July 17, 2012 Council Meeting

Summary from the Gallery

Safeway at College and Claremont.  Council reaffirmed their opposition to the project and refused to enter into a mitigation agreement with Safeway.  A new letter will be sent to the City of Oakland reiterating Berkeley’s position and requesting that the Oakland City Council delay their review until late September.

Council meeting procedures.  New procedures were adopted that will require persons yielding time to approach the podium to do so.  Moving meetings to alternative locations when large public crowds are anticipated was referred to the City Manager.

$30 Million Street Bond Measure.  Council approved the Bond Measure for the ballot with an emphasis on street improvement incorporating watershed management projects

West Berkeley Project Ballot Measure.  Council approved the ballot measure 


Meeting Notes

Item #13 Agreement with Safeway for mitigation at College and Claremont
Staff report
Berkeley must agree to mitigations for the project to be approved.
City Attorney:   Berkeley could challenge the project in court based on the EIR
Bates:   We don’t think this is an appropriate project and are opposed to it.
Public Comment
Opposed to agreement.   Total 20
Opposed to store.  Total 2
Supporting the agreement (Safeway rep) Total 1

Councilmember Comments
Maio. Why wouldn’t we wait until the project was approved before we entered into this agreement?
Bates.  I come down on the side that says this project is too big and by taking a postion at this time it is premature.
Wozniak.  If the council does not take action tonight does it in any way affect the conditions of approval?  The mayor did go on record in 2011 with many other issues in addition to traffic.  We should resend this letter so they know all the issues and let them know that traffic is only one of the issues.
Maio.  Did Safeway approach us about the mitigations?  So I guess that Safeway wanted to get this done.  We expect traffic and delay already and this would only create the same impact of a Walmart.
Anderson.  I live on Alcatraz and have for 25 years and have seen the traffic escalate and I find it hard to imagine how much worse it would get.  I have dealt with Safeway before and the tactics that were used to discourage the community from having a voice were pretty horrendous.  There is a track record here that is not impressive. The concept of having a complete package before you decide on it is similar to what many of us expect for the West Berkeley project.
Wengraf. I think this project is insensitive to the environment and the neighborhood businesses.  My concern is that we might get into a timing bind here and that we might give some direction to the City Manager how to respond.

Vote: to restate Berkeley’s opposition to the project and request the council hearing be delayed until end of September
Unanimous approval
Item #2 City Council Rules of Procedure and Order
Public Comment
This looks really bad
I don’t understand what you are doing we need to know what you are doing here
This is very sloppily drafted and I don’t think anyone can explain it.  Should not be passed until it is redrafted
I think the free-for-all in Berkeley allows all to speak and it is a therapeutic process.
Spontaneously yielding time should not be disallowed.   Total 4

Councilmember Comments

Arreguin.  My problem is the section that the Mayor has read which is the process which the Mayor has adopted.  I think that if someone wants to yield time spontaneously then they should be allowed to do so.  I have no other objections to the other changes
Worthington.  This has to do with the council rules that are before us.  Any practical person that is in the community knows when there are many controversial issues that the public will overwhelm council chambers.  I want to offer an amendment.  We continue to have multiple issues that are controversial and know that the people won’t fit.  Alternate facilities should be offered when meetings will be very large with request of two council members.  And relating to the procedure for yielding time, it has been a long standing tradition that we allow yielding time.  There are actually two proposals that limit public speaking.
Maio.  Many people rely on the cameras for those who watch at home.  I am not going to entertain this amendment.  I am concerned about people coming up who are disabled.  A speaker should come forward to yield time but disabled persons should have priority in the front seats.  People can speak only once on any one item.
Wozniak.  I support Maio’s changes but I think we need to look at alternative venues and refer that to the City Manager so we can anticipate larger crowds.  We need to continue to revise these rules to make it better.
Wengraf.  I think we do need larger venues but I think the TV visibility is most important.  This is a work in progress.  Meetings tend to fall apart after 10pm.
Anderson.  I think it more than disturbing that this undemocratic process is unfolding under our watch.  This is an ugly trend – disallowing the public and limiting their participation.  It might be inconvenient to see who is yielding time but who cares?  It is only a minute!  Let’s talk about the people on this dias who don’t recommend people to commissions.  All of this is eroding our democratic process.  We can’t plan for larger meetings?  What is wrong with us not being able to accommodate people and their right to voice their opinion. This is not the participatory democracy we want here in Berkeley. I will not support anything that does that.
Capitelli. I would like to make a friendly amendment that people need to stand and be recognized by the chair and then state they will yield their time.
Arreguin. I want council to vote on moving the meetings when they are large.
Worthington. People are talking about “running out the clock”.  Multiple controversial items are put at the end of the meeting.  It is being done before the meeting ever starts.  Don’t blame the public that they are running out the clock – it is done during the process of setting the agenda.  It is not the fault of the public, it is the fault of the politicians.  It is possible to broadcast meetings from the alternative sites if there are large crowds.  This would only go into effect after there is confirmation that broadcasting is available.
Capitelli. I would not ever say that the public is running out the clock.
Arreguin.  We are talking about changing the location prior to the agenda being published.
Maio.  I want more time to think about how we address the larger meetings and want to refer this to the agenda committee

Vote on Amendment
Abstain.  Moore
Yes.  Worthington, Anderson, Arreguin
No All others

Vote on Main motion
No. Worthington, Anderson
Yes. All others

Vote on the venue change to be referred to the agenda committee and City Manager
Unanimous approval
Item A. Bond measure for streets and watershed
Staff Presentation
30 million bond with streets as primary including related watershed projects.
There are many grants in flood management available which means we need to adopt our watershed management projects.

There is only a 25% local funding requirement for the grants.

Public Comment
Does not address the problem of flooding of West Berkeley.  Total 3
Watershed first.  Total 1

Councilmember Comments

Maio.  We have a very serious backlog in our street repair and if we don’t get to it then we are facing greater expense down the road.  Having said that I am an advocate of the watershed projects and saving Aquatic Park.  So the reason I am supporting a bond measure for streets with related watershed is because if we don’t we will push it off to future generations.  We have grant opportunities in the watershed issues.
Arreguin.  As I understand this is not just for paving it is for paving with watershed management additions.  I would like the bond to have a watershed priority and want to specify that reducing runoff to Aquatic Park be one of the projects included.
Moore. When this was originally  brought up it was for a $50 million bond which I supported.  I would hope that we could add the phrase that we include the this money will include improvements to Aquatic Park.
Worthington.  I think the proposal is setting us up for failure due to the Alameda County measure for street improvement.  We are on a collision course.  Just throwing in the couple of words such as Aquatic Park with no specificity is misleading to the public. The council has already poisoned the public’s mood with rushing to place stuff on the ballot and there is no committment in the measure to Aquatic Park.
Bates.  I have had conversations with the Sierra Club that you cannot just mention the name of Aquatic Park on the ballot as it is misleading.
Wozniak.  To say that because we have many ballot measures that all will pass or fail is incorrect.  Yes, there is a county measure for streets but it doesn’t do enough for us.  That is why we need more. This is a start and we can show progress and demonstrate how watershed management can work in cleaning up water going into the bay.  We need to demonstrate an integrated approach.  If we don’t start someplace it is only going to get worse.
Maio.  I had originally wanted the emphasis on watershed but then realized we would not get enough street work done to make any difference.
Arreguin.  I appreciate the intent of the measure but it leaves out Aquatic Park.  It is just as important as the creeks and bay.  I offer a substitute motion to specify Potter Creek storm drain and Aquatic Park
Worthington. I feel we are on a collision course to disaster.  Both of these motions have some good things in them but I think both will fail.  Should we take one more week to work on a more appropriate language? Motion to table this until next Tuesday to see if there is a way to accommodate their concerns.

Vote on specifying Aquatic Park and Potter Creek improvements 
No. Bates
Yes.  Arreguin, Anderson, Worthington
Abstain.  All others

Vote on returning next week with alternative languagte
No. Bates, Wengraf, Wozniak,  Capitelli
Abstain. Maio
Yes.  Anderson, Worthington, Arreguin

Vote on measure – Main Motion
Yes. Moore, Bates, Wozniak, Wengraf, Maio, Capitelli
No.  Arreguin, Worthington
Abstain. Anderson


Item B. West Berkeley Project Ballot Measure
Public comment
Against project.  Total 13
Pro project. Total 1

Councilmember Comments
Moore.  Move Maio’s language with minor changes.
Arreguin.  Need to add “and zoning ordinance”.  Also need to tell the public that after 10 years there is unlimited aggrigation possibilities. This new zoning will allow MUP sites to be developed of unlimited numbers into perpetuity. Also the languge states that council can amend this language without going to the voters.  Are things that were not previously considered by the planning commission now included in the measure?  Motion to amend the text of the measure that limits development around Aquatic Park.
Worthington.  The motion is deceptive on describing the actual implications on what is being proposed to the voters.  It is not specific in every way.  It is inappropriate to adopted such a half baked plan.  It is an embarassment.   Most of these things could have been negotiated if it wasn’t done from a top down approach.

Vote on amendment to limit development around Aquatic Park
Abstain.  Moore
Yes.  Worthington, Arreguin, Anderson
No. all others

Vote on main motion with minor language change
No. Anderson, Worthington, Arreguin
Yes. All others
Item C. Contribution limits from Contractors
Councilmember Comments
Wozniak.  People are looking at one time contracts and I want this to be generalized for all departments.  I want this to be referred to the City Manager.
Arreguin.  I want this referred with Wozniak’s changes to City Manager and to Fair Campaign Practices Commission.
Capitelli.  Want to know of there is a problem and if so, to what extent?  Who is covered and it must be throughout the city. I am concerned on how we are going to track all of this information.
Bates.  I want the City Manager to come back with an analysis on the extent of the issue and how much this would cost to implement before it goes to FCPC.
Arreguin. Then I would amend my motion to have it only include large, mixed use and commercial projects.  All these things will need to be vetted.  We don’t need to include nonprofits.
Anderson.  I think the initial intent was to only include large contractors who were making big money in working with the city.  It doesn’t need to be drawn out any further than this.

Vote to refer to City Manager
Absent. Worthington
Yes.  All others
Item D.   Streamlining Residency Ordinance
Councilmember Comments
Bates. I want to make certain the people live in the city or their district.
Arreguin.  My original idea was that the clerk could notify the Councilmember and they would have a month to track them down before termination.

Vote request City Attorney to come back with an ordinance
Absent. Anderson
Yes.  All others
Item F.  Stop Forclosures – Investigate eminent domain options
Public comment
Support eminent domain to stop foreclosure

Councilmember Comments
Worthington.  Want to get a conversation with the Sherrif and other entities to address the issues of foreclosures and how to assist homeowners.  I would like other Councilmembers to participate with me.
Capitelli. I was going to volunteer but Councilmember Arreguin already did.  I will make some grammatical changes to the letter and will get the changes to you tomorrow.  It would be important to include some people in Oakland.
Bates.  I think this is a great issue and let’s put it over until next week to see how we can converge other municipalities. I would like to be involved in this and include the Mayor of Oakland

Hold over until next week.