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Roll up your sleeves, progressives

John Koenigshofer
Friday September 20, 2002

To the Editor: 

“Tom Bates for Mayor” signs include the phrase: Berkeley at it's Best. I find the suggestion laughable. Bates is a comrade to the forces and politics that wreaked havoc on our city. He espouses views long ago tried and failed and relies on PC sloganeering to obscure the fact that his political philosophy is disconnected from the real world.  

As an active environmentalist, proponent of wilderness, civil libertarian and lifelong democrat, I view Bates and his associates as dangerous enemies of freedom, civility and fairness. They are the builders of incompetent and wasteful bureaucracies who notably oppose the spirit of invention, commerce and individualism.  

Remember Berkeley in the hands of progressives. We were a dying town with abandon buildings, dark streets and high crime. Our housing stock was in decay and virtually nothing was being built or renovated. Look now. We have a vibrant downtown where one can safely walk at night from cafe to cafe, hear live music, see any of 20 different movies, a play or two at the new Berkeley Rep, attend the jazz school or practice Capoera. We have a pedestrian bridge that links thriving Fourth Street and Oceanside neighborhoods with the Marina and waterfront. We have a beautifully rebuilt and expanded central library and a major project under way at Berkeley High.  

Throughout the city there are many small in-fill housing and loft projects reflecting the creativity and entrepreneurial efforts of local architects and artists. Berkeley progressives are devoted to ideology not solutions. They are more interested in symbolic gesture than real work. As is demonstrated by their rigid alignment to rent control and other regressive systems, they are not interested in facts or the real-world outcome of policy but rather in perpetuating their dogma and mythology.  

Bates is no exception. As mayor he would facilitate endless, meaningless, and ineffectual symbolic politics on every global issue and would, (like progressives before him) ignore crime, waste tax dollars, fail to maintain infrastructure and escort our city into another Dark Age.  


John Koenigshofer