Page One

Friday June 01, 2001

A compromise for the Beth El dilemma 


As a near-daily user of Berryman Path, a former member of Beth El temple, and a frequent creek cleanup participant, it seems to me that there’s a compromise solution to the Beth El / Codornices Creek controversy. It relies on the historical accident of Berryman Path being legally a street.  

Because of this, the path’s slice of land is unusually wide - 20 feet, while most of Berkeley’s paths are more like 10 or 5 feet. According to project maps (Alternative Parking 1 and 2), Beth El’s proposed parking and drive-through area just barely overlaps the 60-foot-wide creek corridor.  

So, my proposed compromise: The city deeds over Berryman Path to Beth El. Beth El moves the parking area 20 feet north, daylights the creek, builds a 5-foot-wide walking and biking path next to the creek, and gives the city a permanent easement for public use of the new path. 

Beth El would still have to make some other changes in their plan, for instance moving the fenced perimeter and building at least one pedestrian bridge over the creek.  

However they would be getting a large chunk of extra land for their trouble, which seems like a good deal. Also, this idea doesn’t solve any of the non-creek-related objections to the project, but my impression is that those objections are secondary and Beth El has already done a reasonable job of addressing them. 

I hope all involved parties will consider this idea seriously. 


Jef Poskanzer Berkeley 


Vandalism at garage senseless 



Can someone please explain to me the reason for defacing someone’s personal property?  

Is it for laughs? Out of spite? Jealousy? Or sheer boredom? 

Since starting her new job three months ago, my wife began parking in a downtown Berkeley garage.  

One month ago we purchased a new black convertible to further enjoy the divine weather we have all grown accustom to here in Northern California. Being recent transplants from the Northeast, this was just what the doctor ordered. 

Three weeks ago to the day our new car, which has yet to adore a California license plate, was senselessly keyed while my wife was at work.  

The entire passenger side of the car was damaged along with the rear trunk lid.  

All of which occurred in broad daylight. Does anyone monitor these garages?  

Does the garage have no responsibility for maintaining a safe and secure environment? After all we do pay a monthly fee to park in the garage, it’s not free. 

The cost to repair the vehicle was $1,500, most of which came directly out of our own pocket, and the repair process itself took three weeks.  

We also learned of another car (same make) which had been keyed the very same day. 

It’s anyone’s guess how many others failed to file a complaint with the garage.  

This act of violence and destruction should not be tolerated in our community.  

Worst of all this was not an individual targeting another, but rather someone simply destroying a stranger’s property. 

This morning, a mere three weeks after the incident and only one day out of the shop, the car was keyed a second time. Apparently, several others in the garage were also damaged.  

This time, in addition to filing a complaint with the garage, the police were called.  

Of course, this will solve nothing.  

I have a difficult time understanding how this happens not once, but numerous time in the same garage.  

For those looking for parking, there is one more free spot available downtown.  

You’re welcome to it. 

Douglas Scalia Concord 


Need staff to monitor our environment 


Berkeley is the “Eco-city” with the environmentally progressive reputation, right? WRONG!! It appears that Berkeley’s priorities have changed. 

The Toxics Management Division is the department that Berkeley citizens, the Council, and the Environmental Commission rely upon to provide local environmental protection from exposures to substances such as chromium, lead, dioxin, pesticides, radioactive materials, airborne chemicals, hazardous waste, etc.  

Recently I learned from the city finance director that the additional critically-needed staff position for the TMD has been cut from this year’s city budget proposal. According to the TMD manager, without the needed additional staff, the department not only will be unable to implement already approved but unfunded programs such as lead abatement, woodsmoke education, dioxin curtailment, and well surveying, but will have to drastically cut back on many of the services it currently provides such as dealing with pollution from manufacturers in West Berkeley and timely response to newly discovered environmental threats.  

For example, you probably have read about the hexavalent chromium (CR6) recently uncovered in a groundwater plume at the Harrison Playfield site and the arsenic in wood in play structures in children’s play parks.Is this gross misprioritization of the use of city resources OK with you?  

If not, it is not too late, but I urge you to act quickly because the budget package is due to be voted on by the City Council on June 26.  

Without council intervention, senior city staff fully intends to let this happen. Please call your City Councilmember and/or Mayor Shirley Dean and tell them that they must vote to reinstate the TMD position in this year’s budget. Your councilmember’s office phone number is listed in the White Pages of the telephone directory or you can obtain it and email addresses by calling the City Clerk at 644-6480. 

Jami Caseber Berkeley 

Director, Citizens Opposing a Polluted Environment