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Councilmember Susan Wengraf   
Councilmember Susan Wengraf

Newsletter #43


March, 2015  

Dear Friends and Neighbors,


    My job as your representative on the Berkeley City Council is challenging.  There is never a dull moment in Berkeley.  I have been very busy meeting with neighbors about AT&T antenna installations, undergrounding of utilities, street paving, crime, and traffic, in addition to attending community meetings about the demonstrations in December and the police response.  I also now sit on the Alameda County Waste Management Authority, a regional body of all the cities in the county.  It probably doesn't sound very interesting, but I have become fascinated with the issue of how wasteful we are as a society and how very destructive our behavior is to our environment.


    Since the start of the year, I have introduced legislation to prohibit the planting of new Eucalyptus and Monterey Pine trees in the City.  Also, my legislation requesting the creation of a plan for undergrounding utilities in the entire city received enthusiastic support at the Public Works Commission and will be the focus of a sub-committee working to bring forward a recommendation to the Council.


    There are many streets in the north Berkeley hills that will be paved in 2015 and 2016, but I will save that information for my next newsletter.  I am very pleased to see some, although not all, of the worst streets on the list.







Susan Wengraf


Included in this newsletter is information about:

Measles cartoon
c. 2015 The New Yorker




    An adult who may have measles (it has not yet been confirmed) was at the City of Berkeley West Branch Library throughout the day on February 27 and February 28, and was at the Central Branch Library on the afternoon of February 27.  Individuals who were at these locations could have been exposed.  Patrons of these libraries during these dates should monitor themselves for symptoms until March 21.  The risk is very slight for those who have received the recommended two doses of the measles vaccine.


    On the days in question, the person had not yet developed the tell-tale rash - a circumstance that contributes to the rapid spread of the highly infectious, airborne virus.  Symptoms can develop between 7 and 21 days after exposure to the virus.  If those exposed develop fever and a facial rash, they should contact their health care provider for advice and assistance.  Those at highest risk are those who are unvaccinated, infants, pregnant women, and those with impaired immunity.  


    Measles is highly preventable.  The recommended two doses of MMR vaccine protect 99% of people even if they are exposed to the virus.  Even a single dose protects 95% of those vaccinated.  Two doses of MMR vaccine are recommended, starting at 12 months of age.  The second dose can be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose.  In high risk situations, infants as young as 6 months of age can receive the vaccine.   

 Mickey measles

      Adults born before 1957 are considered immune because of the prevalence of measles prior to the introduction of the vaccine.  Other adults who were not vaccinated as children, or are not sure of their immune status, can also receive the MMR vaccine.


    Members of the community who have further questions can contact Berkeley Public Health at 981-5300 or email publichealth@cityofberkeley.info.  

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No Solicitors


    Lately, my office has received many questions about people going door to door soliciting.   


   If you feel that the person who has come to your door is trying to sell or solicit anything under false pretenses, please immediately telephone the police at 981-5900.  If the solicitor threatens, intimidates you or refuses to leave, please dial 911 for immediate service.  Trust your instincts.  If the person does not seem legitimate and does not have a permit from the City, call the police


    We also recommend that if you don't want to speak with the solicitor, then  acknowledge that you are home by saying something like, "I am busy."  You have the right to ask the solicitor to leave printed materials so that you can check into the business or organization.  Then you are able to do your own research and can send the organization a check at a later time.  NEVER provide a door to door solicitor with a check or credit card number.


   We are all concerned that the person soliciting may actually be casing your house and neighborhood for burglaries.  Even if you do not give someone money or buy their products, someone else in your neighborhood may become a victim.  Call the police anytime you feel the person or solicitation is possibly illegal.  It is also a good idea to let your neighbors know, in case the solicitor tries to victimize them also.


In Berkeley, the following rules apply to solicitors:

  • Solicitors must have a solicitor/vendor permit in their immediate possession and show it on demand.
  • Hours for door to door solicitation - 8:00am to 7:00pm, seven days a week.
  • Unlawful to enter any property that is posted No Soliciting, No Peddling, No Agents or other similar verbiage.  This does not include religious organizations or groups.
  • Soliciting defined - sell, take orders, offer to sell, offer to take orders for merchandise, wares, goods or anything.
  • Solicitor permits are issued through the Finance Department after each solicitor's background is screened by the Berkeley Police Department.  The company that hires the solicitors must also have a business license in Berkeley.
Ford truck



    Since January 7, 2015, the Berkeley Police Department has had 22 thefts and 5 attempted thefts of Ford Econoline and F-Series Trucks.  Although all models are at risk, the most popular models seem to be the Econoline E250, E350 and the F150, F250, F350 manufactured between 1990 - 2012.  The auto thefts are occurring in all geographic areas of the city.


    The Berkeley Police Department has several recommendations in an effort to decrease your vulnerability to this type of crime.

  • Don't leave your vehicle unlocked
  • Never leave your vehicle running, especially while it is unattended or unlocked
  • Do not leave a spare key near your vehicle
    Many people keep a spare key under the car, just in case they get locked out.  Thieves know exactly where to check for an extra key. While getting locked out of your car is a pain, think about the potential hassle of your car getting stolen.
  • Install an audible alarm system and a visible anti-theft device.
    Car thieves tend to avoid cars with alarms or anti-theft devices because they attract attention when they go off.  These devices are well worth the investment.
  • Install a vehicle immobilizer system (Kill Switch).
    Thieves can bypass your ignition by "hotwiring" your car.  You can prevent this by using a vehicle immobilizer system such as fuel cut-offs and smart keys.
  • Consider installing a GPS tracking system.
    When your car is stolen, this tracking system will emit a signal to the police of your vehicle's location.  This may help the police recover your vehicle faster and may minimize the damage to your car.  This may be a good investment if you live in an area with high auto theft rates.
  • Don't leave valuable personal property, equipment or tools in your vehicle
    Often times car thieves are most interested in the tools and equipment inside the truck or van.

    If your vehicle is stolen be sure to report it as soon as possible to the Berkeley Police Department.  Please have your vehicle license plate written down if you don't have it memorized.  


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Phone charger  


    Unplug battery chargers when batteries are fully charged or when chargers are not in use.  Many chargers draw power continuously, even when a device is not plugged into the charger. If you see a red or green light on your charger, it is using electricity.



    Daylight savings time starts at 2am on Sunday, March 8th.

    Set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed Saturday night, March 7th.

   The Berkeley Fire Department encourages you to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors when you set your clocks forward.  These detectors save lives only when the batteries are working!  A working smoke detector more than doubles a person's chances of surviving a home fire.  More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors.  However, it is estimated that one-third have worn-out or missing batteries.
  For maximum protection, test your batteries every month and replace them when the time changes twice a year.
    Click here for more information regarding smoke & carbon monoxide detectors.

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Susan Wengraf
Berkeley City Council District 6
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