The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday this week, with a special session on the mid-year crime report at 5:30 p.m., and the regular meeting at 7 p.m.
The special session
Berkeleyside covered the basics of the mid-year crime report from the Berkeley Police Department last week for our readers. Indicators were good, with police reporting a 44% reduction in violent crime over the first six months of 2014, as compared to the same period the prior year. Police officials, including Chief Michael Meehan, will walk council through the report, and answer questions on the numbers. See the agenda item here.
The action calendar
The action calendar is quite short Tuesday night, with only two items: a proposal about rental subsidies for homeless transition-age youth; and an item from Councilman Kriss Worthington about rental relief for merchants at the Telegraph Channing Mall.
HOUSING HELP FOR TRANSITION-AGED HOMELESS YOUTH On the rental subsidies, council has two choices: To follow a city Housing Commission recommendation and provide $100,000 in annual rental subsidies for the youth; or go with the city manager’s suggestion and take no action at this time. According to the staff report, “Funding this new program would require reducing funding to or de-funding an existing program.” The city is in the process of taking a comprehensive look at its homeless services, with a new report set for council later this month. Staff suggests that council should wait to see the whole picture before allocating money to any particular group.
TELEGRAPH CHANNING MALL As far as the merchants at the Telegraph Channing Mall, they’ve been having trouble with the city since last year. The city owns the southside shops and parking garage where a number of merchants have said they have faced unfair rents, poor conditions and other issues. (The 14-shop mall sits at the base of the city-owned Telegraph Channing — formerly “Sather Gate” — Parking Garage just west of Telegraph Avenue between Durant Avenue and Channing Way.) The city says it’s been working with the merchants to address those concerns, but the problem hasn’t gone away. According to the latest information, from Councilman Worthington, merchants have said they are happy with plans for better lighting and signage at the mall, but several financial aspects of their rental agreements with the city remain to be worked out. A solution may be close, however, as leases for four of the beleaguered merchants (Items 5-8) are on the consent calendar for approval Tuesday.
Other items of interest
PARK IMPROVEMENTS The Virginia-McGee Totland play area is set to get a boost from Measure WW funding, to the tune of nearly $400,000. Details are here.
DENSITY MADE EASIER The city has been reshaping its policy around accessory dwelling units to make it easier for residents to build them. Get the scoop.
IDEAS ON LABOR Councilman Jesse Arreguín has suggested several amendments to the city’s Living Wage Ordinance, with a referral to the city’s Commission on Labor. See them here.
WORTHINGTON ITEMS This week, Councilman Kriss Worthington has authored five items on the consent calendar. They include a city manager referral regarding parking tickets and taxi cabs; an endorsement to support the National Housing Trust Fund; a request to write the county to support expanding its plastic bag ban; a request to support a statewide proposition on insurance rates; and a request to oppose a statewide proposition on medical malpractice.
INFORMATION ITEMS Information reports on Tuesday’s agenda include an update on the Breathmobile — a mobile asthma clinic Berkeleyside wrote about in 2012; an update from Berkeley’s police chief on a policy the department plans to implement to address concerns about racial profiling; and news about what the city is doing in terms of water conservation.
There are other items on the Sept. 16 agenda. See them online. The next upcoming council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 30, with a special session at 5:30 p.m. followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m.
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)
Gordon Wozniak @Gordon_Wozniak (District 8)
Learn more about the Berkeley City Council and how to connect with local representatives via the city website.
Has something else on the agenda caught your interest? Let us know in the comments.
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