Berkeley Urban Coop Block Newsletter - Townhouse Open House Sunday
From: Judy Lightstone (
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 22:31:15 -0700 (PDT)
Dear all,
For those who want cohousing in Berkeley, but can?t work for years hoping it
will eventually happen, here?s an update from the Halcyon Commons
Neighborhood Assoc (HNA), just to give you all an idea what ?Urban
Cooperative Block? means.  Also, the Townhouse that is for sale has a
website that has finally been fixed up with pictures and the relevant
information, including directions and announcing the Open House this Sunday
from 2-4PM.  To learn more about the townhouse, the cooperative 5-plex, and
the Urban Coop Block go to  
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Halcyon Neighborhood Association E-Newsletter*
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In This Newsletter
1. HNA Wins UC Chancellor's Community Partnership Grant to Rejuvenate
Halcyon Commons!
2. Help Plan the 9/24 Park Party Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of
Halcyon Commons!
3. Nighttime Dog Walks to Increase Neighborhood Safety
4. Updates from Councilmember Kriss Worthington: News You Can Use
5. Willard Community Peace Labyrinth Walk, Sunday, August 20, 3 p.m.
6. Kitchen Democracy: Free Wi-Fi in Berkeley?
7. Crime Watch Report: Converter Stolen from Truck
Over 60 neighbors attended HNA's National Night Out Against Crime event in
Halcyon Commons Park a week ago, along with representatives from the fire
department, Mayor Tom Bates, Councilmember Kriss Worthington, and other city
officials. See item 3 on an exciting idea that grew out of the event:
nighttime "dog" walks (you don't have to have a dog to participate) to
increase neighborhood safety. Thanks to everyone who came to the event --
and to flyer distributors for getting the word out!
-Nancy Carleton, HNA Co-Chair and E-Newsletter Editor
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1. HNA Wins UC Chancellor's Community Partnership Grant to Rejuvenate
Halcyon Commons!
Tuesday the UC Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund announced the first
of its annual grants to be awarded to neighborhood and community groups with
UC partners. After two planning meetings noticed to the community through
this E-Newsletter, HNA submitted a three-part proposal to rejuvenate Halcyon
Commons Park on the occasion of its tenth anniversary (see excerpts from the
grant application below).
We are thrilled that two of the three elements included in our application
were selected to receive funding in the amount of $13,640: (A) a gateway
arch at the northern entrance to the park and (C) a redesign of the
southeastern corner of the park (see more detailed descriptions in the
paragraphs below). While item (B) did not receive funding in this round of
grants (there were over $1 million of funds requested and 43 applications
submitted, with $200,000 available), we are determined to realize the
long-held dream of a halcyon bird sculpture, and will be seeking donations
from a variety of sources to make it possible.
Special thanks to the following groups and individuals who contributed to
our proposal with letters of support and commitments of "sweat equity" or
in-kind contributions of labor and/or expertise:  Nancy Carleton and John
Steere (HNA Co-Chairs), Berkeley Partners for Parks (our nonprofit fiscal
sponsor), Kaye Bock (UC Partner, Student Affairs Officer for the College of
Environmental Design, City and Regional Planning), Susan Hunter (UC Partner,
neighbor ,and House Director of Delta Gamma Sorority), Jennifer Natali (UC
Partner, neighbor, and graduate student in landscape architecture), Sarah
Syed (UC Partner, graduate student in the Department of City and Regional
Planning), Michael Lamb (neighbor and registered landscape architect), Karl
Reeh (President, LeConte Neighborhood Association), Whole Foods Market, Amy
Blackstone (craftsperson), Christina Bertea (sculptor), Livable Berkeley,
and Bruce Wicinas (neighbor and volunteer extraordinaire).
>From the application:
PROJECT DESRIPTION: The Halcyon Commons Rejuvenation Project brings three
new elements to this neighborhood-designed park in South Berkeley: (A) a
gateway at the north end with the words HALCYON COMMONS and animal cutouts
related to park history;  (B) a bronze-cast sculpture of a halcyon bird (a
kingfisher associated with peace); and (C) a redesign and replanting of the
incomplete southeastern corner - all with community design input. Because of
the significant contribution of professional and artistic skills and
volunteer labor, the grant funds go directly toward implementation, helping
to build community as well as adding beautiful new features to this unique
neighborhood commons.
(A) A Gateway at the North Entrance to be forged by craftsperson Amy
Blackstone (who created the wrought-iron decorative gates to the Peralta
Community Garden in North Berkeley and the Art Tech building in downtown
Berkeley, and who is giving us a significant donation of her labor to keep
costs down). This will comprise a pergola/arbor-style entry with the words
HALCYON COMMONS and animal cutouts to be designed with community workshop
input. There is currently no sign letting people know they are entering
Halcyon Commons at this most used entryway to the park, so this project will
help anchor a sense of place, as well as honoring the animal, bird, and
insect life that shares this greenspace, including animals with special ties
to the park (such as Emma, the neighborhood dog who was present throughout
the park's planning process, the bees that swarmed in the park and were
relocated to a nearby neighbor's yard, and the barn owl neighbors are hoping
to encourage to nest in a nearby palm tree). This project will likely
necessitate some revisions to the concrete work at the entryway, with the
added advantage that that entry will come up to current ADA standards.

(B) Halcyon Bird Sculpture (a halcyon bird is a kind of kingfisher)
originally planned ten years ago for the oval in front of the "Father Sun"
bench in the park's southwestern corner. The sculpture will be cast in
bronze, and will be sculpted by local artist Christina Bertea, in
collaboration with John Steere, both of whom are making a significant
donation of their labor to keep costs down. It will be approximately three
feet long and two feet high and sit on a pedestal in the middle of the
existing planted oval. The bird will be shown on a nest, representing
peaceful coexistence. The details will be worked out by the artists with
additional input from a community design charette.

(C) Redesign of the Southeastern Corner of the park through a new landscape
plan and planting, with the inclusion of either large, flat boulders
esthetically arranged that serve the dual function as sitting areas, or
possibly a rustic bench (final decision pending community input), along with
the completion of the irrigation system, and attractive, drought-resistant
plantings. We are intending that this feature be designed at a hands-on
community design charette under the guidance of Michael Lamb, the neighbor
and registered landscape architect who drew up the initial plans for the
park based on community design workshops, resulting in an award-winning
design (honored by Berkeley Design Advocates in 1997). This feature will
allow neighbors, UC students (a couple of whom are already committed), and
other community partners to participate in many ways, from the design
process through the "sweat equity" involved in installing the landscaping
features and planting the plants.
Keep an eye on the HNA E-Newsletter for announcements concerning community
charettes to work out the details of these projects, as well as notices of
our appearances before city commissions to secure approval of the final
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2. Help Plan the 9/24 Park Party Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of
Halcyon Commons!
Join us in helping create a good time for our neighborhood on Sunday,
September  24:  This is a chance to get to know some of your neighbors while
planning a great party to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Halcyon Commons
Park (and the recent receipt of  the UC Chancellor's Community Partnership
Grant for selected rejuvenation projects).  We need your assistance in
finding musicians, planning activities for neighborhood kids, inviting a few
speakers, and figuring out a fun and meaningful program to recognize the
value of our park to the community. The celebration is planned for Sunday,
September 24 , from 2 p.m. to 5:30. Just a few hours of your time over the
next few weeks for a lot of satisfaction!  Please call or email John Steere
at 849-1969 <jsteere [at]>.
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3. Nighttime Dog Walks to Increase Neighborhood Safety
Mark your calendars for upcoming "dog" walks around the neighborhood:
* Saturday night/Sunday morning, 8/13, 2:30 a.m. (start at Halcyon Commons
Park, Halcyon Court at Prince Street)
   (RSVPs needed by email from five people for this walk to take place)
* Friday night, 8/18, 10  p.m. (start at corner of Fulton/Prince)
* Thursday night, 8/24, 9 p.m. (start at Halcyon Commons Park, Halcyon Court
at Prince Street)
* Friday night, 9/1,10 p.m. (start at corner of Fulton/Prince)
NO DOG REQUIRED! Come meet neighbors, get some exercise, and make our
neighborhood safer!
Other dates are also planned or will be announced. Sign up to receive
confirmation of dates (contact Pamela Dameron <usasleigh [at]>).
As part of  Halcyon Neighborhood Association's National Night Out Against
Crime event, we took a walk around the neighborhood to identify "hot" spots
(e.g. areas where garbage was dumped, lights were out, crimes had been
committed). Some of us liked the idea so much that we decided to continue at
least once a week. . . .
We'll walk around the neighborhood -  talking (quietly), getting to know one
another, and building community. Being out will also let potential criminals
know we care about our neighborhood and we're paying attention to what
happens here. The idea is to have at least three people on each walk. Not
having enough people may not be safe, so we won't go if there aren't at
least three people. Under no circumstances will we do anything that would
endanger us or anyone.  We will greet everyone we see -  these are all our
neighbors, whether they live here or not. With youth, we will be
particularly aware of the fact that these are "our kids" and our future -
it's up to us to look after them in a loving way so that they don't take a
dangerous path. People will bring dogs if they have them (for fun, dog
exercise, and safety). NO DOG IS REQUIRED; you can be like me and just enjoy
others' dogs for the walk.
Our first "dog" walks were a huge success on Friday, 8/5.  We had about a
half dozen people at 8:30 on Friday and about ten people at 10 p.m.  We were
thrilled to see a police car drive by the park at about 10:15 as we
gathered, although the officer was busy working and didn't have time to stop
and chat. On our walk we met several "new" neighbors (who haven't been part
of organized activities in the past) and cheered a street corner impromptu
football game that some of our neighborhood youth were creating.

Building on the idea of improving neighbor relations, we will invite people
from Chochmat Halev to join us. Each first and third Friday of the month, we
will start at the corner of Prince and Fulton at 10 p.m.  Parking in the
neighborhood on these Friday nights is an issue because that is when
Chochmat Halev has their Celebratory Kabbalat Shabbat Services. If we have
regular "dog walks" those nights, then we can walk the attendees to the BART
station. This will make it safe for them to either take BART or just park in
that lot. Coordinating our walks with Chochmat Halev will also help
strengthen the relationship between this generous neighborhood resource
(which is always willing to open their doors for us to have large meetings
there free of charge) and our vibrant, diverse neighborhood. If you haven't
been to one of Chochmat Halev's services, consider yourself invited. You
don't have to be Jewish (I'm not) to enjoy the music, the service, and the
wonderful Rabbis Sara and Avram Davis.
In addition to the regular first and third Fridays at 10 p.m., we're also
going to take some walks at irregular, less predictable times on different
nights of the week. Most of the crime issues seem to occur Thursday through
Sunday nights. To start with, next Saturday night/ Sunday morning we'd like
to take a walk at 2:30 a.m.  (since that's just after the bars close and
when some past incidents have occurred). In this case, we feel a minimum of
five people is necessary to make it safe for everyone. We also plan to walk
Thursday night, 8/24, at 9 p.m.
The police love this idea, so we'll also let the beat cops know the
schedule. They'll stop by as often as possible.  For more information and to
get the schedule for the future (plus to confirm the dates listed here and
let us know you're coming), contact Pamela Dameron
<usasleigh [at]>.
Come join us! We look forward to getting to know you and our neighborhood
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4. Updates from Councilmember Kriss Worthington: News You Can Use
District 7 Councilmember Kriss Worthington (who represents the portion of
our neighborhood from the east side of Wheeler Street to Telegraph) sent the
following news:
If you want our office to keep you informed of what we hear about upcoming
zoning cases, planning policies, streets, sidewalks, storm drains, sewers,
Alta Bates, UC development, streetlights, and traffic calming in your
neighborhood, just sign up for one or all topics. Ideally this service
should be available for the whole City, but since it is not we are trying to
do it right here in District 7.
Email or paper notification available. Sign up with Mike Sheen at 981-7170
or kworthington [at] or online at
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the State Supreme Court decided a
City of Marina case (S117816) by unanimously overruling the lower court and
finding that public colleges "must pay surrounding communities for increased
traffic, firefighting, and other costs caused by campus expansions." This
dramatic decision MAY allow us to approach the University administration
and/or the legislature to seek funds to mitigate significant development
being done right here in Berkeley.
REINSTATING AUTO PARKING ON TELEGRAPH (from Dwight to the Oakland border)
The City Council on July 25, approved $65,000 to correct the colossal
blunder which removed dozens of parking spaces on Telegraph in front of our
small businesses, and stuck in so called motorcycle parking instead. After
months of fighting to get this reversed, the money is there. Now we just
need to get a date set to actually get the work done.
On June 27 in the City budget, with the help of Mayor Tom Bates, the City
reinstated funding for social workers and police for Telegraph that had been
removed in prior years' budget cuts. I voted against those cuts in the first
place, and I am especially gratified to see these important services
restored.  The City is also beginning to go to the Planning Commission to
fix the permit process just for Telegraph. I support making it easier for
locally owned, neighborhood serving small businesses, but maintaining clear
community involvement for controversial proposals.
THANK YOU to those who participated in the important gatherings that
occurred for National Night Out. I believe Crime Watch is so effective at
building community and preventing crime that I have worked to expand it
dramatically. This fall we will be kicking off an exciting New Neighborhood
Watch in the Campus area, where we have our highest crime rates. Thank you
to the folks from BPD and BFD, who are willing to risk their lives everyday
to try to keep us all safe.
Kriss Worthington
Councilmember, District 7
City of Berkeley
2180 Milvia St., 5th Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
p. 510.981.7170
f.  510.981.7177
e. kworthington [at]
<<News You Can Use.doc>>
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5. Willard Community Peace Labyrinth Walk, Sunday, August 20, 3 p.m.
Community Labyrinth Peace Walk, SUNDAY, August 20, at 3 p.m., Willard Middle
School (Telegraph Ave. between Derby & Stuart, Berkeley). Everyone welcome.
Wheelchair accessible. (Rain cancels.) Contact 
info [at], 526-7377.
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6. Kitchen Democracy: Free Wi-Fi in Berkeley?
The Kitchen Democracy folks just sent the following announcement:
Should the City of Berkeley provide free Wi-Fi to all residents? The City
Council is evaluating whether to provide free Internet access to all
residents.  Wireless as well as fiber optic technologies are being
evaluated. Do you think this is a good allocation of city resources?  Go to
Learn what the experts and your neighbors are saying; vote and post your own

Robert and Simona
Kitchen Democracy
P.S. Kitchen Democracy is a public service available to everyone in
Berkeley. Feel free to tell us about an issue important to you. Whether it
is a citywide issue described in the local newspapers, or an issue involving
just your immediate neighborhood, email your proposed yes/no question to us.
We will work with you to put your issue on Kitchen Democracy.
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7. Crime Watch Report: Converter Stolen from Truck
A neighbor reports:
"I wanted to let you know - in case you would like to notify others in the
neighborhood - that the converter was stolen from our truck last weekend,
sometime between midnight and 8 a.m. Saturday night. Whoever stole it
unscrewed all the bolts and left them under the car. It cost $250 to replace
- Don's Muffler on Shattuck spot-welded the bolts to try and prevent it from
happening again. Apparently there's a market for used  converters, so
neighbors might want to keep their eyes open for late night 'car repairs.' "
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The Halcyon Neighborhood Association E-Newsletter:

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