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Comment Archives: stories: Special Sections: UC Berkeley Student Guide

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

I agree with your point in “UC Berkeley Student Guide: ‘Liberal’ Doesn’t Always Mean Liberal.” Your article, which described Mayor Tom Bates as a “progressive” and Jesse Arreguin as an opponent of change, is a perfect example.

I recently attended several Berkeley City Council meetings to get a sense of the quality of city government after having been away from Berkeley for decades. In that time I’ve seen the ways many city officials in different parts of the country respond to the citizens who come before them. To my dismay, in comparison to them, Mayor Bates is by far the most openly contemptuous and rude. At one meeting, for example, despite the many empty seats available in the chamber, he would not allow entry to a large number of West Berkeley residents who wanted to express their opposition to his plans for that neighborhood. Thanks to councilmember Jesse Arreguin, the police outside the chamber let the people in. The meeting then proceeded in a civil and democratic manner despite the mayor’s obvious displeasure.

Berkeley students and members of the public don’t need to take your word, or for that matter mine, for what kind of politician Mayor Bates is. They can make up their own minds by watching him in action on the archived videos of past city council meetings as well as live on Cable C-TV – Channel 33, when council meetings resume on Tuesday evenings starting September 11th. If they do so, I am confident they will see that when someone is in power too long, he acts as if he believes “l’état c’est moi.” It’s time for a change. Let's hope it comes in November.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Judith Brown on 08/27/2012 at 10:10 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

lauo wolf,

There is no doubt that the Great Recession delivered a devastating blow to Berkeley retailers -- just as it did to small businesses across the nation. But the problem in Berkeley of many small retailers being unable to survive over the long-term predates the recession by many years.

I'm dating myself here, but I first moved to Berkeley in 1979, and between then and 1995 (I moved to Oakland in 1989), I worked in a half-dozen retail establishments in the city, many of which were very well known at the time. All of those businesses subsequently shuttered, and five out of six closed long before the Great Recession began.

Lest you think that I'm some sort of bad luck charm, all those businesses were either replaced by one of more new businesses that also then went belly up or they occupied storefronts that remain vacant to this day. I still know the owners of those businesses, and each say that they just couldn't make it because there just were not enough shoppers in their commercial districts, and thus not enough customers.

The key to any vibrant city is people -- the more people there are, the easier it is for stores, restaurants, and bars to thrive. But many of Berkeley's commercial areas are still a long way from being vibrant -- just ask the business owners in downtown, on Telegraph, or Solano Avenue.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Robert Gammon on 08/24/2012 at 9:51 AM

Re: “Don't Be Afraid of Oakland

Yes, let's invite more students in to inflate rent and push out community residents.

13 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Kelly B on 08/23/2012 at 10:13 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

Well, gee:
"Understanding the impact that NIMBYs have on the city will also give you insight as to why downtown Berkeley, Telegraph Avenue, and other shopping districts are pocked with empty storefronts and vacant lots. There simply aren't enough people living here to make more stores, restaurants, and bars financially viable."

Let me see.
The closed storefronts are there because there isn't enough housing to support them.
Does that take into account the many empty apartments in the new construction?
And, how does that explain that these places once contained businesses, for years, supported by the local population?
Maybe those empty storefronts have to do with the economy and not any need for further speculative development.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by lauo wolf on 08/23/2012 at 3:02 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

You all assume to much. I've lived in Berkeley longer than the times Josh and others have researched. The perspective between living that long and researching 20 miserly years is too enormous to describe here. And you'd have to pay me to do it. Cutting to the chase, Preservationists and Progressives both tend to exaggerate to the point they makes themselves archetypes, where over labeling and creating complex issues make it pointless to try for a comprise. The fact is everyone votes only their interests. Let's get this straight, reasonable persons do not pass votes for the other side. Unfortunately that leaves puffing personal interest which tend to burn the truth and that is an unfortunate casualty. Please! Don't get philosophical with the truth. To me, that's too much like arguing wrong way to a stop sign. Dylan once said it well, "You want to truth? You can't handle the truth." Of course it begs the question. What is the truth? It's simple. Berkeley is a Big Company Town where to be labelled correctly, 1) Progressive means to expand the university's interests and; 2)) to be a Preservationist means it is not happening if it costs me my interests. The result to my interests, which is neither side, is a dire need for the kind of truth to make an informed decision. The person in the middle (Moi) is foundering for who and what to vote for because picking a Preservationist over a Progressive is like choosing a mephitis over a skunk for a pet. Once you get passed the smell, it's a vote.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Road Wolf on 08/23/2012 at 2:53 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

Gee, is it possible that Mr. Gammon is strongly in favor of Tom Bates' re-election? This article, putatively about Berkeley politics and this year's elections, begins with kudos for Bates and places Bates' photo at the top: it looks like a campaign ad.

Bias is real in so-called reporters/journalists, I get that. It happens.

What is much harder for me to choke down is Gammon's unfounded and repeaetdly assertion that Bates is progressive. It is not progressive to be in thrall to real estate developers, which Bates clearly is. The Daily Planet has been publishing a very detailed, fact-based -- using quotes and facts, you know, old fashioned journalism -- to demonstrate that Tom Bates is far, far, far from progressive. Bates is a cunning, calculating political animal who sees politics as all about showing off Tom Bates, buying power and influence for Tom Bates. There are quotes that would chill any liberal's soul, Tom Bates quotes, in which Bates makes it clear that playing games for power matters more to him than the wellbeing of this city.

Gammon's article reads like he is a shill for not only Bates but for the push to add more housing to downtown Berkeley. At least Gammon does not pretend this housing is really just for student housing: Bates tends to sell his kow-towing to real estate developers as bringing families and other taxpayers to downtown Berkeley.Students are temporary, they come and go. We should not transform the character of our downtown to accomodate students.

Bates can be quoted making it clear that he wants to transform downtown so his name will be indelibly imprinted on Berkeley history. It's all about Bates ego. That is not liberal or progressive.

If, as Gammon irrationally asserts, Bates is one of the most progressive mayors, the whole country is in trouble. Bates is no not liberal. Bates is all about Bates and power.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Therese Fitzpatrick on 08/23/2012 at 2:25 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal


These are some of the votes and actions that I was referring to when I wrote that NIMBYs have been able to count on your vote:………

Nonetheless, your support for Measure R and the most recent downtown area plan are noteworthy.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Robert Gammon on 08/23/2012 at 2:10 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal


I assumed (as many voters might also do) that you were involved in the 1986 boundary drawing effort because of your signature on the official opposition to Measure R that is to appear in voter ballot pamphlets.

The argument that you co-signed states that "I and my team drew the district lines" in 1986. The argument does not clarify that you actually were not on that team and were not part of the effort.

Moreover, the argument that you co-signed is misleading in several other ways. It implies that current law does not allow the council to adjust the 1986 boundary lines, when current law does allow that to happen.

Measure R just allows the council to disregard those gerrymandered 1986 boundary lines.

The argument you signed also wrongly contends that Measure R would allow the council to change boundary lines without "input" from voters. That's untrue. The council is prohibited by both state law and local law from making such decisions without allowing the public to comment on them.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Robert Gammon on 08/23/2012 at 1:46 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

Sorry I meant to say that Measure R is not intended to be used by the Council majority to punish any minority, but is a good government reform to modernize our redistricting rules and better consider communities of interest to make sure our lines reflect the diversity of our city.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jesse Arreguin on 08/23/2012 at 1:42 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

I just want to note that despite Mr. Gammon's incorrect and unfair lumping of myself in the "NIMBY" camp (for example I recently voted for the new Downtown Area Plan and new Downtown zoning which allows for higher density development), I helped write Measure R (Redistricting Charter Amendment) and strongly support the measure. I think it provides long overdue reform of our redistricting process to make sure our district boundaries reflect the diversity of our population and that we have clearer easier to understand district lines. It is not a vehicle for the majority to punish the majority but rather a good government reform that updates our redistricting rules to reflect current population and ensure one person-one vote. Vote YES on R.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jesse Arreguin on 08/23/2012 at 1:31 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

I have read the comments over the last two days with great interest and want to clear up two of Mr. Gannon's comments about me. Both incorrect assumptions and just outright misrepresentation.

First, I was in no way part of the 1986 charter amendment efforts which, by the way were strongly supported by our city's African American community so I guess this means that you are accusing that community of gerrymandering tactics. As concrete evidence of that fact, I did not move to Berkeley until 1996.

Secondly, I am running an independent campaign as are all the other candidates. The following is an excerpt from Berkeleyside…

“I am not part of a coalition,” said McCormick. “All of us are running our campaigns independently. I am working to ensure that Tom Bates doesn’t get reelected. So is Kriss. So is Khalil.”

Worthington concurred.

“We are displaying the kind of cooperation that Berkeley voters deserve,” said Worthington. “The three of us clearly have very different perspectives and experience and priorities but all of us — and many more — are ready to have a new mayor.”

I am glad to have had the opportunity to clear up these questions and invite all to the website for my campaign:

- Jacquelyn McCormick

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by no screen name on 08/23/2012 at 1:05 PM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal


This has become a waste of both your time as well as my own. But I will continue to poke the beast.

1) I read the entirety of Measure R before commenting on your story. The mistake I made was a result of misreading the existing language in the charter as being language created by the ballot measure. When you pointed this out to me, I compared the existing charter to Measure R and acknowledged my mistake.

2) I commented on my understanding of a ballot measure that I had been following from before joining Jacquelyn McCormick's campaign. The bulk of my comments pertained to my own experience as a prior student at Cal and not as McCormick's campaign manager. I was writing as an individual, off the campaign's clock and my comments were not submitted to Jacquelyn for her review. As such, I felt that identifying myself was unwarranted.

3) I agreed to become Jacquelyn's campaign manager based on her support for open government, her ability to collaborate with other leaders in a meaningful way that is respectful to others, and her opposition to sit-lie. I asked myself a simple question when offered the position: Would she make a better mayor than the incumbent? Did I research what she did 20 years ago? No, and I don't think it was necessary. But you are right that I should be prepared to speak to her actions during that time now that I'm her campaign manager.

4) I have never claimed that there isn't an alliance to defeat Bates, which includes Kriss. What I've repeatedly said is that she didn't form an alliance with Kriss. It's probably fair to say that she formed an alliance with Kahlil, and that Kahlil has formed an alliance with Kriss. It's certainly fair to say that all three have appeared together. But as I've said repeatedly, Jacquelyn is committed to building as broad a coalition as possible. This is demonstrated by the fact that the Community Campaign Office Jacquelyn has created will be the home to nearly a dozen individual campaigns and has space for any campaign to join, no matter the issue and no matter the candidate.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Josh Wolf on 08/23/2012 at 11:57 AM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

So, Josh,

Let's review:

1. You decided to comment on this story without first researching what you were commenting about, and then proceeded to contend that the story was inaccurate, when it was not. In fact, it was you who got several things wrong -- which you have since acknowledged.

2. You decided to comment on this story without disclosing to readers that you're the campaign manager of one of Bates' opponents in the November election -- and didn't acknowledge it until I pointed it out.

3. You agreed to become Jacquelyn McCormick's campaign manager without researching her background -- specifically, her role in creating the gerrymandered districts that Measure R seeks to overturn, districts that have effectively kept Cal students powerless on the council since Nancy Skinner moved on.

4. You now claim that that there is no informal anti-Bates alliance involving your candidate and Kriss Worthington, when, in fact, you told the Daily Cal that there was.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Robert Gammon on 08/23/2012 at 11:25 AM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

When asked, what is the relationship between McCormick, Kriss and Kahlil, that was part of my response.

The quote is accurate but incomplete, and I don't see much use in taking to the comments every time a reporter fails to focus on what I feel is the important part of what I said.

From the inception, our campaign has been focused on bringing candidates and issue campaigns together to create change, and that of course does include Kriss. But to suggest that this is simply an alliance between Kriss and Jacquelyn doesn't paint the complete picture.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Josh Wolf on 08/23/2012 at 11:07 AM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal


In terms of the McCormick-Worthington informal alliance against Bates, the Daily Cal says you personally confirmed it:

"During the press conference, Jacobs-Fantauzzi and his two competitors, Councilmember Kriss Worthington and Jacquelyn McCormick, announced they will be endorsing each other in what Jacobs-Fantauzzi called a “Berkeley progressive alliance.”

“The three are working together to defeat Bates,” said McCormick’s campaign manager, Joshua Wolf."…

If the Daily Cal got it wrong or misquoted you, then why didn't you post a comment on that story, correcting it?

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Robert Gammon on 08/23/2012 at 10:50 AM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

I have no problem disclosing my role as campaign manager. But my comment on your post was written prior to speaking to Jacquelyn McCormick about what I planned to write and on my own time, nor was my comment reviewed by her. It's difficult to separate my statements as McCormick's campaign manager and my statements as an individual, but I do feel that anything I write with my association to Jacquelyn included should be reviewed by my candidate.

I'm not going to address your historical comments about McCormick, because I haven't looked into them. But Jacquelyn has not created an informal alliance with Kriss Worthington. Jacquelyn has created a formal alliance among all campaigns and invited everyone to share the campaign space she has secured. Jacquelyn *has* endorsed Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi as her second-place vote for Mayor, but she has not formed any formal or informal alliance with Worthington.

Yes, Kriss recognized Jacquelyn's leadership at his kick-off event, and both her and Kris came to support Kahlil at his earlier press conference, but the three of them have in no way formed an alliance and Jacquelyn has never suggested her supporters vote for the three of them as a bloc.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Josh Wolf on 08/23/2012 at 10:36 AM

Re: “"Liberal" Doesn't Always Mean Liberal

Josh Wolf,

In the interest of transparency, you should have disclosed that you are the campaign manager of Jacquelyn McCormick, who is running against Mayor Tom Bates this fall. McCormick also has emerged as the main opponent to Measure R.

Readers also should know that McCormick has created an informal anti-Bates alliance with Kriss Worthington, who is also running for mayor. McCormick also was one of the primary backers of the 1986 effort that resulted in the gerrymandered districts in Berkeley -- districts that have been instrumental in ensuring that Cal students have virtually no power in the city.

It also should be noted that McCormick led the effort that resulted in the gerrymandered districts just two years after then-Cal student Nancy Skinner was elected to serve on the city council. To this day, Skinner is still the only UC Berkeley student ever elected to the Berkeley city council.

Skinner, now a California Assemblywoman representing Berkeley, has aided efforts over the years to overturn those 1986 council boundaries and create a student district in the city. She also supports Measure R.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Robert Gammon on 08/23/2012 at 10:12 AM

Re: “How to Smoke Weed

First off, I think I love you. Next, you're absolutely right. About no publicity for acid, an amazing therapeutic. After my first trip I realized that yes, I really could trust what was inside my head, all the stuff that I'd never heard voiced aloud and that completely contradicted the society I was living in.

Some of the original guys who were responsible for acid becoming known made a recording in the late '70s, called "LSD Ten Years Later", in which they basically said the same things I'd been saying about it for ten years - how it can literally save your sanity, but it has to be done right - clean your house, get clean yourself, have nice, light food ready, including brown rice and veggies. DON'T EAT A POUND OF CHERRIES! (You'll pay for it the next day. Happened to a good friend...)

Have 24 hours available. 36 is even better. You need 12 hours for the trip and then time to think and transition back to dealing with the jungle out there.

If you decide to go somewhere for your trip, plan it so there's as little as possible hassle.

Make sure you're in a comfortable, SAFE situation, such as at home, and won't be disturbed. Maybe pick a theme(s). My fourth trip was my Dylan trip, with my best friend, a confirmed Dylan freak. Thanks a lot, Bob! (Always have music you love readily available.)

Back in the day, 250 micrograms was the standard dose. I was using it to think, not to get high. I kept taking less and less, until I finally settled on an eighth of a tab (I weighed about 105 lbs). It allowed me to do the kind of analytical thinking I wanted to do, but I remained completely functional, and, it didn't make me sick to my stomach. I tripped approximately every three weeks for about two years. I quit when I realized I didn't need the drug anymore to do the kind of thinking I wanted to do.


In my experience, knowing a lot of people who tripped, a bad trip usually was the result of getting into a bad situation. I talked many people down off bad trips. And, of course, 250 micrograms was way too high of a dose, yet it was the standard dose.

The poles in the subway cars felt like melting chocolate, btw... That was my "2001" trip. We went to see it tripping. That's when it first came out. That was SOME trip!

Everyone needs to realize that movies such as "2001", bands such as "Pink Floyd", and so much more amazing art, never would have happened if not for acid.

Yet no one talks about it. And that's so wrong.

16 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Nancy Allen on 08/23/2012 at 4:19 AM

Re: “Don't Be Afraid of Oakland

Arron, welcome to Oakland. Uptown is a fantastic addition and improvement over what was there before. (no it was not urban removal).

Ask people who have lived in Uptown for a year or two what precautions they take to stay save there.

Most of them will tell you that either they or their acquaintances have been mugged.


1 like, 5 dislikes
Posted by Leonard Raphael on 08/23/2012 at 1:31 AM

Re: “Don't Be Afraid of Oakland

Thank you for the plug, but there's a reason for the empty sidewalks of Oakland just a few blocks away from the main drags after 7pm.

People who have lived here more than a few months adapt to the high crime even in good parts of time by biking and driving cars instead of walking after dark. At most you'll see a few people walking their dogs, or hurrying home from work.

Not saying that Berkeley is any better, but the other evening I visited a friend on Grant Street, I got paranoid walking on that residential street with almost no street lights, which is normal for Berkeley. In Oakland where I've lived for almost 40 years, you learn to avoid dark streets. My Berkeley buddy assured me his street was safe.

Len Raphael
Candidate for Oakland City Council District 1

3 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Leonard Raphael on 08/23/2012 at 1:26 AM

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