10 Berkeley resolutions for 2011

Given the relatively humdrum results of our 2010 resolutions, Berkeleyside could take the easy way out and repeat the same list. Take it as read that the 10 points we singled out a year ago are still largely unfinished business. But let’s look ahead to further issues for this year:

  1. Berkeley schools weather budget cuts with educational experiences largely unimpaired. There’s more pain coming for California’s schools in the coming year, as a new governor wrestles with the chronic state budget crisis. Berkeley schools are insulated to some extent by local voters’ consistent support — the parcel tax proposed by Measure H passed with 80% support and the bonds authorized in Measure I passed with 77% support in November. Cuts, however, are cuts and Berkeley will surely face some painful decisions. We’d like to have a New Year’s resolution for increased funding for schools, but we’d like a pony, too.
  2. Berkeley sees a substantial drop in violent crime. Last year was marred by six murders in Berkeley, the same number as in 2009. There was also a spate of armed robberies. Let’s hope the new policies under Chief Michael Meehan show significant results in 2011.
  3. Our city will continue to punch far above its weight in the arts. For a city of 100,000, the Berkeley arts scene is extraordinary — Berkeley Rep, Cal Performances, BAM, and on and on.
  4. West Berkeley will emerge as a center for entrepreneurship and technology. We know we had a similar resolution last year, but all that underused property in West Berkeley is just crying out for something.
  5. Business in Berkeley will find grounds for more optimism than the last few, dismal years. That means fewer empty storefronts, and also resurgent business for existing retailers.
  6. The university will add to its roster of Nobel prize winners. Okay, Oliver Williamson was awarded the economics prize in 2009. But we were blanked in 2010. Time to get back on track.
  7. Berkeley’s politicians will concentrate their energies on the things that matter for citizens locally. That means empty storefronts, potholed streets, safety, long-term city finances.
  8. Berkeley will do more to live up to its goals of being a bike-friendly city. When we wrote about Berkeley’s disastrous ranking as a danger spot for cyclists and pedestrians, our commenters had plenty of suggestions for improvement. Let’s see a few implemented.
  9. Some more late night eating and drinking spots will open. There’s little to complain about in terms of food in Berkeley — we have, after all, one restaurant for every 300 residents. But there are still too few choices if you want a bite when you come out of the theater or a movie.
  10. Berkeleyans will learn to stop worrying and love its new recycling carts.