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City Council District 6
City Council District 6

Councilmember Susan Wengraf


Councilmember Susan Wengraf

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                      Newsletter #9

               January, 2010


      Included in this newsletter is information about:

Dear District 6 Friends and Neighbors, 

     Happy New Year to you all! 

     This newsletter is getting out a little later than I had originally planned. I had a wonderful Xmas and New Year’s in Brazil, but was unfortunately hit with a very bad flu upon my return.  I am now playing catch up after a long holiday vacation followed by a long recovery. 

     Despite terrible news from the State and County about funding to our City, I am trying to be optimistic.  There’s no doubt that we face tough times ahead, and that many programs will be cut back and services will be diminished.  The biennial budget process will be a challenging priority in the Spring of 2010.

     The New Year brings several opportunities for citizen participation, and I hope that you will be able to take part in some of the scheduled activities. Please contact my office at 981-7160 if you would like to discuss matters relevant to our city.  If you have a simple issue, try contacting our new and very much improved customer service department by simply dialing 311.  I have called myself and was very impressed with the results! 

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     The devastating consequences of the earthquake in Haiti should serve as a sober reminder that it is essential for all of us to be prepared for a strong earthquake.  Storing enough water, food and medical supplies for a week should be a priority for every household.  A basic first aid class is essential.  I believe it would be foolhardy for us to think that we are immune from similar catastrophe, especially since we live on the Hayward Fault.  The City of Berkeley has excellent resources to help you individually and as a neighborhood to become prepared.  Please check out the following links and follow-through! 

     District 6 resident Pam Grossman continues to offer extraordinary volunteer services to help groups gets started with earthquake preparedness.  Please contact her if you feel you need a hand. She can be reached at: Thank you Pam! 

     For information on Emergency Preparedness Classes:

     For more information on basic preparedness, search and rescue, disaster medical and mental health, neighborhood organization, and more download the Disaster Preparedness Handbook.

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     My office continues to receive many phone calls and emails about poachers who steal recycling materials.  Recycling theft is a problem for the City and does indirectly impact the refuse fund through lost revenue.  The Ecology Center, the organization that collects our residential recycling, estimates that they lose about $30,000 a year from residential poaching.  That equates to about a dollar per house per year.  The impact of poaching is small compared to the drop in the recycling market values, but it is a factor.Poaching from my house!

     What can be done?

     Poaching of recyclables is illegal.  Berkeley Police Department has agreed to respond to calls from residents if they spot organized poaching in action.  (Vehicle license/car description is helpful).  Use the non-emergency number 510-981-5900.

     Consider setting out on the morning of collection by 7:00 AM.  Ecology Center trucks leave the yard at 7:00 so you will be assured collection & reduce the window of opportunity for the poachers.

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     The Downtown Plan, approved by the City Council and subsequently qualified for the ballot by citizen referendum, will either be rescinded, submitted to the Council with significant changes, or be put on the ballot for a vote.  If you are interested in the future of our downtown, here are some opportunities for you to participate:

Berkeley Downtown Area Plan Forum

Monday, January 25th, 7-9pm (Exhibition 6-7pm)
Aurora Theater, 2081 Addison Street

Presented by The Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA) and
Architects Designers Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) 

Come hear about, see, and discuss alternative plans for the future of Downtown Berkeley

The forum will be moderated by
Gary Binger, Co-Director of the Center for a Sustainable California,
Institute of Urban and Regional Development, UC Berkeley.
Panelists include
Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, Councilmember, Laurie Capitelli, Planning Commissioner, Patty Dacey, Environmental Consultant, Tim Frank,Community Planner, Joel Ramos,
The event is free, and open to public.  Seating is limited to 150 people.
For more information contact
John Caner at the DBA   510.549.2230 x 12


An "Open House" To Explore Design Options For Downtown

Saturday, February 6, 10:30am to 12:30pm
North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue at MLK 

     At the Open House, community members will consider and comment on opportunities for:

  • public plazas, outdoor dining, community gardens, and other amenities
  • wider sidewalks and increased landscaping
  • new bike lanes and facilities
  • new street trees where they are now missing
  • enhancing the ecology of watersheds connected to Downtown 

     Input received at the Open House will be used by members of the four Commissions who will guide the process:  Parks & Recreation, Planning, Public Works, and Transportation.

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     The City of Berkeley is pleased to announce the swearing-in ceremony of newly appointed Police Chief Michael K. Meehan on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.  The ceremony will be held at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, located at 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley. City Clerk Deanna Despain will administer the oath of office. 

     Chief Meehan was chosen for the position after an extensive nationwide recruitment and interview process.  He was formerly a Police Captain with the Seattle Police Department, where he served for more than 23 years. The Berkeley City Council unanimously approved his selection during their November 10, 2009 Council meeting.  

     The public is invited to attend the ceremony and a reception to follow in the lobby of the Coffeehouse.

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     Berkeley Police Department strongly recommends that cell phone users program our police dispatch number into their cell phone to speed up the emergency process and save the loss of time involved in the transferring of the call.  Cell phone users in Berkeley can program 510-981-5911 (local - no toll charge) into their phones for a direct connection to the Communications Center.

     Many community members are unaware that if you dial 9-1-1 from your cell phone, the call is captured by the nearest cellular tower and directly routed to the nearest California Highway Patrol (CHP) dispatch center.  In the Berkeley area, calls go to the CHP dispatch center in Vallejo, where the dispatcher receives only information regarding the cell phone number making the call.  The dispatcher will then inquire as to the location of the caller and transfer it to the appropriate local law enforcement agency.  On the other hand, when you dial 9-1-1 from a land-line, the dispatcher receives computer aided information such as police, fire and medical jurisdictions, the telephone number making the call, and the address the call is being made from.

     If you must make a 9-1-1 call from your cell phone, it is important to stay on the line and provide the dispatcher with as much information about the exact location of the emergency to ensure the help can be dispatched to the correct location.  The CHP dispatch center in Vallejo received over 2 million 9-1-1 cell calls in 2007.

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SAVE THE DATE – COMMUNITY TOWN HALL with Police Chief Michael Meehan 

     Mark your calendars now for our next Community Town Hall Meeting 

Thursday, March 18th
Northbrae Church, 941 The Alameda 

     Police Chief Michael Meehan will be our featured guest.

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