July 31, 2012 – Council Meeting

July 31, 2012 – Council Meeting

Item # 21  Changing the title of the Sunshine Ordinance on the Ballot
Public Comment
Further changes are necessary to provide clarity to the voters.  The Sunshine Ordinance need to be included in the description – it conforms to the petitions that were signed by the public.

The financial impact report that establishes the cost of the initiative has not been qualified and is from an old report and does not take into account the costs that are currently applied to conforming to the Open Government Ordinance.  The cost should be defined as “uncertain”.

Staff Recommendation
Including the word “sunshine” is a partial term and would be misleading as it infers that sunshine does not exist.

Councilmember Comment
Capitelli:  This is similar to passing the Patriot Act which is not a patriot act at all.  Also I think the cost is appropriate.  I move to pass the language as presented by staff.

Maio:  I have been studying this daily and I think this might cost even more than stated.  It will take much more work to implement

Wozniak:  There are levels are uncertainty and that says you know something.  I would remind people that this proposed legislation applies to all 36 commissions and the rent board.  When council adopted the Open Government Ordinance it took the elements that made sense from this ordinance and we should be commended for doing so.

Arreguin:  I want to offer a friendly amendment that we strike rent stabilization board and add all elected or appointed commissions.   I am not sure how I feel about this ordinance but I do agree with the challenge of the costs associated with the ordinance.  I do believe that the word “uncertain” should be put in relating to the costs.

Maio:  Why would you understate the number of groups to which these would apply?  I want all the number of entities stated.   It will make it very clear to the public the scope of this ordinance.

Vote and motion
Approve the language and add the number of commissions to define scope

No:  Worthington, Arreguin
Yes:  All others
Bates absent


Item # 22  Setting an Affordable Housing Mitigation Fee
Public comment
Adopt a fee as quickly as possible

$28,000 fee is recommended

Sierra Club:  Most significant priority for Berkeley.  Want a robust Affordable Housing Fee ASAP.

There are always ways to circumvent laws and developers will find a way around it.

Housing discrimination is the heart and soul of Berkeley.

Councilmember comments
Arreguin.  Palmer decision was almost 4 years ago and we have still do not have an inclusionary housing component.   Last year we stated that we would set an affordable housing fee and we have not even begun to set one.  We need to move forward in setting a fee now.  I can agree to a workshop for October but there must be an action item on the same night that will set a fee.

Worthington.  The point has been made.  Previously t he council stated they would never strike down an affordable having fee.  All we are doing is setting a fee that has existed in Berkeley for years.  We still have an affordable housing need.  The fee should be at least $28,000 and with this fee we still do not get the same number of units we received under the inclusionary housing component.  Let’s just do it. Capitelli.  I still think we need a package of fees.  Did the HAC take any other fees into account?  I am eager to get this out of the way.  My amendment is to have the workshop and set a date to adopt a package of all fees by the end of December.

Maio.  Is there any reason we cannot address all the fees in the next meeting after the workshop?  Will all the projects under consideration need to comply with the fees if we delay?  Will these projects possibly be approved prior to the setting of the fees?  How are the developers then allocate the fee?

Arreguin.  I think we need to move forward to get the affordable housing mitigation fee.  That will then be a baseline for looking at the other fees.

Wozniak.  I want us to move forward on these fees but I want to know the entire package.  Can we compromise and get it done by the first of December?  December 11?

Worthington.  Tonight is symbolic of the past two years of addressing this issue.  We are told to actuate affordable housing to chocolate fudge cake.  There is no reason we could not have this fee in place by the next council meeting.   These repeated delays are just so frustrating and more.  There is no reason to delay until October or November.  Packaging it with all these other things degrades the Affordable Housing Fee.

Wengraf.  I would like the benefit of our planning director’s opinion in looking at this thing.  We can’t pass this fee in a vacuum.  We need to see how it relates to all the other fees and if we set it too high then we won’t get any affordable housing.  I think we can get this done by the end of the year.

Anderson.  We have been through this for a long time.  There have been intents to delay and a refusal to elevate the affordable housing needs of this community to a higher level.  We have been at this for too many years now and now you want to delay it further to address the desires of the few to the detriment of the many.  We know that the longer we delay the higher the cost of new housing escalates.  This is ridiculous.  We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Arreguin.  This is a fee that affects all of Berkeley citywide so it is not us determined by the basket of fees for downtown.  We are at a stage where we need to move forward on this.  We have been delaying this since 2009.  We need to move forward.

Capitelli.  How many units were built since they fee disappeared that didn’t get assessed the inclusionary housing fee?  I will vote on a package of fees in December.

Maio.  I am persuaded that the fee is citywide and yet it will be watered down by waiting to apply it to downtown.  I now think I want to move forward with the affordable housing fee.

Wengraf.  I think most of the larger projects in the pipeline are downtown.

Wozniak. Having a high fee or a low fee doesn’t necessarily mean we are getting more funds.  Perhaps a different fee could be set for areas other than Downtown.  I am willing to say I will make a commitment in the fall but I want to see all the fees.

Arreguin.  I do support a specific amount but will not give that tonight, but it is important that we do something tonight.

Motion and vote
Set work session in October with a resolution to vote up or down on adopting a housing mitigation fee that night.

Abstain.  Wengraf, Wozniak
No.  Capitelli
Yes.  All others
Bates absent


Item #23 Open government Commission Recommendation for Procedure Modifications 
Staff recommendation
Recommendations result from complaints that have been issued since last fall

1. 5 day window for supplemental reports of items already on the agenda

2. Highlight the “good of the city” requirement and how voting on it overrides the need of the public to see the document prior to rendering a decision.

3. The recommendations are only supplemented materials for items on the agenda.  It would not apply to “gut and replace” changes – those would require public review.

Councilmember Comments
Wozniak.  Are there standards that define “good of the city”?  The agenda committee turns in their  reports a week ahead of time and then those reports are revised at the last minute.  Unless there are some standards in place “good of the city” can be abused.

Maio.  If there is a 5 day window then there should be a good reason why the material is late.

Wengraf.  Does this comply with the Sunshine Ordinance that is on the ballot?

Arreguin.  Does this apply to an amendment to a motion or recommendation?  How does this relate to the number of copies that are required? I think these are good changes to address some unintended consequences of the Open Government Ordinance.

Worthington.  I want to see if staff is comfortable with the commission recommendation.  Then I will move the commission recommendation

Unanimous approval.  Bates absent


Item # 24 Single Use Bag Reduction
Zero waste Commission presentation
We want this very much and single bag use creates much waste.  This is a two-phased project with it rolling out to large stores first and then to smaller stores.

Phase 1 ban will now roll out all over Alameda County in 2013.  Staff states that we are not yet prepared to move to Phase 2 separately from the countywide effort.

Recommend Berkeley pursue an EIR to move to Phase Two immediately so Berkeley could roll out the Pause 2 ban sooner than the county.

Staff presentation
Stop Waste EIR applied to packaged food stores only. This will be reviewed over the first year but may not roll out for a few years.  If Berkeley instituted their own Phase Two another 619 stores would be included along with the 90 stores that will start January 2013.

Councilmember Comments
Maio.  So Zero Waste wants the RFP consultant to start.  Does staff know what this would include?

Wozniak.  I move the staff recommendation.  When this originally came up we asked the county to look at this county-wide so everyone could benefit.  There is a chance that the county will ban use in up to 99% of the stores.  If we had more resourses we would like to do this all at once.

Wengraf.  I am going to support Wozniak’s recommendation.

Arreguin.  I move that we support the Commission recommendation.  The additional 619 stores would make a big difference.  Berkeley should be a leader it this instead of waiting for the county to do it.  We already have the county work that has been previously done. We could take the EIR and just wrap this into an existing contract.  Obviously we will need to educate our businesses but it is not clear exactly how much staff time will be needed.  I would like to start this work so we can move this forward.

Worthington.  Can we add some language that will give us some flexibility so we could move forward more quickly as recommended by the Commission?

Wozniak.  I don’t see much difference between the commission and the staff recommendation.

Maio.  Does any of the commission language need to be changed so address lack of staffing?  We have limited staff resources that are already stretched.  How do we amend this to modify the impact on the staff?

Arreguin.  I think that after the EIR is complete then it needs to come back to Council for discussion along with the results.

Anderson. Many thanks to the staff and the Commission in getting this done

Vote and Motion
Support the Commission recommendation to do EIR and then return to council with results for a Phase 2 implementation.

Unanimous approval.  Bates absent.