Tag Archives: Mayor Tom Bates

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Mayor proposes East Bay regional minimum wage

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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates today proposed that a number of East Bay cities, including Berkeley, join together to enact a regional minimum wage.

Bates’ proposal comes little more than a week before the Berkeley City Council holds a special meeting on a citywide minimum wage on May 1. Richmond has already had the first reading of a minimum wage ordinance, and a minimum wage initiative for the November ballot is being circulated in Oakland.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley could have bike sharing program by spring 2015

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UPDATE, 04.09.14: Bike share funds approved, as is money for Bay Trail: The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted to allocate the $8.7 million in bike share funding at its committee meeting today. The MTC spending plan also includes two projects to improve Bay Trail segments in Berkeley. Berkeley will receive $1 million for the third segment of the Bay Trail Extension, a spur of the Bay Trail running through the Berkeley Marina. The first two segments of the extension have been completed, and the new funding would also add a public restroom, bike racks, access improvements, parking lot upgrades and other enhancements near the two sailing clubs and windsurf rigging area. At the same time, the East Bay Regional Parks District will receive $750,000 to fill the gap in the Bay Trail between Gilman Street in North Berkeley and Buchanan Street near the Albany Bulb in Albany. The new segment will run on the shoreline side of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack.

ORIGINAL STORY: This time next year, Berkeley could have a bike sharing program in place in the city. Mayor Tom Bates, for one, thinks it won’t be soon enough.

“We’ve been lobbying for this for a long time,” Bates said on Monday.

Bates sits on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission which will vote on Wednesday to allocate $8.7 million to be spent on rolling out Bay Area Bike Share to the East Bay. The program started in San Francisco and the Peninsula last August and, in San Francisco at least, has proved successful.

If approved, the program would see 60 bike pods installed in an 8 1/2-square-mile area of the East Bay, stocked with a total of about 750 bikes, around 300 of them in Berkeley. Planning is in early stages and locations for the bike stations have not yet been decided. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Council hears minimum wage increase pleas

Waiters at Comal. Photo: Postcard PR
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Berkeley’s adoption of an increased minimum wage moved a step closer this week. The City Council heard a long line of advocates urging adoption a $10.74 minimum wage for employees in Berkeley.

The City Council will have a special meeting on May 1 on a minimum wage ordinance.

The Commission on Labor’s recommendation to the Council is to set a $10.74 minimum wage (the same as San Francisco’s) for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and non-profits, to include a medical benefit requirement, and to adjust the minimum wage annually in line with CPI. For “corporate franchises” or businesses with over 50 employees, the commission recommends a minimum wage increase to “the equivalent of the Berkeley Living Wage,” which is currently $13.34 per hour. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley kicks off Adeline corridor improvements push

New district banners, 6/6, Ashby and Adeline
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Coming up later this year, the city of Berkeley has pledged to focus some of its resources on the Adeline Street corridor in South Berkeley to address chronic problems and try to capitalize on the momentum of improvements already underway.

Last weekend, city staff and officials held a public meeting at the South Berkeley Senior Center to begin to brainstorm with local residents and merchants what some of the local priorities are.

Mayor Tom Bates, Councilman Max Anderson and city manager Christine Daniel were in attendance, along with nearly 10 other city staffers, and more than 30 members of the public, said Charles Burress from the mayor’s office. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley to consider restricting large drugstores, future of proposed Solano Ave. Walgreens store in the balance

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Berkeley is set to consider whether to limit the number of larger drugstores in the city, at least in certain neighborhoods, which may put a halt to disputed plans by Walgreens to open a new store on upper Solano Avenue.

The issue will be discussed at the city’s Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, March 19.

If the commission, a citizen’s group that advises the Berkeley City Council, approves drugstore zoning recommendations proposed by city staff, it will move Berkeley closer to legally prohibiting the proposed new Walgreens — a project that set in motion the city’s renewed examination of chain drugstore locations. … Continue reading »

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Local business

West Berkeley’s Pacific Steel files for bankruptcy

Photo: Michael Layefsky
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Pacific Steel Castings, based in west Berkeley since 1934, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Oakland on Monday. Pacific Steel, one of the largest independent steel casting companies in the U.S., has 410 employees in three separate plants at the eight-acre site off Gilman Street. There are no immediate layoffs or interruptions in payment of wages or pensions.

The company hopes the bankruptcy proceedings will enable it to restructure its liabilities and remain in operation, possibly under a different owner from the Genger family which is in its fourth generation of ownership. Pacific Steel makes carbon, low-alloy and stainless steel castings for U.S. and international customers, largely for heavy-duty trucks and construction equipment.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley city budget in good short-term shape, but problems loom with pension costs

Photo: Steer Davies Gleave
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When the Berkeley City Council held a worksession on the budget on Feb. 25, there was good news and bad news.

The good news is that Berkeley’s revenues are up and expenses are down in the current fiscal year. Using very conservative forecasts, Berkeley budget manager Teresa Berkeley-Simmons projected revenues in the 2014 fiscal year will be $800,000 ahead of the budget passed last June, and expenses over $2 million lower. As a result, so-called carryover expenditures — from revenues accumulated in previous years for as-yet uncompleted projects — will be reduced from $6.3 million to $3.3 million.  … Continue reading »

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Years of work culminate in new Berkeley medical clinic

Officials and staff cut the ribbon to dedicate the new clinic. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Hundreds of people gathered Sunday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of Lifelong Medical Care’s new West Berkeley clinic, and for many of the dignitaries, it was a reunion of sorts.

Amid speeches about the glorious new building and the patient-centric care it will foster, came memories of Berkeley in the 1970s and the push to revolutionize health care. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

A still from microbial and cell biologist Brian Farley's "Ghosts in the Machine" video, on view at Art in Science. Photo: UC Berkeley.
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ART IN SCIENCE Right and left brains collide at the two-day Art [in] Science extravaganza. The event, presented by Science@Cal and the Energy Biosciences, explores the intersection of art and science, and how the two fields inspire one another. Mesmerizing multimedia images of scientific investigation will be on view, and the artists and scientists who created them will lecture on, and give live demonstrations of, their work. Stop by 2151 Berkeley Way from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27 and Friday, Feb. 28, to view photos of volcanoes, clay sculptures of proteins, and videos of ciliate reproduction. The admission is free and the music is live. … Continue reading »

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Improving Telegraph Ave. on new UC official’s ‘to-do’ list

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You know UC Berkeley’s newly appointed vice chancellor for real estate has an open-minded attitude when he says tackling the issues at People’s Park might be a “fun challenge” and looks forward to “getting some things done” to help revitalize Telegraph Avenue.

Robert J. Lalanne, a UC Berkeley alumnus and trustee of the university’s foundation, brings 25 years of real estate and development experience to the new position, which was formally announced Tuesday.

As founder of The Lalanne Group, he has spearheaded commercial, residential and mixed-use projects in San Francisco and other Bay Area counties. He will oversee all of Cal’s construction projects, seek “innovative financing” for new buildings, be the point man for facilities and manage 500 employees.

All for nothing a year.

Lalanne will donate his salary back to the university, according to a university press release. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley named one of 33 resilient cities in global network

Berkeley firefighters speak with residents during a community emergency response drill in April. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley has been selected as one of 33 cities worldwide in the first group of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities network.

The designation is for cities that, according to Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, “have demonstrated a dedicated commitment to building their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses.”

One-third of the inaugural group are U.S. cities — including San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda — with the other 22 distributed around the world.

The Rockefeller Foundation will now provide Berkeley and the other cities with at least two years of funding for a full-time chief resilience officer. According to City Manager Christine Daniel, the chief resilience officer will coordinate implementation of the draft Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, advancement of local climate adaptation strategies, and other efforts related to disaster preparedness and response.  … Continue reading »

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Residential garbage fees could rise 25% in Berkeley

Berkeley has recently begun to use automated single-operator garbage trucks, which have a side arm to pick up waste bins. Photo: City of Berkeley
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Berkeley residents could see a 25% hike in their garbage pick-up fees as the city struggles to find a way to bridge the gap between the cost of pick-up services and the income they generate.

In a special session Tuesday night, staff explained that the Refuse Fund, used to cover pick-up fees, is slated to run at an annual $2-3 million deficit over the next five years, leading the city to consider boosting pick-up fees.

As a result, residents who use the most common trash container, which holds 32 gallons, would go from paying about $30 a month to about $37. And those costs would continue to rise annually by 3% beginning in fiscal year 2016 as part of the city’s efforts to adopt a “sustainable rate structure” that could keep pace with rising costs.

Those increases, staff explained to council, would lead to a $5 million surplus in the Refuse Fund by fiscal year 2019, allowing the city to consider ways to update its outdated transfer station, which city manager Christine Daniel described Tuesday night as “not remotely close to industry standards.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley bans tobacco smoking in apartments, condos

Berkeley residents who live in buildings with more than one unit will no longer be allowed to smoke inside beginning in May 2014. Photo: Damian Kennedy
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Smoking cigarettes will no longer be allowed inside the units of multi-family housing developments in Berkeley, effective May 2014, after a unanimous vote by the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night.

The council decision, once it’s adopted on second reading, would prohibit tobacco smoke inside all residential buildings that have more than one unit, and in all common areas of those buildings as well.

After considering the issue twice earlier this year, the council voted, on first reading, to approve the new ordinance, which puts forward enforcement guidelines that officials hope will protect the rights of both non-smoking neighbors as well as residents who receive complaints. … Continue reading »

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