The council agenda includes a time for further public input on the issue and a review of the council's decision in May to begin enforcing the city's no camping ordinance at the Bulb in October. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.
The longterm plan of the city and the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park is to turn operation of the Bulb over to the East Bay Regional Park District to be part of the park. Under a $30,000 contract approved by the council, The Berkeley Food and Housing Project this summer has been trying to help the estimated 50-70 people living in makeshift camps on the Bulb find alternative housing.
The city has been grappling with the issue for many months, if not years. A city-appointed Homeless Task Force presented a report at the council's May 6 meeting.
The protest petition at Change.org, addressed to Mayor Peggy Thomsen and the council, indicated 473 supporters as of 1 p.m. today, Saturday.
The petition says Albany does not have a homeless shelter or other alternative housing for the people living at the Bulb and that the shelters in Berkeley next door are full.
"We insist that the City invest the resources necessary to find adequate, affordable, permanent housing or an alternative site for current Bulb residents—not the sidewalks of Albany," the petition says.
A large number of signers appear to be from outside of Albany.
The protest march will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Bulb and proceed to City Hall for the council meeting, according to a press release emailed Friday by Megan Sallomi of the Neighborhood Justice Center in Berkeley.
"The City has no homeless shelters or affordable housing, nor a plan for developing them, in violation of state law," the news release says. "This Tuesday, Albany’s housed and homeless residents will collectively march to City Hall to demand that the City halt its plan to evict Bulb residents."
When checked by Patch today at 1 p.m., the Change.org petition listed comments from eight people in a list of "Most Popular" reasons for supporting the petition. Four were from Berkeley, two from Richmond, one from El Sobrante and one from San Pablo. It also listed 10 "Recent signatures," which included two people from Albany and eight from other East Bay cities.
Another reason for the council's reconsideration of the issue is that the city received an objection asserting that the council's May decision may have violated the Brown Act, the state's open meeting law, according to a staff report prepared for Tuesday's meeting.
"In an effort to alleviate any public concern about full compliance with the Brown Act, to promote transparency in the City's decision-making, and to provide an additional opportunity for community input, the item has been agendized once again," the staff report says.
The report also details provisions of the city's Municipal Code that prohibit camping at the Bulb:
"(1) Section 8-4.3(a) provides that with limited exceptions, no person shall use, remain in or enter upon any waterfront area between 10:00 pm and 5:30 am. (2) Section 8-4.4 provides that no person shall camp or lodge in any park, recreation, open space, or waterfront area; it also prohibits setting up or leaving any tents, shacks, sleeping bags or any other shelter for the purpose of overnight camping. (3) Section 8-4.7(b) and (g) prohibit construction of any permanent or temporary buildings and prohibit storage of personal property in these areas."
Readers are invited to post their views on the Albany Bulb homeless issue in the comments below.
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