The best long-term solution to homelessness is permanent supportive housing distributed throughout the region. We have been pressing the State and County to do their fair share. There are no easy solutions to homelessness. That is why the Council asked the Homeless Commission to consider whether a City-sanctioned encampment might be appropriate at a location chosen by the City, with sanitation, social services, and strict behavioral rules. This does not bind us to move forward, but this crisis requires openness to all possible solutions. In the meantime, I have championed:
It’s easy to signal support for affordable housing, but actually finding money is a whole different matter. In June, 2017, the Council passed my ordinance increasing the fee that developers pay for affordable housing and closed the loophole that let large Downtown projects skirt paying for the arts. These intiatives could generate millions of dollars for housing and the arts.
I fought hard for $1,000,000 for purchasing small sites and creating land trusts to keep existing apartment buildings affordable and steward cooperative tenant ownership. I also helped acquire $600,000 in funding to enhance tenant legal and financial services to tenants in distress. Working with legal non-profits, our office has helped many residents facing eviction and harassment.
The Trump Administration is both a grave threat to democracy and lavishes money on private vendors instead of community emergency preparedness. I have taken the lead on initiatives to divest from wasteful and harmful federal programs – most notably Urban Shield – and instead invest in our community.
Berkeley has an excellent police department. Reforms to combat racial disparities in police stops, citations, searches and arrests and to insure the minimum use of force will allow the department to continue in that tradition. I am advocating for effective changes to the Police Review Commission and fair, transparent and impartial policing.
Our city’s only hospital could close as soon as next year after eliminating services for years. In February, I organized a successful “Save Alta Bates” community forum to keep the pressure on Sutter I vow to continue fighting through legal and planning approaches to keep Alta Bates open as a full-service facility.
For our city’s older population, taxi vouchers are vital for living an active life. We are in communication with the state’s Public Utilities Commission and Alameda County to explore the legal viability of mandating that rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft accept this subsidy.
In addition to encouraging new local businesses, my innovative legacy business program recognizes the existing businesses that make Berkely unique.
To stem the economic decline from shuttering of dozens of small businesses through retirement, we’ve started work with our Office of Economic Development on establishing succession plans, including employee purchases for these businesses.
Berkeley needs to be ahead of the curve by requiring that buildings to be as environmentally conscious as possible — from the source materials to the energy used. We are working to insure rooftop gardens, water reclamation or solar is required on all new multi-unit buildings and city facilities and that Alameda County’s community energy provides a 100% green option.
30% of our land is covered in asphalt. While we all need to drive sometimes, it is time to reduce our dependence on gasoline-powered cars through multi-modal forms of travel including biking, walking and public transit, charging parking fees that reflect times of heaviest use and expanding electric vehicle charging stations.
I authored a law that requires lobbyists to register and slows the revolving door on previous City employees serving as lobbyists. This critical step takes the City further toward freeing itself from the corrupting influence of special interests.
Our neighbors—San Francisco and Oakland—both maintain robust public ethics commissions with professional staff, entrusted with enforcing laws surrounding campaign finance, government ethics, and transparency. We are exploring this system for Berkeley.
We need to make Berkeley safe for everyone, regardless of how they move through the City. In response to a nearly tragic incident at Dwight and California, I authored legislation to reorient the City’s criteria for stop sign installation toward protecting bicyclists and pedestrians near schools and in bike lanes instead of being based solely on vehicle traffic. I also secured $100,000 to be allocated toward traffic calming at Dwight and California, and worked with the Transportation Department to install pedestrian crossing signs at other unsafe intersections around the City.