Use BUSD site for Berkeley City Council Meetings

Linda Franklin
Tuesday November 28, 2017 - 12:56:00 PM

I write to express firm opposition to the proposal that the City Council move its meetings to the former Premier Cru building, purchased by the previous council to provide emergency housing for Berkeley’s large homeless population. I think it would be a sad mistake to use even a part of this much-needed space for the entirely different purpose of city council meetings, even on a short-term basis. Berkeley voters made clear at the last election our concern that the council devise effective ways to house the homeless, especially over the winter. To spend a significant amount of money instead on constructing and fitting out a council meeting chamber would be a waste of money and an insult to the homeless and to all those of us who want our taxes used to provide housing for them. 

It's an appalling abuse of taxpayer dollars to build out two meetings room, so close to one another, at Premier Cru and BUSD. The BUSD board meeting space is closer to central Berkeley and would need only a modest investment to house city council meetings. The trial use of BUSD board space showed that it worked for the neighbors and for residents wanting to participate in city meetings. The BUSD space is accessible by bus, walkable from downtown, and has good parking. BUSD needs to work with the city to provide meeting space at a fair price, having earlier benefitted from the city’s provision of a meeting space for them. It would be very disturbing to see money misspent after Berkeley voters haver made clear our priorities.  

If a fair agreement cannot be made with BUSD, using a Senior Center for council meetings on an interim basis is preferable to squandering money on the Premier Cru property.