Issues

Kate’s rigorous education in public policy and experience applying economic concepts show in her work on everything from international development to county-level budgeting. Kate has a remarkable ability to combine level-headed fiscal sense with compassion for vulnerable people. That's an unusual and much-needed combination. ~ Cyndi Spindell Berck, JD, MPP, Owner and Principal, International Academic Editorial Services
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An equitable and sustainable future

Creating a legacy for the next generation

  • Build affordable transit-centered housing
  • Protect tenants and existing rental units
  • Fight for a living wage for working families
  • Make city spaces sustainable, water-wise and carbon-neutral
  • Add or restore parks in District 4 and other underserved neighborhoods
  • Let Berkeley be its own green energy provider
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Building a vibrant local business environment

Berkeley: A special city with unique character

  • Recognize the economic engine of small and legacy businesses
  • Maintain vibrant storefronts by charging fees for long-term vacant properties
  • Attract and protect the arts, incubators and non-profits
  • Create dynamic streetscapes that draw residents and visitors
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Using the power of the budget

The budget should reflect our principles and direct our actions

  • Target city resources to close the economic, health and educational divide
  • Be smart with our funds: establish goals and measure outcomes
  • Introduce 21st century technology
  • Recognize employees as our biggest asset. Match fair pay and treatment with performance standards
  • Strategize how to reduce unfunded liabilities without grandstanding or scapegoating—we’re all in this together
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Engaging the community

Make Berkeley a place in which residents are eager and proud to participate

  • Fix the broken planning process to make it community, not developer, driven
  • Honor existing community processes; solicit real public input when it can make a difference
  • Provide alternative and on-line forums for community participation
  • Make sure more voices are heard; bring diverse and younger people onto city commissions
  • Expand ethical rules on contact between private interests and city leaders
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Funding affordable housing

Those who have benefitted from the incredible increase in housing values should contribute to funding affordable housing for those less fortunate.

  • Build upon Measure U1, the modest increase in the business license tax on larger landlords that will bring in nearly $4 million/year for 50 units of affordable housing each year, including housing for the homeless.
  • Follow the example proposed by the Berkeley Progressive Alliances’ housing platform, which calls for taxes and regulation on short-term rentals (such as Air B&B) and using a portion of the transfer tax on homes sold in Berkeley for affordable housing.

 

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Building more affordable housing

Our greatest need is housing for low and moderate income residents, for whom we have fallen far below regional standards. To make this a reality, in addition to pursuing the funding ideas above, we have to be smart and nimble in identifying and approving affordable housing projects.

  • Prioritize affordable housing by streamlining permitting process for projects with at least 50% affordable units
  • Provide planning money to potential projects on an ongoing basis as they are ready – we can’t afford to lose possible opportunities.
  • Use some Housing Trust Fund money to purchase existing rental housing to keep it affordable and develop ownership opportunities through limited equity coops
  • Evaluate publicly owned sites for suitability for housing. Develop the Berkeley Way parking lot and above senior centers and BART stations for low-scale affordable housing.
  • Build more housing for students at locations close to the UC campus as called for in the Southside Plan. Work with the Berkeley Student Cooperative to expand relatively affordable co-op housing.
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Housing our unhoused fellow-residents

There is no single answer to homelessness. What is certain is that raids on encampments are inhumane, ineffective, and expensive. They punish a group of people based on the possible illegal behavior of individuals which should be dealt with individually. In addition, the destruction of the property of homeless people must stop.

  • Seek a long-term solution to supplement the emergency measures the City has already implemented, such as increasing shelter beds and warming centers, providing transportation between shelters and instituting daily visits from Berkeley Mental Health staff and/or community agencies.
  • Establish a single location for an authorized encampment with City housing and mental health staff located there, both to provide services and reassure the community.
  • Prioritize housing for youth.
  • Take a comprehensive strategy to achieve a “housing first” goal. The problem of homelessness is not occurring in a vacuum.
  • Expand the County’s pilot of Laura’s Law, which requires those with mental health issues to appear in court to discuss available services.
  • Creating tiny house villages and other solutions for inexpensive but stable housing.
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Ensuring safe streets

We can create a community that’s safe for working, walking, and visiting.

  • Improve lighting for Central Berkeley sidewalks
  • Improve police patrols with smaller coverage areas and more community policing
  • Support dedicated Downtown foot patrols
  • Increase police civilian accountability
  • Establish neighborhood crime prevention councils like in Oakland
  • Improve and update plans for disaster preparedness
  • Improve pedestrian and cyclist safety with traffic calming
environment

Protecting our environment

Buildings, agriculture and transportation are the biggest contributors to climate change. Berkeley can be a leader in tackling climate change and improving our quality of life. As chair the Parks Commission Sustainability Subcommittee, a member of the Infrastructure Committee and a former member of the Downtown Streets and Open Space Planning Committee, I know what can be done.

Reduce use of fossil fuels and water by:

  • Moving rapidly to implement Zero Net Energy standards for new buildings.
  • Incentivizing urban agriculture and green roofs.
  • Enhancing citizen control over shared resources through Community Choice Aggregation.
  • Expand incentives for property owners to make other energy and water efficiency improvements.
  • Implement renewable energy and water efficiency measures for all City and School properties.

Encourage use of alternative modes of transportation, through:

  • Better bicycle, pedestrian, car sharing and electric car infrastructure.
  • A transportation services fee to help fund alternatives.
  • Improvements to public transit service; introduction of a Downtown shuttle.
  • Incentives that encourage use of alternatives to cars, such as transit passes provided by building owners.

Recognize that parks and open space are our greatest green asset:

  • Expand parks, public open space, and recreational facilities, including parklets, community gardens, a reopened Willard Pool and the proposed Center Street Plaza
  • Require developers to pay open space fees.
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Creating living wage jobs

A lot has been said about solving the Bay Area’s housing affordability crisis. We also need to focus on creating secure, well paid local jobs. Berkeley’s unemployment rate, below 4%, is one of the lowest in the region, state, and the nation, but many of our residents are underemployed at wages that are not enough to support a family. I want to fix that, through training programs, protecting existing jobs, and creating new living wage jobs in green tech and health care, and ensuring that we are a welcoming environment for new small and cooperative businesses.

I pledge to:

  • Expand job training in the building trades, such as that offered by Cypress and the West Oakland Job Resource Center, and employ those trained in fixing up dilapidated housing for our residents;
  • Address wage disparities with policies that promote equal opportunity and living-wage employment and remove barriers to workers organizing;
  • Create incentives for shared financial institutions — community banks, land trusts, limited/shared equity housing, economic cooperatives and co-ownership, and workers’ councils. Berkeley already has a co-op density that is the envy of many cities twice or three times the size which provides resiliency to our local economy;
  • Encourage use of new technologies – including solar – to upgrade city infrastructure, address climate change, and create new, good jobs; and
  • Keep Alta Bates open to protect critical health care services and jobs.