Regular Meeting Minutes

Thursday, January 22, 2009
7 PM


Video Archive

1. Roll Call  - Chair Stephens called the Closed Session meeting to order at 6:11 PM. and the Regular Board meeting to order at 7:14 PM.
Pam Wyche called roll.  

Commissioners present at both meetings:  Blake, Chong, Drake, Harrison, Shelton, Stephens, Townley, Tregub, Webster

Commissioners absent: None

2.    Closed Session - 6:00 PM

(Subdivision (a) of Section 54956.9 of the Government Code)

Woodland Park Management, LLC. v. City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board
Alameda County Superior Court No. RG09429345

City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board v. Paulos
San Francisco County Superior Court Nos. 820219, 820220, 820221

Fuery v. City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board (Wang, Stevens)
Alameda County Superior Court No. RG05199714

Wahl v. City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board (Smoker)
Alameda County Superior Court No. RG 06279232

Moodian v. City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board (Singh, Dhillon)
Alameda County Superior Court No. RG 07341613

Chair Stephens announced that the Board met in closed session to discuss pending litigation and that no action was taken.

3.  Approval of Agenda  M/S/C (Chong/Tregub) APPROVED AS WRITTEN. Voice vote.  Passed:  9-0-0-0.

4.   Public Forum  There were nine speakers:  Barbara Tengeri regarding 1600 Woolsey Street, Marcia Levenson regarding the January 13th Housing Workshop, weatherization/engergy issues and Housing staff concerns, and tenants, Nicola Bourne, Barbara Hammer, Jenny Speckels, Annie Hill, Steven Sharp, W. J. Lutkenhouse, and Yan Gold, regarding building maintenance and security problems at 1951 Chestnut Street.

5.   Approval of December 15. 2008 regular meeting minutes M/S/C (Tregub/Webster) TO APPROVE WITH A CORRECTION TO ITEM 5.c., COMMISSIONER DRAKE NOMINATED STEPHENS TO CHAIR NOT BLAKE  Voice vote.  Passed:  9-0-0-0. 

6. Special Workshop on the history and purpose of the Condominium Conversion Ordinance.

Commissioner Chong asked to make a statement prior to the presentation.  In summary, he said that even though this matter is important for new and returning Board Members, he cautioned that there are other important issues that need to be addressed by the Board.   He said that the Board has already achieved many of their goals concerning this issue and that the Condominium Conversion Ordinance needs to be a balanced element in the agency’s policy and program development and hopes that moving forward it will be set as a lower priority.   

a. Presentation by Dr. Stephen Barton, Senior Planner, Rent Stabilization Board.   Dr. Barton gave the history of the Condominium Conversion Ordinance and an update on the proposed revisions.

b. Comments and questions by Boardmembers.   Boardmembers discussed the issue and had their questions answered by Dr. Barton and the Executive Director, Jay Kelekian.

7.   Action Items From Board Members, Executive Director and Committees
a.  Proposed revisions to the Condominium Conversion Ordinance . (Executive    Director)  M/S/C (Townley/Blake)  TO SCHEDULE A SPECIAL RENT BOARD MEETING FOR MONDAY, JANUARY 26, TO DISCUSS AND WRITE A LETTER TO THE CITY COUNCIL THAT CONTAINS TWO ELEMENTS:  (1) A LIST OF PROBLEMS WITH THE CITY MANAGER’S REPORT, AND (2) A REQUEST FOR A DELAY SO THAT STAKEHOLDERS AND OTHERS HAVE TIME TO FULLY DIGEST THE INFORMATION.  [Commissioner Tregub asked to add that the Condominium Conversion Ordinance Committee meet prior to the special Board meeting.  It was agreed the committee should meet, but that it was not necessary to include it in the motion.] Friendly Amendment made by Chong and accepted by the makers.  TO AUTHORIZE THE CONDOMINIUM CONVERSION ORDINANCE COMMITTEE TO ACT ON BEHALF OF THE FULL RENT BOARD, IF NECESSARY. Voice vote.  Passed: 9-0-0-0.

b. Restoring second monthly Rent Board meeting for Committee meetings, workshops and informational presentations.  (Chong, Townley)  Item was discussed in length.  Chair Stephens tabled until Commissioners Chong and Townley decide to bring back to the full Board.  Chong and Townley agreed and expressed their desire for committees to become more active and meet more frequently, which they said could ultimately meet the needs of their issue.

c. Proposal to approve staff recommendation on the following requests for waiver of late registration penalties. (Executive Director)

Ministerial Waivers

Waiver No.      Property Address
3628                 1436-1438 Alcatraz Avenue
3664                 1911-1913 Berkeley Way
3668                 3008 Dana Street
3670                 2204 Channing Way
3671                 3010 MLK Jr. Way
3673                 1507 Arch Street
3692                 1743 Blake Street

Discretionary Waivers 

Waiver No.      Property Address
3666                 2325 McKinley Street (Continued from 12/15/08)
3669                 2522 Warring Street
3676                 2255 Hearst Avenue
3683                 2525 Regent Street
3686                 2321 Dwight Way
3687                 1933 McGee Avenue
3688                 117 Tamalpais Road
3693                 2928 California Street
3695                 1429 Spruce Street

Waivers numbers 3666 and 3683 were pulled for discussion.
M/S/C (Blake/Tregub) APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS ON ALL WAIVERS LISTED EXCEPT 3666 AND 3683.  Voice vote.  Passed: 9-0-0-0.

M/S/C (Chong/Webster) TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION ON WAIVER NUMBER 3683.  Voice vote.  Passed: 8-0-1-0   Abstain: Tregub.

Waiver number 3666 was continued from the December meeting.  The Executive Director brought back the additional information requested by the Board.

M/S/C (Chong/Webster) TO WAIVE 95% OF THE PENALTY ON WAIVER NUMBER 3666 AND IMPOSE APPROXIMATELY $175 PENALTY.  Roll call vote.  Yes: Chong, Townley, Tregub, Webster, Stephens; No: Blake, Drake, Harrison, Shelton; Abstain: None; Absent: None.  Passed: 5-4-0-0.

8. Information and Announcements

Please Note:  The Board may move Information Items to the Action Calendar.

a. Reports from Board Members/Staff.

(1)  Rent Board Committee List for 2009. Chair Stephens said that she tried to accommodate the Commissioners wishes as best she could.  She said the IRA/AGA Habitability was such a popular choice; she separated out some of the issues that the committee had been dealing with over the last two years and created the Safe and Sustainable Housing Committee, which met today. 

She also proposed that one commissioner from each committee take responsibility to facilitate establishing the first meeting.  She asked that a work plan be placed on their agendas, which should involve the staff person that the Executive Director decides to assign to each committee.

(2)  Update on Public School Outreach Project.  The Executive Director said that last month he gave a verbal report on the ads and was asked to bring in a sample.  Both Spanish and English copies of the ads were attached to their agendas.  He also brought for viewing a sample copy of one of the completed school directories with the ads printed in color on the inside front and back covers.

(3) City of Berkeley Budget Reduction Strategies.  The Executive Director placed this item on the agenda at the request of the Board during the December meeting.
(4)  January 2, 2009 article titled Lake Tahoe Condo Project Forcing Residents Out.  ( Executive Director) Self-explanatory.

b.     Announcements of upcoming Committee/Board Meetings.

(1) Budget and Personnel  - Commissioner Chong volunteered to facilitate the first meeting.

(2) Outreach – Commissioner Tregub volunteered to facilitate the first meeting.

(3)  IRA/AGA and Habitability - Commissioner Harrison volunteered to facilitate the first meeting.

(4)  Eviction/Section 8 – Commissioner Shelton volunteered to facilitate the first meeting.

(5)  4x4 City Council/RSB Housing Committee – No facilitator assigned and no meeting scheduled.

(6)  Safe & Sustainable Housing – The committee had its first meeting today, where Jesse Townley was elected Chair.  Chair Townley reported that they choose two tiers of priority; (1) Soft Story Ordinance, smoking in rental units and water conservation and (2) recycling in apartment buildings, disaster preparation and disaster planning for tenants, energy conservation, which includes solar panels on large apartment buildings and expanding City Car Share.

(7) Condominium Conversion - Meeting Monday, February 19th.

(8) Future Special Meetings – None at this time.

Chair Stephens suggested that since the waiver policy had come up a couple of times, those commissioners interested should get together with the Executive Director to form an Ad Hoc Committee to review the waiver policy.   Commissioners Drake and Tregub volunteered to facilitate the forming of this an ad hoc committee.

c. Discussion of items for possible placement on future agenda.

9.    Adjournment  Chair Stephens adjourned at 10:30 PM.