Opinion

Editorials

Following the Money Behind Berkeley Ballot Measures

By Becky O'Malley
Friday October 12, 2012 - 09:58:00 AM

If you want to get a good idea of how Berkeley is being governed, the list of who’s contributed to the shucking-and-jiving measures on the November ballot is a good place to start.

Why do I call Measures S and T shucking-and-jiving measures? Because the Bates-controlled majority on the Berkeley city council voted to place these two issues on the ballot as a way of ducking the responsibility vested in them to make things work in this city.

As far as Measure S is concerned, there are plenty enough laws on the books to control anti-social street behavior anywhere in the city at any time, but the current administration doesn’t enforce them, preferring instead to sucker the citizenry into thinking that prohibiting sitting down is going to bring nirvana to our mean streets.

And Measure T is an end run around perfectly workable provisions in the existing West Berkeley plan, notably the development agreements explained by Toni Mester in the last issue, by enacting spot zoning for a small handful of favored developers.

How do we know this? Well, who’s paying for these campaigns?

You can use the extremely useful Berkeley Ballot Measure Browser to quickly get the contribution information buried on the City of Berkeley’s web site. -more-


The Editor's Back Fence

Myth-Busting 101: Street-Sitting Ban Does NOT Work for Santa Cruz Either

Friday October 12, 2012 - 10:46:00 AM

“Former Santa Cruz Mayor Rotkin said that in the eighteen years since the city passed its sit/lie law, business has generally seen an uptick. The businesses that flank Santa Cruz's main thoroughfare on Pacific Avenue are a robust mix of chains and smaller boutiques.’

So, who are you going to believe? What Express Music Editor Rachel Swan quotes a Santa Cruz lifer politician as claiming, instead of your own eyes? Has the ban on sitting on the street really worked in that city?

Last Monday night (a school holiday) we took five or six girls (they moved too fast to count), including our granddaughters, downtown in Santa Cruz for ice cream. Along the way we snapped a few pictures of just some of the sidewalk sitters who are still there in abundance, contrary to the ex-Mayor’s claims.

(Santa Cruz is awash in ex-Mayors, who serve only a one year term—the father of our granddaughters is one of them. Now there’s a Santa Cruz law that Berkeley should adopt!)

Another contradiction to Rotkin’s report—as we walked along we noticed to the kids’ distress that their favorite Mexican restaurant, Acapulco, where they’d been going all their lives, had shut down, abruptly and with no explanation, adding yet another empty storefront to the less-than-robust Pacific street mix.

Will Measure S fix downtown Berkeley? Not a prayer... -more-


Cartoons

Odd Bodkins: Eisenhower (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday October 12, 2012 - 11:00:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Complaint Filed with Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission Regarding Yes on T’s Illegal/Fraudulent Endorsements

By Zelda Bronstein
Wednesday October 17, 2012 - 05:20:00 PM

In an effort to stem the rampant dishonesty of the campaign to rezone West Berkeley to profit a few big developers, as reported in the Berkeley Daily Planet and on berkeleyside.com, on October 17 I filed two complaints with the City of Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC). -more-


Measure M: Investing in Streets and Green infrastructure - Providing Multiple Benefits Now and Saving Money in the Future

By Larry Henry, Past Chairperson and current Vice-Chairperson of the Berkeley Public Works Commission
Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:28:00 PM

Berkeley’s streets are in poor shape and its 80-year old storm drain system cannot adequately handle the water-flow of major storms. The EPA is requiring Berkeley to reduce the amount of heavy metals runoff draining into San Francisco Bay during storms. To mitigate this, the City is increasing street sweeping frequency, but this is not enough to reduce heavy metal run-off to acceptable levels. To fix the street quality and stormwater management problems will require major investments over several decades and the benefits are inter-generational, thus bonding is the appropriate funding mechanism. Delaying this investment will allow these vital infrastructures to deteriorate further, leading to an increase in the final costs of the repair and effect on our environment. Comprehensive solutions require an effective proven approach tailored to the interconnected nature of the problems. -more-


Officer #145 and Your Tax Dollars at Work

By Carol Denney
Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:44:00 PM

A small, quiet crowd gathered near Center Street and Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley on Sunday, October 7th, watching a group of artists sketch and fill in a large chalk representation of "The Last Supper", a painting by Leonardo da Vinci of Jesus eating at a table with his disciples. Across the top was the statement, "Let Us Sit Together and Break Bread." -more-


Should Berkeley be Thinking About an Earthquake?

By Lee Sand Walker
Friday October 12, 2012 - 01:00:00 PM

Richard Schwartz's report on the October 17, 1868 Hayward Fault Quake should be a must-read for everyone living in Berkeley during what seems to be earthquake season. If/when there is another huge quake here, it will be worthwhile to be prepared by joining in the Great Shakeout earthquake drill scheduled for October 18. Last year's drill on October 20 was followed by the two largest quakes of 2011(longer?) to shake Berkeley, as if to suggest that the Hayward fault is under such stress that even our thinking about an earthquake can set it off. Thank God that the 2011 quakes were small enough to be harmless while still releasing at least a little stress off the Hayward fault. -more-


Mountain Bikes Should be Out of the East Bay Parks

By J. Muir
Friday October 12, 2012 - 01:04:00 PM

Since the Park District is revising its Master Plan, now is the perfect time to ask them to get mountain biking out of the parks! Mountain bikes, with their "aggressive" knobby tires and high speed, grind the trails into powder, which washes away in the first rain, leaving V-shaped ruts and degraded creeks and other habitat. Even the mountain bikers themselves, with rare candor, use the term "shredding the trails" to refer to mountain biking. -more-


Can We Elect A President Who Will Help Us All?

By Romila Knanna
Friday October 12, 2012 - 01:11:00 PM

November 6th is only 30 days away from us voters. We must think ahead to cast our vote for someone who will bring the country back to its past glory of better health, better education, better economy and safely of movement from place to place. People of different colors, different financial status and different creeds all live here. We all need peaceful and secure environments to flourish in. Powerful people at the top ranks in the public sector forget that they are elected to serve ordinary people. They forget that their chief job is help citizens secure the education and health care which makes them capable workers. The poorest people in society have lacked a boost for the last ten years. Can we elect a President who will help us all? -more-


New: Tell Your Rent Board This Friday You Need to Breathe Clean Air

By Carol Denney
Wednesday October 17, 2012 - 01:02:00 PM

Tired of breathing your neighbor’s secondhand smoke? Come to the Ad Hoc Committee on Smokefree Housing on Friday, October 19, 1:00 pm (2001 Center Street, Law Library, 2nd Floor) and tell the Rent Board. -more-


KPFA and the Blame Game

By Tracy Rosenberg
Sunday October 14, 2012 - 11:30:00 AM

KPFA Radio, the first listener-sponsored radio station and progressive media outlet, is having board elections in November. Many of you will say “again?” - having recently received postcards and ballots for a recall election just a few months ago. This time, however, your vote will count, and there are some important decisions to be made. This article is intended to help you decide how to vote if you are a KPFA member – and encourage you to do so. It’s not as hard as it may feel to decipher all the rhetoric! -more-