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City Council District 6
City Council District 6

 Councilmember Susan Wengraf

  Councilmember Susan Wengraf

District 6 horizontal line

Newsletter #3

May, 2009


Dear Friends and District 6 Constituents,

    I have been very busy these past weeks at City Hall dealing with the budget, the Climate Action Plan, and the H1N1 flu issue. In addition, I have been trying to come up with creative ideas to mitigate: speeding traffic on our streets, insufficient street lighting, graffiti, and earthquake hazards. I have also been working closely with the neighbors around Hillside School to try to preserve the playground for community use. I welcome your input on all of these issues.

This newsletter contains information about the following:

  1. Climate Action Plan
  2. H1N1 Flu and Berkeley
  3. Refuse Rate Increase
  4. May 19 State Election - Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner
  5. Budget Workshop
  6. Filming at Cragmont School

1.  HELP! Climate Action Plan

    Many of you read in the SF Chronicle that Berkeley is about to adopt a Climate Action Plan. The focus of the Chron article was the mandatory energy audits and other measures that might be required of Berkeley property owners. I received quite a few emails expressing everything from disbelief to rage about the "CAP," including one that blasted Berkeley for its "environmental totalitarianism."

    On May 5, the City Council will continue a discussion of the plan. I have introduced some amendments:

  •     The most important is that the word "require" be replaced with the word "encourage" throughout Chapter 4. This change, if adopted, will take out any reference to dictating or mandating that homeowners have to spend thousands of dollars to comply with the "CAP" 
  •     I have proposed that "white roofs" be amended to just be "cool roofs", since new, colored roofing materials are now available that have the same reflective properties as white roofs. (Just imagine how awful it would be to have white roofs in the hills!) 
  •     I am asking that a new item be added to Chapter 6 - Adapting to Climate Change that says "To reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires that release tons of carbons and will undermine the city's emission reduction goals……the City of Berkeley will consider a vegetation management plan in the parts of the city designated as high hazard areas."  See the CAP here. See the City Council Agenda for May 5th here.

    If you agree with these changes to the CAP, your emails would be greatly appreciated. Please send your comments to me by 12 noon on Tuesday. I am only one of nine votes on the Council, so your support is very important.

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 2. H1N1 Flu and Berkeley

    As of the writing of this newsletter (Saturday, May 2) no confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza have been reported in Berkeley. However, the City has taken every step necessary to prepare for the possibility of a widespread outbreak, in the event that it may develop. The director of our Health Department is in frequent contact with the Center for Disease Control, monitoring the situation on a daily basis. Here are the basic tips from the CDC for preventing the spread of H1N1 and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap.
  • Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids . 
  • If you develop a fever, in combination with a cough or stomach upset, call your doctor.

    In the event that influenza starts spreading in Berkeley, I will email you immediately.

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3. HEADS UP!  Refuse Rate Increase and Mail Protest Ballot

    If approved by property owners, residential garbage collection fees will be raised by about $4.20 per month for a 32 gallon garbage can. Notices will be mailed out the first week of May using what is called a "majority protest process." People must mail back their ballot in order to register a "no" vote, otherwise it is counted as a "yes" vote. Refuse rates have not been raised since July 2006. This increase is necessary to cover the projected $5 million dollar shortfall in the Refuse Fund as a result of decreased revenues for recycling materials and increased operating costs. On July 7, the City Council will hold a public hearing to determine the outcome of the majority protest process.

    I suggest that if this increase is a financial burden, you should consider reducing the size of your garbage can. With increased paper and food recycling, it may be possible to go down a container size. Maybe some of you can even get down to a 20 gallon! To change your can size, call Refuse and Recycling Customer Service at 981-7270.

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4. State of California Special Election on May 19th - How will you vote on the 6 initiatives?

    By now you have all received your voter pamphlet for the May 19th election. But have you decided how to vote? On Thursday, May 7th at 7:00pm, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner will be heading up a discussion on the state budget at the Northbrae Community Church at 941 The Alameda. The evening, hosted by the Berkeley Democratic Club, will also offer a briefing by the League of Women Voters on the ballot measures. It's a great opportunity to ask questions and to get answers. The League of Women Voters offers an analysis of each initiative on their website. I'll be there and look forward to seeing you.

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5. Here's your chance ! District 5 & 6 Budget Workshop

    Our joint workshop on Crime with Councilmember Capitelli was such a success that we decided to do another one on the City's budget.

    Please join us at 7pm on Monday, June 1st at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda. City Manager Phil Kamlarz will explain Berkeley's financial situation and will answer questions.

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6. Hollywood comes to Berkeley

    Some of you may have noticed film crews and trucks down on Shattuck at Saul's and Oscar's last week. On Sunday, May 5th, the same crews will be shooting on location at Cragmont School. Berkeley is lucky to have been chosen as the location for a TV pilot called 'Parenthood', produced by NBC. Crews will only be at Cragmont for one day. Police will be on hand to manage traffic and parking.

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     If you would like to be removed from this newsletter mailing list, please send an email to me with 'Remove' in the subject line.  If you know someone who would like to receive it, send me their email with 'Add name' in the subject line.

Susan Wengraf
Berkeley City Council, District 6
2180 Milvia St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Tel: (510) 981-7160
Fax: (510) 981-7166 
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