Our first regular Council meeting of the new year is on January 23rd, followed by another meeting on the 30th. Our agendas include a proposal to include new slogans (e.g. “Love Life”) on all Welcome to Berkeley Signs, a Community Surveillance Ordinance (which you can provide feedback on through the Berkeley Considers platform), rules regarding off-leash dogs at Cesar Chavez park, and several other items. You can see the complete agendas here.
It’s come to the City’s attention that the federal government is reportedly planning large immigration raids in Bay Area Sanctuary Cities, including possibly Berkeley. To report Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity, you can call the Alameda County Immigration Legal & Education Partnership (ACILEP) Hotline at 510-241-4011 for rapid response to ICE and legal services. The Mayor’s Office has also created a useful handout with additional resources.
Lastly, if you hadn’t had a chance to read the recent Berkeleyside article titled ““With restaurants booming, Berkeley’s vacancy rate for commercial spaces is at 5-year low” about local businesses and commercial vacancies in Berkeley, I would recommend looking at it. Keeping our commercial corridors is a priority of mine, and I am working closely with our Office of Economic Development to ensure the Elmwood shopping district vacancies are filled soon. Please also check out Economic Development’s staff report and presentation on this issue as well.
As always, I’ve included additional announcements and events below.
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8
Need a street or sidewalk repair? Want to report illegal dumping?
Use Berkeley's online 311 form (either through the General Request form or a specific topic) or call 311 from a landline, or 510-981-2489. Please note that my office routes all the service requests we receive through this customer service center, so your request will be handled most efficiently by directly contacting 311.
Berkeley Police Department Warns Community About Recent Scam Attempts
The Berkeley Department is alerting community members about an ongoing telephone scam where crooks are attempting to extort money from unsuspecting victims. On January 16, 2018, the Berkeley Police Communication Center received over a dozen calls from community members regarding what they perceived to be a scam. A person or persons with a heavily accented voice called claiming to be Berkeley Police Officers and threatened to arrest them if they did not pay them. The Berkeley Police Department is not making these phone calls. They are part of a scam. Members of the community are urged to avoid giving personal or financial information over the phone. If they receive an unanticipated call from the Police Department, they can always ask the officer for a call back number and then call the Berkeley Police Communication Center (510-981-5900) to verify the identity of the alleged caller. If you have become a victim as described above, you are encouraged to call the Berkeley Police Communication Center to report the crime at the number listed above.
City/UC Berkeley/ Student Relations Committee: Next Meeting is February 5th
In an effort to have ongoing dialogue with UC Berkeley about school and city relations, the City has formed a City/UC/Student Relations Committee. This committee consists of City Council Members elected from Districts 4, 6, 7, and 8, two representatives of UC Berkeley undergraduate students, two representatives of UC Berkeley graduate students, and two representatives of UC Berkeley. The committee’s next meeting is on Monday, February 5, from 3:30 PM to 5 PM at UC Berkeley Senate Chambers, where there will be discussion and action on Group Living Accommodations and other items. The agenda has not yet been posted.
Developing Regulations for Cannabis Businesses
As the City of Berkeley develops regulations for recreational, adult-use cannabis and refines those for medical cannabis, you can give input at a series of public meetings or via email. The Cannabis and Planning commissions will be discussing regulations such as the distances from sensitive uses, business locations, delivery services and a selection process for new recreational cannabis retailers.
The City regulations will align with recently released State of California regulations for the cannabis industry as a whole. The new state regulations created new license types for retail sales, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and testing labs. The City Council will take final recommendations from the Cannabis and Planning Commissions and consider them publicly for final adoption in the spring of 2018. You can attend meetings, learn more online or give input here.