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The Spin Begins

The spin machine is off to an early start with Carolyn Jones' snide article ("Landmarks Ordinance in Critics' Crosshairs," San Francisco Chronicle, June 18) about our Landmarks Preservation Ordinance (LPO). The Chronicle doesn't print letters from Berkeley preservationists, unless their policy has changed, so I am sending my response to our local newspaper-the voice of the people-the Daily Planet.

A picture of the Celia's building is included in the article. Despite Ms. Jones' insults, it looks great-interesting roof line, nice bay window, positively cute. By contrast, the drawings of the condo/apartment project proposed to replace it show a cheesy, characterless hulk, very similar to the Andante of Emeryville.

I suggest that people bicycle or drive past the Andante, at the corner of 40th Street and San Pablo Avenue. Then check out Celia's Restaurant at 2040 4th St. in Berkeley. Years of neglect by its owner have taken a toll, but it's a cool little building, full of character and life.

Brennan's Bar and Restaurant next door, which is also in danger of demolition for the Hulk, is specifically mentioned in the West Berkeley Plan as a "part of West Berkeley history."

Both restaurants appear to be thriving, serving the community and contributing revenue to the city-the kind of locally-owned small businesses that Berkeleyans used to treasure and protect.

Condos have begun to languish, unsold, here and in most of the bubbly real estate markets of the country. What will become of the limitless dot-condos and bubbleminiums already in the works? The building binge should be over soon-there's no need to lose more of our history and vitality for mindless greed.

Gale Garcia
(From the June 23rd Daily Planet, Letters to the Editor)