City Council preview: mental health program, ‘Hate Man’ documentary, SF Pride sponsorship

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Berkeley City Council will convene Tuesday at its regular meeting to consider a number of proposals, including funding for a mental health peer education program, a community screening of a “Hate Man” documentary and a recommendation for the city to officially co-sponsor the San Francisco LGBT Pride parade.

The city also announced the council’s intention to move its meeting start times one hour earlier, from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. “as a Council strategy for managing the duration of meeting,” according to a city press release.

The council will also reconvene next week at Longfellow Middle School in a special meeting to vote on whether the city will continue to participate in Urban Shield training program — Urban Shield has been criticized for allegedly promoting police militarization and Islamophobia.

Mental health peer education program

City council will consider a resolution submitted by City Youth Commission Chairperson Simelia Rogers. The resolution requests the city and Berkeley Unified School District allocate funding to create the Mental and Emotional Education Team pilot program for the 2017-18 school year at Berkeley High School.

The $92,778 request includes a plan to train a cohort of peer educators that will present information on an overview of mental health topics to BHS freshman classes.

The recommendation, referred from the city’s Youth Commission, urges the council to pass the resolution in “support increased mental health services for youth.”

“Hate Man” documentary

Item 49 on the City Council’s agenda, submitted by Councilmember Kriss Worthington and Councilmember Kate Harrison, proposes that the city help sponsor a community screening of “Hate Man,” a documentary film about a Berkeley local named Mark Hawthorne who died this last April.

Hawthorne, a popular local known as “Hate Man,” primarily resided in People’s Park and attracted various followers over several decades.

The proposed resolution offers various locations for a public screening, including “a local museum, community center or another venue,” adding that the screening would be “a way to pay tribute to Hate Man and his eclectic message of love and acceptance.”

Affordable Housing Mitigation Fee

Harrison is also sponsoring amendments to the Affordable Housing Mitigation Fee, a fee, paid directly to the city’s Housing Trust Fund to support the creation of affordable housing projects. In April 2016, the City Council voted to raise the fee from $28,000 to $34,000 per unit.

The resolution would revise the Affordable Housing Mitigation Fee by “eliminating the discount in the fee when it is paid at issuance of the certificate of occupancy” and would adjust the fee every two years to account for inflation.

Banning prior salary considerations on job applications

City Council will consider the drafting of an ordinance that would restrict employers from asking for or considering past salary of an applicant in the hiring process in an effort to address gender-based wage discrimination.

According to the resolution, which was submitted by councilmembers Sophie Hahn, Ben Bartlett and Cheryl Davila, using job applicants’ current or past salaries to set future pay rates can “perpetuate pay discrimination.”

“Women applicants often end up at a significant disadvantage, because they are more likely to have earned less at previous jobs, based on their gender rather than qualifications or experience,” the resolution reads.

If approved, the item will be referred to the city’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Labor Commission to develop such an ordinance that bans past salary considerations from salary determinations in Berkeley for the council’s consideration.

LGBTQ+ items

Worthington and Councilmember Lori Droste also submitted a recommendation for the council to officially co-sponsor San Francisco LGBT Pride parade, which will celebrate its 47-year anniversary on June 24 and 25. The recommendation permits city councilmembers to contribute up to $1,000 from discretionary office expenditure accounts.

The council is also scheduled to consider item 48 of its Tuesday meeting agenda, a resolution to proclaim June as Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Questioning Pride Month in the city and authorize the flying of the rainbow flag for the entire month.

“Berkeley has a committed history of being at the forefront of supporting equity for people within (the LGBTQ) community,” the resolution reads.

Bobby Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact Bobby Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bobbylee_dc.