Chip Johnson writes in his San Francisco Chronicle column that, by requesting an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown may be proposing his most controversial plan yet. Specifically, Brown, in an attempt to rebuild downtown Oakland and fuel a lapsing economy, is proposing special legislation that would bypass historical building protections, which would make new development throughout downtown Oakland much easier, according to Johnson. The proposal is receiving mixed reactions from local environmentalists, who feel that although dense urban development can prevent sprawl, rejecting CEQA will set a dangerous precedent. In order to be granted exemption, Brown will attempt to ally himself with both policy-makers and environmentalists, a feat that could prove difficult and dangerous for Brown's political position, Johnson sserts.
Thanks to California 2000 (C2K) Project