Berkeley: As go styrofoam containers, so goes Bush…


Fresh off of declaring Tuesday “Cindy Sheehan Day,” the City of Berkeley voted this week to put the impeachment of Bush and Cheney to a popular vote on the November ballot. On the red-blue political map of America, of course, Berkeley shows up as black. Mother Jones is too right-wing for Berkeley! But don’t take my word for it; reading between the lines of this bland comment, you can just about glean where Berkeley’s mayor is coming from politically: “It’s not about Bush and Cheney, much as I despise them. It’s about the Constitution and what they’re doing to it.”

Anticipating some eye-rolling, Bates also said, “Some people might say, ‘Oh, only in Berkeley.’ But things that start in Berkeley have a history of eventually being adopted by the rest of the country.” To which my first reaction was, Name one! Well…

[F]irst city to desegregate its public schools, first to establish curbside recycling, first to divest itself of investments in South Africa, first to establish a citizens’ police review commission, first to ban Styrofoam containers and first to mandate curb cuts for disabled access.

It’s easy to make fun of Berkeley, of course–even if you love the place, as I do–but on this one I hope the city proves as ahead of the curve as it did on styrofoam.