Item 17 on the agenda for tomorrow’s City Council Meeting is bound to draw crowds. It concerns the appeal to the zoning board’s approval for a new home to be built at 2707 Rose Street. The application was made in the name of Mitch Kapor and his wife Freada Klein.

You can read all about the application and the appeal in Berkeleyside’s extensive coverage of the issue here.

Seventy-three people have submitted communications in relation to the appeal, making for a 320-page document on this item when taken together with the original application literature and the materials supporting the appeal.

Opinion in the Rose Street neighborhood is divided over both the proposed home and the process which led to the zoning board’s approval. And, in the lead-up to tomorrow’s meeting, some parties have switched sides. Cliff Magnes, for instance, who has been making observations on the issue regularly in Berkeleyside’s comments section, writes today:

“… During all of this discussion, I have tried to keep an open mind, and to respect the opinions of others.  I now see that the proponents of this project have a lot of good points.  I have come to the conclusion, finally, that contrary to my earlier stands, this project may not be so bad for the neighborhood.  In fact, if the City Council approves the ZAB’s decision tomorrow night, the project can move forward, and this seemingly endless discussion can cease.  … I realize now how divisive filing this appeal has been, and I am truly sorry for my part in it.  I would like to wholeheartedly throw my support behind Mitch Kapor’s house, and I apologize for any bad feelings I have caused.”

Needless to say, we will be keeping you posted on developments.

Update Thank you, commenter “not-Cliff Magnes”, who just pointed out to us that the earlier change of heart was by someone pretending to be Cliff Magnes. The hoaxer is at IP address and we will try to screen her/his comments in future. One of the nicest things about Berkeleyside, from our point of view, has been the generally constructive and civil tone of commenters, whichever side of an issue they happen to be on. Clearly, we can’t count on that in every case and we need to be more vigilant. We apologize to the real Cliff Magnes for not spotting the hoax earlier.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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1 Comment

  1. I’m not sure if I should be flattered to be used as a false avatar for propaganda purposes, or insulted to find yet another example of how hard the proponents are working to misrepresent this project. Mostly I’m amused by the chutzpah of the deceit ;-]

    Here I am just trying make a few points for people to consider about the pros and cons (mostly the cons) of this Nightmare on Rose Street, and someone tries to pretend to be me–with a last minute change of heart and mind, throwing my (wholehearted) support behind Mitch Kapor, and apologizing for “my part in it” and for “any bad feelings caused.” FOTFLOL!

    We all got punked, but since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I think I’ll just take some small satisfaction from the idea that someone would attempt to use whatever modicum of credibility I have earned through my “open minded respect for the opinions of others” to mislead my neighbors into thinking that I was drinking the same Kool-Aid as the proponents.

    For the record, I (the real Cliff Magnes) remain as firmly opposed to this project as ever. If the proponents of this project have any good points, I have yet to hear them. I am not alone in successfully refuting and rebutting many of the misleading assertions by the Kapors and their highly paid lobbyists.

    If I have come to any conclusion, it is that this project will be even worse for the neighborhood than I first imagined. My original criticism was of the architecture and aesthetics, but there is so much that is abhorrent about this monstrosity, and the process that has brought us to this point, that the lack of imagination embodied in this big ugly box seems like the least of its many flaws.

    Not so bad for the neighborhood? Make no mistake, it’s not just that this building would literally pave the way for other mega-“houses”, it would change the character of this entire neighborhood. This will be Berkeley’s unique answer to the McMansioning of the hills.

    That sound you hear in the distance isn’t the sound of approaching bulldozers, it’s the sound of Berkeley’s great architects and the founders of the Hillside Club spinning in their graves!

    If the City Council ignores the legitimate complaints of the neighbors, and the points raised in their appeal as blithely as the ZAB did, I guarantee that the much needed rest we all need will be temporary, and tranquility will NEVER return to our “(normally) bucolic” neighborhood (and it’s getting less and less “bucolic” with every inappropriate project like this).

    No apologies are necessary, Ms. Taylor, Berkeleyside is too valuable a resource to the community. It is difficult enough to get a fair story out there and give people a forum to discuss it, without having to screen out people who are so desperately determined to deceive.