Union support, park safety, homeless showers on agenda for City Council meeting

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Resolutions to support local workers unions, a proposal to increase safety at San Pablo Park and the provision of mobile showers for homeless individuals are some of the items on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular Berkeley City Council meeting.

Union support resolutions 

After worker strikes in Oakland and Berkeley, City Council plans on passing two resolutions in support of local labor efforts: the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, Local 3299 — the UC system’s largest employee union — and Marriott Hotel employees in the UNITE HERE! Local 2850 union. Though vocal support of workers and unions on the part of City Council had been considered previously, recent strikes created an impetus to speak out, according to Councilmember Kriss Worthington.

“These are issues that have been going on for quite a while, and for some extent, the strikes made some people say we really need to do something,” Worthington, who helped pen the resolutions, said.

The latest AFSCME Local 3299 strike in Berkeley lasted three days in October, largely taking place on campus, demanding increased wages and better benefits. In Oakland, Marriott employees with UNITE HERE! went on strike and eventually negotiated increased wages. Meanwhile, Marriott workers in San Francisco continue to strike.

The Marriott resolution encourages “everyone to refrain from eating, meeting, or sleeping at Marriott Hotels while a labor dispute is in effect as well as to support all picket lines,” while the AFSCME resolution backs the union’s support pledge for better wages and conditions.

San Pablo Park

A proposal for safety measures at San Pablo Park will also be discussed as part of the city’s response to recurrent gun violence and traffic incidents. Most recently, a shooting Aug. 18 prompted the city to decide to install cameras at the park.

On Tuesday, council members will discuss funding four additional projects for the park, including traffic safety assessments, active shooter drills and extended hours at the Frances Albrier Community Center.

Developments

The City Council will also discuss the fate of two Berkeley parcels of land, with future development of the land at stake.

A recommendation is set to pass, establishing a “visioning process” to gain community input for the future of the Pacific Steel Casting site, which recently closed down. The plot is one of the largest plants in Berkeley’s manufacturing district — an area with “the highest asking rents across the East Bay Oakland market,” according to an attached offering memorandum.

Another proposed development at 3000 Shattuck Ave. is seeking permission to develop a site that currently houses a gas station into a five-story, mixed-use housing structure with 44 units. The developer, Rhoades Planning Group, has had its applications denied by the Zoning Adjustments Board three times. After the last denial, the company is appealing to the City Council, aided by a city staff report in favor of the project.

City Council plans to consider the appeal in a public hearing and to either approve or turn down the project in its current state.

Mobile showers

Council members will also consider a partnership with Lava Mae, an organization that provides mobile trailers equipped with showers and hygiene resources for homeless individuals. According to Worthington, Berkeley hopes to be the next city in line to partner with Lava Mae, which already offers services in Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco.

At the meeting, the council will decide upon a six- to eight-week pilot project with Lava Mae.

Contact Brandon Yung at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @brandonyung1.