East Bay’s Leading Affordable Housing Coalition Announces “No on R” Endorsement

The East Bay’s foremost affordable housing advocacy coalition has come out strongly against Measure R, the ill-conceived attempt on the Berkeley ballot to rezone Berkeley’s Downtown.

“Berkeley’s Measure R is not the answer,” says the 30-year-old non-profit East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO). “…The bottom line is that Measure R is likely to make it even more difficult to expand affordable housing in Berkeley.”

The coalition’s “No on R” endorsement follows those of leading environmental, labor, business and civic groups, not to mention the preponderance of Berkeley’s elected officials and community leaders. These include

  • Greenbelt Alliance
  • Alameda County Central Committee (representing 100,000 East Bay workers)
  • Alameda County Democratic Party
  • League of Conservation Voters East Bay
  • Berkeley Police Association
  • Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
  • Downtown Berkeley Association
  • Berkeley Democratic Club (largest and oldest in East Bay) Alameda County Building Trades Council (28 affiliated unions)
  • State Sen. Loni Hancock
  • Assembly Member Nancy Skinner
  • Mayor Tom Bates and 5 other City Council members
  • …And many others (see the full list at noonmeasurer.org/endorse )

Measure R’s backers deceptively claim the measure will add affordable housing. But Measure R’s 28 pages of prohibitive restrictions and fees would kill new housing, including affordable housing. The City study of the Measure R concluded that it would reduce Downtown housing capacity by 1,300 units.

Complementing the East Bay Housing Organizations’ statement is the from the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) saying that “none of the initiative’s promises are likely to come to fruition and all of the community benefits that would have been received through the city’s current policies would be lost as well.”

This loss of housing near BART also would damage the environment and sabotage Berkeley’s efforts to combat global warming. Less transit-oriented housing means more auto commuting, pollution and greenhouse gases.

The East Bay Housing Organizations’ full statement is available on the coalition’s website at .

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

Union Deceived by “Grossly Misleading” Measure R, Labor Leader Says

Union Deceived by “Grossly Misleading” Measure R, Labor Leader Says

Measure R sponsor Jesse Arreguin misled union members, and the Measure R campaign is engaged in a “grossly misleading” claim of union support, according to a leader of the Alameda County Building Trades Council and the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union.

“Measure R isn’t what Arreguin claimed it would be,” said Rob Stoker, president of the Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council (representing 28 affiliated unions) and business representative for the Sheet Metal Workers Local 104.

Arreguin promised Stoker that Measure R would benefit labor, Stoker said in a letter to the editor published Oct. 22 in the Berkeley Voice. (The letter is published also in other member papers of the Bay Area News Group, which includes the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times and San Jose Mercury News.)

“What we didn’t anticipate, and were disappointed to discover, is that this Measure R includes catastrophic planning errors that would prohibit construction of the projects we would gain the most work from,” Stoker said.

“We believe Arreguin’s continued use of our name in promoting Measure R is grossly misleading and have asked him to stop doing so,” his letter said.

“It would kill a downtown revitalization guided by an AIA award-winning plan to create one of the most beautiful and green downtowns in the state.”

You can read the full letter by . (It’s the second letter on the page.)

For other examples of Measure R’s deceptive propaganda, please see our FAQ and Why Vote No page.

You can find the exceptionally broad coalition of organizations and community leaders who oppose Measure R by clicking on our Endorsements page .

Express Endorsement: No on R

The East Bay Express has joined the many knowledgeable organizations who recognize that Measure R would be bad for Berkeley. The paper’s endorsement – published today, Oct. 22 – is a resounding No on R.

“We strongly oppose Measure R,” the Express said.

“Supporters of Measure R claim that, if it passes, it will lead to a ‘greener’ downtown and will create more affordable housing,” the paper said. “But we think the opposite will happen: Berkeley’s downtown won’t become green and affordable housing won’t get built if the city sets up too many barriers to downtown development — as Measure R would do.”

See the full article by clicking here.

The Express endorsement follows the long list of environmental, labor, business, civic and professional organizations that have taken a stand against Measure R. See the extraordinarily broad coalition of groups and community leaders who oppose Measure R on our Endorsements page by clicking here .

The Express position also complements 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.”

Impartial groups and individuals who’ve studied Measure R’s dense, poorly crafted 28 pages of Downtown zoning restrictions 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.

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

Excellent Summary of Who’s Behind Measure R

Want to know who’s behind Measure R, the misguided attempt to stop new housing and office buildings in Berkeley’s Downtown?

We highly recommend a well-informed op-ed column in Berkeleyside by Dorothy Walker, who has deep roots in the city and campus communities and who’s been closely involved in Downtown planning for several years as a member of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee.

Walker describes the “strange bedfellows” who comprise Measure R’s supporters:

  • a few old-time progressives who view developers as evil money-makers to be thwarted whenever possible
  • some historic preservationists who want to preserve any building older than 40 years no matter its architectural merits or its inappropriateness for the needs of today
  • idealists or magical thinkers who believe that developers will build lots of affordable housing here no matter how many obstacles and financial demands are made on them, and
  • residents who think Berkeley was perfect when they arrived and nothing should change

Together, they represent but a “tiny minority” who are using the initiative process to oppose change and who are “evidently determined to keep trying to overturn the will of the majority who want a vibrant, green and exciting downtown neighborhood that provides new economic activity, new housing for people of all incomes, and millions in tax revenues that would be generated to beautify downtown and help the city and our schools,” Walker says in her Opinionator column.

Read the full column by clicking here .

See the exceptionally 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 .

No on R Wins Key New Ally – Berkeley Food & Housing Project

Another important community institution – the 44-year-old Berkeley Food & Housing Project – has joined the large coalition of organizations that oppose Measure R on the Berkeley ballot.

The Food & Housing Project’s endorsement reflects the growing public understanding that Measure R’s draconian zoning restrictions would make Berkeley a much less desirable place to live.

There are many reasons why a broad spectrum of environmental, labor, business and non-profit organizations, along with the Berkeley’s leading elected officials, have come out solidly against Measure R.

It would kill new housing Downtown, thus exacerbating the city’s critical housing shortage. And since the lost housing would have been centered around Berkeley’s Downtown transit hub, Measure R would force more people to rely on automobiles that pollute the atmosphere and increase greenhouse gases.

The City’s study of Measure R concluded that it would eliminate $1.3 million a year in future tax revenues for the City, thus reducing the City’s ability to insure public safety and fund social services for those in need. It would also cost Berkeley schools $1 million a year, the study found.

Measure R touts itself as the “Green Downtown” initiative, but those who have analyzed its 28 pages of legally flawed, poorly drafted changes to the zoning code can see that it’s an antigrowth wolf in sheep’s clothing. It deploys the familiar ruse of “green-washing” by adopting an environmentally friendly mask, when in fact, its prohibitive new fees and restrictions on large housing and office projects are so burdensome that they would be financially unfeasible, according to the City’s study of the measure.

To see the extraordinary spectrum of those who endorse “No on R,” please click here . We hope you’ll add your name too.

For other recent news about Measure R, please click here .

You can find more information about Measure R and the danger it poses to Berkeley’s future in our FAQ and Why Vote Note page .

East Bay Express: Measure R’s “Pivotal Role” in Council Races

Measure R “appears to be playing a pivotal role this November in the three contests for city council,” the East Bay Express reported today (Oct. 1).

The Express coverage reflects the growing media attention to the measure, whose real intent – to block new housing and office space – was exposed in the lead front-page article this past Sunday in the San Francisco Chronicle .

The Express said:

“Measure R would overturn past council decisions that were designed to increase density in downtown and attract more residents to the city’s urban core. Arreguin [the measure’s sponsor] contends that the measure would require developers to build greener projects in downtown. But opponents of the measure, including a majority of the council, contend that the ballot initiative is too restrictive and would block Berkeley from developing smart growth projects that limit greenhouse gas emissions.

“As a result,” the Express reported, “the outcome of Measure R and the three Berkeley council races this year could have a significant impact on the future of downtown development.”

The article identified three City Council races where Measure R is an issue:

  • Southeast Berkeley District 8, with four candidates – Michael Alvarez Cohen, George Beier, Lori Droste, Jacquelin McCormick – for the seat being vacated by Gordon Wozniak
  • South-of-campus District 7, with Sean Barry challenging incumbent Kriss Worthington
  • Northwest Berkeley District 1, with incumbent Linda Maio facing challengers Merrilie Mitchell and Alejandro Soto-Vigil.

The article reported the positions of seven of the candidates on Measure R: five opposed (Alvarez Cohen, Barry, Beier, Droste, Maio) and two in favor (McCormick, Soto-Vigil).

Click here to read the full article.

For other recent news about Measure R, please click here .

You can find more information about Measure R and the danger it poses to Berkeley’s future in our FAQ and Why Vote Note page.

SF Chronicle Exposes Measure R’s Real Aim – to “Roll Back the Clock”

The offered a high-profile corroboration of Measure R’s true intent – to block growth.

The article called Measure R a “disingenuous” attempt “to pull the rug out from under future projects.”

The article – by the paper’s well-known urban design critic, John King – was headlined, “These development measures are really antigrowth.” It alluded to similar measures in several Bay Area cities, but Berkeley’s Measure R received top billing.

The article contrasted Measure R’s “noble-sounding bullet points” to its real intent – “to roll back the clock” and “erect hurdles to new buildings over 60 feet.”

To read full the article, please .

The Chronicle’s report reflects the growing public understanding that Measure R is an antigrowth wolf in sheep’s clothing. It deploys the familiar ruse of “green-washing” by painting itself as the “Green Downtown” initiative, when in fact, its prohibitive new fees and restrictions on large housing and office projects are so burdensome that they would be financially unfeasible, according to the City’s study of the measure .

No wonder Measure R is opposed by leading environmental, labor, business, civic and professional groups, as well as Berkeley’s top elected officials and many prominent citizens.

To see the extraordinarily broad coalition of those who endorse “No on R,” please click here . We hope you’ll add your name too.

Prominent Architect Assails Measure R

Measure R’s promise to create a greener Downtown is “specious,” says a leading architect in the green building field.

This critique of Measure R was delivered in a Berkeleyside “Opinionator” column by Berkeley resident Henry Siegel, the founding principal at the Siegel & Strain architectural firm, winner of more than 60 design awards, including four Top Ten Green Projects of the Year from the American Institute of Architect’s Committee on the Environment.

In the column published Thursday, Sept. 25, Siegel says Measure R’s promised “fixes” for alleged shortcomings in our current Downtown Plan aren’t fixes at all but fatal flaws that will undo the many successes of the Plan.

“Let’s not “fix” a Downtown Area Plan that isn’t broken,” he writes. “Measure R will not make downtown Berkeley greener.”

To read the full column on Berkeleyide, please click here .

Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Opposes R – City’s Leading Business Voice

The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce has joined the growing coalition of groups and community leaders who oppose Measure R.

“Defeating this measure is of critical importance to the smart growth and development of downtown,” said Erik Holland, Board President of the Chamber.

The Chamber’s “No on R” endorsement is the latest among leading civic, environmental, labor and professional organizations who recognize that the stringent restrictions of this anti-growth measure would block transit-oriented housing and sabotage Berkeley’s remarkable Downtown revival.

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 alliance of organizations and community leaders who have studied Measure R and concluded that it poses a serious danger to Berkeley’s future well-being.

Organizations:

Individuals:

  • 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 provide green community benefits that are not being delivered by our award-winning Downtown Plan, and that it will save the historic Main Post Office.

Measure R will not deliver any community benefits. In reality, it 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.

For the facts and evidence supporting the case against Measure R, please see our FAQ .

Measure R Would be Bad News for the Environment

Measure R would increase greenhouse gases and block transit-oriented housing. The City’s impact report on the initiative found that the measure would make buildings over 60 feet tall financially infeasible, thus eliminating an estimated 1,300 units in Downtown housing capacity near the Downtown BART station and major bus lines.
By dispersing population and increasing auto-caused pollution, Measure R would undermine Berkeley’s critical climate action strategy of increasing housing density near major transit hubs. This displacement  translates into 225 million pounds of carbon emissions over 15 years, according to the Environmental Impact Report on the City’s Downtown Area Plan .