Development of People's Park Site During Health Crisis is Not Appropriate

Lisa Houston
Thursday May 14, 2020 - 10:23:00 AM

As a native of Berkeley, I protest the idea of going forward with UC's planned development on the historic site of People's Park. In addition to many preservationist issues which have doubtless been well-voiced by others, the current global health crisis should precipitate at the very least a delay, to allow for more public comment and also for a thoughtful revisioning of the University's future.  

The timing of the deadline for public comment is inappropriate as so much of the population is currently concerned in a day-to-day way with survival, major job loss, and other practical factors that make consideration of this plan an extremely low priority for very understandable reasons. Therefor the public must be given more time to respond to such a major change in central Berkeley. 

Additionally, the role of remote learning can and should be factored in more heavily to UC's plans, and that simply cannot be fully considered in time for this projected development. The impact of this health crisis on public behavior vis-a-vis commuting and remote learning is as yet unknown, nor has there been adequate time for UC to consider in the wake of this crisis the various video and online options which have quickly become the norm, and which many students may prefer in the near future.  

Meanwhile, making a significant and permanent change to the look and feel of Berkeley's beloved Telegraph avenue should simply not happen at this particular moment without more complete consideration of these issues, along with a commensurate, non-crisis time period for people's voices to be heard.  

If People's Park has not been all it could be in recent years, I hope anyone who loves Berkeley would still agree that hearing the voices of the People matters fundamentally, and when people are struggling to find basic necessities, preoccupied with health concerns for themselves and their families, not to mention making their rents and mortgages, UC should not be permitted to move ahead. It is a kind of dead-of-night appointment, a maneuver that intentionally or unintentionally takes advantage of the crisis to push forward their own interests. ; 

Surely such action is not at all befitting either a town of University with such noble and meaningful traditions.