RENT STABILIZATION BOARD
Regular Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
7 PM

Webcast Video Archive 

APPROVED

 

1. Roll Call - Chair Arreguin called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM.  Pam Wyche called roll.

Commissioners present:  Blake (arrived 7:06), Chong (arrived 7:35), Harrison, Overman, Stephens, Webster, Arreguin

 

Commissioners absent:  Kavanagh, Walden


Staff Present:  Brown, Kelekian, Wyche

 

2. Approval of Agenda  M/S/C (Harrison/Stephens)  APPROVED. Voice vote.  Passed: 5-0-0-4.  Absent: Blake, Chong, Kavanagh. Walden.

 

3.   Special Order of Business

a. Election of Chairperson:   The Executive Director opened nominations for 2008 Board Chair.  Commissioner Harrison nominated Commissioner Arreguin. 
There were no other nominations. 
Executive Director asked for a voice vote. Passed: 5-0-0-4 Absent: Blake, Chong, Kavanagh, Walden. 
Commissioner Jesse Arreguin was reelected Chair of the Rent Stabilization Board for 2008.

b. Election of Vice Chairperson:  Chair Arreguin opened the nominations for Vice Chair. Commissioner Stephens nominated Commissioner Harrison.   There were no other nominations. 
Chair Arreguin asked for a voice vote.  Passed: 5-0-0-4 Absent:  Blake, Chong, Kavanagh, Walden.
Commissioner Jack Harrison was reelected Vice-Chair of the Rent Stabilization Board for 2008.

c. Comments by new Chair and Vice-Chair.  Chair Arreguin thanked the Board for reelecting him as Chair and said that he enjoyed serving in the position and helping the Board carry out its work.   He said he expects the Board will have a very productive year in trying to fight for more affordable housing within the City and in protecting the rights of tenants.

Vice Chair Harrison echoed the Chair’s comments and said that it was going to be a busy year and that he looked forward to the challenges ahead.

 

4.   Public Forum    One speaker:  Marcia Levenson spoke on the need to tighten up the Housing Relocation Ordinance. 

 

5.    Approval of the November 19, 2007 Board Meeting minutes M/S/C (Overman/Harrison) TO APPROVE AS WRITTEN.  Voice vote.  Passed: 6-0-0-3 Absent: Chong, Kavanagh, Walden.

 

Chair announced Item 6, the appeal, is 7:15 time certain, so will move other items until that time.

 

7.  Action Items

 

 7.a.(1)  Recognition of Service Employees International Union Local 1021[PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.] M/S/C (Stephens/Harrison) TO APPROVE THE RESOLUTION AS WRITTEN AND AUTHORIZE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO SIGN A SIDE LETTER AGREEMENT RECOGNIZING TWO UNIONS, SEIU LOCAL 535 and SEIU LOCAL 790, HAVE MERGED INTO ONE LOCAL SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION, LOCAL 1021.  Roll call vote.  Yes: Blake, Harrison, Overman, Stephens, Webster, Arreguin; No: None; Abstain: None; Absent: Chong, Kavanagh, Walden.  Passed:  6-0-0-3.

 

7.a.(2). Approval of the Board meeting schedule for 2008. [PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.] M/S/C (Blake/Stephens) TO APPROVE THE MEETING SCHEDULE WITH ONE CHANGE TO THE MAY MEETING DATE FROM THURSDAY, MAY 22ND TO MONDAY, MAY 12TH.  Voice vote.  Passed: 6-0-0-3 Absent: Chong, Kavanagh, Walden.

 

Chair returned to Appeal Time Certain.

 

6.  Appeal D-16; 1911 MLK, Jr. Way, #5. M/S/C (Overman/Blake) TO AFFIRM THE  EXAMINER’S DECISION.  Roll call vote.  Yes: Blake, Harrison, Overman, Stephens, Webster, Arreguin; No: None; Abstain: None; Absent: Chong, Kavanagh, Walden.  Passed: 6-0-0-3.

 

7.a.(3) Authorizing the Executive Director to spend up to $10,000 from the AEPhi Lawsuit settlement for the purpose of having a report prepared analyzing possible changes to the Condominium Conversion Ordinance for the purpose of providing incentives for low-income tenants to purchase their units.  [PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.]  M/S/C (Blake/Stephens) TO APPROVE RESOLUTION AS WRITTEN.  Roll call vote.  Yes: Blake, Chong, Harrison, Overman, Stephens, Webster, Arreguin; No: None; Abstain: None; Absent: Kavanagh, Walden.  Passed: 7-0-0-2.

 

7.a.(4)  Proposal to approve staff recommendation on the following requests for waiver of late registration penalties.

90-Day Administrative Waivers (Informational Only) 

The Board was presented a list of 120 properties totaling $117,486 in penalties that were administratively waived in accordance with Regulation 883.

Ministerial Waivers

Waiver No.      Property Address

3525                 1522-1528 University Avenue 
3533                 2151 Ashby Avenue
3535                 2036 Vine Street

Discretionary Waivers

Waiver No.      Property Address
3510                 2604 Fulton Street
3528                 3028 College Avenue
3529                 2607 Ellsworth Street
3530                 1821 Acton Street
3531                 2009 McGee Avenue
3534                 2805 Ellsworth Street

 

M/S/C (Stephens/Blake) TO APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS ON ALL DISCRETIONARY WAIVERS LISTED.  Voice vote.  Passed: 7-0-0-2 Absent: Kavanagh, Walden.

 

8.a.(8)  January 18, 2008, Daily Planet commentary by Randy Shaw: Zoning Board Must Protect Rent-Controlled Housing.   M/S/C (Blake/Webster) MOVE INFORMATION ITEM TO ACTION TO DISCUSS HOW THE RENT CONTROL ORDINANCE AND ZONING ORDINANCE INTERFACE AND POLICY ISSUE DIFFERENCES BROUGHT UP IN THIS ARTICLE.  Voice vote.  Passed: 7-0-0-2  Absent: Kavanagh, Walden.

Commissioner Blake and other Boardmembers expressed their concern about possible conflicting interpretations of the Rent Control Ordinance by the Zoning Adjustment Board (ZAB) versus the Rent Board, primarily as it is applied when rent controlled units are demolished.  They also had concerns regarding the City Attorney’s recent written opinion on vacant units.  After much discussion, the Executive Director offered to communicate with the City Attorney regarding vacant units and to contact Zoning staff to suggest an ad hoc committee, to include three Rent Board members and three ZAB members, to talk through the issues discussed.  The Board agreed and directed the Executive Director to act on his suggestions.

 

8.  Information and Announcements.  

 

 a.  Reports and announcements from Board Members/Staff.

 

8a.(1)  Update on proposed changes to the Ellis Implementation Ordinance.   The Executive Director informed the Board that Council adopted at first and second readings to increase relocation fees under the Ellis Ordinance from $4,500 to $8,700 as the base for any tenant, or any unit where there is relocation under the Ellis Act, and an additional $5,000 rent differential if the tenant is a pre-1999 long-term tenant, and possibly an additional $2,500 if the person is a senior, disabled, low-income or has a minor child in the house.  These changes are very similar to what the full Board recommended to Council.

 

8.a.(2)  Update on proposed changes to the Condominium Conversion Ordinance.  Chair Arreguin said that he presented the Board’s recommendation to Council at their workshop on December 11th and that the Housing Advisory Committee presented a similar recommendation.  He said that property owners attending the workshop expressed concerns about the local law compliance process and that Council approved a motion to ask staff to draft an ordinance, which, among other things, would modify the local law compliance similar to what the Board had recommended.  The Executive Director added that staff from the Planning Department is working on ordinance language and has targeted February 12th to bring it back to Council. 

 

8.a.(3)  Update on new phone system. The Executive Director announced that the new 981-telephone system has been installed and is up and running and that the new Rent Board office number is 981-RENT.

 

8.a.(4)  Update on Landlord/Tenant counseling in the library.  Matt Brown, Staff Attorney, informed the Board that the first two Saturdays were a success and that staff will be reevaluating in the next couple of months to determine if it warrants expanding the program to more hours, more days and/or different locations.

 

8.a.(5)  Report on Market Medians: January 1999 through December 2007.   Chair said item speaks for itself.

 

8.a.(6)  City of Berkeley 2008 Holiday and Reduced Service Days Schedule.  Chair said item speaks for itself.

 

8.a.(7)  Participation in Berkeley Smoke free Multi-Unit Housing Advisory Group.   The Executive Director informed the Board that the City has established a tobacco prevention program smoke-free multiunit housing group that Rent Board staff has been invited to join.  He said that he has attended the first meeting and will continue to attend future meetings to provide technical advice on how the issue might interrelate with the Rent Board Ordinance. 

 

8.a.(8)  January 18, 2008, Daily Planet commentary by Randy Shaw: Zoning Board Must Protect Rent-Controlled Housing.  (Moved to Action Item to discuss and ask questions about how the Rent Control Ordinance and the Zoning Ordinance interface on the policy issues brought out in this article.)

 

8.a.(9)  January 18, 2008, SF Chronicle business article: Bay Area Rents jump by 9.4% in last year.   Chair said item speaks for itself.

 

8.a.(10)  October 2007, California Budget Project publication on Making Ends Meet:  How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Family in California? Chair said item speaks for itself.

 

8.a.(11)  January 2, 2008, East Bay Express article: The Forgotten Victims Tenants of foreclosed properties can face intimidation, bribes, and jacked-up rent to force relocation.  Staff Attorney Matt Brown answered Boardmember questions regarding Section 8 and other tenants rights when a property is foreclosed.

 

8.a.(12)  November 1, 2007, Beyond Chron article by Randy Shaw: Opposition Grows to June Initiative Banning Rent Control.   Chair said item speaks for itself.  The Executive Director added that the Jarvis measure did qualify and that the counter measure proposed by the League of Cities offering an alternative eminent domain option also qualified.  The original Jarvis measure will appear first on the ballot and the counter measure will appear right after.  He also said that the Berkeley City Council in December voted unanimously to oppose the original Jarvis measure.

 

8.a.(13)  City of Berkeley new website launch.  (Executive Director)

 

b.  Announcements of upcoming Committee/Board Meetings.

 

(1) Budget and Personnel – To be scheduled within next two weeks off-line.

 

(2) Outreach – To be scheduled within next two weeks off-line.

 

(3) IRA/AGA/Habitability - Next meeting Monday, January 28th at 4 PM.

 

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

 

(5) Ad Hoc Committee on Condominium Conversion Ordinance – No meeting.

 

(6) 4x4 City Council/RSB Housing Committee – No meeting.

 

(7) Ad Hoc Committee of Soft Story – No meeting scheduled.

 

(8) Future Special Meetings - None

 

(9) Discussion of items for possible placement on future agenda.  Commissioner Overman asked for an informal status report on Soft Story Phase l or a copy of Timothy Burroughs report, once released.  

 

9.   Adjournment  M/S/C (Blake/Stephens)  Chair Arreguin adjourned at 9:05 PM.