Berkeley neighborhood news has been occurring so rapidly that it’s been hard to keep up. Well, BNC is still here trying to give a stronger voice to Berkeley’s neighborhoods. We do this for no other reason than we think the word “neighborhood” has real meaning in today’s world where the values of people looking out for each other seem to be fading. Berkeley is losing much of what we once had that made this City so special and appealing as a place to live, raise a family and grow old. Our campus is no longer the No. 1 Public University in the nation, our streets are clogged with cars, our open space is trending to be located on roof tops that give no relief to mind and body as concrete sprouts up everywhere, our views of the Bay are being replaced by high rises that will house people who now will claim those views of the Bay as their own private realm, Brennan’s has closed like so many other of our long-term family businesses, our people – from young to old are being displaced to wherever the schools are better and the living is easier and less expensive.
We can’t let Berkeley become a city like that! BNC formed to provide safe harbor in which every neighborhood could discuss their issues and join together, as each chooses, to achieve the goal of giving neighborhoods a voice while respecting each other and the environment we all live in. We accept that change is inevitable, and that Berkeley must do its part in resolving the problems that confront us. We also know that each of us has a responsibility to shape that change for those that will follow us, by helping to resolve problems through calm and accurate information and the civil exchange of ideas.
In our last issue we listed five areas at the local level that are central to every neighborhood’s concerns. One of those areas was land use issues that affect neighborhoods from the flats to the hills. We are arranging for a Forum for the neighborhoods to meet directly and have a conversation with Timothy Burroughs, Berkeley’s Director of Planning and Community Development in October of this year. Each neighborhood that signs up in advance will have the opportunity to make a brief presentation and pose a question to Mr. Burroughs. This can be about a specific project, or about the process regarding how projects are approved, or a long-standing complaint, or how to address the serious issues around displacement of people and locally-owned family businesses. We will keep track of the problems and responses and work on resolving these concerns.
Neighborhoods will present on a first come, first served basis so you should sign up today, as this is a real and rare opportunity and we won’t have unlimited time. Sign up, get on the list, and you will get all the details as we go along!
- A Special Section – UC Berkeley’s Impact on Berkeley’s Population Speaking of land use issues in Berkeley, we came across an Editorial in the September 11, 2018 issue of The Daily Cal. We thought it so insightful and interesting that we have attached the full article.Please read that Special Section and about all of the other issues presented in our usual way…
- What We’re Thinking About Everyone who uses BART needs to know about AB 2923 which would take away the power to determine development from city councils and give it to BART on land they own. In this article, BNC looks at what this means for the North Berkeley BART Station and who supports and opposes this bill that has been approved by our State Legislature and awaits action by Governor Brown. If approved, what kinds of buildings could be built there and what will the city of Berkeley be able to do about it? We’ve also been thinking about the upcoming November election, and we’re presenting a new way to think about candidates for City Council and prepare for the many house parties and candidate forums that will be coming up soon.
- Neighborhood News, Round and About There is a whole lot of news here that starts with asking why the City isn’t moving to consider a fine that could total over $19,000 for an election violation that occurred a couple of years ago. Then, there’s another issue that arises from what occurred years ago, when UC Berkeley purchased the Clark Kerr Campus and signed covenants about land uses that could occur there with the heavily traffic-impacted surrounding neighbors. Now the Campus wants to install volleyball courts with facilities for spectators. What will happen? We also note that construction has begun on the Acheson Commons Building (actually there are four buildings) that should be completed in 2020. You can read about the developer-described “deluxe” residential units that will be built there. And lastly, the City has denied the request from the developer of Spenger’s Parking Lot for Berkeley to become the first City in California to receive an over-the-counter permit to construct a housing project that is allowed under the SB35 process.
- Neighborhood Forum Read about how complaints about what the developer is doing or not doing on the Shattuck Avenue Honda site and the Zoning Adjustments Board decision regarding a 5-story “co-housing,” mixed-use development on the corner of Ashby and Shattuck came together in favor of the neighborhood.
- Featured Neighborhood The Zoning Adjustments Board protects existing tenants, but loses rent-controlled housing units, and doesn’t solve the problem of flooding that has existed for years and years in this neighborhood.
- On the Neighborhood Food Prowl Did you know that a pesticide was found in your morning bowl of Cheerios? Can you name “The Dirty Dozen? The city of Berkeley expresses a lot of opinions about a lot of different things. Don’t you think that it’s time we ask them to ban the sale of this stuff in our City?
- The Cultural Corner We say goodbye to a Berkeley treasure.
Your Work: O.K., we’ve told you about an upcoming Forum aimed at helping neighborhoods, and we’ve told you about some happenings around our City, now it’s your turn.
Each and every one of you can help in this effort by:
- Spreading BNC’s eNEWS by sending an e-mail to email@example.com with the word “subscribe” in the subject list to ensure you receive your own personal copy, and also forwarding the eNEWS to every List Serve you’re on and every personal e-mail list you have with the same request about forwarding. And don’t forget Next Door and Facebook!
- Attending BNC’s General Meetings and Forums and participating in the discussions and decisions. You are the most important part of this, and YOU are needed to help plan what comes next. BNC will send you notice of all meetings and events and we understand you can’t attend everything, but please, try to make as many as possible.
Together, with your experience and knowledge, we can find a way to meet the challenges around the State taking away land use decision-making from locally elected governments and the impacts of climate change, while still maintaining and preserving urban biodiverse habitats, green open space, historic sites, diversity, and neighborhood values and neighborliness. Not an easy task, but we can do it, if we are united.
It is our sincere hope that you will enjoy and learn from what’s in this eNews Fall Issue, and remember there is always much more to come. Please, we need to know how we are doing — what did you like (we always want to hear about that), but don’t forget we also need to hear about what you didn’t like, or where we made a mistake. We are also happy to hear your suggestions for articles on subjects that haven’t been covered, or receive articles/statements written by you, so please don’t hold back.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always open to hearing from you.