Tag Archives: Laurie Capitelli
Update 8:20pm: Sophie Hahn read to Berkeleyside from her prepared remarks made to the John George Democratic Club. Here’s what she said:
“I am emphatically opposed to the death penalty. The incumbent did not support a resolution to end the death penalty in Alameda County. I am in favor of equal pay for equal work. The incumbent did not support a resolution in favor of Obama’s Lily Ledbetter Act.”
Hahn said she does not ascribe views to incumbent Laurie Capitelli. “He speaks through his record,” she said.
Original story: The race for the District 5 City Council seat has taken an ugly turn, with supporters of incumbent Laurie Capitelli claiming that challenger Sophie Hahn and her surrogates are mischaracterizing his record. … Continue reading »
A ballot initiative to force the city to do biennial reports on obligations for employee and retiree expenses and for Berkeley’s physical infrastructure and capital assets appears likely to appear on the ballot in the November election, according to supporters of the plan. At the same time, at tonight’s City Council meeting a similar measure is being proposed by four councilmembers, led by District 5′s Laurie Capitelli. The council measure, however, lacks the penalties for failing to produce the report that the initiative draft contains.
The ballot initiative is called the Berkeley Fiscal Accountability, Clarity, Transparency and Sustainability Ordinance of 2012, which shortens to FACTS. It would require biennial reports on the city’s financial obligations for the next 20 years, and would prohibit the City Council or the voters from “incurring any debt financing, or imposing any new tax, assessment or property-related fee, or increasing any existing tax, assessment or property-related fee, or scheduling an election to impose or increase and tax, assessment or property-related fee” unless the report required in the ordinance has been published and certified. … Continue reading »
Sophie Hahn, who grew up in Berkeley and sits on the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board, has announced she is running for City Council District Five, which is currently the post held by Laurie Capitelli.
Hahn says she will provide a different brand of leadership, one that is community-oriented and transparent. “Berkeley is a fantastic place, but people don’t see progress here in basic areas like upkeep and services. We need to make decisions based on facts and data changes, not because of political ties and favoritism,” she says.
Hahn says she believes Berkeley residents are frustrated because they have not been properly informed about the city’s financial predicament. “We have $1 billion of unfunded infrastructure needs that we are committed to paying for and we have to make some hard choices,” she says. “But we have to show trust and transparency in our communication with people. We haven’t even shared a plan with the community for the city’s economic future.”
Hahn cites the decision to raise the compensation of former Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz shortly before he retired as an example of the way the current City Council displays a “disconnect with the realities people are facing.” … Continue reading »
In a measure that will be considered by the City Council Tuesday night, Capitelli is suggesting that parking enforcement officers give people a five-minute grace period after their meters expire.
“We hear that parking enforcement officers have been seen waiting at targeted cars for the exact minute the receipt has expired,” Capitelli wrote in the measure. “This has created tremendous ill will and frustration, ultimately discouraging people from patronizing our local businesses.”
Sometimes there is a discrepancy between the time on the watch of a patron and the time on the parking meter, Capitelli noted. This “friendlier” policy will ease that distinction.
The five-minute grace period would only apply to cars using a pay and display meter that produces a time-stamped receipt that can be displayed on a dashboard.
Any ease in parking restrictions would help attract customers because shoppers always have the option of going to a mall or going to Albany, where is parking is free, instead of coming to Berkeley, said Allen Cain, the director of the Solano Avenue Association. … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s city commissions are overwhelmingly white and do not reflect the city’s ethnic makeup, a new study by a group of UC Berkeley students has determined.
While 55% of Berkeley’s 112,000 residents are Caucasian, whites make up 59% of the appointees to the city’s 35+ commissions, according to the study, which will be released at a press conference today.
Asian and Pacific Islanders make up 19% of the city’s population, yet that group only holds 7% of the commission seats. African-Americans, who make up 10% of Berkeley, hold 7% of the seats. Latinos, who make up 11% of the city, hold just 4% of the commission seats. Students, who make up about 20%-25% of Berkeley, are also under-represented, holding 11% of the spots, according to the study. … Continue reading »
An estimated 150-200 people turned out on Thursday evening to Northbrae Community Church on The Alameda in north Berkeley to ask the Berkeley Police Department about their response to the Feb. 18 murder of Park Hills resident Peter Cukor.
There was a palpable sense of anxiety in the room as the meeting got under way and a significant media presence, with several TV crews as well as print and digital journalists in attendance.
When Councilmember Susan Wengraf opened by saying questions would be taken on written cards, there were shouts of dismay and hostile accusations leveled by several members of the audience.
However, once the meeting progressed, the mood became calmer and there were even moments of levity. Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan received several rounds of applause from an audience that generally skewed towards the over-50s. … Continue reading »
Councilmember Susan Wengraf (District 6) has called a town hall meeting to discuss public safety in the wake of the Feb. 18 murder of Peter Cukor outside his home in north Berkeley. Police Chief Michael Meehan and City Manager Christine Daniel will both be in attendance, as will a supervising dispatcher, and BPD Area Coordinator Officer Byron White.
In a communication to her constituents, Wengraf wrote that she was saddened and disturbed by the murder. “The circumstances surrounding the incident have raised many concerns about safety and police protection. I have talked to some of you personally and others by email. However, given the nature of the incident, I think that a public meeting where you all have an opportunity to voice your concerns and get answers to your questions directly from the Police Chief would be in the best interests of our community.” … Continue reading »
Berkeleysider Neil Mishalov went by Gioia Pizzeria on Saturday and saw that the popular restaurant has gotten a quick serve restaurant license from Berkeley. The stools at the interior banquet, which were removed in late January, have returned, making it all that much easier to eat Gioia’s slices of formaggio, fungi, and other flavors.
Councilmember Laurie Capitelli stepped into the fray when it turned out that Gioia had been operating without the proper permits since its opening in 2004. (The issue prompted a significant response from readers when we reported it in early February with no less than 85 comments. This is, after all, Berkeleysiders’ favorite pizza joint in town.)
The restaurant actually hurt its own cause when it found out, for the owners applied for a much more difficult to obtain permit when all they needed to do was submit some standard paperwork to the Planning Department, said Capitelli. He helped sort things out. … Continue reading »
The marble counter at Gioia Pizzeria on Hopkins Avenue used to be crowded with people eating slices of formaggio or funghi pizza.
Not any more.
Now the counter is stacked high with black and white Gioia Pizzeria T-shirts and is verboten to customers.
In the last few weeks the pizzeria has had to stop offering patrons a place to eat their pizza pie. The restaurant, it turns out, did not have a permit for eating on site. And, before December, it did not even have a permit to operate as a take-out restaurant.
“The city of Berkeley has determined that we are to be a ‘to go’ only operation,” reads a sign perched on one of the counters. “Unfortunately, this means we may not provide seating of any kind, nor may we offer a counter at which our customers may stay and ‘dine in’ at. In addition we have been asked to remove our outside counter.” … Continue reading »
UPDATE 4:07 pm: Genie Stowers, the professor who sent out the original email issued an apology this afternoon by email. Here it is:
Last week, I sent out an email to family and close friends and colleagues about recent earthquakes.
My intent was to pass on a message that they should take the occurrence of these recent earthquakes as an opportunity to make sure their earthquake kits and other emergency measures were up to date.
It is unfortunate that this email instead went viral and has caused great concern among many in the Berkeley area.
My message was not intended to be a commentary on earthquake science, on City of Berkeley preparedness, or on anything else except that folks should get ready. The message was intended to be, preparedness is good.
I apologize for what has happened and the concerns this caused. It was a mistake and I regret that it happened.
An email that has gone viral that predicts an imminent quake on the Hayward fault is causing widespread concern in Berkeley, but city officials say its premise is false.
The email, which began spreading on Friday, says that geologists have told Berkeley officials that the recent spate of small earthquakes suggest that there will be a 6.0 quake or higher on the Hayward Fault within the next two to three weeks.
City officials have not been specially briefed by geologists, and there is no way of predicting earthquakes, numerous city officials told Berkeleyside.
“I have not received any briefings,” said City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak. “In addition, I do not believe that anyone knows how to predict the precise time an earthquake will happen on the Hayward fault. Thus, I would not give credence to such rumors.”
Here is the email that has gone viral:
“A student in my class tonight works in Berkeley City Hall and they have been getting briefings on the earthquakes recently in Berkeley on the Hayward Fault by geologists. … Continue reading »
By Linda Hemmila
What began as a conversation between neighbors about Christmas decorations has grown into a full-blown birthday celebration, to be held on October 16th, and the guest of honor is the 100-year-old Fountain at The Circle, one of Berkeley’s most endearing landmarks.
Built in 1911 at the Marin Circle, the fountain was designed to be an ornate entry to what many hoped would be the state’s capital. In the end, Sacramento got the nod, but the fountain with its distinctive bears has remained one of Berkeley’s most beloved icons.
The Circle and Fountain Walk were designed by architect John Galen Howard who devised the master plan for the UC Berkeley campus. It is a central design element that links The Circle to the surrounding streets in the Northbrae neighborhood. The Circle itself was originally designed for rail use, but, today, an astounding 30,000 cars make their way around it every day. … Continue reading »
This week, the American Planning Association named Berkeley’s Northbrae neighborhood a Top 10 Great Neighborhood for 2011. In making its selection, the organization took into consideration views, unique features, engaged residents — and good planning, of course.
The ten winners — which included Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood and Birmingham, Alabama — exemplify, according to the APA, “exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value”:
Northbrae was singled out for its abundance of preserved views of the San Francisco Bay; garden suburb design with streets and footpaths that follow the contour of the hills and gracefully skirt outcroppings of magnificent volcanic rock; impressive public spaces and amenities; and engaged residents who have done much to restore and maintain the neighborhood.”
Developer Duncan McDuffie was the brains behind Northbrae. A conservationist who favored single-family houses on tree-lined streets in a park-like setting, his initial plans for the area were influenced by the local Chamber of Commerce’s proposal to move the state capitol to Berkeley. Stone pillars, streets named for California counties, and a majestic public circle with classical balustrade and fountain were all part of the package. Magnificent rocks and boulders were also part of the landscape’s attraction.
Speaking about the area, Berkeley’s District 5 councilmember Laurie Capitelli said: “The Northbrae neighborhood is an amazing place to live. The vision developed in the early 20th century has transitioned beautifully into the 21st: small-scale shopping districts, restored creeks, walkable amenities – schools, library, parks – and a street plan that augments and preserves the natural beauty of the Berkeley Hills and views of the San Francisco Bay.” … Continue reading »