Public Comment

New: Whose Tantrum? (Paul Schwartz's Complaints)

Glen Kohler
Thursday April 09, 2015 - 08:44:00 AM

LPC member Paul Schwartz's literary hissy fit is replete with vague complaints and accusations leveled at Becky O’Malley for her critical review of the Landmark Preservation Commission meeting about the view of the Golden Gate from the U.C. Berkeley campus. 

I read the article he didn’t like: Berkeley LPC Follows Orders as Predicted. One might thank that the member of the Landmark Preservation Commission would specify the alleged mis-quotes and personal attacks, perhaps supplemented by factual corrections. But no. 

Ms. O’Malley did say that the Landmark Preservation Commission is tasked with considering the merits of proposed new landmarks, not facilitating proposed development projects. She also said that Nick Dominguez, an LPC commissioner appointed by Council member Lori Droste for the reported meeting, acknowledged his understanding of this principle, but chose not to act on it. It seems odd to me too, that an LPC commissioner at an LPC meeting would trumpet the cause of a proposed project as a reason to deny the public’s request to preserve a view as well known and famous as the view of the Bay from the U.C. Berkeley campus. 

Maybe Mr. Schwartz feels it was wrong of Becky to suggest that Lori Droste might have discussed the landmark proposal beforehand with interested parties. (Surely not!) Or maybe he finds it abhorrent to wonder if Tom Bates' appointee to the commission might have had a word inserted into her ear by a mayor who gives State of the City addresses in private venues. 

Becky O’Malley is a seasoned and savvy observer of government practices in this city. If LPC commissioners, whose duty is to seriously consider the merits of a requested new landmark, instead speak as advocates of a development project, she has to have some reaction. 

A lot of concerned long-time Berkeley citizens have watched the steady march of big development, including the ‘proposed’ huge tower in the middle of downtown Berkeley, with stark disfavor. The Daily Planet editor’s characterization of the LPC meeting as a thin charade strikes myself and others as the only reasonable conclusion she could have reached.