Follow-up to Affordable Housing Teach-In

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Photo from Berkeleyside by  Kathleen Costanza.

Thank you for attending the Teach-in on the Housing Affordability Crisis in Berkeley.
As activists working for fair housing for all Berkeley residents, we will sendyou emails
now and then about important issues.

The Housing Teach-In was videoed. Here is a link to all the talks that day.
Each speaker can be seen separately or all of them together.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5SsD0Q02p8&list=PLS2O9Gttsg5cwvAjJi-VMccKBLLu3-Iun

There is an important council meeting on Tuesday, December 15th.
We hope you can come and speak out. See below for more information.

SPEAK OUT FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT THE BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 7:00 P.M.

The Council is again considering actions for creating more affordable housing in Berkeley.  We activists must be there to speak. Let’s demand Council action on proposals made at the November 22 Affordable Housing Teach In.

The Agenda: More Funding for Affordable Housing

Three actions the City Council must take to generate $10 million and fund around 100 affordable units each year:

Increase the business license tax on large landlords in Berkeley; each 1% increase in the tax could bring in $2 to $3 million annually.

Increase the housing impact fees on market-rate development to at least the $34,000  recommended by the Nexus study . Developers should be allowed to avoid paying the fee by providing 20% affordable units (5 affordable units for every 20 market rate units built).

Tax short term rentals such as AirBnB rentals and use the new revenue for affordable housing.

These funds could also be used to create affordable home ownership through
limited equity coops and other resident-controlled cooperative housing. In addition, the Council
must:

Provide $1 million in loans to non-profit housing developers to finalize their plans for affordable housing and allow them to apply for available federal grants and tax credits. These funds are less than 25% of the surplus the City currently has available.

We must maintain the supply of existing Rental Housing. We need to insure that  affordable housing is not taken off market. Ask the Council to:

Strengthen Berkeley’s Demolition Ordinance to protect the existing supply of rent controlled housing.  Each rent controlled unit must be replaced — one for one — with housing that is permanently affordable to low and very low income households.
Continue to support reassessment by ZAB of demolishing 18 rent controlled units at 2631 Durant. There is no provision for inclusion of a similar number of replacement units in the proposed building.
Improve monitoring of affordable inclusionary units in market rate housing developments, create a City-maintained waiting list and establish priorities for housing those who currently live or work in Berkeley.

Mike yielders needed here as well.  If you can’t attend the meeting, please write to the Council to express your support for making funding and maintenance of affordable housing a priority.

Send e-mail to council@cityofberkeley.info; write “affordable housing” in the subject line.
Individual council e-mail is as follows:

Mayor Tom Bates        mayor@CityofBerkeley.info
Council District
Linda Maio            1    lmaio@CityofBerkeley.info
Darryl Moore         2    dmoore@CityofBerkeley.info
Max Anderson       3    manderson@CityofBerkeley.info
Jesse Arreguin       4    jarreguin@CityofBerkeley.info
Laurie Capitelli      5    lcapitelli@CityofBerkeley.info
Susan Wengraft      6    swengraf@CityofBerkeley.info
Kriss Worthington  7    kworthington@CityofBerkeley.info
Lori Droste             8    ldroste@CityofBerkeley.info]

From activists in the Berkeley Progessive Alliance, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition, Berkeley Citizens Action, the Berkeley Tenants Union, CALPIRG, the Berkeley NAACP, Black Student Union of Berkeley City College, and the Better Berkeley Working Group.

CONTACT
Kate Harrison
Owner/Principal
Kate Harrison Consulting
kate@kateharrisonconsulting.com
www.kateharrisonconsulting.com | (510) 593-9591

 

Great Ideas on Improving Berkeley Housing Situation from Participants at the Teach-In

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Development attendees like

  • 6 stories
  • Infill, Affordable housing that blends with neighborhoods architecturally
  • In lieu versus inclusionary: some say no in-lieu of units in new developments, one asks for atleast 30% low and middle income units in new development; one likes integrating low and moderate income housing; one recommends city consider a range of income levels cumulatively equivalent to 50% of AMI
  • Preserve and protect historic buildings in downtown
  • Limited equity housing, coops; coops of large buildings, not just homes; community land trusts

Ways to raise money to build affordable housing

  • Tax on excess rents, windfall profits
  • City funds
  • Tax/limit short term rentals
  • Fines/fees for university for student impact
  • fines/fees for megacorps for regional impact
  • Tax landlords for public use, use for the homeless
  • Sue state for redevelopment money to recover portion of taxes
  • Seek grants for disabled housing near Ed Roberts
  • 5% transfer tax
  • Tax for pied-a-terre, 2ndary homes
  • Huge foreign purchase tax
  • Google bus tax

Recommendations for help for low income tenants

  • Set aside revenue streams for affordable housing
  • Increased subsidies for low income tenants, local Section 8 program
  • Matching savings plans for housing ownership, Loans to tenants to buy buildings–acquisition program, city office to centralize subidy/loan info; Local Stake system that gives local residents including homeless housing benefits for long residence/participation in the community
  • Increase awareness of issues for renters/voters, and 1:1 with council members to fully understand 360 degree perspective on housing issues instead of profits /bottom line
  • Build youth hostels
  • Build fellowship housing for staff of non-profits, arts, education
  • Tax relief for landlords with long term tenants in rent controlled units
  • Tiny house/Camping area for temp housing of homeless

Legislation needed to protect/ increase affordable housing

  • Pass highest rate for inclusionary housing and highest in-lieu fee
  • See if rent control can be extended to buildings built since 1982
    Require payment of in-lieu fees during permitting process, rather than when the occupancy permit is issued
  • Revoke Ellis act
  • Eliminate Costa-Hawkins, create stronger rent control, end vacancy decontrol. penalize landlords for housing discrimination (preferring students with their rapid turnover), by resetting rent back to original level)
  • Pass robust demolition ordinance, No demolitions of existing rent controlled housing. One for One replacement of demolished rent controlled units
  • Tax on foreign buyers to reduce housing speculation
  • Vacancy Penalty (fee for vacant properties to cover costs incurred by city for policing, clean up, degradation of community)
  • Make housing a civil right, so people can sue if they are homeless
  • Rent control for local businesses in return for minimum wage
  • Pressure university to reduce dorm fees so they are preferred to private housing
  • Prevent Plan Bay Area/ABAG from removing anti-displacement language. Raise awareness of this threat
  • End racist housing policies

Outreach needed

  • Elect New Council and new commission members who are champions of affordable housing
  • Disrupt developer “Welcome to our project” meetings.
  • End racist housing policies

Other recommendations

  • Encourage collective eating halls to enable kitchen free housing, or subscription service to local residents
  • Better transit: Provide shuttles to reduce need for parking; improve public transit to dilute gentrified areas; Provide car-share in any building with limited parking
  • Buy city-owned properties in North Berkeley to increase density in luxury area
  • Moratorium on other buildings
  • lower “rent taking” on items of mass use to free income for housing, such as public phone, internet, water, electricity, gasd, cable tv, mail, bulk food
  • Encourage shared office workspaces to favor housing over office space; encourage mixed housing in commercial buildings
  • @BTU: clarify who is “good for housing” so people will stop falling for fake housing promises from developers and Silicon Valley libertarians. The current council is bamboozling tenants by promising market drive housing
  • Stop letting regional interests dictate housing policy
  • Build affordable housing that blends with neighborhoods
  • Focus on local employment, get high paying employers to look for local talent

Housing Teach-In Videos and Recent Articles

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Photo from Berkeleyside by Kathleen Costanza

Here’s the link to video on Affordable Housing forum by Jai Jai Noire. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5SsD0Q02p8&list=PLS2O9Gttsg5cwvAjJi-VMccKBLLu3-Iun

Jai Jai Noire is a San Francisco Bay Area multimedia artist. He is available for camera, editing, directing, narration, production, script and project consultation.

Main areas of experience and interest include independent filmmakers, indie media, social, environmental and economic justice, animal rights, collaborating with other musicians, poets, activists, artists, authors and performers.

Other: Housing cooperative member, Board member Bay Area Community Land Trust; NoBAWC volunteer. He wrote the three act rock opera, “Alice & Joan” (2003- Columbine Award  Winner “Best Libretto”); Midtown Art Gallery St Louis MO, March 2000 “Put The Shoe On The Other Foot And Walk A Mile In It” multimedia exhibit on gender violence using role reversal;  films screened at various indie festivals; former holistic bodyworker; worker in various industries; vocals, guitars, songs for underground bands “The Make,” “Inverted Triangle.”

Here’re some videos from our forums and other recent meetings by Ken Bukowski. 

BERKELEY- Affordable Housing Community Meeting Nov 22 2015 https://youtu.be/q1MT7PE25oU
SPUR- Presentation “Why Housing Costs so Much” Nov 16 2015 https://youtu.be/oVos_lIddc4
BERKELEY- “Affordable Housing 101” – 2939 Ellis St-Berkeley Nov 14 2015 https://youtu.be/oB0OdP43_aU
TONY THURMOND- “Affordable Housing” Town Hall Nov 12 2015 https://youtu.be/-OyvQUE4pBI
BNC- A Changing Berkeley – Berkeley Neighborhood Council Sep 16 2015 https://youtu.be/bUn_DY8nVZg
Adeline Corridor- Berkeley Meeting – Report Break Out Sessions Aug 29 2015 https://youtu.be/2W_pknZ7gx8  
Adeline Corridor So. Berkeley Community Meeting Aug 29 2015 https://youtu.be/GsOx0EVEySg
Protecting Tenants Rights- Capstone Conference Apr 13 2015 https://youtu.be/u2-_hdIU3z4

Ken Bukowski spent 24 years on the Emeryville city council as a member and as mayor. Since 2011, when he was defeated at the polls, he has been a consultant for the Emeryville Property Owners Association group that he helped found, to represent the interests of small and medium-sized property owners. He’s also developed a passion for videography and can often be seen manning the camera at community meetings.

Links to articles on the event from DailyCal and Berkeleyside.

http://www.dailycal.org/2015/11/23/community-members-meet-affordable-housing-teach/

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2015/11/24/20k-a-month-for-berkeley-house-skyrocketing-rental-prices-draw-crowd-to-housing-affordability-teach-in/

 

November Newsletter on Housing Forum

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BCA Newsletter Nov 2015 for web_print

Read our housing forum newsletter.

In this issue: Speakers Bios and talking points, Calendar of events for housing issues, Call from Berkeley Tenants Union to protest ZAB decision to allow a formerly rent controlled building to be demolished, Call for Photos of Unsafe Housing Conditions and a poem for Tenants Together by Fred Dodsworth

Berkeley’s Housing Crisis

HousingCrisis4cSunday, November 22nd, 2pm-4:30 pm, Berkeley Arts Festival Space, 2133 University (between Shattuck & Oxford Streets)

Soaring rents and home prices have made Berkeley an increasingly unaffordable place. People can’t find housing, live in fear of eviction. We’ve lost much of our city’s diversity.

 

Come learn more about this crisis and what can we do:

What can our local elected officials do?

How do we prevent displacement of lower income folk and people of color?

Discuss ways to get funding for affordable housing:

  • increase business license fee paid by large landlords
  • city density bonus
  • housing impact fees and inclusionary housing
  • new revenue, such as a proposed tax on short-term rentals

Speakers include:

  • Stephen Barton, Ph.D., Former Director of the Housing Department and Deputy Director of the Rent Stabilization Program in Berkeley
  • Moni Law, Affordable Housing Activist
  • Rick Lewis, Executive Director, ­­Bay Area Community Land Trust, former Housing Advisory Commission Member
  • Austin Pritzkat, President, Berkeley Student Cooperative
  • Katherine Harr, Berkeley Tenants Union
  • Facilitated by Paola Laverde, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner

There will be an opportunity for questions and comments

Sponsored by the Ad Hoc Committee for a Progressive Berkeley with support from Berkeley Citizens Action, the Berkeley Tenants Union, Berkeley NAACP and the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/896111150438591/

Public Forum on Fair Elections in Berkeley

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Common Cause forum on Fair Elections in Berkeley

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: UC Berkeley (Valley Life Science Building, Room 2040)
                 Harmon Way
                 Berkeley, CA 94720
Campaign spending is out of control. In Berkeley, 7 of the last 8 City Council races went to the candidate who raised the most money, as did the last mayor’s race. We need a system where candidates can successfully run for office even if they don’t have connections to wealth.

Join Common Cause for an open forum to discuss the Berkeley Fair Elections Act, a small donor matching funds proposal. Hear first hand from supporters of the measure and ask questions about how the system would work.

Hope to see you there!

Support the Berkeley Fair Elections Act (Common Cause)

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Campaign spending is out of control. In Berkeley, 7 of the last 8 City Council races went to the candidate who raised the most money, as did the last mayor’s race. We need a system where candidates can successfully run for office even if they don’t have connections to wealth.

Take action today by signing our petition below!

https://secure2.convio.net/comcau/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=3DCE4B5FC57E35C83379D4BAE7D4AE53.app267a?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=976 

Together, we can amplify local voices and empower candidates to run small donor campaigns. Sign onto our petition, and join us for a public forum on October 28 and for the council hearing on November 10.

PETITION: Amplify Local Voices. 

Support the Berkeley Fair Elections Act.

Dear Berkeley City Council,

California Common Cause, its members and allies urge the Berkeley City Council to place the Fair Elections Act on the ballot, which would magnify the role of average voters and empower candidates to run small donor campaigns.

When candidates have to spend most of their time fundraising, it can distract them from talking to voters and working on policy solutions that prioritize the public’s priorities. The high costs of campaigns are threatening to price out candidates without personal wealth or connections to wealth. The Fair Elections Act works to remedy the problem by allowing candidates to spend more time talking to voters and less time dialing for dollars.

The goals of the program are to:

1. Encourage more Berkeley residents to get involved in local elections.
2. Diversify the donor pool by increasing the number of small contributions.
3. Drive candidates to spend more time listening to voters.
4. Prevent candidates from appearing or becoming beholden to large donors.

The City of Berkeley needs a campaign system that prioritizes the public interest and reduces the amount of time candidates spend dialing for dollars. Vote to put the Fair Elections Act on the 2016 ballot and give Berkeley voters the opportunity to create a more equitable political system.

Forum on Fair Elections

BCA Forum on Fair Berkeley Elections    – Saturday, September 19, 12:15 to 2:30 pm, West Branch Library (Meeting Room), 1125 University Avenue

Berkeley Needs to Take Action to Make Elections Fairerstamp money out of politics

Recent Berkeley elections have given little voice to minority views in city council. The elections have been marred by illegal campaign contributions, and massive contributions from developers an d corporations. In addition, the 2014 gerrymandered student district resulted in an abysmal voter turnout of just 21% for their city council seat, (compared with 43-59% in the other city council contests.)

We must do better! Join us to make plans to get out the progressive vote in the important 2016 elections, and increase representation of minority voices in Berkeley elections. Speakers/Topics include:

  • 12:00-12:15 pm: Registration, meet and greet
  • 12:20 pm: Call to order (MC)
  • 12:25 pm: Introductions
  • 12: 30 pm: Why and how Berkeley should switch to proportional representation. Jim Lindsay, a founder of Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER), will explain how to strengthen minority voices in Berkeley City Council elections. CfER was involved in the successful 2004 Berkeley ballot measure enabling Instant Runoff Voting, which was first used in 2010.
  • 12:55 pm: Berkeley’s proposal for Public Campaign Financing. Speakers include Daniel Newman, a founder and current President of Maplight & Dean Metzger,   vice-chair of the Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission. They will speak about the Berkeley Fair Elections Act, a proposed measure for the 2016 Berkeley ballot which would make it possible for good candidates to run for office and win, without access to wealthy donors. If approved by voters, this measure would provide matching funds for qualified candidates for mayor, city council, auditor, school board, and rent board.
  • 1:25 pm: Update from Move to Amend, by Bernard (Ben) Simmons and Phoebe Anne Sorgen, on efforts to build the massive movement it will take to legalize US democracy and get a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood and money being equated with speech.
  • 1:50 pm: Discussion: What actions do Berkeley progressives need to take to prepare for the 2016 election season. How can we work to improve voter registration and turnout by students and residents of South and West Berkeley.
  • 2:30 pm: Adjourn. space reservation ends at 3 pm

 

Teach-in and discussion on Berkeley development & affordable housing

BCA April 2015 Newsletter-final

Join BCA on Saturday, April 18, 2-4 pm, at the Berkeley Arts Festival space at 2133 University Avenue (above Shattuck Avenue near Ace Hardware)

Join Berkeley Citizens Action, Berkeley Neighborhoods Council, and the forming Sustainable Berkeley Coalition

What do we want for our future? How do we maintain a diverse city? What role can we play?

  • Hear what’s in the pipeline & our city’s need for affordable housing
  • Discuss opportunities for coalition-building
  • Ÿ Explore preparations for the 2016 elections

Keynote speakers: Joseph Smooke and Dyan Ruiz, journalists covering the San Francisco housing crisis. Plus Steve Finacom, Rob Wrenn, Tom Hunt, Jesse Arreguin & Sophie Hahn.

 

BCA News, February 2015

BCA Newsletter Feb 2015

BlackLivesMatter Forum 

Take Action to End Racial Profiling and Injustice in Berkeley Saturday, February 21,

1:30-4:30 pm
South Berkeley Senior Center
2939 Ellis St. (@ Ashby, west of MLK)
Come to a solution-oriented forum presented by Berkeley Citizens Action with Berkeley NAACP and the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission. Continue reading