Last week's mail brought a flyer asking for a yes vote on Measure T. It contains a picture of the West Berkeley Branch Library, now under construction on University Avenue next to a picture of children presumably in that library. The West Berkeley Library has absolutely nothing to do with Measure T. As someone who worked many hours to get the bond measure passed for the new branch libraries and who has worked many additional hours to raise additional private donations for the branch libraries, I find it appalling that the backers of this misguided measure would attempt to use the library for such purposes.
I guess I should not be surprised at this misrepresentation as it is no worse than the other arguments Measure T proponents have presented. It is claimed that Measure T will create jobs and "workspace for artists." But Measure T will permit real estate interests to demolish existing buildings where, for example, the skilled craftsman who made cabinets for me this year has his small shop and where all kinds of innovative and unique Berkeley businesses are located.
Real West Berkeley entrepreneurs who create real jobs, like the owner of Acme Bakery, oppose Measure T. It is claimed that the Measure T will "provide funds" for library programs, but library operations are supported by separate taxes that have nothing to do with increases in ad valorem property taxes. It is claimed that Measure T sets "average building height limits" at 50 feet, but the actual wording of the measure allows heights to 75 feet. It is claimed that there are "special protections" for Aquatic Park, but the actual wording of the measure states only that there must be a finding that "the project will not unreasonably create shadows upon or degrade the existing visual character" of the park." The phrase "not unreasonably" in this context is a loophole big enough for a bulldozer.
Measure T has one purpose: to make a few real estate developers rich. Vote NO.