December 18, 2012 – Council Meeting

Item # 3 Amend BMC to address mold
Public Comment
I am under stress and traumatized due to my living situation and feel threatened because my landlord is not addressing mold.

Councilmember Comments
Capitelli:  I am not sure what we are asking the City Manager to do here.  What are we trying to do?  Mold is a very serious issue and self-remediation is not the way to do this and is not the safest way to do this.  Sometimes remediation costs several thousand dollars.  Perhaps the CM could research and find best practices and deliver a report.
Worthington: We have had many citizens who have had mold issues and when referred them to the city there is no direct way to address these issues.  We have done research of cities around the country on how they address this and SF has some good language that we would like the City Manager to consider.  We may need to do an ordinance or there may be some other way.
Arreguin:  I was working in SF when the council declared molds a nuisance.  If a tenant discovers a mold issue our city cannot cite a landlord to remediate the mold. Not doing anything is not going to solve the situation.  Tenants have no remedy in our current regulatory situation.
Wozniak:  I have had or know of a couple of very expensive mold situation.  These can be tens of thousands of dollars.  It is a problem and insurance doesn’t cover it and it is a health hazard.  We need to also look at prevention.
Wengraf:  I know much about mold and am very sensitive to it.  Such as the North Berkeley Senior Center which has mold that needs to be addressed.  There are guidelines with the state and I hope whatever we do will be consistent with that.  I also know that tenants sometime cause the issue.  The ultimate problem is assigning responsibility and how you deal with it.  I would like the community health commission to weigh in on this.
Anderson:  I think that this is one of those issues that have public health ramifications.  We need to do a better job of protecting the public and better guidelines to property owners on their responsibilities.  To do the research and make comparisons to other municipalities is what we should be doing.  I am also encouraged that the Health Commission and Health Staff are taking this on.

Vote and Motion:
Send to City Manager with minor modifications
Unanimous approval
Item # 4 Radiation Fly Over
Maio:  I would like to send this request also to Barbara Lee’s office so she will be responsible for helping us get this information.

Public Comment:

  • Helicopter fly overs were significant during August and were vague on what they were addressing with regard to naturally occurring radiation.  No answer from request sent on August 30th.
  • Unwilling to submit information smells fishy
  • Could City of Berkeley sign on to the FOIA request?
  • We need figures from fly-over and whether it is related to Fukishima Nuclear Power Plant.  Berkeley needs to stock potassium iodide in preparation for any melt down of Fukishima.

Peace and Justice Commission
Asking council to pass this resolution.  Public needs to find out what is behind these flyovers and the results.

Councilmember Comments:
Wozniak:  I am supportive that we obtain the information but there are some things that are incorrect so I want to make a few changes.  They will know if any radiation is naturally derived or incident driven.  We need to also get notice of any low flying aircraft for purposes of any future study.  We need to be able to get any information that has anything to do with the public domain.
Worthington:  Move the item with the modifications proposed.  (Wozniak 2nd)
Maio:  I do want to ask Barbara Lee to ask these questions for us and have a way to track it for us.  That way we will really get an answer to this.

Unanimous approval
Item #5  No Drone Zone
Maio:  I am having the clerk pass out the exceptions we accepted when we approved no police dogs etc. that we could consider as we listen to public comment.

Public Comment:

  • Violation of Human Rights Ordinance and freedoms for all.
  • If you give law enforcement these tools they will use them.
  • We don’t need any drones in this city with the exception of one to help find a parking space.
  • Doesn’t meet aviation safety standards.  Civil liberty implications including that these drones can provide real-time down link on any activities.  Need civilian controls on these high-tech tools.
  • Violates 4th and 5th amendment.
  • Project 30,000 drones nationwide and a burgeoning new industry and their incorporation in to our skies will be lobbied heavily in Congress.
  • Drones can dispense lethal and non-lethal agents, including tear gas.
  • Part of militarization of our police departments and the war on terrorism and patriot act
  • Violates right to privacy
  • Afraid of these drones
  • At some point they will be arming these drones.  They have them in Texas with rubber bullets and tear gas.
  • Berkeley has an impermeable police department.
  • Cop Watch supports Berkeley standing-up for privacy and accountability – how do we hold the authorities accountable to the ordinance.

Support Ordinance:  Total 18

Peace and Justice Commission
Spirit of this resolution needs to be passed. Would prefer it passed as written by the commission.  There are no statutes to protect people from privacy invasion.  No FAA oversight or safety regulations.

Councilmember Comments:
Anderson:  We get sold these ideas on the basis that we are saving our military lives and then they come home and are used on us.  This comes out of the military, out of fear, out of driving profits from manipulating the public.  We keep buying into this stuff.  Why would be even be considering these weaponized, militarized equipment to come into the public domain.  These are they type of creeping situations that happen in our society.  If we don’t safeguard the freedoms we have then we are complacent in our duties.  I will be supporting this resolution.
Capitelli:  Was this reviewed by the police review commission?  Will it be going to the school board for review?  Was there any discussion as to exceptions other than hobbyist?  Was there any discussion on how this would be enforced?  What would be the penalty?  Was there any discussion about using drones in search and rescue?  Was there any discussion about using this for child abductions or senior citizens with dementia or natural disaster?  When I first heard of this I pictured the drones of Yemen or Afghanistan so when people talk about them being weapons then we are now asking commercial aircraft to stop flying because they came from military purpose.  Drones are technology and they can be used for good or could be used inappropriately.  I would like to see this more nuanced and more specific for times when they could be used.  I am opposed to using them for surveillance or that would invade privacy.  Perhaps the motivation of Peace and Justice would be to get this on the table for discussion
Arreguin:  I am troubled by the use of drones domestically and the use of them for surveillance.  The technology is really expanding and there is a real lack of regulation.  There could be some use for drones.  To say we won’t allow any drones at all might be overreaching.  I would like council to take a position that would note their concern over the proliferation of the use of drones and the impact on personal privacy and to specifically identify when drones could be used.  Armed drones would be specifically prohibited.  Berkeley cannot purchase a drone without it coming to council for approval Alameda County cannot use drones in Berkeley except as specified.
Wozniak:  I want to thank Arreguin and Capitelli for their comments as they reflected my concerns.  I do think that armed drones are large and we would not want them.  I am not in a prepared to say that Berkeley should be a no drone zone.  There could be some uses for drones.  The Peace & Justice commission should have consulted with Fire and Disaster and the Police Review Commission.  They might have some suggestions for limiting or expanding uses.  I also don’t think Berkeley would want to buy one and have it sitting around.  I suggest and move that the other two commissions review the suggestions and have the City Manager come back with some suggestions for incorporation.  (Seconded by Moore)
Wengraf:  We did not address the artistic use for drones in Berkeley for the purpose of making films. If it is silent then is it ok for artistic use.
Moore:  In this ordinance we need to make certain this is just for police use.
Maio:  I think we need to have the other commissions review this in joint session and come back to us.  How does staff propose we move forward?
Anderson:  Before we go down the path of carving out multiple loopholes I think we need a broader discussion with civil liberty and public entities involved here.  You can’t expect anything today to be kept private.  The intent was to protect the public and their privacy.  We need technical information from the industry and ethical advice and regular citizens weighing in on these things.  I don’t think we will get this from three commissions it needs to be a discussion that includes the entire community.  We could all think about when a drone could be useful but if we don’t know all we can then we will get screwed.
Capitelli:  We have the regulations regarding dogs and helicopters.  How often do we use these?  I guess I have more confidence in the three commissions.  Also I think the police department should be involved then come back with the ACLU and other interested parties to have a broader discussion.
Wozniak:  I accept that amendment and agree that a workshop would be good.  I don’t expect that each commission would draw a resolution but make recommendations for a resolution on the pieces that they have jurisdiction over.
Arreguin:  I agree to send this to the commission and a workshop that would include the ACLU.  I believe this is a good direction.
Worthington:  I am not sure what words are in the motion and I would like simplifying them:  Refer to the three commissions, after commissions meet then we bring it back for a workshop, ask that Alameda County delay making the decision of purchasing a drone until the City of Berkeley is finished with their process.  (second Anderson)
Wozniak:  I don’t agree.  I don’t think we should send a letter to Alameda County and include Arreguin’s language to the commissions.
Wengraf:  I want the commissions to include Arreguin’s language and I think the commissions should know the nuances we want considered.

Vote on Worthington’s Motion
No:  Maio, Wengraf, Capitelli, Wozniak
Yes:  Anderson, Worthington
Abstain:  Moore, Arreguin
Absent:  Bates

Vote on Wozniak Motion
Yes:  Maio, Moore, Anderson, Arreguin, Capitelli, Wozniak
No:  Worthington
Absent:  Bates
Freestanding motion that a letter be sent to delay drone purchase decision (second  Arreguin)
Yes: Unanimous
Item #6  Compassionate Sidewalks Plan
Maio:  I have heard from Mayor Bates staff that he is already working on this and bringing people together so I suggest we hold this over until he returns.
Arreguin:  I did not know that he was working on this and I wish he would have told me but I wanted this to come through staff and under our rules we need to go through the City Manager and I believe that is a more appropriate process but I have not issue with holding this over and speaking with him.
Wengraf:  I don’t have a comprehensive understanding of how we interface with the County and how all elements of the homeless population are being served.  What are our goals?  How do we measure success?  I would like to have a workshop where we could get all this information and we need to have a strategic action plan.  We need a comprehensive view.
Arreguin:  I think a workshop would be helpful
Maio:  We will hold this over and bring it to the next council meeting when the mayor is present.

Public Comment
Must have a comprehensive and adult conversation about mental illness.  We need to throw out some word we always use such as “crazy” and “wing-nut”.  Mental health is a real issue.
Why should we wait for the person who was behind Measure S?  We don’t need him to move forward with compassionate sidewalks.
Need to protect the public and the private.

Councilmember Comments
Arreguin:  Thinking about this more I think it is more appropriate to have staff lead this.  I don’t know why we cannot move forward.  My goal is that we need to have a dialog and it needs to involve many stakeholders and I don’t know who the mayor has talked to.
Maio:  We will move forward with scheduling a worksession and bring this up again on January 22nd.
Worthington:  I opposed voting on Councilmember Anderson’s item when he was not here and since the mayor has already started the process then we should wait for the mayor with the exception of moving forward the workshop.

Hold over and schedule a workshop
Unanimous Approval

Item #7  Scheduled Economic Development Reports
Wozniak:  Staff is overwhelmed but they need to be asked if quarterly is too much and they should not make promises that cannot be delivered.  Once a year is not enough.
City Manager:  There are so many worksessions already scheduled that having these quarterly are too many.  We could go to quarterly informational reports.
Worthington:  An important section of this document is the last half.  The public and the city council have not received information and then periodically we get these reports that summarize it and it summarizes the city sales tax reports by breaking down by restaurants, and limited business classifications.  One of the critical components is that we need to hold ourselves accountable in economic development and understand what is going on.  Our two top priorities are public safety and economic development.  If we cut this down to less than two reports then we are not giving them the time they deserve.  We could even do it at a regular meeting.
Maio:  Could we schedule these three times a year at a workshop or on a light agenda regular meeting?
Wozniak:  I suggest an amendment that the motion would request a quarterly information report then council could pull it and discuss it at that meeting or schedule it for a future meeting.
Wengraf:  Could I suggest two information reports and two workshops or regular meeting items?
Worthington:  We are not following our existing policy?!

Vote and Motion:
Two “in person” reports and two information reports (quarterly reporting)
Yes:  All others.
Abstain:  Anderson
No:  Worthington