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City Council District 6
City Council District 6

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Councilmember Susan Wengraf 
Councilmember Susan Wengraf

Newsletter #12
September, 2010

    Dear District 6 Neighbors and Friends,

     Having just returned from a wonderful two week vacation, I am hurrying to catch up and get time-sensitive information out to you. There is a lot happening this weekend and I hope some of the material in this newsletter will be of interest to you.

    By far the most significant issue in the city is the looming budget crisis.  Now, any item introduced by City Council that has work implications for staff is being referred for evaluation to the Work Plan process.  This is very frustrating for us all, but the reality is that there is no money to pay staff to work on new initiatives.

    As an antidote to my frustration, I am encouraging citizen-city partnerships to get some small things accomplished.  Recently a group of residents on Hilgard Ave. partnered with the UC Police Department and were successful in getting funding from the UC Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund to install lighting on the Le Roy Steps, in an effort to increase safety on a well-used path that leads to the UC Campus and central core of Berkeley.  PG&E has joined the effort and volunteered the labor to do some of the electrical installation. Partners for Parks is serving as the umbrella non-profit and generous neighbors are volunteering labor.  By partnering with both UC and PG&E, we will be able to make a small but important improvement to our city.  If your neighborhood has a project that you would like to try to raise funds to implement, please let me know.  I will be happy to help you get started on the fundraising process.

community_meetCommunity Meeting - JOIN US!
     On Wednesday, October 13th, Districts 5 & 6 will host a community meeting at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, at 7pm.   Fire Chief Debra Pryor will discuss Berkeley's fire and earthquake safety programs.  We will also have a forum on the November ballot measures, and a brief explanation of ranked choice voting.  This is an opportunity for you to meet your council representatives and city staff and express your ideas and concerns as well as ask questions.
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compostFree Compost for Berkeley Residents
Compost    The City distributes free compost to Berkeley residents on the last Friday of the month from February to October (weather permitting) at the Adventure Playground parking lot.   Residents should be prepared to show identification with their Berkeley address.   Compost can be picked up starting at 8:00 AM and is available until it's gone.   Please bring your own shovels, containers and appropriate protective clothing and safety gear.  Pickup trucks may be loaded to the rim of the bed and must be tarped.

:  9/24/2010

    Time:  8:00 AM - 2:45 PM
    Telephone:  510-981-6737
    Sponsor:  Parks, Rec & Waterfront and Public Works
    Location:  201 University Avenue

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Crime Watch    Everyone is concerned as property crime in North Berkeley continues to increase.  It is quite alarming how brazen these criminals have become.  In addition to auto burglaries, home invasions are now happening more frequently.  The Berkeley Police urge all of you to be very vigilant about making sure that your windows, doors and garages are locked, especially when you leave your home.  Also, they tell us that criminals do not like light, so the installation of motion sensitive lighting around your home may be a deterrent.  A message from Police Officer Casimiro Pierantoni is included here.

    If your neighborhood would like to meet with me and the Berkeley Police to discuss your concerns about safety, please call my office at 981-7160.  We will try to arrange to have an informational meeting with your neighborhood group.
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vaccineLow-cost Animal Vaccine/Microchip Clinic 

Dog & cat     Does your pet need a Rabies, DHPP, Kennel Cough, FVRCP vaccine or a microchip?  Low cost vaccines ($5 each) will be available at the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society, 2700 Ninth Street (at Carleton St.) on Sunday, September 26th.  Microchips are also available.  All dogs must be on leash and cats must be in carriers.  This low cost clinic is a collaborative effort of both Berkeley Animal Care Services and the East Bay Humane Society, and is sponsored by the Berkeley Animal Welfare Fund.

Click here for details.

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medicationsDo You Have Old Medications?
Prescription bottles    Residents can come to San Pablo Park on September 25 and safely and anonymously dispose of all unused, unneeded and expired prescription medications.  Home storage of prescription medications is a serious public safety issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose, theft and abuse.

WhereSan Pablo Park 2800 Park St. in Berkeley
Date:    Saturday, September 25, 2010
Time:   10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Cost:    Free!

     No questions are asked when you drop off medications.  To protect your privacy, you can empty your bottles into the bin and take them home with you, or you can black out your personal information with a marker and recycle the container on-site.  You do not need to be a Berkeley resident or provide any other kind of identification.

    Turning in unused medication keeps them out of the ground, out of the water supply, and out of the hands of people who may abuse them.  Seven of the 10 drugs most commonly abused by teens are prescription medications, and most teen prescription drug abusers get the drugs from the home medicine cabinets of family and friends.  In addition, homes with children or the elderly are especially vulnerable and need to take preventative steps, including getting rid of unused or old medication.
xploSan Bruno Gas Explosion
    The tragic gas explosion in San Bruno created interest in the location of the high pressure natural gas lines in the East Bay.  Here is a map that details the location of the one high pressure gas line that runs through Berkeley (in green), as well as the location of the jet fuel transmission line that runs along the Santa Fe Railroad right of way (in red). You can find additional information and comprehensive maps at the National Pipeline Mapping System.

Gas pipelines in Berkeley
shutoffAutomatic Gas Shutoff Devices
    When I was first elected in 2008, my very first piece of lGas shutoff valveegislation was a proposal to require the installation of automatic gas shut off valves at point of sale or if permits for more than 50K of remodeling were pulled.  Now, almost two years later, Berkeley, like many other cities in California, has finally voted to require these safety devices under the conditions mentioned above.

    For more information on automatic gas shut off valves click here.  Many neighborhoods have already installed these valves as part of their earthquake preparedness program.  If several homes do the installation at the same time, discounts can be negotiated.

cartsRecycling Split Carts Coming Soon

    The rolling cart program is an expansion of our current recycling program and eliminates the blue bins and paper bags that residents previously used.  The new rolling carts are more convenient, tidy, and easier to use.  They will be delivered to your home some time between October 15 and November 15th.
    All cart lids will have colorful, graphic instructions for use. Residents will continue to separate cans and bottles from paper and cardboard.  Large cardboard must be cut to fit in the cart or flattened, bundled and set out next to the cart.  Carts must be at the curb by 7am on collection day.  Recyclables will still be collected on the same day as rubbish and compostables.   For further information go to: or call the hotline (527-5555).

Recycling split cart

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surveyYour Ideas for Solano Avenue
     Although Solano Avenue is in District 5, it is one of the commercial avenues that serves the North Berkeley hills.  You may have noticed that currently Solano is suffering from multiple vacancies as a result of the downturn in the economy.  Apparently, prospective businesses are discouraged by complicated and expensive City of Berkeley permit processes.  Councilmember Capitelli, who represents District 5, requested that I share this survey with you.

     Please give us your opinions and share your vision for Solano Avenue.   By filling out the Solano Survey, you will help guide policy makers, business leaders and neighbors in prioritizing the needs of Solano Avenue and shaping its future.

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Susan Wengraf
Berkeley City Council District 6
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