Express Identifies Real Agenda of Measure R: Anti-Growth

Measure R is backed by “by anti-growth activists who have consistently opposed the construction of tall buildings in downtown,” the East Bay Express reported in an article published Wednesday , Oct. 15.

The article’s assessment parallels the conclusion reached in a prominent, front-page San Francisco Chronicle article that Measure R is a “disingenuous” attempt “to pull the rug out from under future projects.”

News reports reinforce the positions taken by leading environmental, labor, business and professional groups who have all concluded that Measure R’s prohibitive fees and zoning restrictions would kill pending housing projects that are intended to realize Berkeley’s smart-growth policy of concentrating transit-oriented housing near the Downtown BART. The City study of the Measure R concluded that it would reduce Downtown housing capacity by 1,300 units.

As a result, Measure R means more auto commuting, pollution and greenhouse gases.

The Express notes that Measure R is an attempt to reverse the major community decision reached in 2010 to allow up to five relatively tall buildings – with three up to 180 feet – in the Downtown to help ease Berkeley’s critical housing shortage and combat global warming through transit-oriented housing. That plan was put to the voters in a ballot measure in 2010 – also coincidentally named Measure R – and won with resounding 64% approval.

The result of the 2010 mandate was incorporated into our current Downtown Plan – the product of six years of community participation, including more than 200 public meetings.

This new Measure R, which would overturn the Downtown Plan, was concocted by three self-appointed individuals without any public review or community input. Its chief sponsor is Jesse Arreguin, who actively opposed the 2010 Measure R. In fact, he was the lead signer of the ballot argument against the 2010 Measure R, but now he is straining the public’s credulity by claiming that he’s proposing the new Measure R to realize unfulfilled promises of the 2010 Measure R.

Don’t be hoodwinked by this cynical ploy.

See the extraordinarily broad coalition of organizations and community leaders who oppose Measure R on our Endorsements page by clicking here .

Get the facts on Measure R and the danger it poses to Berkeley’s future in our FAQ and Why Vote Note page .

Another Major Endorsement for “No on R” – Democratic Party of Alameda County

The Democratic Party of Alameda County has joined the growing coalition of groups and community leaders who oppose Measure R.

The Alameda County Democratic Party joined the anti-R alliance on Sept. 13 when its Central Committee voted to oppose the ill-conceived, anti-growth measure on the November ballot.

The vote by the county’s umbrella Democratic organization came two days after the ”No on R” vote by the Berkeley Democratic Club, the county’s largest and oldest Democratic club.

Measure R backers deceptively claim that the “No on R” campaign is a tool of developers.  But their disinformation campaign is easily refuted by the broad coalition of labor, environmental and civic organizations that have studied Measure R and concluded that it poses a serious danger to Berkeley’s future well-being.

Organizations that oppose Measure R include:

The leading elected public officials representing Berkeley and community leaders also oppose Measure R:

    • State Senator Loni Hancock (representing Berkeley)
    • Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (representing Berkeley)
    • Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates
    • Berkeley City Councilmember Laurie Capitelli
    • Berkeley City Councilmember Linda Maio
    • Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore
    • Berkeley City Councilmember Susan Wengraf
    • Berkeley City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak
    • East Bay MUD Board President Andy Katz (representing Berkeley)
    • BART Board Director Rebecca Saltzman (representing Berkeley)
    • UC Prof. Robert Reich (former U.S. Secretary of Labor)
    • Downtown Berkeley Association President Susan Medak
  • And scores of others! See longer list here

Measure R backers say the measure will deliver green community benefits that are not being delivered by our award-winning Downtown Plan, and that it will save the historic Main Post Office.

In fact, Measure R is an anti-growth Trojan horse painted green. It is 28 pages of legally flawed regulations and prohibitive fees that are so draconian that they would choke off the new housing and office projects that are being proposed for Berkeley’s Downtown. Hundreds of units of transit-oriented housing designed to be located near BART would not get built, resulting in more auto commuting and greenhouse gases, thus undermining the battle against climate change.

Berkeley’s current Downtown Plan incorporates some of the strongest local requirements for green and community benefits in the nation. Measure R would overturn the Downtown Plan, which recently won a prestigious national honor from the American Planning Association – the Achievement Award for a Best Practice.

As for saving the Post Office, Measure R would require that the Post Office building be reserved exclusively for “civic use” if the U.S. Postal Service ceases operations there. The City Council has already approved this requirement, rendering Measure R redundant with regard to the Post Office.

Another Key Endorsement Against Measure R – Largest & Oldest Democratic Club in Alameda County

The Berkeley Democratic Club – the largest and oldest Democratic club in Alameda County – voted overwhelmingly on Sept. 11 to oppose Measure R, the anti-growth rezoning initiative on the Berkeley ballot in November.

After presentations from both sides and many audience questions, the club agreed by an 82-percent majority to oppose the legally flawed, 28-page measure that would impose prohibitive new requirements on large new housing and office buildings in Berkeley’s Downtown.

The club joins a growing coalition of labor, environmental and civic organizations, as well as community leaders, who oppose Measure R.

Others include:

Organizations:

  • Greenbelt Alliance
  • Transform
  • League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay
  • Alameda County Labor Council (representing 100,000 East Bay workers)
  • Alameda County Building Trades Council (28 affiliated unions)
  • Hotel. Food Service and Gaming Workers Local 2850 (also known as Unite Here!)
  • Downtown Berkeley Association
  • Livable Berkeley
  • Berkeley Design Advocates

Individuals:

  • State Senator Loni Hancock
  • Assemblymember Nancy Skinner
  • Mayor Tom Bates and five other Berkeley City Council members
  • East Bay MUD Board President Andy Katz (representing Berkeley)
  • BART Board Director Rebecca Saltzman (representing Berkeley)
  • UC Prof. Robert Reich (former U.S. Secretary of Labor)
  • and many others

Opponentsrecognize that Measure R’s promises of green community benefits and new jobs with prevailing wages are empty campaign rhetoric. Measure R’s myriad fees and restrictions would kill new housing and other building projects. Measure R would also kill our Downtown revival, block affordable housing and reverse our progress in combatting climate change.

“Measure R is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Andreas Cluver, Executive Board Member of the Alameda County Labor Council, which represents 100,000 East Bay workers and which voted on Sept 8 against the measure. “It claims to support prevailing wage construction jobs, but is full of poison pills that would stop the very projects that are supposed to provide these good jobs.”

Measure R would prevent an estimated 1,300 units of transit-friendly housing units near BART, according to the . This loss of Downtown housing would exacerbate Berkeley’s critical housing shortage, undermine Downtown revitalization and harm the environment by increasing auto commuting and greenhouse gases.

Measure R also would shackle the city with rigid ballot-box planning.Small details and illegal provisions – such as requiring public restrooms in large residential buildings and reducing City flexibility in providing affordable housing – could not be fixed without another election.

For more information, please visit NoOnMeasureR.org .

Highly Regarded Nonprofit TRANSFORM Opposes Initiative

The initiative’s backers may try to paint their measure as greener than Berkeley’s current Downtown Plan, but experts don’t agree. One of the nation’s most respected and innovative organizations devoted to safeguarding the environment through improved transit-oriented housing and public transportation is the Bay Area’s own Transform.

Transform – ranked by among the top 10 nonprofits related to climate change in the Bay Area – took a long, careful look at the Downtown initiative. Transform concluded that the measure would undo much of Berkeley’s award-winning Downtown Plan, “making Berkeley more expensive, more car-dependent, and more polluted as a result.”

See the full statement from Transform by .