The Lowdown: Berkeley council on minimum wage increase, mini-dorms, ballot measures, more

Berkeley City Council, Oct. 16, 2012. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Berkeley City Council, Oct. 16, 2012. Photo: Emilie Raguso

On April 1, the Berkeley City Council will take a new look at raising the minimum wage, rules governing mini-dorms, and changes to AC Transit’s Line 51 bus route. There’s also a special session at 5:30 p.m. to discuss survey results related to ballot measures under consideration for the November 2014 election.

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.

Special session: Ballot measures for the November 2014 election

Coming up at 5:30 p.m., council will hear about results from a survey undertaken in March to test support for possible ballot measures for November’s election. Berkeleyside wrote about those findings several weeks ago. See the city’s report here. In a nutshell, Berkeleyans seem eager to enact a new tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, but less likely to support other potential ballot measures being considered by council. Council will discuss the ballot measure issue during a special session, but also in its regular meetingRead more on Berkeleyside.

What’s on the action agenda?

The city has, in the past, identified 2133 Parker street as a mini-dorm property south of the Cal campus. Image: Google Maps
The city has, in the past, identified 2133 Parker street as a mini-dorm property south of the Cal campus. Image: Google Maps

Under consideration since last June, the Berkeley City Council may decide Tuesday night whether to increase the city’s minimum wage. Staff has recommended that council members “establish the minimum wage in line with the living wage, starting at $10.74”; tie the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index; and include a medical benefits requirement. (See Item 24 for more detail.)


The city has previously considered how to regulate “mini-dorms” in Berkeley. Tuesday night, council may pass, on first reading, an ordinance designed to do just that. The issue has been a particular problem south of the Cal campus, where some residents say the proliferation of these housing accommodations has caused a range of problems.

AC Transit has been working to win community support related to adjustments along its Line 51 route in Berkeley to speed up service and make it more reliable. Berkeleyside has been covering the issue since August. Tuesday night, council is set to give AC Transit the green light to move forward.

Other items of interest

The city of Berkeley plans to replace its existing streetlights with a more sustainable technology in 2014. Photo: Jeremy Brooks
The city of Berkeley plans to replace its existing streetlights with a more sustainable technology in 2014. Photo: Jeremy Brooks

Two notable items from the city auditor are coming up Tuesday: a report on recommended changes the city should make on how employees handle cash to cut down on opportunities for theft; and an in-depth look at budgeting in the city.

Two council members are asking the city to push ahead on its plans to create a social media policy to allow for better communication with the public. The city has been in the process of coming up with a strategy for several years. Council members Jesse Arreguín and Gordon Wozniak cite Berkeleyside’s recent report in their agenda item, a referral to the city manager.

The city is planning to convert its existing street lamps to fit LED bulbs. The city sought a loan last October to help secure financing for the project. Tuesday night, the city is set to award the contract for the work to make the upgrades.


Council is set to receive a report on the maintenance needs for the departments of Parks Recreation & Waterfront and Public Works. The city has estimated at least $149 million would be needed to cover the current list of needed repairs, capital renovations and seismic retrofits. Read past Berkeleyside coverage about the city budget.

The city has posted a “revised agenda” online as a PDF, which can be downloaded here. Three second readings from March 25 were added, but none of the original items have been changed.

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:
Berkeley council on crime report, Aquatic Park plans, appeal of new Comal project, more (03.25.14)
Berkeley council on Starbucks, redistricting, global warming warning labels, more (03.11.14)
Berkeley council on redistricting, garbage fees, city budget, pensions, false alarms, more (02.25.14)
Berkeley council on parks funding, 2014 elections, youth on drugs, rodent infestation (02.10.14)
Berkeley council on historic overlay, mini-dorms, violence prevention, 2020 Vision (01.28.14)

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