Thursday, May 31, 2018

More on the "housing crisis"

The SF Chronicle today came out against Berkeley for wanting to protect itself against excessive housing congestion, calling Berkeley hypocritical and dominated by NIMBYism.  As usual, the Chron sucks.
I thought it deserved a reply, although the Chron is notorious for the worst Letters to the Editor section perhaps in the country.  The Maui News has better written letters.  Nonetheless, here's what I wrote -- read it here because you can be assured you won't be able to see it in the Chron, because for one thing, it is grammatically correct....

re Editorial: Bill reveals lots of hypocrisy

NIMBYism my backside! Do Weiner, Chiu, and your editorial board want to Manhattan-ize our communities and destroy their character because “people want to live there?” Why castigate current residents of functional communities who want to preserve what is good in the world? Let's remember the mistakes of well-meaning urban redevelopers of the last century who inadvertently destroyed communities they called “slums.”

Yes, people need to live somewhere, but we should widen our view and think of the crisis not as one of housing, but rather of transportation. Shrinking commuting times by expanding and expediting trains, busses and BART connections would allow peripheral communities to flourish, and would avoid the contagion of ever more congestion. Yes, this would require expanded public investment and preferential treatment of public transportation, and some imagination by transportation planners, but other countries have gone this way. Why not us?

Budd Shenkin

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