Tonight’s Berkeley City Council meeting turns again to several items related to local policing, with three items on the agenda (continued from last week) from Councilman Jesse Arreguín regarding local protests in December, and an item from council members Darryl Moore, Arreguín and Linda Maio about body-worn and vehicle dashboard cameras for police, which could be in place in six months if the proposal is approved by council.
There’s a special session at 5:30 p.m. about the city’s goBerkeley pilot parking program. With the program set to end later this year, council will hear about program highlights, as well as possibilities for next steps. Drivers polled by the city said the program made it easier to park around town. Read the staff report for more details, and don’t miss past Berkeleyside coverage. Action will not be taken tonight.
The action calendar
Tuesday night’s action calendar includes the potential adoption of a new energy-saving ordinance in Berkeley that will affect building owners by requiring energy audits and new fees. The city says the plan will update outdated laws related to building sustainability, and will be important as Berkeley works to meet its Climate Action Plan goals. See Berkeleyside’s explanation of that ordinance, as well as the reports under Item C of the “continued business” action calendar.
Several council members have asked the city to implement a new policy that would see police officers wearing video cameras, and mounting them in patrol cars. Darryl Moore, Jesse Arreguín and Linda Maio have asked for a report from the city manager within three months, and would like officers to be using the cameras within six months. According to a report from Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, it would cost $90,000 to $135,000 to outfit officers with cameras, as well as an estimated $45,000 in annual storage fees related to the footage. (Additional potential costs for replacement equipment and staffing were noted but not tabulated.) The chief said that, all told, the time spent by officers dealing with the footage would amount to about five full-time positions over the course of a year. See the Police Review Commission’s report and recommendation.
Speaking of cameras, there are two information reports on the agenda about a possible voluntary surveillance camera database the city is looking into creating. See a Police Review Commission report on the subject, and a report from the police chief. No action is planned.
As previously reported on Berkeleyside, Councilman Jesse Arreguín has placed three items on the agenda related to policing. (These items were carried over from last week.)
- The first item is a proposed motion for council to support national demands from the group “Ferguson Action”; push for changes in the Alameda County district attorney’s office related to the investigations of in-custody deaths; and to “Issue a statement of concern and support for people of color and their families who have been affected by injury or death by law enforcement agencies.”
- The second item suggests changes to the Berkeley Police Department’s General Orders related to crowd control, mutual aid and use of force.
- In the third, Arreguín calls for an independent investigation into the police response Dec. 6, when crowds were teargassed by officers, struck with police batons and hit by “less-lethal” police projectiles on Telegraph Avenue. Arreguín and Councilman Kriss Worthington previously called publicly for an investigation to be launched, but this is the first time council will consider that option.
There’s also a public hearing scheduled before council related to 2610 Hillegass Ave. (Item 24). The property owner wants to add eight bedrooms to a 23-unit building by converting eight one-bedroom apartments into two-bedroom apartments. The zoning board denied the use permit application last March, and staff has recommended that council uphold that decision. See Berkeleyside’s March 2014 story on the project for details.
Has something else on the agenda caught your interest? Let us know in the comments.
The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday nights at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Special sessions generally take place at 5:30 p.m. and regular meetings begin at 7 p.m. Council agendas are available online here. Watch the meetings online here.
Berkeleyside often covers council meetings live on Twitter. Others sometimes do the same and the discussion can get spirited. Follow council coverage on Twitter via hashtag #berkmtg. Follow along in real-time here, and tag your tweets with #berkmtg to join in. You do not need a Twitter account to follow along. Just click here.
Council-related Twitter handles:
@LindaMaio (District 1)
Darryl Moore @BerkCouncil (District 2)
@JesseArreguin (District 4)
Laurie Capitelli @berkcap (District 5)
Kriss Worthington @k__worthington (District 7)
Lori Droste @loridroste (District 8)
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