Berkeley City Council announced a new sister city program, funding for traffic safety updates and a waste rate schedule in Tuesday meetings.
Prior to its regular Tuesday meeting, the council conducted a special meeting to review the completed reweighed range voting rankings for city council referrals and adopted a resolution approving the list.
Immediately after, the council began the regular meeting by introducing Victor Hugo Tejada, mayor of Las Vegas, Honduras. The city of Berkeley will be planning a sister city program with the city, emphasizing “forging new relations and cooperation.”
Specifically, the two cities will collaborate to promote access to education and healthcare. Tejada said he will return to continue the relationship with Berkeley.
“As I expressed to the mayor this morning, we are together trying to improve our communities,” Tejada said at the meeting through a translator.
During public comments on nonagenda matters, item 24 concerning allocating $100,000 to traffic safety upgrades towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Haste Street intersection received attention and support from several community members.
Rene Zazueta, a Berkeley resident, said he has noticed problems with the intersection for 32 years and alleged not much has been done to improve the area. Supported by other commenters, he said he and his wife had asked for a light that could be seen from both sides of the intersection, asserting that a lack of visibility was the cause of accidents.
“If something can be done, it would be appreciated by the community,” Zazueta said at the meeting.
Other public commenters urged the council to support the full funding of $2 million for Healthy Berkeley, along with funding towards community-based organizations. Some brought up the intersection’s proximity to Berkeley High School and Washington Elementary School, and noted that an increase in building construction subsequently increases worries about fatalities.
Both Moni Law, a Berkeley resident, and Paola Laverde, chair of the Berkeley Tenants Union, commented that continued funding is necessary for community organizations to continue providing essential services to the city.
The remainder of the meeting focused on item 27, during which the city manager presented a five-year rate, zero-waste fund schedule. Public commenters said, although they liked the plan, they wanted to ensure that community members understood it.