line. When: Saturday, September 12, 2015, 10:00am-1:00pm, Sports Basement, Zamboni Zone, 2727 Milvia St, Berkeley.

Office Hours

My next office hours will be on on the first Thursday of October (10/1) from 9:30-11am at Cafe Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave (on the corner of College and Ashby). No appointment necessary - just stop by!  

New Information on Homelessness, Housing and Street Behavior at
Read more here.

Commissioner Spotlight  

I’m happy to introduce Poki Namkung as my Public Health Commissioner, and appointee to the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Panel of Experts. Dr. Namkung is a Cal alumni and D8 resident.  

Dr. Namkung is a first generation immigrant who came to medicine late in life after many years of political activism.  After medical school at UC, Davis, she trained in Obstetrics and Gynecology, also at UC, Davis and then took a hiatus from career to raise a family. In 1993, Dr. Namkung returned to training, first receiving an M.P.H. in Epidemiology from the School of Public Health at University of California, Berkeley.  She completed a Preventive Medicine Residency at UCB in 1995 and went on to become the Health Officer and Director of Public Health for the City of Berkeley Public Health Department. 

Dr. Namkung is committed to women’s health through her service on many Boards and Commissions, including chairing the PTA and the Parks and Recreation Commission for the City of Berkeley, and as a member of the Committee on Public Health Strategies to Improve Health for the Institute of Medicine (IOM). She retired in 2012 as Health Officer/Chief Medical Officer for the County of Santa Cruz and has been grateful to remain active in the affairs of her home community as well as currently serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Center for Public Health Advocacy.