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Late Breaking Election Letters

Friday November 03, 2006


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Re Mayor Bates's 11/3 commentary, "Let’s Talk About Development," if he's as green as he makes out in his campaign literature, why did he fail to discuss the fundamental ecological issue of limits to growth? 

The East Bay's existing population is already making such demands on the water supply that EBMUD is seriously considering building desalinization plants. Do we really want to build ourselves into a perpetual drought? 

As for Bates's argument that we need to line the major traffic corridors with five-story apartment buildings in order to provide housing for Berkeley workers, the ones built in recent years always seem to have vacancies. Why aren't Berkeley workers snapping them up? My guess is they'd rather commute as far as necessary to give their kids the benefit of growing up in a single-family house with a yard--just like Bates's kids did. 

Robert Lauriston 

South Berkeley, District 3 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Last night I received a postcard from anti-Measure A folk whining about the state of Berkeley Unified School District's pools and other recreational facilities. I'd like to remind them that the primary mandate of BUSD is to educate children, not provide recreation to adults. Starving the District of resources by defeating Measure A will make this already-challenging mandate nearly impossible. And if you think the facilities are poorly maintained now, sending the District into bankruptcy would only make the current situation much, much worse. 

I hope ten years from now when this measure is up for renewal, we try to make it permanent so this kind of nonsense no longer arrives in my mailbox. 

Brenda Buxton 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Berkeley homeowners should be cognizant of the current real estate market when voting on November 7. 

The strong real estate market is over, and home prices are dropping. Yet massive apartment and condominium projects keep getting approved and built. Now that the real estate market is weakening, land use decisions will effect property values more and more. A glut of apartments and condo units will lower property values through the economic law of supply 

and demand.  

Berkeley is already the third most densely populated city in northern California, after San Francisco and Daly City. As Berkeley continues to rapidly develop, traffic will keep getting worse, historic buildings and views will be lost, and our city will become more dense, noisier, and more polluted. All of this will make Berkeley a less desirable place in which to buy a home, and in which to make a long-termcommitment to live. 

Mayor Tom Bates, and City Council Members Linda Maio (District 1) and Gordon Wozniak (District 8) have voted for nearly every development project that has come to the Berkeley City Council in the last several years. They have consistently refused to hold public hearings on the appeal of large-scale development projects approved by the Zoning Adjustments Board, and they have consistently refused to require environmental impact reports (EIRs) for these large-scale projects. 

Bates, Maio and Wozniak also voted last year to approve the secret deal with UC to double the size of downtown Berkeley and to hand development decisions for our downtown over to the university. If the secret deal with UC is not overturned, neighborhoods to the north and south of downtown Berkeley could soon be overrun with high-rise apartments, condos, and office buildings. 

Berkeley home owners should realize that a vote for Mayor Bates, for Council Member Maio, or for Council Member Wozniak is a vote to worsen the quality of life in Berkeley, and a vote to lower the value of your home. 

Clifford Fred, member of the Berkeley Planning Commission from 1988-1996 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

After I heard Tom Bates speak at Berkeley City College on Wednesday night I wondered about how the man had changed so much from the mid seventies when I knew him as a legislature in who helped us in the State Health Department in Sacramento battle for the needs of all citizens.  

In contrast Wednesday he announced to us that there are plans to build a 900-unit, nine story condimunium on Center Street, across the street from Berkeley City College as well as a 200-unit hotel on Center and Shattuck where the Bank of America is.When one of the students asked what is this going to do for the downtown parking for students he answered, "It will be a little bit of inconvenience."  

As it is many people avoid shopping in downtown Berkeley because parking is so hard. We have a wonderful community college smack in the middle of the downtown,where will students park? What will a nine story condo do to the character of the downtown? Bates obviously has more than the interests of Berkeley's citizens in mind, specifically the developers. 

Pauline Bondonno Cross 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

The endorsement of Tom Bates by the SF Chronicle is less political than financial. 

Given the paper's declining circulation they simply can't afford to have Tom stealing bundles of the Chronicle. 

F. Greenspan 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Why should Berkeley residents care about a race for an Oakland seat on the board of the Peralta Community College District? 

Because the board in its entirety controls Berkeley City College (formerly Vista College). 

Because Berkeley citizens are eligible to take courses at Laney, Merritt, and the College of Alameda. 

Because Berkeley and Oakland are very closely linked. The fate of Oakland youth could hardly. be more important to us. No institution offers more hope for them than the community colleges. 

Because the District has just passed a $390 million–dollar bond issue, and we need to make sure the money is spent to best effect. 

Because there is a first-class candidate running for the seat. 

His name is Abel Guillen. Abel is young, and the first in his own family to go to college. He works hard. He cares deeply, He knows a lot about how to run college districts, He wants to make sure that every high school student in the district learns well in advance of graduation about opportunities through Peralta. He knows how to listen to the faculty, students and staff rather than outside contractors when it comes to making key decisions. 

To find out how to support Abel go to  

Michael H. Goldhaber 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

As five members of the California Democratic Party State Central Committee, we are disgusted that political consultants from southern California recently mailed a fake Democratic Party slate card to Oakland voters. It is bad enough that this fake mailer disguised itself as coming from the Democratic Party, but it also misrepresented several of the official positions of the Democratic Party.  

The Alameda County Democratic Party strongly supports Measure O (instant runoff voting in Oakland) (see for proof). And the California Democratic Party supports instant runoff voting (see for proof).  

Yet this fake slate card told Oakland voters to vote "no" on this measure. That kind of sleazy, underhanded tactic is what really turns off voters to politics. And ironically, it's that kind of mudslinging that Measure O/instant runoff voting is trying to stop. As San Francisco's experience with instant runoff voting has shown, IRV decreases negative campaigning because candidates may need the second or third ranking from the supporters of other candidates to win. So you have to be more careful what you say about those candidates in order to attract their voters' support. 

Setting the record straight: the Democratic Party, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and over 20 Democratic elected officials from Oakland and Alameda County all strongly support Measure O.  

Suzi Goldmacher, Chair, 16th Assembly District, Member, California Democratic Party State Central Committee 

Steve Chessin, Member, California Democratic Party State Central Committee and Member, California Democratic Party Executive Board 

Rob Dickinson, Member, California Democratic Party State Central Committee, Alternate Member, California Democratic Party Executive Board, Founding Member, San Mateo County Democracy for America 

Donald Goldmacher, Member, California Democratic Party State Central Committee 

Sherry Reson, Member, California Democratic Party State Central Committee, Founding Member, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The 7th district city council race is about haves and have nots. Kriss Worthington the incumbent survives on considerable less than the national average on a city council salary of about $24,000 a year so he can spend more time directly helping his constituents. George Beier his opponent is a multi-millionaire...and he wants Kriss's job. Nothing is ever enough for some people. 

There is a line in a play "Look Back in Anger" by John Osborne-"It is always the wrong people who go hungry". Kriss has the compassion to respond to a call from a constituent like myself in distress by getting on his bike and meeting with me in 15 minutes. He helped my neighbor a fragile professor who had been locked out of his apartment by his landlord who trashed this tenant's place, putting his stuff in the garbage after not paying an illegal rent. In my own Section 8 case and the professor's case Kriss advocated for us with this landlord and with the city's Housing Authority. 

I am an award winning photographer who has been sufferring from illness. I have helped host crime watch meetings when I was living at Russell St.. I object to the Chamber of Commerce's hit piece about Kriss not helping with crime. Kriss helped us become more safe from drug dealers who were assaulting, robbing and threatening the lifes of Section 8 tenants in my complex. 

Kriss is a proven supporter of affordable housing. I have been quite sickened by the lies and slander George Beier has posted in front of his campaign headquarters basically calling Kriss worthless. Kriss confronted the "politically incorrrect" problem of drug dealing in my neighborhood and building when no one in the local city government did. Kriss is deservedly respected for his devotion to La Causa the cause of progressive politics. I feel George Beier is trying to buy this election with his money. It has been hard for me to write this but it is my hope it can get in the paper for election day.  

Diane Villanueva Arsanis 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Make no mistake: this article is an attempt to convince you how to vote on Tuesday. 

I produce the majority of Kriss Worthington's literature. This election season I've also written for Dona Spring, against Measure I, and for Measure J. Over the years I've produced literature for numerous candidates and for Berkeley funding bonds, among them disability bonds, library bonds, and parks bonds. I am schooled in the art of convincing. 

There was one overriding message I took away from the '60s, from the struggle against the Vietnam War, from the Civil Rights struggle, and from the women's movement, and that was that the end doesn't justify the means, but is, rather, simply determined by the means. Any movement which succeeds by imposing the will of an elite instead of realizing the will of the people it claims to act on behalf of is corrupt. 

The opposing sides in a contest look superficially alike because they have in common the determination to convince those who will decide the outcome to act on their argument instead of their opponent's. But it's possible, even surprisingly simple, to sift your way productively through the literature of a bitterly fought electoral contest. Just apply the following test: 

Reread the literature with an eye to the structure of its argument rather than its content. There are only two ways to make an argument: you can be guided by your end or you can be guided by your means. If the former, you will use all material at your disposal, no matter how relevant, to convince: if the latter, you will only be satisfied if you inform, and in informing convince. If as a reader you come away from an election piece with new understanding, that's the direct result of the author's attempt to inform you. If you come away with doubt and fear, it's the direct result of the author's attempt to manipulate you. 

Here's two productive examples from this election season. 

The Chamber of Commerce's anti-Measure J piece warns that if you vote for Measure J you will be allowing as few as 25 people to designate a new Historical District. In fact, a Council majority has already stated it will put into effect a substitute law if J should fail, a law that also will allow 25 people to designate a new Historical District. Both proposals use that number because it's the one recommended by the State Office of Historical Resources. The Chamber wasn't lying: it was just attempting to convince by misinforming. 

Two letters from Beier supporters in Tuesday's Planet: In "Real Progress vs. a Progressive Label" Charles Banks-Altekruse writes that "George seems capable of working respectfully and maturely with other City Council members to advance an agenda of constructive change and real progress." David Cottle writes for "Beier Progressives in the Bateman, Halcyon, LeConte and Willard neighborhoods" that "Beier has, in addition to genuine progressive credentials, the intelligence, creativity and temperament we need in Berkeley's elected leadership." They're either two people who happened simultaneously to realize that the most important thing to hammer into a letter to the editor this week is that George is every bit as progressive as Kriss, or they are part of an orchestrated Beier letter-writing effort echoing on-message talking points. If you have the time, go back and read these polished and perfectly meshing letters. (, click on 'Search Archives', then "Tue Oct 31', then "Letters to the Editor' in the lower right column.) 

If you feel you've learned something from this article, I hope you'll vote for Measure J and for Kriss Worthington. 


Dave Blake 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

When it comes to politics, it's essential to understand how money works. I agreed to serve as Kriss's volunteer treasurer because as a community activist I appreciate his phenomenal work for our neighborhood and the progressive issues I care about. My position as treasurer has given me a window into what it costs to wage a campaign that communicates a candidate's record and vision to voters. Since powerful interests have targeted Kriss in past campaigns, I knew that we'd have to spend substantial money on our efforts, and indeed we have spent around $27,000 as of 10/21 (the last reporting period). 

But our expenditures, normal for a hard-fought campaign, have been dwarfed by the money Kriss's multimillionaire opponent has thrown into the race. George Beier has now won the dubious distinction of spending more than anyone has before on a Berkeley City Council race. As of the 10/26 campaign filing statement (which covers expenditures through 10/21 and which can be found at, Beier has already spent over $72,000 (more than the mayor in a citywide race), including $27,000 of his own money, and he will be the first Council candidate in Berkeley history to surpass $100,000. Beier's also benefiting from the Chamber of Commerce PAC, which has spent over $15,000 already against Kriss, as well as a soft-money mailing from the conservative Berkeley Democratic Club (which deliberately tried to mislead voters by picturing Beier with Barbara Lee, even though she is an early and enthusiastic supporter of Kriss's), meaning that all told Kriss is being outspent by around three to one. 

It's worth asking what all this money is buying; if this is what we want politics in Berkeley to be about; and whether, in the end, we can truly afford it. 

Nancy Carleton 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

I haven't written to the Daily Planet before, but I was moved to do so when a friend showed me a campaign hit piece she received in the mail. This Chamber of Commerce PAC mailer is really over the top! It accuses Kriss Worthington and Dona Spring of being responsible for the closing of Radston's and a few stores on Telegraph Avenue. It's so ludicrous that one tends to believe it will affect voters in a way opposite to that intended. 

For starters, I don't think either of these Councilmembers were responsible for the growth of stores like Office Max or Office Depot. Nor did they encourage property owners to charge the high rents that make it difficult for small businesses to survive. In addition, I don't believe Spring or Worthington own stock in Emeryville shopping centers. 

I live in District One and often walk to Fourth Street, a nice half hour stroll. There are several empty storefronts there, victims to some economic exigency or other. Yet, the Chamber is not blaming that Councilperson for those closings, nor would I want them to. (I happen to be a repeat voter for Linda Maio, my Councilperson.) In addition, the Chamber has not blamed the Mayor for the various stores that close (and then open under new owners), throughout the city. And, I wouldn't want them to assign blame there, either, because clearly it would be misplaced. 

Those of us who live in Berkeley like to think that our forward thinking city is fueled by the energy of intelligent, thoughtful individuals. The Chamber is trying to tell us otherwise. Hopefully, voters won't be fooled by this pathetic attempt to tarnish two hardworking, responsive and responsible Councilmembers. 

Sharon Maldonado