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Rent Stabilization Board
Rent Stabilization Board

Regular Meeting Minutes

Monday, August 20, 2007
7 PM


1. Roll Call - Chair Arreguin called the Closed Session meeting to order at 6:38 PM. Pam Wyche called roll.

Commissioners present: Chong, Harrison, Overman, Stephens, Webster, Arreguin

Commissioners absent: Blake, Kavanagh, Walden

Chair Arreguin called the regular meeting to order at 7:02 PM. 

Commissioners present: Blake, Chong, Harrison, Overman, Stephens, Walden, Webster, Arreguin

Commissioners absent: Kavanagh 

Staff Present at both meetings: Kelekian, Tine, Wyche

2. Closed Session - 6:30 p.m. The Rent Board met in closed session pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(a) to confer with legal counsel regarding the pending case of Wahl v. City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG 06 279232. No action taken.

3. Approval of Agenda M/S/C (Overman/Stephens) APPROVE AS WRITTEN. Voice vote. Passed: 8-0-0-1. Absent: Kavanagh.

4. Public Forum There were no speakers.

5. Approval of the July 12 Special Meeting minutes . M/S/C (Webster/Stephens) APPROVED AS WRITTEN. Voice vote. Passed: 8-0-0-1 Absent: Kavanagh.
(Items taken out of order to accommodate time certain appeal hearing.)

7.a.(1) Reestablishment of Ad Hoc Committee on Condominium Conversion Ordinance. M/S/C (Overman/Stephens) TO REESTABLISH THE AD HOC COMMITTEE TO BE COMPRISED OF COMMISSIONERS ARREGUIN, BLAKE, WALDEN, AND STEPHENS. Voice vote. Passed: 8-0-0-1 Absent: Kavanagh.

8.a.(1) Acknowledgement of Steve Barton's accomplishments. The Chair reported that by direction of the Board at its last meeting, the Board Chair and the Executive Director drafted a proclamation to honor Dr. Steve Barton for his years of City service, which was presented to Dr. Barton at an event in his honor. (Copy attached to agenda). The Executive Director added that Dr. Barton received several other awards that evening and that it was all very well received.

8.a.(2) Two amendments to Condo Conversion Ordinance adopted by City Council on July 17, 2007. Executive Director reported that there were no changes from previous discussions and it was adopted by Council. (Copy attached to agenda).  Amendment oneAmendment two [PDF files, require Adobe Acrobat Reader .]

8.a.(3) Staff participation at San Pablo Centennial Park 100-year celebration on August 25. Executive Director informed the Board that staff will be participating in this event and that he received an invitation from Ryan Lau in Councilmember Moore's office inviting Boardmembers and the public to attend.

8.a.(4) Staff participation at Solano Stroll on September 9. Executive Director announced that staff would be participating at the Solano Stroll again this year.

8.a.(5) Staff participation at How Berkeley Can You Be on September 30. Executive Director announced staff participation. Chair Arreguin brought up the possibility of Boardmembers participating in the parade and the Executive Director asked that they contact him if interested.

8.a.(6) Communication from property owner Lihua Sun praising Rent Board services and website. Self-explanatory. (E-mail attached.)

8.b. Announcement of upcoming Committee/Board meetings

(1) Budget and Personnel - Committee Chair Overman said that as soon as the letter has been sent to the unions regarding possible staff participation in the Executive Director evaluation process, the committee will meet again to decide the next steps. 

(2) Outreach - To be scheduled off-line when staff has significant update information on the Video/DVD project. 

(3) IRA/AGA/Habitability - Next meeting Monday, August 27 at 4 p.m. Committee Chair Chong thanked the committee who has been working weekly on an ambitious work plan that includes looking at the Rental Housing Safety Program hearings, mandatory recycling in apartment buildings, mold issues and presenting items such as a relocation ordinance and anti-harassment ordinance to City Council. 

(4) Eviction/Section 8 - No meeting scheduled. 

(5) 4x4 City Council/RSB Housing Committee - No meeting scheduled. 

(6) Ad Hoc Committee on Soft Story - To be scheduled off-line. 

(7) Special Meetings - No meetings scheduled.

8.c. Discussion of items for possible placement on future agendas. Nothing specific noted.

6. Appeal Time Certain - 7:15 p.m. Appeal T-4807, 2729 Dwight Way, Unit 402. Tenants appeal portions of a hearing examiner's decision that granted rent reductions for habitability violations. In their appeal, the tenants claim that the hearing examiner committed legal errors by: (1) not ruling that they are entitled to four parking spaces as part of their rent, (2) not holding the landlord responsible for rent ceiling violations committed by the prior master tenant, (3) miscalculating the rent decrease for defective heating, (4) not granting a rent decease for the lack of an on-site resident manager, (5) not reducing the rent for illegal internal walls created by the former master tenant, (6) miscalculating the rent reductions by not considering reductions in services and an alleged fraud committed by the landlord's former manager and the former master tenant, and (7) not taking into account the landlord's alleged statutory violations and unlawful eviction attempts. Staff recommends that the hearing examiner's decision be modified to make the rent decrease for lack of heat effective as of October 13, 2005, instead of December 1, 2005, but that in all other respects the decision be affirmed.

M/S (Overman/Stephens) TO AFFIRM LEGAL STAFF RECOMMENDATION. Friendly amendment by Chong and accepted, TO CORRECT THE MATH ON PAGE 43 OF THE RECORD USING 7.3%.

Overman withdrew his main motion.

M/S/C (Overman/Blake) MOTION TO TABLE UNTIL THE SEPTEMBER REGULAR MEETING. Roll call vote: Yes: Blake, Chong, Harrison, Overman, Webster, Arreguin; No: Stephens, Walden; Abstain: None; Absent: Kavanagh. Passed: 6-2-0-1.

7.a.(2) Resolution authorizing the Executive Director to transfer an amount not to exceed $20,000 to the City of Berkeley, Information Technology Department for the purchase of a new telephone system [PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.]  M/S/C (Overman/Blake) TO ADOPT RESOLUTION AS WRITTEN. Roll call vote: Yes: Blake, Chong, Harrison, Overman, Stephens, Walden, Webster, Arreguin; No: None; Abstain: None; Absent: Kavanagh. Passed: 8-0-0-1.

9. Adjournment M/S/C (Stephens/Webster) Chair Arreguin adjourned at 9:15 p.m. in honor of John Selawsky, Sr. who recently passed away and extended his condolences to Commissioner Webster over her loss.

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