September 24 2015

Council is in full swing, and next Tuesday we’ll be discussing some important issues includingundergrounding utility lines, which I know is important to many of you, and amendments to the ADU (in-law unit) ordinance that we passed this year. My office is proposing amendments to make it less cost-prohibitive and bureaucratically cumbersome to build a backyard cottage.

Prior to the regular Council meeting, at 5:30pm, there will be a work session on developing a Mini-Dorm and Group Living Accommodation Ordinance. City staff has met with a variety of stakeholders over the last several months to come up with a proposal to ensure that residents of mini-dorms and group living arrangements are responsible neighbors. I know that some of you live near mini-dorms and have reported excessive noise and trash to our office. I also understand that there are several cooperatives and group living accommodations that have never been a problem and ensure affordable living spaces for students and young adults. I am mindful of both of these situations in District 8. No votes are taken at a worksession; it’s primarily a time for dialogue.

At our last council meeting, we discussed Berkeley’s Minimum Wage Ordinance and a proposal from the City’s Labor Commission. While the Labor Commission proposal inspired good discussion and public comment, we voted to revisit minimum wage increases in November. I have some unanswered questions that I want to ask City staff and the Commission before voting on specific increases, and I didn’t have time to ask those questions at our last meeting. Current policy says that on October 1, 2015, the minimum wage be raised to $11/hr (which is the same wage increase that the Labor Commission proposed). In October 2016, it will be raised again to $12.53/hr. Council has not yet determined what should happen after 2016. In the meantime, I’m meeting with several economists to discuss next steps.

I’m also thrilled to announce that my friend Angela Porter has agreed to be the new appointee to the Homeless Commission. You can find her biography below. I would also encourage you to read about her story in this East Bay Express article examining long-term drug rehab.   

Lori Droste


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Fire Preparedness and Community Meeting

My office will also be participating in a Community Meeting on Emergency Preparedness, and I encourage all of those interested to attend. Representatives from Berkeley Fire, Transportation, and Office of Resilience will review what you can do to be prepared.

When: Thursday, October 1st, 7pm in Haver Hall at Northbrae Church, 941 The Alameda,  Berkeley.

Writer Coach Connection is Looking for Volunteers

Do you want to listen to what our local public school students have to say and help them articulate it in writing? Train to be a writing coach at King Middle School, Longfellow Middle School, Willard Middle School, or Berkeley High. It involves 1-2 hour sessions a couple of times a month which you have one-on-one conferences with students on their writing assignments. Many volunteers are needed this fall. Go and watch the short video, and then click on Volunteers to sign up for a school and a training. Because kids write our future!

Contact: Nancy G. Beckman,

Office Hours

My next office hours will be on on the first Thursday of October (10/1) from 9:30-11am at Cafe Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave (on the corner of College and Ashby). No appointment necessary - just stop by!  

Commissioner Spotlight  

I’m happy to introduce Angela Porter as my Homeless Commissioner. Angela is a D8 resident. Angela is currently the Program Director of New Bridge Foundation’s Bridge One longer-term residential drug and alcohol treatment program. Angela is a Breema practitioner, and has a Master’s degree in Counseling and Psychology.  I would also encourage you to read about her story in this East Bay Express article examining long-term drug rehab.