Delivering for District 1
It’s an honor to serve as your Councilmember. Here are some of my accomplishments of which I am most proud:
✔ Cleaning Up Dangerous Freeway Encampments and Leading on Permanent Supportive Housing. I successfully worked with state, county, and city stakeholders for more than two years to finally bring an end to dangerous freeway encampments at University Avenue by providing motel rooms and housing navigation services. This enabled homeless individuals to receive assistance to identify permanent housing. A state grant of $3 million has added permanent fencing and signage to the freeway area. The evidence-based solution to unsheltered homelessness is permanent supportive housing, and I was proud to lead on bringing $16 million in state resources to fund a permanent supportive housing site in District 1.
✔ Bringing Resources and Attention to the Gilman District. The challenge of unsheltered homelessness is most acute in the Gilman District, and our work continues in this area. I have successfully focused the city’s attention and resources to our district’s needs with the creation of a safe RV parking site. We have also successfully sought funding in the FY 2022-23 city budget for expanded cleaning services through the Downtown Streets Team and seed funding for a Gilman District Business Association.
✔ Fighting for Public Safety Resources and Racial Justice. Because of my advocacy and partnership with Councilmember Terry Taplin, the City Council has funded security cameras at key intersections (with data safeguards) to help our police department bring accountability to perpetrators of shootings and other violent crimes, which disproportionately harm West Berkeley. During our Council deliberations on reimagining public safety, I successfully called for reinstating police positions at the same time that we invest in proven alternative responses to certain non-violent calls for service, such as mental health crisis situations. Adequate police staffing is needed to do bike patrols, investigate catalytic converter thefts and other property crimes, and conduct traffic enforcement. I also requested the creation of an Office of Racial Equity to provide all city departments with the tools to measure and close racial inequities in the allocation and delivery of city programs and services–funded as of July 2022.
✔ Building Homes Equitably and Sustainably. I engaged stakeholders and built consensus that led to a unanimous Council vote in support of creating homes at the N. Berkeley BART station–with a high level of affordability in a way that is sensitive to the surrounding built environment. And earlier this year, the Council unanimously adopted my recommendations for backyard cottages, which give homeowners greater flexibility to accommodate their needs.
✔ Securing Funding for Street Paving and Much-Needed Marina Repairs. This year, I have devoted significant attention to securing adequate funding for street paving by introducing a major Council item in February that requested $8 million in additional ongoing resources–the amount that we know is needed to maintain the pavement condition of our streets. I’m pleased that the biennial FY 2023-24 budget includes significant new resources for street paving, with $5 million added in FY 2022-23 and $9 million added in FY 2023-24. I have also authored a fiscal policy to ensure that we continue to adequately fund street paving. To support our waterfront, I partnered with State Senator Nancy Skinner and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks to secure $15 million in state funds to repair infrastructure at our marina and pier.