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PRUNING THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE...6-18-95, C. Denney
6-18-95 Pruning the Political Landscape.......
Congratulations to everybody on Gay Pride Day, despite the strange behavior of the White House which we'll talk more about later, we wish everybody freedom of sexual expression and special thanks to Candace Gingrich, sister of our friend Newt, grand marshall of SF's gay parade...which was broadcast live on Channel 20 this year, a first, I'm told. .....
.....a little later we'll have something new, a talk radio show focusing on talk radio shows that talk about talk radio....then we'll have an in-depth focus on receiving three Victoria's Secret catalogues in one day; is it error, or is it an omen? but first....
...but first it's pruning the prickly, perilous political landscape with your peppery political landscape gardener, Laura Drawbridge. First, cooking the blistered, bloated budget with the city council Tuesday night it's the story of lard for the developers and lots of choice cuts and lean cuisine for the human welfare agencies, the final chapter coming up this Tuesday night 7:00 pm at the Council Chambers, Center and Martin Luther King Streets, speak out or don't complain!.......budget time is a beautiful time to find out who's who and who's not even on the map anymore. Big thanks to Representative Diane Woolley-Bauer for attempting to refund 1 & 1/2 positions in the toxics department that the rest of the council appears to have no objection to defunding altogether, leaving, as Diane pointed out, the citizenry's health at risk.....you gotta like this gal, this is the woman whose swing vote for the Peoples Park annex housing project is still rocking the town, not only does the developer want to name the project after the late activist Bob Sparks, the co-developer on the project is Resources for Community Development, the non-profit organization that keeps trying to house the poor and the disabled....which drives fireplug Shirley Dean up a tree! She tried to freeze all the funding for the project June 6th but Diane Woolley-Bauer leaped across the invisible barrier dividing the mindless moderates from the pointless progressives and did the right thing, supported a housing project supported by the entire town....except, of course, for Laura Drawbridge who knows for a fact that Bob Sparks would not be pleased with a project that did anything less than replace the 77 units of single room occupancy housing that existed on the site before the arson fire in the late eighties.....but hey, until we build the freebox of our dreams in Peoples Park and name that after Bob Sparks, I guess it's a nice gesture, anyway....
.. ..anyhow, the council meetings just can't seem to get off the ground these days without a big bucketful of ceremonial matters...interfaith week and amateur radio operators got their lovely plaques...there seems to be one world-renowned radio operator in this town who never seems to get any recognition from the current city council, but hey--better luck next millenium, Stephen! In the meantime Winston Burton's BOSS workers got an award for clean streets and graffitti removal, and don't get me wrong, I got no problem with clean streets, but these people are tearing down posters. Picture it. Poor musicians, yard sailors, lost doggers and political agitators are running their butts off putting up informational posters, and the supposedly short-on-funds city is paying people to tear them down! And the downtown has some special crews working practically around the clock. Allow me to read from the latest Berkeley Annual Report from the office of the city manager....check out the back page which says quite plainly, "Down with Flyers and Posters" and actually tells you that posters are "unsightly" and to "resist" putting them up and being "part of the problem." Then they go on to claim that putting up posters is a violation of the law! This is nuts! This is the most innocent human behavior imaginable!
I, Laura Drawbridge, take issue with the idiotic idea that posters are, and I quote a famous source from two elections ago for you insiders, "visual pollution." Posters are free speech! Even if an event is over I like knowing who played where with who else on the bill at what club when and what graphics they favor....I see it as a part of my right to know and if you do too, write down this number....they call it the "Clean City Hotline" at 644-4805 and tell them you like posters and people have a right to communicate through the use of posters and give them a piece of your mind!
...I also have to point out that the prize-winning team from BOSS sure seems to keep missing one poster, the now famous "One By One BCA Out" hit list poster still gracing light poles along Shattuck avenue...funny how that works!
..........Anyhow....(music break?)moving on....thank you to Carla Woodworth, District 7 representative, for the item "Protest Cuts for Proposed Health Care and Mental Health Care"... boy is that gal running for office! Yes, it's fun when Ms. Wooden Bullets shows her softer side...thanks to all the service providers who showed up to vie for a bite of the bloated budget but...I'm sorry, we need that money to send the Downtown Berkeley Association on its annual retreat at your expense! Priorities, folks, and again, speak out or don't complain.
....Truly visionary and magnificent planning commissioner Clifford Fred spoke against Polly Armstrong's request to "bring UC home to Berkeley"...(the systemwide Presidential offices used to be at University Hall but now they're down by Lake Merritt in Oakland)...Clifford pointed out this would constitute a net loss to the tax base estimated at somewhere near 53 million dollars but that didn't daunt peerless Polly Armstrong, District 8's rock of a representative, who still thinks the workers would spend that much and more at lunch and thus revitalize the ghostown that was once downtown. Can fries make the difference? Well, my team of investigative reporters whipped out their calculators and calculated 1 year of burgers and fries by a work force of 1500 and came up with just over a million dollars worth of happy meals for a net loss to the city of 52 million dollars! Polly! What are you thinking! Of course, my radio co-pilot Stephen Dunifer concedes that protesting against UC would be much more convenient if the offices of the President were right downtown here in Berkeley, and come to think of it, maybe that's why they moved!....I mean Max had go clear up to the 23rd floor in her clown shoes last time...and that's tough going! You try walking in those things!
........a side note, condolences to Chancellor Tien who appears to be losing out on his bid to become systemwide president, passed over by some tireless fundraiser from Iowa. Tough Food Not Bombs beans, Chancellor, I guess you'll have to rub elbows with the tie-dye, pierced and green-hair crowd for a little while longer....but hey! This summer it'll be some fun taking it out on Peoples Park again. Freebox fans are ready to rock.
..........a big thankyou to Maudelle Shirek for taking the time to comment on the Solar Access item and recommend expanding it to deal with commercial areas in the flatlands, especially in the light of the tall buildings proposed by the Avenues Plan. Maudelle asked for staff comments. Mayor Shirley Dean tries to cut her off, saying it's not on the agenda. Maudelle huffs at Shirley that she only wanted some comment from the staff, the city attorney Manuela Albuquerque gets into the act and opines that any such discussion should be noticed separately and its fun fun fun til the Daddy takes the T-bird away!....what can I say, I live for this stuff.
......somewhere after ten o'clock came the item from Stephen Dunifer and Carol Denney appealing the subdivision of the condo project at 1849 Shattuck Avenue, Patrick Kennedy's semi-accessable semi-affordable ownership opportunity for people in the money, Shirley Dean's answer to the issue of housing. In a beautifully worded appeal, Dunifer and Denney pointed out that the glut of condos and the lack of affordable rental housing made this a perfect opportunity for the council to put a stop to condomania by opposing the subdivision, thus creating rental property.....only two councilmembers spoke to the issue...Linda Maio, keeping her head way way down as an ex-board member of Resources for Community Development, Berkeley's much-maligned non-profit developer, wished aloud that the appeal had happened earlier, as though she didn't know that the Zoning Adjustments Board cannot make such a decision, and she voted against the appeal. Then (sproing!) Dona Spring pointed out that she knew a couple of disabled people who were real excited to move into the development, and also voted against the appeal, as did everybody else. The point of such an appeal, however is to educate the disoriented city council as to section 1.19 of the housing element of the master plan which states:
"As a first priority, take actions necessary to maintain and expand the supply of rental units to meet the needs of low and moderate income residents best served by rental housing." Denney and Dunifer plan to offer the council similar opportunities to stop condo subdivisions in the future, so stay tuned to 104.1 FM. That's enough of the lusty local scene, I'm going to get down and get national later, but one last note....
.... those who picked up Saturday's Chronicle letter section may have noticed a long letter of support for Officer Andaya, the officer implicated in the wrongful custody death of Aaron Williams. That letter was written by none other than a police officer named Cefalu, originally with OPD hired by BPD despite a similar record of brutality complaints notably running over an undercover police officer in a drug bust! Cefalu argued that Andaya was a "do-everything" kind of cop, out kicking butt instead of sitting around in a doughnut shop and hey, Laura Drawbridge thinks that if those are the only alternatives, let's go join the Berkeley Militia! I hear there's a membership drive going on right now...I'm told the Berkeley militia is a bunch of vegans in birkenstocks who pelt each other with dandelions while reciting Wendel Berry and think tornados just naturally happen....and I'm ready to sign on the dotted line....!