For Immediate Release For Additional Information:
Phil Bokovoy, President, Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510.843.5426
David Shiver, email@example.com, 510.612.1249
UC Berkeley endangers thousands of lives during State of Emergency;
forces non-essential use of community resources
(April 10, 2020) -A coalition of community leaders is demanding University of California President Janet Napolitano postpone a real estate planning process at the UC Berkeley campus that would divert thousands of hours away from life-saving efforts during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
The process would require thousands of hours of staff and community time to review and address. These hours would be diverted from people currently engaged in saving lives through efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, including public safety officials who would need to devote several hundred hours to respond to the NOP.
“We are horrified by Chancellor Carol Christ’s irresponsible action which would redirect precious lifesaving resources to a non-essential project,” said Phil Bokovoy, president, Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods. “We have asked President Napolitano to act immediately to overturn Christ’s action.” Bokovoy speaks for a coalition of 9 community organizations in Berkeley which signed the letter.
Earlier this week UC Berkeley Chancellor Christ authorized the filing of a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the next Long Range Development Plan for the campus. The NOP is a discretionary act and doesn’t fall under either an Essential Activity or Minimum Basic Operation, as outlined in both Governor Newsom’s executive orders and the Bay Area Shelter in Place orders, the community groups said. In addition, the NOP requires a major public scoping session, a non-essential activity, to be done virtually during the Bay Area Shelter in Place order.
While the planning process includes two projects for much needed student housing which is widely supported in the community, the University still has the ability to move forward with those projects under the 2005 LRDP. The NOP includes a much larger effort to update the campus Long Range Development Plan and the community groups note that there is no reason to include this large project in the NOP at this time. Delaying the NOP until after the COVID-19 emergency would have a relatively small impact on the University, while maintaining the focus on containing the pandemic and saving lives.