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Councilmember Susan Wengraf 
Councilmember Susan Wengraf

Newsletter #18 


September, 2011 

    The Berkeley City Council has been on summer recess since the end of July and will resume meetings on September 20th.  The biggest challenge the federal government, the state of California and Alameda County is facing continues to be the budget deficit. Berkeley is no exception.  Although we have tightened up our city staff by reducing positions, and have made substantial cuts to many of our programs, we are still faced with a projected deficit of about $14 million in 2012/2013.   I will continue to work with staff and my council colleagues on the budget during the coming year.  I am determined to protect vital, core services from cuts and to continue to identify inefficiencies in our services and operations so that we can save on spending.  If you are interested in learning more about Berkeley's budget, you can find all the budget documents here.


    Despite all the gloom, Berkeley continues to be in much better financial shape than many of our neighboring cities.  Although real estate values have dropped, we are fortunate to still be able to enjoy high property values.  And there are commercial areas of town that are thriving....have you been to the Elmwood or Fourth Street recently?  They are definitely buzzing.  I have been advocating for a more business-friendly process that will make it appealing for small businesses to locate in Berkeley,  stay open longer hours, and be able to have sidewalk seating.  I also actively worked on changing zoning regulations to allow research and development uses in areas of West Berkeley.  Hopefully, these small changes will add up to making a difference and will help to make Berkeley a financially healthier and more vibrant city.


Included in this newsletter is information about:


Protect your home    


    With the coming threat of fire season, it is particularly important for hills residents to pay attention to the vegetation around their homes.


    The Berkeley Fire Department has published a very comprehensive checklist of things to do to protect your home from wildfire.  Please take some time to read the pamphlet.


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UN Run Start


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley Marina

   Help feed innocent children and other civilian victims of war in places like Darfur and Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Congo -- where survivors or refugees are fighting for their lives. Funds will be sent through the Friends of the UN's World Food Program - the world's largest humanitarian organization that annually saves hundreds of thousands of lives.


    Help educate the American people and especially the youth to ensure that the next generation of leaders is skilled at conflict resolution, through the world-class programs of the United Nations Association of the East Bay.


To register online: click here 

 To register by mail: click here 

Online help: 877-228-4881

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    It is now possible to report certain types of crimes online 24/7.  To learn more about this new system, please click here.






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Parking on sidewalk    Under the "Americans With Disabilities Act" (ADA), barriers to equal access to sidewalks is a violation.  Many people in the hills park up on sidewalks because our streets are so narrow.  However, be aware that a minimum of 4 feet of sidewalk clearance is required under ADA.  Berkeley Parking Enforcement may ticket cars in violation of this federal requirement.

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    I don't usually use my newsletter to recommend specific products, but I read about this multi-function gadget in the N.Y. Times and thought it might a useful tool to put in your emergency supplies.

    Read about it in detail in the N.Y. Times here.

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Marin circle fountain celebration


    It has been 100 years since Berkeley was lobbying to be the capitol of California.  The Fountain at The Circle was going to be the grand entrance to the capitol building, which was to be located on Indian Rock.  Many of the streets that radiate out from The Circle are named after counties in California.  The politicians ultimately chose Sacramento over Berkeley.

    On Sunday October 16th, from 2-4pm, the community will celebrate the 100th anniversary by gathering at The Circle at Mendocino and Los Angleses to have some treats.
    Please visit the website for more details.

Christmas fountain

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Susan Wengraf
Berkeley City Council District 6
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