Like a Clogger recently said, Berkeley just loves congratulating itself on green superiority. Actually, we tend to congratulate ourselves on our superiority in general. The Berkeley History Center’s newest exhibit, “Berkeley, a City of Firsts,” is the latest museum research collection to do just that–laying history out for us as proof that Berkeley’s willingness to be crazy and innovative is a good thing.

Here are a few things that appear on the “Berkeley’s got it, so now we’re gonna flaunt it,” timeline:

1910 Bicycle patrols – the first wheeled patrols of any kind – by the city’s police officers

1923 Lie-detector machines – introduced by town Marshal Gus Vollmer

1984 Equal benefits for domestic partners

1989 A citywide ban on Styrofoam

2001 City condemnation of U.S. and allied bombing of Afghanistan

2003 Conversion of city vehicles to operate on biodiesel

2006 Ballot measure to fight global warming – passed by city’s voters

According to Mayor Tom Bates,

“Any time you’re cutting edge, you’re sometimes going to make a mistake or go too far,” he said. “Eighty percent of our ideas don’t go anywhere, but 20 percent have some real wisdom and vision. What works in Berkeley happens elsewhere in three to five years.”

Oh Berkeley, you’re such a trendsetter! We’re assuming the whole marine recruitment center thing falls in the 80 percent of ideas that don’t work. Guess we’ll have to wait three to five years to find out!

Image Source: Patrici Flores
Berserkeley has been that way a long time [SF Chronicle]


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