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:
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.
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 “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.
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.
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 got into a car and drove off. She called 911 but the police were unable to find the car or suspects.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
© Berkeleyside All Rights Reserved.