City

The Lowdown: Starbucks, redistricting, noise complaints… and global warming warning labels on gas pumps?

Neighbors turned out in droves before the zoning board to express their lack of support for a Starbucks at Ashby and Telegraph avenues in Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Neighbors turned out in droves before the zoning board to express their lack of support for a Starbucks at Ashby and Telegraph avenues in Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Tonight, March 11, at the Berkeley City Council: a neighborhood appeal of a proposed Starbucks on Telegraph Avenue, potential redistricting decisions, possible changes to how the city handles after-hours noise complaints and a special closed session at 5:30 p.m. on litigation related to utilities. Read on for details in this week’s Lowdown. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see how to participate and weigh in about meeting coverage, even if you can’t attend in person.

What’s on the regular agenda?

Starbucks appeal A Starbucks that’s been hoping to open on Telegraph Avenue at Ashby has been stalled by neighborhood groups who are worried about community impacts. (See Item 15 on the agenda for relevant documents.) Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday night, and has been advised to issue the business its use permit and dismiss the neighborhood appeal. Read more about the Starbucks issue on Berkeleyside.

Revisiting the redistricting ordinance: What it means Continued from the prior meeting, there are two items about redistricting on the agenda. Council could vote either to repeal its redistricting ordinance or put the item before the voters later this year. Councilmen Jesse Arreguín, Kriss Worthington and Max Anderson have put forward an alternative item that asks council to rescind the accepted ordinance, with subsequent approval of the United Student District Amendment map, or direction to council to review another round of maps in April. Read more about redistricting on Berkeleyside.

No more police response to noise complaints? Councilman Kriss Worthington’s office has put forward an item for consideration by the city manager that would have civilian employees respond to noise complaints rather than police officers. During the day, according to Worthington’s office, civilian staff already handle these calls. But, at night, the duty falls on police officers. Worthington wants to look at changing that.


Other items of interest

Council pay raise on the way? Council is expected to receive an information report related to the salaries of council members and the mayor, which could result in a pay raise. Base salaries for these positions have not been adjusted since 1998, according to the report. Current salaries are set at $2,662 per month for members of council and $4,217 for the mayor. See the report for a chart about how Berkeley compares to other Bay Area cities.

Better communication in effect about council agenda Late to a council meeting or just curious about what’s still to come? The city clerk posts hardcopy notices about the agenda both inside council chambers and in the hallway right outside. In the past, there have been times when the agenda changed unexpectedly, which left some members of the public confused about the schedule. The city says it’s gotten good feedback about the posted notices, which help the community stay informed. A report about the notices will be submitted to council Tuesday night.

Items set for consent On the consent calendar, council is set to receive information about plans to rebuild Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, and there are proposals coming forward related to the expansion of permit parking into West Berkeley and other “impacted areas”; the prohibition of tobacco sales at stores with pharmacies; and new “global warming warning labels” on gas pumps. The last three are referral items that would need further study and discussion before any action could be taken.

Meeting details

Follow live tweets of the Berkeley Council meeting by clicking the image above. Join in by tagging your tweets #berkmtg.
Follow live tweets of the Berkeley Council meeting by clicking the image above. Join in by tagging your tweets #berkmtg.

The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday nights at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Special sessions generally take place at 5:30 p.m. and regular meetings begin at 7 p.m. Council agendas are available online here. Watch the meetings online here.

Berkeleyside often covers council meetings live on Twitter. Others sometimes do the same and the discussion can get spirited. Follow council coverage on Twitter via hashtag #berkmtg. Follow along in real-time here, and tag your tweets with #berkmtg to join in. You do not need a Twitter account to follow along. Just click here.


Council-related Twitter handles:
@MayorTomBates; @LindaMaio (District 1); Darryl Moore @BerkCouncil (District 2); @JesseArreguin (District 4); Laurie Capitelli @berkcap (District 5); Kriss Worthington @k__worthington (District 7); Gordon Wozniak @Gordon_Wozniak (District 8)

Learn more about the Berkeley City Council and how to connect with local representatives via the city website.

Is there something else on the agenda that’s caught your interest? Please let us know in the comments below.

Related:
The Lowdown: Berkeley council on redistricting, garbage fee hike, city budget, pensions, more (02.25.14)
The Lowdown: Berkeley council on parks funding, 2014 elections, youth on drugs, rodent infestation (02.10.14)
The Lowdown: Berkeley council on historic overlay, mini-dorms, violence prevention, 2020 Vision (01.28.14)

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