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Saturday October 28, 2000

University must pay fair share 



It was great to see “fairness injected into discussion of the city-University relationship. Hegarty’s letter accurately pointed out that there are other tax and fee exempt entities in town and added that UC contributions “easily total in the millions each year.” But the question is what is a fair and reasonable share? While no letter could possibly do justice to a topic which warrants an extensive study, several points may contribute to this critical, ongoing dialogue.  

The direct payments itemized in Hegarty’s letter constitute less than half of 1 percent of the city’s budget. A decade ago, then Mayor Loni Hancock initiated an effort to gain recognition of and compensation for UC costs. The payments vary – some are time-limited annual payments, others are one-time only or in kind donations, and some are not made to the city but to the school district, which is a separate jurisdiction. Some payments have been instituted to replace fees eliminated by new state laws.  

A study by the city’s Planning Department of a few select services some years ago concluded that UC cost the city at least $11 million. A full analysis of the services the city provides the university’s extensive, expansive, dense land uses needs to be renewed and include new UC developments. A look at one city project, sewer rehabilitation, may serve to put the issue in perspective. 

According to an Aug. 14 Public Works Commission communication to the Planning Commission, deferred sewer maintenance is currently nearly $500 million, double the city’s total annual budget. As the largest single user of the city’s sewer system, UC is contributing $250,000 annually toward repairs as noted in Hegarty’s letter. At that rate, it will take 500 years for UC contributions to fund even twenty-five percent of current sewer repair needs.  

If the repairs were done today, as some argue is prudent, what would be the cost per person? If the city paid all the cost, each resident of Berkeley would pay $5,000. On the other hand, if the state were to pay the total bill, the cost for each resident of California would be about $20. 

This is only one example of the burdens which seem unreasonably heavy for one small city’s taxpayers. The city and UC both have an interest in good maintenance of the city’s basic services. The city cannot fund these services alone with its severely reduced tax base.  

It seems reasonable and fair to request that the state consider taking more responsibility for state institutions, particularly when these are located in dense urban areas where the state institution has displaced many revenue generating land uses and constitutes a comparatively large proportion of the land uses, and thus the demand for services. This does seem fair! 


Nancy Holland 




Town-gown need to work together 


I am writing in response to a recent later to the Editor and a news article, concerning proposed university development in the Southside neighborhood. 

The letter from John English, titled “UC must respect the historic district” states that the proposed Centralized Dining and Student Services Building should conform to its historic neighbors and that the university has ignored the concerns of the city committees and commissions and concerned citizens. From my own close involvement with the project I can say this is not true. 

Conformity and contextuality in architecture are highly subjective - and controversial matters. One building’s attempt to “blend in” with its neighbors may be seen by some as mimicry or a cartoon of older features and styles. Another building may express an individuality some may feel is intrusive to the surrounding character. 

In most cases where a new building is inserted in the midst of older, well-designed neighbors a very careful design process is necessitated. In a neighborhood as rich and varied as the Southside, this process is mandated. This careful process took place in planning the Centralized Dining and Student Services Building, proposed at the center of Bowditch and Channing.  

As part of the Underhill Area Master Plan, of which the dining facility is a component, the campus prepared detailed design guidelines for the properties involved, guidelines that called for inclusive designs sensitive to the scale and character of the neighborhood. While the campus does not prescribe a design style when planning a new building, a palette of materials and colors was recommended. Further, the guidelines prescribes a strong relationship of new buildings to the street, building massing broken down to a neighborhood scale, and creating pedestrian-active sidewalks.  

The guidelines intent was realized in the new Centralized Dining and Student Services Building. This design was not easy to achieve, as any new building on this site would have its challenges. But the neighborhood building style is quite eclectic. The site’s neighbors include the brown-shingled Anna Head School across the street, the stuccoed Casa Bonita adjacent, a modern apartment building faced with plywood to the north, and the shingled Shorb House diagonally across Channing. No style predominates, and how each “fit in” to each other is a highly relative notion.  

The campus Design Review Committee, chaired by Harrison Fraker, Dean of the College of Environmental Design, held numerous meetings to resolve the building’s design and to refine its elements to be a good, albeit modern, neighbor. The massing, fenestration, orientation, and materials (still being developed) have been carefully debated and eventually received a recommendation for approval.  

At each meeting I transmitted the comments of the City Design Review Committee and Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the concerns of local citizens; these comments played a constructive role in the buildings evolution.  

I have two comments on the Friday, Sept. 29 article “Campus pavilions may be leveled.” In the article, Landmarks Preservation Commission member and BAHA staff Lesley Emmington Jones asks the question, “...Does the southside of campus become a neighborhood community based on the needs of the community or an institutional expansion zone...?”  

My first comment is that the Southside is and has been a campus-oriented neighborhood since its initial development in the 19th century. Indeed, the land was once owned by the campus and was sold to finance the nascent College of California, UC’s predecessor. In this neighborhood the university is also “the community.” the notion that the university is not an integral part of this neighborhood belies the fact that 8,000 of the 10,000 residents are students, that the churches, businesses and apartment buildings are here due to the university’s presence, and that the ongoing and celebrated vitality of the neighborhood is due in major part to the university’s presence, reputation, and stature. 

My second comment is that we need to transform the seemingly endless debate over the future of the Southside into a true dialogue between campus, city and community. The Southside Plan had true promise when it started out almost three years ago. Campus and city worked effectively as a team gathering information and holding many meetings with community and campus members. The opinions on the direction of future plans were as diverse as Berkeley is today. This process resulted in the Draft Southside plan published last January.  

Since then, contrary to the initial agreement between the city and the University, the City Planning Commission has decided to develop its own Southside Plan without the active partnership of the University. The University awaits the results of this effort.  

I am hopeful we can find common ground between town and gown, and not create barriers to dialogue or dig into opposing positions. The Southside has traditionally been a place of creativity and toleration. Only if the campus, city and community approach this effort in a spirit of cooperation, rather than confrontation, will it be possible working to create a common vision for the Southside. 

David Duncan 

Community Planning & Urban Design ManagerCapital ProjectsUC Berkeley 



Cuba is misunderstood 


Thank you for Tuesday’s (10/24) front page article on the Pastors for Peace challenge to the Cuba embargo. I do believe, however, that the author misrepresents Cuba’s repression of civil rights on the island. It is true, as he alleges, that Amnesty International and other human rights groups have found fault with Cuban policies toward dissident groups and trade unions. But we would do well to try to understand these policies within the larger international context that motivates them. 

Since the beginning of the revolution until today, The United States has been carrying out a campaign of high- and low-intensity warfare against Cuba. The U.S. interventions that have made it into the history books – including the seizure of Cuba from Spain at the turn of the century and the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 – make up only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. For more than four decades now, a deadly campaign against Cuba has been waged by paramilitary groups in Florida and elsewhere. These groups have, for example, bombed hotels in Cuba, tried to sabotage Cuba’s food supply, and have worked with CIA operatives to carry out assassinations of Cuban leaders (there have been several such attempts on Fidel’s life). 

This adversity has encouraged something of a siege mentality in Cuba. Political repression in Cuba is in large measure a response to decades of aggression directed at the island by its northern neighbor. What I find impressive is that, under such difficult circumstances, Cuba has nevertheless accomplished so much, in education (achieving a higher literacy than in any other Latin American country), universal health care, and the arts, for example. 

If our aim is to support democratic participation and civil rights in Cuba, we’ll work to end the U.S. embargo. 


Raymond Barglow 









Al Gore will protect the environment, is like praying Jerry Farwell will 

protect abortion" 



Why Al Gore could be the worse thing to happen to the environment since 

James Watt 


by Elliot Cohen 


Besides destroying trees to print "Earth In the Balance" what has Al Gore done for the environment? In 1992 Gore criticized Bush administration plans to license an Ohio hazardous waste incinerator, writing a letter that promised not to "...issue the plant a test burn permit until all questions concerning compliance" were answered. That promise was broken. Even after the plant failed two test burns – emitting 92 percent more mercury then it was supposed to – the Clinton/Gore administration granted a commercial operating permit. Since then that incinerator has burned over a half million tons of waste, spewing airborne mercury, lead, and dioxin into the Ohio river, and affecting thousands of people in Ohio and West Virginia. 

Gore personally lobbied to repeal the ban on importing tuna caught with dolphin killing nets. Gore personally assured Norway sanctions would not be imposed for killing 300 whales. Court orders aimed at protecting the spotted owl had brought the logging of ancient Northwest forest to a virtual halt. 

After election the Clinton/Gore administration had the court orders lifted, and permitted logging so intensive that with-in five years the spotted owl population declined more than environmental impact statements predicted would have happened in a forty year period under the previous Bush administration plan. Millions of acres of National Forest were clear-cut after the administration exempted certain timber sales from environmental laws and judicial review. The administrations failure to enforce strip mining laws destroyed more than 1,000 miles of streams.  

Gore supports NAFTA and other environmentally destructive trade pacts. He opposed an outright ban on whaling as detrimental to free trade. Gore convinced Clinton to use the CIA against free trade opponents. With-in months the London Daily Telegraph was reporting the CIA had targeted environmental minister Michael Meacher for questioning Monsanto's plan to sell genetically engineered crops. The administration also killed an international Biosafety Convention to protect the biotech industry. 

Most frightening is Gores cavalier attitude toward nuclear power. Gore took credit for negotiating a deal to sell China up to ten nuclear reactors, claiming it was good for the environment because nuclear waste was preferable to burning coal. Gore convinced the Energy Department to triple spending on commercial nuclear power, pushed trade pacts to sell nuclear reactors to Argentina and Brazil, and agreed to pay Russia ten billion dollars for the right to dump 200 tons of high level radioactive waste in the Urals, securing what the nuclear industry needs most: a place to dump it's poison. In essence Gore's stance, that he favors environmental protection, except on the nuclear issue, is like supporting woman's rights, except on the issue of abortion! 

Environmental groups, heavily invested in lobbying, support the candidate they believe will make the best back room deals, so they endorsed Gore despite his record. But as a voter you can make a far wiser choice, and vote in a way that leads to long term efforts to protect the environment. The environment has an amazing capacity to restore itself. With-in years after pollution destroys an area plants and trees begin to take hold. This does not mean protecting the environment doesn't matter, but it shows why who is president during the next four or eight years is less important then long term environmental policies. If Ralph Nader attracts enough votes to make the election very close, or to cause Gore to lose, future Democrats and Republicans, will take environmental policy far more seriously. Voting for what you believe is not throwing your vote away. If you care about environmental protection and nuclear proliferation voting for Gore could be the biggest ballot box mistake you ever make. 

Elsa Tranter  







PRESS RELEASE: League of Women Voters of  

Berkeley, Albany & Emeryville 


1414 University Avenue Suite D 

Berkeley CA 94702 


Contact: Elsa Tranter 

(510) 642-1657 days 

(510) 524-8970 evenings 









PRESS RELEASE: League of Women Voters of  

Berkeley, Albany & Emeryville 


1414 University Avenue Suite D 

Berkeley CA 94702 


Contact: Elsa Tranter 

(510) 642-1657 days 

(510) 524-8970 evenings 










Dear Editor, 

I don't understand why the price of gasoline here in the San Francisco Bay Area is higher than most other regions in the USA. There are several refineries making it here, yet the price for middle-grade gasoline has been hovering around $ 2 a gallon. 

Republican politicians blame taxes and the price of imported oil from OPEC. If those were the reasons for the high price, then oil company profits would be about the same this year as last year. They would simply have pushed through their higher costs to the customer, right? Wrong! 

Chevron's third-quarter profits increased three times higher than last year, from $ .58 billion to $ 1.53 billion. Exxon Mobil's profits doubled to $ 4.29 billion, up from $ 2.21 billion in the same quarter last year. 

These numbers aren't fuzzy. The clearly focus on price gouging. 

If Bush gets elected President, will his team help us drivers? Well, Dubya was the head of a failed oil company in Texas, and has often expressed sympathy for others "working the oil patch". V.P. candidate Cheney received a generous severance payment that included future stock options from the Halliburton oil company which he headed. If Halliburton's profits drop, so will Cheney's golden parachute. Bush's foreign policy advisor, Condolezza Rice, has served on Chevron's board of directors since 1991; they even named a new tanker after her. His economic advisor, Michael Boskin, has been a director of Exxon-Mobil since 1996. Bush's campaign economic advisor, Lawrence Lindsey, is a close consultant to Enron. Is this crowd going to protect us from the oilgopolies? Get real! Quick! 

We've got only one chance to prevent a Republican-controlled government from colluding with Big Oil to squeeze ever more profits from our wallets. That chance is to vote against Bush on November 7. 




Bruce Joffe 



measure Y 


Fri, 27 Oct 2000 16:35:53 PDT 


"John Koenigshofer"  






Dear Editor 


Like rent control, measure Y will further reduce the number of rental units  

available in our city. 

The facts speak for themselves. Every time a new restriction is placed on  

rental housing more units are removed from the market and those who would  

develop new housing are less likely to do so. 

The path of hyper-regulation is counter productive. History proves this.  

Whether in Berkeley or the Soviet Union, intrusive bureaucracies merely  

suppress creativity and inventiveness. 

Randy Silverman and other rent board cronies have spent tens of millions of  

dollars in the past 20 years but have never created a single housing unit!  

Rather they have reduced the number of rental units in our city. What a  


They have wasted an extraordinary amount of money supporting their Orwellian  

Bureaucracy and promoting their reactionary agenda while the housing  

shortage grows worse. 

I for one, with a lot less money, have created several new homes and units  

in Berkeley. I have also seen many units pulled off the market and projects  

abandon as the result of the totalitarian mentality of Silverman and his  


I know for a fact, if Y passes several more housing units will be removed  

permanently from the market. I also know that some housing proposal  

currently on the drawing board will be abandon. 

Measure Y is a suicide mission. It will hurt property owners and renters  

alike. It is time we reject these old school bureaucrats who haven't created Editor: 

It's wrong to ask Nader to drop out because he spoils Gore's chances. If the Nader votes are honestly cast, the nation should know that Greens are a coming power. Voting is a group activity: each vote shows solidarity with a group. It's an insult to tell Green voters that they are "really" voting for Bush. 

The problem is not Nader; it's that too many people have been talked into voting for Bush. Perhaps all those people really do want the EPA dismantled, corporations free to do what they like, and the Christian Right imposing their religious  

beliefs on the rest of us. If a substantial number of Bush voters do not favor these things, then they are the ones who should drop out, not Nader. 

Steve Geller 




one unit with all their money and power. All they do is attack the  

creativity and vision of others. 

Randy Silverman and the rent board should stop meddling and use their  

multimillion dollar budget to create housing. 



John Koenigshofer 

Berkeley, Ca. 

(510) 848-7509 





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