Monday, September 3, 2007

A little birdy told me....

A little birdy happened to be sitting in a local cafe recently and overheard a large group of North Shattuck Plaza proponents and their enablers gathered together to discuss the most recent iteration of Dave Stoloff's Grand North Berkeley Plaza Plan.

It seems the septuagenarian city planner wants to bring the worst of all worlds to North Berkeley by creating a faux North Berkeley Plaza, which would simply eliminate the parking in the frontage road area with roadblocks and signage -- so we can all experience the grandness of his vision.

Of course, one retired city planning professor's vision is every other neighbor's nightmare.

The net result of this most recent proposal would be to inflict upon us all of the negatives (no parking, poor access to the stores, and a vast, ugly, neglected and unused space), and none of his plan's alleged positives (a sense of place, gracious and ecological landscaping, improved and expanded sidewalk living space).

According to my spies, while most of the assembled enablers were supportive, a few folks suggested that this would only exacerbate the antipathy of the already grossly irritated anti-plaza crowd.

Meanwhile another birdy told me (thank you, Mary Ann Brewin) that the cult of Do-Nothing Naysayers who've hijacked the email list known as LOCCNA --you know who you are-- are rumored to be planning a community meeting in September.

One might wish that such a meeting would be intended to better understand the community's concerns and desires, or to better inform the community about the options we have for improving our lot -- but if one imagined such a fantasy, one is bound to live a life filled with disappointment.

The sole intended result of this planned upcoming community meeting is to effect my removal as one of LOCCNA's three elected representative to the tripartite meetings of merchants, landlords and neighbors.

It seems I didn't get the memo that stated the members of LOCCNA were irresolvably and adamantly against any and every attempt to improve the appearance of our community.

Of course only one of these tripartite meeting has been held so far, and that one immediately devolved into hysterical legal threats from LOCCNA's unelected representative, Julie Ross. Her shrieking was immediately mated to insults and screams from Art 'Duplicitous Insect' Goldberg.

Poor little orphans, it is you who are rendering yourselves useless and redundant. If all you have to offer is shrieking and shouting soon no one will want to listen to you.

The reality is that the neighborhood is clearly divided.

Some folks (merchants, landlords and residents) want nothing changed. (We used to call such people reactionaries because they never came up with any proposals but could be counted upon to dump on anything anyone else suggested.)

Then again, Mr Stoloff's groupies want his ill-conceived, over-reaching, expensive and pompous plaza (several beloved local merchants have publicly stated this will lead to the death of their businesses).

But most folks just want something slightly more attractive and more useful than what is there now. Something that will improve the area without choking it to death, something that can be done inexpensively, incrementally, and sensitively.

Meanwhile LOCCNA's coven of Do-Nothing, Naysayers have unilaterally canceled two scheduled tripartite meetings to discuss these issues. (The first meeting LOCCNA's agents canceled was scheduled for April and the second for August 22). This group's obstructionist tactics have now delayed this process by more than six months.

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