As you know, one of my priorities is to address housing affordability in Berkeley. Consequently, I wanted to share a Housing 101 page on my website. It covers basic questions like how affordable housing is built and funded, and I encourage you to check it out. City policies tend to support either very low-income or market rate units but not much in between. Since there is often a disconnect between the actual salaries/income levels of our public servants and everyday workers, this 101 document gives several scenarios demonstrating who we’re squeezing out – janitors, teachers, and firefighters who make up the median and moderate income brackets. When we talk about housing, I’d like to see us incentivize units for low, median, and moderate income earners too. If you’re interested in learning more, the City is also offering a learning session on affordable housing. Please see the updates section below. Council will also discuss several housing items at our December 1st meeting.
Speaking of housing, on Tuesday night, Council unanimously passed my Green Affordable Housing Package proposal! Read about it on Berkeleyside. My goals for this proposal are twofold: to create a revenue stream for the Housing Trust Fund by prioritizing housing over underutilized parking spaces in new developments, and to streamline the multi-year bureaucratic process that housing projects go through in Berkeley. While this is no silver bullet to solving the housing crisis, I do believe it’s an innovative way to find funding for affordable housing. I’m pleased to say my proposal had the backing of several housing and urban planning experts and organizations, including the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, TransForm, Livable Berkeley, Bike East Bay, East Bay Housing Organizations, SF Bay Area Renters Federation, Karen Chapple- Head of the Urban Displacement Project, Donald Shoup, Carol Galante, etc. Check out my FAQs and website to help explain the proposal.
In other news, here’s highlights from the past 3 Council meetings:
Amendments to ADU (in-law unit) ordinance were held over until the November 3 meeting.
With regard to undergrounding utility lines, the City Manager will put together a budget and staffing analysis to present to Council in the fall.
Council heard a Measure M update from City Staff
One final note–my office has heard several complaints regarding gas leaf blowers, so I’d like to remind everyone that gas leaf blowers are banned in Berkeley. Please check that you or any gardeners/contractors you employ are not using them. Click the above link to contact our Environmental Health Department, which enforces this ordinance.
Find Your Mummy in the Elmwood - October 1st - 31st
Your Mummy is hiding in 26 Local businesses – From October 1-31, 2015, visit designated shops in The Elmwood to locate the hidden mummy and have your game board stamped. Game Boards are available at Your Basic Bird and completed game boards may be turned in there for a prize. Your Mummy Adventure awaits!
Town Hall Meeting: Advancing Berkeley’s Resilience
Learn about the latest programs to help make Berkeley residents disaster-ready, and share your insights on how Berkeley should prioritize its disaster-preparedness efforts moving forward.
When: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 6:30- 8:30 PM, South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St., Berkeley, CA Light snacks and refreshments provided. Wheelchair accessible.
Learning Session: Affordable Housing: What does it take to build and how do we get more of it?
Speakers will include Gloria Bruce (Executive Director) and Jeff Levin (Policy Director), East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO); Susan Friedland (Executive Director) and Eve Stewart (Housing Development Director), Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA); Dan Sawislak (Executive Director), Resources for Community Development (RCD); Amy Davidson (Senior Community Development Project Coordinator), City of Berkeley, Department of Health, Housing and Community Services (HHCS)
When: Saturday, November 14th, at the South Berkeley Senior Center (2939 Ellis Street) from 10am to noon.
My next office hours will be on on the first Thursday of November (11/5) from 9:30-11am at Cafe Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave (on the corner of College and Ashby). No appointment necessary - just stop by!
I’m happy to introduce my Transportation Commissioner, Mark Humbert. Mark has been a D8 resident for 16+ years.
Mark received his law degree in 1983 from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and has practiced as a civil litigator, primarily in the federal courts, and as an ADR neutral, since then. Mark is a member of both the Bicycle and Pedestrian subcommittees of the Commission, and has a particular interest in quality of life and safety issues in District 8 and city-wide. He feels a major responsibility to monitor the so-called Fourth Bore mitigations along the Tunnel-Ashby corridor, which include pedestrian and cycling safety enhancements at The Uplands, Oak Ridge and Tunnel, Domingo and Tunnel, Ashby and Claremont, College and Ashby and the Bicycle Boulevard crossing of Ashby at Hillegass.