Page One

Thank the progressives

Jerry Miller
Tuesday October 08, 2002

To the Editor: 


Letter writer John Koenigshofer (Forum, Sept. 20) wrongly vilifies Tom Bates and makes unsubstantiated generalizations. He suggests that Berkeley has emerged from a “Dark Age” when the city was “in the hands of progressives.” 

Perhaps Mr. Koenigshofer is unaware that progressives have had a working majority on the City Council for 18 of the last 20 years, including the last six years. The improvements he cites – the new library, a vibrant downtown, the Interstate 80 pedestrian bridge, etc. – would not have occurred without the leadership and wholehearted support of progressive council members.  

If there has been a “dark age” in Berkeley, it was during the two years when Mayor Shirley Dean had a majority on the City Council. The damage done has still not been fully repaired. In my neighborhood, the Berkeley Inn site at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street remains a vacant lot because Dean, along with Councilmember Polly Armstrong, worked to kill a mixed use project for the site which was supported by neighborhood residents and area merchants alike. Across town on Rose Street, a blighted building remains because Dean killed a proposal to build housing for people with AIDS there.  

While the mayor worked to kill affordable housing projects, she also embraced inappropriate development. In my neighborhood, she and her council allies approved a Hollywood Video store with no traffic mitigations for Shattuck Avenue and Derby Street. Fortunately, we fought back and the site is today occupied by Reel Video, which agreed to mitigations that have shielded the neighborhood from the substantial traffic generated by this popular business. 


Jerry Miller