One of the unacknowledged sources of blight and despair in any community (quickly becoming epidemic in Berkeley) is the blight of empty storefronts all over the city's commercial districts.
For every thousand square feet of unoccupied industrial/commercial/retail space, three persons are not employed!
Increased vandalism, crime, homelessness and environmental degradation are a direct result.
Empty storefronts are a response to the obscenely high, unaffordable rents currently being charged by too many of Berkeley's too few landlords.
It's time for Berkeley to start billing the landlords (many of who have monopolized too many buildings) for the additional municipal costs and for the additional substantial social burdens vacant properties inflict on our communities.
The fees (not taxes but direct user fees) should be both substantial and punitive.
When it's too expensive to keep these properties vacant, rents will drop to reflect their actual value, rather than monopolized, values.
Call you representatives today and demand that the city charge landlords and property owners for these social costs.
To join in a discussion of blight in our community check out the blog http://wefightblight.blogspot.com/