(Article changed on November 5, 2012 at 19:01)
Okay, over this past weekend, Block By Block and some of the University of Berkeley students (Berkeley Project) volunteered to "clean up" the downtown area. They were seen clearing out the median closest the parking lot, while wearing their "Berkeley Project" t-shirts (On the back of these shirts shows the [corporate] sponsors, one of them being the Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association [DBA]), of all its old, dead, brown leaves and trash that has collected therein. How very nice. How very lovely. Although, the timing of this "project" seems a bit suspicious to me ... that's right, it's the weekend before the election.
I am yawning right now, because the entire thing is so damned boring and was obviously done for political reasons. The lack of imagination is galling. Before you go on about how I am "being cynical," think about it for a moment before you hammer me with that label. The timing of this thing stinks. Why didn't Block By Block (SMS Holdings) and their volunteers from the University come out here last month, or last week, even, to clean up the downtown area? Why wait, until the weekend be fore the election to do this "project"?
There are no coincidences.
I am not slamming the Berkeley Project people in this piece, so do not think this is what this piece is about. This is about how Block By Block (SMS Holdings), and more specifically, the DBA, used Project Berkeley for their own political purposes. The kids who came out and helped out, bless them. I am not giving them a hard time, although I did give them a little guff over the weekend, as I noticed they were employing the very same type work ethic as those at Cal Trans often employ, as you drive by them on the freeways or highways: one working while eight watch (or text?).
The funny part about this story is, they (Block By Block/SMS Holdings) must have looked up what plants to keep and "get rid" of concerning the urinal cakes (circular planters on most corners in downtown Berkeley), because they did just that. Using the internet seems to have worked... or did it? Sure, adding the mulch was a good idea, and getting rid of those plants that did not need to be there, because you were trying too hard to impress the first time around (it was fake back then as it is now), but you also added too much bark, and you covered the plants and tree with too much of it, too. Around the plants, there should not be any bark. The roots need to be exposed. But someone qualified to do this kind of work would know this, wouldn't they?
It's bad enough the trees that run along the sidewalk never seem to get any of the much-needed water that flows past them, from the over-watering of the urinal cakes, any time the water is turned on. Love this stuff! Months ago, the building owner has the building maintenance guy put a plate put over (illegally) the historical building's water supply, without permit (This is where the ordinance was broken, as well as from the 'historical' standpoint of changing the face of the building from its original design), so the street kids could not get their dogs water, and now I must watch as water is being wasted, by the city (Through the city; through the DBA; through Block By Block; through SMS Holdings; through a right-wing political organization attempting to gut unions during an election year in a liberal stronghold through a 'Trojan Horse.')... and now, this?!
This is Politics 101: Posturing Just Before an Election.
-James Richard Armstrong II