Measure T supporters mail false flyers, critics contend

Opponents of Measure T say supporters have mailed out false flyers claiming that Berkeley’s SEIU Local 1021 supports the measure, when in fact it opposes it. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Opponents of Measure T have issued a formal complaint to the city of Berkeley which states that supporters of the controversial measure are using false and misleading information on flyers that have been mailed to voters.

Zelda Bronstein, a former Planning Commissioner, filed a complaint Oct. 17 with the Fair Campaign Practices Commission pointing out that the Coalition for a Sustainable West Berkeley, the backers of Measure T, state on some mailings that Berkeley SEIU Local 1021 supports the measure, even though the union website clearly states that it opposes it.

In addition, the Coalition for a Sustainable West Berkeley website states that the Telegraph Avenue Property & Business Improvement District is an endorser, said Bronstein. Since Business Improvement Districts are city entities, they cannot legally make endorsements in elections, writes Bronstein in the complaint.

“This endorsement is illegal,” she said.

Proponents of Measure T have removed the references to the endorsements of SEIU and the Telegraph Avenue BID from the Yes on Measure T website, but said the inclusion was a communication error, not a deliberate attempt to mislead the electorate.

Darrell de Tienne, the secretary for the Coalition, and the agent for Doug Herst’s Peerless Greens project, which would directly benefit from the passage of Measure T, said the local branch of SEIU 1021 voted to endorse Measure T on Sept. 20 after a meeting with Mike Tolbert, a former Berkeley planner, and Dave Ross, a former Berkeley firefighter. However, the Berkeley local was forced to rescind its endorsement when the administrative office in Oakland voted to oppose Measure T, he said.

However, neither de Tienne nor Joe DeCredico, the co-chair of the Yes on Measure T campaign, was able to provide any documentation that the Berkeley SEIU unit had voted to support Measure T. They did name a long list of city employees in local SEIU management positions whom they said attended the meeting.

Members of the Berkeley unit of SEIU would not talk to Berkeleyside on the record about the situation. Calls to the Oakland SEIU office were not returned.

The flyer on which an inaccurate endorsement has been listed, according to critics

Peter Albert, the co-chair of the union’s political committee in Oakland, said in an email to DeCredico that local chapters cannot take positions contrary to that of the parent organization.

“Our union, SEIU Local 1021, has decided to support the NO on Measure T campaign in Berkeley,” Albert wrote DeCredico. “This represents the position of all the members, chapters, and jurisdictions of Local 1021. Individual chapters, such as one in Berkeley, do not have the option to take a position contrary to that of the union as a whole.”

In regards to naming the Telegraph Avenue BID as an endorser, Roland Peterson, its executive director, said that was a clerical error. That group collects money from local businesses and donates it to a non-profit, the Telegraph Property and Business Management Corporation, which, by law, can endorse campaigns, he said.

“The mistake was the Yes on T folks used the wrong name in their literature,” said Peterson.

The correct endorsement should be the corporation, he said.

The Fair Campaign Practices Commission is scheduled to discuss the complaints at a special meeting Thursday Oct. 25 at 7 pm.

Here is a copy of one of the flyers sent to voters. (Note that it actually has a misprinting and says that SEIU Local 21 rather than 1021 endorses Measure T.)

Visit Berkeleyside’s Voter’s Edge Berkeley for complete coverage and tracking of the city’s 10 ballot measures. Visit Berkeleyside’s Election 2012 section to see all our coverage in the run-up to Nov. 6.

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  • Irisandjules

    Said Ms. Bronstein lost a lot of credibility with us when she, from her far away abode, opposed a real supermarket for West Berkeley. I mean what more needs to be said – she probably lives in an area with full service, and from there she tries to tell us lowlanders what we should or should not have. As Sharkey noted, she fought Berkeley Bowl West – most people who actually live in West Berkeley (and apparently others too) could not be happier to have Berkeley Bowl West. 

  • The Sharkey

    She clearly implies that neighboring cities are essentially “dormitories for the poor.”

  • We try to keep a fairly light hand in terms of moderating comments. We also, to a large extent, rely on readers to flag comments they think are offensive.

  • The Sharkey

    Are you the official spokesperson for the No on Measure T campaign?

    No on T isn’t trying to stop discussion, they’re just trying to stop progress.

  • Guest

     Her last sentence is a hypothetical description of what could  happen in  communities  that neglect to insure that low-wage workers have decent and affordable  housing.  It is not a description of what now exists in  “neighboring cities” which are not mentioned at all.   Seems that you can’t read either.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    No, it is not.  First of all, it’s out-and-out hyperbole, not a hypothetical.  It’s also borderline incoherent, blending elements of revolutionary France with contemporary China in a desperate attempt to find parallels for our local situation where none exist. 

    The plain meaning of what she wrote is this:  IF Berkeley doesn’t provide affordable housing THEN the alternative is “dormitories for the poor”  in which workers “live lives of tragic desperation because of the circumstances of their birth.”  

    Completely absent from this absurd framing is the possibility that residents of, say, El Cerrito might live in homes, be happy, and enjoy the same opportunities as other Americans to change their circumstances through education and hard work.  It’s elitist and offensive.  It’s also ridiculous and I’m not spending any more time pointing that out, so you’ll have to rely on your superior reading abilities from here on out.

  • Mbfarrel

    “Little Boxes”

  • Berkeley Resident

     I second that.  I always learn something when I read Eric’s comments.  He is truly a gem.

  • Drnflight

     Why does the administrative office (1021) decide to support no on measure T, in fact they are opposed to every measure on the ballot, but endorse every bond or tax assessment that will cost Berkeley residents money. Measure T will not cost Berkeley residents a dime!!!!!

  • Gus

    Jesse, at the neighborhood level, the same activists campaigning against T are also circulating the biohazard flyers. I have no idea what specific persons comprise the “No on T campaign,” but here in the neighborhoods of West Berkeley, the people passing out No on T flyers are also passing out alarmist flyers about the supposed hazards of scientific research.

    My favorite was a flyer for a panel questioning the supposed benefits of scientific research moderated by a Christian activist. 

    Make no mistake. Fear of biological research and engineering is a key part of the opposition to redevelopment in West Berkeley.

  • Gus

    First of all, you have no idea what you’re talking about, The Herst family has been in Berkeley for generations. The Yes on T co-chair has been a small-business owner in Berkeley for decades. Literally no money for the Yes on T campaign comes from east of the Caldecott.

    Second, this is tribalist bigotry. You take something that is culturally unpopular in our community and, with no rationale at all, attempt to tie it to a proposal that you oppose. 

    Third, some of us already live in West Berkeley, next to the train tracks and with freeway noise, and we like it just fine.

    Lame comment. Lame, snide, elitist comment. Funny that Sam Wellington below complained about defamatory comments directed toward Measure T opponents mere moments after you posted this lazy smear. Try harder next time.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Sorry, Sharkey, but I dislike the Berkeley Bowl West, and I plan to vote Yes on T.

    I am hoping that the developments allowed by Measure T will create places where it is pleasant to walk – unlike Berkeley Bowl West.

  • Charles_Siegel

     Lance makes a good point, and I suggest that Sam Wellington should enter responses to specific comments that he thinks are offensive, suggesting that they should be removed.  I find that when I do this (which is rather rare), Berkeleyside usually does remove the comments.

  • Sam Wellington

    the 64,000 dollar question is who is Sharkey?????? This masked crusader of the internet.  Will the real Sharkey please stand up?  Are you a paid troller on this blog?  Do you work or are you affiliated with Livable Berkeley?  How do you have so much time to spend trolling this blog?  Please tell us a little more about yourself

  • notsharkey

    Maybe he’s Slim Shady…?

  • Alsonotsharkey

    I don’t care who he is. And I don’t see why anyone needs to know. Just try responding to what he says: if you don’t like it, give us your reasons. 

  • noreallynotsharkey

    well… some people are sore at Sharkey for doxing THEM…. 
    I think that’s why there is a desire to unmask HIM.
    not that I approve!

  • Zelda Bronstein

    Jesse Arreguin and I are speaking for the Save West Berkeley Committee, which wrote the arguments against Measure T that appear in the Voters Handbook, provided the No on T yard signs that can be seen all over Berkeley, is responsible for the No on T brochure that many voters received this weekend, and created and maintains the Save West Berkeley/No on T website that is referenced by the Berkeleyside/Voters Edge project. 

    None of the above materials says anything about biohazards or dangers of scientific research, because, as Arreguin stated above, they are not our concerns.

  • 4Eenie

    Zelda, were you in South Berkeley yesterday distributing your materials? I heard someone trying to open my gate (not easy), then saw you walk up my driveway and put the materials on my neighbors door. But you didn’t leave anything at my house. I already have my mind made up, so I don’t need more documentation on the subject, but I was a little disappointed not to see the materials that are being discussed here.

  • Zelda Bronstein

    I did distribute the No on T brochure in a South Berkeley precinct yesterday. 
    Send the No on T campaign your address (adding some specifics if you think that would help locate you), and someone will deliver a brochure to your house.

  • The Sharkey

    I got another flyer from the No on T campaign today with that false Photoshop image that lies to voters. The No on T campaign knows that Measure T would not allow buildings that tall that close to Aquatic Park, but they don’t care about lying to Berkeley voters as long as they get their way.

  • The Sharkey

    Does it bother your conscience at all to keep passing out pamphlets that have misleading Photoshop images on them?

    You know Measure T wouldn’t allow the kinds of buildings shown on your pamphlets that close to Aquatic Park, yet you continue to use that image.

  • The Sharkey

    Homeowner in the Berkeley flatlands North of University and West of Shattuck.
    Not paid to post.Not affiliated with any politician or campaign.
    Disagreeing with you is not the same thing as trolling.
    I check Berkeleyside on a smart phone when I’m out and about.

    Anything else?

  • The Sharkey

    I think a lot of people just assume that anyone who is very vocal about politics has to be involved in a campaign somehow.

    My involvement in local politics starts and ends with posting on Berkeleyside.

  • 4Eenie

    Who are you, Sam Wellington? Is Sam Wellington your real name? You are an unregistered poster. There is less information about you than there is about The Sharkey.

    This forum is a place where people can register and either be pseudonymous or use their real names, or not register and use any name they want and change it whenever they want. Most forums allow pseudoanonymity so that discourse can happen freely without the commenter fearing personal backlash.

    Bummer that you feel so offended by The Sharkey. Agree or disagree (and I do not always agree) with him, you have to admit he keeps the discussions going!

  • Rob Wrenn

    Berkeley has many plans with wonderful policies that have never been implemented. To give just one example, the General Plan called  for a transportation services fee to fund alternative transportation. Things like shuttles could be funded by such a fee. It was both a policy in the General Plan, and a General Plan EIR mitigation measure, but, 12 years after adoption of the General Plan, it still hasn’t been implemented.

    The problem with Measure T is that it passed up the opportunity to require funding for specified community benefits like expanded shuttles to BART, which are important because West Berkeley has poor transit service.  Instead, it leaves communiity benefits to some future City Council action with no guarantees that anything signficant will be required. Given the city’s very poor track record in this area, that is not reassuring. 

    In addition, supporters for Measure T fail completely to address the issue of potential displacement of artists, artisans and industrial uses, who can’t find affordable space anywhere else in Berkeley. In the case of manufacturing, with only a 2% vacancy rate for mfg space currently, they aren’t permitted anywhere else. 

    Measure T is also not “green”. While Measure R, in 2010, the measure on downtown planning, requires green building that meets LEED standards, as well as other clearly specified community benefits, Measure T does not requrie green building standards even with the windfall that owners of large sites and the developers of those site will receive. This measure will do little to help the city meet its Climate Action Plan goals. It’s for that reason that the measure doesn’t have the support of a large majority of the city’s environmetalists.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I love that three of the people who “liked” this post are anonymous guests.  

  • guest

    Another untruth by a person who wants stagnation.  Check out the 4th St. Apt.  People don’t seem to mind.  T will not deter small manufacturing.  Another untruth.  T will help aquatic par thrive, at the rate we are going now, aquatic park will never be what it should be.  Any building close to the park will have to agree to spend funds to clean out the park.  We don’t have that now.  On of the developers includes studios for artists.  Currently there is almost no space for artists.  People opposed to the West Berkeley plan are simply thinking of themselves and not about Berkeley.

  • guest

    Sorry about all the typos above.

  • guest

    A mistake?   What a joke.

  • Sjohn Donaldson

    Please write something about the misleading information that the No on Measure T folks have on their website.

    The No on Measure T website clearly shows the following misleading and untrue information —- 100′ tall buildings form the UC Campus viewed in West Berkeley- rows of buildings with dotted lines 75′ tall viewed from Aquatic Park- a fabricated photoshop rendering of a 75′ tall building In Aquatic ParkNONE of this is correct or accurate or could be done under Measure T. This completely misleads the voter. Why don’t you report on this and juxtapose it against the mistaken bit of endorsement information on the Yes on T campaign materials– which has absolutely nothing to do with the actual facts of measure T?I look at Berkeleyside as an unbiased source of information and factual reporting on all sides of events in Berkeley. Please keep to this path. This one sided view gives the impression to the voter that the Yes on Measure T folks are attempting to mislead readers. In fact, the No on T campaign materials and website are clearly portraying inaccurate and misleading information.