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Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Measure R
Zoning Ordinance Amendment for Downtown Berkeley
City of Berkeley

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 9345 / 25.91% Yes votes ...... 26726 / 74.09% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 28 11:38am, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (107/107)
Information shown below: Official Information | Arguments |

Shall an ordinance amending Zoning Ordinance provisions for downtown Berkeley be adopted to: establish new requirements for new buildings over 60 feet; eliminate current historic resource determination for Green Pathway projects; establish a Civic Center Historic District overlay; amend LEED requirements; change parking requirements; restrict some permitted uses; change prevailing-wage requirements for workers in specified categories; and reduce hours of operation for businesses selling or serving alcohol?

Official Sources of Information

  Nonpartisan Information

California Secretary of State's Office

City of Berkeley League of Women Voters News and Analysis

East Bay Express

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Arguments For Measure R Arguments Against Measure R
Vote Yes! Save the Post Office, Old City Hall and our historic Civic Center from commercial development, and ensure our downtown is built on Berkeley's values.

Under Measure R, new developments

  • meet high green building standards

  • include affordable housing on site

  • offer generous bike parking

  • include parking for residents, visitors and patrons of theaters, concerts, shops and restaurants; and for the disabled, carsharing and electric vehicle charging

  • guarantee jobs for Berkeley residents and fair wages for construction, maintenance, security and hotel workers

  • provide funding for public transportation, improvements to streets, sidewalks, parks and open spaces and for loans to small businesses

The five tallest developments also include public restrooms and family-sized units.

The goals of a greener, denser and more vibrant Downtown are fully supported while respecting existing neighborhoods and historic resources. Our Civic Center is protected as a public commons--in perpetuity--allowing only public-serving uses such as museums, libraries, government, non-profits, arts, live performance venues and farmer's markets. No future Council can vote to allow exclusively private uses--ever.

In 2010, voters approved a "Green Vision" for Downtown Berkeley, outlining a plan for increased development coupled with significant community benefits. Measure R fulfills that promise, providing the legal language necessary to ensure our Downtown is developed to 21st Century environmental standards, invites residents of all economic backgrounds and life-stages, and is accessible and welcoming for all Berkeley residents.

Berkeley has led the national movement to save our Post Offices and keep public assets in the public realm. We champion social justice, universal accessibility and the environment. Our Post Office is threatened, and loopholes allow Downtown development with the bare minimum of environmental features or community benefits. Vote Yes for a Green, Equitable and Civic Downtown. Later will be "too late."

Maxwell G. Anderson, Jr., Berkeley City Council District 3
Jesse Arreguín, Berkeley City Councilmember, District 4 (Downtown and Central Berkeley); former member, Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC)
Margot Smith, Committee to Save the Berkeley Post Office Steering Committee member
Shirley Dean, Berkeley Neighborhoods Council Steering Committee; Former Mayor, City of Berkeley on behalf of Berkeley Neighborhoods Council
Martha Nicoloff, Co-Author, Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance; Board Member, Council of Neighborhood Associations (CNA) on behalf of Council of Neighborhood Associations

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Measure R supporters say it "fulfills the promise" that voters envisioned when they overwhelmingly passed a downtown plan measure four years ago. Then why is virtually everyone who supported the original downtown measure to create a green, vibrant downtown now opposing this Measure R?

The Greenbelt Alliance, League of Conservation Voters East Bay, Downtown Berkeley Association, Senator Hancock, Assemblywoman Skinner, Mayor Bates, housing advocates and labor unions all oppose Measure R because it will not "fulfill" any promise--instead it would stop the progress we are making toward an environmentally sound, transit-oriented downtown.

It would eliminate much needed housing, jeopardize $28 million in contributions to affordable housing, and drive housing costs in our city even higher.

* Greenbelt Alliance says: "Measure R would stop new housing near BART and stop Berkeley's progress toward a green downtown."

  • The League of Conservation Voters East Bay says: "Measure R threatens to reverse environmental gains and make Berkeley more expensive, more car-dependent and more polluted."

Don't be fooled. Measure R is not needed to save the Downtown Post Office--the City Council already acted to protect it from commercial development. Measure R doesn't help the environment--it reverses progress we've made holding our city to a higher green standard.

Join with the broad spectrum of environmental, elected, community, labor and housing leaders who came together four years ago to plan a greener, better future. We gather again to reject this deceptive and misguided measure.

Don't stop our green downtown.

No on measure R

James Paxson, member of the Greenbelt Alliance Public Policy Committee
Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy and Former U.S. Secretary of Labor
Pavan Upadhyayula, ASUC President
Nancy Skinner, Assemblymember
Tom Bates, Berkeley Mayor

Measure R is deceptive ballot-box planning that would:

* End the Downtown revival that is giving us a greener, safer, more vibrant heart of the City.

* Reverse Berkeley's Climate Change efforts by stopping new housing near BART and increasing pollution and congestion--adding to one of the greatest threats we face today. The lost transit-oriented housing means millions of pounds of added greenhouse gases.

* Exacerbate the competition for housing that has already made Berkeley unaffordable for many individuals and families.

"Measure R would bring Berkeley's progress toward a green vibrant downtown to a screeching halt."--Greenbelt Alliance

The Downtown Post Office will be protected. The City Council is already acting to save it.

Measure R:

  • would overturn the Downtown Plan approved by 64% of voters in 2010. The Plan has already delivered significant community benefits, and will bring more if projects planned under its guidelines can move forward.

  • would drive up rents throughout the city by blocking new housing. The City's financial impact study estimates that 1,300 units of housing planned near BART would not be built because of this measure, and we could lose up to $28 million for our affordable housing trust fund.

  • is so inflexible that controversial and even illegal details--like requiring public restrooms in private residential buildings and reducing city flexibility to create affordable housing--can be corrected only at the ballot box with more costly elections.

Measure R would mean a less livable, less affordable city for all of us. Join State Senator Loni Hancock; Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner; Mayor Tom Bates; Councilmembers Capitelli, Maio, Moore, Wengraf and Wozniak; and a broad coalition of environmentalists, seniors, students, small business owners, housing advocates, labor leaders and educators in voting No on Measure R.

Learn more at

No on R--Save our green downtown!

Susie Medak, President, Downtown Berkeley Association
Eric Panzer, Chair, Board of Directors, Livable Berkeley
Anthony Bruzzone, President, Berkeley Design Advocates
Fred Collignon, Past Chair, Department of City and Regional Planning
Tom Bates, Berkeley Mayor

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Nearly 4,000 residents signed petitions placing Measure R on the ballot. Neighborhood organizations, environmentalists, housing advocates and Berkeleyans of all ages, from every neighborhood--are in support.

Voters approved a "Green Vision" for Downtown in 2010, providing incentives to developers coupled with environmental and community benefits. Loopholes allow lucrative developments to go forward with a bare minimum of benefits. Measure R closes these loopholes.

Opponents claim "nothing will be built" if developers must provide the very benefits originally promised. It's just not credible. Housing prices--and profits--are skyrocketing. The City's own study states that housing will continue to be built under Measure R.

Opponents are using scare tactics to mislead voters.

Here's the truth:

  • Measure R furthers Downtown's revival. The benefits of transit oriented development will accrue, plus funds to expand public space, improve transit and support small businesses.

  • Measure R will not drive up rents. New development will continue--with ample affordable housing and funds for the Housing Trust Fund.

  • Measure R fulfills our Climate Action goals. Development must meet high green building standards and environmental features.

Berkeley's civic and historic buildings are threatened with imminent privatization. City Council may act to protect them now, but without voter ratification, the Council can reverse protections with a simple vote. Your Yes vote locks in these protections.

Vote Yes on R to ensure our Downtown is built for the benefit of the entire community, and our Civic Center remains public-serving--forever.

Patrick Sheahan, Planning Commissioner (former); LEED Accredited Architect
Isabelle Gaston, Berkeley resident, President of NEBA
Lisa Stephens, Chair, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board; former member, Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee
Anne Paxton Wagley, Vice Chair, Landmarks Preservation Commission
Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley City Councilmember, District 4 (Downtown and Central Berkeley); former member, Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee

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