Tag Archives: Linda Maio
Berkeley City Council agreed on Tuesday night to raise the cost for the annual residential parking permit from $34.50 to $45, a 30% increase. The increase was a compromise following a recommendation from city staff that a 60% increase was necessary to cover the full costs of the Residential Preferential Parking program (RPP).
The RPP is projected to have revenues of nearly $1.6 million for the city in the 2013 fiscal year. But that barely covers the cost of parking enforcement, while the $311,000 cost of permit issuance and $105,000 cost for the transportation to administer the program results in overall losses. When the city council considered overall budget shortfalls in January, it instructed city staff to find ways to cover the RPP program losses. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday night to ask the U.S. Postal Service to press the pause button on its plans to relocate its downtown services and sell the Allston Way facility — for at least one year.
Members of the public who hope to keep the post office open were more subdued than those who attended a meeting in late February, with just a handful of people speaking about the historic building’s importance and why it should maintain its postal services. But they cheered and clapped throughout the meeting as council members expressed unanimous support to fight to keep the building open.
The postal service has said, in a written statement, that the building will likely be sold because of a “26-percent drop in total mail volume over the past three years, brought about by the diversion to electronic communication and business transactions.” … Continue reading »
About 25 neighbors came together at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church over the weekend to share concerns and ideas about safety in west Berkeley following the shooting death earlier this month of Zontee Jones.
Councilwoman Linda Maio organized the meeting with members of the Berkeley Police Department to make sure residents in her district could connect with authorities and share their worries and suggestions.
Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Frankel told those in attendance, who sat in a circle in a community room belonging to Good Shepherd, that Jones’ death, which represented the city’s first homicide of the year, was not random.
“Somebody had something against somebody else, and they dealt with their issue directly,” he said. … 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 »
Workers’ compensation costs the City of Berkeley between $5 and $6 million each year, according to a report presented at last night’s City Council meeting. The figures, although not new, seemed to startle councilmembers who said they were determined to bring the cost down.
“There needs to be a cultural change at the actual work level,” said Councilmember Linda Maio. “I was floored when I saw we are paying out $5 million a year in claims. We can’t do that.”
Other councilmembers pointed out the concentration of claims in a few departments. The most claims come from the fire department, where last year 28 of the 118 sworn employees filed indemnity claims. The police department accounts for the second highest number, with 24 of 157 sworn employees filing claims last year. … Continue reading »
This is not going to be a Merry Christmas for many of the workers at Pacific Steel.
After a recent crackdown by the Department of Homeland Security, 200 workers who could not provide a valid social security number are being laid off.
Those let go from the third largest foundry in the United States include many highly skilled workers who have been at the company for decades.
“It’s very sad,” said spokeswoman Elisabeth Jewel from the firm Aroner, Jewel & Ellis Partners. “The employees who are being terminated now have the most seniority. Many have been there 20 to 30 years. They have kids in the public school. They pay taxes. They are fully invested in American life. It’s been a really wrenching situation – obviously for the workers – but also for the company.”
In February, Pacific Steel, which was founded in Berkeley in 1934 by the Genger family and is still family-owned, got a request by ICE, the US Immigration and Customs Authority, an agency within Homeland Security, to examine I-9 documents, said Jewel. The department came back and reported that the social security numbers of 200 of the company’s 600 workers didn’t match up.
The employees were given a chance to provide new documentation to prove they were legally working in the US. Only a few were able to do that, said Jewel. … Continue reading »
Soft story structures — buildings with large openings at ground level for garages or tuck-under parking — pose a particular hazard of serious damage, including collapse, in seismic activity. Because of the danger, Berkeley passed its soft story ordinance in 2005, mandating that soft story buildings with five or more units notify tenants of the danger and perform a seismic analysis. But, if a walking survey on Saturday is any indication, the ordinance is going largely unheeded.
Rent board commissioner Igor Tregub organized the survey as part of what he called a “seismic compliance day of action”. Tregub and his interns picked several dozen buildings from the city’s soft story inventory, and led a tour of the buildings. The idea was both to see whether the ordinance was being followed and to alert tenants to the potential dangers. The survey was a personal project of Tregub’s, not an official rent board initiative.
None of the 15 buildings visited on Saturday had any visible notice, contrary to the requirements of the ordinance. There were also no signs of retrofits, which would increase the safety in the event of a quake (retrofits are not required by the ordinance). … Continue reading »
Berkeley city officials adopted a resolution this week honoring the Native American leader Geronimo, but decided against asking President Obama to apologize for using his name in the May mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
Instead, the city council asked the President to retroactively change the code name of the operation from “Operation Geronimo” to “Operation bin Laden” and pledge not to use Native American names in future military actions.
The Peace and Justice Commission had sent a resolution to the city council requesting that it ask Obama to apologize for naming the raid on bin Laden “Operation Geronimo.”
“The use of the name Geronimo for the country’s most wanted terrorist is offensive, particularly to Native Americans and negatively impacts the identity and social position of Native American youth,” read part of the resolution the commission wants the city council to adopt. … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s Peace and Justice commission wants President Obama to write a letter to the Apache people apologizing for using the name of Native American Indian leader Geronimo in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
The name of the action should be changed from “Operation Geronimo,” to “Operation Bin Laden,” according to the commission, which has forwarded its recommendation to the Berkeley City Council for consideration on Oct. 25. Equating the famed Indian leader with America’s most-wanted terrorist is insulting, according to Commissioner Wendy Kenin, who introduced the resolution.
“The use of the name Geronimo for the country’s most wanted terrorist is offensive, particularly to Native Americans and negatively impacts the identity and social position of Native American youth,” reads part of the resolution the commission wants the city council to adopt. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley has reached an agreement with Concerned Library Users over a lawsuit the group filed to stop the demolition and rebuilding of the South and West branches of the Berkeley Public Library.
In a closed session on Tuesday evening, the city council voted to settle the lawsuit by creating a $100,000 fund to provide grants to preserve historic buildings in the city’s south and west neighborhoods, according to Zach Cowan, the City attorney. The city also agreed … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Unified School District is dropping its efforts to place a school for expelled students inside the Berkeley Adult School on San Pablo Avenue.
Superintendent Bill Huyett thinks “the District has other more pressing issues and needs that require staff time,” according to a press release that was sent out at 12:40 a.m. Sunday “The District will continue to encourage the Alameda County Office of Education to locate services for expelled students in the northern part of the county.”
Six months after voters approved new laws to expand Berkeley’s medical marijuana trade – in the hopes of bringing more money to city coffers – a new commission to oversee the process has not been seated.
While six city council members have appointed members to a new medical marijuana commission — enough for a quorum – the group won’t meet until all nine members are in place, according to Wendy Cosin, deputy city planner, who sent out an email last week stating there would not be a meeting in May. That way all the members can have a voice in selecting a chair, she said. … Continue reading »