Opinionator

The trouble with Measure T: A lack of definition

By Patrick Sheahan

Patrick Sheahan is a West Berkeley architect and resident. He sits on the city's Planning Commission and on the Save West Berkeley Committee.

In endorsing NO on Measure T, the SF Bay Guardian says: “Everyone agrees the area needs updated zoning, but this is too loose.” This captures the fundamental problem with Measure T — a lack of definition regarding the scope of possible development and the details of potential community benefits.

A look at the City of Berkeley map of parcel sizes shows that up to two-thirds of West Berkeley could be eligible for increased development rights; i.e. 75 foot height and FAR 3 (density) vs. the current 45 foot height and FAR 2. Sites for expanded development rights are allowed by eligibility, rather than location, so it is unknown and unidentified where all possible sites may occur.

Community benefits are not guaranteed and will not be defined until after the vote; recent discussion at the Planning Commission indicates that potential funds will be inadequate for the many benefits proponents are claiming.

Proponents of Measure T have sent out two mailers containing a plethora of false and misleading information, starting with a false endorsement from SEIU Local 1021. In fact, SEIU Local 1021 has officially endorsed NO on T.

The mailer shows bubble photos of a library under construction and 4th Street retail, neither of which is in the affected Rezoning area. The mailer claims that Measure T will provide good jobs, job-training, money for schools and libraries, affordable housing and artist workspace, expanded shuttles, and Aquatic Park protections. In fact, no benefits at all have been defined under Measure T, having been deferred until after the election.

The second mailer shows two derelict buildings to illustrate the need for rezoning. However, this gives a false impression of activity in West Berkeley; one building is currently in the design phase for redevelopment, and the other has been demolished.

The mailer claims that current zoning prevents the creation of jobs and businesses. This is a false claim: zoning has already been updated, in 2011, to address zoning barriers and encourage new businesses and expansion, startups, R&D and green-tech industry. There is already ample opportunity to build within the current zoning height limit of 45 feet, which is double the existing average height. Zoning already exists for an ample supply of high-density housing on the transit corridors of San Pablo & University. What big developers want is to make their own properties much more valuable, with additional height for bay views. Out of scale development is fundamentally unfair to neighboring properties, which are deprived of light and sun.

The mailer mis-represents building height, citing a 50 foot average height; without saying that the allowable height is 75 feet, plus penthouses. A 50 foot average means nearly 75% of a multi-block site can be 75 feet high; typically with buildings in a ‘C’ shape to maximize bay views. The result allows a 75 foot wall across the site.

The mailer cites 1,500 jobs lost, which is a misleading statistic without mention that there has been a net gain of jobs in Berkeley; with about 25% of jobs in West Berkeley. Traditional manufacturing jobs are being replaced by a diverse array of jobs from artisan foods to specialty manufacturers.

An understanding of the true scope and details of Measure T requires a close reading of the eight pages in the Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet. The text reveals the lack of definition and details regarding the scope of the affected area and benefits. Measure T is complex, but vague, and should not be on the Ballot. Please vote NO on T, and ask your council members to consider a plan that works with the businesses and community of West Berkeley.

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  • Rob Wrenn

    I hope that voters will read the actual text of the measure in the ballot pamphlet for themselves. Read Section 5 – no community benefits are guaranteed as Patrick notes. Yes on Measure T mailers that claim that T will “provide” or “provide funds for” shuttles, job training, affordable housing, etc. are simply false. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YH5S4JD7UZIQRNKNAQTYI36SMI James

    If it sounds too good to be true…

    No on T!

  • AlanTobey

    Just one response on the always-contentious height and density numbers:  Maximum lot coverage is 75% (25% with no building on it), at least 10% of the lot must be publicly accessible open space, average built height is 50 feet, and no more than 50% of the lot can be built more than 60 feet tall.

    All those numbers mean that it would be theoretically possible, as Patrick writes, to PROPOSE a building 75 feet tall that runs nearly from one end of its lot to the other.  But that would require a skinny slab facing a two-thirds empty lot.  And the emphasis should be “propose,” since Patrick ignores other planning parameters in the measure.  For example, projects must be sensitive to their effects on shadowing and view corridors — hardly what a wall-of-glass design could claim.

    Finally. remember that any actual proposal must pass design review, something Patrick’s hypothetical meant-to-scare proposal could not possibly do.  What the new zoning would technically “allow” is nowhere close to what could actually be approved in the real world of site-sensitive permitting.

  • Gus

    I appreciate Mr. Sheahan’s calm and mostly fair critique of Measure T, which is in stark contrast to much of the opposition to redevelopment in West Berkeley.

    A couple of things, though. I don’t understand Mr. Sheahan’s contention that the scope of Measure T is unknown. The criteria for an MUP site are pretty strictly defined in section 23B.36.010 Applicability; sites must be at least 4 acres or 1 full city block under at least 50% majority ownership. Ownership is defined as of August 2011, so no future aggregation could occur. This map shows only six potential sites, and the American Soils site would be precluded by Measure T’s Aquatic Park protections:

    http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/uploadedFiles/Planning_(new_site_map_walk-through)/Level_3_-_General/candidates_major_devo.pdf

    Next, I think you may be mistaken about job growth. Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development submitted a report to the Council on June 12, 2012 that stated, “Berkeley has roughly the same number of jobs that it had in the early 1990’s,” and that “Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade (M&WT) employment has declined since 2001 
    but has the potential for revival.”

    http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/uploadedFiles/Clerk/Level_3_-_City_Council/2012/06Jun/2012-06-12%20Item%2001%20aWorksession%20Berkeley%E2%80%99s%20Employment%20and%20Business%20Trends.pdf

    It is true that the 2011 revisions to land use in West Berkeley have led to an increase in new businesses there. But please correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t Mr. Sheahan oppose those revisions, too? If so, it would be ironic to cite those improvements to West Berkeley’s business climate as a reason to oppose Measure T.

  • The Sharkey

    Zoning already exists for an ample supply of high-density housing on the transit corridors of San Pablo & University.

    I’m not sure what this has to do with the area of West Berkeley under consideration.
    Maybe I’m missing something, but the idea that there shouldn’t be high-density housing in West Berkeley because it could be put somewhere else seems like classic NIMBYism.

  • EricPanzer

    You could specify the placement of every molecule in every development from here to eternity, and someone in Berkeley would still demand more detail. In the end, this isn’t about specificity at all, it’s about a fear of change and the infamous “I got mine, you don’t get yours” attitude so prevalent amongst Berkeley’s obstructionist class.

    Sheahan claims that benefits are not guaranteed.
    These selections below come directly from the text of Measure T:

    23B.36.030 Master Use Permit Application — Process
    A. Master Use Permit applications shall include:

    3. a proposed benefits package that is consistent with 23B.36.090.B. The proposed benefits package must include benefits beyond what would otherwise be provided and must specify the types of benefits, the method of delivering and guaranteeing these benefits, and their net present value. In addition, the proposal must demonstrate how the proposed benefits are a reasonable exchange for the requested changes in development standards for the proposed project, recognizing that the zoning ordinance does not require the
    benefits to equal or exceed the full value to the developer of such modifications to development standards. The City may require the applicant to pay for an independent consultant to provide technical assistance to the City in reviewing the information provided. Measures to mitigate the land use impacts of the proposed project shall not be considered benefits under this Chapter; and
    4. the applicant’s commitment to enter into a binding Community Benefits Agreement that meets the City’s requirements to guarantee provision of the proposed benefits if the application is approved

    23B.36.090 FindingsA. In order to approve a MUP, the Board must make both the finding required by Section 23B.32.040.A and the following additional findings:…

    B. For alterations of development standards and permitted uses under Section 23B.36.050.A the Board must find that the proposed project would confer measurable community benefits that affirmatively advance the purposes of this Chapter or the West Berkeley Plan in accordance with the requirements adopted by the Council per Section 23B.36.040, and that the applicant has agreed to enter into a binding commitment to do so.

    Section 5. Effectiveness
    B. Sections 2 and 3 of this measure shall not take effect until the Council adopts an ordinance that adopts:
    1. a formula for determining the value of community benefits that will be required;
    2. a process under which applicants for master use permits under Section 3 are required to demonstrate meaningful attempts to meet and consult with the affected community prior to filing an application; and
    3. mechanisms for ensuring that the affected community is involved in evaluation of the adequacy of any proposed community benefits, that community benefits inure primarily to the benefit of West Berkeley, and that there is community involvement in overseeing provision of promised community benefits.

    I apologize for the lengthy text, but this gives you an idea of the painstaking lengths Measure T goes to to ensure community benefits and community involvement. Sheahan and other Measure T opponents seem utterly unabashed when it comes to deceitful scare tactics. I challenge people to read the Measure from beginning to end and still believe that “greedy developers” will be able to run roughshod over Berkeley after its passage.

    I could offer up more text showing how Measure T would protect existing residences from impacts; help preserve and promote space for artisans and craftspeople; protect Aquatic Park; and even help protect birds (yes, birds), but this post is already running long.

    It still astounds me that regulations which would be regarded as all but communistic almost anywhere else in the country somehow get portrayed as a developer’s ultimate fantasy here in Berkeley. It’s time for West Berkeley to take a tiny, faltering step into the 21st Century: let’s pass Measure T.

  • Charles_Siegel

    We should be talking about FAR as well as height and maximum lot coverage.

    The current FAR of 2 would let you build a 4-story building covering half of the site.  That sounds  like a very small amount of development to me.  It means much of the site would probably be used for a surface parking lot.

    The proposed FAR of 3 would let you build a 4-story building covering  three quarters of the site, which seems more reasonable to me.

    I have seen Patrick’s visualization showing that Measure T would allow a row of 75 foot buildings one next to another, which seem to fill their sites completely.  If we consider the FAR as well as the height limit, I don’t think it would be possible to build what is shown in that visualization.  Patrick, please correct me if I am wrong. 

  • Howie Mencken

    The opposition on S and T sound sadly similar: Ridiculous scenarios, thinly disguised self interest. Our ‘progressive’ gerontocracy has either run out of things to say, or forgot what they were going to say. Had to happen sometime.

  • AlanTobey

     Charles, FAR is not quite as indicative here in the proposed mixed-use context as it is for more typical office-only or housing-only projects.  That’s because laboratories — one of the allowed new uses even if Measure T fails — may require ceiling heights of 15-18 feet.  It’s for that reason that maximum average build height is specified as 50 feet,  which would only accommodate three floors of such laboratories.

  • EBGuy

     Some folks bear battle scars from things like the ‘arts density bonus’, so you can see why they might be a bit jittery when you say ‘community benefit’ TBD.
    I appreciate everyone’s passion and the discussion around this Measure (especially those who live in the district).  I’m currently leaning in favor…

  • Patrick_Sheahan

    I appreciate the comments by readers that show a close reading of Measure T and related information. If I am incorrect, I do appreciate a direct reference.

    1) The visualizations referred to (see website) are intended to show what is allowed to happen, not what might or might not happen. The visualizations do not specify that a site is completely filled. Buildings could be C shaped, and still appear as a 75′ wall from outside the site. Also note that penthouses above 75 feet are not shown. 

    2) I agree that increasing the FAR, without increasing the height limit (from 45′ to 75′),
    is worth considering; a suggestion I have made to the City Council & Planning Commission. Recent lab buildings have been constructed within current zoning, and labs do not require bay views for functionality. 

    3) To be more specific about benefits; there is no guarantee of the type of benefits, or the process, valuation and delivery. The details have been left to Council to decide after the election.

    4) A zoning map will show that C-W zones, allowing high-density residential (i.e. 4th & U), are immediately adjacent to, or nearby, the affected zones.

    5) I took my information about jobs from the same report by the City: from 1991-2011 the gain in employees is 1,244 plus a gain of self-employed of 1,885. I am self employed in West Berkeley.

    6) The SEIR shows 9 sites that are 4 acres or larger; about 106 acres. The 50% ownership requirement means that more 4 acre sites may be eligible, and no eligible single blocks have been shown. Sites are defined only by eligibility. However, as there is no map, the scope is unknown.

    7) Mr. Tobey wrongly states that “no more than 50% of the lot can be built more than 60 feet tall”, as this is not in Measure T. As another commenter pointed out, building configuration can take a variety of forms. However, relying on design review and findings is no substitute for zoning.

  • The Sharkey

    A zoning map will show that C-W zones, allowing high-density residential (i.e. 4th & U), are immediately adjacent to, or nearby, the affected zones.

    I’m still not sure how this means that opening up more areas to possible high-density housing is a bad thing.
    I’m also not so sure about your definition of “nearby” – the Southernmost area that would be part of this isn’t all that close to either University or San Pablo.

  • Rob Wrenn

    You fail to quote the part of Section 5 that says that the Council need only provide “at least one” on ten benefits. The sections you quote prove nothing since they leave it up to the Council to  devise a formula, so effectively nothing is guaranteed and certainly none of the things like training, affordable housing and shuttles that are promised in deceptive Measure T flyers. The City Council has a very poor track record with both impact fee and community benefits.

  • Nelly

    vote no on measure t

  • Sjohn Donaldson

    Patrick Sheahan completely misrepresents Measure T. Too loose? 

    It took six long years of hearings to develop this measure which, at the most, will allow up to 6 master use permits that allow a property owner to consolidate land and come up with a mixture of integrated uses including housing, employment centers, open space, retail and research. This approach, like everything in this law is NOT by right. Everything must be proposed, reviewed by design review, the zoning adjustments board and the City Council in very open public hearings. How can anyone say this is too loose? or it’s too undefined? It will be defined by each proposed project, by each hearing with full public disclosure and input. By not passing T the citizens of Berkeley will say we don’t need to see or hear anything new. Just keep it exactly the way it is which reflects only past zoning form the 1950’s which is out of date.

    Regarding benefits, the city said T would not go into affect until the benefit provisions are established and defined.Also, the mailers from the NO on T folks sent out, along with their website, show rows of 75′ tall structures and buildings appearing in Aquatic Park. This COULD NEVER HAPPEN. It’s completely false and misleading.How do they explain these clearly false misrepresentations of what Measure T would do?Given that most of the City Council endorses T, along with our state representatives, Skinner and Hancock as well as many labor unions and the East Bay Express, it’s pretty clear this is a good measure that will benefit the City as a whole. I just hope the thinking and critical minded voter will understand the falsehoods being thrown around here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jesselarreguin Jesse Arreguin

    Speaking of falsehoods, Yes on T has claimed that SEIU Local 1021 endorses T, in reality it has taken a No on T position. Yet they still tout the SEIU endorsement on both mailers they sent to Berkeley voters. Not to mention the many falsehoods in the mailer it self, promises of community benefits when in reality Measure T provides no guaranteed community benefits. 

  • Patrick_Sheahan

    Mr. Donaldson falsely asserts “at the most, will allow up to 6 master use permits”, without the significant condition that this limitation only applies for the first ten years, after which sites are limited only by eligibility. From this, and other comments, it is apparent that Mr. Donaldson does not understand Measure T. As Mr. Donaldson is a member of the Zoning Adjustments Board, the body which will approve the MUPs, the apparent lack of understanding is especially troubling. In supporting his statements, it would be helpful to cite the relevant provision in the measure. 

  • Howie Mencken

    For forever Berkeley has been dying for a cause; Any cause, pleeeease! And now the cost of causes has reached the limit of what we can pay. So we need the growth and the income it brings to support our cause habit. 

    Berkeleyans are all too familiar with public debates devolving into; How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? But Sheehan breaks new ground. His contention that angels dancing the rhumba would out number angels line dancing  does indeed require more process to process.

    In what world does it make sense to allow two fat cats to get fatter sitting on a full block of Berkeley’s future selling old lead paint covered doors reeking of cat piss?

  • Charles_Siegel

     I think he means that he doesn’t want to allow this new zoning near high-density residential zones – presumably because he thinks nearby commercial uses will have a negative impact on residents.

    Actually, having different uses near each other helps to create more vital, interesting neighborhoods.  As Jane Jacobs was first to point out, each of these primary uses provides customers at different times of the day – offices during lunch hour, residential during afternoons, evenings, and weekends – and the result is that two primary uses next to each other can support much more interesting retail than the two same two uses could support if they were both isolated.

  • The Sharkey

    Absolutely! We should be striving for more mixed-use developments and putting housing and work spaces near each other rather than trying to suburbanize Berkeley and divide it into discreet single-use areas.

  • The Sharkey

    Reminds me of the NO on S mailers that incorrectly state that Measure S will outlaw lemonade stands and make busking illegal. There seem to be falsehoods flying all over the place this election cycle.

  • The Sharkey

    I am still really, really surprised that the City hasn’t shut Urban Ore down because of the cat urine problem. It’s still just as bad as ever, and clearly a health hazard.

  • Howie Mencken

    Agreed, but that stench won’t kill you or dumb down your kids. How many of those doors and windows that are covered in coat after of coat of lead paint get the hazmat style treatment law requires once they get to their new homes. see:

    http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2502/

  • Charles_Siegel

     I am glad to see that you are so concerned about health.  Given this concern, I am surprised that you did not enter a comment to the article about Safeway saying that the genetically modified corn used in so many of the processed foods sold there can cause tumors according to a recent study.  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57517377-10391704/study-says-genetically-modified-corn-causes-tumors-but-other-scientists-skeptical-about-research/

    We should be cautious about lead paint.  And we can be cautious about genetically modified food if we pass Proposition 37, requiring labeling of food with genetically modified ingredients. 

    Currently, virtually all corn grown in America is genetically engineered, corn syrup and corn oil are very common ingredients in processed food, but there is no labeling. 90% of Americans believe they have never eaten genetically modified food, but in reality, virtually all Americans have without knowing it.

  • Kevin Jude

     I must speak up about this – the study cited in that article is deeply flawed.  The strain of rats used in the GM corn study is naturally prone to tumorigenesis.  A properly designed study would have used a larger population and a different strain of rats to get statistically meaningful results.  The results need to be taken with a pretty serious grain of salt.

  • Howie Mencken

    A classic old Berkeley response: Interjecting the specter of apocalyptic possibilities to contrast the very real, here and now, danger of lead paint and the damage it does to children’s cognitive developmental.

    If there was a store selling lead paint it would be shut down instantly and fined out of existence. Be we know it’s harmless in the can. Only if you paint a door or a window is it a highly illegal hazard. How then is it legal to sell lead painted doors and windows?   

  • Charles_Siegel

    The article I linked mentioned the same criticism you make, so I am not hiding that issue. 

    My point is that genetically modified food should be tested for safety BEFORE it is produced and sold to the public.  We have shifted virtually all our soybean and corn production to GM varieties, on the grounds that they are substantially equivalent to natural varieties.  But they are not really equivalent.

    My other point is that foods should be labeled so people can know what they are eating.  We include a list of ingredients on food labels, but the GM industry has suppressed the information about whether the ingredients are genetically engineered.

  • Charles_Siegel

     A classic ad hominem personal attack.

  • The Sharkey

    I don’t think it’s an attack on you, Charles, but more of an attack on a way of thinking/discussing issues that has been typical of Berkeley for a long time now.

    I can’t be sure how Howie meant it, but that’s how I read it.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Lots of Howie’s comments are about his personal dislike of many of the people who live in Berkeley, and they are usually very narrow-minded stereotypes.  Eg, he criticized people who drive their Priuses to Safeway. 

    His animus drives him to make extreme, unbelievable statments, like his claim here that talk about the danger of genetically engineered food involves the “specter of apocalyptic possibilities.”  (Look up “apocalyptic.”)

    He would be more convincing if he focused on the issues and got over the personal animus.

  • Charles_Siegel

     I should say: “He sneered at people who drive their Priuses to Safeway.”  It didn’t reach the level of criticism.

  • Howie Mencken

    For future reference I quote a poem which appeared long ago on a poster which became a Berkeley apartment staple:

    I do my thing and you do your thing.

    I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,

    And you are not in this world to live up to mine.

    You are you, and I am I,

    and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.

    If not, it can’t be helped.

    Fritz Perls

    …and that goes double for you Mr. Siegel

  • Howie Mencken

    Did big bad Howie hurt your feewings?

  • The Sharkey

    Maybe we’re reading different internets, but I’ve seen a fair number of folks on the internet theorizing that GMOD foods will destroy human civilization by infecting non-GMOD crops and eventually poisoning the food supply.

    Either way, the labeling of GMOD foods seems like an odd point to bring up in a discussion about businesses in West Berkeley.

    No comment RE: Howie’s posting style. I guess I haven’t been paying attention enough because he hasn’t really gotten on my radar much.

  • Charles_Siegel

     Not mine.  I don’t drive a Prius.

  • Charles_Siegel

    That quote is typical old Berkeley thinking.  Thank goodness that people who think in this old way are being replaced by people who shop at Safeway and who sneer at those who do not. 

    More seriously, you are the last person to recommend tolerance, judging from all your posts to date.  Maybe you have suddenly changed and you will stop sneering at anyone who is different from you.

  • Sjohn Donaldson

    Mr Sheahan – I did not mention 10 years time frame for 6 sites since it’s relatively irrelevant. That’s not the issue. Big issue you never mention, is the fact that these changes if approved are not NOT by right. Each and every project proposed must go through the process of review and approval with open public commentary and input. All measure T does is open up the opportunities for new types of development approaches with MUP’s, instead of the same restrictive zoning approach from the past. Please address this and how you continually show false outlines of building shapes near Aquatic Park and buildings built in Aquatic Park — which are NOT part of this measure.

  • Toni M.

    Hi Sjohn,
    I am repeating the correction of some of the factual errors made in your similar post in a related article. The West Berkeley Project had three components, the redefinition of uses and release of some formerly protected industrial space for R&D and office began with a tour in March 2008  but the public meetings regarding the revision of the master use permit ordinance, which is measure T, did not begin until 2010. The Project is a revision of the West Berkeley Plan of 1993, not the 1950’s. As a person instrumental in getting the zoning of the parcels adjacent to Aquatic Park deferred, I was present in discussions, public hearings, and Council debates. It is not accurate to say that 75 foot structures, in a wall or in some other configuration, could never happen. Right up to the day when the Council announced that a decision on the standards for these MUP sites would be delayed, members of the Council were advocating 75 foot buildings on the sites next to Aquatic Park. At this point, it’s hard to say what effect the outcome of the Measure T vote will have on the park.

  • Howie Mencken

    Siegel the proof is in the post. You seem to be alone in your opinion of mine. However, should you desire to put an ‘anti-sneering’ measure on the ballot there’s a procedure for that. Until then get off my sneer.

  • Guest

    Oh Charles, there you go again. We had an exchange on this subject a few months ago, which petered out when you were unable to provide an example of health damage caused by genetic modification of foods (http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/05/18/cal-no-gm-crops-at-gill-tract-research-work-under-way/#disqus_thread). Now you think you have one, based on another news article, but you seem to be unaware of just how shaky that study is, and how out of line with other work. Try looking at this news piece in Nature: “Hyped GM maize study faces growing scrutiny” (http://www.nature.com/news/hyped-gm-maize-study-faces-growing-scrutiny-1.11566). The author of the paper in question is hardly an objective researcher, and timed the publication of the paper with the release of his anti-GMO book. Suffice to say that the paper describes a very weak experiment, with a result that is contradicted by other (very extensive) evidence. 

    You note seems to imply that Safeway is saying that the GMO corn products it sells can can cause tumors, but I’m sure you didn’t mean that.

    In my (quite well-informed) opinion, there are valid reasons for worrying about Americans’ consumption of processed corn products, but their GMO content isn’t one of them. Again, where is your evidence?  Why do you believe that genetic modification is a danger to health? Remember, your beliefs are not evidence.

  • Guest

    But as we have previously discussed (http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/05/18/cal-no-gm-crops-at-gill-tract-research-work-under-way/#disqus_thread)), your standard is simply unworkable. To quote form the old thread: “: you are asking someone to prove that something is not dangerous, although you do not know how to make such a proof, and you have no evidence that would indicate that this something is or might be dangerous. Try applying this standard to any food.” Your desire to impose this unworkable standard is based on your belief that consumption of GMO foods is dangerous, but that believe is not evidence-based: witness your inability to cite such evidence.

  • Charles_Siegel

     I already responded to all your well-informed (?) points. I see that you replied to that response below, so I assume you entered this comment before reading that response. 

  • Charles_Siegel

     I didn’t ask for proof.  I just asked for safety testing.  Since you had trouble reading that, I will repeat:

    “My point is that genetically modified food should be tested for safety BEFORE it is produced and sold to the public.”

    There are so many people calling themselves Guest that it is hard to remember your last argument. 

    I assume you are the person who claimed to be “progressive” because you believe in genetic engineering and in modernist architecuture, those are both forms of “change,” and progressives believe in change. 

    It is a flimsy argument that ignores political reality, so I won’t bother with it.  It is about as flimsy as your current claim that I asked for proof of safety, when I said nothing of the sort.

    I will give you one suggestion on writing style.  If you want people to remember their earlier discussions with you, give yourself a more meaningful name. 

  • Charles_Siegel

     Incidentally, have you have read Karl Popper?  If so, you would realize that scientific testing cannot verify a hypothesis but can falsify it. 

    Thus, it is impossible for testing to prove that a gm food is safe, which is what you mistakenly claim I want. 

    But it is possible to falsify the claim that a gm food is safe, if the testing shows it causes diseases.  This prior testing is what I actually want – and what anyone with any sense would want. 

  • Guest

    Please look at my posts in the old thread as well. There has to a standard for food safety – as I have pointed out your standard is an impossible one, because there is no limit to the number of things one would have to look for, and no evidence to suggest that they would happen.

    And I don’t need to read Popper – because I was born skeptical, and I live that way too. I have a set of rules on the wall in my lab, and the last one is “Don’t believe it”. A good scientist never believes anything – because belief is the enemy of rational enquiry. 

    I note that I keep asking you why you believe that GMO foods are dangerous, and you have yet to tell me why. 

  • Guest

    I don’t think you did respond to my points. I keep asking why you believe GMOs are dangerous to eat: why not just tell me?

  • guest

    Self- interest makes us want to keep sitting legal?
    Oh, right, because we want to keep our right to sit on the sidewalk.