Public Comment

Regarding Mr. Ryan Lau

Paola Laverde
Wednesday March 17, 2010 - 09:02:00 AM

Hello there Daily Planet, I'm sending you a copy of the letter I wrote to Berkeley City Auditor Ms Hogan this morning (3-16-10) It is regarding the reckless behavior of Ryan Lau, the ZAB board member and aide to Councilman Moore. 

I'm sending this because the Daily California is reporting that Mr. Lau doesn't think "..that my personal life should be a reflection on my performance as an employee of the city of Berkeley," he said. This makes me even more furious because he's a freaking ZAB board member.. he administers these permits. I don't understand on what planet this guy thinks he's living on!! 

Hello Ms. Hogan, 

I am writing to complain about city council aid and ZAB member Ryan Lau. As you're probably aware, an article last week in the Daily Planet disclosed that Mr. Lau neglected to apply for permits for the remodeling of his garage into a one bedroom and one bath living unit. Well, this morning I called council member Moore's office to complain about his aid's behavior. Turns out it was Mr. Lau who answered the phone. When I talked to him regarding his lack of permits he stated: "I tried to fix a minor problem and it got out of hand... the project got away from me. I made a mistake." When I pointed out that he should know better because he's a ZAB member he stated that he's only been on the board for a short while "I've only attended something like three or four meetings". He also he really doesn't have that much experience. He added: ".. as soon as I realized I had made a mistake I stopped." I pointed out to him that that realization came as a result of a newspaper article. If this had not gone public, I really doubt he would have remedied the situation. I also lectured him on the fact that he is being paid through my taxes and I don't appreciate this type of behavior.  

So, the more I think about this incident the more infuriated I get. Although Lau claims it was a mistake, that it got out of hand, his construction project was hidden behind a wall. 

How is it that the Mayor's office isn't getting more involved? The Mayor's office tells me it's up to Council member Moore to deal with Lau. Why? This is a serious problem, this is a problem of corruption, of lack of ethics, of public trust. This is a black-eye for Berkeley. If Lau isn't reprimanded then what kind of message does this send other city employees? And how many other city employees will continue getting away with not playing by the rules? 

I ask your office to please do an in-depth investigation into this matter and that something more be done to Lau than just doubled fines for all the permits he failed to get. After all, among all the violations he committed and his claiming it was a mistake, I believe the most egregious is that he tried to HIDE the construction. So, my question is: was it really a mistake, did he really not know what he was doing? I doubt it. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. 


Paola Laverde