Council hears police, transit plans, appoints city manager

All of the city's department heads stood at the back of the hall for the appointment of Christine Daniel as city manager. Photo: Lance Knobel

The largest part of last night’s City Council meeting was consumed by public comment and council debate over potential ballot measures for the November election (full report coming later). But a number of other important items were on the agenda as well.

Police community engagement

At a special, one-hour meeting before the regular council, Berkeley Police Department Captain Andy Greenwood presented a number of new community engagement initiatives, including an online crime reporting system, a revamped CrimeView site, and an expanded program of “coffee with the commanders”.

The online reporting system, dubbed CopLogic, enables residents to self-report non-emergency matters, where there are no witnesses or suspects. Greenwood said the types of crimes where the system could prove helpful include auto burglary and theft from autos, identity theft, petty theft, harassing phone calls, and vandalism.

When a person files a crime with the system, they receive a temporary case number. BPD staff review all filings, and when approved, the system generates a PDF of the report, which is emailed back to the victim who reported the crime with a definitive case number. If the filing reports, for example, that a neighbor witnessed the vandalism, the report will be rejected and an officer will be dispatched for follow up.

Both Greenwood and Police Chief Michael Meehan emphasized that the new system was an alternative to existing ways of reporting, not a replacement.

In the revamped CrimeView Community, users can view types of crime by date and location

The improved CrimeView Community enables residents to map and track crimes over the previous 180 days. “It’s very dynamic, very user friendly,” Greenwood said. In addition to the search functions provided by CrimeView, Greenwood said users could set up alerts to receive emails on crimes by type or area. Councilmember Gordon Wozniak asked whether it might be possible to export data out of CrimeView, to create your own reports. Greenwood said he would look into it. The company behind CrimeView also offers an app, CrimeMapping.com, to view the data on your iPhone or iPad.

Councilmembers were most interested, however, in Greenwood’s report on the “coffee with the commanders” initiative. The scheme was started in area 4 by Lieutenant Dave Frankel, but its success has led to its roll out in all four police watch districts. “It gives community members a chance to sit down in a relaxed manner,” Greenwood said. “You’re talking to a commander who knows the system, knows how to get some things done.”

“These initiatives are comprehensive, they’re interactive, they’re approachable by people,” said councilmember Max Anderson. “It forges a better relationship between the community and the police department.”

Christine Daniel appointed city manager

Christine Daniel, who has been serving as interim city manager since the retirement of Phil Kamlarz last November, was unanimously approved as city manager by the council last night. Although Mayor Tom Bates was eager to push the pace of the meeting, all of the councilmembers had words of endorsement of Daniel. When the item came up on the agenda, all of the city’s department heads filed into the back of the council chamber to stand in support.

Councilmember Kriss Worthington did raise, however, questions about the contract Daniel had been offered. According to Worthington, there were no safeguards in the contract to avoid paying one year’s severance in case of poor performance. “There is widespread sentiment that this kind of policy is totally inappropriate,” Worthington said. He added, “I don’t think any of my concerns should be seen as a comment on the qualities of the acting city manager. The acting city manager has continued the exemplary qualities of the previous city manager.”

Councilmember Linda Maio suggested the matter should be dealt with by the evaluation committee, which includes Maio, Worthington, Laurie Capitelli and Susan Wengraf. Worthington agreed that the committee would be the appropriate venue for discussing the contract.

Alameda County Transportation Expenditure Plan

The council unanimously endorsed the reauthorization of Measure B, the $8 billion Alameda County plan to provide additional funds for transportation over the next 30 years. The Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP) will be on the ballot in the November general election.

According to the presentation by Tess Lengyel, deputy director of policy and public affairs at the Alameda County Transportation Commission, the measure would specifically allocate $220 million to Berkeley over the next 30 years. The $2.3 billion allocated for streets and roads countywide would provide funds for major corridors in Berkeley, including Ashby, San Pablo, Marin and Solano. The $677 million for highways and freight contains specific funding to improve the Gilman interchange, she said.

Lengyel emphasized that the plan has the lowest ever percentage for highways (8.7%), which is nearly equalled by the amount devoted to bicycles and pedestrians (8.4%, or $651 million). The funding for AC Transit would be the “highest ever”, enabling the restoration of routes that have been cut and services that have been reduced.

Dave Campbell, program director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, told the council, “There’s not been a vote I’ve seen in the last few years as important as this one.” He said Berkeley ranked fourth in the country for bike share of transportation, and the funding from TEP would help complete Berkeley’s bike plan.

Want to get a digest of all the day’s Berkeley news in your email inbox at the end of your working day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.

Print Friendly
Tagged , , , , , , , ,
  • bgal4

    “Coffee with the Commander” outreach  is NOT a good use of expensive resources, nor does it come close to implementing best practice in problem-oriented-policing.

  • Bill

    Before the “Coffee with the Commander” is rolled out city wide it would be good to have an understanding on how this is to be implemented and an evaluation or some understanding of the use and/or measures of effectiveness for the program.  I would be especially interested in the viewpoint of West Berkeley citizens or council reps. since that area was a pilot.  

  • Anonymous

    “Councilmember Linda Maio suggested the matter should be dealt with by
    the evaluation committee, which includes Maio, Worthington, Laurie
    Capitelli and Susan Wengraf. Worthington agreed that the committee would
    be the appropriate venue for discussing the contract.”

    Of course the backroom is the appropriate place to discuss graft.  Severance pay…what a ridiculous concept.

  • John Holland

    Great resource. Interesting to note that crime went up around BPG after it closed.

  • bgal4

     Program??? Pilot ? this is a basic public relations outreach,  nothing more.

    The online reporting tool, that took at least 5 years to accomplish.

  • bgal4

    but wait Holland you missed the new addition of a security guard at 3PG, seems the owner thinks the way to force the city to provide him with a permit is to comply with the MM security requirements, so they have this dude patrolling the sidewalk wearing a sheriff badge pinned to his pants leg

  • Chris

     I’ve wondered what will happen with BPG closing. I think their customers definitely spent SOME money in W Berkeley, not sure how much…

  • Chris

    I live in W Berkeley. I really, really liked it. It’s a good setting for discussing these matters. I believe it occurs once a month for 2-3 hours. How is this so expensive?

  • Anonymous

     And it’s just an off the shelf (and very expensive) system from ESRI, although for $300K/year you’d hope the chief would at least be an expert in geostats and could write it himself.

  • bgal4

    Do you understand what a commander job is supposed to be?

    Did you watch the presentation, the anecdotal evidence provided by Capt Greenwood suggesting this outreach resolved a problem was a matter that should have already been identified by parking enforcement staff.

    Have you ever visited any of the national police resources such as 
    http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/
    http://www.popcenter.org/

    to be in position to determine if this is even program much less representative of evidence based practices capable of accomplishing more than making people feel better.

    or better yet, is Berkeley so special, we do things our way, despite the results.

  • bgal4

     haha,

    they love the high end products with all the bells and whistles tied to vendor support.

    the new software used for writing reports direct from patrol car computers continues to be a problem in both function and  time expense, again a product not fully vetted before purchase and installation.

    meanwhile….

    despite the huge taxpayers outlay for the new RMS/CAD system the promised improvements for crime analysis have not been delivered on, or is that information secret and not presented to the city council, beat cops or neighborhood groups.

    Did any of those geographic area Commanders bring recent crime stats or maps to their coffee klatch?

  • cl3

    Was there any discussion of Christine Daniel’s lack of action regarding the repeated misbehavior of Chief Meehan?

  • Emmonsfried

    I think light rail is what should be done. like in San Jose.

  • TizziLish

    much of the light rail system in Santa Clara County is sadly underused. They snaked the light rail lines to go near big employers, hoping, I think, to attract residents that would arrive by train. TAke the train that goes past yahoo and ebay — no one that works at those places gets on or off the trains.

    The lightrail is used in San Jose, mostly downtown, but overall, it is sadly underused. Santa Clara Transit, I think, focussed on social and economic engineering instead of a tight focus on fast transit. You can go from downtown Mountain View to downtown Jose in less than 15 minutes on Caltrain – to go from downtown MB to downtown San Jose on light rail takes almost an hour. Who’s going to choose lightrail’s hour over Caltrain’s quick ride?! A badly planned and tragically underused system.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Seriously.  Why is “at will employment” good enough for most people-who–get-a-paycheck but not for this person?  

  • Bruce Love

    Seriously.  Why is “at will employment” good enough for most people-who–get-a-paycheck but not for this person?

    The looked at other comparable cities and tried to do as well or maybe incrementally better.   In turn, those other cities will do the same thing.  Akin to “compensation committees” for corporate boards and C-level execs.

  • Anonymous

    Sure, but that’s just institutionalized graft and there’s no good reason we have to be a part of it just like we don’t engage in bribes or mafia payoffs even though they are part of standard business elsewhere in the world. This is the problem, endemic in the corporate world, with letting people write their own employment contracts.

  • Anonymous

     I don’t really give a damn about Santa Clara county, we used to have light rail (under the less sexy name “streetcars”) and, from the people I’ve talked to who were alive back then, it was hugely popular and very usable.  Pretty much the complete complete opposite of the money pit that is AC Transit.  Have you seen this?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK9CekGF3Ho
    It’s even got the 1906 equivalent of an iphone mugging around the 2′ mark.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I understand your point, but at the same time, you’d have to acknowledge that Berkeley is doing a lot more than ‘incrementally better’ by its employees — the “employer pays all” pensions are well above the prevailing norm.

  • Guest

    What about  “Malt Liquor with the Commander”

  • The Sharkey

    Have you seen the longer film about the Key System from 1946?
    The shots where the trains cross the Bay Bridge are particularly interesting.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhNDZV1uDUg

  • The Sharkey

    It’s interesting how the rationale used to defend the bloated “compensation” packages for public employees is identical to the rationale used to defend “compensation” for CEOs and corporate fat-cats and Wall Street bigwigs.

    Hey, all the other top CEO’s get golden parachutes and make 3,500 times the annual salary of regular employees so we need to offer that too!

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/money/top-ceos-3-489-times-average-person-article-1.1085050

  • The Sharkey

    A simple light rail system linking the major neighborhoods/shopping districts and the campus would be awesome.
    Probably not feasible due to what a hideous mess Berkeley’s street system is, but I’d vote to pay additional parcel taxes for that.

  • bgal4

     Not to mention the no layoff policy.

  • Bruce Love

    This is weird.  I wrote:

    They looked at other comparable cities and tried to do as well or maybe incrementally better.   In turn, those other cities will do the same thing. Akin to “compensation committees” for corporate boards and C-level execs.

    and people seem to interpret this as some kind of defense of the high level of compensation.   It’s quite the opposite.   I thought the criticism of “compensation committees” as plausibly deniable mutual back-scratching was well known.

  • Bruce Love

     

    Sure, but that’s just institutionalized graft and there’s no good reason we have to be a part of it just like we don’t engage in bribes or mafia payoffs even though they are part of standard business elsewhere in the world. This is the problem, endemic in the corporate world, with letting people write their own employment contracts.

    That was pretty much my point.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I didn’t think you were endorsing the practice.

    I understood you to be explaining the practice in the language used by its practitioners.  This was helpful and accurate, but as a critique it relied a little too much on implication.  No harm though — not every helpful explanation needs an accompanying critique!

  • Chris

    Did you ever eat a bug, while sitting under a rug?

    Did you ever fly a kite, while scratching dust mites?

    Puhlease. I gave my subjective opinion. Take it or leave it…

  • Anonymous

     Yeah, that’s so cool.  My old neighbor, who rode it to work every day, has some great pictures of the street cars on Solano and through the tunnel.  I suppose it’s reassuring in a way that our city governments were corrupt and inept back then too.

  • Heather_W_62

    I love this film. Thanks for posting it, I needed a laugh…

  • Anonymous

    I misunderstood your new understated writing style, my apologies.

  • Anonymous

    And dice. Speaking of which, are the young urban youth not playing dice anymore? It’s been months since I’ve had to extract my kids from the park because of a dice game that was about to turn violent. My kids are pissed because I don’t use the “hey guys, let’s go get some ice cream!” ruse in order to quickly get them out of there.

  • bgal4

    You asked about the expense, so I answered. I’ll leave it….

  • batard

    Apparently not, and she does seem to be escaping any accountability in that regard.

  • Pingback: Neighborhood News Roundup (6/8/2012) | CalJulia Neighbors()