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Letters to the Editor

Thursday February 22, 2001

Wozniak has the real conflict of interest 



There’s a world of difference between Dr. Gordon Wozniak, head of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s (LBNL’s) Nuclear Science Division, serving as acting chair of Berkeley’s Community Enviromental Advisory Commission (CEAC), and the controversy over the four Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) members sitting on the Landmark’s Commission. ( “City attorney’s office cites commisioners’ conflict “ 2 / 7 / 01 )  

State law prohibits public officers, such as commisioners from engaging in any employment, activity or enterprise for compensation which is in conflict with his or her duties as a local agency officer.  

Dr. Wozniak‘s duties as a CEAC commissioner involve consideration of LBNL enviromental matters at almost every meeting.  

He routinely sides with LBNL on radioactive issues, such as regular radioactive tritium emissions ( next to the Lawrence Hall of Science ), large accidental tritium releases, combustion of radioactive hazardous waste and other nefarious nuclear or toxic contamination problems.  

Since three of the four Landmark commisioners are merely board members of BAHA serving without compensation ( the fourth does some staff work for pay), they clearly should not be considered as having a conflict of interest in the sense stipulated by State law.  

If they took a position on the Landmark’s Commission adverse to BAHA’s they would not threaten their means of livelihood.  

Depriving members of issue-oriented community groups, or political groups with a public stand on certain issues, from serving on city commissions would relegate the commissions’ City Council advisory functions to persons with no experience or interest in the issues at hand.  

The Daily Planet’s comparison of banning persons active in community affairs from commissioner positions to the 1950’s witch-hunts is not farfetched.  

It appears to be a blatant violation of the First Amendment right to free speech and assembly. 

Dr. Wozniak, as a City of Berkeley enviromental commissioner has clearly shown that he is there to serve the interests of his employer, LBNL, rather than those of Berkeley residents.  

At least one or two LBNL employees are present at every CEAC meeting and observe his interactions at the commission. 

Despite the City Attorney’s decision to the contrary, we understand that Dr. Wozniak plans to be at the next CEAC commission meeting and expects to be elected chair. Please attend. 

The next CEAC meeting will be Thursday at 7 p.m., 2118 Milvia St., second floor conference room. The meeting is open to the public and starts with public comment.  



Gene Bernardi 

Co-Chair Committee to  

Minimize Toxic Waste