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No conflict for commissioner

Robert Clear Berkeley
Wednesday December 19, 2001


This is a reply to Leuren Moret’s charge (Daily Planet 12/12/01) that I failed to file proper disclosure. After reading her letter I checked with the city clerk and the Fair Political Practices Commission and confirmed that an employment disclosure was not required. The city attorney had raised questions about a previous commissioner’s job links to the tritium labeling facility, but these concerns do not apply to my employment. I was laid-off at LBNL at the end of 1997, and now work there on a part-time as needed basis. In fact, I actually have not even had any LBNL work since October. As a “casual” employee I have no budgetary or management oversight over any lab projects. Prior to 1998 I worked on vision and lighting energy use issues. Since then I have done statistical modeling of window energy use, roof heat flows, and radon levels versus soil classifications. I have never worked for the tritium group, public relations, health and safety, or any of the lab operations and maintenance groups where I might have a conflict of interest with my duties as an environmental commissioner. 

As long-time readers of the Daily Planet may know, I became involved in the lab tritium issue in 1997, when it was claimed that field trips to Lawrence Hall of Science involved an unacceptable risk to our children. As a parent, I was naturally concerned. My analysis of the situation convinced me that the concerns were wildly overblown. Many of the claims that have since been put forth indicate a lack of understanding of the fundamental scientific factors involved in evaluating risks from radioactive releases. If policies based on what I feel are unscientific claims come before the Community Environmental Commission, I feel that I not only have the right to vote on them, but an ethical obligation to do so. 

LBNL has not “infiltrated” CEAC. I have mentioned my employment at LBNL in print and at meetings numerous times in the past. More to the point, I do not represent LBNL. 


Robert Clear