AC Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit Environmental Review Process
What a corruption of NEPA and CEQA! Folks, that's how the process is supposed to work, you start with the draft and if out of it comes citizen formulation of new alternatives, you assess and include them in the final. How expressive of a most unimaginative and unconstructive misuse of the law, frustrating rather than promoting effective public participation.
Lecturer in Land Use and Water Resources Law at Boalt.(Berkeley Law School).
2701 Shattuck Condo Site
The sliver of open land at 2701 Shattuck Avenue, next to U.C. Storage building, has seen condo proposals come and go since Rev. Gordon Choyce, pastor of the Missionary Church of God in Christ, bought the property for $1.475 in 2004. A couple condo plans got the neighborhood’s thumbs-up; a couple plans got thumbs-down. Obviously the thumbs-up projects never got built. It seems that only "the ugly" (i.e., five stories, little or no parking, a “string-bean” of commercial space on the ground floor) will eventually get built because the space is small, but the demographics of the region make such a building economically feasible. Last year (2009) saw approximately 400,000 new residents in California (about 20,000 in Alameda County). Most of the growth came from immigration and the higher birth rate among immigrants who, unfortunately, cannot easily afford to purchase or rent traditional Berkeley housing. Increased population means increased pressure on resources, and Berkeley should bear its fair share. This type of project will happen, if not at 2701 Shattuck, them somewhere else, with density-bonus and other variances granted by the City that can double the size of a building without such permits.
Don't Drop Your Guard on BRT
Tricks and games!
Let me get this straight: we had a city council meeting where the #1 item was scheduled last and was never addressed, followed by a far-flung, late-night, meeting with single-item agenda. A cynical way of looking at it might lead me to say the first was to assess our numbers and watch our strategies, never intending to table BRT at all. The second might be a way to deter attendance, isolate us and hope they can mow us down somehow. I think your dedication has forced them to at least give the appearance of fighting BRT, and that's nothing to sniff at.
But don't think this is over. There's $15 million that says ACT's going to try and get their teeth as deeply into Telegraph and Temescal as they can. Don't stop now. Prepare to double your effort for the next round. Gear up just like you know it’s coming and, if it doesn't and it all goes well, stow away your picket signs and rat costumes for next time.
Johnny Allen Shaw
Let's pray we have the technology and political will to cap this massive oil leak. But we do have the technology to implement a truly clean energy economy and to lead the planet into doing so,
Now it's time to amass the political will...
No BRT in Berkeley
If the issues weren't so important to Berkeley I could,once again, really get a good belly laugh out of Becky O'Malley's editorial on Bus Rapid Transit last week. The title was; Berkeley Council Rejects "Full Build" BRT..... You would have thought that a "majority" of the council was against "studying" how a bus rapid transit system would effect Berkeley, that a "majority" of the city council took a "head in the sand" position by rejecting a proposition to "study" BRT, therefore dooming this "possibly" positive addition to public transportation in Berkeley for the foreseeable future.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Only two members of the Berkeley City Council voted against this study, a resounding rejection by the council, according to O'Malley. With eight council members present at the meeting five votes were needed to pass a resolution to "study" BRT, not adopted BRT, but to "study" how this innovative public transportation option would effect Berkeley.
The only grain of truth in O'Malley's editorial was that the council had four members voting yes ( 50% present at the meeting) and 2 members voting no. The other two members could not make up their minds one way or the other and abstained, and the motion to study was defeated by not having the 5th vote in favor.
A real "rejection" by our city leaders; not in my opinion, but a real plus for O'Malley, the Berkeley Daily Planet and the party of NO in Berkeley.