May 6, 2021
Dear Neighbor,
I’m grateful to share that I received my second vaccine dose (Team Pfizer!) this week, joining 52,560 other Berkeleyans who are now fully vaccinated—50 percent of our total population.

In the Bay Area, we are fortunate that the percentage of individuals reporting that they “definitely” or “probably” won’t get vaccinated is the lowest of all regions in the state at 13 percent. If you or someone you know hasn’t scheduled a vaccine appointment, here’s more information about the many ways to sign up. Getting vaccinated protects you and your household, and helps our community get back to the activities and routines we’ve missed for too long.

In this newsletter:
Mayor's Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) Proposal
Mayor Jesse Arreguín has introduced a Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) ordinance. You can read the most recent version of the proposed ordinance HERE and the most recent version of the Mayor’s background report HERE.

This is a complex ordinance that, if passed, will significantly change the typical timeline and process for selling a rental property that is subject to the ordinance. See Section 13.89.050 Exemptions on p. 4 of the ordinance for properties proposed to be exempted (a single-family dwelling in which the owner occupies the home is proposed to be exempted from the ordinance, but a rented single-family home is generally not exempt). The intent of the ordinance is to give tenants in eligible properties an opportunity to consider purchasing the property—either through the formation of a “Tenant Organization” or with the assistance of a “Qualified Non-Profit." To date, I have received impassioned correspondence from proponents and opponents of this proposal. The proposed ordinance is currently being heard by the Council's Land Use Policy Committee and is scheduled to be heard again on Thurs., May 20 at 10:30 a.m. You can access the Zoom meeting information by clicking on the May 20, 2021 Agenda Packet link once it's posted HERE (scroll to the bottom of the page).  

Councilmember Susan Wengraf and I have organized a Community Forum on the Mayor's Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) Proposal next Wed., May 12 from 5:30-7 p.m., so we can learn more about the proposed ordinance, hear from experts, and ask questions. You can RSVP for the Zoom webinar HERE.
Expansion of "Healthy Streets" Soft Closures
Last month, the City added three new segments to our existing Healthy Streets Network of soft closures intended to give residents an opportunity to have more space to safely get exercise, sunshine, and fresh air during the pandemic. Two of the new segments are partially located in our district:
Healthy Streets soft closure barriers at the intersection of California and Virginia.
  • Virginia Street from Sacramento to Shattuck
  • Extension on Ninth Street from Hearst to Page

As you may have seen, the Healthy Streets segments are marked with temporary barriers and signs at block entrances, along with signs midblock, to remind people to slow down and to discourage through traffic to vehicles.
The Healthy Streets program is a temporary measure, and I'm glad to see that many people are taking advantage of the soft closures to bike, walk, and jog safely on the street.
You can share your feedback about the program HERE
Volunteers with Walk Bike Berkeley are helping to maintain the network, and if you'd like to volunteer, please sign up HERE.
Changes at Cedar-Rose Pickleball Courts
While pickleball is a much-loved and fast-growing sport, the neighbors who live in close proximity to the Cedar-Rose pickleball courts have shared with me and our Parks Department their frustration with the noise detriment caused by the long hours of play.

After a community input process, the City’s Parks Department reduced hours last month at the Cedar-Rose pickleball courts as follows:
Pickleball courts at Cedar-Rose Park prior to full installation of Acoustifence noise-dampening material.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.*
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.*
Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.*
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.*
Friday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.*
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.*
*Or until dark, whichever is earlier. 

Noise-dampening material known as “Acoustifence” has been added to the fencing around the pickleball courts to reduce noise and the Parks Department is no longer allowing pickleball at the adjacent Cedar-Rose tennis courts. The Parks Department is also requiring all pickleball players to use green rackets and noise-reducing balls (Onix Pure 2 or NewFit True). Please follow these and other posted rules when you use these courts to be respectful of neighbors. 

In addition, I serve as the City’s representative on the Joint Powers Authority for the Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex. This group held a meeting on April 21 in which City representatives in attendance gave our Parks Director Scott Ferris permission to informally discuss with the East Bay Regional Parks District the possibility of adding a complex of pickleball courts to the Tom Bates fields. In the future, my hope is that we can add pickleball courts in this location where they will not be disruptive to nearby residents.

I invite you to share your feedback with me about the Cedar-Rose pickleball courts: or 510-981-7110.
Status Update on Reported Odors from West Berkeley Asphalt Plant
Last winter, the LeHigh Hanson Asphalt Plant in West Berkeley was issued a number of notices of violation related to sulfurous odors. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has regulatory authority over emissions and odors at the facility, and the City regulates the terms of a 1999 Settlement Agreement and Use Permit conditions.
Image of previous enclosure for truck loading at Lehigh Hanson Asphalt Plant prior to enhancement.
In order to address the most recent notices of violation, the plant was required to install an enhanced enclosure at the truck-loading area to replace the one pictured here. Our Planning Director has confirmed to me that the asphalt plant completed the enhanced enclosure construction in accordance with the City’s prescribed timeframe.

The BAAQMD has reported that no new odor complaints have been received since early February, according to our Planning Director. Based on the most recent City inspection on April 21, the plant was found to be in compliance with the terms of the 1999 Settlement Agreement. In order to ensure ongoing compliance, our Planning Director has committed to closely monitor the facility for compliance with all applicable conditions and regulations. 

If any further issues arise, they should always be reported to BAAQMD:
  • Complaint phone line – 1-800-334-ODOR (6367) (The dispatch office will contact an inspector in the field who can investigate.) 
  • Online complaint form is available HERE

You can also contact my office for any concerns or questions: or 510-981-7110
Save the Dates & Recreation Updates
COVID-19 Resources
General Resources. The Mayor’s Office has created a resource guide, with information about parking enforcement, senior hours at local grocery stores and other information.

The state COVID-19 website is where you can get up to speed on what’s happening statewide, learn how you can safely help, and find out what resources and assistance may be available.

A Berkeley Mutual Aid website has been created for neighbors to offer and receive assistance, such as with grocery shopping or phone calls to neighbors.

Supporting Businesses. You can donate to the Berkeley Relief Fund to support low-income tenants, small businesses and non-profits, and non-profit arts organizations or donate directly to a local business. The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce has created a resource guide for businesses.

Eviction Protections. If you have any questions about our local residential and commercial eviction moratorium or housing retention grants for low-income tenants, more information is available HERE. The Council has also passed an urgency ordinance to prevent commercial landlords from increasing rent by more than 10% (see Item #8 HERE).

Tenant/Landlord Financial Relief. Tenants and landlords in Alameda County are able to apply for financial relief using Alameda County Housing Secure.

Price GougingAnyone who has been the victim of price gouging, or has information about potential price gouging, can file a complaint with the District Attorney's Office by emailing or calling (510) 383-8600.

Donate Blood. You can donate blood at the Oakland Blood Donation Center (6230 Claremont Ave. in Oakland) where they are using physical distancing protocols, disinfecting between donors, and taking temperatures of donors and staff. Please visit the Red Cross website to make an appointment before visiting. 

Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through the City or through my office.

Food Resources.
  • Double Helping Hands provides meals to the homeless from downtown Berkeley restaurants. You can make a donation HERE.

  • provides low-cost meals to individuals at high risk of developing complications from Covid-19, and they are in need of volunteers to help deliver meals.

  • Information on additional food resources, such as CalFresh, WIC, and school meals, is available HERE.

Resources for Mental Health and Wellness.

  • The Domestic Violence Resource Guide for Alameda County is available HERE.

If you have specific questions or concerns, please always feel free to reach out to me: or 510-981-7110.
My Website
For updates on community issues and links to City information resources, please visit my website:

This site is also where you can find an archive of all of my newsletters to date.

To sign up to receive future newsletters, please click HERE.
COVID-19 Information Sources