November 13, 2012 – Council Meeting

Item 17:  Youth Spirit Artworks Additional Funding for Homeless Youth

Public Comment
Support:  Total 7
Councilmember Comments:
Bates:  Where will we get the money to fund this.  The answer for tonight is that we don’t know where the money will come from so it will need to be held over to a future date and perhaps go through the budget process.
Anderson:  Youth Spirit Artworks has come so far and have become extremely successful in helping our youth.  I tis out of these community based services that great ideas spring and challenge us on this dais and show that there are avenues other than Measure S.  The immediacy of the winter onset is the reason we need to act swiftly to address the problem of our Youth in winter that is off the street and clamored for by the business community.  We need to help Yeah and Youth Spirit Artworks to deliver a solution but we can’t put this off at a future .  The proponents of Measure S wanted immediate programs so we should reach out to them to ensure that this proposal is adopted.  The $$ that would have been spent in enforcing Measure S would be much greater than this proposal.
Maio:  I visited the studio and they are our kids.  The problem that came to our attention came from transient kids.  I would like to understand what Yeah is putting into this.  I have been on council for 20 years and we did have a drop in center at one time and we closed it.  We have learned from our mistakes.  We need to decide what the best program is to fund and we don’t know that yet.  We are leap frogging over other programs.
Wozniak:  I support this as a budget referral.  There is no funding available and we would need to designate where it would.  It has also not gone through the commission process so I am not comfortable with this.
Bates:  The extra $50K we thought would be available because Yeah was rumored not to be opening their overnight shelter but they are.  I would like to hold this over until the 27th to look at what is going to be offered, the partnership with Yeah and the Haas School.  I would like to propose a motion to hold this over for a staff presentation on the 27th.
Anderson:  I think this is a good idea and will give us time to talk to Yeah.
Unanimous approval
Item # 18:  Alta Bates Tax Exempt Status.
Public Comment
Support for non-profit and charity care hospitals and need transparency about the benefits the hospital is providing:  Total 4
Alta Bates spokesperson: We have not been asked by council to share our community benefits.  Grant 30 million/year in charity care.  Youth Bridge programs (jobs), Asthma center, diabetes management program, disabled community resource center.  No exempt from taxes in the city. There is a business tax that we pay $250K/year.  Oversight, state has audited and and over site committee for charity care.  The Affordable Care Act has an implementation strategy for each facility.  Always provide information, if asked.  We are happy to provide transparency.
Councilmember comments:
Arreguin:  Alta Bates and Herrick are not for profit but need to provide community benefits to retain tax exempt status including but not limited to charity care.  We need to know how much charity care/community benefits are being provided to off-set their tax exempt status.
Wozniak:  I would like to see the community benefits plan that Alta Bates delivered tonight.  I don’t know if the authors of this resolution have seen this.  I think this should be referred to our health commission for review to see if this resolution is appropriate.  I think we should do this internally and not send it to the state.  I move we send this to the commission and have a presentation workshop.
Wengraf:  I agree that we should have this information.  The question is how we go about getting it either through a presentation to the council or go through the community health commission and have them evaluate it.  I would like to proceed with a presentation.
Moore:  I believe we need the information.  Did we ask?  I think we need to get the information but we need to balance it with the facts and follow-up.  But I think it should be verified and it is not apparent to the community.  Especially those who really need the service I have a hard time understanding why we should not be able to ask for this information and see what they provide for the community.
Anderson:  I would also like to understand and get an objective methodology and analysis to see what benefits are provided and how does that stack up with their not for profit status.  I also know the nurses have been working for over a year without a contract and how does that stack up with the non-profit status.  Referring this to the commission just delays the process when we could go directly to the Franchise Tax Board for the information.  It is a solid motion.
Bates:  The state board of equalization audited all the hospitals why would they come in for just Alta Bates?  This is a state issue – not a city issue and the county assessor wont do it.  We should just ask Alta Bates to make a presentation.  You are dreaming.  We should send this to the health commission for an annual report.  I meet with them every month and I know they are doing the work.
Capitelli:  I would add to the motion that the health commission that the state board of equalization be contacted with the results of the last audit.  Health commission can direct that an annual report from Alta Bates be delivered
Wozniak:  This report from Alta Bates shows what they are doing if there is an issue they are not doing enough then we need to know what the standard is.  I think some of the information in the resolution is inconsistent.  Let’s ask Alta Bates to do a better report on an annual basis.
Arreguin:  What is the quantifiable value that the hospital gets from the exemption and how does that compare with the charity care that is delivered in community benefits?  I would be willing to agree to the reporting element and have staff review the report.
Maio:  Charity care was less than 1% of operating expenses.  We are missing some numbers here.  If this goes to the health commission what data will they review?
Arreguin:  We can’t just punt this to the health commission without clear direction.  I want to ensure that since the main motion will not pass that the substitute motion will provide all the information suggested in the main motion.
Worthington:  If I understand the substitute motion it deletes the most important components of the main motion.  We want to get the $$ value of the tax exempt status and this new motion makes no attempt to get that information.  The presentation by the Sutter Corporation is a seriously flawed process.  We are setting up the commission to hear only the corporation side.  What about the patients, nurses and doctors perspective.  It is leaving out all this important information.  The substitute motion as it stands doesn’t do very much.
Arreguin:  Can we ensure that we will get the quantifiable tax exempt value?  I want to ensure we are giving specific guidance to the commission.  How long will it take for this to come back to council?
Anderson:  It is not timing it is content.  Without that objective information it becomes a dog and pony show orchestrated by one party only.  We want objective information.  Not a corporate dodge.
Wozniak:  Let’s add that we get the $$ value of the tax exempt status.
Worthington:  Why don’t we send a letter to Alta Bates requesting the specific information we need to review that is included in the main motion.
Capitelli:  It is hard to believe that anyone has read this information in detail.   Much of this information is in this report and to ask for it again it is redundant.
Worthington:  Nothing that is on page 121 (community benefits) but this is not what we are talking about.  What we are talking about is the $$ of charity care, applications, denials, zip codes.  Pattern of who is and is not being served and relates to the auditors report.
Arreguin:  The charity care we are talking about is not what is described in their report.  I appreciate the monetary support Alta Bates is providing to these service providers but I want to know how many low income people are being served at the hospital.
Vote on substitute motion
Abstain:  Moore, Anderson, Arreguin
No:  Worthington
Yes:  Wozniak, Capitelli, Bates, Wengraf, Maio
Item #24  Community Choice Aggregation
Joint letter presented by Energy Commission and Climate Action Coalition
One point of disagreement is the local requirement to make local resources a priority and it may not consider all impacts.  A modification has been made to state a “reasonably competitive resources”
Councilmember Comments:
Worthington:  Move item with recommended change.
Unanimous approval
Item #22  Public Hearing Declare Medical Marijuana Facility a Nuisance
Staff Presentation
ZAB recommended declaring 3PG a nuisance
4 violations of the dispensary ordinance
1st letter 12-10-11 cease and desist
citation warning letter 12-20-11
response from attorney January 20, 2012
March 27 2012, citations issued to user or owner
Owner has not responded
only 1500 has been paid on the fines no track record of who paid the fine
Public Comment
Declare Nuisance:  Total 8
Support of Business:  Total 8
Owner of Business:   Not within 600 ft of school.  Hired surveyor stating that the dispensary is 619 feet away from school.
Councilmember Comments:
Moore:  This council has been supportive of medical marijuana for many years.  Marijuana is not before this council it is the zoning issue guidelines that are at issue.  I have had more letters about this collective than any other issue in my entire district – including the legal dispensary that is in my district.  I move that we adopt this collective as a nuisance.  And I want to thank the people of the neighborhoods for coming out this evening.  Finally this process took way too long and we need to fix it.  It is unacceptable
Maio:  This was an illegal use from the get go.  I don’t know where the advice came from but we have laws to prevent this.  For it to open when it did, in the wrong place.  We have laws that have been established and we must follow them.
Arreguin:  This use is in violation and it is appropriate for us to declare this as a nuisance.  I think there are some policies that have come up with this use so I think we need to readdress our ordinance and rethink whether or not we should allow collectives to operated in residential zones.  We need to focus on the littering issue – if it comes from clients or the dispensary itself.  I also want any police activity history to be cited in the resolution.  I want every decision we make to be legally defensible.
Wozniak:  I am going to support the motion for every reason my colleagues have mentioned.  We need to take a look at the medical marijuana law and this collective has over 4000 members.
Anderson:  I am also going to support the motion.  Over a year ago I was notified by one of my constituents and I made a report of it to the 2 x 2 committee and the implications of truancy.  I caution people though to not summarily dismiss concerns of the community  and the lining up of our community based race. One side is not all wrong and one side is not all right.  We need active intellectual involvement of us all.
Worthington:  We are dealing with the unintended consequences of the policy we have in place in Berkeley.  This issue of Dispensary vs. collective is to have it regulated is to have it taxed.  We have established an artificial limit to the number of dispensaries in Berkeley when there are hundreds of dispensaries in Berkeley.  We have an extremely limited number of dispensaries in Berkeley and as long and we are so restrictive then we are going to continue to have this problem. And up until we did that then all the existing collectives became illegal.  We have to expand the number of dispensaries beyond four.  I have always been an advocate of tax and regulate.
Bates:  Voters established that there could only be 4 dispensaries so we cannot change that. Collectives have not been defined well by the state – the intent was not to have 4000 members in any collective.
Moore:  I think it is shameful that we would race bating this argument.  It is sickening and disgusting that we would do so.  Mr. Worthington if you want more dispensaries put them in your district I have enough in mine.
Anderson:  Some in this war on drugs make some people subject to the impact and some people are subject to the economic benefits.
Unanimous to come back on 27th to declare it a nuisance.
Item #20  Supporting Oakland Lawsuit to stop Seizure of Medical Marijuana Dispensary.
Maio:  Modification of some language for staff to monitor the suit progress and advise council on what actions to take as the suit proceeds, including proceeding with an amicus brief and what additional actions we might take.
Public Comment:
Support the law suit:  Total 2
Work on Berkeley issues first:  Total 5
Councilmember Comments:
Worthington:  I don’t think the City Attorney consults with council when moving forward with an amicus brief and I don’t know if it is necessary
Vote to accept Maio’s new language
Yes:  Unanimous
Item #21 UCLA’s National Dream University support
Motion to support resolution
Yes  Unanimous