Berkeley Neighborhoods Council

 

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

 

Today is the 21st Edition of the Berkeley Neighborhood Council eNEWS And There Is Much To Say!

This year opened with the high hopes regarding change.  Well, there is little doubt that a lot of change has occurred in the nation and world, none of which is re-assuring.  We recognize that, but BNC will not be getting into those issues.  They are well-covered elsewhere, and people everywhere have access to information about multiple paths they can take if they choose to do so.  Because of this BNC has determined it will stick closely to Berkeley neighborhood-oriented news.  On our local level, many promises have been made, and we will see how those promises work out, particularly around:

  1. Land use issues from the flats to the hills.  How will our new City Council balance out the need for housing for everyone with the need for historic preservation, open space, neighborhood values, density and diversity? What role will the State Housing Accountability Act play in shaping what discretion the City Council has over land-use decisions in an already dense built-up environment?
  2. Deterioration of our infrastructure from sewers to parks and everything in between.  Are the Warm Water Pool, Berkeley Pier, Willard Pool, Hinkel Park Clubhouse, Old City Hall, parts of the Rose Garden and many other places gone forever while our bumpy streets are everlasting?
  3. Public safety as a priority.  Neighborhoods in all of Berkeley are edgy, but particularly in South and West Berkeley when the bullets are flying around at all hours, parents are frightened for the well-being of their children while in their own homes and neighborhood parks.
  4. Continued lack of recognition by the University that they exist within the city of Berkeley.  The campus grows and grows, but never says word one to the City about that growth before they embark on more expansion.
  5. Dysfunctional City Issues.  This includes everything from the mounting evidence of creeping financial difficulties, to the on-going refusal to let residents speak more than 1-minute on a land use issue, to being more transparent about what goes on behind those closed office doors.

These are the issues we will be addressing.  We will do our best to do this with calm, accurate information and serve as a safe harbor from which any neighborhood can discuss their particular problem.  We do this in the hopes that Berkeley will join together to create a livable city that respects the environment for all of us.

This all depends upon every neighborhood working in partnership with each other — we must give up ideas that it's south vs north, or the hills vs the flats — and each and every one of us must help by:

  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 bnc50@berkeleyneighborhoodscouncil.com 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.

With your help, experience and knowledge, together we can formulate a vision for Berkeley's future that respects our neighborhoods and make that vision come true.

While we aren't getting involved in Berkeley politics, we do intend to, from time to time offer some news about what is going on.  We thought that you might want to know that the Berkeley Democratic Club (BDC) Nominating Committee is recommending that the following slate of officers be elected:

President:  Laurie Capitelli
Vice President:  Deborah Mathews
Vice President — Programming:  Julie Holcomb
Treasurer:  Fred Harvey
Secretary:  David Shiver

Aren't these the same people who forgot to insist that affordable housing should be part of the building boom in Berkeley? Do you think this makes the BDC the most conservative organization in Berkeley? What do you think? The election is scheduled for Thursday, March 23, 2017, Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda.

This is what follows in this issue of the eNEWS:

  • What We're Thinking About
  • It's all about conserving water even while it's pouring down on us while we're trying to get around on public transportation — not only on a new ferry service from Berkeley to San Francisco that includes free parking, but then there is BART with standing room only.
  • Neighborhood News, Round and About
  • There's much to consider, starting with the rebranding of Library Gardens to try and smooth over its tragic past, while it still casts a shadow over this City and the need to discover a whole lot more before we can be comfortable.  There's not a whole lot of comfort around Memorial Stadium with night time football growing, a fired coach that left with $6 million in his pocket, and no real answers regarding how to deal with the financial mess that is standing on the doorstep.  Find out who the front-runner for the new Chancellor is and what he/she is going to have to deal with — not only the Stadium's financial problems, but also finding some 7,000 beds to house students.  Nine sites have been put forward for consideration.  To top it all off, you may be surprised to learn that rats may be nesting on your car engine or invading your home, and there is something you can do about it!
  • Neighborhood Forum
  • No one could have predicted what would happen when three large, 3-story, side-by-side houses in a north hills neighborhood were proposed to be constructed in an officially designated landslide area, near the Hayward Fault, with a possible creek running through the site, on a street that's been specifically designated by the City as being so narrow it is difficult for emergency vehicles to respond, and when they do arrive, fire fighters will have to carry hoses up a access road because it's too steep for the fire engines.  Yet, in the first land use public hearing held by our new Council it was approved!
  • Featured Neighborhood
  • $100 million in new bond money is to be spent over the next 12 years in three phases.  The first phase is starting now and will total $32 million, money that will have to be spent within three years of issuance of the bonds.  There will be three public hearings to give members of the public the opportunity to speak up.  We give you all the details that are known right now, but the time is here to let the City know how this money should be spent.  Don't miss out!
  • On the Neighborhood Food Prowl
  • Groundhogs and Crepes — you never know what you are going to learn about when you read your BNC eNEWS!
  • The Cultural Corner
  • Berkeley is so very fortunate to have this major art asset in our community.  Can you guess its name before turning the page?

As always, we wish you happy reading and urge you to contact us.  Is there something you want to hear more about, something you want to congratulate us about (we always like that), something we've gotten wrong (we like that too, so we can get the correct information out)? How about submitting an article yourself? Please, let us hear from you at bnc50@berkeleyneighborhoodscouncil.com