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Watch dog group calls for Tritium workshop

By John Geluardi Daily Planet Staff
Tuesday February 20, 2001

The Committee to Minimize Toxic Waste, the community watch dog group concerned with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Tritium Labeling Facility, is calling for a workshop to examine a city consultant’s report on possible tritium releases at the labs during a major fire. 

The city scheduled the workshop. However, said Gene Bernardi of the CMTC, the session was to include scientists form the LBNL. Bernardi said the labs’ scientists would sway the others and that what the community needs is to have a discussion and analysis of the report that excludes the labs. 

She said she believes that the item will be withdrawn at tonight’s council meeting and that the Community Environmental Advisory Commission will take up the issue at its special meeting on Thursday. There is currently a presentation to the City Council of the report by the consultant scheduled at 5:30 p.m. on March 27 

Added protection for tenants 

Councilmembers Dona Spring and Linda Maio are urgently calling for the city attorney to draft an ordinance offering increased protection to tenants being evicted under California’s Ellis Act.  

The Ellis Act is a 1986 state law that allows landlords to circumvent local rent control laws and evict all of their tenants at one time and withdraw from the rental business.  

According to the written recommendation, the councilmembers are asking that a new ordinance be drawn up quickly because due to the high cost of housing “property owners who want to maximize their profits are evicting many tenants.” 

The councilmembers want the city attorney to examine the possibility of requiring landlords to own property for three to five years before evicting tenants under the Ellis Act.  

Protection down under 

The Planning and Development Department is asking the City Council take steps to develop explicit rules for the preservation of subterranean archeological resources such as the West Berkeley Shellmound. 

The staff report is asking the council to forward possible amendments to the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for its input. 

According to a staff report, the lack of explicit direction for the protection of archeological resources became evident when the designation of the shellmound as a city landmark was appealed.  

The report says the need for a new ordinance has become urgent because there is currently an application pending for development within the Shellmound area and there are more expected. 


Tonight’s City Council meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way at 7 p.m. The meeting will also be broadcast on KPFB Radio 89.3 and Cable B-TV (Channel 25).