The lowdown: Berkeley council on Acme bar patio appeal, lead poisoning, hate crimes

Photo by Melati Citrawireja
Council meets at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

The Berkeley City Council meets tonight, Oct. 13, beginning with a special session at 6:30 p.m. to look at a new crowd-sourcing app from Berkeley Community Media called “Mediaphile.” The regular meeting begins at 7 p.m., with only 13 items on the agenda. On the action calendar: Acme Bar & Company has appealed a rejection of its request to expand alcohol service onto its back patio; an enforcement program proposal related to lead paint; and a proposed prevention program related to hate crimes.

Special session

At 6:30 p.m., council will hear a brief report from the executive director of Berkeley Community Media to learn about a new app called Mediaphile. The app allows people to post news and photographs directly to a website. It can be downloaded for Android and iPhone.

Action calendar

ACME BAR PATIO APPEAL Acme Bar & Company, at 2115 San Pablo Ave., has been seeking permission from the city to expand into an unused outdoor patio behind the bar. The city’s Zoning Adjustments Board denied the permit request in May, and Acme has appealed that decision. Acme says the expansion would allow room for 24 more people, and would be a boon to the business financially. According to the staff report, Acme went ahead and opened its patio without permission in 2010, and numerous neighbors complained about noise and other issues. Read the staff report, and see Item 9 for additional background information.

LEAD POISON PREVENTION Council will consider two reports related to lead poisoning. One, from the Community Environmental Advisory Commission, asks the city to look into an enforcement program that would have doctors test 1- to 6-year-old children annually for lead levels that are too high, and report those results when they are discovered. The other recommendation, from city Planning Director Eric Angstadt, asks the city to wait to launch that program and, in the meantime, “conduct a thorough review of the Alameda County Healthy Homes Department (ACHHD) Lead Poisoning Prevention Program performance measures and budget for 2010-2015 for their services in Berkeley as well as their projected activities and budget for the 2015/16 year.” Under Angstadt’s approach, doctors would not be required to test children annually, but the city would remind doctors each year about the importance of early blood screening, and also continue with its existing outreach and education efforts. Read both reports under Item 10.


HATE CRIME PREVENTION Councilman Kriss Worthington has asked the city to “Create a hate crimes prevention response plan.” His item states, “we need to send a loud and clear message that any debate must not and cannot generate into hate crimes against, Jews, Muslims or anyone in our city.” He asks residents to “keep an eye out for any indication that anyone would be threatened, intimidated, bullied, or attacked because of their identity or opinions” and says those who observe possible hate crimes should be sure to “document and report them.” Read the item.

Other items on the agenda

INFO REPORTS: WATER CONSERVATION, POLICE INJURIES There are two information items on the agenda. Council will receive them but will not take action. One is an update outlining the city’s efforts at water conservation, along with a closer look at how the city approaches injuries of employees doing police work. In October, the city auditor made a series of recommendations related to officer injuries, and the department reports that all of those recommendations have been implemented.

Meeting details

Follow live tweets of the Berkeley Council meeting by clicking the image above. Join in by tagging your tweets #berkmtg.
Follow live tweets of the Berkeley Council meeting by clicking the image above. Join in by tagging your tweets #berkmtg.

Berkeleyside often covers council meetings live on Twitter. Others sometimes do the same and the discussion can get spirited. See council coverage on Twitter marked with #berkmtg. Follow along in real-time here, and tag your tweets with #berkmtg to join in.The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday nights at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The special session starts at 6:30 p.m. and the regular meeting begins at 7 p.m. Council agendas are available online here. Watch the meetings online here.

You do not need a Twitter account to follow along. Just click here.

Council-related Twitter handles:
@MayorTomBates (Mayor)
@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)

Learn more about the Berkeley City Council and how to connect with local representatives via the city website.

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If you like the variety of news on Berkeleyside, you will like the variety of voices we present at Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas. Tickets are on sale for the festival in downtown Berkeley on Oct. 16-17. Click here to see the list of speakers.