Beverly Slapin 
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Re: “Unfounded Fears

A one-sided, stereotype-laden, ill conceived, abysmally written, and extremely long hit piece by an ethically challenged hack writer masquerading as an investigative journalist generally doesn’t make it to print in a reputable newspaper. But, apparently, the East Bay Express has nothing approximating publishing guidelines, so the match was made.

In “Unfounded Fears: Why the controversy over a Berkeley measure that would ban sitting on sidewalks is overblown,” Rachel Swan has provided a model for writing hit pieces. Here are some of her rules, along with examples:

1. Imply a lack of objectivity by using snide descriptors: “Spitting distance” from the BART, “mounds of detritus,” and a “horde of activists.”

2. Imply that homeless people lack humanity: “Ambassadors would quietly shoo homeless people away from the city's main commercial districts.”

3. Imply that homeless people are to blame for skyrocketing rents: “Owners and managers of commercial property”… “have a hard time renting … because the scene … has had a real chilling effect,” explains the CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association.

4. Imply that an area has been damaged to divert attention from damaged individuals: “A mere glance at the empty windows and gutted buildings shows that the area is suffering.”

5. Imply that the opponents of Measure S are less than honest by creating an ad hominem argument: “after all, homeless people won't be moving to other areas of the city if they're in jail.”

6. Imply the necessity of creating a homogenous area by rationalizing the elimination of homeless people: “[Berkeley is] now home to a more affluent student population with greater discretionary income, and it's right on the cusp of becoming a busier commercial center.”

I could go on to page two, but I’ll stop here.

The following organizations oppose Measure S (partial list): Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party, ACLU of Northern California, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, ASUC Senate, Berkeley Citizens Action, Berkeley Society of Friends, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, Cal Democrats, City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, Community Defense, Inc., Disabled People Outside Project, East Bay Community Law Center, East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club, East Bay Young Democrats, Food Not Bombs, Gray Panthers of the East Bay, Green Party of Alameda County, Homeless Action Center, International Indian Treaty Council, John George Democratic Club, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, National Lawyers Guild, Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), and Youth Spirit Artworks.

Measure S will not help homeless people.
Measure S will not help Berkeley small businesses.
Measure S will waste tax money that could be spent on services and job opportunities, and on revitalizing Berkeley’s commercial district.

NO on Measure S!

17 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Beverly Slapin on 10/05/2012 at 10:39 PM

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