Chancellor Briefs Clinton on SAFER Program
Bill Clinton heard from Chancellor Berdahl on Feb. 26 as he and
16 other civic and community leaders from the East Bay briefed
the president on local efforts to prepare for the next natural
Accompanied by FEMA Director James Lee Witt, Clinton met for a
half-hour with the panel under the massive dome of the Scottish
Rite Temple in Oakland. Both were promoting Project IMPACT, a
$50 million chunk of Clintons proposed budget that is designed
to encourage the country to act now to reduce the effects of a
The national initiative, with the slogan Building a Disaster
Resistant Community, involves a national awareness campaign,
the selection of pilot communities that demonstrate the benefits
of hazard mitigation through a partnership approach, and outreach
to encourage businesses and communities to become disaster resistant.
Oakland is one of the first seven pilot communities in the nation.
If your projects work, it will give us a sense and provide the
example to get public support to shift our spending priorities
toward larger efforts, Clinton said. Berdahl summarized Berkeleys
new SAFER program, a 25-year, $750 million effort to seismically
retrofit or rebuild as many campus buildings as necessary to ensure
the safety of students, staff and faculty.
With the help of FEMA and other agencies, he said, we hope to
become a disaster-resistant university. Clinton also heard from
Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean, Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris and members
of the community who have helped prepare their neighborhoods for
You people are a wonderful affirmation of citizenship this
is all about citizens and service, Clinton said.
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