The City Council unanimously approved a law criminalizing illegal dumping and setting up additional civil measures to punish those who dispose of furniture, construction material and other large amounts of trash on city streets.

The new law, proposed by Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney and City Attorney Barbara Parker makes it a misdemeanor to illegally dispose of large quantities of trash. Those caught dumping could be fined and forced to pay the city's cost for enforcing the law.

The law comes in response to the increased practice of people dumping large amounts of waste on city streets -- especially in poorer, semi-industrial sections of East and West Oakland -- rather than pay to properly dispose the items. Last year, the city received about 17,000 reports of illegal dumping -- a roughly 34 percent increase from 2011, according to McElhaney.

The law won't go into effect until after the council approves it a second time later this month.

Hayward moves to curb nuisance behavior

Hayward is drafting regulations to crack down on properties where crimes and other nuisance behavior take place.

During a work session Tuesday, the City Council reviewed a proposed social nuisance ordinance that could fine a landowner up to $5,000 if the problem is ignored after a warning letter is sent. Council members were unanimously supportive of the regulations at the presentation.

The ordinance is modeled after similar ones in Vallejo, Stockton and Woodland. In more than 90 percent of the cases in those cities, the problem is taken care of after a warning letter is sent, according to the staff report.


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Staff members will include specific behaviors the regulations will cover before the ordinance comes before the council for a vote.

Berkeley wants input on parks, rec facilities

Berkeley's Parks and Waterfront Commission is holding two public meetings to take ideas for improving the city's parks, pools, community centers, marina and camps.

On Oct. 9, a meeting is set for Live Oak Community Center, 1301 Shattuck Ave., at 7 p.m. The focus of this meeting will be parks and facilities in north Berkeley and the King Swim Center.

On Oct. 16, a meeting is set for the South Branch Library, 1901 Russell Street, at 6 p.m. The focus of this meeting will be parks and facilities in south Berkeley.

Halloween school opens in Berkeley

The Monkey House performance space at 1638 University Ave. is putting on a Halloween musical for kids ages 7 to 12 called Mortimus Greely's Haunting School.

The hourlong show promises songs, a video quiz, a ghost story composed by the audience and a game of "ectoplasm dodgeball." It runs at 3 p.m. Oct. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 and 5 p.m. Oct. 31. Cost is $10.

Newark general plan update to be discussed

Residents can weigh in on the first update to the city's general plan in 20 years.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on updates to the general plan and its environmental impact report. Terrence Grindall, community development director, will be there to answer questions.

At 5:30 Tuesday, the City Council will hold a special work session meeting.

Both meetings will be held in City Hall's council chambers at 37101 Newark Blvd.

The proposed update is the city's first since 1992, said City Manager John Becker. "This is, essentially, a tuneup," he said. "There have been no radical changes made since the last update 20 years ago."

Becker said maintaining a balance of land uses remains a city goal. "Newark has always been and continues to be a community that balances residential, commercial, recreation and open space (land uses)," he said.

The City Council is expected to consider approving the update next month. For more information, visit www.hauntingschool.com

Oakland City Attorney wins award

City Attorney Barbara J. Parker received the "Distinguished Public Service Award" Tuesday from the International Municipal Lawyers Association.

The award honors a local government attorney for "significant and surpassing achievements in the field of local government law occurring or culminating in the previous year."

"I am honored to receive this award from this extraordinary organization which has been dedicated to improving the practice of municipal law for more than three quarters of a century," Parker said.