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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Local

Berkeley City CouncilCandidate for City Council, District 1

Photo of Margo Schueler

Margo Schueler

Civil Engineer
0 votes (17.2%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Build multi-benefit, sustainable green infrastructure and community services to ensure a livable resilient Berkeley and restore our Commons
  • Ensure transparency and accountability with goal setting, metrics, measurement, and analysis
  • Support affordable, available housing and regional collaboration to serve and house the homeless

Experience

Experience

Profession:Civil Engineer
Commissioner, Public Works Commission — Appointed position (2008–current)
Member, Vision 2050 Infrastructure Task Force — Appointed position (2018–current)
Construction and Maintenance Superintendent, East Bay Municipal Utility District (1996–2016)
Member, Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan — Appointed position (2009–2010)
Commissioner, West Berkeley Project Area Commission — Appointed position (1999–2003)
Civil Engineer, East Bay Municipal Utility District (1993–1996)
Associate Civil Engineer, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District (1985–1993)
Engineering Technician, City of Santa Rosa (1982–1985)
Welder, San Francisco Shipyards, United Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Local 6 (1976–1983)

Education

San Francisco State University BS, Engineering, Civil (1985)
John O'Connell Technical School Certificate, Welding Technology (1976)

Community Activities

Member, Volunteer, American Water Works Association (1993–current)
Member, Volunteer, BUSD PTA (1995–2008)
Member, Volunteer, Berkeley High Crew Board (2004–2007)
Board Member, Bay Area Hispano Institute for Advancement (2000–2006)
Member, Volunteer, Berkeley Food Policy Council (1999–2002)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Former State Senator Loni Hancock
  • Jovanka Beckles, Vice Mayor City of Richmond, dual endorsement

Elected Officials (3)

  • Linda Maio, Berkeley City Councilmember
  • Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, BUSD School Board Member
  • Judy Appel, BUSD School Board Member, dual endorsement

Individuals (32)

  • Rev. Mary C. Breland, Associate Minister, Liberty Hill M.B. Church
  • Helen Burke, Former EBMUD Director, dual endorsement
  • Michael H. Goldhaber, Chair, Community Environmental Advisory Commission
  • Claudia Polsky, Director, Environmental Law Clinic, UC Berkeley Law
  • Larry Henry, Berkeley Public Works Commissioner
  • Lis Varnhagen, Community Environmental Advisory Commission
  • Eduardo Pineda, Public Artist and Educator, Westbrae Neighbor
  • Kirk McCarthy, President Arts and Crafts Cooperative, Inc., Central Berkeley Neighbor
  • Bryce Nesbitt, Co-Founder NextBus Transit Information, Director City Car Share, Engineer
  • Jack Kurzweil, Prof. Emeritus Electrical Engineering
  • Susie Wallenstein, Retired Engineer and Architect,Westbrae Neighbor
  • Diane Davenport, Retired Berkeley Public Library, North Berkeley Neighbor
  • Kristina Hill, Professor of Environmental Planning UCB
  • Jeanne Friedman, Westbrae Neighbor
  • Nancy L. Yep, Campaign Treasurer
  • Nathan Hood, West Berkeley Neighbor
  • Miranda Maupin, Environmental Planner
  • Sibella Kraus, North Berkeley Neighbor
  • John Hitchen, East Bay Regional Parks Supervisor, Retired
  • Alan Louwerse, Retired Engineer, North Berkeley Neighbor
  • Lauren G. Parsons, West Berkeley Neighbor
  • Rob Browning, Talavera Ceramics and Tile, Central Berkeley Neighbor
  • Sharla Sullivan, West Berkeley Neighbor
  • Charles Calhoun, West Berkeley Neighbor
  • Denise Harrison, West Berkeley Neighbor
  • Sean Sevilla, West Berkeley Neighbor
  • Marisa Turner, West Berkeley Neighbor
  • Ted Mermin, Professor of Consumer Law, UC Berkeley
  • Richard Harris, Civil Engineer
  • Nancy Holland, Former Public Works Commissioner
  • Christopher Polk, Owner Christopher Polk Design/Build
  • James P. McGrath, Central Berkeley Neighbor

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters, Berkeley/Albany/Emeryville, Voter Services (1)

The Marina Fund is running in the red. What are the best ways to increase revenues at the waterfront?
Answer from Margo Schueler:

The Marina Fund has a long history of maintaining revenues to cover basis operating costs. The infrastructure developed in the 1960’s had reached the end of useful life by the turn of the 21st century. Budget reports for the last 30 years show the Marina does not support its operational costs, programming costs, or capital needs for infrastructure replacement or improvement.

The historic main source of revenue has been boat berthers and this represents the most immediate revenue potential. Safety and security have become serious concerns with the rise in people living in RVs and vehicles in the Marina. With the relocation of the Marina encampments updates to tenants and Council should de baseline metrics and review of changes due to investments and changes implemented. Security and safety improvement for the berthers following the changes in parking and relocation of the RV homeless encampments should be monitored and costs/benefits reviewed and shared with the community and Council.

The Marina will be the first part of Berkeley to be impacted by sea level rise. In addition to the costs of operating and maintaining our current facilities, the pier and the landfill pose potential environmental hazards with rising sea levels. Our historic pier as it reaches far out into the Bay is currently not a significant navigation hazard while it is visible. There are likely significant capital costs to improving the space to maximize the now vacant Hs. Lordships lease potential. Costs should be managed with adaptation strategies to address sea level rise.  The impact of abandoning the far reaches of the pier may become more of a navigation and environmental hazard the City may need to mitigate. The landfill cap will need to be assessed and rehabilitated against rising seas.

Current planned infrastructure work including the replacement of University west of the freeway will include a barrier berm on the south side of the road, addressing initial sea level rise. Improvements to University Avenue and CalTrans overcrossing work will impact access for the next few years and may reduce attractiveness of the Marina to residents and events during construction.

Ferry transit has potential from our marina, although the challenge of access for commuters has long been a stumbling block. With the Gilman interchange reconfiguration, might access from the north end be improved? The Adapting to Rising Tides and Resilient By Design proposals recently envisioned throughout the Bay Area should be seen as a source of inspiration and funding. The value of the Marina, McLaughlin Eastshore State Park and Cesar Chavez Park to shoreline stabilization and habitat as sea level rises will become ever more critical. Can we develop revenue generating plans based on ecosystem functions? Are there ecotourism opportunities around this barrier reef to the freeway and our city?  As the Bay Area loses land to sea level rise might we begin to accommodate water based housing?  Can we develop a floating neighborhood in the Marina area within the context of our role as trustees for the state tidelands?

Questions from League of Women Voters, Berkeley/Albany/Emeryville, Voter Services Committee (3)

How should the City help with the closure and repurposing of Pacific Steel?
Answer from Margo Schueler:

Thanks to Berkeleyside for the recent story of this facility and its historic impact on our neighborhood and region. The long history of industrial use of this property exposes the need for environmental assessment of the condition of the buildings and land. There will be changes in traffic circulation and storm water runoff as a result of the Gilman Interchange Project in the final stages of design. Flooding potential in the coming decades due to rising sea levels and storm runoff intensity should be analyzed and considered in the repurposing visions for this area.

The Division of Environmental Health should be engaged in closure assessments and reports and provide recommendations on appropriate uses for given clean up levels. With the proximity to the Freeway and particulate air contamination, this is an area where a tree corridor would provide air quality improvements for minimally forested west Berkeley. City engagement on reforesting the Frontage Road would provide immediate benefits to the adjacent community and help mitigate storm water runoff to the Bay. The Office of Economic Development Department should support innovative thinking from the Maker Community of West Berkeley and encourage services and sales that are appropriate adjacent to the Freeway. The Office of Energy and Sustainable Development should be engaged in ensuring resilient facilities are developed in this low lying land, subject to flooding today. The City could explore use of this industrial space to relocate Berkeley Fire training activities from their current Cedar Street residential area.

What will you do to reduce property theft including car and home burglaries?
Answer from Margo Schueler:

Theft and burglary rates are 80% higher than the national average and 73% higher than statewide per capita average, leaving us with an F in crime from one national assessment of community livability. Crime in District 1 is concentrated along the main transportation arteries and the boundaries between commercial/industrial areas and residential neighborhoods. Burglary and theft, particularly auto theft, are often referred to as crimes of opportunity. Law enforcement and community safety organizations recommend that we:

  •   Always lock and secure homes, garages, and cars
  •   Follow safety tips, stay aware of your surroundings
  •  Don't leave property visible in your car
  •   Mark property for identification
  •   Organize a neighborhood group 

Our neighborhood groups and affiliations between neighbors seem to be successful at reducing crime rates in our residential neighborhoods. Knowing and looking for each other pays off in our City. Our diverse community with people who work away from home or at home and our retired neighbors provide eyes and ears in the neighborhoods. Our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) neighborhood organizations also will support the community looking out for each other. I support the efforts of the Fire Department to expand CERT training and organization west into the flats.

 

I support the efforts of the Berkeley Police Department to strengthen person to person ties within the community. I applaud the Coffee With a Cop initiative that has provided opportunities for community members throughout the City to engage with our Public Safety Officers in a relaxed and open atmosphere and would encourage all to keep your eye out for when the BPD is in your neighborhood and ready to discuss all our concerns. I appreciate that policing and ensuring public safety in our community is a challenge, particularly with staffing shortages. I know that we as citizens hold our public safety providers to very high standards. The new camera registration program launched by the police will enable them to rely on residentially installed cameras when solving crimes in a particular area if residents choose to register their systems.

 

 

Do you support development at the North Berkeley BART station? What % of affordable housing and height would be appropriate?
Answer from Margo Schueler:

I don’t think a ground level parking lot is the highest and best use of land in the heart of any city, particularly when we have a housing crisis and environmental needs. I support transit centered development and local control and zoning. The current parking lot provides an opportunity to develop housing embraced by the neighboring community.

Height must be concentrated away from the adjacent homes that are on the side streets. As to maximum height, I respect the public process that is being launched by Councilmember Maio with an October 13th community visions gathering at the North Berkeley Senior Center. A fully participatory public process with Berkeley driving it is the only way to go. Height and density need to be considered along with affordability and detriment. A non-profit model will allow the City to pursue grants and leverage its own funds.  The more affordable units we can get, the better.   

Any housing developed on public land should maximize affordable housing. With current BART guidelines of 35% affordable housing system wide, I would advocate for that as a baseline for development with the City exploring means to subsidize a higher percentage of affordable housing at this site.

I applaud the current BART traffic realignment scheduled to be implemented at North Berkeley BART this winter. As there is currently high demand for parking at this station, any development that would yield a decrease in parking won’s succeed unless we can reduce the current parking demand. BART’s plan to improve alternative access to the station will lead to reduction in necessary parking. We are adding density in all our neighborhoods and those commuters will need to drive to BART until we develop appropriate transit to BART alternatives.

I have infrastructure concerns with high density BART development. While I understand that the current BART car project will ultimately increase train capacity between 10-15%, BART is a fairly rigid technology. Steel wheels on steel rails is an excellent system for fuel economy due to reduced friction at the wheel rail interface. The down side is that lack of friction requires a long stopping distance. Currently, one train can operate between stations to ensure that they can be safely stopped. Planned improvements to the 50 year old control technology will provide increase interstation capacity. My understanding is that only 3 trains can be safely operated in the Transbay Tube.  With added stations entering the system in outlying communities and the highrise tower at MacArthur due to come into use, the capacity of the system to comfortably handle growth is limited. I believe we have better transportation corridor development opportunities along San Pablo Avenue. This wide highway can be more readily modified as our transportation needs and systems evolve over the coming decades.

In addition to housing, development at the site should address environmental improvements with the inclusion and addition of trees and pollinator plants, watershed infrastructure, and improvement to neighborhood aesthetics.

Videos (1)

Why I am running for City Council — November 3, 2018 Schueler for Berkeley City Council 2018

Candidate statement about why I am running for City Council and my connection and commitment to Berkeley 

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