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Letters to the Editor

Friday September 08, 2000

Celebrate pier with renaming 



For over 10 years I have walked the Berkeley Pier in the late afternoons. It is not unusual to hear five to six languages other than English and see the cultural expressions that accompany them. This pier is truly an extraordinary asset, welcoming everyone as it does.  

In keeping with the international spirit of the city of Berkeley I propose that the Berkeley Pier be officially called the City of Berkeley International Pier. 


William Noel 



Setting the record straight 


Thank you very much for your article on the West Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation on Thursday, Sept. 2. I need to follow up on one major point. I owe a deep apology to our much respected former board member and business consultant, H.S. Zulu. I did not fairly represent the reason why he has withdrawn from the Fifth Street Market project for the next few months. 

Mr. Zulu is indeed seeking housing (like reporters of this and other Bay Area newspapers). His situation reflects the widespread problem of displacement and spiraling housing costs in the area. Looking for permanent housing for himself and his children must be his first priority at this time. His contributions to the Fifth Street Market have been invaluable and I deeply regret that I may not have conveyed that fully to your readers in the recent interview.  


Willie Phillips  


West Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation  












their positions on Measure Y. 

I was astounded that candidate Noreen Smith supports this mean spirited piece  

of legislation which, as the other candidates correctly mentioned, will  

result in landlords not wanting to rent to the elderly, disabled, and the  


Smith ironically states that she would poll people to gauge their concerns on  

a given issue. The facts about Measure Y are anathema to this admirable  

position. Measure Y was placed before the Council at the eleventh hour  

without the benefit of any public input or debate despite the fact that a  

similar measure which became law in San Francisco in 1998 was followed by an  

unprecedented increase of Ellis type evictions.  

The Ellis Act is a state law which allows owners to go out of the rental  

business with the provision that all units in the building must be vacated  

and not offered for rent again for a ten year period. 

A recent SF Chronicle article provides the statistics for Ellis evictions in  

that city: there were 17 for the fiscal year 97-98 while for the two  

subsequent periods following the passage of San Francisco’s equivalent to  

Measure Y this figure increased to 116 and 209 respectively; nearly a tenfold  


Measure Y perfectly sets the stage for Ellis evictions via one of its  

provisions which grants attorney’s fees to any tenant - regardless of age,  

income or length of tenancy - 

in the event he or she prevails in an owner move-in eviction action. 

Ask any attorney about the myriad ways this could happen on a technicality  

and you get the answer for the high incidence of Ellis evictions in San  

Francisco. An owner who must move into his or her own property will avoid  

this potential legal quagmire by invoking Ellis, even if the intent of the  

owner was to only occupy one of the units involved. Tenants who otherwise  

would not have been affected find themselves evicted and forced to seek  

housing at a time when all agree there is a housing crisis. 

This brings us full circle; what if some of these ousted tenants happen to be  

elderly, disabled or poor? What will their chances be in their competition  

for housing?  

Given that hordes of prospects show up to apply for any reasonably priced  

Berkeley apartment for rent, measure Y will put them at a disadvantage. 

Ms. Smith, as a candidate for City Council, displays little knowledge of the  

facts surrounding this issue. Measure Y is merely another regulation that  

will only result in the further decrease in the number of tenants in the  

protected categories and the further erosion in the number of Berkeley  

rental units. It only advances the careers of some local politicians and  

makes lawyers wealthy by preventing middle class owners from acquiring their  

own homes.  


Robert Cabrera 


Berkeley Property Owners Association 


23 Hillside Ct. 

Berkeley, CA 94704 


843 8772