Tag Archives: Mayor Tom Bates

Berkeley officials hold off on minimum wage task force

Many Berkeley business owners say they are still concerned about whether they would be able to survive a new minimum wage plan under consideration by the city. Photo: Postcard PR
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The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to postpone the creation of a task force to study changes to the city’s minimum wage ordinance until it actually passes its new law to raise wages, which was approved in concept last month.

That plan would raise Berkeley’s minimum wage to $12.53 by October 2016. The proposal must come back twice for council approval before it becomes law.

The proposed task force on the minimum wage could study how the city would proceed after 2016, and look at issues such as sick leave, potential exemptions for certain types of employers and other issues. The panel could also potentially investigate how a regional minimum wage might work and whether the new ordinance needs to be modified. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s influence on Assembly race takes a twist

California State Capital. Photo by Thomas W. Toolan, Wikimedia Commons
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By Kate Darby

Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s primary election for the District 15 Assembly seat, history is in the making in Berkeley. For the first time in several decades, this assembly race doesn’t include a candidate with direct ties to Berkeley City Hall, though one has garnered a slate of endorsements from familiar faces there.

Current District 15 Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley is termed out of office at the end of the year, opening the door to an energized contingent of candidates interested in her seat. The 64% majority Democrat district covers a swatch of the East Bay from north Oakland to Hercules, including the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, and Richmond. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Beware deceptive ‘Save Post Office’ ballot petition

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Don’t be deceived. Backers of a proposed measure for the Berkeley ballot in November are circulating voter-signature petitions under the guise of “saving the Post Office.” But the main thrust of the measure is to impose prohibitively restrictive fees and requirements on new projects in Berkeley’s core downtown. It would not guarantee that the Post Office would continue operating.

The result would be a devastating blow to our acclaimed Downtown Area Plan. This successful plan was formulated through extensive public … Continue reading »

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Berkeley could OK raised minimum wage plan this month

Min wage rally
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Berkeley is a step closer to implementing a minimum wage raise it hopes will be adopted regionally after a new ordinance was introduced at a special City Council minimum wage meeting on Thursday May 1, International Worker’s Day.

At the conclusion of a long meeting in a hot auditorium at Longfellow Middle School, at which dozens of people gave public testimony, the City Council voted to consider at its meeting next week a new ordinance introduced by Councilman Laurie Capitelli, co-sponsored by Councilman Jesse Arreguín. If passed, the measure would eventually raise Berkeley’s minimum wage to the highest in the state.

The new ordinance, which came as a surprise to many who attended the meeting, was a modification of a draft submitted by the city’s Commission on Labor last month that had been more than a year in the making. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley mayor launches new education initiative, talks challenges and successes, at State of the City address

Mayor Tom Bates gave his State of the City address Wednesday night. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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For the first time in three years, Mayor Tom Bates addressed the city in a special event Wednesday designed to highlight the challenges and opportunities Berkeley is facing.

About 70 people attended Bates’ “State of the City” address at Berkeley City College to hear what the mayor had to say.

After an introduction from Berkeley City College president Deborah Budd — who said Bates is known as the school’s “founding father” — the mayor highlighted Berkeley’s downtown housing and restaurant boom, a clean-up effort underway on Telegraph Avenue, the city’s 50-year low in crime reports, and a variety of sustainability successes around town. … Continue reading »

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Drone technology in Berkeley may see further study

Advocates calling to make Berkeley a "no drone zone" set up in front of Tuesday night's council meeting to spread the word. Photo: mary mad
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Tuesday evening, the Berkeley City Council delved into the sticky issue of drone regulation, and plans to take an even deeper look at the related ramifications at some point in the future.

The council held a special work session — with no action planned, and none taken — to hear from three city panels that considered drone technology after local officials asked them to offer feedback on it in late 2012.

Two of those bodies came out in support of making Berkeley a “no drone zone,” while the third said drones should be available for the city to use in case of emergency with appropriate oversight. … Continue reading »

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Mayor to focus on downtown, Telegraph, bike sharing, minimum wage, at State of the City address Wednesday

Mayor Tom Bates
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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will focus on four topics Wednesday in his State of the City address: the renaissance of downtown, proposals to raise the minimum wage, the bike sharing program that is slated to launch next year, and the revitalization plan for Telegraph Avenue.

The address, which is open to the public, takes place at the Berkeley City College auditorium Wednesday, April 30, from 5:30-7 p.m. (Reservations are requested. Scroll down for details.)  … Continue reading »

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Mayor proposes East Bay regional minimum wage

Mayor Tom Bates. March 5, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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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

Bike share
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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

Pacific Steel Casting Plant. 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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