Public Comment

New: West Berkeley’s Voting District Boundaries

By Curtis Manning
Monday March 04, 2013 - 10:43:00 AM

The move to carve out student districts in East Berkeley has caused some to ponder a re-alignment of voting district lines in West Berkeley. West Berkeley’s land is currently divided into two different districts at University Ave. There is no reasonable justification for dividing West Berkeley into two different districts. It should be united into a single voting district -- Council District 1. 

Of the principles that might guide the drawing of district lines, I think areas that are geographically distinct, or defined by use or by history, should be prominent in the list. The shoreline industrial town of Ocean View was founded in 1853 when Capt. Jacobs established his lumber wharf and Capt. Bowen built his Inn at Contra Costa Rd (San Pablo) on the high ground between Strawberry and Virginia Creeks, creating Delaware St. connecting them. It was the perfect location; a sandy beach, a shell mound, a source of fresh water with a salmon run. Ocean View spread north and south along the shore. It grew, and joined Berkeley in 1878. Ocean View is the first Anglo settlement in the area 

What unites District 1? It is the shoreline opposite the Golden Gate; it is the industrial zone; it bears three great north-south highways of concrete, steel and blacktop. Everything that happens here is influenced by its unique position by the Bay, its cultural features, the people who come to live here, and the laws that guide its development. Recent efforts by the Council Majority to re-conceive West Berkeley on the sly (Measure T), emphasize the necessity for a true Ocean View/West Berkeley Council district. The separation of Ocean View into two has effectively suppressed our political voice in the City. We need a single voice for our district on the Council. 

The Ocean View District would go from the shoreline on the west to maybe Curtis Street or the old Santa Fe right of way on the east. It would go from the Albany boarder at the north to Ashby Ave. on the south.