Dear Professor Reich,
On September 30, 2010 I wrote you regarding your endorsement of Measure R and my observation that your endorsement conflicted with statements you make on public radio and on your blog site. (The letter is included below)
The observation that has the most poignancy in this context I quote below:
"As long as income and wealth keep concentrating at the top, and the great divide between America's have-mores and have-lesses continues to widen, the Great Recession won't end -- at least not in the real economy." (Quote taken from your blog)
When I wrote to you on September 30th, donors to Measure R were yet unknown. Yesterday the donors were announced and the largest donor turned out to be Equity Residential, owner of hundreds of units in Berkeley and plans more, that is in turn owned by Sam Zell, a very wealthy individual who is obviously hoping to gain if Measure R passes.
As I mentioned in my first letter to you this is an obvious example of legislation to keep the concentration of wealth at the top through zoning. Legislating for taller buildings that less wealthy developers can’t afford to build concentrate the wealth potential at the top.
Although as an intellectual you observe that the concentration of wealth at the top has caused our current depression, perhaps you actually support the “great divide” between the haves and have-nots even though that would seem by your writings and speeches not to be the case.
Thu, Sep 30, 2010 1:25 pm
Subject: Measure R
Dear Mr. Reich,
Yesterday I heard you speak on NPR. I was struck by what you said--- "As long as income and wealth keep concentrating at the top, and the great divide between America's have-mores and have-lesses continues to widen, the Great Recession won't end -- at least not in the real economy." (Quote taken from your blog)
You endorsed Berkeley City Council's Measure R.
Measure R encourages and expands exactly what you have observed about
The taller and bigger the buildings that can be built downtown, the bigger the businesses that are able to build them. Measure R expands the downtown area plan into transitional residential neighborhoods (approximately 14 blocks) where the height limit is currently 35'. Measure R increases the height limit to 60'. That increase in the height limit will negatively affect the small property owners as larger developers take advantage of opportunities to build larger buildings on these transitional blocks.
I hope you understand why I will be voting NO on Measure R. It is not good for the economy.
Author of Berkeley Landmarks and An Architectural Guidebook to San
Francisco and the Bay Area.