Evictions, RFIDs, the Drayage, the infamous Downing Street Memo and by-right additions are just a few of the items on Tuesday night’s City Council agenda.
Councilmembers will consider a measure, adopted unanimously by the Rent Board on Aug. 29, to require property owners to pay relocation fees to tenants evicted when owners decide to remove buildings from the apartment rental business.
Current city law requires tenants be given 120 days’ eviction notice, one year required for the disabled and those 62 and older.
The only relocation fees currently required are for low-income tenants, those who are 60 or older and the disabled.
According to a study by Jay Kelekian, executive director of the Rent Stabilization Program, if the last census is any indication, 59.3 percent of tenant households in Berkeley would meet the legal definition of low income.
While Berkeley and Oakland offer no payments to other tenants, San Francisco requires a payment for all tenants of $4,500 each with a maximum of $13,500 per apartment.
On top of the flat fees, additional monies are levied if tenants belong to specific categories.
Similar flat and additional fees are also levied in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and other Southern California cities.
Under the measure the council will consider, each rental unit would qualify for a $4,500 payment to be divided up equally by all occupants of the dwelling.
An additional $2,500 would be available to units with low-income, disabled and senior tenants. The low-income payment would be shared by all occupants of the unit, but the disabled and senior payments would be divided up only among the disabled and/or senior tenants.
The council will also hear other items, including:
• An appeal by Drayage owner Lawrence White, who is contesting $157,500 in fines imposed after tenants refused to leave after city building and fire inspectors notified him and them that the warehouse units at Addison and Third streets were unfit for occupancy.
• Alternative proposals to change the city’s by-right home addition ordinance, which currently allows owners to add 500 square feet to an existing structure without public notice to neighbors.
• An ordinance authorizing purchase of an abandoned sliver of land in the middle of Codornices Creek between Fifth and Sixth streets to enable completion of the creek restoration project.
• A request by Councilmember Kriss Worthington that the council adopt a resolution to encourage its members to appoint commissioners from a more diverse range of backgrounds. The resolution also calls for a semi-annual diversity review to ensure its success.
• A resolution calling on City Manager Phil Kamlarz to submit a grant application to the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency for up to $3 million in funds to help build the Ed Roberts Center at the Ashby BART station. The center will provide a home for disability organizations, training programs and other services.
• A request by Worthington and colleague Dona Spring that the city manager send Berkeley Library Director Jackie Griffin and the institution’s board of trustees a letter requesting that they respond to letters from the Service Employees International Union—which represents most library workers—seeking answers to questions about the library’s controversial RFID (radio frequency identification) programs.
• A Peace and Justice Commission resolution directing the city to send a letter to President George W. Bush asking him to answer questions about a British government memo indicating that Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair had made a secret agreement to attack Iraq using “cooked” intelligence to mobilize public opinion.