Skip to comments.Berkeley officials seek to block petition drive ("Sometimes democracy can go too far,")
Posted on 08/20/2009 9:33:06 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
Berkeley may take great pride as a champion of free speech and civil rights, but an unusual campaign has been under way - led by most of the city's top elected officials - to stop residents from signing a citizen's petition.
Opposing a petition, in this case asking for a public vote on a controversial downtown development plan, might not be unusual in many cities. But in Berkeley, which promotes extensive citizen involvement in city affairs, the campaign has provoked some unusual arguments.
"Sometimes democracy can go too far," Councilwoman Susan Wengraf, one of the six council members opposing the petition, said of the proposed referendum.
State Sen. Loni Hancock, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner and Mayor Tom Bates have appeared in glossy flyers urging the public: "Please don't sign the petition." There have been e-mails and, in some cases, people shadowing signature gatherers to discourage potential signers.
Wengraf and Bates said they could not recall another time in Berkeley history when so many elected officials campaigned against a citizen's petition.
At issue is the city's downtown plan, which the council approved on a 7-2 vote July 14. The plan raises height limits throughout downtown, creates two towers of up to 225 feet - 45 feet higher than anything else in the city - and aims to embody the city's green values.
The downtown plan was drawn up after a four-year process that included more than 150 public meetings. But it nonetheless provoked a petition drive seeking 5,558 valid signatures by today to force a vote that could overturn the plan.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Yes, it can. That's why we're a republic the operates according to the rule of law, and not a democracy where the majority can legally vote to do whatever it would like.
Limiting housing in a urban area leads to housing being built further afield, resulting in more commuting, traffic, and traffic deaths.
Could have come straight from the founding fathers.
“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part.
“And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.
“And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” - Mario Savio, Free Speech Movement Founder, Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964
“Sometimes democracy can go too far,” Councilwoman Susan Wengraf, one of the six council members opposing the petition, said of the proposed referendum.
Even if I favored the plan, I would sign the petition simply out of protest.
Yeah, that pesky ol’ democracy getting in the way of Berzerkly’s enlightened central planners - c’mon comrade, get with the program !
Coming out of Berserkly, this pretty funny.