06 September 2005

Letter to John Gordon re: Weisbrod Building

Weisbrod Bldg. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

Dear Mr. Gordon,

It has been brought to my attention that you represent the owner of the Weisbrod Building at the Southeast corner of the University and San Pablo intersection.

Over the past year, this vacant building has deteriorated shamefully. Right now, it is covered with graffiti to such an extent that the windows are significantly blocked with spray paint. This graffiti is gang-related.

Perhaps the owner, who I understand is not a Berkeley resident, is unaware of the fact that this intersection is one of the busiest in Berkeley. University Avenue serves as a gateway into the city for tens of thousands of people daily. Because of this prominent location, the miserable condition of this building is a blight on our entire city.

In addition to its significant location, the Weisbrod Building, designed by Spivek and Spivek in 1930, recieved official designation as a Structure of Merit in 1985. This building is an important part of our City's architectural fabric and our past, and it deserves to be restored to usable condition.

Lastly, I live just a couple blocks from this building. I find it personally offensive that, as I walk through the neighborhood to patronize vibrant local-serving businesses like Lanesplitter Pizza, Mi Tierra Foods, Country Cheese, Longs Drugs, Pet Food Express, Wells Fargo Bank, and Everett & Jones Barbeque, I see this building: a gang signpost, promoting crime and degrading the neighborhood and the surrounding businesses.

I request that you contact the owner of the Weisbrod Building and ask that take immediate action be taken to remove the graffiti. I encourage the owner to find an appropriate tenant that will contribute to our thriving local business area.

I have copied City Council, Berkeley Police, and BAHA members on this message in hopes that they might reply about legal specifics of graffiti abatement requirements for property owners in Berkeley.

Thank you,
Rachel Boyce
neighbor and member of Poets Corner Neighbors


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