City Council District 6
City Council District 6

Councilmember Susan Wengraf

 

Councilmember Susan Wengraf

District 6 logo

                      Newsletter #8

               November, 2009

 

      Included in this newsletter is information about:

           It's almost a year since I took office as your representative on the City Council.  In my next newsletter, I will summarize the issues that I have been working on and share my goals for the coming year.  If any of you have ideas that you would like me to consider, I encourage you to send them to me.  Some citizens have already approached me with excellent issues and we are doing research and evaluating them as possible items for me to introduce to the City Council.

          If you are a neighborhood leader and have an email list, or have friends who may be interested, please forward this newsletter to them.  SBC Global and PacBell users cannot receive the newsletter when I send it out, because of filters that block large mailings.

        Seeing this newsletter for the first time? Want to be on our mailing list? Please email me.
        If you wish to be removed from this newsletter list, please click
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COMMUNITY MEETING - DECEMBER 3rd

            I will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting with Councilmember Capitelli, the representative of District 5, on Thursday, December 3rd at the Northbrae Church at 941 The Alameda at 7:00pm.  Topics to be discussed will be:

  1. The Downtown Plan
  2. How State cuts are impacting Berkeley's Budget, wtih Budget Director Tracy Vesely
  3. Crime update in North Berkeley (for FAQs from our February meeting, click here.)

            This meeting will provide an opportunity for you to hear new information and ask questions.  I hope that you will mark your calendars and try to attend.

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TRAFFIC CALMING:  CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION

What:     City Council Discussion on Traffic Calming Policy
Where:   City Council Chambers, 2nd floor, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
When:   Tuesday, November 17, 2009. 7:00 pm *

            I receive calls almost every day about the need to slow traffic in residential areas.  I have worked closely with the Transportation Dept. to try to address specific requests...only sometimes with success.  I am constantly frustrated by this issue.

            In an attempt to make residential traffic calming a more rational process, the Director of Transportation has introduced a process by which neighborhoods identify the problem and request review from City staff.  This new policy comes to the City Council for discussion and approval on November 17.  The Director hopes to include in the traffic calming tool kit "vertical speed deflectors" (formerly known as speed bumps).  This would mean lifting the moratorium on these devices, put in place some years ago after concerns raised by both Police and Fire regarding response times, and by the Disabled Community.

            The City Council will be accepting public testimony on this policy.  Please consider speaking at the meeting or writing to the Council.

*  The meeting will commence at 7:00 pm.  Depending upon the agenda, it may be well after 8:00 pm before the Council receives comments on the new traffic calming policy.  Written comments may be sent to "The City Council" c/o City Clerk, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704, or e-mailed to the city clerk.

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PREPARE FOR WINTER RAINSLeafy street

            Please help keep our storm drains clean to prevent neighborhood flooding and improve the water quality of the Bay.  All storm drains in Berkeley drain to the Bay. If you live in a heavy leaf area, please collect the leaves and debris in front of your home.  Free bags are available at the Corporation Yard at 1236 Allston Way during the fall and winter months.  The Public Works department will give you gloves, rain gear, rakes, scoops, and debris bags to keep your block clean.  To adopt a storm drain and be personally repsonsible for keeping it clean, call Josh Bradt at 981-6419.  If you have a drain that you cannot clear, please call 981-6620 to report the problem.

            In flood-prone areas, the City will provide sandbags to divert water away from your home.  Please pick-up sandbags before it rains. They are available at the Corporation Yard and also at neighborhood fire stations.

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BULKY WASTE PICKUPJunky room

 

     Need to get that basement or extra room ready for relatives visiting for the holidays?  The City of Berkeley offers Bulky Waste Pickup to single family and multi-family residences up to four units.  Each residence is allowed one pickup per year.  You must make an appointment.  Call 981-7270 to schedule an appointment.  For more information, click here.

 

 

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CHECK SMOKE ALARMS

            With Autumn officially here, I want to remind everyone to check all their smoke detector batteries and make sure they are working properly. Except for the occasional kitchen catastrophe, most of the time we forget that the smoke alarms are installed. Remembering to check them when we set the clocks back is a good way to keep them in good working order.

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CITY OF BERKELEY LAUNCHES "311"

            Berkeley residents and businesses now have two faster and easier way to access City services. If you call 311 from a landline, you will connect to a customer service representative who can help you complete routine city business. Please call 311:

  • to report graffitti, potholes and broken parking meters 311 Online Service Center                                              
  • to pay refuse bills and parking tickets
  • to change refuse service
  • to report missed garbage pick-up
  • to request general information about Berkeley services

The first three months will be a pilot program to test the system's capacity.

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THE ONLINE SERVICE CENTER

            In response to requests, residents can now submit online service requests and access an online City staff directory.  Both services have been added to the City's website. The online Service Center at  www.CityofBerkeley.info/onlineservice is available 24/7.

            The public is invited to email feedback and suggestions to 311@cityofberkeley.info

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NEED HELP GETTING ORGANIZED FOR EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS?

         All of us want to get prepared for the big one, but sometimes it is difficult and challenging to know exactly how to get started. District 6 resident Pam Grossman generously volunteers her time and expertise to help neighborhood groups get organized.  She works closely with the Office of Emergency Services and has successfully helped dozens of groups in the City. You can contact her at: pam@grossmanfamily.com.

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DO YOU HAVE MONEY SITTING IN SACRAMENTO?

            You may be one of millions of Californians owed money by the State!  I have a friend who discovered more than $900 that had been in an account for over ten years!

            The State of California is currently in possession of more than $5.1 billion in Unclaimed Property belonging to approximately 8.2 million individuals and organizations.

            The State acquires unclaimed property through California's Unclaimed Property Law, which requires "holders" such as corporations, business associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies to annually report and deliver property to the Controller's Office after there has been no customer contact for three years. Often the owner forgets that the account exists, or moves and does not leave a forwarding address, or the forwarding order expires. In some cases, the owner dies and the heirs have no knowledge of the property.

            The most common types of Unclaimed Property are:Dollar sign

  • Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
  • Uncashed cashier's checks or money orders
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Matured or terminated insurance policies
  • Estates
  • Mineral interests and royalty payments, trust funds, and escrow accounts
  • California Unclaimed Property Law does NOT include real estate property.

            To find out if any of this money belongs to you, search the Unclaimed Property Database.

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AIRCRAFT NOISE OVER NORTH BERKELEY

        My office has received complaints about noise from airplanes flying overhead.  Keep Jets Over the Bay (KJOB) is an organization formed in the 1990's that is committed to protecting the "Silent 7" departure route from the Oakland Airport.  That means that jets departing from Oakland are expected to avoid passing over Berkeley between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM.  The only exception is for safety.  If you are bothered by Oakland flights, please call the Oakland Airport Noise hotline, at (510) 577-4194. For more information contact KJOB chairperson Margery Eriksson (mferiksson@earthlink.net).

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