To the Editor:
In her lengthy letter (Forum, Oct. 21) opposing Measure P, the height initiative, Councilmember Miriam Hawley does a disservice to the goal of reasoned debate by linking P supporters to the “myth” that big developers “run” the city. It is a cheap shot, designed to discredit opponents of high density development in Berkeley, without addressing the issues raised by them. They include the loss of access to sunlight for the non-occupants of high rise structures, increased vehicle ownership and traffic congestion, increased levels of air and noise pollution with their attendant health risks, exacerbation of parking difficulties, the further deterioration of our already fragile infrastructure, and other deleterious environmental impacts that will arise from packing thousands of additional inhabitants into our small city.
Councilmember Hawley complains bitterly about the delays encountered in the project approval process but in reality, approval is often put on the fast track by city staff. She seems to take personal umbrage at the time and money losses suffered by developers as a result of staff assessments and public hearings. She evinces no such sympathy, however, for residents adversely affected by proposed developments, who typically spend countless hours in frequently futile attempts to bring about modifications to new projects and who can only look on in frustration as the kangaroo courts the Zoning Adjustments Board and City Council.