Tag Archives: ASUC

Op-ed: Council must adequately regulate short term rentals to protect Berkeley’s housing supply

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Tonight the Berkeley City Council will vote on legalizing and regulating short-term rentals, defined as rentals which last for less than fourteen days.  Currently, such rentals are illegal in Berkeley, though that hasn’t stopped multi-billion dollar companies such as Airbnb from ignoring the law.  With Airbnb’s assistance, certain landlords around the state have been able to remove entire apartment buildings from the long-term rental market by converting them into illegal hotels.  In Berkeley alone, 400 rent-controlled units are being used only as short-term rentals.  As a result, tenants who otherwise would have been able to live long-term in these units have been displaced, worsening Berkeley’s housing emergency.

After years of work and input from stakeholders such as the Berkeley Tenants Union, the ASUC, the Housing Advisory Commission, and the Planning Commission, on May 31 the City Council passed a first reading of an ordinance to both legalize short-term rentals for good actors who occasionally rent out a spare bedroom for the additional income, and regulate them so that certain bad actor-landlords who would permanently convert apartments into illegal hotel rooms cannot do so.  The ordinance contained numerous important protections for our housing supply, such as prohibiting accessory dwelling units from being used as short-term rentals (as promised by the City Council) and requiring postings to list the business license number to make enforcement feasible (similar to contractors and various other professions). … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley students transform themselves into packaged meat for anti-meat consumption protest

Anti meat eating protest on Thursday Dec. 3. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Activists with the UC Berkeley student group Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy (BOAA) staged a protest on the Cal campus Thursday to protest the consumption of meat. Spokeswoman Kitty Jones said two more similarly dramatic protests are planned in the next few days at locations in the city of Berkeley.

At around 10 a.m. Thursday two students, a man and a woman, stripped to their underwear and lay down on large white trays. Bright red fake blood was poured over them before they were covered in clear plastic to simulate trays of cellophane-wrapped meat.

“We want to raise awareness of animal liberation issues,” said Jones, co-president of the BOAA, an organization sponsored by UC Berkeley’s ASUC student governance body. Jones said they were protesting the consumption of animals that were not born to be eaten, in particular cows, pigs and chickens — as well as humans. … Continue reading »

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Government

Redistricting plans focus on student-majority district

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A student-majority district in Berkeley moved a step closer with the release of redistricting plans on Thursday. Six individuals and community groups submitted redistricting plans, with most of them concentrating on creating a student-majority district 7, which currently is represented by Kriss Worthington.

Berkeley’s redistricting is spurred by the 2010 census, which showed a population increase of nearly 10,000 to 112,580. Population changes and demographic shifts had made the existing council districts highly unequal in population, from D5 (Laurie Capitelli’s district) with 12,709 to D7 with 16,623. The other vital wrinkle in the current redistricting was the passage of Measure R last November, which removes the severe geographic constraints mandated in Berkeley since 1986.  … Continue reading »

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Cal students file redistricting proposal with the city

Left to right: Joey Freeman, Julia Joung, Nancy Skinner. Photo: Lance Knobel
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The campaign to create at least one student-majority district in Berkeley reached a milestone today when a group of student leaders submitted their detailed redistricting proposal to the city clerk.

“We need the city to know that the student community is a legitimate community of interest,” said Joey Freeman, external affairs vice president for the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), the student government. “Student issues are community issues.”

“We haven’t had adequate representation of students in Berkeley for over 25 years,” said Vishalli Loomba, President of ASUC.

Freeman acknowledged that today’s proposal is non-compliant with the city charter. The 1986 measure that created Berkeley’s districts — and the amended city charter that resulted — has three requirements: no boundary changes can unseat an existing councilmember, the boundaries need to adhere as closely as possible to the 1986 boundaries, and the districts should be equal in population. Today’s proposal fails on the first two criteria.

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Cal leaders push to put student on Berkeley City Council

BUSD administrators will hold budget hearing on March 29 in city council chambers
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In the 15 years since Berkeley adopted City Council districts, no student has been elected to the post even though they make up a quarter of the population.

Now a coalition of UC Berkeley student leaders is aiming to change that.

The group hopes to put forward a plan that will reconfigure two City Council districts to make one with a super-majority of students. If that doesn’t work, the leaders may try and put a referendum before Berkeley voters to create a student-dominated district.

“Is this fair to the community?” said Joey Freeman, who as vice-president of external affairs for the Associated Students of the University of California is leading the redistricting effort. “You can make a very good argument there should be someone on the council representing the student interests.” … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

Israel-Palestinian question divides Berkeley students

Pro-divestment poster, courtesy of US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
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The controversy over relations between Israel and Palestine has been wreaking havoc in the halls of UC Berkeley in recent weeks.

On March 18, after an emotional four-hour session with 80 speakers, the Associated Students of the University of California, the ruling body of Cal, voted 16-4 to divest from stocks that do business in Israel.

The Senate’s resolution criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its continued building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It called for … Continue reading »

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