September 2018 Newsletter: Global Action Summit, North Berkeley BART, Vision 2050 Information Night, and Other Berkeley News
Berkeley Commits to New Environmental Goals at Global Climate Action Summit
Gov. Jerry Brown speaking at last week's Global Climate Action Summit, where Berkeley joined hundreds of other cities, states and countries in pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This past week, several City of Berkeley employees and I had the pleasure to attend the Global Climate Action Summit, which drew political and environment leaders from all over the world. The goal of the Summit was to identify ways for businesses, cities, states and national governments to continue their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), as outlined by the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016 despite President Trump’s abandoning participation.
I am proud to say that the City of Berkeley has agreed to several bold goals. Most importantly, our City committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity citywide by 2035, ten years earlier than the State of California. We also pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and signed on to the Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative, launched by the City of Los Angeles, which will allow us to buy new electric vehicles and charging stations at a reduced cost.
At the Global Climate Action Summit, we also joined a group of Bay Area cities calling for a ban on the transport of coal through their jurisdictions and signed a letter calling on the Bank of Montreal, which is financing the proposed coal export terminal in Oakland, to abandon the project due to severe environmental and health impacts.
All of these commitments build on our ongoing sustainability work going back more than a decade. Berkeley adopted our Climate Action Plan in 2009, a visionary document for how Berkeley plans to reduce GHG emissions and increase the use of renewable energy. We are making good progress towards these goals, including launching a local requirement for building owners to complete and report energy assessments to identify energy and cost-saving opportunities. You can find out more at cityofberkeley.info/climate/
I’m proud of Berkeley for being ahead of the curve for many U.S. cities and look forward to finding creative ways to keep lowering our carbon footprint in the years to come. As year-round wildfires, increasingly stronger hurricanes and deadlier floods indicate, climate change has dire implications for the well-being of both people and our planet. We must act now, and act boldly.
Creating a New Vision for Area Around North Berkeley BART
The City of Berkeley wants to hear from residents as it considers potentially building housing on land around the North Berkeley BART station. Residents can submit comments regarding their vision for this area in writing, or as drawings or models that will be shared at a community open house on Saturday, October 13 at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave.
All materials need to be submitted to the Mayor’s Office no later than 3 p.m. on October 5 to be considered. There will be limited wall space and easels, so please limit the size of your submission to two 24” x 36” sheets or equivalent area. Learn more about how to submit your ideas.
Together, we can come up with a vibrant plan that addresses Berkeley’s need for housing in a way that is appropriate with the existing neighborhood. We hope to see you there!
2050 Vision: Retooling Berkeley’s Transportation Infrastructure to Meet the Challenges of the Future
Monday, Sept. 24
North Berkeley Senior Center
1901 Hearst Ave.
Earlier this year, I initiated a citizen-led effort to develop a 30-year sustainable infrastructure plan to support a safe, vibrant and resilient future for Berkeley. The initiative is called Vision 2050 and it is a long-range plan to make sure our streets, sidewalks, sewer systems and buildings are strong enough to handle a growing population and climate change, including sea-level rise, more flooding and wildfires.
I invite you to find out more at one of our upcoming informational nights.
On Monday, September 24, we will focus on improving our transportation infrastructure and look at the condition of our streets, trends in public transportation, ride sharing, self-driving vehicles and how we can reduce the number of fatal pedestrian and bicycling accidents through smarter streets.
Jaimie Levin, Center for Transportation and Environment
Tony Bruzzone, Transportation Commission
Ray Yep, Vision 2050 Chair
New Residential Hall Providing Housing for More Than 750 Cal Students
Last week, I had the chance to dedicate the David Blackwell residential hall at Dana and Dwight, the first dormitory that Cal has built since 2012. This dorm, a public-private partnership between UC Berkeley and American Campus Communities, a developer of student housing, is a step toward addressing the housing shortage in our community.
The new dorm is named in honor of David Blackwell, a renown mathematician and statistician, and the first African-American tenured professor at Cal. If you studied mathematics and game theory, you may have encountered the Rao-Blackwell theorem, named after Professor Blackwell. The new residential hall features study lounges, pool tables, a gym, and, for some lucky students, views of the San Francisco skyline. Not only is this building beautiful, it’s also LEED certified and designed to conserve water and power, using the latest available technology.
Public-private partnerships such as this one are the key to building more student housing in our community so that students can focus on their studies instead of worrying about where they are going to live next month.
Balancing Public’s Right to Know With Constitutional Rights of People Arrested, But Not Charged With Crimes
Over the past year, Berkeley has been the center of intense protests. On the whole, I believe our Police Department has done an excellent job of facilitating free speech and keeping people and businesses safe. However, BPD’s recent policy of posting mugshots of people arrested in these protests has raised many serious questions.
First, it’s important to differentiate between police posting mugshots on social media of people who pose a risk to public safety and not yet in custody, and those arrested in a protest for non-violent crimes. I’m concerned about what we now know is BPD’s practice of releasing mugshots of individuals arrested at alt-right protests to counter a narrative that police were not “tough” enough on anti-fascist protesters.
At the latest rally on August 5, Berkeley police did a good job of keeping the peace. But we have now learned that among those arrested were people who were simply carrying plastic tubes to hold up banners and other objects not intended to be used as weapons. Some reports indicate that people were allegedly not given the opportunity to relinquish these objects prior to being arrested. These individuals were taken into custody and later had their mugshots posted on social media, along with other identifying information.
While mugshots and information on arrestees is a matter of public record, should BPD proactively post these pictures during First Amendment activity? Could this have the unintended effect of discouraging people from participating in demonstrations in the future?
Having been doxed myself on Twitter by right-wing trolls, I know how threatening and vulnerable it makes you feel. That’s why I think it’s reasonable for our Police Department to have a policy that allows the use of social media platforms to alert our community about individuals who pose a serious risk to our safety (e.g. people wanted in homicides, sexual assaults, felony assault). However, I do not believe that we should allow broad use of such a powerful tool in cases of First Amendment activity when people have not committed any violence.
In the case of individuals arrested on August 5th , no one has been charged yet.
I think Berkeley can continue its excellent work of balancing public safety while also protecting constitutional rights and our community’s values. That is why I have co-sponsored new legislation to limit the posting of pictures of arrestees who do not most a serious risk to public safety.
New Way to Follow Developments in Your Neighborhood and City
Curious about the new development happening in your neighborhood? You can now get all the details by visiting the city’s new Building Eye Database to search by address, keyword or simply by looking at a map. This is another way the City of Berkeley is increasing transparency and making it easier for residents and business people to find information.
Bay Area United Against Hate Kick Off Sept. 26
On Wednesday, Sept. 26, I will be joined by leaders from around the Bay Area as we kick off our United Against Hate campaign, a grassroots movement that calls on people to unite and speak up against the rise of hate crimes in our neighborhoods, towns and cities.
United Against Hate is a spin off from the poster campaign our office launched last year and aims to empower and unite residents around their own core community values. At the kick off, we'll hear from victims of hate crimes, local leaders and others, and get tips about what to do if you witness bigotry in your community. The movement encourages residents to organize film screenings, workshops, art projects and other creative displays that educate and bring people together in a positive way.
The campaign will culminate with a United Against Hate Week November 11-18. For more information, visit unitedagainsthateweek.org
Indigenous People's Day October 6
Indigenous People’s Day is a Berkeley tradition going back to 1992. On October 6th, celebrate 526 years of resistance and renewal with a celebration that will include inter-tribal dancing, honor songs, food and vendors. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at Civic Center Park. Visit ipdpowwow.org for more information.
Harvest Festival October 13
Celebrate the harvest with children’s activities, music, food and gardening demonstrations and more at the Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Cedar Rose Park. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. This free event will celebrate the harvest season with foods grown, harvested, and prepared by members of the Berkeley community. Come swap garden seeds, share gardening tips, and enjoy the company of fantastic local gardeners and earth stewards.
You can also enter your best homemade pie, pickled vegetables, cookies, jam, and other homemade goods or homegrown produce in our food contests. There will also be guided tours of nearby community gardens, as well as "garden to table" cooking demonstrations. Children can hang out at the Kids Zone, whether conquering the climbing wall, running the obstacle course, bowling with pumpkins, or making a scarecrow. Other kids’ activities include face painting, pumpkin decorating, a petting zoo, and a carnival games with prizes.
My office is here to serve you. Visit our website for frequently used phone numbers to city departments and to stay up to date with our blogs. You can also call or send us an email with questions or concerns.
Mayor Arreguin Mayor@cityofberkeley.info
Brandi Campbell, Chief of Staff BCampbell@cityofberkeley.info
Jac McCormick, Senior Advisor JMcCormick@cityofberkeley.info
Karina Ioffee, Director of Communications Kioffee@cityofberkeley.info
Stefan Elgstrand, Assistant to the Mayor SElgstrand@cityofberkeley.info
Tano Trachtenberg, Legislative Aide TTrachtenberg@cityofberkeley.info