Berkeley Neighborhoods Council


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


Berkeley Neighborhoods Council eNEWS Issue 14, December 2014 through January 2015

Well, it's hard to believe, but here's Issue #14.  In spite of the fact that some members of our City Council say that BNC should be ignored, we have survived, and our subscribers are growing.  We are a group of volunteers — no one is paid anything — who meet openly once a month.  Agendas and meeting announcements are sent out in advance of each meeting and in our discussions, we try to find a consensus.  Every BNC eNEWS issue can be found our Archive Section.

So, check us out and please know that like the proverbial pesky gnats, or whatever it was that ate the elephant, one bite at a time, we are not going away.  The single, most essential principal that drives us is the belief that strong Neighborhoods are the backbone of a great and livable City.  Growth and change can be difficult, but it must and will occur, and neighborhoods working together can find solutions to the issues that will inevitably occur.  Clearly this will work only if neighborhoods unite and participate.  Your future, our future, everyone's future is up to You.  So, we ask you to:

  1. Spread the BNC eNEWS:
    1. Send an e-mail to with the word “subscribe” in the subject line to ensure that you receive your personal copy.
    2. Forward the eNEWS to both your neighborhood and personal e-mail list and include the same request about forwarding to their lists.
    3. Alternatively, subscribe to BNC eNEWS in an RSS reader.
    4. Subscribe to BNC eNEWS in an RSS reader
  2. Attend BNC's General Meetings and help guide our discussions and decisions.

Before we tell you about what's in this eNEWS, we post an important announcement from the City of Berkeley Health Department as follows:

Message about Measles Outbreak from City of Berkeley's Health Officer

Published:  January 27, 2015

The City of Berkeley's Health Officer urges vaccination against measles due to a statewide outbreak that has reached Alameda County.  If your child has not received the recommended two doses of the MMR vaccine, they are at risk of contracting measles — which can have severe consequences including hospitalization and death.  If there is a measles outbreak in your school, Public Health will direct all unvaccinated children to stay home from school for at least 21 days, the length of the incubation period.

Measles is highly infectious:  90 percent of those without immunity who share a living space with someone with measles will contract it.  People contract the virus through airborne particles that can linger in the air for up to two hours.

Vaccination is very effective:  two doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine provides measles immunity to 99% of those vaccinated.  A single dose protects 95% of those vaccinated.

If your child develops a fever and rash, do not send him or her to school.  Telephone your health care provider and arrange to have your child evaluated.

For questions and concerns, or vaccination resources please contact Berkeley Public Health at (510) 981-5300.

Make sure your family is up to date with MMR vaccinations.  If your child has not had 2 doses of MMR, see your health care provider as soon as possible for vaccination against measles.

Now, in this issue, read about…

  • What We're Thinking About
  • We are amazed by:

    1. The sheer number of development proposals confronting us right now
    2. The density issues that are raised in current “behind the scenes discussions” to increase by-right development in ALL residential districts, and
    3. The potential impact of the Court decision regarding the 2133 Parker lawsuit along with the possibility of weakening the City's Mini-Dorm Ordinance.

    We are wondering where all this leads to in the future.  What will Berkeley be like in the next few years? Certainly the answer to that question is that it won't look or be like it is today.  We'd like for all our neighborhoods to have a voice in that vision.

  • Neighborhood News, Round and About
  • Did you know that:

    1. The Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO) requiring energy audits for single family to 4-unit buildings, is only postponed for up to three years, after which the audits just might become mandatory.
    2. That the 194 foot tower being proposed across the street from the Berkeley Main Library will close the Shattuck Cinemas and offer no on-site affordable housing among its 302 residential units.
    3. The United States Postal Service no longer lists the Berkeley Main Post Office as being for sale.  Can we trust that a sale won't happen? To find out more attend the Community Meeting about the pending law suit filed by the City and the National Trust.
  • Neighborhood Forum
  • The zoning permits have been approved to demolish the Grocery Outlet at Fourth and University and replace it with a mixed use 152 unit, 5-story building rising above the University Avenue overpass.  There is still hope that a moderately priced grocery story won't disappear entirely from West Berkeley, and you can help.

  • Featured Neighborhoods
  • The March of the Mini-Dorms goes on and on and on with appeals regarding the landmarked Bartlett Houses at 2201-05 Blake Street, 2401 Warring in the heart of student housing, and regarding an apartment house at 2601 Hillegass.  The appeal decision concerning Blake Street has not yet come down, but in comments made by Council Members about “unintended consequences,” we wonder whether there may be a weakening of the City's Mini-Dorm Ordinance in the offing?

    Also a court decision has been issued regarding the 17-bedroom Mini-Dorm at 2133 Parker.  Every residential neighborhood from R1 through R3 needs to be aware of the Mini-Dorm issue and to keep it firmly in sight.

  • Outside Agencies that Affect Berkeley
  • A bill sponsored by a Democrat and a Republican, SCA 1, is being pondered by our State Legislators.  Will our Senator, Assembly Member, City Council, and you support the bill that could impact all University of California financial matters?

  • The Cultural Corner
  • Here's your rare opportunity to know and use correctly the 2014 Word of the Year and compare it to those from the past five years.  Information that as far as we know, only BNC has put together in one place!

  • On the Neighborhood Food Prowl
  • Learn about a neighborhood restaurant that is a pizza place that caters to children and families, but also a sophisticated food destination.  One, where you don't have to park a mile away from the front door!

  • Letters
  • BNC posts a truly important letter regarding air quality problems from West Berkeley industrial plants.  You need to know about what came next and what the Council is doing about it.  You also need to find out about efforts to increase participation in the grass roots East Bay Community Solar Project.

So, that's our 14th Issue.  Remember we are always open to your comments.  corrections and suggestions for future issues.  Contact us at

Along with this issue, we send you best wishes for Chinese New Year, the Year of the Goat (Sheep).  Chinese New Year is a 15 day celebration that starts on the first date of the first month within the Chinese calendar, February 19, 2015 this year, and ends on the date of the full moon.