home contact us
War Zone
top secret

Landmarking and Development

O’Malley has a strong anti-development bias, which she advances not just in the defense of tree-sitting, but at every opportunity.  By most accounts, she purchased the Daily Planet with this single motivation in mind.  Not satisfied with editorializing against development, she slants the entire news department against devlopment.  Here is a typical example, chosen almost at random.  On January 21, 2009 the Daily Planet reported on the departure of anti-development Planning Commissioner:

Ferrazares was perhaps the most independent member and the least predictable vote on a strongly divided panel. She asked incisive questions and often spotted implications in proposals that slipped by most of her colleagues. Uniquely on the commission, she would often vote with the majority after deeply questioning the proposals she would ultimately vote for.

Key here is to understand that, if it can be believed, this is taken from a “news” story, and not from an op-ed or editorial.  Similar “news” can be found in almost every issue of the DP.

Here is Terry Doran’s recent take on the DP’s systemic bias (letter to the Daily Planet of February 11, 2009):

Ms. O’Malley describes the Planet as “professionally reported news,” but is it? …Let’s just look at one article as an example from this same edition of the Planet [January 29, 209], “Zoning Board Approves Kashani’s Ashby Ave. Condos.” This project was approved by the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) by a 7-1 vote. So what should a “professional journalist,” working for a “newspaper” write? What is the story that the readers would welcome as “news”? (Full disclosure: I am one of the seven board members voting yes, and am a retired journalism teacher).

I would think, as a “news story,” that the overwhelming vote by ZAB should be in the article. It was not. I would also think that the reasons ZAB approved this project should be in the article, but not one ZAB member was quoted or cited. And I would think the public would be interested in knowing how this project effects Berkeley, being one of the largest residential structures proposed for West Berkeley in recent history. What was at this site before this project, how does it fit into Berkeley’s General Plan, San Pablo Avenue Plan, Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan, or help or hurt the housing needs of Berkeley? None of this was in the article.

Instead, the few critics, supported by one ZAB member in the end, were highlighted in the first two paragraphs of the article and the bulk of the article was devoted to their objections. Again, seven out of eight members supported this project and yet not one thing was mentioned in the article, until the very last paragraph, about “any” benefit to Berkeley when many were discussed at the meeting, by board members and the public.



home - contact us