UC Berkeley battles with town over student housing

The state’s complex environmental laws are being weaponized in lawsuits against UC-Berkeley, which is under pressure to admit more and more students.

Kiara Bragg has spent years imagining herself at the University of California, Berkeley — walking through Sproul Plaza, navigating crowds of students, becoming the first in her working-class family to graduate from her state’s iconic flagship school.

Phil Bokovoy imagines, too. In his mind’s eye, the city where he moved in 1983 as a graduate student is a college town where, if he had his way, the Craftsman homes would still be affordable for professors and campus life — the packed living quarters, the beer-soaked parties — would not disrupt surrounding neighborhoods.

A reasonably priced education at a world-class public university. A single-family house in a neighborhood that is clean and peaceful. For generations, these have been pillars of the California dream.

Now an epic clash between the two ideals is forcing state lawmakers to confront the limits of California’s promise.

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