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City Council District 6
City Council District 6

 Councilmember Susan Wengraf

 Councilmember Susan Wengraf

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Newsletter #2



Dear Friends and District 6 Constituents,

         My  first effort at an e-newsletter was a big hit with most of you. I am encouraged to continue sending updates to you when I feel there is sufficient information to report. Please continue to send me your feedback and don't hesitate to call my office if you have any concerns or issues that you would like to discuss.

Included in this newsletter is information about:

  1. Spring Cleaning?
  2. An Imortant Message from our Fire Department about Safety 

1. Summary of Public Safety and Crime Workshop

        The workshop, held at the Northbrae Church in February was attended by more than 170 residents from North Berkeley. Police Chief Doug Hambleton and Area Coordinator, Officer Cassimiro Pierantino made a presentation on crime data and answered questions from the audience. For those of you who were unable to attend, Councilmember Capitelli has posted summary minutes and the questions and answers  I think you will find this information very useful. I urge you to call 911 from a landline and 981-5911 from a cell phone whenever you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood. Our Police Department needs your help in catching criminals and welcomes your calls.

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2. Budget Updates

        The economic downturn is manifesting itself in decreasing sales tax and transfer tax revenues.  City financial resources have dropped.  The City Council has been studying budget issues for the past several meetings.  Now that our representatives in Sacramento have finally passed a budget, we can begin to try to understand what we can expect from the State. In the months to come, City Council will be considering how the State's cuts will impact Berkeley's programs and operations. We know that funds to our schools, social service programs, and transit agencies will be cut. How all of this will play out is still very uncertain. At the same time, we are putting in applications for funds from President Obama's Stimulus Package. On the bright side, I am told that we will receive enough funding to re-pave University Avenue, the gateway to our city. For more complete information on our budget, please go here.

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3. Open Town Hall 

       Council member Wozniak has started using a website called Open Town Hall to alert residents and receive opinions back about issues before the City Council  He has invited me to think about using Open Town Hall to reach my constituents, as well. Please visit the site.  I am interested in knowing how you feel about this type of forum. Would you participate and would you find it useful?

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4. Library Survey 

        Do you use the Public Library? Would you like to help improve the Central Library? The Berkeley Public Library has begun a space planning project at the City's Central Library, located downtown at 2090 Kittredge near Shattuck. It's been seven years since the renovation and expansion of this City landmark, and Library staff are looking for ways to enhance public spaces so that users' visits are better, collections easier to find, assistance readily available, corridors less crowded, and checkout lines shorter.

        This 10-question survey will help the Library know what works, and what doesn't, in the Central Library building, and help staff plan for future improvements.

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5. Spring Cleaning?

        If you are ready to clean out your basement, attic or garage and have large items, the City of Berkeley offers a wonderful service called Bulky Waste Pick-Up that is available to every residence, once a year. You must call 981 -7270 to make an appointment. For more detailed information, go here.

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6. An Important Message from Our Fire Department About Safety

        Take advantage of Daylight Savings Time to do the following maintenance:

        Check the batteries in your smoke detectors and flashlights. Your smoke detector battery should be changed every year, and tested every month.

        Check your fire extinguisher to make sure it is fully charged and ready for use (be sure that the gauge is in the green).

        Check the expiration dates on the water and the food in your disaster kit. Drink the water and eat the food if the dates are about to expire, and replace whatever you use.

        Remember that, after a catastrophic earthquake, government resources may not be available for several days. It is essential that every household and family be prepared to survive on its own for 5-7 days until services can be restored. Take the time now to stock up on disaster supplies and to make a plan for yourself and your family on where to meet following an earthquake. A few other things you can do:

  1. Designate a long distance phone contact that everyone in your family can use to tell where and how they are.
  2. Prepare an emergency supplies kit for your home, car and work site.
  3. Get to know your neighbors and organize your neighborhood.
  4. Take one or more of the free emergency training classes offered by the City.

        For more information, please contact Berkeley's Office of Emergency Services, at (510) 981-5605.

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