October 2, 2012 – Council Meeting

Post office special meeting cancelled on October 18. Special Council meeting has been cancelled for that date.  The post office will hold their own meeting.  Council will advise.
Item #9  Auditors Recommendation  (moved from Consent)
Using Street Saver to determine 5 year street paving/replacement plan.  A small clarification will be added by the auditor to the report that states that the Public Works department does use the Street Saver program to determine repaving plan.
Item #20  Revenue Bond Refinancing
Anticipated savings are $5.1 million.  AA rating on these lease revenue bonds.  Improvements at Berkeley Rep and purchase of land from UC and 2003 to fund Center Street improvements.  Also want to change the bylaws of JPFA to have the Auditor be the financing officer.  Will save $980K first year and then $300K second year and $200K thereafter.
Item #18  Community Choice Aggrigation.
Waiting for council to determine what letter will be sent to EBMUD.
Community Choice Energy Group (Climate Action Working Group)
  • Could be built within the city or EBMUD region not outside the region
  • it we want to build jobs and capasity here then we can do it right here in this region (solar energy) where the electricity is being used.
  • This is something that the City of Berekely wants to do to meet our Climate Action Plan
EBMUD Board of Directors
  • Helpful that Berkeley states a vision and sets priorities
  • REviewed recommendation from CCEG and thinks EBMUD could consider these recommendations.
  • This will be part of a study that will take a while to complete.  First step is knowing what kind of program we want.  Need a clear vision/direction
  • Move ahead with creating a vision to direct EBMUD to determine direction.
  • Will be looking at multiple alternatives
Energy Commission
  • Risks and beneifts of a community aggregation choice.
  • Letter could not be produced due to a lack of time and some members did not agree with all the CCEG recommendations.
  • Some principals are not assert benefits but are not measurable.
  • Only credible evidence I have seen that depends on local generation only would be more expensive, if it was done not in balance with other resources.
  • Apprehensive that the council go on record that the benefits stated in the CCEG are achievable.
  • Just using local renewables might be more expensive and focusing on local jobs might be not as effective as more qualified firms.
Public Comment
  • Solar company owner:  Good new is that much land can be utilized by solar industry.Secret of solar energy is that once the capital cost is paid for the operating costs are very low.  It is a benefit to the community on a long term basis.  You should move forward.
Councilmember Comments
Bates:  Are we on the right track in telling them upfront what we want or do we wait for the EBMUD recommendation to be delivered in December and then tell them what we want to change?
Moore:  The report will not be completed until December.  Would it hurt to forward both letters to EBMUD?
Maio:  I think discussing how you will look at these recommendations would be helpful.  Will you propose alternatives, put them into a model?
Wozniak:  The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions and the secondary goal would be to create local jobs.  I am leary of the directives as they put jobs first and not reduction of green house gases.
Worthington:  This document is one ot the CCEG’s top priorities for the year and this has one of the greatest potential of achieveing incredible benefits.  Energy Commissions quesitons are melded into the Climate Action letter.  I think this is a comprehensive letter and sets out a vision.  Most importanty, the letter starts with an appreciative tone to EBMUD who are working on this on behalf of our city.  Also I think this letter will be better recieved.
Bates:  EBMUD  has not taken a position that they want to pursue Community Choice Aggrigation.  Is it assumed that the board of EBMUD will move forward with CCA?  I think we need to put a direction out there but not until it is needed.
Anderson:  We need to look at this and encourage other cities to join us.  I think we need to deliver a comprehensive approach and not two conflicting ideas.  We need to be decisive and at this point it will keep us in the game and understand the evaluation of these directives and if we do not move forward it takes us out of the game.  I support moving this ahead.
Wozniak:   I am concerned that we dont have an integrated recommendation from the Energy Commission because they didnt have time.  I am reluctant to move forward on the recommendatin of an outside organization.  We need a vision statement.  I also think we need to look at other alternative energy sources that are carbon neutral (eg hydroenergy) and there must be some financial constraints.  There must be a compelling reason to move away fron PG & E so it must be much cheaper.  I am concerned about the goal recommendations before us.
Bates:  I think it is important that we take a unamimous position on the council on how we move forward.  We can’t do that at this time so we should slow this down.  When is the next Energy Commission meeting?  What is the timing for EBMUD for consideration?  So we need to get this done by the end of October.
Wengraf:  I think we are moving toward a recommendation so I want to move that the Energy Commission look at this and then make a unified recommendation.
Bates:  Let’s set this for November 13 Council meeting after the Energy Commission has had a chance to consider this.
Maio:  I think we need a draft recommendation come from our Energy Commission.  I want to deliver a clear and unified message to all the other municipalities.
Bates:  I would like the CCEG to work with the Energy Commission on this
Vote and Motion:
Energy Commission to deliver a draft recommendation for Nov 13 meeting
Anderson:  Abstain.
Yes:  All others
Item 19 and 21  Disaster and Fire Commission Recommendations

Disaster and Fire Safety Commission

    • Oversight of Measure GG funds
    • Surplus was great and 2.65 million spent on radios and also 2 million for firefighter overtime,  with a $700K surplus remaining.
    • GG funds could be spent on the purpose the tax payers voted for.
    • Money continues to come in
    • Public preparedness is still underfunded.  A big portion of this should be spent on community preparedness in CACHE and ensuring the underserved populations are well attended.
    • CERT training should be increased.
    • CASHE should contain everything that people have been trained to accomplish.
    • Ample funds are available to do much more.
    • Despite many programs to prepare our citizens for disaster – but the programs are only effective for a small portion of our population.
    • We need to find ways to serve the underserved but they don’t have the expertice to make these determinations so they want to hire staff to help.  One in public health and one in emergency services.
Fire Department
  • Want to include the DFC recommendations for FY 2014 funding.
  • 79 cashes delivered by end of year 2012.  need to balance across all districts.  heavy in hill districts by 5 times.
  • CERT classes average just over 40 per year
  • Need to emphasize  preparedness in South and West Berkeley
  • Need two new full time positions to address the needs for South and West Berkeley and to complete maintenance on existing cashe.
  • Need more CERT classes and teaching capability by bringing on instructors on an hourly basis and look at other larger facilities for training.
  • Want to fund debris box program (again) and automatic gas shutoff valve program at $10K each.
  • Also recommending a $300K reserve for the fund (8% reserve).  Consistent with council recommendation for general fund reserve.
  • Return to Council January 2013 with budget recommendation for FY 2014 and 2015

Public Comment

  • Berkeley Rent Board is concerned about this around soft-story buildings and multi-story buildings.  Most of neighbors that live in South and West Berkeley need these services and training.  Recommend that this should be done sooner in  2013-14 if possible.  Urge council support
  • Please support these proposals, the more training and preparedness is given up front the better the chance for survival especiallly the disabled community.  The money spent now will save lives later.
  • totally support the DFS recommendations.  We will all be vulnerable in an earthquake but those that are already vulnerable will be even more so.  Need dedicated staff to understand the continuing issues of special needs communties.  Cannot be served with current staff level.  Public Health should be involved in this outreach that is why the additional staff is necessary.
  • Shocked there are only 3 cache exist in District 3.  We need this help and this corridor will be in a disaster if anything happens.
  • All staff are automatic first responders.  It is difficult to qualify for a cache.  There is a real need in our community for these services.
Councilmember Comments:
Bates:  District 3 and 4 are significantly underserved in cashe disbursements.  There are only 3 in District 3 and 4 in District 4.  What does $10K get you for automatic shut off valves?  Can you get a permit on-line?  So you will be giving the valve away but the homeowner needs to pay for the permit and installation.What do we get for $10K for debris box.  This will pay for 50% of the box if the community meets 2x a year for emergency preparedness.  How many boxes will this be?  We need to see what has been sucessful in the past.  To pay for this totally is not that much.  Concerned about earthquakes.  Is there anything special we can say to the people we hire so we are really prepared for an earthquake?  Can we have a staged event to see if it works?
Maio:  This is great work across the board and a more cogent set of directives to move forward.  The classes and cashe takes a “cheerleader” to get the neighborhood organized.  I hope that is one of the roles of the new person taking these newly established positions.  I am concerned that the CERT caches are packed with a waiting list and that the cashe components are not as robust as they were in the beginning.
Wozniak:  On future maps it would be good to show the districts and also show the Hayward Fault.  There are some areas where you might want more caches that others – closer to the fault and to the east of the fault where people will be isolated.  Geographic distribution needs to be take into account the population especially high density.  Could we divide the city into zones instead of districts (e.g. high volume of soft story bldgs. etc.)
Bates:  Those are really amazingly comments we would like to see you develope and come back with.
Anderson:  I am disappointed in the numbers we are looking at and where the needs are and the proximity to the fault.  Population, quality and age of the buldings and the general fence of fair distribution.  We are lucky the clock has not struck yet.  I think we are going to have to take an aggressive approach on this and I am grateful for the Commission for taking the lead to insure there is equality.  We need a competent outreach program to reach the underserved population.  This is another example of this type of disparity.  At the end of the day the closk is ticking and the lives of the people in the flatlands are just as valuable as those in the hills and I am glad we are ramping up, finally.
Moore:  I appreciate the comments of Councilmember Anderson.  The disbursement of cache in West Berkeley are sad.  70% of cache in the hills is not fair and I realize this is a self selection process but we need to reach out to the communities that do not participate on their own.  We need to do this tonight.  We should not have to wait for the next budget cycle to get this done.  $300 for a poor person on a fixed income is alot of money so we should be giveing these things for free to low income citizens.  The cadillac caches are now gone and the inferior caches are going to south and west berkeley.  Emergency preparedness should be for our entire community not just the hills.  I move that we get this done now and hire these people now – not wait.
Bates:  Can we just committ the money now and you can come back to us?
Wengraf:  The focus should be on the training and the cache is the reward for the training.  The supplies need to be rotated, they can be broken into, people move etc.  Our people need to be trained.  I would like to know if we have a comprehensive plan that includes the schools, hospital, university, churches etc and how we are going to work together in case of an emergency?  Is there an interagency plan that includes all these agencies?  I feel in the dark that I don’t know there is a plan.  There is a continual turn over even in the more stable districts so we need to stay on top of this training.  How you discussed using Measure GG funds for broadening the focus to include fire safety issues?  We should look at fire prevention strategies with these funds.  Reducing the fuel loan and vegetation management needs to be addressed – we are not doing anything about it.   We need to do more.  Could we be doing more?
Captielli - Equity is important and the entier community is in need and some areas have not recieved their fair share.  I want some specific metrics on the new employees on the number of meetings, training, outcomes, etc.  We could do targeted neighborhood outreach to install the gas shut off valves – a working together day to get this done.  Some of the clubs might actually participate in this effort.  Let’s build in a program to offer the gas shut off values for free.  Also we need to get more money for the debis boxes for the twice a year emergency training meetings.  I move that we add these modifications $25K for debris boxes, and an additional $10K for gas shutoff valves or staff could come back with a block by block program to get the gas shut off valves done.
Worthington:  How many additional classes are included in this $70K budget and when would they begin?  The assumption is that these extra employees will increase the range of outreach and training in our underserved neighborhoods.  So there is no programatic policy or goal attached to these jobs.  Is there a workable policy that could be developed?  Would it be more cost effective to have one employee rather than two and use the money to expand disaster preparedness?  Is there a particular reason there are two people to be hired?  How did we come up with this balance?  Is the way the commission envisioned this possible?  Is it legal?
Arreguin:  Do you know how many caches are currently funded in the city?  It seems that one of the major issues that there has not been adequate distribution of caches is the lack of outreach to the community and training.  Would increasing the amount of $$ allocated to caches increase the training?  Can we add to the $$ for cache.  We need a broader distribution.
Bates:  We are taking from the reserve for these services.  So we are taking away from the reserve which will reduce it to $250K.  Also the permit fee might be an economic disincentive could we create a special exemption for low income homeowners?  I think we can look at other ideas to increase incentives for installation of gas shut off valves.  We need to address the disparity in distribution and if we do greater outreach we can address this.
Maio:  I want to be a champion for reactivating the community action team.  They get a small stipend to engage their neighbors in the training etc.  I don’t know how much the stipen was but they worked in conjunction with the health department.  I think the stipend is important to incentivise the people.  These teams were very effective and they went door to door.
Anderson:  I just want to put more emphasis on this I will try to organize this community so we use the resources we have to get the equity our community deserves.  We don’t want anyone to suffer.  We have a caudre of people who could help if there is a need and we should not be turning our back on the people who are the most vulnerable and who need the most outreach.  I also want to reactiviate the community action teams.  If we don’t do that we are selling our people short.
Wozniak:  I want to get an idea about what the appropriate number of caches are for the community.  Do we need twice the number of caches or three times the number?  We are trying to create a plan for the entire city so we need to get an idea of the correct number.  How many people per cache?  There must be some data out there.  I don’t need an answer back but you need to come back with that.  We need a block by block effort for the gas shutoff valves.  I would like to see an analysis east of the fault as these areas might need special consideration.  We also need to look at density around the University and the need for additional cache in that areas.  Need to look at the gaps on the map.
Wengraf:  I need some clarification around the new positions.  Are they permanent?   Long term?  So every year the positions will take more away from the program.
Bates:  We should be better prepared than any other city.  We need to retrain our citizens.  And there are issues about pets.
Arreguin:  Is there grant progarms for fraternities and sororities or other student housing?
Perhaps we could look at a similar model for soft story buildings and low income housing etc.
Capitelli:  $15K for gas shutoff  $10K for free shut off  $15K for debri  $15K for new cache and $$ for community action teams.

Motion and Vote:
$$ as above and staff to come back with recommendations in January