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High prices can hurt a city

Pat Boyd
Monday October 14, 2002

To the Editor: 


Darcy Morrison (Forum, Oct. 7), in reference to previous letters against Measure P, writes “we’re being asked to sacrifice for the supposedly greater good of smart growth.” While it is true that Berkeley is only a small part of the Bay Area population, if every city used the same argument, the only place for growth would have to be farther out. New California law (AB2292) was passed just to counter the sort of down zoning proposed in this measure, and could possibly be used to challenge Measure P, should it pass. Do we want to lead? Or drag our feet? 

Good things can happen to a city that allows clustered areas of higher density. If more people were living on lower University Avenue, for example, this senior citizen would feel a bit safer walking to local restaurants and taking the bus at night (which might run more often, a separate but related issue). 

And then, there are the social implications. When housing supply is tight, prices rise, and the mix of people living here shifts. Look at Palo Alto. If Berkeley becomes an enclave for the wealthy, much of the diversity and innovative energy that characterize this city will be lost. 


Pat Boyd