Tag Archives: Mayor Tom Bates
Telegraph Avenue could use more large clothing retailers and a grocery store, along with more options for nightlife and buying household goods, if it hopes to grow financially moving forward, city staff said Tuesday as part of a special work session on the avenue.
Some officials said the city needs to take a proactive approach to marketing properties that become available, and perhaps adjust the city’s permitting process to make it easier to attract larger businesses. Others said landlords might take it upon themselves to lower rents for new businesses, so the burden isn’t only on the city.
“I think we have to go out on dates,” said Councilwoman Linda Maio. “I think we have to identify retailers that we want, that we have a space for. I think we have to introduce them to the mayor. I think we have to wine and dine them and bring them into town. I think we have to show them the campus and the enormous potential here. I don’t think it’s going to serve us well to sit back and wait for somebody to come our way.” … Continue reading »
The owners of one of Telegraph Avenue’s most popular ice cream spots have asked Berkeley officials to revoke the permit for a new ice cream take-out window set to open right across the street, at Rasputin Music.
Tuesday night, Berkeley City Council members heard the appeal, by Cream ice cream parlor, 2399 Telegraph, against Rasputin’s Dream Ice Cream, which won approval in September from the city’s zoning board.
Problem was, a city staff member said the city failed to notify nearby businesses about the proposal. If Rasputin’s permit is ultimately approved, the two businesses would essentially stare each other down across Channing Way. … Continue reading »
On Bike to Work Day, Berkeley’s mayor Tom Bates (who famously ditched his car several years ago) got on his bike to show support for the two-wheeler set and laid out his commitment to make Berkeley “the most bike-friendly city in the country.”
At a series of press events this morning, Bates spoke of updating Berkeley’s Bicycle Plan so that it was the best bicycle plan in the country. He also hopped on his own bike first thing to take a (helmet-less) spin down the brand new West Street Pathway.
“Lowering our transportation GHG emissions is a key component of our award-winning climate action plan,” Bates said. … Continue reading »
Mayor Tom Bates, State Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, and just about a full complement of Berkeley councilmembers gathered on the steps of the city’s main post office this morning to protest its planned sale.
Bates, Hancock and Skinner jointly signed a letter appealing the decision by the U.S. Postal Service. Bates said it was the beginning of a long fight that will include a lawsuit and appeals to the U.S. Congress.
“We’re not going quietly. We’re going to fight this every step of the way,” Bates said. “We are against it and the people of Berkeley are against it.” … Continue reading »
On Sunday, the Cal Bears women’s basketball team will be playing for more than a place in the NCAA championship game. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates has wagered 10 bottles of Narsai David cabernet sauvignon against Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher’s 10 bottles of Kentucky bourbon that the Bears will prevail in their Final Four match against the Louisville Cardinal.
“All bets are on and I can already taste the bourbon now!” Bates confidently declared. … Continue reading »
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 »
A 205-unit apartment complex planned for downtown Berkeley is going back to the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board after an appeal before the City Council on Tuesday night.
Acheson Commons, at 2133 University Ave., was approved by the zoning board in December, but appellants questioned numerous aspects of the project and the council voted unanimously to ask the board to take another look. (See project materials on the city website. The complete administrative record is available here.)
According to the staff report prepared for Tuesday’s special session, the project is set to increase annual tax revenue by $57,000 and bring in $360,000 to support the city’s Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan. (Update, 1 p.m.: A representative for the developer, Mark Rhoades, said the per-year tax basis increase is closer to $600,000. Scroll down to see a chart of the five-year financial projections he provided.) … Continue reading »
The rainbow flag, a symbol of diversity and inclusiveness, was raised over Berkeley City Hall on Tuesday, to mark arguments in the US Supreme Court on Proposition 8. It will also fly tomorrow, during arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act.
“Berkeley is joining cities all around the country to show support for full equality,” said Judy Appel, a member of the school board, and executive director of Our Family Coalition, which promotes social justice and inclusiveness of LGBTQ families. … Continue reading »
Three food truck vendors who were displaced by UC Berkeley’s construction at Sproul Plaza have been found a new location at the corner of Bancroft and College. According to an announcement from Mayor Tom Bates, the vendors will be able to renew their permits to operate in the new location for an additional two years.
Michael Koh, owner of Dojo Dog, Ann Vu, owner of Healthy Heavenly Foods, and Jack Huynh, owner of Kettle Corn Star, were forced to vacate their previous location near the intersection of Telegraph and Bancroft in December, when construction started.
Koh spoke at the Telegraph Avenue brainstorming convened by the mayor last month, and local councilmember Kriss Worthington had asked the city manager to assist in the relocation. Worthington’s referral is on the City Council’s action agenda for tonight’s meeting.
Worthington’s referral points out that, although the Lower Sproul project construction has been planned for years, the food vendors were given just two days’ notice to vacate their locations. … 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 »
Berkeley officials voted Tuesday night to reduce, temporarily, a fee required of developers in hopes of both replenishing a city fund for affordable housing and curtailing building heights in projects planned to buffer downtown.
The Berkeley City Council has, for quite some time, grappled with how to build up its affordable housing stock. Developers in Berkeley are required to provide a certain amount of affordable housing, either by paying into a city fund that’s used to build this housing elsewhere, or by including below-market-rate units in their projects.
If they elect to pay rather than build, the money goes into the city’s Housing Trust Fund. The fund was established in 1990 to pool available federal, state and local money for these projects. Some officials have said the city might be able to build more units, as compared to what private developers would produce, if developers pay into the public fund. … Continue reading »
By Tom Miller
Following Mayor Tom Bates and State Senator Loni Hancock’s December visit to Palma Soriano, Berkeley’s sister city in Eastern Cuba, plans are afoot for a community-built clean water solution for the entire city of 80,000 people.
For the past decade, UC Berkeley researchers have traveled to Palma to work with the community to develop a plan which will blend the deeply spiritual Afro-Cuban based affinity to land and nature with a low-tech, low cost green field sewage treatment plan. The people of Palma’s roots stretch back to Haiti when French slave owners brought slaves to Eastern Cuba when they fled Haiti’s slave rebellion over 200 years ago. … Continue reading »
Berkeley City Council last night unanimously approved both the Downtown Streets & Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP) and a schedule of fees that will help fund the proposed projects. SOSIP aims to help create a more pedestrian-oriented neighborhood downtown, and will help guide the design of parks, plazas and streetscapes in the area.
The SOSIP is the first concrete action on the streets and open space provisions of the Downtown Area Plan, which was approved by the council in March 2012.
“I’m very excited about a lot of the projects put forward,” said council member Jesse Arreguín, whose district includes downtown. ”If we can do even a fraction of these projects, it would really make a difference in making downtown a much more pedestrian friendly and vibrant environment.”
The major projects identified in the SOSIP as priorities are: … Continue reading »