by Greg Lyman

El Cerrito is a small step closer to a safe and modern library. On Tuesday, March 1, our City Council unanimously authorized the City Manager and Mayor to start negotiating with West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) to secure the western portion of the temporary Korematsu middle school campus for a future library with more space for the types of programs residents demand. Five alternatives were evaluated for location, cost and timeliness. Alternatives that required purchase of land along San Pablo Avenue, although creative, had the most substantial unknowns of timeline and cost. The alternative that utilized the site of the Contra Costa Civic Theater, owned by the City, would invest a significant amount in a new theater and change circulation near Cerrito Vista Park. The selected alternative proposes to move both the library and the senior services from aging buildings at Stockton and the Ohlone Greenway to a portion of the area used by current Korematsu portable classrooms. Centrally located, near the Community Center, on public land, and freeing significant area adjacent to Fairmont Elementary School were compelling factors cited during selection. Public criticism included preference for building a public safety building first, and concerns about exposure of Fairmont students to construction noise and dust. Although these are meaningful reservations, the Library – visited by 500 El Cerrito residents per day and gaining in popularity – consistently ranks as the most popular choice for public investment in polls. City officials vowed to push WCCUSD, responsible for the Fairmont reconstruction schedule, to rebuild as rapidly as possible. The chosen $30 million alternative presupposes passage of a funding measure in the November 2016 election, completion of environmental review in June 2017, selection of a design-build contractor in September 2017, groundbreaking July 2018, and the grand opening in December 2019. More information will be available this summer.


by Mollie Hazen

Save these Dates! As President-Elect of the Kensington Symphony Orchestra (KSO) I invite ECDC members to enjoy our upcoming Spring concerts, conducted by esteemed music director and conductor Geoffrey Gallegos at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley in the Kensington Hills. 1 Lawson Road, Kensington. KSO is a community-based orchestra consisting of seasoned professionals, committed amateur musicians, music educators and students from the entire Bay Area. Tickets, at the door or from www.kensingtonsymphonyorchestra.org, are $20 adults, $15 seniors & students. children under 12 free. I look forward to seeing you there!

 Saturday, April 16 @ 8 p.m. – All French Program!

KSO joins UUCB Luminescence and SF Unitarian Choruses in an all-French program featuring Poulenc’s Gloria, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, and more. Home-made desserts! For info: (510) 525-0302 x309

Sunday, May 22 @ 3 p.m. – Special Benefit Recital with Jason Totzke!

 KSO Benefit Recital with acclaimed Concertmaster Jason Totzke, violin, and Lois Karre, piano, in music of Beethoven, Messiaen, Piazzolla and Franck. Reception to follow. For more info: gbgalleg@pacbell.net

[Member’s Corner is a feature from the Newsletter’s younger years and now being restored, that is if the esteemed Membership cares to jot down a few notes about your recent activities. You notice that almost every article here has been written by an ECDC officer? You’ve joined the Club, now do the right thing and join the Newsletter too! Send us your items at ecdc.pubs@gmail.com.]

(Rest of) 2016 Calendar

March 22 – Regular Meeting

April 26 – Regular Meeting

May 24 – Regular Meeting

June 28 – Regular Meeting

July 3 (Sunday) – July 4th Booth

August – Endorsement Meeting TBD

September 27 – Regular Meeting

October – Annual Dinner TBD

November 22 – Regular Meeting

December – Holiday Party TBD