Patrick Sheahan 
Member since Apr 26, 2012


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Re: “Breaking Bad

Mr. Gammon, well known for his previous promotion of big (i.e. 75 feet tall) development in West Berkeley, and in particular the Peerless project, has again got it wrong; twisting the actual content of Measure T in deriding opponents.

Gammon levels the charge of "false and misleading" without backing up his assertions, nor has he bothered to discuss the issues with members of the NO on T campaign.

"Improve Aquatic Park" is the campaign slogan for Yes on T. Gammon seems to think that this is just fine, while saying that "Save Aquatic Park" is false and misleading. Both statements represent nothing more than opinions: Yes on T believes that expanded development rights for sites on the Park will provide funds to improve the Park; NO on T believes that excessive development will have a negative impact on the Park's ecological and recreational resources.

Gammon gets the "truth" wrong; saying "the Berkeley City Council had specifically exempted sites next to Aquatic Park", when it is the specific development standards ('protections') that were referred back to the Planning Commission for recommendations to Council; after the vote. A motion was made before Council to sever the Aquatic Park sites, which would have actually removed the sites from the measure; though the motion failed, and the sites remain as eligible MUP's.

What's up with Gammon and Berkeley? He seems to do a credible job of investigative journalism elsewhere, why can't he bring a similar standard to his writing on Berkeley issues? It is obvious that, when it comes to Berkeley, Gammon's allegiance is to development interests and supportive politicians, rather than balanced representation of the issues. Regardless of the outcome of the vote on T, the issues will remain. To redeem the journalistic integrity of the East Bay Express, factual and unbiased reporting is owed to the readers. But don't let Gammon do it; he has proven himself unwilling and incapable.

Patrick Sheahan is an architect and resident of West Berkeley, Berkeley Planning Commissioner and member of the Save West Berkeley Committee

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Patrick Sheahan on 11/10/2012 at 12:10 PM

Re: “What’s Up with SEIU and Berkeley’s Measure T?

Add the Berkeley Daily Planet to the publications that have done a credible job of reporting on Measure T, and other issues.

Posted by Patrick Sheahan on 11/05/2012 at 9:00 AM

Re: “What’s Up with SEIU and Berkeley’s Measure T?

Mr. Gammon, well known for his previous promotion of big (i.e. 75 feet tall) development in West Berkeley, and in particular the Peerless project, has outdone himself this time. He manages to twist the story about how proponents of Measure T fraudulently appropriated the endorsement of SEIU Local 1021 into an attack on Measure T opponents.

Let's give the T proponents the benefit of the doubt regarding the endorsement; that they believed they had been given it by Berkeley members of SEIU. However, the Co-Chair of the yes on T campaign was advised on October 11th of the fraudulent endorsement, and that the SEIU had endorsed NO on T. It took nearly two weeks for the pro-T website to remove the endorsement, something that takes minutes by a website administrator. Also, mailers with the false endorsement continued to go out for weeks. It is not that difficult to correct and reprint, especially for a campaign well-funded by development interests. Hardly taking "the high road".

Gammon does not waste words questioning the ethics of pro-T in the matter, but jumps to an accusation that NO on T falsely claims T would allow hi-rises next to Aquatic Park. Then comes the cropper: Gammon claims the "truth, that Measure T excludes Aquatic Park from development"; though it is not clear what he is saying. Is he talking about the Park itself, or about the potential MUP sites that are directly adjacent to the Park? It could be read either way. However, Measure T does not exclude the adjacent sites, it defers the development standards for the sites until a later date; after the vote. Nothing in measure T expressly prohibits hi-rise buildings (75 feet tall) on the Park sites, and 75 feet is allowed on all other MUP sites; so the image Gammon claims to be false is simply an opinion of what is possible, given the lack of specifics. Gammon's citing of measure T language says nothing to support his contention of false claims.

He makes an accusation against NO on T of 'political dirty tricks', namely sign destroying, without mention that the same has happened to NO on T signs.

Gammon goes on, pitching a leading question about why pro-T has not filed an ethics complaint against NO on T. For what exactly? For the destruction of signs by unknown persons (something that many campaigns have been subject to)? For an image that represents an opinion of a possibility?

Gammon, once again, did not bother to interview members of the NO on T campaign, in spite of an invitation to do so. Perhaps representing the other side would get in the way of his patently biased opinion piece. Gammon does a disservice to journalistic integrity and to the readers of the Express by presenting his material in the guise of journalism. Other publications reporting on Measure T, Berkeleyside and the Daily Cal, have managed to discuss the issues with reasonable balance and concern for factual correctness. Mr. Gammon has failed to do so, and this failure calls into question his position, and that of the East Bay Express, on other issues and candidates as well.

Patrick Sheahan is an architect and resident of West Berkeley, a Berkeley Planning Commissioner and a member of the Save West Berkeley Committee (NO on T)

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Patrick Sheahan on 11/04/2012 at 7:05 PM

Re: “Berkeley at a Crossroads

As Mr. Gammon has seen fit to go on the attack, I must in turn respond to his false and misleading statements:

1. I identified myself by full name. The fact that I have spoken to Council in opposition to Measure T is on public record, and views have been only one issue of many raised.

2. I did not falsely charge Mr. Gammon regarding interviews. I said it appears he did not interview opponents, given that he did not fairly represent the views of residents or businesses in West Berkeley. Robert, I invite you to interview me for a follow-up piece.

3. Mr. Moore's campaign donations are public record, and people can draw their own conclusions. It is false to imply that I am opposed to smart growth; I live and work (no commute) in an urban infill project. What is unfortunate is that 'smart growth' has been co-opted by some developers to greenwash projects that are not truly green or sustainable.

4. Mr. Gammon mis-states my comment about the air quality impacts of Measure T, as documented in the City's EIR. I suggest Mr. Gammon read it, rather than presume to intuit my understanding of GHG and climate change.

5. Mr. Gammon makes the point that loss of manufacturing is nothing Council has the power to change, though fails to mention that zoning (Parts 1 & 2 of the West Berkeley Project) was passed by Council in 2011, which eases permitting and opens up space for expansion and new businesses.

7. & 8. West Berkeley zoning already provides for increased residential density in West Berkeley. Mr. Gammon is so focused on promoting Mr. Herst's project he fails to mention that San Pablo and University are already zoned for high density residential on the primary transit corridors, a goal of smart growth.

10. Mr. Gammon seems overly fond of pejoratives in describing opponents; in addition to 'anti-growth' he has previously used 'nimbys' and 'aging hippies' to describe West Berkeley residents and business owners. A journalist would be well advised to use the latter in the interest of unbiased reportage.

6 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by Patrick Sheahan on 10/14/2012 at 8:08 AM

Re: “Berkeley at a Crossroads

The Third Quarter 2012 Manufacturing Report from Cassidy Turley shows a 2% vacancy rate rate for Berkeley, even better than the 2.9% previously cited.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Patrick Sheahan on 10/13/2012 at 7:26 AM

Re: “Berkeley at a Crossroads

The selective portrayal of a mostly abandoned block of Fourth Street belies the vacancy rate of 2.9% in West Berkeley, perhaps the lowest in the region. The stretch referred to does not have a lot of street life, but apparently Mr. Gammon did not bother to look inside the buildings to see all that is going on.

The missing part of the Peerless Lighting story is that Doug Herst sold the company in 1999 to Acuity Brands, who moved the manufacturing to Mexico.

The reference to 1,500 jobs lost refers primarily to manufacturing jobs, and ignores the fact that jobs lost have been more than replaced by new jobs, reflecting the shift in the overall economy. See the Office of Economic Development report to the City Council, June 12, 2012.

Measure T has no provisions to provide affordable artist space or workforce housing, nor does it mandate any green building standards such solar panels. If Mr. Herst chooses to provide these in his project that is fine, but does not justify entitlements for 75 foot high buildings where the height limit is 45 feet.

Councilmember Moore, whose campaign contributions come primarily from development related sources, talks about the fit with the City's Climate Action Plan, while The City's Environmental Impact Report contradicts this assertion by identifying traffic and pollution impacts that undermine the Climate Action Plan.

Mr. Gammon goes on to belittle the opponents of Measure T, calling them a "small but vocal group", "afraid", "anti-growth". If Mr. Gammon bothered to look at the public record he would would find hundreds of residents and businesses who have argued for development that is compatible with the scale and character of a thriving West Berkeley. Many opponents have taken care to explain that their position is not anti-development, and is for appropriate growth.

It appears that Mr. Gammon did not bother to actually talk with opponents of measure T, instead relying on information provided by the spokesperson for Mr. Herst. Mr. Gammon's piece reads as developer's promotion, rather than the serious analysis that Measure T merits.

10 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Patrick Sheahan on 10/12/2012 at 4:00 PM

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