Getting Our Priorities Straight

Kelly Hammargren
Monday February 12, 2018 - 01:35:00 PM

On Tuesday evening February 13, 2018 Berkeley City Council is set to approve the City Manager’s request for $550,000 for a conceptual design and feasibility study for a one block plaza on Center Street between Oxford and Shattuck. Somewhere in the budget there is supposedly $250,000 for open space improvement. That doesn’t even cover the cost of the design and study and certainly doesn’t cover the cost of actual construction. Put that in context. There can be found some multiple of millions of dollars for a plaza, but there isn’t “identified” funding to keep the homeless shelter at Premier Cru (10th and University) open past April 15th as Mayor Arreguin declared at the January 30, 2018 City Council meeting. 

Was it coincidence or planned theater that the homeless camp at Old City Hall was given 24 hour notice and raided at 5:00 am February 8, 2018 the same day as the case conference in Federal Court with Judge Alsup. The City is being sued for treatment of the homeless under Amendments I (freedom of speech), IV (search and seizure), XIV (due process) to the Constitution. The case conference did go on and the trial date is set for May 20, 2019. Attorneys for the homeless filed an Amendment VIII (cruel and unusual punishment) claim on Friday. 

Actions speak louder than the professed words of concern and declarations of an affordable housing emergency and a homeless crisis. The compact between city management and Berkeley police appears to be back on a roll with the latest homeless camp raid and terrorizing the homeless by chasing them from one location to another. Breaking up homeless camps does take away that continuous visible in our face speech, that there is something very wrong when the City can throw $550,000 at a design and feasibility study with more to follow and the poorest among us live on the streets, sleep in tents if they are lucky enough to keep them or curl up in doorways. 

Agenda item 6. 

Contract: Gehl Studio, Inc for Conceptual Design, Feasibility Study and Related Services for Center Street Plaza Project,  

From: City Manager  

Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a contract and any amendments with Gehl Studio, Inc. for conceptual design, feasibility study and related services for the Center Street Plaza Project, for period March 1, 2018 through March 1, 2021, in an amount not to exceed $550,000. 

Financial Implications: Various Funds - $550,000 

Contact: Philip Harrington, Public Works, 981-6300