Tag Archives: Berkeley government
Berkeley has more than a half-billion dollar pension problem deficit which will increase substantially for decades to come. This appears to be an insurmountable problem. But it need not be. Consider:
The city has about 216 miles of roads and 300 miles of sidewalks according to the Public Works website. The city website says Berkeley has 400 miles of sidewalks. It costs between one to two million dollars a mile to rehabilitate a badly deteriorated road – therefore I assume that you could build a new road for roughly the same price.
The city should deed its roads and sidewalks to Public Employee Pension Fund ( PERS ) in exchange for PERS forgiving Berkeley’s half billion dollar debt and all future contributions.
This transaction would generate a 1.5% transfer tax to the city of Berkeley immediately ($7.5 million) which the city could squander at the pleasure of the council and staff. … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s fiscal condition is analogous to the global climate condition — not at all good, moving in the wrong direction, and portending eventual disaster. The City however, has somehow managed to develop a comprehensive and intricate Climate Action Plan (!) but not a Fiscal Action Plan.
For the last ten years at least, there have been numerous fiscal warnings and analyses from a wide variety of sources — City Managers Kamlarz and Daniel, the City Auditor, concerned citizens including myself, … Continue reading »
Op-ed: Berkeley fumbles future: lacks long-term vision and financing strategy for our public commons
Once again, as in an seemingly endless ‘ground-hog day’ loop, the Berkeley City Council is busy with its every-other-year ballot exercise, considering various bond financing measures for the 2016 November. Much is desperately needed in Berkeley, and many competing needs are being pressed by a large number of community groups.
The city’s neglect of adequate capital and capital repair financing of vital and central public spaces, facilities and services has left these essential elements in disrepair and in unsafe or … Continue reading »
The “Right to the City” is an idea proposed by Lefebvre that those who live in a city have a democratic right, a human right, to shape the process of urbanization.
Unfortunately we seem to live in a world where private property rights, where profit rates, trump all other human rights. We seem to live in a time where the majority of our City Council believes the neoliberal notion that markets should determine all change -— that profit-driven decision making … Continue reading »
The voters in Berkeley will soon, I hope, be able to vote on whether we should continue to compensate our meter maids over $125,000+ per year while people go hungry and sleep in our streets.
The proposed ordinance is the first step to creating an effective government and an efficient and effective city, dramatically increasing public services without any new taxation. The “Berkeley Social Services and Fiscal Accountability Ordinance” I am putting forward on the ballot is a game-changer.
Under … Continue reading »
In the last couple of weeks there have been two daytime armed robberies reported in North Berkeley, according to my neighborhood listserve. One was in a private garage where the woman had left her house and gotten into her car to go to work and decided to make a cell phone call first. A man entered the garage with a gun and demanded her cell phone, which she refused. His partner then went to the passenger door and grabbed her purse and the two ran away and … Continue reading »
Over the last week a small group of neighbors, some of whom have property directly abutting the Ohlone Dog Park, have been organizing to valiantly make a point about democratic process. They failed before the City Council, which, again, put its concerns for expediting (failed) process above righting a wrong.
The issue in this case is somewhat minor in the world scheme of things, but nonetheless it is indicative of inadequate communication and sharing of information that leads to poor … Continue reading »
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the Berkeley City Council will consider an amendment to the Municipal Code (item #29) that will prohibit city employees from being appointed to, or serving on, city boards and commissions.
This proposal is brought forward by the Council Ad Hoc Committee on a More Open Government (Jesse Arreguín, Laurie Capitelli, Lori Droste and Susan Wengraf) appointed a year ago to consider recommendations for more open government and report back to the council in less than … Continue reading »
Do storage lockers magically appear on Tom Bates’ order? Do angels from on high descend with public restrooms on Linda Maio’s wish? Is it common for shower facilities to construct themselves from piping and tile without human intervention?
If you answered “yes” to these questions then you’ve entered the mindset of the Berkeley City Council majority — who last week voted to criminalize homeless people’s behavior while invoking the humanitarian fairy to do what they claim they want to … Continue reading »
It felt great to return to Berkeley recently after two weeks in Brazil without robberies, accidents or mishaps. But when we arrived just blocks from our home, we were greeted with an unsavory welcome: Our cars had vanished from the North Berkeley street where we parked them.
They hadn’t been stolen. They had been towed. Why? A neighbor, upset that her “usual spot” on a city street was occupied by an unknown car, called the police. Just like that, we … Continue reading »
Maybe the headline should be “man bites dog” but there’s a bit of good news on council’s Tuesday agenda: a vast improvement in timely approval of contracts. Our performance audit “Most Contracts Executed Timely but Contract Project Managers Could Use Better Tools and Guidance” tells the story.
The bigger story here, to me, is the many more substantial improvements I’ve seen in nearly 21 years of auditing city programs and performance. Whether I look at our 2004 audit of contracts, … Continue reading »
The president of the Berkeley Property Owners Alliance has dropped a libel lawsuit against Igor Tregub, a former candidate for the Rent Stabilization Board and a current Zoning Adjustments Board commissioner, ending three years of controversy.
Sid Lakireddy and Tregub resolved the lawsuit after Tregub agreed to apologize for sending out an inflammatory email during the 2012 election linking Lakireddy to crimes committed by his uncle, Lakireddy Bali Reddy.
Tregub recently emailed the apology to his mailing list — to the same people who received the controversial email during the election.
“On October 18, 2012, I made a fateful mistake,” Tregub wrote. “The intent of this email is to apologize to a valued member of the Berkeley community who was rightly upset by my printed words.
“In the midst of a heated campaign for reelection, I mistakenly made inaccurate accusations about the President of the Berkeley Property Owners Association, Sid Lakireddy. I wrongly connected him to crimes committed in the 1990’s by one of his uncles, Lakireddy Balireddy, that had absolutely nothing to do with Sid.” … Continue reading »
The North East Berkeley Association (NEBA) recently convened a board meeting for the express purpose of discussing the sudden resignation of the City Manager Christine Daniel.
We believe the loss to the city of Ms. Daniel reflects a very serious and growing problem within our city government.
Although we did not always agree with Ms. Daniel on many policy decisions, we appreciated her clarity, brevity, breadth of knowledge, and amazing ability to stay on top of almost all city … Continue reading »