Election Section

Election Letters

Friday October 15, 2010 - 06:29:00 PM

Measure R Will Not Prevent Sprawl; Where There's Smoke, There's Fire; Yes on Measure I; District 4 Funding; Worthington, not Beier; Yes on Measure H; Against Sierra Club's Endorsement of Measure R; Supporting H & I; Republicans and Women; No on 26, Polluter Protection; Voting for Beier 

Measure R Will Not Prevent Sprawl.  

A myth has been created in the past 20 years. It is the myth that a fixed number of people will move to the Bay Area like water flowing from an open tap. And we, helpless before a force of Nature, will have to put them somewhere. We are offered a choice: on the one hand allowing endless sprawl to consume our farmland and open spaces; on the other, building our existing cities ever more densely. Given that choice, many of us would be willing to sacrifice the amenities of our town to avoid further sprawling development. But, that underlying myth is simply fiction, and building more in Berkeley will not reduce sprawl. 

The number of people who will move to the area is not immutable, it depends on several things, and one of main ones is how much is built. Building more housing in Berkeley will bring more people to Berkeley, but it won't bring fewer people to our suburbs. There are enough people in the United States so that if we build in the city, they will come, if we build in the country they will come, and if we build in both they will come. The more that gets built anywhere in the area, the more people will move here. 

In fact, if there is any linkage, it goes the other way: the more we build here in Berkeley, the more sprawl we will generate. Why is that? Some of the people who move into city apartments will someday want to start a family, and when they do, some of them will move to the suburbs to have larger homes and yards, and yet remain close to their jobs and friends. So building now in Berkeley will very likely cause future economic pressure to build in the suburbs. 

There is one thing that could link building in the city to reducing sprawl. A mitigation fee of $100,000-$200,000 per unit could buy a conservation easement on a Bay Area parcel of prime development land and actually reduce sprawl, and preserve farmland and open space. Measure R does not do this. Measure R is a gift to builders and land speculators. Measure "R" is Robbery from the rest of us. Vote No on Measure R. 

Searle Whitney 

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Where There's Smoke, There's Fire 

Anyone who thinks that Measure T, which would permit home cultivation in every home, apartment or rooming house, (with no right to appeal) and enable a huge expansion of the Marijuana industry in Berkeley, including permitting dispensaries in every commercial district in the City, should pass - should think again. 

This isn’t about revenue for the city (the net impact is minimal), this isn’t about access for medical use (that is already permitted), this isn’t about making our city safer (no data shows that crime would be lessened if we could grow pot in our back yards; rather it would be quite the contrary), this is about the message we are sending our youth. This Measure, if passed, would make pot more available. The more that is available on the street, and in the yards of our neighbors, the more that will end up in the hands of our children. More of our children will see drug use as permissive and will inevitably smoke the highest concentrated form of pot ever produced. (Berkeley youth already use Marijuana at twice the rate of other teens in California.) 

The fact that this Measure is on the ballot when the City of Berkeley has no program in the public schools, not one single class, in any grade level, at any of our public schools, that would serve to educate our children on the dangers of drug use, or about the impact of drugs on their young bodies, only stands to highlight, in stark relief, how ‘half-baked” and dangerous this Measure truly is. 

Vote no on Measure T. 

Michael Bolgatz  

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Finishing Berkeley High School 

As a parent of two students at Berkeley High School, and someone who has watched the transformation of our high school campus from over the last several years, I am hopeful about the plans to complete needed changes to facilities at Berkeley High School. 

We’ve been crowding teenagers into portable classrooms on the girl’s softball field and across the street at Washington Elementary School, and this is not a viable long-term facility plan. The high school campus must have an adequate number of classrooms on site. The Old Gym on Milvia Street is in desperate need of replacement if we are to continue our commitment to safe and modernized educational facilities. I am pleased that this is the first priority of funding that would come out of any new bond financing supported by Measure I. 

Bond funded building programs at Berkeley High School over the last eighteen years brought us the seismically upgraded G and H buildings as well as two major new buildings on Milvia Street that house the student center and gym with pool. These have been critical investments for meeting the needs of students at our large high school, and students now point to their campus with pride…with the exception of those portables and the old gym building. We need to finish what we started. 

Let’s give our students a high school campus conducive to learning that will serve them well into the 21st Century. 

Please join me in voting “Yes” on Measure I on November 2nd


Natasha Beery 

President, Berkeley High School PTSA 


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Who Has Local Support in Central Berkeley’s District 4? 

According to the campaign finance filings required of candidates, incumbent Jesse Arreguin has the highest percentage of District donors and the most Citywide support. Eric Panzer has the most out of town support -- more than half his donors didn't even live in Berkeley. 


David Chen 



Build That Playing Field Now 


Measure I has many wonderful projects, but one goes back more than a decade. In 1998, a presentation was made to a joint session of the Berkeley City Council and the BUSD School Board, proposing the building of a regulation sized baseball field at Derby & MLK streets. 

Now, 12 years later, Measure I will make it possible to finally build that field. 

The need is great. Berkeley High has only one playing field for some 3000 students. Because field space is so limited, some team practices are scheduled at 6 a.m. The baseball team practices at San Pablo Park, thus limiting use of that space to the surrounding neighborhoods. 

Measure I provides the funding for the Derby Street field. It will accommodate baseball, lacrosse, field hockey, rugby and soccer for BHS and B-Tech students as well as returning full use of San Pablo Park to that community. 

Measure I also provides funding to restore the softball field at Bancroft Way and Milvia. 

Please support our student athletes and the building of a beautiful new park and field for our City. Vote Yes on Measure I. 


Stephanie Allan
Friends of the Derby St. Park & Field

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Worthington, Not Beier 


Over Kriss Worthington’s term of service I have differed with many of his positions. At present I differ with him sharply on some issues. But I am at ease about this because I have observed him to come over to my view on more than one occasion. This apparently occurs because Kriss listens, never stops gathering data and is not too exalted to admit an earlier position was ill-informed. 


The current race in District 7 is about who we wish to work with as our representative on council. In my opinion that is more important than the nuance of a candidate's personal politics. 


I have worked with George Beier on a long-running grassroots effort to sway city hall. George and I share opinions, but we don’t share a style of commitment. In dark times when my peers and I were down and far from glory, George was on leave, no one knew where. I concluded that intermittent attention is what we could expect of George councilmember. 


We don't need a representative who is rapturous for the press release but impatient with the tedium of the long haul which is always the prerequisite for seeing through a change. 


We also don’t need a councilmember – the third candidate in District 7 - who appears to be a compliant gear for the Tom Bates machine. (Examine your campaign mail.) 


This council race in 7 presents an easy choice. 


Bruce Wicinas 


Measure H is for Safety 

Over the ten years I have served on the Berkeley School Board, I have taken a particular interest in seeing that our school facilities are well maintained and safe for our students and staff. I know these are core community values that we all share. It’s also why the voters of Berkeley passed a modest school maintenance parcel tax in 2000 to ensure the dedication of funds for high-quality maintenance of our school facilities. A quick look around our city shows that we take pride in our schools. 

Not maintaining schools and cuts to educational programs are strategies other districts are using to stay afloat. Deferring maintenance creates unsafe environments for our students and staff while creating future and costly liabilities for our district. 

The shortage of state funds for public education means we are being asked to do more with less. Our classrooms cannot afford further cuts. 

If we do not pass Measure H we are going to have to take money away from service to students and spend it on our buildings. Fixing broken windows, maintaining fire alarms and elevators, repairing roofs and cleaning gutters, installing wiring for new technology, and updating playgrounds and landscaping are the kinds of expenditures Measure H would continue to cover. 

Your “Yes” vote for Measure H means you too believe in safe and sound schools! 

Thank you for your support. 


John Selawsky 

Director, Berkeley School Board 

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An Open Letter Responding to a Solicitation from the Sierra Club East Bay Chapter

I am a low-income but long-time supporter of Sierra Club, and particularly of the East Bay Chapter, because local is usually best for my small buck. I will not be doing that going forward. This is because of your support for Measure R and the "lending" of the Sierra Club logo to developers to tout Measure R in Berkeley. It is shameless.

I have previously relied on Sierra Club endorsements because I believed the organization assessed independently and in a non-partisan way the pros and cons of local, state and national issues. Your local "selling out" jeopardizes my trust in the whole organization.

How have you, locally, sold out and why? Supporting Measure R is not supporting a green Berkeley. In fact it rejects balanced green efforts from the majority of Berkeley citizens who have participated long and hard to develop plans for a sustainable Berkeley (DAPAC and a citizen referendum on the uni-lateral City Hall plan). Instead of independently analyzing scenarios and weighing in on them, both pro and con, you have capitulated to Mayor Bates and his developer and moneyed consortiums. Measure R is not a plan. It is crafted to give unbridled rein to City Hall to do as they please.

Why have you done this? Perhaps because Mayor Bates, and Loni Hancock, and Gordon Wozniak, etc. have re-channeled money from developer contributions to their campaigns to local Sierra Club coffers. I'm not an investigative reporter, but the following I know for fact: In February Sierra Club received $5000 from Hancock for Senate. Wozniak funneled $1000 to Measure R hype. In past years The Sierra Club Berkeley Chapter has provided office space and telephone lines to Bates (presumably for fees)) to make calls for local partisan re-election. I also deduce that you provided Bates & Co. the Sierra Club mailing list/addresses of Sierra Club members. Would that be true?

I am so sorry, but our local chapter of Sierra Club does an injustice to the larger organization and dishonors my trust. i will, of course, be writing to the state and national Sierra Club levels to make these views known.

Victoria Peirotes  

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Safe and Sound Schools Support Student Achievement  

Ensuring safe and sound schools for our students by passing Berkeley’s Measures H & I means teachers, principals, and school staff can keep their focus on their core mission of teaching and learning. Berkeley School students have shown steady growth in academic achievement as measured by State testing over the last decade. 

Here are several data points to illustrate the improved academic achievement in Berkeley Public Schools: 




  • · Since 2002, many of Berkeley’s K-8 schools have gained 100 or more API points and all are now near or above 800, the desired State API target. (The API reflects student performance on standardized State tests each year.)
  • · Improvement in student literacy is evident in the 74% of fourth graders proficient on the 2009 State writing test, up from 17% proficient in 2006.
  • · District-wide eighth grade Algebra proficiency increased from 32% to 50% in 2010; progress in Algebra achievement was so significant at Longfellow Middle School that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Representative Barbara Lee visited the school.
  • · Of Berkeley High School’s 2010 seniors, 93% reported heading off to post-secondary education.
  • · Berkeley High School has been recognized for the lowest drop out rate of any city represented on the California Mayor’s Roundtable.
While academic achievement is clearly on the rise for Berkeley’s kids, there is still more work to be done. We can’t afford to divert already squeezed resources away from teaching and learning. It’s important to maintain our community commitment to safe and appropriate facilities. 

With a continued focus on quality teaching and in partnership with the Berkeley community I believe all of our students can reach new heights. 

Passing Measures H & I is the right thing to do for Berkeley Schools. 

Nancy Riddle 

Director, Berkeley School Board 

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Republicans Want to Control Women 


Why is abortion still a political issue, the driving force behind the Republican Party? How many agree with Delawares' Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell and other Tea Party candidates that a woman doesn't have the right to have an abortion even if she is raped or when she suffers incest at the hands of a family member? Anti-abortion is the litmus test for being a member in good stead with the GOP. 

A woman's freedom to choose, the right to do whatever she wishes to do with her own body is under constant attack by the Republican Party. 

With the GOP you have a group of white male politicians and their female clones trying to dictate and deny a woman's basic freedom of choice. It borders on fanaticism. 

Republicans have shackled half the population in chains in order to carry out a flawed political and religious agenda. Remember this, Women of America, when you're voting November 2. 

Ron Lowe  

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No on 26, Polluter Protection 

California voters should vote no on Proposition 26, the Polluter Protection Act.
You make a mess, you clean it up. That´s what we teach our kids. Unfortunately, some big business lobbies who should have learned this lesson are trying, with Proposition 26, to let polluters off the hook for poisoning our air, water and food.
Proposition 26 shifts the burden of paying for the cost of pollution from the companies that pollute to ordinary taxpayers.
Prop 26 would cost the state $11 billion over the next 10 years, leading to even deeper cuts to education, public safety, health care, environmental protection, and other essential services. Prop 26 would also weaken environmental, consumer, and health safeguards and starve local government services of badly needed revenue.
Please join me in voting No on Prop 26 this November 2nd.

Laurel Lee 

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Voting for Beier 

I’m voting for George Beier because I’m tired of the incumbent ignoring my pleas for assistance. I know George, and I know George will represent all of District 7. 


I am supporting George, rather than the incumbent, because District 7 needs a respected and effective representative on the Council. Our neighborhoods need a council member who can gain the cooperation of other members of the Council so that our neighborhoods’ concerns are heard and our positions respected. 


The incumbent is a failure when it comes to constituent service. For three of the four years I have lived in District 7, I have also led the neighborhood committee that tries to force Alta Bates and the City to abide by signed agreements as to how the hospital is allowed to impact the quality of life in the Bateman, Willard, LeConte and Halcyon neighborhoods. The incumbent has attended just one of dozens of meetings, and has offered no useful support or ideas. The hospital runs roughshod over its neighbors, our City allows it, and the incumbent is silent, or worse, uninvolved. 


George, on the other hand, has been a neighborhood activist for the 30 years he’s lived in Willard. He keeps in constant contact with friends and neighbors in the District, sending along crime alerts, building alliances with other neighborhoods along the Telegraph Avenue corridor assisting in fighting the City when necessary (like with the ill-conceived, illegal Laundromat at Southside Lofts), and coming up with ideas to save neighborhood resources like Willard Pool. George has created collaborative relationships with merchants on Telegraph and College and residents of the nearby neighborhoods, assuring economic growth and decisions that residents can support. 


District 7 needs a voice that will be heard. George is that voice. 


Peter Shelton