Public Comment

Stop Absentee Predator Investor Development

Jim Powell
Friday April 01, 2016 - 04:28:00 PM

Dear Berkeley Daily Planet,

Thank you for your continuing coverage of the "developer" controlled City Council's efforts to transform Berkeley into something it has never been and most Berkeleyans strongly don't want to see it become. Your reporting on this and other issues is extremely cogent and badly needed. Please keep it up.

Three observations:

Berkeley progressives need to prepare a ballot initiative to block the Bates bulldozer plan to be presented to the April 5 council meeting and be ready to pass it if necessary. 

Berkeley progressives need to prepare a ballot initiative putting in place an acceptable plan to help increase the rapidly disappearing supply of affordable housing in Berkeley -- one that is smart, well-designed, pragmatic and effective. The talent to do this is available here. It needs to be collected and channeled promptly, before the bulldozers beat us to it. 

One point that is not mentioned in your editorial or Steven Finacom's article (both excellent -- thank you), an issue that needs to be brought to the fore, is that these "developments" have not been and will not be funded locally or even "developed" locally and their eventual ownership, like that of Library Gardens, will be absentee investor profiteers like Black Rock, owner of 150,000 people's apartments all over America, and managed, like Library Gardens, by some firm with headquarters in Texas or South Carolina. The money that they generate monthly -- Library Gardens must produce on the order of $7 million a year -- DOES NOT STAY IN BERKELEY. In the case of Library Gardens, it gets pumped to where all the money tends to go in America, Wall Street. This doesn't matter whether it is rentals or mortgage payments or both. Either way, it gets grabbed by the Octopus's tentacles and disappears from our local economy and businesses. It does not circulate here. 

There is no more salient fact than this. These developments are predatory in nature, intention, and effect -- just like chain stores such as Office Depot, which forced a half dozen local stationary stores to close in two years. 

Thank you again for providing Berkeley with a free press that represents Berkeley and Berkeley values instead of the values and deceits of absentee investor profiteers and pirates and their hirelings and shills