Tag Archives: Measure T

Major office/R&D campus proposed near Aquatic Park

The Jones family, which owns this 9-acre parcel fronting Aquatic Park, is asking Berkeley for a Master Use Permit to develop a life science "campus" of four to six buildings. Photo: Joe DeCredico
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The family that has owned a two-block-long swath of land along Aquatic Park since 1979 is asking the city of Berkeley for a Master Use Permit to construct “a premier life science research and development campus” along the waterfront.

Jason Jones, who owns the land with his father, Charles, wants to transform the 8.67-acre parcel, which is bordered by Bolivar Drive to the west, Addison Street to the north, Union Pacific Railroad Tracks (aka Third Street) to the east, and Bancroft to the south, into a cluster of four to six buildings that will hold light industrial manufacturing, research and development space, offices and stores, according to documents submitted to the city.

There will be a community meeting about the project, known as Aquatic Park Campus, on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Frances Albrier Community Center Auditorium, 200 Park St. The official addresses for the proposed MUP are 600 Addison St., 91 Bolivar Dr., and 2222 Third St.

The complex would cover 475,000 square feet of land and would include “an urban-style mini-plaza” at the corner of Addison Street and Bolivar Drive to provide “a gateway experience to the project,” according to documents. There would be a 300,000 square foot parking structure, a 2,500-square-foot manufacturing building, (a mitigation for a plant that was torn down about three years ago so Jones could do an environmental clean-up of the land). As a community benefit, the project would also widen Bolivar Street and add paths, sidewalks, landscaping, bike paths, and parking, according to Joe DeCredico, the land use planning consultant for the project. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley commission shortlists 3 for cannabis dispensary

More than 50 people crowded into a room at City Hall on Feb. 4 to listen as the Medical Cannabis Commission selected three finalists for the fourth dispensary. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley’s Medical Cannabis Commission selected three finalists for the city’s coveted fourth dispensary opportunity Thursday. This despite the fact that a number of the commission’s members wanted to recommend all six dispensary finalists to the City Council as a way to suggest that Berkeley needs more medical cannabis in the community.

The top vote getter was Berkeley iCANN Health Center at 3243 Sacramento St. near Alcatraz Avenue. Its proprietor, Frances Sue Taylor, is a Berkeley resident who is on the board of the Alameda County Advisory Commission on Aging. iCANN would focus on reaching out to the senior community, she said. Six commissioners put iCANN at the top of their list.

Read more about medical cannabis issues in Berkeley.

The next highest vote getter was Berkeley Innovative Health, which would be located at 1229 San Pablo Ave., between Gilman and Harrison streets. Its proprietors are Shareef El-Sissi and Soufyan Abou-Ahmed and the dispensary would be modeled after their Garden of Eden dispensary in Hayward. Five commissioners put BIH near the top of their lists.

The third recommended dispensary is Berkeley Compassionate Care Center, which would be run out of the Ameoba Records building at 2465 Telegraph Ave. The owners of that dispensary would be Marc Weinstein and David Prinz. Its manager would be Debby Goldsberry, a founding member of the Berkeley Patients Group, and a board member of NORML, a nonprofit that has worked to legalize marijuana since its founding in 1970. BCC got four votes. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley may consider new rules for cannabis grow sites

Cannabis being inspected at Berkeley Patients Group. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Update 11/19/14: The City Council voted on Nov. 18 to refer this item to the Planning Commission for further review.

Even though Berkeley residents voted in 2010 to allow six commercial cannabis grow sites to operate in the city’s manufacturing zone, none has opened – and none probably will unless the city changes its guidelines, according to a report that will be presented tonight to the City Council.

When Measure T was adopted in 2010, it restricted cannabis grow factories to the city’s M (manufacturing) zone. But space appropriate for operations of 30,000 square feet (the maximum allowed for each site) is extremely limited, according to the report prepared by the city’s Medical Cannabis Commission. Moreover, very few properties in that district come up for rent.

“In trying to relocate to expand our operations, we encountered scarcity of suitable space in the M District, compounded by apprehension from Berkeley landlords to lease to cannabis related businesses,” one cannabis businessman testified to the MCC in November 2013. His words were included in the report. … Continue reading »

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Rent Board commissioner Alejandro Soto-Vigil challenges 22-year incumbent Linda Maio in Berkeley’s District 1

alejandro Soto-Vigil
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Alejandro Soto-Vigil, city Rent Board commissioner and aide to Councilman Kriss Worthington, has filed to run for Berkeley City Council in District 1. He is the sole challenger to incumbent Linda Maio, who has occupied the seat since 1992.

Soto-Vigil said he is running to burst what he calls the “bubble” of the current council.

“I think I could take the bubble out, and bridge people who are on the ground to council,” said Soto-Vigil, who grew up in Richmond and graduated from UC Berkeley and the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law in Washington, D.C.  “I want to know what the pulse is of the people.” … Continue reading »

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The most important stories in Berkeley in 2012

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Berkeley in 2012 was filled with drama — a contested election, a failed nomination for a new school superintendent, a few missteps by the Chief of Police, and major changes at the University of California, among other events. Here’s a recap of the issues that had the deepest impact on Berkeley, plus a few fun ones thrown in.

City Government

The year got off to a tragic start with the untimely death of 37-year-old City Clerk Deanna Despain. She fell down the stairs of her Oakland home on Jan. 8. Her husband discovered her body when he returned from a late-night meeting. Their daughter was soundly asleep upstairs. Since then, Mark Numainville has been filling in as acting city clerk. In May, after serving as interim city manager for six months, the City Council appointed Christine Daniel permanently to the job. She replaced Phil Kamlarz, who had held the city’s top job for eight years. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley voting: Where you live is how you vote… sort of

Interactive map with precinct-by-precinct results for Measure S. Click the green arrows to conceal info boxes. View the map on Geocommons here.

Although most of the results of Berkeley’s 2012 election were known on Nov. 6, and the final tally completed over a week ago, an analysis of the precinct-by-precinct certified results provides a number of fascinating insights.

(The certified results were released by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters just before Thanksgiving last week — the full 9MB 748-page statement of vote is available for download, but only as a PDF, not as a useful data file.) … Continue reading »

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Final election count shows no change in Berkeley tallies

Staff at the Registrar of Voters count ballots last week. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Alameda County is the first populous county in California to complete its election count, according to Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald (“If I can brag a little,” he said). The countywide turnout of 74.3% was slightly down on 2008, when it reached 78.3%. The registrar published the final, uncertified count last night.

Detailed precinct by precinct votes will be available shortly after the results are certified, which Macdonald expects to do next Wednesday. Today and Monday, his staff are doing the required 1% tally before certification: a random 1% of precincts is checked manually to see whether there are any discrepancies between the voter machine-reported tally and the manual tally.

In Berkeley, the final count revealed no changes since election day. The close count on Measure T, which would have changed zoning in West Berkeley, finished with the opponents ahead by 512 votes. The narrow margin Alejandro Soto-Vigil had for the fourth seat on the Rent Stabilization Board also held up: Soto-Vigil finished 210 votes ahead of incumbent Igor Tregub. Yesterday, Councilmember Jesse Arreguín appointed Tregub to the Zoning Adjustments Board.  … Continue reading »

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Inside absentee, provisional ballot counting

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By Joe DeCredico

Joe DeCredico, an architect based in West Berkeley and the co-chair of the Yes on Measure T campaign, doesn’t know how the final tally on the proposed west Berkeley zoning ordinance will come out, but he was intrigued to find out more about the process of counting the outstanding votes. He therefore spent time over the weekend at the Alameda County Registrar. It is clear, he says, that Registrar Dave Macdonald and his team do a terrific job.

As the co-chair of Yes on T, I of course have a vested interest how the votes are counted, but the geek inside of me was also just curious as to how the process of counting absentee and provisional ballots works. So Saturday morning I arrived bright and early at the County Registrar of Voters to exercise my civic right and observe the ballot counting. For those who are interested, and for those who keep sniping about how long the process takes, I hope these observations will clear the waters. … Continue reading »

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Vote update: Yes on Measure T slips further behind

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The staff at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters worked throughout the weekend, ploughing through the thousands of vote by mail ballots. With the updated figures posted on the registrar’s website yesterday afternoon, Measure T, which would alter the zoning in West Berkeley, looks unlikely to pass: the opponents’s lead has grown to 440, 23,131 to 22,691.

The gap on the sit ordinance, Measure S, remains large. No on S votes are 1,583 ahead of yes votes, 25,191 to 23,608.

Only about 1,000 new votes were added to the Berkeley totals yesterday. On Friday, Registrar Dave Macdonald said he planned to finish counting vote by mail ballots over the weekend. His staff will then turn their efforts to validating and counting the 40,000 provisional ballots countywide. … Continue reading »

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And then there was one: Measure T down to single vote

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In the latest results from the Registrar of Voters, the Yes on T campaign has inched into the lead: 16,640 to 16,639.

On election night, opponents of Measure T, which would change zoning in West Berkeley, had a 123 vote lead. That narrowed yesterday to 26, and today it vanished.

None of the other Berkeley races have changed much in the latest update. Opponents of Measure S, the sit ordinance, still lead by nearly 1,000 votes, 18,254 to 17,273.

The Alameda County Registrar plans to issue a daily update until all votes are counted.

View a photo gallery of democracy in action as Alameda County Registrar employees continue to process outstanding ballots. … Continue reading »

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West Berkeley measure gap narrows to 26 votes

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The latest Berkeley vote tallies, updated with some of the vote by mail and provisional ballots, have further narrowed the gap on Measure T, which would revise some of the zoning in West Berkeley. Overnight, opponents to Measure T had a 123 vote lead. That’s now down to 26 votes.

Measure S remains close, but the gap is still significant at 1,001.

Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald released the latest figures this afternoon shortly after 4:00 p.m. and will be doing so daily until all the ballots are processed.

“This election has been very typical,” Macdonald said, responding to questions about the volume of uncounted ballots. “We have 100,000 vote by mail and 40,000 provisional ballots left countywide. It’s been a very smooth election.” … Continue reading »

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Mayor Bates hails election as harbinger of change

Bates HQ by DH Parks
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On the surface, the local Berkeley vote appears to provide an echo of the national election story: after all the activity, accusations and counter-accusations, inside money and outside money, the city is about where it was before election day.

Many provisional and mail ballots have yet to be counted, but if the results don’t shift significantly, just about all of the incumbents were re-elected (only the Rent Board remains in doubt) and the majority on the City Council still sides with fourth term Mayor Tom Bates.

But Bates sees the results as a confirmation of change in Berkeley. Even seeming defeats, such as the currently trailing Measures S and T, spur his enthusiasm.

“I’m feeling great,” he said. “It was a really excellent election, for the presidential race, Prop. 30 and Prop. 32. And I got back my council.”

As for his own victory in pulling in 55% of the votes counted so far, Bates said he thought the result was remarkable given that he had “five opponents pounding away at me and at my record.”

He said he thought the result showed that “people like the tack we are trying to take with the city,” which he described as a denser city developed around transit sites. “I’m really looking forward to the next four years and to seeing new green, well-designed developments in downtown Berkeley,” he said. “Stay tuned.”

Some contestants had been hoping this was a year for realignment of Berkeley politics. The “Anybody But Bates” plan by challengers Kriss Worthington and Jacquelyn McCormick, however, failed to force an instant run-off in the mayoral contest. Among local measures, the two designed to shake up the way city government works — Measure U, the so-called Sunshine Ordinance, and Measure V, which would have required biannual reporting of liabilities and a freeze on taxes and laws without certification — were roundly defeated.  … Continue reading »

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Remaining Berkeley votes could change close contests

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Update, 11:45 a.m.: According to election law, the remaining votes must be counted and reported within 31 days of the election, so by Dec. 7. Councilman Gordon Wozniak, writing in our Comments section, says it will likely take about one week: “It takes about a week to count all the absentee ballots that arrived on Election Day or were dropped off at a polling place, plus provisionals,” he says.

From the Secretary of State website: “In close contests, a clear winner may not be apparent for many days, as county officials verify and count millions of unprocessed ballots that include vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots cast at polling places, and others. By law, counties have 31 days to complete their official canvass and certify final election results to the Secretary of State, and they often need that full month to finish the work.”  [Hat-tip Alina.]

Original story: The vote tallies announced by the Registrar of Voters last night are probably missing at least 20,000 Berkeley votes, which means some of the close Berkeley races could be affected.

The vote on Measure T, the West Berkeley zoning changes, is particularly close. Only 123 votes separate the two sides. Measure S, the sit ordinance, is also close, with 1,055 votes between the sides.

Last night, 32,661 votes were recorded in the mayoral contest. Four years ago, over 56,000 Berkeleyans voted for mayor. Given the high turnouts observed in Berkeley yesterday, it’s clear there are plenty of votes remaining to be counted. … Continue reading »

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