Tag Archives: Berkeley affordable housing

12 Berkeley measures will determine city’s infrastructure, education budget, campaign financing and more

Berkeley students carry Yes on E1 signs during the Solano Stroll. Photo: Yes on E1 campaign
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As a presidential campaign colored by controversy inches ever closer, local races and campaigns struggle to be heard amid the cacophony. But Berkeley’s ballot is packed with measures that will determine the near-future of the city’s infrastructure, affordable housing stock, education budget, and campaign finance system.

We’ve rounded up the 12 measures that will be on your ballot Nov. 8, taking a look at what they would change and who is gunning for them to pass.

Click the links to jump to the section of interest.

Measure T1: Infrastructure bond

What it would do: Measure T1 would authorize the city to issue up to $100 million of general obligation bonds to fix and rebuild Berkeley infrastructure over a 40-year period. Initially, property owners would be taxed at a rate of $6.35 per $100,000 of assessed value. That amount would increase as new bonds were issued, up to a high of $31.26 per $100,000. The maximum interest rate that could be paid on the bonds would be 6 percent.

See complete 2016 election coverage on Berkeleyside.

The proceeds from Measure T1 would go toward the repair or renovation of sidewalks, streets, storm drains, parks, city senior and recreation centers, and other facilities. One percent of the proceeds will be used for public art incorporated in the infrastructure. The measure also requires a public input process. … Continue reading »

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Real-estate interests spend big to defeat rental tax spike

Newer Berkeley by William Newton. Photo taken April 20, 2016
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Real-estate groups have spent more than $786,000 in the last few months to defeat a measure that would almost double the business tax landlords pay in Berkeley (Measure U1) and to support an alternative measure with a lower tax (Measure DD). The funds were spent on campaign literature, signature collection, campaign consultants and for professional services from lawyers and others.

The ‘Committee for Real Affordable Housing – Yes on Measure DD, No on Measure U1, Sponsored by Berkeley Property Owners Association,’ raised $417,038 in 2016 and has spent $496,000 so far in this election cycle, according to campaign finance records. A second group, the ‘Rental Housing Coalition, Yes on 10, Sponsored by Berkeley Property Owners Association,’ was formed to fight the city-sponsored business tax measure, U1. That group has spent $290,274 so far to defeat U1, according to campaign records.

Check out Berkeleyside’s Election Hub for a one-stop guide to the Berkeley elections.

In contrast, the group formed to promote Measure U1 and fight Measure DD, the ‘Committee for Safe and Affordable Housing,’ has raised $43,102, according to campaign records.

The huge amount of money contributed by at least 55 different groups – the bulk of them limited-liability corporations with addresses as their names – shows the high stakes at play in the Nov. 8 election. … Continue reading »

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Protesters criticize Berkeley homeless services center

A group of protesters is criticizing the way the city of Berkeley is handling assistance for people experiencing homelessness. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Occupants of a protest camp outside the city of Berkeley’s homeless services intake center in South Berkeley this week criticized the way the city is allocating aid to people on the streets.

Campers have reportedly moved on, as of Friday morning, but the issues they raised remain.

The occupation, organized by a city commissioner as well as the grassroots First They Came for the Homeless group — which had a protest camp outside the downtown Berkeley post office for more than 17 months — set up Monday and planned to stay at least through the weekend to make its point.

According to a Facebook post by one of the organizers, however, there was a city raid Friday morning and the camp is now gone.

A dozen or so protesters set up tents on the sidewalk outside the city’s Coordinated Entry System, run by the Berkeley Food & Housing Project, at 1901 Fairview St. Also known as “The Hub,” the center is just east of Adeline Street and a few blocks from the Ashby BART station.

Protesters have said the center is disorganized, that it’s too difficult to get help and that people are being sent out of the area for housing. They have also said the city should be spending its money differently, and would prefer a place to set up tents or tiny houses rather than the approach the city is currently taking.

“That’s where people are supposed to help people out here and they’re not doing it,” said Daniel McMullan III, a longtime community advocate who has fought for disabled people and others who find themselves on the streets. “You try to go through channels all the way but, if that doesn’t work, the only thing that works after that is publicly embarrassing the agency.” … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Affordable housing or Honda parking?

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Berkeley has two proposals for development at a location in a Priority Development Area (PDA), which the city has designated for new housing near transit.

One proposal would create affordable housing, would modify the street to make it more attractive to pedestrians, and would add a protected bike lane. The other proposal would create a lot for parking and for Berkeley Honda vehicle display. It would make it impossible to make the street more pedestrian friendly or to add a … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Policy, not rhetoric needed to fight climate change

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I was frankly perplexed by Ben Gould’s recent op-ed attacking two forward-thinking environmental policies I have brought before the Berkeley City Council. One would expect that the Chair of the city’s Environmental Commission would embrace meaningful steps to combat climate change.

Mr. Gould’s premise is that green building policies, many of which will be mandated in 2020 – less than four years from now — by the State of California’s Zero Net Energy program, are actually cynical attempts to stop … Continue reading »

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Housing views show split in South, West Berkeley races

Berkeley City Council Districts 2 & 3 forum, League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville, Berkeley Community Media, Sept. 12, 2016. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley City Council candidates for South and West Berkeley took the stage Monday night to share their views on housing, diversity, homelessness, the economy and public safety, among other topics.

The forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville, was the first to bring together the candidates for District 2 (West Berkeley) and District 3 (South Berkeley) to help get their views out to voters in a group setting.

Video of the full event appears at the bottom of this story.

Three people are vying for District 2: Cheryl Davila, Nanci Armstrong-Temple and incumbent Darryl Moore.

Beside them on the podium were the four District 3 candidates: Mark CoplanAl G. MurrayDeborah Matthews and Ben Bartlett. That race will have an open seat, with Councilman Max Anderson on the road to retirement. Anderson has held the seat for 12 years. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Councilman Arreguín can’t greenwash his anti-housing policies

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Councilman Jesse Arreguín has put forward two items on Tuesday’s City Council agenda which impose infeasible requirements for new housing construction while making one-acre farms the easiest thing to build in Berkeley. While they’re presented as necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, looking through the nearly 50 pages of recommendations, it’s pretty clear that these proposals aren’t really about reducing emissions. They’re a laundry list of ideas that look and sound green, but have little actual benefit for the environment. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Proposed Berkeley development on Adeline highlights key community issues

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Who Berkeley residents vote onto the Berkeley City Council this November could dramatically alter how the city looks in the future. The Berkeley City Council currently stands divided, with pro-development council members claiming the majority of votes, but that could all change once ballots are cast this fall. While some on the council favor more aggressive development as a way to abate the housing affordability crisis, others take issue with the rampant building that tends to favor affluent residents while displacing those without large … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Jesse Arreguín is right to oppose Jerry Brown’s anti-democratic give-away to the real-estate industry

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Jesse Arreguín is right to oppose Jerry Brown’s anti-democratic give-away to the real-estate industry.

In his July 19 op-ed published on Berkeleyside, Garret Christensen slammed Berkeley City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguín for opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s Trailer Bill 707. Christensen called the legislation “an important state affordable housing bill” that “Berkeley and its councilmembers, especially those with aspirations of becoming mayor should welcome…with open arms.” “[I]t is truly baffling to me,” he declared, “why anyone who calls … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley should endorse, not oppose, Governor Brown’s housing proposal

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Twice now, Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin has introduced legislation asking Berkeley to issue a resolution opposing an important state affordable housing bill proposed by Governor Brown. City resolutions on state matters are of course non-binding, but if Berkeley and its councilmembers, especially those with aspirations of becoming mayor, are interested in solving the housing crisis, then they should welcome Governor Brown’s proposal with open arms.

The governor’s proposal, referred to as budget trailer bill 707, would allow … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: We need real equity and access to a livable Berkeley

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This letter, by REAL Berkeley, was sent to the Berkeley City Council ahead of its July 12 meeting. REAL Berkeley is a group of Berkeley citizens who are interested in helping to develop a comprehensive housing plan for the city that provides affordable housing for low-income, moderate and workforce housing (see list of members below).

REAL Berkeley first addressed the City Council in February, expressing our support for a comprehensive housing plan that addressed all income levels, including middle income working people, … Continue reading »

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Berkeley seeks to house those most in need at The Hub

Call takers at The Hub field inquiries about shelter beds, housing and other issues as part of a process to determine who is most in need. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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It used to be that those who were homeless in Berkeley had to navigate a complex tangle of services to try to find help. In January, the city launched what it hopes will be a coordinated, collaborative system designed to provide permanent housing to those who need it most and collect data to create a better overall picture of who is seeking aid in the city.

One doorway. One phone number. Whichever path you take, the vision is that your request will help you get the help you need, especially if your needs are significant and your barriers to helping yourself are high. That’s not to say everyone will get shelter. Many won’t. But, for those who don’t, the pathway to access other assistance offered in Berkeley could look a lot less confusing.

See full coverage on Berkeleyside of the Berkeley Homeless Project.

Welcome to The Hub. The official name is the Coordinated Entry System. It’s also been called the Housing Crisis Resolution Center, or the HCRC.

Whatever you call it, don’t call it a “new program,” said Sharon Hawkins Leyden, director of client services at The Hub. Think of it, she said, as massive system change.

“I’ve never seen such cooperation in my 30 years. It’s like the ship is really turning,” she said. “It feels like it has the potential to really help people in a really different way.” … Continue reading »

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Plans for Berkeley’s Adeline Corridor begin to take shape

City planners have drawn up possible changes to problematic intersections in South Berkeley, including the Ashby and Adeline intersection.  Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Realigned intersections, relocated roadways, new bicycle lanes, and affordable housing on public lots are among preliminary ideas city planners have floated for the Adeline Corridor planning project.

At a meeting Saturday, May 21, at the South Berkeley Senior Center, planning staff and consultants from MIG, the firm working on the project, revealed initial ideas they have developed based on public input collected over the past year. A $750,000 award from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission funds the process, which is slated to culminate in winter or spring 2017 with a long-term plan for the corridor.

The project area covers about 100 acres stretching south from Dwight Way to the Oakland border.

Read more about the Adeline Corridor planning on Berkeleyside.

Saturday’s meeting, which followed an extensive community feedback process, focused on potential uses of publicly owned land and transportation routes. These initial ideas are not necessarily feasible, said Mukul Malhotra, principal at MIG.

“What we’re doing is thinking of our bigger dreams,” he said. “At the end of the day we have to create an implementable plan.” … Continue reading »

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