Page One

Taking a position on Prop P

Stephanie Manning
Monday October 21, 2002

To the Editor: 


Opposition to Proposition P, the height initiative, is being organized by businessmen like developer Patrick Kennedy with a vested interest in unlimited building heights. Support for Proposition P is grassroots citizen-based and includes the Council of Neighborhood Associations and Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. 

With lots of money behind the opposition, many politicians have jumped on the defeat of Proposition P bandwagon, claiming that it would limit the construction of housing. However, this is not true. Nowhere in the initiative does it restrict the production of housing. On the contrary, it seeks to preserve neighborhoods by preserving the quality of life there. Huge out-of-scale buildings have been proposed in west Berkeley and throughout Berkeley, such that five-story towers would be built next to modest single-story houses. Some years ago, permits for such constructions would have been modified or denied by the regulating agencies. But now with the developer based smart growth movement, such considerations have been cast aside in favor of upward expansion. But the goal of upward expansion in downtown areas was supposed to be the maintenance of smaller scale surrounding areas on the outer edges of cities and in rural areas. Not any more. Capitalism mandates continual expansion, such that even in the outlying areas larger, more intrusive structures are being built. 

The result of all this building is increased traffic congestion, since the developers fail to increase parking and cities cannot afford to increase public transit. The quality of life in the city continues take a backseat to economic expansion. Proposition P is a citizen attempt to come up against big money and say no to steamrolling our neighborhoods and endless urbanization in every single corner of Berkeley. 


Stephanie Manning