Bond measures take steps toward ballot

City Council members listen during a five-hour meeting with several contentious issues on Tuesday night. Kriss Worthington taped the anti-sitting ban posters to the podium before the meeting began. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

The Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday to place a $30 million streets and watershed bond on the November ballot, but will hold off on the final language and shape of the measure until next week.

The council also adopted a final EIR for the West Berkeley Project and indicated its support for placing a measure on the ballot, but also deferred a final decision until next week so city staff can figure out wording.

But the lengthy discussion about ballot measures at the meeting (which also included talk about a sitting ban) brought out concerns that the high number of controversial items in November will doom the $30 million bond measure for streets and watershed improvements and the $20 million measure for pools.

Councilmember Kriss Worthington said there are large numbers of people in the city who will vote “no” on the West Berkeley Project and the sitting ban and may be so angry at the city for those measures that they automatically vote no on any new spending initiatives. The sitting ban and West Berkeley Project will only need 50% of the vote to pass, while the bond measures will need 67% of the vote.

The council also voted 6-3 to place a sitting ban on the ballot. Berkeleyside will have a full report on that later today.

City Council approves pools measure, debates streets
Third phase of West Berkeley Plan approved, heads to ballot [6.13.12]
Community rallies to get pool measure on ballot [4.30.12]

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  • anon

    suggestion for #3: charge the consumers for walking on the sidewalks?

  • Guest

    I stand corrected.  

  • Guest

    On Monday, this site ran an article about businesses that have lines of people on the sidewalk waiting to get in for pizza, ice cream, Thai food and the like.  The article at least implicitly praised the businesses for their success as evidenced by the people in the lines.  The article’s title is “The food lines of Berkeley: Nosh worth waiting for.”

    The reality is that people are lined up on the sidewalk to get into these establishments because the establishments lack the space to house their customers.  And, in the case of the Cheeseboard Pizza Collective, many patrons cross over to the median strip, sit under the ‘it’s against the law to sit here’ signs, and enjoy their pizza and (optional) beverage.

    Why are we OK with this but not the other thing?  Constitutionally, one would think that blocking the sidewalk is blocking the sidewalk is blocking the sidewalk.

    (I speak neither for  nor against this proposal, but why not make it constitutional?  Wanting people gone is a fine attitude, maybe, but you cannot just decree it.)

  • Bill N

    I second this comment – and what a choice it would be.  However, as tired as I am of the current mayor i don’t think Kriss could win a city wide election and I probably wouldn’t vote for Kriss anyway.

  • Anonymous

     Good job imitating a 20 year old woman “Bruce”.  The texting slang is a nice touch but the properly placed colon gives you away.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Fair enough, thanks for getting us back onto the high road.

  • sky

    Also: note the lines! People are not staying away from downtown: they are FLOCKING to the downtown! This is s a red herring.

  • The Sharkey

    How is it possible for a Berkeley resident to not know where any of those businesses are?

    Ici Ice Cream, is not in the downtown Telegraph/Shattuck business areas.
    Wat Mongkolratanaram (also known as the Thai Temple) is not in the downtown Telegraph/Shattuck business areas.
    The Cheese Board Collective is not in the downtown Telegraph/Shattuck business areas.

  • The Sharkey

    I think a crackdown on the median sitting could very well be an unintended consequence of this ordinance, though technically that area is not a sidewalk and the people who sit on it do not tend to harass people passing by. Still, as hallowed a Berkeley institution as it may be, it’s rather dangerous and I’m amazed that nobody has gotten run over trotting across the road to eat their pizza in a cloud of car exhaust.

    I think the difference lies in that standing in line is something people generally do for as short an amount of time as possible before moving along, whereas camping out on the sidewalk is something people generally do for long stretches.

  • sky

    La Note and Venus are in the downtown Shattuck area: long lines every week-end. $1 Ice cream, Phil’s Sliders, Bongo Burger and Top Dog do a thriving business in the downtown.
    Many, many shoppers and citizens frequent Crossroads, Comic Relief, Pegasus Books, Games of Berkeley, a beautiful library, Alko’s …. just off the top of my head. People aren’t avoiding the downtown. They are spending less than before because of the recession.

  • The Sharkey

    None of those businesses were listed in the article that Guest was referring to. None of those businesses have lines anywhere near as long or as frequently as the businesses listed in the article, which are all not-coincidentally in other parts of town.

    Despite being easily accessible by BART or located right next to the University, Berkeley’s downtown area is stagnating, with empty storefronts everywhere, while other areas are picking up steam.

    Despite your heartfelt belief to the contrary, people do indeed avoid Berkeley’s downtown area.