I am troubled by newly released statistics showing that crime in Berkeley has steadily increased over the past several years. Although the overall crime rate is lower today than it was a decade ago, the recent uptick – a trend replicated nationally – is worrisome and must be addressed.
This morning’s 4.4 earthquake in the Berkeley hills was a wake-up call that reminds us of the dangers of living in earthquake country. Fortunately, no damage or injuries were reported, only rattled nerves. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the last major earthquake on the Hayward fault, which is overdue for the next Big One. If you have not yet made a New Year’s resolution, let it be to prepare for the next earthquake.
These are tough times to be a police officer.
High profile cases like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, have put agencies under more scrutiny. At the same time, the economy is booming, which means job seekers have many more options. This is certainly true in the Bay Area, where the cost of housing and living is high. As a result, police agencies around the country are struggling to find enough qualified candidates.
This Sunday, several hundred people gathered outside of Alta Bates Hospital to protest its impending closure, which could come as early as 2030. We had great representation from the California Nurses Association, doctors, community activists and families whose children and grandchildren were born at the hospital that has been part of our community since 1905.
We have seen a growth in encampments throughout Berkeley and the Bay Area, including HERE THERE located on BART property at Adeline Street. The sad reality is: with the lack of affordable housing, there is not enough shelter. That is why my administration has been working tirelessly on these issues and early next year will open the Bridge Living Community at Second and Cedar, which will provide additional long-term shelter, with supportive services.
Thanks to the generous support of our donors, 27 Berkeley students from low-income families are headed off to four-year colleges, many of them are the first in their families to pursue a higher education. This would not be possible without the Berkeley Community Fund, which each year awards tens of thousands in scholarships to promising Berkeley highschoolers. The organization also offers mentoring as a way to guide students in their educational journey.
For too many California students, college is out of reach for one reason: they just can’t afford it.But a bill signed last Friday by Governor Jerry Brown will now make it possible for more students, especially students of color or those from low-income families, to embark on a college education.
I want to thank all of the Berkeley police and fire personnel who have spent the past four days helping our neighbors in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Napa and the surrounding areas. Some of them have themselves been impacted by this tragedy, yet they continue to work.
Last week, President Donald Trump expanded the existing travel ban to include three more countries: Chad, North Korea and Venezuela. That makes a total of eight countries whose citizens are now indefinitely barred from traveling to and from the United States.
Last week, lawmakers voted to make California a sanctuary state, a big victory for immigrants. This does not mean that undocumented people won't be deported,