To the Editor:
The communications tower is an important utility, not an ornament. To dismantle it or diminish its function in any way because a few neighbors don't think it's pretty would be as foolish as getting rid of fire trucks to reduce traffic congestion. (And health concerns about the tower are a misinformed superstition - every time you put a cell phone to your ear you absorb more radio energy than you'll ever get from the tower.) Don't waste our money fixing things that aren't broken when too many other things are... $93,000 to study this? No. Rescind this. How many homeless families would this house?
Dear God, give us a City Council with some common sense. Or, better yet, let's get rid of the council and hire a CEO to run Berkeley like a business, not a sideshow. And while I'm mouthing off about NIMBYs, here's a note for those chronic ‘Gaiaphobes:’ In the heart of downtown Berkeley there are four large buildings of real visual merit – the library, the Shattuck Hotel, the Corder Building (2322 Shattuck Ave.) and the Gaia Building - with a scattering of lesser, but pleasing sites. Give us more Gaias.
Think about this: If the Campanile were being built today, UC-haters would scream that it was being done without community input, radical feminists would rail against having a dominant phallic structure imposed on them and a committee of residents would warn of impending noise pollution from the carillon. Come on, Berkeley, let's grow up!
To the Editor:
When will Berkeley's City Council stop being intimidated by neighborhood activists and reactionary crusaders? Not content with railroading the attractive competition-winning design for a new public safety building at Martin Luther King Way and Addison Street, resulting in a shamefully dull complex that thrills nobody, similar voices now demand the tearing down of that building's communications tower - to my mind the only interesting component of the whole bland ensemble.
A short stroll around the Addison-McKinley intersection reveals that most of the adjacent houses and apartments see the tower through the lacy foliage of well-established sycamores, a few of which, wrapping around the offending corner itself, are still relatively young and will grow much bigger over time. Add to these the five new magnolias along the building's Addison frontage and the shaggy screen of closely-spaced podocarpus that will soon soften the windowless facade on McKinley, and it becomes apparent that, at normal level, lush vegetation, courtesy of the city of Berkeley, will eventually dominate the residential street views. You'd have to look deliberately upwards to notice the tower, which, being an open framework, doesn't even block the passing clouds. It isn't, after all, a 10-story office block.
The few people who hate this useful technical object have already been allowed to bully the council into spending $93,000 on a study of alternative solutions, and if these 'experts' deem it appropriate, the city will squander another $500,000 or more on the dubious, unnecessary relocation of a perfectly functioning technical component of a fire and police headquarters.
Meanwhile, homeless people and panhandlers proliferate in the public areas, and nice old residential streets are blighted with doubled-up telephone poles and squalid, thicker-than-ever overhead wires. Civic priorities are being turned upside-down.