Berkeley Neighborhoods Council

 

Dedicated to improving the quality of life for all
by creating a unified neighborhood voice
for promoting livability and resolving problems

 

Welcome to BNC eNEWS, Issue 12, late August — September, 2014

First off, Berkeley Neighborhoods Council is taking this opportunity to wish ourselves Happy Birthday! We began this year-long journey with you by saying that we wanted our eNEWS to help us carry out our purpose to improve the quality of life for all by creating a unified neighborhood voice for promoting livability and resolving problems.

The City of Berkeley has always had a history of neighborhoods banding together to solve problems, but in more recent years, the voice of the neighborhoods seemed to be less and less heard.  Those that did speak up were demonized — labeled as “Nimbys”, whiners, people who didn't want any changes at all, and dismissed in the name of progress and development.  BNC set about to help protect and improve the livability of our neighborhoods by encouraging neighborhoods to share their concerns, communicate and support each other, to once again have the neighborhood voice be heard in the headlong rush to pave over our City.

We've learned a lot and we've had some success, but the need continues particularly as we look at proposals for the development of commercial areas without regard for the impact on immediately adjacent single-family neighborhoods.  And, also, those that greatly exceed the densities called for in our zoning and planning guides, threaten landmarks, disturb the peace and quiet of our homes, take away sunshine and reduce open space.  We don't want to stop the growth of our City, nor see Berkeley turned into a City for only the very rich or very poor.  We feel growth should be managed, and our diversity of ideas, ages, races and economic status maintained.  So, we report the bad news in detail as we all struggle to learn why and how to respond in order to find solutions, along with the good news and a bit of history now and then.  We invite you to stay with us over the next year as our journey continues.

In this issue…

  • What We're Thinking About
  • The connection between the Napa earthquake and the northern part of the Hayward Fault.  It's a message that Berkeleyans cannot ignore and there's a list of tips of what you need to be doing now.
  • What We're Thinking About II — a special section
  • BNC has taken a position on two measures that will be on the November Ballot.  Read about how this came about and why:
    1. We are supporting Measure R, the Green Downtown and Public Commons Initiative
    2. We are opposing Measure S, the City Council's Redistricting Map
  • Please also know that in taking these positions, BNC is not speaking for any of our consulting neighborhood groups.  What those groups do is entirely up to them.
  • Neighborhood News, Round and About
  • There is a whole lot of moving going on — students, in and out, and houses, one up and one to go.  Find out what you might be fined for, and where the houses are going and their future.  Will the neighborhood that is so impacted by People's Park, be further impacted by a 6-story project proposed for Telegraph Avenue? After three years, there's movement afoot to replace the Honda auto dealership with a 5-story residential over commercial ground floor with square footage that's the same amount that was approved for the Archeson building Downtown at the corner of University and Shattuck, yet these commercial zones are supposed to be different.
  • Neighborhood Forum
  • Clean Air? A View from the West.  What's it like living in West Berkeley with polluted air and it's not over yet.  Pacific Steel Casting has gone bankrupt, sold at auction and sits now in the portfolio of a New York investment firm that specializes in chemicals, frozen food and industrials.  It says nothing will change at the foundry, for now…
  • Featured Neighborhoods
  • What the Zoning Adjustments Board has approved has been appealed by a tenant of the developer.  Are Mini-Dorms on the horizon or not? A long-closed bar on Shattuck Avenue is going to be re-opened by a developer who is going to look at keeping the bar, but building housing above it.  It's across the street from two of the most intense developments proposed for the Downtown — the Bay Properties Building and the Acheson Building.
  • Outside Agencies that Affect Berkeley
  • News about the settlement of one of the lawsuits against Plan Bay Area.  This one by Earthjustice which felt that the Plan would put so much funding into road and not enough into public transit that it would result in adversely impacting low-income minority communities.  The settlement will mean new analyses will have to be done and there will possibly be changed allocations to roads and transit.
  • The Cultural Corner
  • Congratulations are in order to Malcolm Margolin and Heyday Books on their 40th Anniversary.
  • A true Berkeley Treasure!
  • On the Neighborhood Food Prowl
  • Find out what you never thought you wanted to know — how to make a Fog Cutter and handle dry ice, as well as a little history.  You never know what you will learn by reading the BNC eNEWS — things that will amaze both you and others and serve you well at your next social event.
  • Letters
  • A letter from a reader who wants to encourage more solar installations by helping you through the process and offering a discount.

Again, BNC would like you to:

  1. Please spread the Neighborhood News by forwarding this issue to everyone in your neighborhood and on your personal e-mail list.  Ask each of them to do the same.  People can subscribe by sending an e-mail to bnc50@berkeleyneighborhoodscouncil.com.  There is no fee attached.
  2. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS Feed and share it with your friends and neighbors.
  3. Subscribe to BNC eNEWS in an RSS reader
  4. Let us know how we're doing, good and bad, what we might have missed or gotten wrong.  Send comments to newsletter@berkeleyneighborhoodscouncil.com
  5. Send us an article you've written, or tell us about a topic you would like to see us write about.  Send to newsletter@berkeleyneighborhoodscouncil.com and include your phone number so that we can get back to you with any questions.

Happy reading to all as we head into the Fall.  Let's distribute the eNEWS as requested and then go outside and pretend that we are washing our cars — maybe it will rain.