To the editor:
Local development policy both reflects and shapes the character of a city and its social values. This November, Berkeley voters have an important development issue on the ballot, Measure P.
We should vote “No” on Measure P, exercising our belief in five social values.
Affordable Housing: Economics tells us that limiting housing supply in a high-demand market will increase the cost. Measure P would increase the costs of market rate housing, which are already too high, and the costs of providing affordable housing, which is already extremely difficult to build. Berkeley should be a city for everyone, not just the rich.
Affordable Education: Measure P would drive up rents, increasing the cost of getting an education at UC Berkeley.
Stopping Urban Sprawl: As citizens of the Bay Area, we have a responsibility to stop urban sprawl. Measure P is a pro-sprawl initiative; through its NIMBYism, it asks that the next houses be built even further out.
Public Transit: Many of us take public transit rather than drive. Many more of us would take it if it were more convenient. Public transit relies on density. We can't improve our public transit system if we halt development.
Local business: Local, neighborhood businesses thrive on people living close. Squelching mixed-use development halts the ability of less affluent parts of Berkeley to bring in local businesses like food markets and family restaurants. It's destructive for affluent neighborhoods as well. Let's keep the local businesses and not drive to Emeryville.
As environmentalists, affordable housing advocates, and believers in diverse neighborhoods, we should vote No on Measure P,