Public Comment

Doran: A Supporter of Big Business

By Michael Barglow
Monday November 03, 2008 - 01:27:00 PM

Terry Doran, currently on the Zoning Adjustments Board, is running for Dona Spring's seat on the City Council. As a member of the Zoning Adjustments Board, Terry voted against the positions of Dona Spring, Jesse Areguin, the Le Conte Neighborhood Association, and the Elmwood Neighborhood Association.  

The first issue on which Terry disappointed neighbors was his approval of mega-cell antenna concentrations for south and north Shattuck Avenue. These antennas have for three years been opposed by the Le Conte Neighborhood Association and many neighbors. The second issue was Terry’s vote for an over-sized restaurant and bar in the Elmwood District. Space limitations do not permit my discussing other pro-developer decisions Terry has made on the ZAB.  

Through these actions, Terry abandoned what was once his progressive voice in our community in favor of supporting corporations, developers and landlords. This reality was clarified in last week’s Daily Planet. It quoted an email from one of Berkeley’s most prominent developers, Ali Kashani, to fellow developers:  

“The most important race right now, and probably in Berkeley’s last 20 years, is District 4 (formerly held by Dona Spring). We have an opportunity to elect Terry Doran who will solidify the very shaky majority that we currently have on the council….Terry held off on receiving contributions from the development community previously because he did not want to suffer the negative press the Daily Planet would provide. Now we are close enough to the election that Terry is ready for us to participate with him by donating. Please contributed the maximum $250 per person to Terry's campaign.”  

Developers are no dummies. Terry Doran has their support because of the positions he has taken on their behalf as a member of Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board. Terry’s pro-corporate/developer positions may also explain the enormous banner that Patrick Kennedy, our city’s wealthiest, multi-million dollar developer, just had installed on University Avenue, a few feet away from Jesse Areguin’s campaign office. 

As an active member of the Berkeley Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union (BNAFU), I had many conversations with Dona Spring about the cell antenna issue. She regularly expressed opposition to cell antenna proliferation in Berkeley’s flatland residential areas. 

While south Berkeley has 14 different antenna locations, with multiple antennas pointing directly into our homes, the Berkeley Hills have none. Verizon Wireless and Sprint-Nextel, both tele-communications giants, worked with Patrick Kennedy to install antennas on UC Storage. Patrick Kennedy owns UC Storage and stands to make about $20,000 a month to rent his walls for antenna placement.  

BNAFU, with both Dona’s and Jesse Areguin’s assistance, has argued that Berkeley has a right to local control of antenna siting. Our position was recently strengthened by the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Sprint vs San Diego. We need Jesse Areguin’s voice on the City Council to preserve local control.  

Terry voted in January of 2007 to install multiple mega-antennas at UC Storage. At the ZAB meeting, Terry said, in front of 60 neighbors opposing the UC Storage installation,  

“It is obvious that you (the neighbors) don’t want these cell phones (sic) in your neighborhood. But I, too, have done as much research as I can. My son’s a scientist, my daughter-in-law’s a scientist.” 

Terry said this even though he had received, from our citizens’ group, the Bio-Initiative Report authored by several biologists, doctors, bioengineers, and physicists. The Bio-Initiative Report argues that cell antennas are in deed dangerous. The Report is available at 

A few weeks ago, Terry confirmed his pro-corporate, cell antenna position once again by providing the fifth necessary vote on the ZAB to allow Verizon to move ahead again with a second mega-antenna installation on the French Hotel. There are already 25 antennas within a half block of the French Hotel. 

The antennas on both UC Storage and on the French Hotel face eastward, directly into apartments and single family residences. However, the antennas’ strength in terms of RF radiation indicates that they are meant to serve the Berkeley Hills. We residents of the flatlands don’t need these antennas, because our cell phone reception is excellent-this according to both the employees of local Verizon and Sprint stores, who talk to customers every day, and according to these companies’ computer–generated maps of the flatlands.  

BNAFU is asking the city to consider a more equitable, lower wattage, more equitably distributed cell antenna system throughout the city. Such a system could put more money into city coffers since some of these antennas could be placed on city poles. 

On a second planning issue before the ZAB, Terry Doran also ignored the position of the Elmwood Neighborhood Association, Dona Spring, and Jesse Areguin. All three of them opposed an enormous and out of scale 5,000-square-foot restaurant and bar development at the old Wright’s Garage Building nearon College and Ashby. The project included late hours and no parking at an already congested intersection.  

At this point, Terry is riding on Berkeley’s corporation/developer bandwagon. He supports them while ignoring the voices of local residents. 

Please support Jesse Areguin and work to get him elected. He is the only one of the five candidates running in District 5 to be solely endorsed by the Sierra Club, Progressive Dems of the East Bay, the Green Party, the East Bay LGBT Dems, the Cal Dems, the East Bay Young Dems, Berkeley Citizens Action, the SF Bay Guardian, the Berkeley Daily Planet's executive editor, and Dolores Huerta. 


Michael Barglow is a South Berkeley resident.