Tonight the City Council will likely accept a $50,000 grant from the Alameda Alliance for Health, for a contract with Positive Outlook Consultant Services to provide substance abuse counseling to pregnant and parenting African American women.
The program is proposed to run from May 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002.
According to a council report approved by the Health and Human Services Director Fred Medrano, increasing women’s access to health care is a priority. The report claims proof of the department’s commitment is reflected in the city’s high rate of prenatal care.
Berkeley is the only city in California that has reached its 10-year goal of 90-percent use of prenatal care by pregnant women, according to a State Department of Health Services study. The study shows that Berkeley’s rate for prenatal visits is 18 percent higher than the state average. Tuolumne County comes in next, with an 83.3 percent rate for prenatal care.
According to the council report, a recent Alta Bates Hospital review of births to Berkeley women revealed an alarming disparity of infant birth weights between white and African American women.
The same report also revealed that African American women had higher rates of drug and nicotine use during pregnancy.
Positive Outlook was chosen because it has the widest array of services available.
The council will also likely approve a recommendation to enter into a $50,000 contract with the MARCO Corporation to study safety issues concerning the Tsukamoto Public Safety Building tower, which is currently not in use.
According to the council report approved by Director of Public Works Rene Cardinaux, San Francisco based MARCO Corporation was determined by city staff and a specially formed committee to have an acceptable amount of experience to perform the six-month study.
The study will examine several aspects of the tower’s impact on the surrounding neighborhood including a review of possible health risks from electromagnetic radiation, spreading the tower’s multiple antennas to various locations around the city to reduce an overload of radiation and does the city in fact require all of the antennas on the tower.
The final cost to the city will be $68,000 including administration costs.
The council will consider setting two public hearings related to the proposed 35,000 square-foot Beth El Synagogue at 1301 Oxford St.
The council may set the public hearings as a means of reconciling two opposing decisions by two separate permit boards. One is the March 8 decision by the Zoning Adjustments Board, which approved a use permit for the synagogue project and the other is the March 5 Landmarks Preservation Commission decision to deny a permit to demolish two buildings on the site that stand in the way of the proposed project.
Neither decision has been officially appealed by the Beth El congregation nor the Live Oak Cordonices Creek Neighborhood Association, which opposes the project.
The city manager has recommended the council certify the ZAB decision and appeal the LPO decision.
Moratorium in the MULI
The Planning Commission has recommended the council enact a moratorium on office development in the Mixed Use-Light Industrial District, also known as the MULI, in West Berkeley.
The recommendation says the moratorium should remain in effect until the impact of the growing number of offices on blue-collar jobs, artists and artisans can be determined. Another concern is increased traffic congestion posed by more offices.
The council report, approved by Planning Commission Chair Rob Wrenn, said that 348,821 square feet of office space has been developed in the MULI in the last three years.
The City Council will meet in executive session with the City Attorney at 5:30 p.m. to discuss pending litigation against the city. There will be time for public comment before the meeting goes into closed session. The meeting will be held at 2180 Milvia St. on the sixth floor.
The regular City Council will meet in the City Council Chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way at 7 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast live on KPFB Radio 89.3 and Cable B-TV (Channel 25).