With Mayor Bates on vacation for the month, Councilmember Linda Maio presided over the second City Council meeting of November on Tuesday evening. After ceremonial matters and public comment, the bulk of the meeting was spent on the year-to-date crime report, a status report from the city's information technology department on an old software program (FUND$), and an update on employee safety and workers' compensation from human resources. The only action taken Tuesday night was to unanimously approve a resolution to endorse BevMo's United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5 campaign.
The Council declared November 16, 2010 Kaz Tanahashi Day, in honor of the work of the Japanese calligrapher, Zen teacher, author, translator of Buddhist texts, environmentalist, and peaceworker. The City Manager announced that the winter homeless shelter had opened Tuesday night, despite the warm weather, and that December 3 will be a multicultural evening at B-Tech from 6-10 pm. Public commentators included Jasper Kingeter, who ran against Linda Maio in this month's election, and who came to the meeting to let council members know about some issues that he thought are important to Berkeley residents. Promoters for Telegraph's holiday street fair came to promote Telegraph's holiday street fair, which is happening on December 11, 12, 18, 19, 23, and 24. Two public commentators returned to speak out against the Berkeley Housing Authority, which they allege is guilty of abuses and interference with due process.
The year-to-date crime report, which is usually a quarterly report, updated the Council on the progress of the Police Department under new police chief Michael Meehan. Overall, crime has decreased significantly over the last five years, with a notable decrease in the eleven months that Meehan has been chief. The report cited new programs and policies such as Crime Analysis and Response Strategies (CARS) and a focus on crime as causes of the impressive crime reduction.
Next, the Council took on FUND$, a software purchased in 1990 that deals with functions like business licenses, building permits, and city payroll. The software needs replacing, as it is outdated and difficult to use and service, but it has to be replaced incrementally and there are limited resources to work with in its replacement. The IT department will be back on December 14 for feedback on their Work Plan.
Finally, the Council heard a presentation from Human Resources about the current Workers' Compensation Program. The update on policies to reduce injuries through training, ergonomic evaluations, and other preventative measures will be followed up on in six months.