Plan makes sense

Richard Register Berkeley
Tuesday December 18, 2001


Becky O’Malley and Michael Katz said in the Planet that I attacked Dona Spring “viciously,” and engaged in “name calling...” 

So I went back and re-read my editorial to check my mad dog habits and realized that O’Malley and Katz like biting people more than I do. On Monday O’Malley called up one local business and its manager called me up to say O’Malley had condemned the business person’s support for the amendment. 

I said not to worry. As far as I knew you can express your opinion in America. The same crowd of a dozen or so, turn up at planning and council meetings to employ extreme language to push their love of a low density, cozy green Berkeley frozen in time. For most of Berkeley I actually agree with them, and would like to see it even lower density and quieter along creeks so that they could be restored and parks and gardens expanded – which can only be made possible if the Ecocity Amendment is part of the General Plan. 

In reading my editorial again I noticed I did say that Spring’s support of lowering height limits was unfriendly to both people needing housing and to environmental health, and I absolutely believe it. I then challenged her to “be progressive,” and perhaps unadvisedly engaged in the “more progressive than thou game” pointing out that the Ecocity Amendment would make possible considerable new housing in pedestrian/transit centers and transit corridors, while down zoning would not.  

Let’s get down to content. Do I advocate demolishing 70 percent of our housing stock and throwing out 70 percent of our people? Rather, I have consistently argued for much more housing and higher density centers, the higher density part being precisely what I usually get attacked for....