May 7, 2013 – Council Meeting
SUMMARY FROM THE GALLERY:
Street Light assessment approved
Student District Plan and the Panzer Simplicity plan will be considered for redistricting the city.
Wells Fargo Bank proposal was approved to provide City banking services
ITEM # 21 ZAB APPEAL 1152 Amador Ave
ZAB addition non-detrimental no shading no view impact. Recommendation to approve.
Disclosures as to contact
Worthington: received email that councilmembers could not open from appellant so received additional emails from applicant
Arreguin: met with appellant discussed project also the property owner about the process and reviewed photos
Moore, Anderson, Wozniak, Wengraf: met with property owner and discussed project regarding mass and scope.
Wengraf: her aide met with appellant
There is an estate issue – one of the property owners has died and there is a beneficiary issue (appellant’s attorney). Biggest issue is the next in line to inherit the property and have a new appeal as that person has passed away. View of Golden Gate will be blocked to homes that have had the view since the 1920s.
In support of appellant send back to ZAB: Total 8
748 days since the application was submitted. Trees have been recently cut that is why appellant currently has the views they do. The removed trees were diseased and once they fill back in the view will be lost. Only the south tower of the GG Bridge will be hidden from the 1st floor and none from the 2nd floor. Roof shape adheres to 1916 architectural character of the house. His architect supports staff and ZABs comments. Have tried to compromise with appellant and lowered roof 25%.
In support of applicant: Total 3
Capitelli: I have been to the property and walked the street. We have a package of telephoto pictures that distort the truth. This project has been delayed too long and I am going back to the ZAB vote and I am going to move to support the ZAB recommendation.
Wozniak: I also walked the street. There has been significant delay and the homeowners costs have gone way up. I support the unanimous decision of the ZAB.
Arreguin: Has staff reviewed the photos the appellant has submitted? I cannot say whether or not there is any significant impact but I do understand the definition. I think this needs to be more seriously reviewed and modifications considered. I cannot support the motion.
Worthington: I move that we remand this to ZAB it has been said that it was unanimous but 1/3 of the members were not present and some of the members were new. I think that if it was returned there and remanding the 1st and 3rd points the vote would be different. I think the full ZAB should rehear this.
Wengraf: I want to know what type of camera was used for the pictures. Was it telescopic.
Maio: I am concerned about this long length of time. Why has this been appealed several times. What took it through this long process. Was it originally an AUP that was appealed? I am concerned because if it goes back to ZAB it will get appealed again and come back to us.
Capitelli: Are you suggesting this is not a telescopic photo??
Vote substitute motion
Abstain: Moore, Bates, Maio
Yes: Anderson, Worthington, Arreguin
No: all others
Vote on Main Motion:
Yes: All others
No: Arreguin, Worthington
ITEM # 22 Street Light Assessment
Need to fix the street lights that are broken. Crime has increased.
We need more lights and we are getting reports that some lights are not being replaced, the public needs to know the process to get lights repaired. The LED lights are important
Maio: We are spending $700K out of GF to ensure that current lighting is being maintained but we are not adding extra lights so don’t distort the truth
Worthington: I move that we continue and levy the assessment
Anderson: I want to know how long south Berkeley is going to have to wait to get the same lighting that exists in the rest of Berkeley. We need improved lighting on Alcatraz like everyone else in the city. I don’t understand the reasoning. I am going to put an item on the agenda to get this done and push it as hard as I can to get improved lighting for my district. We have not had the fairness or political will to get this done.
Moore: I appreciate Anderson’s comments and will support his future item. Just last week we talked about fancy lighting on Telegraph – which already has good lighting and there are other areas of the city that are in the dark.
Worthington: It is important that we get all the facts. I support additional lighting for Alcatraz but the issue about Telegraph was raised by the ASUC to do the survey to save the city the $$ and keep all the facts in mind and don’t divide one street against the other.
Yes: All others
ITEM #B Extended Zoning on 4th Street
Putting Whole Foods on Gilman Street is the wrong place for it. Then there will be more residential. You are chipping away at the West Berkeley.
ITEM #26 Smoke Free Housing
Non-smokers have the right to clean air. Secondhand smoke is an issue in multiunit housing. 23 cities in the Bay area have already adopted smoke-free housing ordinances. It is a social justice issue.
FDA, EPA, and ATF should be contacted to end smoking.
ITEM #23 Redistricting
Staff is here to answer questions. 1st of 2 public hearings to address redistricting plans
Nancy Skinner’s office in support of Student District.
BNC - focuses on a student district and keeping neighborhoods together.
In support of BNC plan: 11
Berkeley Student District Campaign - Created a proper student majority district with over 80% students in residence. Did not include north campus and Clark Kerr. Only plan ASUC has endorsed.
In support of BSDC plan: 111111
Panzer Simplicity Plan - Supports student district but it might meet resistance so the spirit of his plan was to produce a plan that would include a plan that the council could choose as an alternative. Hopes council will support Student District Plan but could use his as an alternative.
Alejandro Soto-Vigil - Map has second highest concentration of students. Tried to make it as simple as possible so the residents would know who their councilmembers were. There was a clockwise flow of representation.
Advocating Alfred Twu maps – West Berkeley must be unified and should include neighborhoods west of Sacramento.
Students have not considered West Berkeley as a community of interest. Perhaps the students and the BNC could get together and create a compromise map.
Support for BNC map and a West Berkeley district.
Concerned about effects of redistricting on District 2 and 3
Wengraf: I am not going to comment on the individual plans but the students are not here in July so how does this work with the timeline.
Bates: It would be impossible to accommodate the student schedule completely they are gone at the end of May.
Wozniak: I think the council should consider some of these maps tonight. I think we should consider the student plan as one of my alternatives.
Bates: If we narrow it down then it creates much more controversy. We will pass a map on July 2.
Wozniak: I think we should consider two plans the Panzer simplicity and the Student Plan.
Arreguin: This is the second round of redistricting plans. We were informed that the former plans would be considered. Nothing prohibits us from looking at those plans too.
Bates: They should have resubmitted them.
Worthington: One of the surprises for me of all of these proposals does not include the northern co-ops. I am interested in looking at a hybrid adding in the northern coops and Clark Kerr into the student district. Also could we look at a Latino district since those communities seem to reside primarily in West Berkeley? We have a growing Latino community so we should ensure that that community of interest is accommodated. If Huntsinger could include those?
Maio: I disagree with having an entire West Berkeley district it is too big. You have to look at the contiguous neighborhoods. I am looking at the three is the student district campaign, the panzer simplicity and the Huntzinger plan.
Wengraf: I am confused if those plans were completed in the last round why weren’t they resubmitted.
Capitelli: What is the number of “disenfranchised” voters in all the plans that we would consider? Also I am attracted to the student proposal because it is more compact. I have a question on the Soto-Vigil plan and the over/under of District 1 and 2 could those numbers be equalized. The motion is to consider Student and Panzer.
Wozniak: There is a motion to include the Huntzinger plan also
Arreguin: We need to respect current boundaries as much as we can for the public but we need to have lines that follow major arterials. Neighborhoods must be also kept together.
Wengraf: I am leaning toward the student and Panzer proposal but I have a problem with the Huntzinger plan as it cuts the hills in half at Marin and all those issues get divided.
Capitelli: If I decide to move next week and stay within my current district woudl the council be forced to consider my new home during this redistricting process?
Bates: I would like to consider going back to the original motion to only consider the student district and the Panzer plan. The deadline for technical changes is May 17th.
Vote to choose between Student District and Panzer Simplicity Plans:
ITEM # 3 Wells Fargo Banking Services Agreement
Want institution that was committed to community reinvestment and sensitive to service and cost.
Bank of the West, Union Bank, US Bank, Wells Fargo RFPs were considered.
Technology experts were involved in the evaluation. Wells Fargo has the superior technology, better fraud detection; payroll direct deposit has shorter turn around, flat rate for credit card processing.
Wells Fargo has better community reinvestment and social responsibility directives including loan modifications and write downs. Staff recommends Wells Fargo for banking services.
Moore: Since last year when we asked to go out into the community with an RFP there has been a tremendous amount of work that went into this decision. This has been VERY thorough work and the fact that you incorporated the community benefit values into the analysis was great. I move the staff recommendation.
Arreguin: I support all of staff’s efforts but I have a different take. I think the social responsibility component and loan modifications are the most important factors when making this decision. Of course it is easier for Wells Fargo to give money because it is so much bigger. What is the number of foreclosures these banks have performed in Berkeley? We never received any concrete information. We need to increase banking and support of small businesses. At present I cannot vote on this contract. I want to see the specific proposals
Wozniak. I second the proposal and support the decision. Wells Fargo is a large bank but Union Bank is also a large bank and a Japanese bank.
Anderson: I have the same concerns as Councilmember Arreguin. Wells Fargo has been fined and taken to the oversight committee because of the way they handle poor people. But I also know that when we draw up criteria the larger banks can respond in a better manner than the smaller banks. We cannot turn our backs on the actions of these banks. I cannot bring myself to vote on it.
Maio: I have similar concerns to how we place a significant amount of money into Wells Fargo. I am moving my money away from them. Banks are not high on any of our lists. However, I also know we have a city to run. How long is the term and can we look at a shorter term and then look at the track record of how they have handled the relationship with the city’s residents?
Capitelli: It seems to me that we should measure a couple of things and that we get an annual report. Wells should be able to provide loan information by zip code and a list of agencies that they support in Berkeley. The banks I would have looked at didn’t even apply. I think we need to relook at this annually and then reconsider in 3 years. I want to offer a frienly amendment to get a report every year and reconsider the contract in 3 years
Wengraf: I want to call the question
Arreguin: I also want the annual report to include loans to small businesses
There is not one here talking about 300 million dollars. We have not talked at all about who handles our money and social responsibilities. Where is the accountability? You are responsible for taxpayer’s money and I want you to really look at whether or not Wells Fargo is a community partner.
All the banks that took TARP money significantly impacted the people of this country. To give them our money again is wrong. The public should see the responses to all these proposals.
Yes: All others
No: Anderson, Arreguin, Worthington
ITEM # 15 Term limits for Commissioners
Maio: I want to make this only apply to the major commissions
Capitelli: I would like to say that we have had many responses to this proposal. 8 year cumulative year in 10 year period: LPC, HAC, Planning and ZAB. And I would make a motion in this regard.
There are advantages in the present system. There is a statement that the referral has “often been evaded” does not hold true. I can find only a 1.6% occasion that this happens.
I agree to this idea in theory but it doesn’t work in reality. There is depth in institutional knowledge. There are 50 open positions so it will get easy to get new blood
There has to be a rationale behind any decision and this proposal has none. It makes no sense to kick people off of commissions when there are so many vacancies. What is the public policy and the facts behind this?
Arreguin: I would like clarification on the amendments. Why just the four commissions (judicial). It is targeted politics. Very limited circumstances when the 8 year term has been evaded. ”New” ideas and fresh ideas are up to councilmembers – we can always appoint someone new. I don’t see what the need is for this. This is political. WE should have the right to appoint qualified members. If we are going to talk about term limits for commissions we should talk about if for councilmembers.
Maio: I am not going to vote on this tonight.
Worthington: I think we should get rid of all term limits. I have the right to have anyone I want to represent me on any commission. It is anti-democratic and anti-knowledge.
Capitelli: I am going to respond to this. There are rarely vacancies on the four commissions. Also the council wants an 8 year term limit but there is a loophole and I am trying to close it. When we have people sitting on commissions year in and year out then there is a perception that there are no openings. A person just needs to go off 2 years out of 10. Institutional knowledge at some times are stale old ideas. I also think this needs to be a policy for all commissions. There are some of us who have MANY positions open.
Anderson: This is pure political opportunism. There has been a decline on the democratic process of the importance of commissions in this city. What is going on here is a travesty. At any time you have the option to remove a commissioner. If all the positions were filled then we would have something to talk about. There are some councilmembers with 14 vacancies. I am not voting on this.
Moore: I want to call the question. The issue of diversity is confusing. This item has nothing to do with diversity. All we are saying is that we want more opportunities to appoint.
Wengraf: In writing this item I did a lot of research about what other cities do – they have term limits for commissions. This is about consecutive and cumulative. What we are trying to do is correct that.
ADJOURNED – OUT OF TIME