As the Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, I worked extensively with City departments to learn about what they need to better improve their work, and what funding that required. As you know, a particular concern of mine is fire safety. Two overwhelming needs that the department had was protective gear for paramedics who would respond to active shooter events, and money specifically dedicated for wildfire safety focusing on vegetation management along evacuation routes. While there are many competing initiatives in our budget, these are two requests I felt personally committed to fulfilling. After several Committee meetings reviewing the budget, I advocated for over $400,000 over FY 2020 and 2021 to meet these needs. I’m happy to say that based on the Mayor’s support for my Committee’s recommendations, these funds were passed in full by City Council last month.
Rally for Children in Migrant Detention Centers
This weekend the City will join communities around the country to hold a rally for children in migrant detention centers. The rally will take place from 12-2pm on Saturday July 13, at Berkeley Civic Center Park at MLK and Center St.
Upcoming Council Meetings
Natural Gas Prohibition
Council will be considering adopting an ordinance prohibiting natural gas in new buildings starting in 2020.
For those of you who are interested in housing production trends over the past few years in Berkeley, staff have provided an update on recent projects in the housing pipeline. Highlights include:
- There have been nineteen approved projects (1,141 units) that are now occupied (building permit issued after 2014)
- Eighteen projects (1,074 units) have been approved and with building permits issued from 2013-2018 but are not complete. 182 of those units were entitled in 2017-2018.
- 135 subsidized housing units for very low income and low income individuals have been built and occupied.
- An increase in the number of building permits issued for Accessory Dwelling Units (backyard cottages) from one in 2015 to 80 in 2018.
- A summary of the median time periods of each stage of development for projects with five or more units was:
- 4.9 months between time of application and use permit issuance
- 20.6 months between use permit issuance and building permit issuance
- 24.2 months between building permit issuance and Certificate of Occupancy issuance
I’m pleased to see that more people are building ADU’s than in the past. As I’ve previously noted, I believe they are an excellent way to increase housing stock within our community. I also believe that we need to do more for our city with regard to addressing affordability, housing options, and project timelines.
I’m happy to cosponsor a Vision Zero item with Mayor Arreguin, Council member Hahn, and Vice Mayor Wengraf that prioritizes high collision streets as street repairs (improved lighting, updated signage, crosswalk repainting) occur. Read the item here.
On July 23, Council will be considering a couple of measures regarding RVs. The first item is to develop a two week permit and system for RV parking while the second item identifies locations for RV parking on city-owned land, development of a three month permit program, and requesting parking at the Marina.
Please note that my office hours for the month of August are cancelled due to Summer Recess, but I’ll be back at Espresso Roma on Sept. 9th from 8-10am.
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8
Want to request a City service?
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.
New parking management system launching July 22
The new system will allow people to renew online for residential parking permits, which will use license plates instead of stickers to track which cars qualify for each of the city's 16 designated residential parking zones.
Switching from a paper and sticker based system to an innovative, license plate-based solution - the first of its kind in the Bay Area - is complex. But there are some steps you can take to prepare for July 22.
Keep an eye out for letters from the City that will have link codes for each car - and save them. If you have multiple cars, you'll need all letters. Use those link codes to apply or renew at cityofberkeley.info/rpp starting July 22 and by August 31 - the last day 2018-19 residential parking permits will be honored.
The top of the letter will say your license plate number as well as "unique identifier (link code)."
For citations issued on June 24 or later, the new parking management portal already allows people to instantly pay citations, another new feature. For these, current citations, deadlines are not suspended, and the escalation dates still apply.
For those who received citations before June 24, payments online will also start on July 22. For citations issued before June 24, deadlines are suspended and they will not incur penalties during that time. You can pay by check for those citations, though they will not process until after July 22.
New permit holders will be able to use this portal on July 22 to upload documents. In the fall, residents will also be able to purchase 1- and 14-day temporary permits online. Both new residential permits and temporary permits previously required visits to the City's Customer Service Center. You can still apply or renew in person at the service center.
If you have questions, you can call 1-844-855-2333.
Effective September 1, license plates will be permits in designated residential permit neighborhoods. Our new online portal will let you look up whether you're in a residential permit neighborhood and also whether your neighborhood qualifies to apply for the program.
Football Season Community Briefing
Community Briefing - UC Berkeley and City of Berkeley staff host this annual meeting to provide information on Home Football Season. The focus of the meeting will be to preview the fall football season and consider ways that UC Berkeley, the City of Berkeley, neighborhood associations and other community partners can continue to work together to minimize the impacts of the home games.
The Briefing will take place on Wednesday, July 24th at 6:30pm at California Memorial Stadium.
The first home game of the Golden Bear's 2019 Football Season will be held on Saturday, August 31. Kickoff for the game against the UC Davis Aggies is 3:30 PM. You can review the full season schedule at http://www.calbears.com/schedule.aspx?path=football.
Until then, please feel free to get in touch with Joe Mulford, Senior Associate Athletic Director (510-642-264), with any questions or concerns you may have about the meeting.
Movies in the Park! Derby Day Races! All FREE.
On Friday, July 12 at 8:30 at Cedar Rose Park (1300 Rose Street), you can see the Incredibles 2. The Wizard of Oz, Spider-Man, How to Train Your Dragon, and the LEGO Movie 2 are all playing for free throughout our parks this summer. For more information, click here.
On Friday, July 19, don’t miss the annual cardboard boat races and other fun activities at Derby Day Boat Races at West Campus Pool, 2100 Browning Street. For more info, click here.