In Roman numerals, it's the letter M -- ChronWatch hits its very first one-oh-oh-oh of civic inaction, as the Berkeley fountain it first began pestering back in June 2003 remains in the exact same condition it was in 1000 days ago. June 2003! In June 2003, Matt Gonzalez hadn't even decided he was running for mayor yet!
The fountain in question is in the Berkeley Civic Center Park, was a gift from the city of San Francisco back in the 1940s, and hasn't had running water in it since the 1960s. The City of Berkeley continues steadfastly to ignore the incessant sleeve-tugging and sad puppy-dog eyes of the ChronWatch staffers, and just keep telling the Chron they have no idea when the fountain'll be working again.
It's not that Berkeley's done nothing -- in 2004, the fountain became the subject of a fight between preservationists, who wanted it restored, and American Indians, who wanted the space to be used to celebrate indigenous people. They compromised by agreeing to build an American Indian turtle sculpture on the fountain. But even that hasn't been approved yet either.
The fountain isn't really very high on Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates's priority list, given that he just had to implement $21 million in budget cuts over the last two years. "We had people come to the microphone at meetings and ask us how the city can spend three-quarters of a million on a fountain when we are about to have more homeless on the street."
We look forward to Fountain Watch Day MM in December 2008!