Yes, you CAN stop your city council from doing stupid, costly, pointless things. You CAN stop the manipulative, imitation-grassroots manufacture of phony citizen groups. You CAN save your own tax dollars and the City of Berkeley from coming up with another laughing-stock opportunity to embarrass itself nationally, but only if you act now.
It’s so easy. Tell Linda Maio and Tom Bates to quit it. Just quit worrying about the sound of train whistles. People who hate the sound of trains shouldn’t live in Berkeley, let alone West Berkeley, any more than people who hate the sound of the ocean should live at the beach.
Train sounds may be an acquired taste, but once acquired, they seem as natural as moonlight, and as evocative as a saxophone. If Linda Maio and Tom Bates have their way, an “alternative system” will be put in place robbing us all of the sound of trains.
They’ve even sent their flocks of operatives knocking door to door for petitioners, so the “alternative system” will resemble a response to a grass-roots request. Don’t think for a minute they knocked on mine.
West Berkeley has problems. It has serious pollution, the life-threatening kind, which Maio and Bates only pose as opposing. It has constant threats to the plan which attempts to preserve its low-income art communities, probably Berkeley’s last, while Maio and Bates champion every condo project they see. Linda Maio was the crucial vote which brought my neighborhood the horrible Blockbuster/Pet Express building where once there was literally a beautiful gateway to Berkeley, and Bates, well, look around.
West Berkeley needs a lot of attention in a lot of arenas; the list would be long. What it doesn’t need is a lot of money wasted on a project that is just a long, red carpet for the big condo project planned near the tracks, condos which won’t sell for as much money without the “alternative” to train sounds.
Put down your foot. Pick up the phone. Tell your neighbors, and above all, start your own petition. Act now, before your town is, once again, the favorite focus of late-night comedians.