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 The 19th Edition of the Berkeley Neighborhoods Council eNews!

BNC's commitment is to present calm, accurate information about neighborhood related news.  In the midst of all the development going up around us, what concerns us is this fundamental question — is the number and strength of our neighborhoods declining in the same way that our community is losing its diversity? That might be on the verge of happening as social media captures more and more of our time and attention.

In spite of what some people might think, a neighborhood is not just a bunch of discontented people who want no change.  Certainly neighbors come together at times to oppose an incompatible large new project that will block out the sun, create lots of traffic, take up street parking, and have big, loud, drunken parties on roof decks.  But neighborhoods are more than that, and that's what makes Berkeley an outstanding city in which to live.

A neighborhood is people of all ages who know and care about each other.  Who are willing and prepared to help each other in good and bad times.  A neighborhood prepares for disaster like an earthquake or wildfire, but it also gets together once in a while to share stories, food or music.  It looks after the kids on the block, the elderly widows, and the guy down the block in a wheelchair.  Sure many neighbors keep in touch through list serves like NextDoor, but while we communicate about this or that, it is the human touch, one to the other, that makes a neighborhood.

Online chat has a definite place and is needed, but it cannot, and will not ever replace a neighborhood and that sense of personal belonging and interaction that is so essential to our well-being.  There is plenty of news in this issue about the events that are currently threatening neighborhoods throughout all of Berkeley.  So talk about it as you will online, but also hold a meeting, a social, or a coffee that brings you together, to not only meet the new people on the block to share history and feelings, but also to discuss what response your neighborhood would like to make to the issues that affect Berkeley.  We must work together to resolve how to meet the need for housing and growth, while at the same time protecting the reasons why we wanted to live in Berkeley in the first place.

To carry this out, each and every one of you must help in two ways:

  1. Spread the BNC eNEWS
    1. Forward the eNEWS to every person you know, asking each to forward it to every person they know, with the same request to share.
    2. If you receive a copy of the eNEWS, in addition to forwarding it, send an e-mail to with the word “subscribe” in the subject line to ensure that you will receive future copies yourself.
    3. Alternatively, subscribe to the BNC eNEWS in an RSS reader.
    4. Subscribe to BNC eNEWS in an RSS reader
  2. Participate in as many issues as you want and attend BNC's General Meetings and Forums as many times as you can.  Your voice will help guide decisions and discussions, plan meetings about subjects that interest you, and invite speakers you want to hear from.  You are the central part of all of this and your voice is important.  You will hear about the details of these meetings and forums by e-mail prior to the event.

Now, take a look at what's in the 19th Issue of our eNEWS:

  • What We're Thinking About
    • Berkeley resident, Miranda Ewell, makes a strong statement to the City Council on April 5, 2016, about development in Berkeley.
    • The Mayor's proposal for “by right” development into neighborhoods.
    • What's happening regionally and in the State Legislature, and the increasing chorus of BUILD, BUILD, BUILD.
  • Neighborhood News, Round and About
    • A whole bunch of things you won't want to miss
    • Our kids at Berkeley High win a big one.
    • Alta Bates Hospital closing, maybe sooner than you think.
    • Cafe Mokka to close, and Starbucks irritates its neighbors.
    • Why conditions to a Use Permit may be useless.
    • Demolition of the Rose Garden Trellis begins, but hope remains.
  • Neighborhood Forum
    • An update to what happened in court on April 15, regarding 2211 Harold Way.  There are two things you need to do right now!
    • Please make a donation, of any amount, to the legal defense fund as soon as possible, and
    • Put the date on your calendar to attend the August hearing.

    The time has arrived to support David's faceoff with Goliath!

  • Featured Neighborhood, West Berkeley
  • There's no denying that West Berkeley is sitting in the eye of the air quality storm, but you will be surprised to know how much of the rest of Berkeley could be impacted as well.
  • The Cultural Corner
  • On April 5, 2016, resident Cecile Pineda stood before the Council and received a proclamation from Mayor Bates naming that day in her honor.  She stunned both Council and a standing room only audience with her statement of gratitude.
  • On the Neighborhood Food Prowl
  • We look at lists of “best” places from the San Francisco Chronicle, Berkeleyside, and Berkeleyside readers.  Two restaurants appear on all the lists.  Can you figure out which ones they are?
  • Letters
    • The City is considering reconfiguring the flow of traffic on Shattuck Avenue in the Downtown.  One professional and transportation planner responds with a different proposal.
    • Also a request from the ASUC Student Advocate's Office for help from the community regarding the need for winter break housing by a small group (10 — 30) of independent and/or international students.

Happy Reading! But before you go….

  1. You need to know that the City Council is resuming holding its meetings in Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.
  2. We would like to hear from you regarding this issue.  E-mail us at  What did you like, what didn't you like? And, of course, any corrections or rebuttals that you would like to make.  Submissions from you are also encouraged.  Send to the e-mail address listed above.