May 2019 Newsletter

Updates from the Berkeley Citizens Action Steering Committee. To see the May Steering Committee minutes, click here
Our next steering committee meeting will be June 19 at 6:30pm.
Click here for the meeting calendar item.
We Demand 100% green and Affordable Housing at North Berkeley and Ashby BART stations.
The BCA Steering Committee is writing you to support plans to develop affordable housing on Berkeley’s BART stations and minimize the carbon footprint of these dwellings. 
The for-profit housing market has built and continues to build abundant market rate housing in Berkeley. However, in many cases, this market-rate housing is not housing Berkeley’s residents, but is rented out as short term housing. 
We support the use of affordable housing developers who have built or are now building the non-profit below-market housing at more than a half dozen BART stations. At some of these stations, 100% of the housing is below-market affordable and we recommend the same for housing at Berkeley’s BART stations.
We of the Berkeley Citizens Action Steering Committee would like to voice our concern that this public BART land not be used as a land-grab for profiteers but as a place to house our vulnerable and gentrified communities. The city of Berkeley has a duty to provide middle-income and low-income residents with housing. This is just the opportunity to show that Berkeley is an inclusive community.
A non-profit developer should be chosen for building at North Berkeleyand Ashby BART, and the units should be 100% low income, green and affordable. Berkeley needs a green affordable housing scenario for the Berkeley BART sites.
We urge councilmembers to take this opportunity and do the right thing.

Berkeley opted for Greener Electricity and you can do even more
East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), our locally governed power supplier, is now serving Berkeley residents and businesses. All customers were automatically enrolled in EBCE’s Bright Choice standard electricity service that offers cleaner energy at slightly lower rates than PG&E.    
For the same cost as PG&E you can Opt Up to Brilliant 100, which provides 100% carbon-free electricity. Or, for just a few dollars a month more than what you currently pay, you can Opt Up to Renewable 100, which provides 100% renewable and carbon-free energy sourced from CA wind and solar.
Attendees learned why the East Bay has switched to East Bay Community Energy, what’s different, what support is available to low income residents, how to opt up to greener service, and how to switch your home to electric heat and cooking.
The collaboration successful on many levels. Day of the event was well organized by Kate’s and Ben’s staff. Attendees got to see how much better new electric stovetops are than the ones we grew up with: safer, and more precise than gas burners, and learn about how to use electricity to heat their homes.  
About a quarter of the attendees opted up for greener electricity at the event! Kate Harrison said: “We introduced electrification to many people who hadn’t thought about it and have a lot more advocates for the City opting up. ” Her staff is working finishing legislation to the whole city opt up to greener levels, the electrification ordinance is on at the Energy Commission and her subcommittee in June.
We need new local sources of green electricity: starting with solar rooftops for businesses, city and school buildings, parking structures, apartments, and homes.Want to do even more? Choose 100% Renewable and Carbon-Free Energy. Learn more here.
To reduce your homes carbon footprint contact Berkeley’s Office of Energy & Sustainable Development, phone: (510) 981-7465, email:

BTU General Meeting: June 17, 6 PM at Sports Basement
Join the Berkeley Tenants Union on June 17 at Sports Basement in South Berkeley (2727 Milvia St, Berkeley, CA 94703) for a general membership meeting/relaunch of BTU! Whether you were previously a member of BTU or are interested in joining for the first time, you won’t want to miss this great meeting.
Click here to register and get updates. Topics will include:
• An introduction to the Berkeley Tenants Union
• California Senate Bill 529 (Tenant Right to Organize/Protecting Tenant Voices Advocacy) and forming building associations
• Information about the Berkeley Rent Board, including what protections and services it offers for tenants in both rent controlled and non-rent controlled in building, as well as your rights as a tenant in general
• Information about counseling services
• A question and answer period (e.g. “What happens if my landlord does X?”)
• How to get more involved with BTU

Help the homeless: Council meeting Tuesday May 28, 6 pm
The Berkeley Citizens Action Steering Committee supports Councilwoman Cheryl Davila’s item # 45 directing the City Manager to place a moratorium on enforcement of Ordinance 7632, (Misc. Use of Streets and Sidewalks), until a homeless response system is implemented, as per Councilwoman Cheryl Davila’s proposal. By the Council’s voting yes on item #45 theCity of Berkeley shows its desire to be humane to all Berkeley residents. 
Come and speak at the City Council meeting at the School Board District Board room, 1231 Addison St. Be aware that this item is late on the agenda and may be postponed. Click here to download the agenda.  Allow RVs to stay at Hs Lordships Parking LotAt the May BCA steering committee meeting, we learned that at a recent Rent Board meeting Mayor Jesse Arreguin stated he would submit an emergency request to the state to allow RVs to park at the Marina. 
The members of the BCA steering committee completely support him on this position and voted to urge the council to overturn what he correctly called “the “hastily done and poorly written” RV ordinance, ASAP.  

City should invest in Electric Parking Enforcement CartsWe are forwarding an urgent request for action from Janet Stromberg, a leader in the Environmental movement:
A year after declaring a Climate Emergency, the Berkeley City Council just voted to allocate over $700,000 to purchase a fleet of gas-powered parking-enforcement vehicles. Council Member Kate Harrison is hoping to reverse this decision, and she is asking for our support.
Westward Industries, Berkeley’s parking vehicle supplier, has an EV version, Go-4 EV. Several California cities have already bought fleets of Go-4 EVs and think they’re great. Berkeley is spending 100s of thousands of dollars on charging stations. Without question, the Berkeley City Council should reverse course and purchase Go-4 EVs. 
If you agree that this is a terrible use of taxpayer money, please add your name/address to this letter, by clicking here (or paste the link below in your browser)
Or send your own letter — BY NEXT MONDAY, May 27 to and
Last week in Menlo Park, a citizen uprising stopped a gas-powered police car purchase last week! Other cities are continuing to make long-term investments in gasoline vehicles for their city fleets, even though there’s almost always a viable electric alternative. Citizens across the country need to stand up, and prevent these purchases.
Please pass on this Citizens’ Guide to City Fleet Electrification to your friends in other cities. Together we can take meaningful action to address the climate crisis, right now.

Janet has gotten many signators, but we need more!. Please share this request widely with your Berkeley-based networks.

Upcoming dates for activists
Friday, May 24, 7 PM: Memorial for William Barclay Caldeira aka “300”, at 2100 Martin Luther King Jr Way. More info here.

Saturday, May 25, 12pm-2pm: Coffee and chat with Councilmember Kate Harrison and Mayor Arreguin at Berkeley Espresso, 1900 Shattuck

Tuesday, May 28, 2019: City  Council Meeting
Proposed Biennial Budget Public Hearing #2 Council’s Recommendations on the Biennial Budget DueItem 45: Moratorium on enforcement of sidewalk ordinance (BCA Steering Supports)

Saturday, June 1, 11am-4pm: Ohlone Park 50th Anniversary
Ohlone Park, MLK Jr Way/Hearst Ave
A day of festivities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ohlone Park will take place throughout the park. Events include a rededication of the Ohlone Mural, dog training at the dog park, events and entertainment for kids, and arts and crafts demonstrations from California’s Native American community. For more information and volunteer opportunities, contact

Tuesday, June 11, 2019: City  Council Meeting
Council Discussion on Budget Recommendations

Tuesday, June 25, 2019: City  Council Meeting
Final discussions and action on the FY 2020 and FY 2021Capital Improvement Program, and Tax RatesAdoption of the FY 2020 Appropriation Ordinance

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