Tag Archives: Measure R

City of Berkeley heads to court over redistricting lines

The city has filed a lawsuit to ask a judge to decide which lines to use during November's election. (Click to learn more.)
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The city of Berkeley has filed a lawsuit against the Alameda County registrar of voters and the Berkeley city clerk to determine which district lines to use in the November 2014 election.

City officials say the lawsuit is necessary to determine district lines after a successful referendum drive by some Berkeley voters earlier this year halted the use of a new district map adopted by a 6-3 vote by the Berkeley City Council in December.

The city is required to redraw district lines every decade to rebalance the population across Berkeley’s eight council districts.

Three members of the council — Kriss Worthington (District 7), Jesse Arreguín (District 4) and Max Anderson (District 3) — have taken issue with the adopted map, primarily due to the boundaries of District 7. The district, as adopted, features a majority of student-aged voters, but detractors say it cuts out some of the most progressive members of the Cal community by failing to incorporate several blocks north and east of campus, which include co-op housing and other group living accommodations such as dorms and International House. … Continue reading »

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Official pushes for independent redistricting panel

Councilman Jesse Arreguin. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley Councilman Jesse Arreguín has launched a ballot initiative to change the city’s approach to redistricting, arguing that “partisan self interest” and a “broken” process have crippled recent efforts, as well as those during the last redistricting attempt more than a decade ago.

Arreguín wants the city to create an independent citizen redistricting commission “that will be insulated from political influence, represent the diversity of the community, and develop lines based on objective criteria that are also not bound by incumbency.”

Among the changes he would like to see is the removal of a current requirement that sitting council members must be included within any proposed district lines that are submitted.  … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: We don’t need a redistricting referendum

Xan Join collected a number of signatures in late December. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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There is a campaign afoot to waste Berkeleyans’ time and tax dollars.

On Dec. 17, 2013, the Berkeley City Council adopted a long-awaited redistricting map that rebalances population across Berkeley’s City Council Districts. The vote came after two rounds of redistricting over the last three years, including a total of 17 community forums, public hearings, and Council meetings, as well as a voter-approved amendment to the City Charter. But now, a vocal minority is spearheading a referendum effortContinue reading »

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Tight deadline to get redistricting referendum on ballot

Xan Join collected a number of signatures in late December. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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With only two weeks left to collect 5,275 signatures to force a city council redistricting measure on the ballot, members of the Berkeley Referendum Coalition are holding a rally on Saturday to train volunteers.

Those who are opposed to the redistricting plan approved by the City Council in December plan to meet at Mudracker’s Café at 2801 Telegraph Ave. at 11 a.m. to kick off an intense weekend of voter education.

“We are training people how to get signatures,” said Alejandro Soto-Vigil, an aide to City Councilman Kriss Worthington who is helping plan the campaign. “We are going to be sending teams out, generally two people per team, to certain blocks throughout the city of Berkeley, dispatching them to supermarkets, BART, and the neighborhoods that are going to be adversely affected by the redistricting.”

About 45 people showed up to the first meeting on Dec. 21 and organizers hope many more will turn out this weekend, said Soto-Vigil.

The Berkeley Referendum Coalition hopes to overturn a new redistricting map that they believe creates a less progressive District 7 and which is aimed at forcing out Worthington, said Soto-Vigil. … Continue reading »

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Government

Berkeley redistricting map splits council, community

Map from BSDC
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What some described as a historic move by the Berkeley City Council to approve a new student-majority district centered around Telegraph Avenue was decried by others Tuesday night as political “gerrymandering” aimed at splitting the city’s progressive voice and excluding some of the most active students from the mix.

The council voted 6-3, on second reading, to adopt a new redistricting map, with council members Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguín and Max Anderson voting against the proposal.

The fate of Worthington’s district, District 7, has been the focus of most of the outcry about the city’s new redistricting map. Much of the discussion since July has revolved around whether the city would adopt a map that’s been part of the public dialogue since April, or one submitted in July after the submission process had officially ended. The newer map was created by Stefan Elgstrand, an intern in Worthington’s office.

The earlier map, via the Berkeley Student District Campaign (BSDC), has District 7 concentrated mostly on the south side of campus, while Elgstrand’s map, the United Student District Amendment (USDA), includes parts of northside, with fewer blocks included south of campus.

“We have no choice but to go forward with a referendum,” Elgstrand told the council during public comment Tuesday night. He said the BSDC map excludes too many students, many of whom live in Cal co-op houses, several dorms and International House. … Continue reading »

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Government

Redistricting map approved, referendum idea looms

Students crammed in to the Berkeley City Council chambers Tuesday night for a vote on new district lines in Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council approved a new redistricting map to redraw council boundaries to reflect the city’s population changes over the past decade and increase the number of student-aged voters in District 7.

Proponents of the new map say District 7 will become the first student district in the country. Cal students have helped spearhead the campaign to build support for the map, which they said has broad support on campus and in the neighborhoods nearby.

But detractors of the new map say it is a watered down district that will dilute progressive student power, and pushed for a different proposal. The vote split the council, with council members Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguín voting against it, and Councilman Max Anderson abstaining.

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Berkeley council may consider 2 campus district maps

Councilman Kriss Worthington’s office created an alternate vision of a student district that adds Foothill, Bowles, Stern, I-House and 11 co-ops.
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Following pleas to give students more time to get involved with Berkeley’s redistricting process, the Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday night to delay its decision on proposed changes to the city’s council districts that are required to balance the population among them.

The council voted in July to select a preferred redistricting map, the Berkeley Student District Campaign (BSDC) map, which creates a “campus district” made up largely of student-aged residents who live near UC Berkeley but is otherwise not a radical departure from many of the city’s existing council districts.

In June, Councilman Kriss Worthington‘s office created an alternative map — the United Student District Amendment (USDA) map — which includes 11 co-ops, three dorms and International House that aren’t part of the BSDC map. The USDA map would boost the population of student-aged residents from 86 (BSDC) to 90%. (Worthington said Thursday that currently his district is composed of about 70% student-aged residents.) … Continue reading »

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Redistricting meeting sheds light on past process

Council approved the "Berkeley Student District Campaign" map in December.
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A small group of community members came together earlier this week at the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce to learn how the city’s redistricting process, underway for the past two years, will impact the city going forward.

Redistricting takes place in Berkeley every 10 years, when U.S. Census data are released, to ensure that districts have roughly equal populations.

Since at least 2000, students and others who live around the UC Berkeley campus have been trying to establish a student-majority district with the aim of giving students a larger voice and role in city decisions. In 2000, a proposal that essentially created a ring around campus was rejected by the city attorney because it didn’t comply with the city charter’s rules for redistricting. Last fall, Berkeley voters passed Measure R to change the way redistricting takes place. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Have a say in how the city’s district lines are drawn

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Electoral districts, either within a city, a county, or a state, are drawn to best represent the people and communities within them. That is, unless you live in Berkeley.

In 1986, Berkeley adopted districts for its City Council. Yet rather than permit districts that represent our communities as they grow and change, as is done everywhere else in the country, Berkeley has made the 1986 lines permanent, allowing for only minor deviations for population adjustment.

Big deal, you might say. … Continue reading »

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After 7 years, Berkeley gets a new downtown plan

A view of Berkeley's downtown from the Skydeck. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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After hundreds of meetings, seven years of contentious debate, and the sting of a ballot referendum still fresh, the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night adopted a new plan for its downtown.

The 8 to 1 vote, with Councilmember Kriss Worthington dissenting, may bring as many as seven tall buildings to the area bounded by Hearst Avenue to the north, Dwight Way to the south, MLK on the west, and Fulton on the east. It creates open space requirements, allows a faster approval process for buildings that are extra “green,” encourages LEED Gold construction, and creates a fund to build more affordable housing.

And, according to critics, it might create a cookie-cutter approach to building construction and a density that is out of character with Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Taller buildings, open spaces on the cards for downtown

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After seven years of trying, including an approved plan that was then rescinded in 2009, a Downtown Area Plan for Berkeley (DAP) looks close to passage.

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday night, the plan was open for public comment. The council will hold a special meeting next at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday with the plan the only item of business, and, from the tenor of both public comment and councilmember remarks this week, it looks likely to pass.

The plan brought to the council (alert: the plan packet is a massive 1,204-page, 173MB PDF) follows the 64% approval by voters of the advisory Measure R in November, 2010. It includes up to seven tall buildings, open space and green building requirements, and a so-called “green pathway” to streamline the permit process (details are at the foot of this story). What the plan does not yet include are details on the Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP) and related impact and in-lieu fees that will be part of the DAP implementation. According to the presentation on Tuesday, those elements will come to council this spring. … Continue reading »

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Green

Berkeley voters choose direction for downtown

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Berkeley voters overwhelmingly approved a new downtown plan Tuesday, paving the way for construction of five new tall buildings and a denser, transit-oriented community.

Voters passed the controversial Measure R with 64% of the vote.

“I was floored that 64% of the people voted the way they did,” Mayor Tom Bates said Wednesday. “It said to me that people understand global warming. If we want to reduce it we have to have people living downtown, near … Continue reading »

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Real estate

Measure R: Future direction of Berkeley’s downtown?

"Downtown" area expanded under Measure R
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There’s no issue more contentious on the November 2 ballot than Measure R, the advisory measure that establishes a new downtown plan.

Measure R, placed on the ballot by the City Council after Berkeley residents collected enough signatures to force a previous downtown plan to a vote, sets new guidelines on growth and development in the downtown area.

With its call to permit five new high rises in an expanded downtown core, Measure R has either been touted as Berkeley’s environmentally-friendly solution to suburban sprawl and urban blight or accused of spurring the Manhattanization of Berkeley. And with the news that a company headed by Chicago developer Sam Zell has made the largest single donation to the Yes on R campaign (his Equity Residential company contributed $25,000) opponents contend they have discovered the smoking gun that proves that bad intentions (read profit) is the motivator behind Measure R.

As in all election measures that prompt an excess of hyperbole, many of these claims go too far. And each also holds a kernel of truth. … Continue reading »

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