The lowdown: Berkeley council on crime report, liquor store surveillance cameras, donations for the homeless

Council listened to hours of testimony about the Berkeley protests Tuesday night. Photo: Emilie Raguso
The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday nights. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Berkeley City Council is set to kick off Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with the annual crime report. The regular meeting at 7 p.m. has a short agenda that’s chock-full of consent calendar items including a new ordinance to regulate surveillance systems at liquor stores; a proposed study to analyze pedestrian and cyclist safety issues near the North Berkeley BART station; potential new traffic controls on University Avenue; and more.

There is nothing currently listed on the action calendar.

On the consent calendar

All the action Tuesday night is on the consent calendar so, unless items get pulled, there’s not likely to be lengthy discussion on any of them. If more than three speakers address a particular topic, however, it becomes an action item to be heard after the consent calendar.

CRIME REPORT Before the regular meeting, at 5:30 p.m., Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan and his captains are slated to present the city’s annual crime report for 2014. A Berkeleyside story on the report is forthcoming. In the meantime, see our past coverage of local crime trends. Police officials generally present a more detailed overview of crime trends at the council session, but some of the highlights are already online.


SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS Council is set to consider a new law that would require liquor stores in certain areas of Berkeley to install or upgrade their surveillance systems within six months. That law was prompted in part by two homicides in 2013 — Dustin Bynum and  — that took place near Bing’s Liquors on San Pablo Avenue and Delaware Street. In the staff report, police identified “areas of concern” as downtown, University Avenue, Telegraph Avenue, San Pablo Avenue, north Shattuck Avenue, and Shattuck and Adeline.

A heat map of arrests in commercial areas in Berkeley in 2013. Red circles indicate 148-272 arrests; orange circles show  69-147 arrests. The smaller the circle the fewer the arrests. Image: Berkeley Police Department
A heat map of arrests in commercial areas in Berkeley in 2013. Red circles indicate 148-272 arrests; orange circles show 69-147 arrests. The smaller the circle the fewer the arrests. See the report. Image: Berkeley Police Department

TRAFFIC SAFETY: NORTH BERKELEY BART There are two traffic safety items on the consent calendar. Councilwoman Linda Maio has put forward an item aimed to improve traffic safety on Sacramento Street near the North Berkeley BART station. Her recommendation is to “Conduct a study of current conditions, including communication with BART representatives, and new traffic control infrastructure on Sacramento Street at the North Berkeley BART Station, with emphasis on cost sharing of appropriate mechanism to enable pedestrians to safely cross Sacramento north of Delaware Street.” Read more.

TRAFFIC SAFETY: UNIVERSITY AVENUE Maio and Councilman Jesse Arreguín together are also pushing for traffic safety improvements on University Avenue. They have asked for approval to “Refer to the FY 2015/2016 budget process an allocation of $50,000 for appropriate traffic controls, such as a pedestrian crossing light, on University Avenue from Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to California Street.” Their efforts are, in part, prompted by the death in January of a cyclist who was fatally injured during a hit-and-run crash on University at McGee Avenue. Read more.

Click to learn more. Image: Downtown Berkeley Association
Click to learn more. Image: Downtown Berkeley Association

NEW DONATION BOXES FOR THE HOMELESS Maio and Arreguín have also teamed up to promote the “Positive Change” pilot program to install up to 10 donation boxes downtown — a collaboration between the Berkeley Food & Housing Project and the Downtown Berkeley Association — to collect money to pay for services for homeless people in the neighborhood. The money could help fund rental help, job counseling, transportation assistance and reunification with loved ones. The first five boxes are proposed in various locations along Shattuck Avenue. According to their report, the approach has worked well in other cities. Read more.

PAY RAISES FOR COUNCIL STAFFERS Council is set to approve salary increases for council assistants. The increase is reportedly necessary to bring pay up to a more equitable standard with similar positions in the region. The agenda item, from Mayor Tom Bates, Councilman Darryl Moore, Councilman Laurie Capitelli and Councilwoman Lori Droste, would give each council member $10,000 extra per year for the salaries of their assistants. To help compensate for the adjustment, however, the “discretionary non-personnel budget” for each district will be reduced by $4,000. According to the report, the basis for the change dates back to 2006, when the city manager’s office presented the results of a study that “determined that Berkeley City Council legislative assistants were not being adequately compensated in comparison with their peers in other Bay Area cities.” Read more.


SUSTAINABLE BUILDING ORDINANCE Council is set to adopt its new law related to building sustainability. After pushback from the community, council made it clear that small properties — with fewer than five units — would initially be largely exempt from the new regulations. Berkeleyside has covered the law previously.

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

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)
Lori Droste @loridroste (District 8)

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

Related:
The lowdown: Berkeley council on protests, drones, more (02.24.15)
The lowdown: Council on protests, police body cameras, gender-neutral restrooms, more (02.10.15)
The lowdown: Council on energy ordinance, protests, police cameras, goBerkeley, more (01.27.15)
The lowdown: Council on Berkeley protests and police relations, zoning board appeals (01.13.15)
‘Double header’ Berkeley council meetings set for Tuesday, 2 protests also planned (12.15.14)

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