Berkeley City Council discusses anti-displacement measures

Photo of Berkeley City Council meeting
Robson Swift/Staff
Berkeley City Council discussed Berkeley's anti-displacement measures during its meeting Tuesday. Of the two items on the action calendar, one included a public hearing on an updated fee schedule related to the Building Emissions Savings Ordinance.

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At its regular Tuesday meeting, Berkeley City Council discussed recent violence against Asian Americans and anti-displacement measures taken by the city.

At the beginning of the meeting, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín announced that the City Council’s meeting will be adjourned in honor of the victims of recent shootings in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado.

“We say that things are going to change and we are going to demand stronger gun control laws and that we will get assault rifles off the street and prevent shootings like this from happening, but nothing changes,” Arreguín said during the meeting. “We cannot let these events happen without demanding that change happens now.”

Public commenters and city auditor Jenny Wong added they identified with the victims of the Atlanta shooting and noted fear surrounding the increasing number of hate crimes against Asian Americans.

The council then unanimously passed the consent calendar, which included a resolution for the city to partner with East Bay Community Energy to pursue solar and battery storage systems.

There were only two items on the action calendar, including a public hearing on an updated fee schedule related to the Building Emissions Saving Ordinance, which requires building owners and homeowners to complete and publicly report comprehensive energy assessments.

“What I am really hoping for is that people as they start to see how helpful these disclosures are going to want to do them voluntarily,” said City Councilmember Kate Harrison during the meeting. “I hope the real estate industry are going to join us in realizing that homes that are energy efficient sell for more money.”

The final item in the meeting, which was passed unanimously, was an informational item concerning the Partnership for the Bay’s Future, or PBF, and Berkeley’s anti-displacement measures. PBF is a multijurisdictional partnership that aims to advance anti-displacement measures in the Bay Area.

According to Anna Cash, a PBF fellow for Berkeley, displacement in Berkeley has made a large impact on Berkeley’s communities, especially the Black community. Between 1990 and 2018, Berkeley lost 49% of its Black population, Cash said during the meeting.

According to a 2019 assessment by UC Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project, Berkeley is implementing 12 of the 19 best practices or recommended policies to address displacement. Anti-displacement policies cited in the item include the city’s eviction moratorium and Fair Chance Access to Housing Ordinance.

Councilmember Sophie Hahn said during the meeting that the city’s anti-displacement work is connected to homelessness.

“I wanted to shine a light on the relationship between this work and homelessness,” Hahn said during the event. “I think when we say anti-displacement we think that we want to keep people in our community from having to move to another community, but some of the people who are displaced end up being unhoused.”

Robson Swift is a city government reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @swift_robson.