Tag Archives: Berkeley City Council
At its meeting last night, the Berkeley City Council rejected a recommendation from the Peace and Justice Commission to establish a No Drone Zone in the city. Instead, the council referred the issue to three commissions — the Peace and Justice Commission, the Police Review Commission, and Disaster and Fire Safety Commssion — with guidelines for public safety agencies’ use of drones to be reviewed at a future council workshop.
During public comment more than a dozen people spoke in favor of the Peace and Justice Commission proposal, which would have banned all drones except for hobbyist use (and those would have been restricted to drones without cameras). … Continue reading »
City staff were “overly optimistic” in budget projections for the fiscal year that ended in June, but Berkeley’s General Fund still ended up several hundred thousand dollars in the black for 2011-12, the city manager told council members Tuesday night.
City Manager Christine Daniel told the Berkeley City Council that “exceptional expenditure control” allowed the city to end the fiscal year without a General Fund shortfall that had been projected to hit $1.9 million.
“Everybody managed very carefully and that’s how we managed to end the year in that way,” she said Tuesday night during a special session on the Berkeley city budget that took place prior to the regular City Council meeting. … Continue reading »
Mayor Tom Bates is moving away from City Councilman Kriss Worthington. Not politically. Just physically.
Bates has put an item on Tuesday’s council agenda to change the seating arrangements of city council members on the dais. Worthington currently sits on Bates’ right. The mayor wants to move him one seat away and have his ally, Councilman Laurie Capitelli, sit next to him.
When asked why he wants Worthington to move, Bates half-joked, “So I don’t strangle him.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley is making progress but still has a long way to go to meet its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, according to a report set to be presented Tuesday night at 5:30 to the City Council. (A live stream of the meeting will be available here.)
In June 2009, the council adopted the Climate Action Plan as a guide for policy decisions to help the community significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 40 years. The goal is to reach 33% below normal levels by 2020, and 80% below normal levels by 2050.
The plan sets out strategies to reduce emissions, improve public health, drive the creation of green jobs and, not least of all, save money due to reduced energy use.
It won’t be easy. According to the staff report, Berkeley must decrease its community-wide emissions by more than 200,000 metrics tons. That’s the equivalent of removing 35,000 passenger vehicles from the road. (Berkeley’s current vehicle population is about 56,000.) … Continue reading »
On Tuesday, Oakland City Council will consider the city’s planning commission’s appeal on the proposed re-development of the Safeway store on College and Claremont avenues, a stone’s throw from the border with Berkeley. Berkeley’s City Council has made known its opposition to the current plans. In an Opinionator piece published today, Berkeley resident David Denton argues that the suggested store, big as it is, is exactly what is needed for the community.
Berkeleyside welcomes submissions of op-ed articles … Continue reading »
In July, the Berkeley City Council took up the EIR agreement for the proposed Safeway store on College Avenue in Oakland’s Rockridge district right on the Berkeley border. Buoyed by the protests of the attendees, Mayor Bates summarized the objections of the council, “it’s just too big for the location.”
In the debate about the Rockridge Safeway, there is little understanding of how the 61,000 sq ft design came about. Why is this project so big? Why have they piled … Continue reading »
In a surprising twist, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to decline requests from U.S. immigration officials to apply more stringent detention rules to arrested individuals depending on citizenship status.
Advocates in attendance said the council made a landmark policy decision believed to be the most comprehensive and definitive in the nation as far as refusing altogether to cooperate with a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program to detain and potentially deport non-citizens who are arrested.
The decision will, at least initially, have a limited impact given that the vast majority of these individuals ultimately are turned over to county agencies that do cooperate with the feds. Advocates said they believe, however, that the decision will have a ripple effect throughout the state to convince other jurisdictions to take a similar stand. … Continue reading »
Developers of new residential rental properties in Berkeley can now choose to pay into a special city fund instead of including on-site affordable housing after an 8-1 vote Tuesday by the City Council. It’s the latest step by City Hall to create policies that will increase Berkeley’s affordable housing stock.
But whether developers will choose to pay the fee remains to be seen, and some members of the City Council caution that setting the fee too high could have unintended, unavoidable, consequences for future projects.
The city requires developers of new market-rate rental properties to make one of their units affordable — to households earning 50% or less of the region’s median family income — for every 10 market rate units. This means that the units would have to be affordable, for example, to a family of three in Berkeley making $42,100 or less. … Continue reading »
Incumbent Laurie Capitelli and challenger Sophie Hahn will face off in November for the second time in a pitched battle for Berkeley’s District 5 City Council seat, in a race that has been tinged with allegations of distortion and ill will.
In 2008, Capitelli won District 5 re-election by defeating Hahn 4,299 to 3,898. But Hahn said Wednesday she believes her past four years of service and experience will help her come out on top in the polls on Nov. 6.
“I have a strong record of getting things done,” she said. “I do believe one person can make a difference. With hard work, collaboration, and really listening to and involving the community, you get good results for the community. And I think people recognize that. I think people have been waiting for a long time for change in Berkeley.”
So far, both candidates have raised about $30,000 for their campaigns. Each had $14,000 to $15,000 left in their coffers as of the most recent filing. The amount of money raised is second only to the mayor’s race on the ballot in Berkeley. … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s City Council Tuesday night debated how the city’s disaster preparedness program has been disproportionately adopted in the hill districts, and left vulnerable — and generally poorer — districts in the flats far behind in terms of both training and allocation of emergency caches.
A report from the Disaster & Fire Safety Commission (DFSC) featured a map showing the heavy concentration of emergency caches in Districts 5 and 6, and a thin scattering in Districts 3 and 4. The caches are containers of equipment awarded to communities who have demonstrated a minimum level of readiness, which includes completing a certain amount of emergency training. There are currently 79 caches in total in the city’s neighborhoods. … Continue reading »
Update 8:20pm: Sophie Hahn read to Berkeleyside from her prepared remarks made to the John George Democratic Club. Here’s what she said:
“I am emphatically opposed to the death penalty. The incumbent did not support a resolution to end the death penalty in Alameda County. I am in favor of equal pay for equal work. The incumbent did not support a resolution in favor of Obama’s Lily Ledbetter Act.”
Hahn said she does not ascribe views to incumbent Laurie Capitelli. “He speaks through his record,” she said.
Original story: The race for the District 5 City Council seat has taken an ugly turn, with supporters of incumbent Laurie Capitelli claiming that challenger Sophie Hahn and her surrogates are mischaracterizing his record. … Continue reading »
Mayor Tom Bates fell on his butt there. Susan Wengraf and Gordon Wozniak fondly recalled children’s parties there. There was a wave of nostalgia for Berkeley Iceland at last night’s City Council meeting, from both council members and residents providing public comment. But the passionate efforts of Save Berkeley Iceland, the campaign that hoped to resurrect a skating rink at the landmarked building, failed after a 7-0 vote to affirm the Zoning Adjustment Board’s decision to allow retailer Sports Basement to adapt the structure at 2727 Milvia for a new store.
“This is in some ways a very sad day, and in some ways something positive,” Bates said. “It would have been great to [bring back] the rink. It would have been fabulous. But there is not a viable way to make it work.”
The only dissenting voice on the council was Darryl Moore, who abstained in the vote. His motion to call for a public hearing on the project, which would have created another two months’ delay, failed for lack of a second. … Continue reading »
Dmitri Belser runs a program that makes technology accessible to disabled people, he chaired Berkeley’s Commission on Disability, he renovates dilapidated Victorian homes, and he has raised two sons.
Now he wants to be the District 3 city council member.
“I’ve been frustrated for a long time with how District 3 has been represented,” Belser told Berkeleyside in an interview conducted amid dangling wires, creaking floorboards, ladders and drop cloths at a 62nd Street Victorian he’s refurbishing with his life-partner and campaign manager, Tom White. The couple lives a few blocks south-west on Parker Street near Shattuck Avenue.
“I’ve heard from a lot of my neighbors and a lot of people in this district that they don’t get responses” from Council Member Max Anderson, he said, contending that Anderson, in office since 2004, has been ineffective in solving issues of crime and helping the struggling business district at Adeline and Alcatraz.
“If there’s one skill that I have, it’s customer service,” he said. “I know how to respond to people.”
Belser, executive director at the Center for Accessible Technology (CAT), pointed to his work helping to get the Ed Roberts Campus project built. The campus, above the Ashby BART station, houses nonprofits serving the disabled community, including the CAT. Belser chairs the Ed Roberts Campus board. … Continue reading »