Public Comment

Open Letter in Response to Chris Adams

By Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny
Wednesday May 04, 2011 - 07:21:00 AM

Dear Chris,

I am completely taken aback by statements in your Berkeley Daily Planet opinion piece: 

“And yet to someone who has followed the library’s plans for many years, it is hard not to wonder what can motivate the opponents other than something as irrational and emotional as racism.” 

I know this isn’t true. 

Those of you who are promoting and repeating this obviously false opinion are using a form of bullying and hatred that undermines free speech. Opponents of the library board’s preferred plans for the South and West branch libraries have a legitimate right of to be heard and not be subject to false, intimidating and potentially dangerous statements that are intentionally aimed at pitting people against one another. 

In addition, your comparison of Berkeley’s library issue with the “…blatantly religious and ethnic prejudice” of the Islamic Center in NY just makes your argument even more egregious and wrong. 

The issue of what projects Bond Measure FF were to fund seem to be at the core of the question. Maybe it is time that we all find out how explicit a bond measure’s language needs to be as there is also a problem with some school bond measures. And since there doesn't seem to be agreement in this regard, maybe it is time that the courts make a legal ruling that settles the debate about how close to the language of a bond measure the resulting building projects must be, to conform to the promises made to the citizens that voted for it. Such a ruling would benefit not just Berkeley, but other cities in the state as well. 

Susan Cerny is the former President of Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association and former Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.