We offer sincere thanks to the voters who saw through the deceptions and half-truths of Measure R and sent the ill-conceived initiative down to a resounding defeat. With all precincts reporting in preliminary returns posted the morning after the election, Measure R lost with 74% voting no.
We also want to thank all the people who actively supported the campaign, including those who walked door to door, displayed yard signs and helped inform the electorate in many other ways.
“This is a landmark victory for Berkeley,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “It saves our green Downtown Plan that voters approved in 2010 and allows us to move forward with a more vibrant, cleaner and safer heart of the city.”
Measure R deceptively promised to extract more “community benefits” from developers and to “save the Berkeley Post Office.” But according to the City study of the measure, to news media and to many independent organizations, Measure R’s prohibitive fees and requirements would have killed the high-impact housing projects planned for the Downtown, thus exacerbating our critical housing shortage and causing more greenhouse gas emissions by displacing new housing away from mass transit.
And Measure R’s provisions for the Post Office would have been redundant since the City Council has already adopted the exact Post Office-related provisions contained in Measure R.
Moreover, Berkeley’s current Downtown Plan already provides one of the nation’s most comprehensive sets of required community benefits and environmentally friendly building standards for new developments. Ironically, our Downtown Plan, developed over six years of community participation and more than 200 public meetings, would have been overturned by Measure R, which was drafted by City Council member Jesse Arreguin and two other self-appointed individuals without community input or public review.
“I want to express my deep appreciation to the many community leaders and the extraordinary coalition of environmental, labor, business, affordable housing and civic groups who have worked tirelessly to revitalize our Downtown and who opposed Measure R,” Bates said. “I look forward to continuing our work together for a genuinely progressive future for Berkeley.”