Like I said there is no way that tonight’s City Council meeting is going to be short, in fact the two Referral items I touched on last week probably won’t even get a hearing tonight. Let’s just go through the possible sticking points on the agenda tonight.
Oh and recently of the Planning Board, Mike Henneberry is being appointed by Jim Oddie to the Open Government Commission. This news now makes the Open Government Commission meetings must watch given that it’s seated with one of Trish Spencer’s most loyal boosters and someone who encouraged less transparency in the City government for expediency purposes. Anyway, there’s that which shouldn’t take long but should be fun for giggles.
Here’s where it starts getting tricky, first regular agenda item is an emergency measure to reflect the additional PERS contributions in the public safety contracts. It should be straight forward because it will simply bring the contract with PERS in line with the existing public safety contracts, but nothing is ever simple with this City Council.
This is one of the big ones of the night, approving a subdivision map for Alameda Point. Some members of the City Council may choose to relitigate the whole building at Alameda Point at this juncture.
As broken by Steven Tavares last week, the renter’s ballot initiative qualified for the ballot and so tonight the City Council will need to certify the sufficiency and place it on the ballot. Staff is pushing for an additional meeting to be called during August when the City Council typically holds no meetings in order to certify the sufficiency of the landlord’s ballot initiative if it qualifies. Based on the reaction from the renters at the last City Council meeting there appears to be a feeling of bias toward the landlords who are being given special dispensation as to not miss the certification deadline of August 12. I would say if they add the extra meeting it should be just to certify the sufficiency of the ballot initiative and not to conduct any new business or carryover business. Remember when Doug deHaan used to complain about business being conducted during the holidays when people weren’t paying attention. This decision to conduct business when the City Council traditionally doesn’t hold any meetings is much worse.
Additionally the City Council is being asked to consider if they want to place the City Council’s rent ordinance on the ballot as well. As it stands it was two for and two against with Jim Oddie abstaining the last time around. Personally it would be unnecessarily confusing for voters who will be faced with a whole bunch of other initiatives. Either let the two signature gathered initiatives go head to head or let the renter’s initiative stand on it’s own for a real referendum on what the voters in this City do or do not want.
Finally on the regular agenda the City Council will, of course, be filing an opposition letter to the Governor’s by-right housing proposal. Even though $400 million in affordable housing funds are on the line if the proposal is not passed, most California cities are opposing the proposal because of the loss of local control. Which is kind of the point of the by-right housing proposal. I know a lot of unions are opposing this since many of the concessions eked out of developers come during these local level discussions. There are a lot of cons with the by-right housing proposal but, honestly, this is the biggest “stick” that has ever been wielded over local jurisdictions and housing development. It may be imperfect but given that years of wheedling and coaxing has resulted in the current housing crisis we’re in now, it’s time for some sticks. Anyway, I’m guessing the City Council will enthusiastically support retaining local control.
Then there are the seven Council Referrals that, well, will either be heard in the wee hours of the morning or get bumped to September. So as you can see it’s not looking good for the completion of business or an early night for the City Council.