Berkeley is a proud Sanctuary City with a legacy of protecting the most vulnerable members of our society. We continue to affirm the belief that all families should feel safe and welcome in our community. Our diversity and inclusiveness gives us strength.
We must make sure that the Marina is a place that our community can enjoy for generations to come. With the investments we are placing now, by upgrading existing infrastructure and building a new pier and ferry service, we can turn the tide on its deterioration and convert the Marina into a world-class destination that we can all be proud of.
Our City Budget is a reflection of our values and priorities. That is why over the past few months while developing my proposed Budget Recommendations, I have been listening to the needs and concerns of our community. From addressing our housing and homeless crisis, to ensuring the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, we are making a bigger investment in our community than ever before.
By working towards a more open, transparent and efficient government, the Berkeley City Council recently adopted a new committee system. This enables us to take a deeper dive on major public policy issues and provides another opportunity for the public to get engaged in the legislative process.
With the passage of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act in 1995, rents began to rise dramatically in Berkeley and neighboring communities as landlords were given the right to set new tenancies at full market rate. The City has taken multiple steps to address the growing problem of displacement, from the Rent Stabilization Ordinance to the Tenant Protection Ordinance.
It’s no secret that BPD, like police departments all over the country, has recruitment and retention challenges, a trend that started about ten years ago. Fortunately, through an extensive recruitment campaign, staffing has been on the increase since May 2018. Given the intensive outreach the Department has been doing, they are on track to reach full capacity in the next year or two.
By 2030, an estimated one in five residents will be 65 or over, nearly doubling the current senior population. To take on the expected demographic changes and ensure that we have a community in which seniors can thrive in, the City embarked on a several year process to develop an Age-Friendly Action Plan. The Action Plan was designed to create the framework for ensuring that the City not only meets the needs of seniors, but developing an inclusive and welcoming environment.
Between 2012-2016, Berkeley on average experienced 3 fatalities and 31 serious injuries annually as a result of traffic collisions. While pedestrians and bicyclists are involved in only 7% of crashes, they account for a third of the fatalities. It does not and should not have to be this way, which is why we are taking proactive steps to address pedestrian safety.
As cities across the region grapple with the homeless crisis, one impact has made itself very apparent in recent months – trash and debris. Arguably this is the number one issue constituents have contacted my office about so far this year, and rightfully so. This is a health and safety hazard, both for people’s personal wellbeing, and the environment. I wanted to let you know what the City is doing to improve this situation.
Real progress takes time, but I am proud that our city has taken many steps over the past year to help people who have been most impacted by the region’s housing crisis. We’ve also made important headway on other critical city issues, from public safety to our City Budget. Read on to find out what we have already achieved over the past year and my goals for 2019.