Page One

‘Healthy’edict will be written

By Josh Parr Daily Planet Staff
Thursday October 12, 2000

A large audience of cancer activists and victims of cancer-related illness, carrying signs and effigies, filled the City Council chambers Tuesday evening to hear a discussion on a resolution establishing October as “Stop Cancer Where it Starts” month. 

In part, the resolution in question mandates the writing of a “Healthy Building Ordinance,” an ordinance that guides the city on healthy construction modalities, and it requires putting up signs in parks, indicating that pesticides are not used. 

After much discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the resolution, with City Manager Weldon Rucker promising to bring back a timetable to write the ordinance by the end of the year.  

The debate over the ordinance revealed the fractures within the council and was fueled by emotional testimony from cancer prevention advocates and cancer victims, as well as the presence of Councilmember Margaret Breland, currently fighting her own battle against cancer. 

Councilmember Dona Spring added a clause to the resolution pointing to radiation’s role in cancer-related illnesses. 

The debate included the issue of who should take responsibility for environmental problems – individuals or government. 

“This resolution is asking someone else to do all these things. Why not say that people take responsibility themselves? This is a typical Berkeley thing to shift the blame to someone else,” said Betty Olds. 

Then, referring to a plan to put signs in parks reading, “This is a pesticide free zone,” Olds said, “If you can’t solve the problem, then put up a sign.” 

Spring said, “I can quit smoking or not. I can eat organic vegetables or not. But I can’t control the water and the air, and the auto emissions, all the pesticides. It is government responsibility to ban these things. Individuals cannot do it themselves.”