Tag Archives: Berkeley City Council

Councilmen: Time is now to discuss Tasers in Berkeley

Councilman Laurie Capitelli. March 5, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Three Berkeley City Council members are bringing the issue of Taser use by local police to the forefront with a proposed council agenda item currently set for consideration in early May.

Councilman Laurie Capitelli has drafted an item to request a report from the city manager about the possible use of Tasers by police in Berkeley, along with consideration of the idea by the city’s Police Review Commission.

Capitelli said it was last week’s violent attack on a Berkeley Police officer at Aquatic Park that brought about the current proposal. A man has been charged with attempted murder in that case. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

City of Berkeley heads to court over redistricting lines

The city has filed a lawsuit to ask a judge to decide which lines to use during November's election. (Click to learn more.)
Print Friendly

The city of Berkeley has filed a lawsuit against the Alameda County registrar of voters and the Berkeley city clerk to determine which district lines to use in the November 2014 election.

City officials say the lawsuit is necessary to determine district lines after a successful referendum drive by some Berkeley voters earlier this year halted the use of a new district map adopted by a 6-3 vote by the Berkeley City Council in December.

The city is required to redraw district lines every decade to rebalance the population across Berkeley’s eight council districts.

Three members of the council — Kriss Worthington (District 7), Jesse Arreguín (District 4) and Max Anderson (District 3) — have taken issue with the adopted map, primarily due to the boundaries of District 7. The district, as adopted, features a majority of student-aged voters, but detractors say it cuts out some of the most progressive members of the Cal community by failing to incorporate several blocks north and east of campus, which include co-op housing and other group living accommodations such as dorms and International House. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley officials: Social media ‘critical’ for transparency

Councilmen Gordon Wozniak and Jesse Arreguín are pushing for more transparency from Berkeley's city manager. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Two members of the Berkeley City Council are pushing the city manager to come up with a concrete plan about how city staff will use social media, via a consent calendar item on Tuesday night’s council agenda.

City staff said in February that a social media policy is in the works. Berkeleyside took a look at the issue that month to follow up on promises from the city in 2011 that the social media policy was in development.

Councilmen Jesse Arreguín and Gordon Wozniak cited Berkeleyside’s article in their April 1 agenda item, in which they direct city manager Christine Daniel to make a report to council on staff efforts to create the policy, and come up with a plan for the use of social media by city departments.

Arreguín and Wozniak said it is “critical” for the city to “move ahead in adopting a social media policy and implementing the use of social media by the Berkeley Police Department, Public Works and other city departments,” particularly because the city is a university town with a large number of residents who use social media “as a primary means of communication.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Government

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

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

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. … Continue reading »

Tagged ,

Berkeley asks public for help to create new police beats

The Berkeley Police Department has used the same beat map since 1993, and the city is looking into how to adjust it. (Click to view larger.) Image: Berkeley Police
Print Friendly

The Berkeley Police Department is asking the public for input as it analyzes its current staffing resources and reconsiders how it deploys officers around the city.

This week, the city posted a survey online to collect feedback about what kind of services community members want, and what their priorities are.

The main question is not whether the city should hire more officers. But, rather, the city wants to know: Would community members prefer a larger beat that’s always staffed, or a smaller beat that sometimes has no assigned officer? That approach is, perhaps, understandable given the city’s current budget situation, and the fact that even a new officer hired on to the department makes over $100,000 a year once all is said and done. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Comal owners get OK for new Berkeley restaurant

A “very preliminary” rendering of the restaurant that has been approved for 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College) by the owners of  Comal. Image: Abueg Morris Architects
Print Friendly

Fans of Comal in downtown Berkeley can look forward to a new restaurant from its owners, John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman, after the Berkeley City Council last night denied an appeal filed by a neighborhood group that argued the new business would create increased parking headaches in the area.

Those who opposed a restaurant moving into the old Wright’s Garage space at 2635 Ashby Ave. were outnumbered by dozens of supporters. Council had received more than 100 letters from residents, many of whom live within walking distance of the Elmwood shopping district. In emails, and also in public testimony, they spelled out how much they would appreciate having an upscale restaurant and bar with late opening hours in their neighborhood.

Denise Pinkston, for example, said she moved to the Elmwood with her family recently from North Berkeley because she wanted to live in “a vibrant, walkable mixed-use neighborhood.”

“I think a place open to midnight would be wonderful,” she said. “I’m 53 still stay up past 10 p.m., but feel like an octogenarian because there is nowhere to go in the evening with my husband and friends after the movies or theater.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Low Down: Berkeley council hears crime report, Aquatic Park plans, appeal of new Comal project, more

A “very preliminary” rendering of the restaurant that has been approved for 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College) by the owners of  Comal. Image: Abueg Morris Architects
Print Friendly

Tonight, March 25, at the Berkeley City Council: a neighborhood appeal of a proposed new restaurant in the Elmwood by Comal owners, and public hearings on two new projects planned for Aquatic Park. There’s also a thorough look from the city auditor at the big business of business permits, and items from council members that include a referral to investigate whether Berkeley Police officers should wear video cameras and a resolution to oppose plans to transport crude oil through Berkeley. Don’t forget about the special session at 5:30 p.m. on the annual crime report from the Berkeley Police Department.

Read on for details in this week’s Low Down. 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.Continue reading »

Tagged ,

AC Transit rolls back Line 51 changes after pushback

AC Transit hopes to speed up and improve service on Line 51. Photo: Paul Sullivan/Flickr
Print Friendly

Citing budgetary and scheduling constraints, along with a desire to listen to community concerns, AC Transit has removed most of the “controversial” items from its proposal to improve service on the Line 51 bus route in Berkeley.

“I think it’s safe to say it contains a lot less potentially controversial items than previously,” AC Transit representative Robert del Rosario told Berkeley’s Transportation Commission on Thursday night.

The panel voted to recommend the current list of modifications to the Berkeley City Council, which is expected to consider the item in April. Four members of the commission were absent, with commissioners Eric McCaughrin, Darby Watson, Terry Roberts, Ghanya Thomas and Mark Humbert voting unanimously to recommend that council approve the plan. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Council to consider higher rates, evening hours for some Berkeley parking meters

Nearly full conditions on many commercial blocks in Berkeley during the evening hours may lead to metered parking until 8 p.m. (Click the map for the full presentation.) Image: City of Berkeley
Print Friendly

New metered parking rates and time limits, in effect in Berkeley since last fall in three of the city’s busiest commercial areas, have made it easier for many visitors to find daytime parking, according to new data released by city staff this week. But more changes are needed to meet the city’s goal of freeing up 1-2 spaces per block.

Proposed changes include slightly higher hourly rates in some areas, and a new pilot program to extend metered hours until 8 p.m. The Berkeley City Council would have to sign off on any new changes at a meeting currently scheduled for late April. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Commission votes to restrict large drugstores in Berkeley

Print Friendly

Regulation to limit the number of large drugstores in Berkeley was approved by the city’s Planning Commission Wednesday night, sending the proposed zoning change to the City Council for a final decision.

If approved by the City Council, the law would prohibit a controversial new Walgreens from locating on 1830 Solano Avenue, currently the site of a 76 gas station. It would also make it difficult for new drugstores to locate in several of the city’s neighborhood shopping areas. The vote was five in favor, one opposed, and two abstentions.

It could take a couple of months for the item to be ready for the council’s agenda, said city planner Alex Amoroso, planning commission secretary. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

Official pushes for independent redistricting panel

Councilman Jesse Arreguin. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Berkeley Councilman Jesse Arreguín has launched a ballot initiative to change the city’s approach to redistricting, arguing that “partisan self interest” and a “broken” process have crippled recent efforts, as well as those during the last redistricting attempt more than a decade ago.

Arreguín wants the city to create an independent citizen redistricting commission “that will be insulated from political influence, represent the diversity of the community, and develop lines based on objective criteria that are also not bound by incumbency.”

Among the changes he would like to see is the removal of a current requirement that sitting council members must be included within any proposed district lines that are submitted.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley sets speed limit at 15 mph around 13 schools

Many drivers near Cragmont Elementary were found to be among the fastest motorists around local schools during a city speed survey. Photo: ELS
Print Friendly

Drivers will be asked to slow down near 13 Berkeley schools after the adoption by the City Council of a 15 mph speed zone around them, despite a police officer’s analysis of injury collisions near schools that showed speed was not a factor in those accidents, and another officer’s assertion that enforcement would be “difficult, at best.”

According to an analysis completed by a city traffic analyst of 327 documented injury collisions in Berkeley from August 2010 to July 2013, 23 took place near school zones. None of those accidents were caused by unsafe speeds, he said.

Most of the accidents — 73% — resulted from drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Another 23% were due to pedestrians who failed to yield to drivers in the roadway, police wrote.

Thirteen of the collisions near schools took place during the school day, and four involved juvenile pedestrians. The juveniles were found to be at fault in all four of the cases. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,
Crime

Robberies rise, but serious crime down overall in 2013

Serious crime reports in Berkeley continue to show a downward trend for the most part. Click the graph to see the full report. Image: Berkeley Police
Print Friendly

Pedestrian robberies, home burglaries, aggravated assaults and vehicle thefts rose in 2013 over the prior year, though the overall number of serious crimes fell, according to new data from the Berkeley Police Department that will be reported to the Berkeley City Council later this month.

Most of the increases were small, with the exception of robbery reports, which rose from 334 in 2012 to 409 in 2013. Auto thefts rose from 639 to 668.

A significant drop in larceny reports, from 4,102 to 3,664, brought the number of overall serious crime reports down from 6,209 in 2012 to 5,890 last year. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,