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Join with other cities to stop UC

Sharon Entwistle
Friday October 05, 2001


The Daily Planet received this letter addressed to the mayor and City Council: 


That the City of Berkeley should consider suing the University of California with regard to development of the Berkeley campus’s “northeast quadrant” is at the same time encouraging and disheartening. 

Encouraging because the university is a juggernaut that, if not stopped, will have swallowed Berkeley whole.  

We’re all aware of the problems that accompany successful and growing institutions and the consequences to the City. Not least of which is the loss of tax revenue as more and more property is bought and leased.  

Costs in services that the city must provide and its taxpayers must bear are well known. Costs to residents in loss of quality of life may be considered by some too petty to mention, but they are considerable enough for many to consider leaving Berkeley. For these reasons, the threat of a lawsuit to enjoin the university from undertaking this latest assault on a large section of the town is encouraging. 

Yet it is disheartening because existing state law, as we have seen time and again, virtually assures defeat of any challenge to the university on issues related even distantly to land use. 

It is past time that the city recognize the threat to control of its fiscal future that is posed by the university’s exemption from taxation and local land-use regulations.  

It is time that the city of Berkeley reach out to and join hands with other jurisdictions similarly affected by university campuses in their midst: Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Davis, West Los Angeles... Together a state-wide coalition can and will exert the influence needed to change state law and eliminate the university’s immunity that is such a heavy and destructive burden on us as a city. 

Yes, the threat of a lawsuit may bring a few mitigations for the current project. But only changing state law can bring permanent relief.  

There are thousands of individuals waiting for the coalition leadership needed. I pray that our City will provide it.  


Sharon Entwistle