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Re: “You're Not an Environmentalist If You're Also a NIMBY

"In Berkeley, [...] a group of developers and activists who advocate for smart growth sometimes refer to themselves as YIMBYs (Yes, In My Backyard). "Our goal is to shift the idea of what it means to be an environmentalist when living in a city, away from the protection of land to the more efficient use of land," explained Erin Rhoades, the volunteer executive director of Livable Berkeley. For several years, her group has been battling a small but very vocal coalition of city residents who simultaneously view themselves as green while staunchly opposing urban housing development."

I think anyone who casually uses the word "liberal" always only in the context of "opposing development" is a Right-Wing Sycophant, whether they know it or not.

You misspelled YIMBY as used by your heroes here. It should be spelled YIYBY, which stands for Yes: in YOUR BackYard, because that's where they REALLY put things. not in THEIR back yard, but in OURS. Take a look at 1885 University Avenue, a project which VIOLATES BERKELEY'S BUILDING STANDARDS but which was "passed" through MALFEASANCE and UNETHICAL ZAB PACKING. That is NOT IN THE BACK YARD OF THE BUILDERS BUT IT **IS** IN MY **FRONT YARD**, and if I ever want to see the sky again I'll have to MOVE. If they FOLLOWED THE LAW, this would not have happened.

When you tell these pie-in-the-sky stories, tell the TRUTH and people won't be anywhere as near impressed with your ideas as you are. You told a little bit of truth but spun it your way: Erin Rhoades did say (in effect) "forget PROTECTION, we just want to USE it."

The rest of us do in fact need PROTECTION from people who confuse ABUSE with USE. We had laws on the books to PROTECT us, but they were simply IGNORED. Come visit the RHINOCEROS at the intersection of University and MLK and every time you see that building, remember that it is UNLAWFULLY ONE STORY TALLER THAN BERKELEY HAD SAID IT SHOULD ALLOW. That is the REAL LEGACY of the YIYBYs.

Your piece is an afterthought: The City of Berkeley has demonstrated that it will densify in any way the developers see fit, that is, the only thing left to you to do with your article is convince people to like the crappy outcomes - because they have no demonstrated power to STOP these crappy outcomes, thanks to OFFICIAL MALFEASANCE. You don't have to bother trying to convince people to want high-rises on every block, because that is what they're GOING TO GET like it or not, thanks to what you call "real progress" coupled with a real lack of official accountability - for anything.

Posted by eric dynamic on 07/02/2009 at 6:02 PM

Re: “You're Not an Environmentalist If You're Also a NIMBY

"liberals have justified their actions by railing against gentrification and portraying developers as profiteers"

Well, as I recall, Gentrification sucks, and Developers ARE profiteers. Justifying one's actions based on the facts is generally how one justifies one's actions.

Let me give the author a really good clue here:

The only voice "developers" are allowed to have is their voices as INDIVIDUALS. They do not get a "special seat at the table" with "special attention to their needs", as we the People here are not obliged to "serve" developers' needs, but rather, the Developers are here to serve OUR needs, and if they don't like that equation they can pack up and leave.

The correct picture is that the people of Berkeley collectively decide what they want, and THEN the Developers can submit bids to build what we COLLECTIVELY decided. What instead happens far too often is that "input is taken", but only FROM Developers, and then the public is allowed to comment (maybe.) The Developers are allowed to have an input to the public process (in the selection phase) ONLY as individuals.

Deciding where the City should be "bulked up" should be left to ALL the people who have to live with the result - not just some one or more Developers who will live away from the congestion and sky-killing silhouettes that they create.

Posted by eric dynamic on 07/02/2009 at 5:44 PM

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