Friday, July 31, 2009

Best Selling Berkeley Author Takes Sides on Downtown Signature Drive

Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Ayelet Waldman, Berkeley's own New York Times best selling author, reportedly took time out from her summer vacation to weigh in on the denser downtown controversy. Opponents of the City Council approved plan to raise height limits in Downtown Berkeley have 20 days left in their 30 day signature drive to force city officials to reconsider, or put the plan to a vote of the people.

The email forwarded by Waldman originated from Livable Berkeley's Erin Rhoades, an outspoken proponent of building the maximum amount of new housing possible in the city center. It's nothing new that Rhoades is calling on people to avoid signing onto the referendum drive.

But Waldman's intro to the email (that she received from a trusted architect) is notable in that she calls the current downtown a "monstrous blot on our city" and a "sinkhole desperate for some decent urban planning." Concluding with "I love our town, but I am so goddamn sick of the myopic vision of some of its more vocal (and colorfully-dressed) citizens."

No word yet on where Berkeley's other best selling scribes stand on the issue. To date neither Michael Lewis (Money Ball, Liar's Poker) nor Waldman's own husband, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, have issued statements to the press.

Eric Klein

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