July 27 2020

As I wrote last week, Council is in the process of approving measures to go on the November 2020 ballot before we begin summer recess. This week we will discuss a variety of ballot measures:

  • charter amendments which include residency requirements for firefighters and an amendment to make the City Attorney’s office independent from the City Manager.  
  • councilmember salaries 
  • climate equity action fund funded by an increase to the utility users tax, which I summarized in the last newsletter
  • Rent Board proposal (which is up for discussion tomorrow night). The Rent Board’s proposal includes changes to the City’s current Golden Duplex and ADU regulations regarding rent control, etc. You can read the proposal here

Many of you have expressed interest in the golden duplex and accessory dwelling unit Rent Board provisions. Since I last wrote, the Mayor has proposed amendments to the Rent Board measure. His proposal maintains exemptions for ADU's on owner occupied single family homes. It also has a new proposal regarding golden duplexes, which I've copied here:

The Mayor is also proposing that the Council not approve the Rent Board’s proposed repeal of the “golden duplex” exemption, but rather approve a compromise which would continue to exempt owner-occupied duplexes provided that the same owner resided in the property as their principal residence on March 1, 2020. This exemption is limited to rental units that would have been exempt under the provisions of this chapter had this chapter been in effect on December 31, 1979. 

This would have the effect of phasing out the “golden duplex” exemption whenever the current owner as of March 1, 2020 no longer resides on the property. Those units would then be subject to full rent and eviction controls. This compromise intends to preserve existing rights for small landlords, while gradually phasing out “golden duplexes” to ensure that all tenants have the same rights under local rent control law.

There is another item on tomorrow night’s agenda about short term rentals that makes changes to the City’s policies, putting more compliance responsibilities on the hosting platform instead of the host, stipulating that the host only have one residence, and limiting rentals to single ADU’s, single accessory buildings, or golden duplexes not rented for the past ten years. You can look at the whole agenda here

To provide input on any Council items, you can write to [email protected]. If you want to participate virtually in one of the Council meetings, you can find instructions to call-in or join via Zoom at the top of each meeting agenda.

COVID-19 Update

Worsening COVID-19 data - take action

COVID-19 has infected 350 Berkeley residents and killed three as of July 24, 2020 -- those numbers do not fully speak to the virus' threat. It is critical that we all wear face coverings, wash hands regularly and maintain distance from those outside of our household.

Everyone should use face coverings, social distancing and hygiene to slow the rise of COVID-19. Merchants should follow business guidance, especially completing their site specific protocols. 

COVID-19 indicators weekly dashboard (Information as of Friday, 7/27):

Indicator 1: Cases &  Hospitalizations Flat or Decreasing

Current status: Goals not currently met

  • Number of cases identified in Berkeley is increasing. There were 107 new cases in the last 14 days
  • Number of hospitalized patients in Alameda County is increasing, with an increase of 33 people over the last 14 days.

Indicator 2: Sufficient Hospital Capacity to meet community needs

Success criteria: No more than 50%of patients in staffable non-surge hospital beds in Alameda County are COVID-19 positive.

 Goal currently met. 

Indicator 3: Sufficient Testing Capacity

Success criteria: Sufficient COVID-19 viral detection tests are being conducted each day through private and public sites. The goal for Berkeley is 245 tests per day, giving an effective lens into the workings of the virus in our community. 

  • Over the last two weeks, we have seen an average of 275 tests per day of Berkeley residents, no matter where they were tested -- private hospitals, labs or our City site.  

Goal currently met. 

Indicator 4: Sufficient Disease Containment (case investigation, contact tracing, and isolation/quarantine)

Success criteria: 

  • 90%  of all cases are reached and contacts identified - currently at 75%
  • 90% of cases that we reach are isolated safely -- currently at 72% 
  • 90% of all contacts identified -- currently at 87%
  • 90%  of identified cases can safely quarantine -- currently at 81%

Goals currently not met

Indicator 5:  Sufficient Personal Protective Equipment

Success criteria:

  • At least 30-day supply of PPE for all health care providers - Goal Met
  • No hospitals, clinic, skilled nursing facility, other long term care facility, or first responder agency is struggling to obtain PPE - Goal Not Met
  • None have needed to submit a resource request for assistance in obtaining PPE to EOC in the last 14 days - Goal Not Met

Overall Goal not currently met. 

Lori Droste
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. 

Sign up for emergency notifications on AC Alert  and crime prevention/updates on Nixle.  

Levine-Fricke Softball Field Improvements Project 

In accordance with established University of California procedures, UC Berkeley Chancellor Christ will consider approval of the Levine-Fricke Softball Field Improvements Project; approval is anticipated no sooner than Friday, July 31, 2020. In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the University of California guidelines for the implementation of the CEQA, UC Berkeley has published an Addendum to the 2020 Long Range Development Plan Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Levine-Fricke Softball Field Improvements Project. The purpose of this notice is to advise the public of the proposed approval action of the project.

Project Inquiries: (510) 495-5786 or [email protected]


Win Free Collectible Poster & Chance for Dinner for Two

The Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA) launched today the “Dine 3 Times” restaurant promotion for Downtown Berkeley, encouraging Berkeleyans and others to rediscover the dining scene in Downtown Berkeley, with over 20 restaurants offering takeout and/or outdoor dining in the Downtown. Folks who dine three times in the Downtown by August 30 will receive a collectible “Welcome to Downtown Berkeley – VISIT SAFELY” historic poster 18”x24” on high quality paper--and will entered to win a dinner for two in Downtown Berkeley. 

All folks need to do is take a photo or scan their receipts from three different restaurants in Downtown Berkeley, and email to [email protected], with name and address and the DBA will mail poster—while supplies last! All entries will also be entered to win $50 meal gift certificate in Downtown Berkeley. For more information about the Dine 3 Times promotion please visit https://www.downtownberkeley.com/dine-3-times/

City of Berkeley COVID-19 Resources