WCW Home News Recent News 9-29-09 Berkeley agrees to UN rights treaties
9-29-09 Berkeley agrees to UN rights treaties PDF Print E-mail

By Carolyn Jones

From SFGate | Original Article

Berkeley became the first city in the United States,
and possibly the world, to agree to international human
rights treaties on Tuesday night, after the City
Council approved a measure usually reserved for

After a brief but spirited debate, the City Council
voted unanimously to allow unpaid interns to report to
the United Nations on how, or whether, Berkeley
complies with treaties on civil liberties, racial
discrimination and torture.

The council also agreed to take the first step in
raising parking revenue by voting unanimously to add
420 meters and increase the parking meter rate 25 cents
an hour, to $1.50.

But the decision to comply with the U.N. treaties
generated the most energetic response from council
members and the public.

"This is extremely important," said Councilman Max
Anderson, who represents south Berkeley. "This is the
way Berkeley should be talking. This should be an
inspiration to other communities."

Councilman Kriss Worthington called the initiative a
creative and important way Berkeley can support the
values put forth in the U.N. treaties.

"In our small and humble way, we can submit our own
record," he said. "I think this is a wonderful thing
for us to do."

The treaties contain high standards, and it is possible
Berkeley does not meet those standards, backers of the
plan said.

They have used as examples Berkeley's record on
homelessness, achievement gaps in the public schools
and John Yoo, the author of the Bush administration's
justification for torture who teaches at UC Berkeley's
Boalt Hall School of Law and lives in Berkeley.

The council also voted to take the first step toward
increasing the city's parking meter rate.

The city would add 420 new meters around San Pablo
Avenue, near Camelia and 10th streets, around south
Shattuck Avenue and near Adeline Street.

The increases will return to the council for a second
vote before becoming final.

The city hopes the new meters and parking rate increase
will help compensate for a $300,000 shortfall in
parking revenue last year, due largely to the
recession. The city made $4.8 million on parking in
fiscal year 2009, less than the $5.1 million it

The meter rate increase is expected to bring in about
$1 million annually. The new meters would bring in
$400,000 more a year, according to the city.

The new meters would cost about $125,000 to purchase
and install.

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