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Dona Spring is a great Green Party leader

- Chris Kavanagh
Wednesday May 15, 2002

To The Editor, 

Stephen Dunifer's May 6 letter (“Dont Believe the Hype”), critical of Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring’s council record contained so many misrepresentations and errors that I am compelled to respond. 

As a former Central Council member of the Green Party of Alameda County, I can state that Mr. Dunifer's claim that Councilmember Spring's record is “anathema” to what the Green Party's political platform “stands for” is not only a regrettable, misinformed statement, but absolutely stands reality on its head. 

In accordance with the Green Party's “Ten Key Values” platform, Councilmember Spring has authored, co-authored, or voted for more city social justice, environmental and affordable housing measures/ordinances than perhaps any sitting Berkeley City Council member with the possible exception of Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek.  

Over the last decade, Councilmember Spring's list of accomplishments would take up an entire newspaper page to publish. The following are just a few of her most significant achievements since joining the City Council:  

— Creation of at least 1,400 units of new, acquired or rehabilitated affordable housing in Berkeley, including hundreds of sustainable, mixed-use in-fill units along transit corridors. 

— Obtaining AC Transit “eco-passes” for UC Berkeley's 30,000 students (and, in the future, for all Berkeley city employees). 

— Closing UC Berkeley's LBNL radioactive tritium facility (in conjunction with neighborhood environmental activists). 

— Passage of a measure to create a future public power entity/district in Berkeley. 

— Prohibition of styrofoam cups and containers in Berkeley. 

— Passage of dozens of measures in support of organized labor and/or local unionizing efforts. 

— Strong endorsement of — and actively campaigning for — every affordable housing Rent Stabilization Board election slate (affordable housing slates have won every election since 1994 helping to ensure stable, affordable rents for Berkeley's 19,000 rent-controlled households). 

— Co-author of a resolution calling for an end to the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and harm to innocent civilians. This resolution provoked a series of death threats against Councilmember Spring and other coucilmembers at the time. 

— Working closely with the city's disabled community, campaigning on behalf of a ballot measure establishing a free, “universal” emergency assistance service for Berkeley's disabled population. 

Although space prevents me from rebutting in detail each of Mr. Dunifer's misrepresentations, his one claim that Councilmember Spring purportedly supported “poor law” proposals directed at the city's homeless community is absolutely false.  

Mr. Dunifer is apparently referring to Berkeley ballot Measure “O” in the mid-1990s which concerned alleged public space behavior by homeless individuals. At the time, this issue was an orchestrated political effort spearheaded by the centrist/conservative majority that controlled the City Council during those years. 

Councilmember Spring publically opposed Measure “O” and sought vigorously to defeat it at the time. 

Councilmember Spring’s public service record on behalf of her District 4 Berkeley constituents and the Green Party has always been exceptional and speaks for itself. Her District 4 voters have re-elected Councilmember Spring four times by overwhelming margins. Along with California’s other 49 elected Green Party officials statewide, Councilmember Spring remains one of the party’s most respected and stalwart members.  


- Chris Kavanagh