February is a busy month for Council - we had one Council meeting on Tuesday, and have two more this month. At our last meeting, we discussed potential ballot measures and bonds to help support Berkeley infrastructure and projects. Berkeley has several outstanding needs, and it’s difficult to pick and choose how to prioritize them. Just this week we learned that to restore the Berkeley Pier, which was closed last year due to safety concerns, we would need to pay for a $200,000 study to determine the extent of necessary repairs. At the same time, Willard Pool and John Hinkel Park have been closed for cost saving measures, and Council has no safe building in which to hold our meetings (Old City Hall is not structurally sound but we continue to meet there). These are critical and important decisions.
On February 16th, Council will be hearing from a panel of housing experts on how to address our housing shortage and affordability crisis. The Legislative Analyst’s Office recently published a report on California’s high housing costs. I strongly encourage you to read it, especially if you have interest in housing affordability in Berkeley.
On February 23rd, Council has a packed agenda where we’ll be discussing a fourth cannabis dispensary in Berkeley, discussing the City’s Reserve policies, and debating additional funding strategies for parks capital projects. The agenda is available here. As always, I look forward to your input.
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8
My next office hours will be on Thursday, 3/3 from 9:30 - 11am at Cafe Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave. Feel free to drop by – no appointment necessary.
New Bike Share Stations are Coming to Berkeley…. Help Decide Where!
Come to a South Berkeley Bike Share planning workshop to decide on locations for bike share expansion in downtown and South Berkeley. When: Thursday, 2/25, Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St. Berkeley. Sessions begin at 6pm and 7pm - attend either session! If you can’t attend, suggest a location at suggest.bayareabikeshare.com
Opportunity to get involved:
I have an opening on the City’s Personnel Board which advises the City Manager on personnel policy and administration, and conducts hearings to assist in resolving complaints of unrepresented employees. Details here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
I'd like to introduce Shannon Brown as my Landmarks Preservation Commissioner. Shannon is District 8 resident:
Shannon was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas (but his great grandfather, like Lori, was born in in Pickaway County, Ohio)! After obtaining an AB the University of Kansas, he got a PhD in economics at Berkeley, where he met his wife Judith. After academic careers, where Shannon specialized in economics and financial management while Judith was a faculty member and an senior administrator, they retired to Berkeley. As they moved around the country — Baltimore, Palo Alto, Houston, Middletown, CT — Shannon enjoyed being involved in local government in a variety of roles.
Serving on the Landmarks Preservation Commission has given Shannon an opportunity to learn about the city, its government and its finances. it has also strengthened his belief that Berkeley could and should be the best governed city in the state. But, in order to achieve this, Shannon believes, the city needs to reform its budgeting system in order to take advantage of what modern computing and networking has to offer.