I’m a reasonable man and understand that my opinion is just that.Â I respect that others have other opinions and allow them their right to express it.Â What I do take exception to is liars, hypocrites, blame-shifters and those who wonâ€™t take the time to understand an issue that theyâ€™re willing to dump hundreds of hours into protesting against.
And that is exactly what those of you who are being vocal about their disagreement with this project are being.Â To prove my point, I will list each of the arguments youâ€™ve made:
1.Â This project hates trees and trees are good
2.Â This project is seismically unsafe
3.Â This project will increase traffic on Piedmont Avenue
4.Â The project can be put somewhere else
Letâ€™s go through these one by one:
#1: This project hates trees and trees are good
When I see signs like â€œMommy, what did trees look like?â€ I know that Iâ€™m dealing with someone who is being disingenuous.Â Iâ€™ve never met anyone who has a desire to make trees go away entirely.Â People like trees.Â Just about everyone does.Â Some donâ€™t mind cutting down trees here and there for a project, but in every building project Iâ€™ve ever seen new trees have been planted.
This isnâ€™t because of pressure from environmentalists but because people like trees.Â They add shade and beauty.Â Iâ€™ve seen housing complexes go up where not a single tree was cut down for the project but just about every house built had 2 or 3 trees planted.Â Why?Â Because people like trees.
Similarly, this project will end up planting far more trees than it will cut down.Â Anyone who has seen the artistic renderings of the project know that the inclusion of planting new trees was not just a move to pacify environmentalist but a move to increase the beauty of the facilities.
I will give some quarter to those of you who believe that old trees are worth keeping around simply because they are old.Â I heartily disagree, particularly to the degree many of you take the argument, but Iâ€™ll accept that it can be an internally consistent perspective.Â However, thatâ€™s not what your protest signs say.
As I said, Iâ€™ve got no problem with you disagreeing with me.Â However, I do insist on honesty.Â If you really believe that old trees shouldnâ€™t be cut down, say that.Â Donâ€™t come up with bogus excuses to cover your true motives for political expediency.
But instead of being honest, since you know that nobody holds the extreme views you do, you resort to other disingenuous arguments to try to win.
Thatâ€™s called being a liar.
#2: This project is seismically unsafe.
Anyone who thinks about this one for even a minute knows how stupid your argument is.Â Memorial stadium was built before we had a good understanding of the Hayward fault that runs through the middle of it.Â It was also built before building technologies existed that would withstand incredibly large scale earthquakes.
Every weekday a significant group of people go to work in Memorial stadium.Â In that sense, they are daily at risk of a large earthquake ending their lives.Â Additionally, about 10 times a year 50,000 or more people sit in memorial stadium for an event.Â For those hours a much larger group is put at risk including me and my children.
When the Performance Center is built, it will be built using the latest seismically safe building technologies.Â All of the people who work in Memorial stadium will have their offices moved to the Performance Center.Â They will be far safer in the new building.
Additionally, once those who work in Memorial Stadium have their offices moved, it will free up Memorial Stadium for its own seismic retrofit without having to further compromise the stadium while people are working in it.
Once the entire project is completed, everyone will be far more seismically safe than they are today.Â To argue that this project is seismically unsafe is in fact arguing to leave people in seismically unsafe situations.
Thatâ€™s called being a hypocrite.
#3: This project will increase traffic on Piedmont Avenue
This part of your argument centers on the parking garage that will be built where Maxwell field currently is located.Â Of course it is true that if you add parking, it will increase traffic.Â However, your underlying point is not that it will increase traffic but that it will do so in a place that already has too much traffic.
I spend nearly two hours every football game day getting in and out of Berkeley.Â I come to the Rockridge BART station and take the bus in from there.Â From there I sit in stop and go traffic on College Avenue to the stadium.Â I get to do the same in reverse on the way home.
The issue is not the streets surrounding the stadium.Â The issue is the City of Berkeley.Â They made a conscious decision to purposefully make Berkeley a difficult city to drive in.Â They blocked off streets and refused to widen the few remaining thoroughfares.Â They refused to add turning lanes and other traffic easing measures as well.
The traffic getting to and from this new parking garage will be just as horrible as you suggest.Â However it has nothing to do with the project, particularly considering the project includes widening Piedmont Avenue around the stadium.Â It has everything to do with the surrounding City of Berkeley policies.
This is called being a blame-shifter.
#4: This project can be put somewhere else
This isnâ€™t an argument of its own right but a justification for other arguments.Â Thatâ€™s fine in its own right.Â If there is indeed a solution that meets the needs of the project that has less downside, then it is worth pursuing.
However, I balk at this proposal for two reasons.
The first is that I think youâ€™re being disingenuous.Â This project has already gone through years of public meetings and design work.Â While there were complaints during that time, no one seriously proposed these locations at that time.Â Now that the project is nearly ready to start, I find it all too convenient that this is the time the alternatives start coming out of the woodwork.
Additionally, there is a long history in Berkeley of protests against any new University projects independent of where on campus they are proposed.Â Youâ€™ve already proven yourselves to be liars, hypocrites and blame-shifters to me.Â I believe that these proposals are nothing more that attempt to buy time.Â Any other location would be just as unacceptable to you.
However, despite the fact that I feel comfortable in dismissing these alternatives as merely distraction techniques, I for some odd reason feel compelled to respond to them.
The first proposal for a gym on the other side of campus is easy to dismiss.Â Itâ€™s on the other side of campus.Â Itâ€™s a big campus.Â The coaches and staff need quick access to their practice facilities that just happen to be at Memorial Stadium.Â It just doesnâ€™t make sense to put it a long way from the stadium.
The second proposal is to put it where Maxwell field is.Â Well, that would be great if the project didnâ€™t also include a parking garage.Â Other than the time lost for the design changes, Iâ€™m sure the University would be happy to cut down the oak trees for the parking garage and instead put the Performance Center where Maxwell field is.
These proposals show that you really donâ€™t care that appropriate facilities are built for the University.Â At the very least it shows you wonâ€™t take the time to understand all of the requirements for this project despite the fact that youâ€™re willing to dump hundreds of hours protesting against.
In conclusion, I find you to be liars, hypocrites and blame shifters who are unwilling to spend the time to understand the project before jumping on the protest bandwagon.
Cal Bear Season Ticket Holder