Smartest Politician

Tom Bates

It seems like Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates has been battling anti-growth activists in the city for decades. And he almost always outmaneuvers them. Case in point: Earlier this year, anti-growthers sponsored a November ballot initiative that seeks to gut key aspects of the city’s plan to spur development and increase density in downtown. The NIMBYs disguised their proposal by tying it to an extremely popular cause: saving the city’s historic post office. In fact, the anti-growthers made sure to highlight the save-the-post-office provision of their measure when gathering signatures for it. So what did Bates do? He outsmarted them by introducing his own proposal to save the post office, thereby leaving the anti-growthers with a ballot measure whose only real purpose would be to kill downtown development. And since most Berkeley residents support the idea of bringing more people, jobs, and businesses to downtown, the chance that the anti-growthers’ ballot measure will pass this November is now considerably slimmer. Score another one for Bates.

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