Daily Cal Endorses “No on R”

The Daily Californian , the UC Berkeley student paper, is the latest of the many local institutions urging voters to say NO to Measure R.

“Measure R stifles development,” the Daily Cal wrote in its No-on-R endorsement published today (Oct. 31).

“Vote no on Measure R,” the paper said. You can see the paper’s full statement by clicking here .

No newspapers or major local institutions have endorsed R, which would impose prohibitive fees and restrictions on new housing and other building projects in Berkeley’s Downtown.

The East Bay Express also endorsed “No on R,” while a lead front-page story in the San Francisco Chronicle by the paper’s urban planning writer, John King, exposed the real intent of Measure R – to block new housing and office buildings.

Also endorsing “No on R” this week was the East Bay’s foremost affordable housing coalition, East Bay Housing Organizations , following many leading environmental, labor, business, professional, law enforcement and civic groups, not to mention the preponderance of Berkeley’s elected officials and community leaders, who oppose Measure R.

For the full list of the extraordinarily diverse coalition opposed to R, please see our Endorsements page .

Get the facts on Measure R and the danger it poses to Berkeley’s future in our FAQ and Why Vote No page .

More Experts Warn Against Measure R on Berkeleyside

Two of the most deeply informed experts on combining community benefits with new housing projects in Berkeley’s Downtown have issued warnings against the disastrous consequences of Measure R.

Both spoke out in Berkeleyside op-ed columns against the measure and the misinformation spread by its backers.

Matthew Taecker – the former City of Berkeley Principal Planner who guided development of the award-winning Downtown Plan, which would be overturned by Measure R – writes, “Don’t let a small minority of Measure R supporters outflank six years of public process by misrepresenting what’s in the measure and what its consequences would be.”

The Downtown Plan was the product of six years of community input, including more than 200 public meetings. It has helped usher in a remarkable revitalization, giving us a more vibrant, greener and safer heart of the city. Measure R was written by three self-appointed individuals without community input or public review.

“Berkeley has invested hugely in a new Downtown Area Plan and we are just beginning see its positive effects,” Taecker says. See his full column by clicking here .

Also exposing the dangers of Measure R is Anthony Bruzzone , President of Berkeley Design Advocates, an organization of Berkeley design professionals that supports sound urban design and environmental planning.

“While promoted as a ‘soak-the-evil-developers’ proposal, in reality Measure R is a thinly disguised attempt to freeze Berkeley in the past and wall off a potentially larger and more vibrant downtown to new residents,” Bruzzone writes.

“Measure R is a lie – it will not create ‘community benefits,’ because nothing of real consequence would be built,” Bruzzone writes. “Instead Measure R will kill our emerging downtown renaissance.”

Read his op-ed by clicking here .

Taecker and Bruzzone’s analyses reflect those of the vast majority of community leaders as well as local environmental, labor, business, housing, law enforcement and civic organizations that have analyzed Measure R’s convoluted, poorly drafted 28 pages of zoning restrictions.

For other recent news about the voices raised against Measure R, see our News page .

You can see the full list of the exceptionally broad coalition that opposes Measure R on our Endorsements page by clicking here .

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

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 .

Why Measure R Is Bad for Students

One question we’re hearing increasingly as the election draws near is how college students would be affected by Measure R on the Berkeley ballot. Below are some of the ways.

The measure would:

  • Intensify Berkeley’s critical housing shortage and drive up rents.

Measure R would impose significant additional restrictions and fees on developers seeking to construct new apartment buildings in Berkeley’s Downtown. The concluded that the requirements are so burdensome that they would make buildings over 60 feet financially infeasible and eliminate 1,300 units of Downtown housing capacity. The constriction of supply means landlords can charge higher rents, making it harder for students to find affordable housing – or any housing – near campus.

  • Increase greenhouse gases and harm the environment.

Today’s college generation is more aware than any previous one of the looming crisis posed by climate change. The loss of housing caused by Measure R would disperse population, increase auto-caused pollution and 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 .

  • Reduce Downtown eating and shopping options.

Measure R would overturn our Downtown Plan that has seen a remarkable turnaround giving us a more vibrant, safer and cleaner heart of the city. Measure R’s draconian anti-growth regulations would stifle our thriving dining and cultural life in the Downtown.

  • Force bars and restaurants serving alcohol to close early.

Measure R would impose a midnight closing time, Sun.-Thurs., on new businesses selling or serving alcohol, and on existing businesses when they make changes requiring a permit.

To see the broad coalition of environmental, labor, civic, business and other groups who oppose Measure R, click here .

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.

Yard Signs Are Here – Here’s How to Get One

Your yard can help protect Berkeley’s future well-being from Measure R! Join the growing number of residents disp laying the newly arrived “No on R” yard signs.

If you’d like a yard sign, please email your name and address to .

The stakes are high, and every citizen’s assistance is important.

Measure R is an anti-growth wolf in sheep’s clothing. It pretends to offer a greener Downtown than we already have, with developers forced to provide even more community benefits than they are currently required to do.

In fact, its draconian constraints would do just the opposite. They would choke off future transit-oriented housing and sustainable development near BART, exacerbating our critical housing shortage and forcing more people into relying on auto commuting and generating more greenhouse gases. The City’s study of Measure R concluded it would conflict with the environmental policies of our Climate Action Plan.

Measure R is a legally flawed 28-page confusion of insertions and deletions to the existing zoning for Berkeley’s Downtown. It was drafted by three self-appointed individuals without public review or community input.

It would overturn our award-winning Downtown Plan, which was developed through an extensive community process involving more than 200 public meetings. The Downtown Plan embodies one of the nation’s strongest sets of environmental building standards and requirements for community benefits.

It’s no surprise that Measure R is opposed by a broad coalition of environmental groups, labor unions, civic organizations, businesses, professional associations and other groups, as well as virtually all of Berkeley’s top elected officials and a large proportion of the city’s community leaders and urban planning experts.

Learn more on our FAQ page and our Why Vote No page .

See the list of opponents on our Endorsements page .

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 .

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.

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 .