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City Council District 5
City Council District 5

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September 10, 2013

In this issue:

A Note from Councilmember Capitelli
Oaks Theater Survey
Lecture: 1868 Earthquake. CANCELED
Coffee with the Councilmember
Not on the Test: Math Lectures
Sunday Streets
Police Alert
City Contacts and Resources

A Note From Councilmember Capitelli

Dear District 5 Neighbors,

The Sierra Rim Fire of 2013 will long be remembered as one of the worst fires in California history. Locally, it will be infamous as the disaster that swept away Berkeley Tuolumne Camp.

Many of you have written with questions and concerns about the future of the camp. (See the September 4, 2013 Tuolumne update from City staff). Several folks have shared memories, stories and testimonials that Tuolumne Camp was as much about family, community and tradition as it was about summer in the Sierras.

From an old friend and District 5 resident:

It is truly one of the most beautiful, peaceful, wonderful places I have ever seen. About 50 tent cabins spread all over a large area of gorgeous trees, next to the Tuolumne River, and down the road from the West Entrance of Yosemite. Every tent cabin had a huge deck. We always slept on cots outside on the deck of our cabin, looking up at billions of stars and countless shooting stars. . . The mess hall had a huge fireplace, with big old rocking chairs around, and that was a good place to gather and read and get warm, before breakfast. There was always fresh coffee going, 24 hours a day, and a large supply of green camp coffee mugs for drinking around the fire or in the green chairs outside. . . It was Heaven on Earth, a matter of family history for so many. We absolutely loved going there every year.

Everyone wants to be reassured that the camp will be rebuilt. There are many unknowns and questions to be answered, especially while the fire still smolders. But I think it is fair to say that we at City Hall are seeing the re-building of Tuolumne Family Camp as our long-term goal. What I know for sure is that current building codes and environmental regulations will shape Tuolumne into a very different place than it is now. Initially. It will be up to the next generation of campers to fill any new space with life, to craft new relationships and new traditions – along with a few lanyards – that will enrich the fabric of our personal histories.

* * * *

The Oaks Theater on Solano Avenue is another beloved community institution that deserves an opportunity to be re-created. Rather than a destructive fire, it is a changing film industry, compounded by an economic downturn that led the theater to close years ago. Based on discussions with performing arts groups and interested community members, I released a survey last week to assess wider community support for re-opening the Oaks. The response has been very positive and encouraging. Over 400 people stopped by our booth at the Solano Stroll on Sunday to talk about the project and we currently have over 1000 responses to the survey.

Berkeley is home to a wide variety of performing arts organizations, many of which are competing for very limited spaces to perform. There is developing momentum to transform the Oaks into a local, live performance venue and cultural center with the possibility of future film presentations. Please stay tuned, and if you haven’t filled out the survey, you can do so at Oaks Theater Survey.


Laurie Capitelli
Berkeley City Council, District 5

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A New Vision on Solano:
Oaks Live

How do you envision the next phase of the Oaks Theater? Would you patronize live theatrical performances there? Simulcasts? Would you support a community-based organization to produce and promote them?

If any or all of these questions intrigue you, please fill out the Oaks Theater Survey.

I am collaborating with the Youth Musical Theater Company, a Berkeley based performing arts group to re-open the Oaks Theater on Solano Ave. Our task force envisions the historic Oaks as a vibrant cultural arts center in North Berkeley, hosting live theater, musical theater, opera, dance, films and special events and we are working on plans to accomplish this goal within a year.

Arts are essential to the health and vitality of our communities and it is also very important to maintain the Oaks’ use as a historic theater. To this end, we recently negotiated a 4 month option from property owner John Gordon to not rent the theater to any potential operators. This gives the task force until the end of 2013 to assemble a group of anchor tenants, organize financing and submit renovation plans to the City.

Noted local architect Donn Logan, who together with his wife Marcy Wong designed the Berkeley Rep Roda Theater and the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, has been leading the design efforts.

Please help us by taking the Oaks Theater Survey.

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Learning from History
1868 Earthquake Lecture

The lecture by Richard Schwartz regarding the 1868 Earthquake on the Hayward Fault scheduled for September 19 – and announced in July - has unfortunately been canceled. Instead, Councilmember Capitelli will hold a “Coffee with the Councilmember.” Please see announcement below.

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Coffee with the Councilmember

What: Neighborhood conversation with Councilmember Capitelli.
When: Thursday, September 19, 2013. 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Northbrae Community Center. 941 The Alameda. Parlor Room.

I hope you can join me for a short discussion about what is going on around town. Bring your questions. I will bring a few refreshments.

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Not on the Test:
The Pleasures and Uses of Mathematics

What: A six-part free lecture series about mathematics presented by Berkeley’s Mathematical Science and Research Institute and Berkeley City College.
When: Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. on Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 6, Feb. 12, Mar. 12, and Apr. 9.
Where: Berkeley Community College Auditorium. 2050 Center Street, Berkeley.

“Not on the Test: The Pleasures and Uses of Mathematics,” a six-part lecture series co-presented by Berkeley’s Mathematical Science and Research Institute (MSRI) and Berkeley City College (BCC), begins at 7 p.m., Wed., Sept. 11 with “Math in the Movies,” a presentation by Pixar’s Tony DeRose. This and all lectures in the year-long series, made possible with funding from the Simons Foundation, are free and open to the public.

For more information about this and subsequent lectures please visit MSRI.

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Sunday Streets

What: Sunday Streets. Shattuck Ave. will be closed to vehicular traffic from Rose Street to Haste Street.
When: Sunday, October 13, 2013. 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Shattuck Avenue between Haste and Rose Streets

Walk, jog, bike or dance to a one-day, mile-long park on Shattuck Avenue. Due to popular demand, Open Streets are coming back to Berkeley!

This is not a traditional street “fair” - no food vendors, artisans or entertainment. This is an opportunity to stroll with friends and neighbors and to meet local merchants as they showcase their businesses.

“Sunday Streets Berkeley,” modeled after a similar program in San Francisco, is produced by Livable Berkeley in association with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, the Ecology Center, the Downtown Berkeley Association, the North Shattuck Association, and the City of Berkeley.

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Police Alert:
Theft of Communications Cables

On Thursday, August 22nd, between midnight and 8 am, an unknown person or persons climbed up two separate utility poles on the 1300 block of Curtis Street and stole about 30' of co-axial communication cable. The theft interrupted telephone and cable television service to numerous homes in the surrounding area (BPD Case #13-48126).

According to AT&T, similar incidents have occurred in a nearby city--where witnesses reported seeing a white boom-equipped utility truck with workers wearing hard hats and orange safety vests that appeared to be doing legitimate work.

Historically, thefts of copper increase along with the increase its price/per pound. As the price of copper currently is on the rise, we must be more vigilant. If you should witness suspicious activity around utility poles and/or utility boxes, please report this to the police department as soon as possible.

For Emergencies, dial 911.

For Non-Emergencies and to make police reports, dial (510) 981-5900.

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City Contacts and Resources

Listed below are important city phone numbers to keep close by:

Laurie Capitelli, District 5 Office


Tom Bates, Office of the Mayor


Officer Byron White, BPD Area Coordinator for North Berkeley


Non-emergency (to report a past event or suspicious activity)


Emergency (to report a crime in process or an emergency)
from a landline


From a cell phone


To report nonfunctioning street lamps, graffiti, missed garbage pick-ups

On Line Service Center
or dial 311

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