Urgent Notice Re People's Park SEIR

Mark McDonald
Saturday March 02, 2019 - 07:17:00 PM

This month the University of California (UC) has issued a stealth Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for their Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) which contains the possible green light for seizing People's Park and building student housing. The clock for comments has already started and ends April 8 at 5 PM. This is a critical time for anyone who cares about preserving the Park or any of the other serious land seizures by the University to submit a comment in one of 3 ways which will follow.  

The SEIR is an expansion of the number of students UC said they planned to cram onto the Berkeley campus by 2020, which was 33,000. Presently they now have 41,000, a 25% increase over next year's goal. The SEIR states that they plan to have 45,000 by 2022, but seeing how poorly UC honors their own declarations who can say how many more students will be admitted. Anyone can understand why we are having a "housing crisis" and why UC is grabbing land all over town with the abuse of their eminent domain state powers….the seizure of citizens' property for a so-called crucial public use. People's Park was once a block of single story and apartment houses filled with students and Berkeley citizens.

The Berkeley Council used to understand this and enforced an agreed limit of students if UC wanted to maintain a functioning relationship with the elected body. The present Council seems to have no interest in defending the rights of non-student Berkeley citizens and instead endlessly speaks of the need for more housing without ever acknowledging the huge increases in student numbers. The list of all the ways UC is already bilking the City is long. UC presently owns a substantial portion of Berkeley's taxable property…..taken off the roles which increases everybody else's taxes whether one is a renter or owner. A 15 year old study found the University was costing Berkeley taxpayer's $15 million a year after all generated funds and costs were calculated. UC has increased the portion of foreign students who are charged more but end up leaving less slots for tax paying residents for the state funded university. UC continues to be mired in major financial corruption and scandals with exorbitant perks . bonuses, retirement packages, slush funds and missing hundreds of millions of dollars.

One can send a comment by email titled SEIR Comment to <planning@berkeley.edu.> One can mail a written comment to SEIR Comment - 300 Architects & Engineers Building - Berkeley Campus - Berkeley Ca. 94720 - 1382. An Open House is scheduled for Tuesday March 12 at 6:30 PM at the Alumni House on the Berkeley campus and will have a presentation and then allow comments on a microphone.
We urge anyone who has concerns about People's Park or any other vulnerable space in Berkeley or just the total surrender to UC by the City to send a comment, as a big response could be critical. We also urge Folks to confront the Mayor and Council on why they are handing the City over to UC.