Oct. News: Middle East Conflict and Safety in Our Community, N. Berkeley BART Mtg

Like many of you, I’ve been following the news of the vicious terror attack unleashed by Hamas near the Gaza border in Israel, which claimed the lives of an estimated 1,300 innocent Israeli civilians—including babies, children, and the elderly—on a Jewish holy day. I unequivocally condemn this deliberate and brutal act of terrorism, and my heart breaks for all those who have lost loved ones.

At the same time, I feel deep empathy for the suffering of innocent Palestinians and grieve for the civilian loss of life in Gaza. As this conflict unfolds, we know there will be more casualties, including civilians in Gaza and Israel. My thoughts are with all members of our community who are directly impacted by events in the region. I also pray that we sustain hope for peace. 

Our community stands united against all forms of hate—including antisemitism and Islamophobia—and we must remain vigilant and look out for one another. If you would like to talk in person about this or any other matters, please feel free to stop by my Drop-In Meeting at the Westbrae Biergarten (1280 Gilman St.) next Tues., Oct. 24 from 5-6 p.m.

In response to community concerns, Berkeley Police Chief Jennifer Louis has issued the following statement:

Over the course of the last week we have fielded a number of questions around the developing events taking place in Israel and Palestine and possible effects in Berkeley. I wanted to provide some general and specific information that may be useful to know and share out in part as appropriate.

As of this message there are no specific or implied threats regarding any Berkeley location or group on open sources. If there are emergency concerns, please urge community members to call 911.

The Berkeley Police Department’s Situational Awareness Group (SAG) has been monitoring the threat landscape and assessing what resources or additional information may be needed. SAG continues to be in touch with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to learn what is happening in the intelligence community and how it relates to Berkeley and the greater Bay Area. SAG also has regular contact with certain community-based organizations who collect, analyze, and disseminate open-source intelligence information of note so that we can effectively brief our officers on current trends and threats.

BPD values the strong relationships we have built with our local synagogues and businesses. When events such as these arise, our department engages with these groups to share information and provide extra awareness and support as appropriate.

We take these matters very seriously, understand the concerns of local synagogues, community groups and businesses, and are here to stand with our community against hate.

Jennifer Louis
Chief of Police, Berkeley

Finally, the Superintendent of the Berkeley Unified School District offered the following resources for parents and caregivers to support conversations they may wish to hold with their children:

In this newsletter:

Wed., Oct. 18: Planning Commission Meeting on N. Berkeley BART Objective Design Standards

The Planning Commission will hold a Special Meeting on Wed., Oct. 18 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center (1901 Hearst Ave., in person only) to adopt Objective Design Standards that will guide future development at the N. Berkeley BART Station.

You can attend the meeting to provide public comment, and/or share your feedback via e-mail (planningpc@berkeleyca.gov) by noon on Wed., Oct. 18. Background information is available HERE.

North Berkeley BART Station. Photo: Jill Martinucci

Some inaccurate information is circulating in the community about permanent supportive housing planned for the proposed development. Permanent supportive housing (PSH) is long-term affordable housing with a range of supportive services, including case management and housing retention assistance, that has been found to be effective for chronically homeless people

Here are the facts from the affordable-housing development team:The PSH building is planned to be six stories, and will be located at the northeast corner of the site near Virginia and Sacramento streets—between Sacramento Street and the access road for the station. The six-story building will include approximately 85 homes for homeless and formerly homeless individuals. On the ground floor, the building will include offices for property management, spaces for supportive services and case management, and a community room where residents can gather, share meals, engage in group activities and counseling, and build the mutual support that is critical to supportive housing’s success. There will also be open space for residents to gather and build community.

Sat., Oct. 28: “Kidical Mass” Halloween Bike Ride

Halloween Bike Ride. Photo: Eric Panzer

Please join me for a “Kidical Mass” Halloween Bike Ride on Sat., Oct. 28 beginning at 1 p.m. from Allston Way and Milvia Street. The ride will end at Cedar Rose Park via Allston Way, Strawberry Creek Park, and the West Street Path/Ohlone Greenway. I’m told there will be an ice cream truck at the end of the ride.This is a ride intended for parents, caregivers, children, and other biking enthusiasts. Costumes encouraged!

Register for free here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/halloween-kidical-mass-tickets-738618617167

Meetings on Zero Waste Strategic Plan

The City’s Department of Public Works is holding in-person and Zoom public meetings on the development of its Zero Waste Strategic Plan. The meetings will cover guiding principles for the plan and potential new or expanded policies, programs, and infrastructure to be considered for implementation. An overview of the plan’s development is available HERE, and meeting details are provided below.

Zero Waste Strategic Plan Development Community Meetings