Tag Archives: Berkeley City Council
On Tuesday, June 24, the Berkeley City Council may choose to place a combined Mello-Roos financing measure for Berkeley parks on the November ballot. It is vital for the Berkeley community — elected officials, city staff, residents and voters — to embrace this big vision for the future of Berkeley parks, playgrounds, and pools and support this “gamble” by the Council. The arguments in favor of investing in saving our … Continue reading »
Berkeley adopts anti-bias policing policy, commits to collecting data to tackle alleged racial profiling
The Berkeley City Council on Tuesday adopted an anti-bias policing policy with a view to eradicating, or at least reducing, alleged cases of racial profiling by the city’s police. The policy will see the city begin to collect data on police stops to analyze whether incidents of profiling are happening.
Currently, Berkeley Police record data about vehicle stops, but data about other types of contacts — including pedestrians and bicyclists — is not collected unless there is an arrest.
The “Fair and Impartial Policing Policy” has been a year in the making, and was crafted by a committee that included representatives from the Berkeley Police Department working in collaboration with the Police Review Commission, the Peace and Justice Commission, the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley, and the East Bay ACLU. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council took a huge step Tuesday night towards the approval of a fourth medical cannabis dispensary, but deferred passing an ordinance until July 1.
The Council voted unanimously to adopt regulations put forth by the Medical Cannabis Commission, with some amendments, to set up a process to select a fourth dispensary and the guidelines for selection. The council also indicated they wanted to adopt new rules to better regulate both dispensaries and the smaller, less formal, cannabis collectives. … Continue reading »
On June 17, the Berkeley City Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. to finish up discussion, and possibly take action, on four items that were continued from June 3.
The first two items on the agenda relate to medical cannabis, and how the city will select who gets to open the city’s fourth medical cannabis dispensary. There are two reports posted, one from the city’s Medical Cannabis Commission and one from the city manager. Read more of the background on Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »
Community supporters of Berkeley’s municipal animal shelter have been raising alarm bells about the shelter’s budget for the coming fiscal year — and their concerns about the city’s lack of budgeting transparency are broadly shared.
The proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts in July is $1.69 million, which is comparable to what the shelter ultimately got in the fiscal year that ends this month, City Manager Christine Daniel told city officials by email May 27.
But shelter supporters say that amount has not been enough to cover operating costs, and fear the shelter may be forced to close one day a week or more as a result. They say the shelter has struggled to cover increased utility costs in its new, larger space, which has a sophisticated air filtration system to cut down on the spread of diseases. Supporters say, too, that services the city used to pay for, including a spay-and-neuter program for low-income residents as well as training for pit bull owners, now must be funded through community donations.
The budget has come before council and the public several times since May 20, and is expected to be approved next week.
According to city spokesman Matthai Chakko, a detailed budget that would show utility costs for the Dona Spring Municipal Animal Shelter is not available: “The budget doesn’t have line items to that degree,” he said via email. Chakko said animal shelter director Kate O’Connor was not available last week for an interview. He said the shelter is “fully funded,” but did not respond to questions about whether the shelter might have to reduce its hours. (The facility is currently open seven days a week.)
Two Berkeley officials put forward a new proposal Tuesday night for a combined bond and tax measure that could go before voters in November.
The idea, presented by Berkeley City Council members Linda Maio and Laurie Capitelli, would cost property owners about $58 a year for an average Berkeley home, which is defined by the city as 1,900 square feet.
The combined bond and tax measure, which is called a Mello-Roos, could bring in $19 million to improve existing parks, re-open Willard Pool and create public gardens in a two-block section of the abandoned Santa Fe Right of Way in South Berkeley, among other projects. It would also include an annual $1.1 million operations tax to help pay for parks maintenance. (The bond would be paid off over 30 years.) … Continue reading »
Berkeley city staff are reviewing a report by Oakland-based firm Mason Tillman Associates that recommends changes in city policies in response to allegations of racism in employment practices.
The Berkeley NAACP report cited “many” complaints, dating from the 1980s through 2013, by Berkeley city employees of color alleging “unfair hiring and promotional practices, favoritism, cronyism and unfair treatment of African Americans.” The NAACP recommended 21 policy changes to fight the problem, including the institution of a city oversight body to monitor discrimination and 16 hours per year of mandatory cultural competency training for all city employees. … Continue reading »
On June 10, the Berkeley City Council is set to talk about the budget (again), vote on the new minimum wage ordinance and deal with two election-related items. There’s also a 5:30 p.m. special session on Telegraph Avenue projects that have taken place over the past year or so.
On the action calendar
Council is set to approve on first reading a new minimum wage plan, which was discussed at length at its May 20 meeting. At that time, council agreed on a proposal, and planned to vote to adopt the new ordinance tonight. Many business owners have said they are concerned about whether they will be able to survive the increase, while labor advocates say it’s long overdue and hasn’t gone far enough. Berkeleyside has covered the topic thoroughly and will continue to follow the issue. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley will have a new tool to halt the proliferation of large drugstores around town if a law to create buffer zones between them is approved by officials later this month.
Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council discussed the details of the new law, which would create a definition for drugstores and establish a 1,000-foot buffer zone between them.
The law, as proposed, would apply to drugstores larger than 5,000 square feet, and would be in effect in most “neighborhood commercial” zones in Berkeley except along Adeline Street and San Pablo Avenue. (Downtown, West Berkeley, part of Euclid Avenue, and University and Telegraph avenues would not be affected.)
Council consideration of the drugstore issue dates back to 2011, when officials asked the city Planning Commission to investigate how Berkeley might stop the spread of drugstores throughout town by creating buffer zones between them.
But it was a proposal last fall by Walgreens, which hopes to open in North Berkeley on Solano Avenue on the site of a 76 gas station at 1830 Solano, that brought the issue back into the public eye. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to postpone the creation of a task force to study changes to the city’s minimum wage ordinance until it actually passes its new law to raise wages, which was approved in concept last month.
That plan would raise Berkeley’s minimum wage to $12.53 by October 2016. The proposal must come back twice for council approval before it becomes law.
The proposed task force on the minimum wage could study how the city would proceed after 2016, and look at issues such as sick leave, potential exemptions for certain types of employers and other issues. The panel could also potentially investigate how a regional minimum wage might work and whether the new ordinance needs to be modified. … Continue reading »
The Lowdown: Berkeley council on medical cannabis, rules to limit drugstores, elections, climate hurdles and more
On June 3, the Berkeley City Council is set to talk about new rules regarding drugstores, which has been a topic of concern in the past; set up a task force to tackle the city’s plans to raise the minimum wage; and possibly address what it might take for a fourth medical cannabis dispensary to open in the city. There’s also a 5:30 p.m. special session dealing with Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan, particularly with respect to how the city has been unable to keep up with ambitious goals it set for reductions, though progress has been made. … Continue reading »
Five days after the House of Representatives passed groundbreaking legislation calling on the federal government to stop targeting legitimate medical cannabis dispensaries, the Berkeley City Council is set to discuss whether to allow a fourth dispensary to open.
But the council, which delayed a decision two times already, may delay it a third time when it meets tonight if Mayor Tom Bates has his way. The political climate is still too uncertain to guarantee that a new dispensary can open successfully, according to Bates.
“He is not in favor of it going forward at this time because of the continuing uncertainty at the federal level,” said Charles Burress, Bates’ spokesman. “It’s better to wait for further clarification. He hopes that eventually we can add a fourth one, but right now is not the time to do it.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley officials voted Tuesday night on ballot language related to a November 2014 soda tax proposal, but exactly what sort of fundraising request might come before voters to help the city’s parks remains to be determined.
Regarding the soda tax, voters will be asked whether the city should “impose a general tax of 1 cent per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages,” payable by distributors with gross annual receipts over a certain amount.
Ballot language proposed Tuesday night would limit the tax to businesses with receipts over $100,000, but Councilman Laurie Capitelli said the number is still a bit in flux, and will be clarified in June when the Berkeley City Council makes its final decision on city-driven ballot measures. … Continue reading »