Speaking Out

UC BRITE: A Case History

The University's UC BRITE campaign has been very helpful to my block, 4400 Pine Street, and I thought that others in the University might be interested in our experience.

Several weeks ago, Michele Richman and my husband, Andy, decided to work together to improve the lighting on our street. (Most of the buildings are 3-story double houses divided into apartments.) After surveying each house and looking at a lighting catalogue supplied by the University, they decided on a simple, wall-mounted fixture that could be easily installed on front porches. Their goal was a modest one: a bright light on every house.

We know all the homeowners on the street, who quickly agreed to cooperate; most already had good lighting anyway. Then realtors were contacted, and again most agreed to upgrade lighting, if they had none. My husband made a bulk purchase of the lighting fixtures and was reimbursed by realty agents. Esaúl Sanchez, working through Carol Scheman's office, was helpful and very encouraging at every point.

Currently, only one landlord has not purchased a light, and one realty agent has not managed to install his set of fixtures. But we continue to prod, and Esaúl Sanchez is contacting the recalcitrants.

While more time and effort has been expended than we originally anticipated, the results are clearly worth it. Moreover, we have begun a block organization and have gotten several tenants to join us to help clean up the streets and to pressure landlords for better services. Waiting for the city to step in and solve our problems is clearly futile. My only regret is that we did not start our block group years ago.

-- Lynn Lees, Professor of History


Volume 43 Number 29
April 8, 1997

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