One of the quirks of Berkeley City government is its 35 citizen commissions. They advise City Council on topics ranging from foreign policy to waste management. As in every other budget cycle, staff is recommending some commissions be eliminated to save time and money. With the severe economic downturn, staff may get their wish:
The cost to run the commissions: $1 million a year, [City Manager] Kamlarz estimated in 2008. Meanwhile the city is looking to mend a $12 million deficit, mulling cuts in police, libraries, public works and virtually every other department. The City Council is likely to discuss cutting some commissions in May.
If there is one Committee deserving elimination, it is Berkeley’s “Community Environmental Advisory Committee”. Three years ago, as the City was studying BRT, this group of concerned environmentalists passed a resolution to oppose the BRT project. They sent a sternly-worded letter to Council expressing their disapproval. Buses, in their view were polluting, and would threaten the safety of bicyclists! (never mind the BRT project included Class II bike lanes).
Really, what else is there to say? When a taxpayer-funded “environmental” commission favors automobiles over buses, favors automobiles over bike lanes, it loses all credibility.