Op-eds: Harold Way, BUSD, housing, minimum wage, more

The project at 2211 Harold Way which influenced the commission's decision, Finacom said. Image: MVEI Architects
The project at 2211 Harold Way continues to generate lively debate. Image: MVEI Architects

Spirited op-eds on a variety of topical issues continue to be published by Berkeleyside over in our Opinionator section. Every so often we like to flag up what you may have missed. So here goes…

In an op-ed published Sept. 18, Michael Saltsman,  research director at the Employment Policies Institute, argues that the Berkeley Labor Commission’s bid to have the minimum wage raised to $19 an hour is misguided. “[It has] picked a number that might scratch an ideological itch, but it has zero basis in economic reality,” he writes.

Sean K. Slate, an architect who serves on the board of the Downtown Berkeley Association, argues in another piece that it’s time to stop the delaying tactics and approve the big downtown Berkeley project at Harold Way. (In fact on Sept. 30 the Zoning Adjustments Board approved the Harold Way use permit with increased affordable housing provision.)

Ilse Rueda, a 2011 Berkeley High School graduate and currently a student at San Francisco State on pace to graduate in Spring 2016, wrote about how the Berkeley Community Fund kept her college dream alive after she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.


Meanwhile  23-year-old Diego Aguilar-Canabal say he feels utterly disrespected by my older neighbors who oppose much-needed housing. “Berkeley needs thousands of new housing units yesterday, and the hypocrisy of those delaying the approval process is transparent and insulting. As a vocal critic of Berkeley’s housing shortage, I have resisted the temptation to stereotype older homeowners in the area as callous, selfish NIMBYs: it is too easy and it denies good people the nuanced representations they deserve,” he writes.

Peggy Scott, a former BHS parent who serves on the BUSD Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee, argues that the Berkeley Unified School Board must take action on sexual harassment. “The school board must bring BUSD into alignment with Title IX and make consistent robust investment in programs that have prevention at their core and promote a safe, positive learning environment for all students, whoever they may be,” Scott writes.

Staying with school matters, Michael Fretz, a licensed structural engineer who works for the State of California, writes that the BUSD Board should take action on developer impact fees. “State law allows school districts to collect fees from new residential and commercial development projects to mitigate their impact on school facilities. New construction and new residents mean new students and new classroom space requirements. Most school districts in the state collect these fees.  Berkeley does not,” he writes.

Last but not least, Berkeley City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan has some good news: the city is becoming more efficient in that it has shown a “vast improvement in the timely approval of contracts.”


Share your views in the Comments section of the individual op-eds in the Opinionator section of Berkeleyside.

Berkeleyside welcomes submissions of op-ed articles. We ask that we are given first refusal to publish. Topics should be Berkeley-related, local authors are preferred, and we don’t publish anonymous pieces. Email submissions, as Word documents or embedded in the email, to editors@berkeleyside.com. The recommended length is 500-800 words. Please include your name and a one-line bio that includes full, relevant disclosures. Berkeleyside will publish op-ed pieces at its discretion.