Worthington runs for mayor, urging ‘progressive’ policies

Kriss Worthington, wearing a Gryffindor tie, stood on the steps of the municipal building to announce his mayoral race. Photo: Lance Knobel

City councilmember Kriss Worthington today announced his entry into Berkeley’s mayoral contest. Worthington has been a councilmember since 1996, representing District 7 in south Berkeley.

“Someone has to stand up and say to the mayor that what you’re doing is unaffordable, unreasonable and damaging to the people of Berkeley,” Worthington said, standing on the steps of the city’s municipal building on Milvia. “Every single council meeting it seems the mayor is drifting more to the right.”

He joins incumbent Mayor Tom Bates, Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Jacquelyn McCormick, Zachary RunningWolf, and Mark Schwartz in the mayoral contest. Worthington’s own District 7 council seat is not up for election this year, so he would retain his council seat if his mayoral bid does not succeed. 

Worthington released this morning a ten-point “practical people’s platform”, outlining “things a Berkeley mayor could accomplish”. It includes family-friendly council meetings, a call for greater diversity on city commissions, fiscal responsibility and “cost-effective progressive policy”, among other points.

At his public announcement, Worthington tore into Bates, criticizing him for “institutionalized tokenism”, “squelching” progressive policies, and “not only advocating bad policies… but dragging other council members with him”.

Worthington suggested that he only decided to run for mayor following last week’s City Council meeting, and the decision to place a $30 million streets and watershed bond on the ballot in November. He wanted to concentrate on watershed which was the greater environmental issue, he said.

“The City Council said, ‘No, we’re not going to do what’s right for the environment,'” he said. “To me, the rejection of the environmental groups and the rejection of south and west Berkeley’s demands for fairness really got me upset.”

Worthington said the watershed bond was typical of progressive issues that he believed would once have passed through the City Council easily.

“These policies are being squelched primarily by the mayor,” he said. “All too often people just cave into the mayor, either through fear, or sometimes friendship or sentiment.”

“Berkeley used to be a trailblazing city,” Worthington said. “In recent years it has been a battle to get Berkeley in the first 100 cities to do something.” He cited Berkeley’s tardiness in implementing a plastic bag ban as typical. “Some people say Richmond and San Pablo have more progressive city councils than Berkeley.”

Worthington said he could provide “a serious challenge from a liberal or progressive point of view” against Mayor Bates.

“We have to have a mayor that stands up against the Chamber of Commerce and for the small businesses of Berkeley,” Worthington said. “Instead of partnering with the unions and non-profits, we have a mayor who is drifting to the center right.”

While Worthington had plenty of criticisms for Bates, he singled out fellow councilmembers Max Anderson and Jesse Arreguín for praise on a number of issues. But he said he had not yet sought any endorsements.

“The only person I’ve consulted so far is my boyfriend,” Worthington said. “I have not asked a single soul for an endorsement yet.”

Beat poet joins crowded field for mayoral race [07.19.12]
Max Anderson kicks off council re-election campaign
Jacquelyn McCormick vows to be a more inclusive mayor [06.18.12]
Sophie Hahn announces candidacy for City Council [05.09.12]
Berkeley’s Mayor Tom Bates announces his re-election bid [04.26.12]

Print Friendly
Tagged , , , ,
Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comments policy »
  • Anon

    Worhtington’s resume = Telegraph avenue between Dwight and Bankroft.  He wants that for the rest of Berkeley. I think we should take a pass. Telegraph hit rock bottom during his ‘leadership’ and can only improve, but no thanks to Kriss Worthington.

  • Marcia Poole

    I have a problem taking any of these comments seriously since they do not have the courage to put their real name as the writer. Too many mfox327 or anons for my taste. If you have something to say, say it and sign your real name.

  • Julie

    George, I have a question for you. I mentioned earlier since the warm pool closed my housemate is ill and no longer posts here.   I heard that you support a new pool’s bond. Is that true? I would like to know and probably Berkeleyside’s readers/posters, might want to know..

  • bgal4

     What village?

    Berkeley is a set of independent islands, read the The Berkeley Archipelago, Joseph P Lyford. Little has changed.

    When the so called village failed us miserably, I raised my kids without them just fine, thank you.

  • ANon

    Good point.  marcia.  I proudly sign my name.

  • Billbartell

    the state of Telegraph Avenue is the only illustration one needs to see to understand what an effective politician Mr. Worthington is.  (or isn’t..) He has simply NEVER been there for the merchants OR the local residents, except for his pet constituencies. . . 

  • Billbartell

    fire was due to lack of city enforcement-   the known slumlord was allowed to rake in the cash at intermezzo and ralieghs, all the while endangering the tenants and the neighborhood.- the city helped cause that & kriss had his hand in it.  cody’s closed thanks to an acute lack of support from the city among other factors- andy ross, the owner tried hard to get the city to help promote the ave. & his business- and to come up with ways to make the sidewalks & parking a more reasonable experience- and got zero help from kriss & city government.

  • Mein Stein

    Ms. Poole…To me (and 99.999999%) of those reading these comments, you are just as anonymous with or without your name. 

  • Mein Stein

    Cal students first established Berkeley as an agent of change. Perhaps they could bring us badly needed change again.

    Through a coalition of Telegraph business owners and Cal Students, formed under the cause of “Taking Back Telegraph!”. 

     – Put and pass a ‘recall Worhtington’ measure on this November’s ballot.

     – Pass the sit/lie ordinance.

     – Return peoples park to the People of California who own it, in trust, for the education of Cal students.

    Combine ‘on campus’ voter registration, thousands of students living on south side and their overwhelming dissatisfaction with the current situation and you have a just cause and a real means for change.



  • Doc

    Generations of students would benefit from your ideas. Good luck.

  • Anonymous

     I don’t believe you are the real Marcia Poole anyway.  Prove it.

  • Charles_Siegel

     There are too many people calling themselves “Guest.”  It would be very helpful if you gave yourself a descriptive name, such as “BerkeleyBornCalGrad.”

  • ArwenUndomniel

         I have been to City Council meetings and spoken to people on the City Council in person. Mayor Tom Bates is a bully and does everything he can to prevent people from expressing an opinion. When he comes into a meeting his mind is already made up and he could care less about the opinions of the people who come before the Council to speak on issues on the agenda.

         Mayor Bates has passed motions illegally such as the one he did on the Anti-Sit measure that is now on the ballot. Because he is not personally liable for the civil rights law suit that will follow if the measure is passed and could care less we tax payers will have to pay for the resulting judgment, he continues to put the financial stability of the City  at risk and subjects it needless to liability. Nor does he concern himself with our taxes being raised as a result of his incompetance and lack of regard with our pocketbooks. 

         The ACLU sent a letter to  the Mayor and other members of the City Council warning them they had passed the motion to put the ordinance on the ballot in violation of the Brown Act. Yet the Council has not rescinded their action and we, the taxpayers of Berkeley, are on the hook to pay that judgment.

        Kriss Worthington has done an outstanding job in his 13 years as a member of the City Council. He is articulate, knowledgeable and has the experience to be Mayor of our City. He is not beholding to the developers and financiers as is Tom Bates who are only interested in making money but not doing anything for the people of Berkeley.

        We need a Mayor who will fight for us and lead Berkeley back to the progressvie path it has always taken. We need Kriss Worthington for Mayor. Vote for Kriss!