People's Park Historic District Advocacy Group

In A few wordS...

We are incorporated in California as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Objective and purpose

to protect, preserve, and enhance public understanding of the significant architectural and cultural landmarks and historic events unique to the outside campus area through outreach, research, and educational and cultural community projects.

People's Park Open Letter Sent and Release to Media

On April 19, 2021, the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group released an Open Letter that was sent to UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, State Legislators, the Board of Regents and Governor Newsom.

The hundred and two signatories on the letter include Berkeley residents, UCB professors, two former Berkeley mayors, three former Berkeley city councilmembers, many former Berkeley commissioners, Cal alumni and students, attorneys, architects, historians and many others who are concerned about the threatened destruction of People’s Park.

The open letter calls upon the University of California to work with the Berkeley community to protect and enhance People’s Park, rather than destroy it and build a 17-story housing structure. UC argues the destruction of the park is necessary to respond to its housing shortage, yet the university has identified several other possible sites for student residences.

While recognizing the need for truly affordable housing, the letter condemns the threat to the historic and cultural legacy of the People’s Park and the environmental damage that would result from the loss of the irreplaceable open space. The letter envisions what would be a properly maintained park and “a safe, well-used public space frequented by all.”

The Board of Regents will consider People’s Park project and another poorly conceived UCB construction project in a meeting this summer. Berkeley, Bay Area and California residents are encouraged to investigate the overreach of UC and contact their legislators.

See the letter with signatures below.

Open Letter

To: The Chancellor, Mayor, State Legislators, the Regents and the Governor

No northern city was more affected by the great social and cultural movements of the ‘60s than Berkeley and no event in Berkeley history brought together more of the diverse forces of that era than the conflict over People’s Park in 1969. That is why the park is designated as a landmark by the City of Berkeley and the State of California and is deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

And that is why the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group and the undersigned call upon the University of California to work with the Berkeley community to protect and enhance People’s Park. Just as the nation preserves the great battlefields of the Civil War of the 1860s, so should it preserve places like People’s Park that commemorate the great social and cultural conflicts of the 1960s.

Instead, the university proposes to destroy the park in order to build a 17-story student housing structure. UC argues the destruction of the park is necessary to respond to its housing shortage, yet the university has identified several other possible sites for student residences. Of all the jurisdictions dealing with the Bay Area’s regional housing crisis, only UC Berkeley proposes to destroy a public park of national historic importance. UC’s development plan would also destroy the view from the park and overshadow the surrounding other distinguished local, state and national landmarks, e.g., Maybeck’s Christian Science First Church.

In destroying the park, the university is eliminating the only public open space in Berkeley’s most densely populated neighborhood. Over the past several years, UC has over-enrolled the number of students, violating its own plans and increasing the number of budget-padding out-of-state enrollees. This greatly increases the population density of the area.  Doesn’t the university have a responsibility to maintain and enhance the one piece of restorative nature still open to the public in this over-crowded neighborhood?

The university argues the park is a place of great crime and violence, a claim vehemently denied by park users and their supporters. The university’s unacceptable “solution” is to displace the poor, the unhoused and other park users by paving over the park. UC has clearly allowed the park to deteriorate; however, maintaining it as well as other city parks could ensure that People’s Park could be a safe, well-used public space frequented by all.

Shouldn’t a great university, with a brilliant faculty and immensely talented students, use its resources to work with neighbors and park supporters to create an inclusive public open space welcome to all? Shouldn’t the university’s architecture faculty help design truly affordable low-income housing projects in other Berkeley locations? Such efforts would be consistent with UC’s mission of public education and service and consistent with the best values and ideals of the ‘60s.

Please join with us not just to preserve People’s Park, but to make it a place that respects and commemorates its history and celebrates and serves its diverse surrounding community.

For more background, go to www.peoplesparkhxdist.org. If you want to add your name to this statement, send name and affiliation to [email protected].

Signed:

  • Lynn Adler, Berkeley resident since 1973
  • Gael Alcock, musician, Berkeley resident
  • Phil Allen, former Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commissioner
  • Jurgen Aust, AICP, Expert in Land Use, Transportation, City Planning; Berkeley Resident
  • David Axelrod, attorney
  • Russell Bates, 47-year Berkeley resident, Berkeley Copwatch member, People’s Park Committee member
  • Tom Bates, former Berkeley Mayor, State Assemblyman and Alameda County Supervisor
  • Reverend Allan Bell, Director, The Silence Project, London
  • Robb Benson, Food Not Bombs
  • Howard Besser, retired UC Professor and 50 year Berkeley resident
  • Paul Kealoha Blake, activist
  • John Roosevelt Boettiger, Ph.D, psychologist and professor of human development emeritus, Hampshire College
  • Summer Brenner, writer, Berkeley resident
  • Zelda Bronstein, Journalist and former Chair, Berkeley Planning Commission
  • James Brook, poet and translator, Berkeley resident
  • Mina Davis Caulfield, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., UC Berkeley; resident of Berkeley 61 year; Assoc. Prof., Anthropology and Women Studies, emerita, San Francisco State University
  • James Chanin, civil rights attorney
  • Sas Colby, artist, activist, resident of South Berkeley
  • Terri Compost, ecologist
  • Tom Dalzell, author, union lawyer
  • Cheryl Davila, former Berkeley City Councilmember
  • Shirley Dean, former Berkeley mayor, former Berkeley City Councilmember
  • Michael Delacour, People’s Park co-founder
  • Carol Denney, writer, musician
  • Linda Diamond, Food Not Bombs volunteer
  • Lesley Emmington, former President, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, former Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commissioner
  • Annie Esposito, retired Community News Director at KZYX
  • Laura Fantone. UC Berkeley Research Staff, Berkeley resident
  • Isis Feral, environmentalist, labor and disability justice activist
  • Helen Finkelstein, UCB alumna & Berkeley resident
  • Arthur Fonseca, Picuris Pueblo Senior Services Provider.
  • Anne-Lise François, Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley
  • Clifford Fred, former Berkeley Planning Commissioner
  • Paula Friedman, author and editor
  • Gloria Frym, writer, professor, California College of the Arts
  • Leah Garchik, journalist
  • Ann Garrison, Contributing Editor Black Agenda Report, KPFA/Pacifica reporter
  • Charles Gary, Spiritual Activist
  • Judith Gips, UC Berkeley graduate, writer, Berkeley resident since 1975, K-12 teacher, community organizer
  • Rafael Jesús González, Poet Laureate, City of Berkeley
  • Emil de Guzman
  • Hali Hammer, musician, activist, teacher
  • Kristin Hanson, Berkeley resident and professor of English at UC Berkeley
  • Chandra Hauptman, Berkeley resident, former KPFA Local Station Board & Pacifica National Board member
  • Art Hazelwood, Lecturer, San Francisco Art Institute
  • Robbin Henderson, UC Berkeley alumna, B.A., 1963; former Executive Director, Berkeley Art Center; Berkeley Civic Arts Commissioner
  • Higa, legal analyst, UC Berkeley alumna, former Boalt Hall law school & UC Berkeley Southeast Asian Studies Dept. employee
  • Aidan Hill, former Vice-Chair, City of Berkeley Homeless Commission
  • Greg Jan, historical researcher, political activist
  • Theo Jones, concerned citizen
  • Sheila Jordan, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Emerita, Youth and Justice Advocate
  • Persis M. Karim, Ph.D., Neda Nobari Distinguished Chair, Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies, San Francisco State University
  • Jonathan King, editor, writer
  • Ken Knabb, Berkeley resident since 1965, writer and translator
  • Jack Kurzweil, Professor (Emeritus) of Electrical Engineering, San Jose State University
  • Moni T. Law, J.D., Chair of Berkeley Community Safety Coalition, Cal Alum, 1982
  • Ying Lee, former Berkeley City Councilmember, former aide to Congressman Ron Dellums, former BUSD teacher
  • Michelle LePaule, Berkeley resident
  • Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor Tikkun magazine and Ph.D. in Philosophy, UC Berkeley, 1972
  • Joe Liesner, activist
  • Thomas Luce, People’s Park Committee
  • Seth Lunine, Lecturer, UCB Geography
  • Amelia S. Marshall, UC Berkeley alumna, 1980; retired staff research associate/development engineer; local history author
  • Gary McDole, Berkeley resident
  • Tom Miller, President, Green Cities Fund
  • Ed Monroe, artist
  • Doug Minkler, printmaker
  • Meave O’Connor, Wireless Radiation Education and Defense
  • Becky O’Malley, journalist and editor, former City of Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commissioner
  • Eliza O’Malley, Opera Singer, Artistic Director Berkeley Chamber Opera
  • Osha Neumann, lawyer
  • Cynthia Papermaster, UC Berkeley alumna, 55-year resident of Berkeley, former Berkeley PTA Council President
  • Marcia Poole, Berkeley resident, artist
  • Jim Powell, poet, MacArthur Fellow, Berkeley native
  • Martin Nicolaus, Berkeley Law alumnus, Berkeley parks advocate
  • Janette M. Reid, Berkeley resident since 1967, Cal alumna & staff retiree
  • Diane Resek, Professor Emerita of Mathematics, San Francisco State University
  • Justin Richardson, Landscape Architect, UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design alumnus
  • Eugene E Ruyle, Cal Alumnus, 1963, Anthropology; Emeritus Professor of Anthropology Cal State Long Beach (Puvungna)
  • Jos Sances, artist, activist
  • Marty Schiffenbauer, Berkeley resident 54 years
  • Bob Schildgen, writer
  • Patrick Sheahan, architect
  • Dan Siegel, civil rights attorney, ASUC president (1969-70)
  • Gar Smith, FSM vet, author, environmental activist; former Ecology Center board member; editor emeritus, Earth Island Journal
  • Harvey Smith, public historian, educator
  • Margot Smith, retired social scientist, activist
  • Elizabeth Starr, environmental advocate
  • Zach Stewart, landscape architect for Berkeley Shorebird Park and Willard Park
  • Paule Cruz Takash, Ph.D., Anthropology, UC Berkeley, 1990
  • Lisa Teague, People’s Park Committee and Berkeley Outreach Coalition
  • Daniella Thompson, writer, historian
  • Maxina Ventura, mother, activist, musician
  • Richard Walker, former department chair UCB Geography, professor Emeritus
  • Steve Wasserman, publisher, Heyday
  • Michael Weber, UC Berkeley student, 1969
  • Pat Welch, graphic designer
  • Jane Welford, activist, gardener, grandmother
  • Jane White, Berkeley resident
  • Tobey M. Wiebe, Ph.D. candidate, School of Education, UC Berkeley, 1978
  • Charles Wollenberg, California historian, writer
  • Lope Yap, Jr., filmmaker

As of April 17, 2021, 11:00 a.m., 102 signatures

 

The Future of People’s Park

UC Berkeley’s plan to build a 17-story high rise on People’s Park, which would destroy the historic and cultural legacy and an irreplaceable natural environment, has brought together writers, historians, students and park activists to oppose this ill-considered project.

This Zoom event, hosted by the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group, will present the historic background of the park, give details on the effort to recognize its national landmark status, and share plans for revitalizing this invaluable public open space.

The goal of this meeting is to develop strategies for taking our message to the broader Berkeley community, as well as the mayor, city council, UC Berkeley, state legislature and regents.

View the recording of The Future of People’s Park event:
https://sfsu.zoom.us/rec/share/pCbGxI5NijD5MKkqiVkKG75qfiZnoq7wbEzFDZL71LvxF26etUcmrSUSYPXOhWfX.MZTIqgTjHIuiCh9t

To view the event, enter the passcode:
rnPfCa$0

Presenters to include:
Tom Dalzell- author of The Battle for People’s Park, Berkeley 1969
Steve Wasserman – Participant and Activist during 1969
Max Ventura – People’s Park Committee
Aidan Hill – Former Berkeley Mayoral Candidate/UCB Student

Length of event: hour and a half

Introductory remarks and moderator – Harvey Smith

Each presentation 8 minutes with 4 minutes of submitted questions

Group discussion following and additional questions from viewers

Closing remarks – Harvey Smith

Time: Feb 26, 2021 07:00 to 08:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

This is what we Are Doing

Protect, Preserve, enhance


RESEARCH

Exploring deeply the background and history of People's Park, the surrounding historic district, and UC Berkeley land use policy.

PLANNING

Creating alternatives to the destruction of People's Park and an enhancement of the historic neighborhoold open to all students, Berkeley residents and visitors.

ADVOCACY

Educating the community and actively opposiing the destruction of People's Park and the surrounding neighborhood.

Endorsers

A cross-section of Berkeley

Historians, preservationists, students, neighbors and concerned citizens.
About Us

Historians, preservationists, students, neighbors and concerned citizens have come together to form the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group to document and preserve the open space of People’s Park and the historic resources encircling it.

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