Berkeley Neighborhoods Council


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


BNC eNEWS, Issue 6, February 2014

BNC is all about uniting neighborhoods so that neighborhoods will have a stronger voice in City decision-making.  We remind you that every one of us, no matter what neighborhood we live in, need to help each other — write letters, show up at meetings, send e-mail, inform ourselves and our neighbors.  If we do this, neighborhoods will make a difference.

However, to make that difference it is essential to distribute this eNEWS to as wide a readership as possible by asking that you forward it to your own e-mail list, and include this same request regarding forwarding.  Please remember:  if you want to subscribe directly to the BNC eNEWS, e-mail us at and enter “subscribe” in the subject line.  If you want to unsubscribe, use that same e-mail address and enter “unsubscribe” in the subject line, but keep in mind that if you “unsubscribe,” while BNC won't send the eNEWS to you directly, you might continue to receive it because you are on a separate neighborhood or friend's list.

A Special Request - Help Save the Monarch Butterfly!

Every once in a while we put in a special tidbit, and in this issue, our special message is to ask you to join us to help save the Monarch Butterfly.  Scientists are concerned about the drastic decrease they are observing in the numbers of these wonderful creatures.  This decrease has been going on for some time and seems to be due to a number of reasons — destruction of forests in Mexico, the planting of genetically modified corn crops, building in the U.S., excessive use of pesticides, and the loss of milkweed — the essential plant that the Monarchs feed on.  Among the efforts to reverse this trend include the planting of milkweed in backyards.  BNC urges everyone to join this effort.  There are several varieties of this plant, so be sure and check out whether what you are buying is native, drought resistant and appropriate for our area.  You can purchase seeds or seedlings.  Please check out our local plant nurseries or go online to  You can get all sorts of information about Monarchs at this site.  You can also click shop to purchase a Monarch Waystation Seed Kit for $16.00, but be sure and get the Western one.

In this Issue...

  • What We're Thinking About:
    • Do we need a new Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance?  Read about a plan to write one.
    • See who did and didn't respond when we again ask our City leaders about their 2014 goals for protecting and preserving neighborhoods.
    • What happened with the Referendum to rescind the map that the Council approved?  Find out what's next when the Council once again has to deal with Redistricting at their February 25th meeting.  Is it too much to expect the Council just to stop dealing with the map that divides students and ignores neighborhoods?
  • Neighborhood News, Round and About:
    • March 11, 2014 is the public hearing regarding 3001 Telegraph and everyone needs to be there or send an e-mail to their Council representative that Berkeley's neighborhoods stand united.  Better yet, you could do both!
    • The proposed new Kennedy building at 2539 Telegraph (old CIL building) runs into neighborhood opposition because of its 6-story height and ugly design.  What can be done about protecting residential districts that abut commercial districts that allow such tall buildings?
    • It looks like the Use Permit that was approved by Council more than 6 years ago will be valid for 2701 Shattuck.
  • Neighborhood Forum:
    • Durant Avenue neighbors in the Downtown area have spoken out about the lack of legally required notice regarding the Downtown Area Plan and the upzonings that occurred in that area.  BNC has heard plenty from neighborhoods and we include a list of 13 approved and pending Downtown development projects.
    • Find out why the proposed history zoning overlay may not save Berkeley's historic main Post Office and just what does Old City Hall have to do with this?
  • Featured Neighborhoods:  More about that silent issue that isn't silent any more.
    • Neighborhood opposition shoots down the proposed Settlement Agreement regarding 2133 Parker.
    • A new Mini-Dorm Ordinance will be coming to the Council March 11th.
    • Another good reason to attend that Council meeting and/or send letters/e-mails.  Planning staff says it will be “tougher” than the one proposed by the neighborhoods.  Will it?
    • Victorian Treasures at 2501-05 Blake await their fate.
  • Outside Agencies That Affect Berkeley:  You've read about BNC's complaint about how the City failed to provide Berkeley residents with information about Plan Bay Area.  BNC gave the Open Government Commission several suggestions regarding amendments to the ordinance.  Commissioners expressed interest, so what happened?
  • The Cultural Corner:  Eight neighborhoods in Berkeley are part of an international movement.  Read about that movement and how you can bring it to your neighborhood.
  • On the Neighborhood Food Prowl:  Our reviewer finds an Italian gem in West Berkeley housed in a Berkeley Landmark where the food is delicious.
  • Let's Just Get It Fixed:
    • A bumpy welcome to Berkeley and the plans to get it fixed.
    • An update on the pedestrian safety issue around John Muir.
    • And, a request to keep those letters and photos coming.
  • Letters:  A thank you to long-time neighborhood person who shared his proposal for making neighborhoods cheerier and safer too!  If you follow this advice to be a torch bearer, you may save your life or that of someone else.

We hope you enjoy Issue 6 of the BNC eNEWS.  In our last issue, we said we aren't complaining, but the amount of news is growing so fast that it is getting harder to include it all in one issue.  So, we gave you a brief hint that future issues will not only bring you updates about issues that we have already written about (and that list is growing by leaps and bounds), but we promise you future articles on Berkeley neighborhood history, Maxwell Field, Memorial Stadium, parking, and the expenditure of Measure M (street repair) bond money, to name a few.  Happy Reading and please remember, your comments, suggestions regarding improving the newsletter, requests for issues that you would like to see covered, and submissions of articles are always welcome at