petitionA rare turn of events suggests that taking initiative does indeed get things done (depending on your perspective.) At least such is the case for the anti Downtown Berkeley development folks. In the face of … uncalculated odds and alleged harassment by pro-Downtowners, the Alliance for a Green and Livable Downtown managed to round up more than enough signatures to shoot down the City Council’s official plan. Back to the drawing board, guys.

Five thousand five hundred fifty-eight signatures in 30 days were needed to halt the plan for revision or a public vote yea or nay, and around 9,200 signatures were gathered—more than enough to account for invalid signatures and possibly the most ever gathered by a petition in Berkeley. Woah! That’s over 9000. “Green and Livable” must have quite a ring.

Editor’s Note: As a clarification, the purpose of the petition was to place the current Downtown Area Plan on a ballot, not to dismiss it altogether.

Image Source: mrtwism under Creative Commons.
City Clerk Confirms 9,200 Signatures Submitted for Downtown Plan Referendum; Verification Process to Begin [Daily Planet]
Berkeley downtown plan foes meet signature goal [Mercury News]

Eric said:
Aug 24, 2009 at 12:51 pm

This post is factually incorrect. Neither does the petition “shoot down” the adopted downtown plan nor is it “back to the drawing board” for the city. All this means is that the plan as adopted by the city council will either go to ballot (probably in November 2010, at which time it is likely that the adopted plan would stand) or that the city council will make changes to appease opponents of the current plan (probably a futile effort for all involved).

Having been one of the volunteers working to discourage people from signing the petition, I can honestly say that in my experience the “harassment” was coming entirely from the petitioners. While we were simply holding signs and politely asking citizens to read our fliers before signing, the opposition’s not-so-loyal, paid signature gatherers constantly threatened us with lawsuits and jail time, yelled at and insulted us, and on several occasions called the police to try to stop us. To the credit of BPD, we were rightly permitted to carry on our efforts just as they carried on theirs.

Evante Garza-Licudine said:
Aug 24, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for the comment Eric and sorry for the misunderstanding.

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