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Council to hear report on health disparities

Daily Planet Staff
Tuesday February 27, 2001

At its meeting tonight, the City Council will hear a report by the Community Action Team discussing its work plan to address the health disparities in Berkeley. The gap in health outcomes between wealthier Caucasian people who live in the hills and lower income people of color who live in the flatlands was pointed out in a Berkeley Health Department study last year.  

Smoke shop ban 

The City Council will hold a public hearing on whether to extend the moratorium for about 10 months on permits for new retail businesses that sell tobacco. 

On Feb. 15, the City Council adopted a 45-day moratorium on the issuance of permits for the expansion of existing, or new stores that primarily sell tobacco. State law allows interim ordinances to be extended for the 10-month period after a public hearing.  

According to a staff report, there are more than 150 locations in the city that sell tobacco products, one for every 80 Berkeley smokers. 

“This high level of saturation may create a willingness to compete for customers, including minors,” according to a report. 

Echo Lake Youth Camp 

The council will hold a public hearing on raising fees for the Echo Lake Youth Camp and Berkeley Day Camp. 

The popular day camp program is used by 90 percent of Berkeley families according to a staff report. In order for the camp’s staff to provide important elements of the program it will have to increase its fees.  

Camp expenditures are expected to rise next year by $5,400 next year, and $5,744 the following year.  

Under the proposal, session fees for the Day Camp will rise from $65 to $71 during the summer of 2001 and the fees for Echo Lake Youth Camp will be raised from $166 to $200. 

The day camp is a series of one-week sessions that include a 3 days in Tilden Park and two days at the Berkeley Marina. The focus of the camp is outdoor experiences related to a variety of bay environments. 

Echo Lake Youth Camp is a residential camp for Berkeley teenagers that allows them to experience the High Sierras. There are three one-week sessions. 

Tree planting in south Berkeley 

The council will hear an information report from the Department of Parks and Waterfront regarding tree planting in south Berkeley. The department will be able to move up the tree planting schedule this Spring without reneging on commitments to plant trees in other areas of the city. 

The council asked Parks and Waterfront to see if they could move the schedule forward without too much disruption of their schedule. 

The city received over 800 applications for tree planting around the city and had only anticipate 600. Because of the popularity of the program the city had to spread the plantings out over two seasons, fall and spring, instead of just fall.  

The council will also look at giving the Association for Sport Field Users the maintenance contract for the soccer fields at Harrison and Fourth streets. 

Two projects may be referred to a future budget discussion: the Chaplaincy for the Homeless and Berkeley Cougars and Cheerleader Program. 

The council meets in executive session at 5:30 p.m., then will meet in public session at 7 p.m. The public session is at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way and is broadcast on KPFB, 89.3 and TV-25.