The Lowdown: Berkeley council on soda tax, medical cannabis, minimum wage task force, BART plaza

No city has yet been successful in passing a sugar-sweetened beverages tax. Will Berkeley be first? Photo: Mike Mozart
No city has yet been successful in passing a sugar-sweetened beverages tax. Will Berkeley be first? Photo: Mike Mozart

On July 1 — with one more meeting to go before its summer recess — the Berkeley City Council will hold a special session on park facility needs at 5:30 p.m., followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m. to hammer out the details on a proposed task force to study the minimum wage, decide how to choose which lucky operator will get to run the city’s fourth medical cannabis dispensary, agree on how a proposed sugar-sweetened beverage tax will be presented to voters in November, and get an update about plans to update the BART plaza.

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 the meeting, even if you can’t attend in person.

Action items

As discussed previously, council is looking at creating a task force to study the minimum wage in Berkeley, which it established officially last week. See the staff report, along with past Berkeleyside coverage.

Council will do its first reading of an ordinance to establish criteria to select a fourth medical cannabis dispensary in Berkeley. The measure will also refine definitions for cannabis collectives and dispensaries, patients and caregivers. It will set new rules for hours and the scope of operations of collectives, for testing cannabis and edibles, and will require dispensaries to give away 2% of the amount of cannabis they sell each year free to low-income patients, and more. See Item 22 for related materials, and read related coverage on Berkeleyside.


Council plans to put a tax on distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages onto the ballot for voters. Tuesday night, the plan is firm up plans to place that measure on the ballot and determine who will write the ballot language. Prior to the meeting, at 5:30 p.m., supporters of Berkeley vs. Big Soda plan to rally on the steps of the building where council meets, at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, to express support for the tax. Read the background on Berkeleyside, and see Item 23 on the agenda for related materials for Tuesday night’s meeting.

For more than a year, we’ve been keeping readers in the loop about plans to overhaul the downtown Berkeley BART plaza. Tuesday night, council will get an update on that proposal. If you’ve missed Berkeleyside’s coverage, catch up here, and see Item 25 on the agenda for the latest.

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.


Has something else on the agenda caught your interest? Let us know in the comments.

Related:
Berkeley council on ballot measures, downtown post office, FY2015 budget (06.24.14)
Berkeley council on medical marijuana, drugstores, policing, Telegraph Avenue (06.17.14)
Berkeley council on Telegraph Avenue, minimum wage, budget, elections (06.10.14)
Berkeley council on cannabis, drugstore limits, elections, climate hurdles, more (06.03.14)
Berkeley council on budget, elections, minimum wage, new emergency response boat (05.20.14)
Berkeley council on minimum wage, Tasers, ballot measures, budget, pedestrian safety (05.06.14)
Berkeley council on redistricting, drones, affordable housing, mini-dorms, more (04.29.14)
Berkeley council on minimum wage increase, mini-dorms, ballot measures, more (04.01.14)

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