Berkeley City Council convened for its regular meeting Tuesday evening to provide updates on the city’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force and discuss the financing of the Harriet Tubman Terrace apartments.
In regards to updates in the month of March, Nathan Mizell was elected chair of the task force, and boona cheema was elected vice chair. Additionally, the second Thursday of each month was established as the regular meeting date for the task force.
As a part of its approach, the task force’s specialized care unit, or SCU, will be assigned noncriminal police service calls in a pilot program, according to the city’s website.
The steering committee of the SCU reviewed a project plan developed by the Resource Development Associates, or RTA, and finalized core questions that will be asked in the community engagement process. The RTA is also developing a landing page on its website where the public will be able to access information and sign up to participate in community engagement meetings.
An initial community survey draft was developed and is currently being reviewed by city staff. It is anticipated that the community survey will be reviewed and discussed April 8 at a task force meeting.
“Once the survey is completed, there will be a strong push to solicit a lot of input from the entire community and from this council,” said Berkeley city manager Dee Williams-Ridley during the meeting. “You’ll be asked to help promote the survey, as well to get it out there to folks so they can complete it.”
In response to questions and concerns raised in prior meetings, city staff will present a schedule of upcoming meetings throughout the next few months for discussion purposes.
Additionally, there will be a document established to facilitate discussion on the task force’s role in the reimagining public safety process, according to Williams-Ridley.
“It’s very important for the community to hear from us regularly and consistently on the work that so many people are involved in and that our staff are truly engaged and committed to,” Williams-Ridley said during the meeting.
The meeting also covered the only item on the action calendar, which was a public hearing on the financing of the Harriet Tubman Terrace apartments. This included a request for the city to adopt a resolution to support a multifamily housing revenue bond financing request from the California Statewide Communities Development Authority.
Members of the community shared their concerns during the public comment portion of the meeting, claiming that there was a lack of transparency and communication between residents of the apartment complex and building owners.
Representing the owners of the apartments, Andrew Agetstein responded to complaints made during the hearing and assured that the communication among building owners and residents will be worked on.
Cindy Liu contributed to this article.