Berkeley on course for $250,000 election

Rival candidates in the hotly contested district 5 race both came out in force during the Solano Stroll last month. Left: Sophie Hahn and her supporters. Photo: Hahn for City Council. Right: Laurie Capitelli and supporters. Photo: Alan Tobey

It may pale beside President Obama’s $181 million raised in September alone, but local candidates in Berkeley are easily on course for more than a quarter million in fundraising before the November 6 election. Donations in Berkeley are capped at $250 per individual, a limit that has stood since the 1970s.

The figures on Berkeley’s local races come from filings submitted to the city clerk showing fundraising and expenditures for the third quarter of 2012 (all candidate and measure filings can be accessed online). Unsurprisingly, the mayoral contest has the largest fundraising, but it is closely trailed by the vigorous race in district 5, where incumbent Laurie Capitelli is being challenged for the second time by Sophie Hahn.

Hahn and Capitelli have raised a combined $62,858 (less than $1,000 separates their totals), compared to $72,311 raised by Mayor Tom Bates and challenger Jacquelyn McCormick. Council Member Kriss Worthington, who is also running for mayor, did not meet the quarterly filing deadline so his totals are not yet available. 

The table above shows the races with the most fundraising activity. In the contest for two seats on the school board, two of the challengers — Judy Appel and Tracy Hollander — have dramatically outraised incumbent Beatriz Leyva-Cutler. Leyva-Cutler also has only $126 cash on hand at the end of the quarter, compared to over $10,000 for Hollander and over $9,000 for Appel. Both non-incumbents, however, face the challenge of building name recognition in a citywide contest.

Incumbent Max Anderson in district 3 outraised challenger Dmitri Belser $7,573 to $4,360 in the quarter, and tops Belser $11,683 to $4,360 on the year. In other district races, incumbent Darryl Moore has significantly outraised his challengers in district 2: Moore’s $8,929 in the quarter takes his year total to $12,469, while challengers Adolfo Cabral and Denisha DeLane together have less than $3,500 $4,400 on the year. Susan Wengraf in district 6 has raised $7,691 in the quarter and $7,941 for the year. She faces write-in candidate Phoebe Sorgen who has raised no declared funds yet.

Measures attract property developer support

Significant funds have been raised on two of the ten city measures on the ballot. Supporters of Measure S, the proposed sidewalk sitting ordinance, raised $55,400 in the quarter, overwhelmingly from property developers and property management companies (funding breakdowns, as well as comprehensive details on all the measures can be found on the Voter’s Edge Berkeley site, which Berkeleyside compiled in partnership with MapLight).

Panoramic Interests and First Shattuck Holdings contributed $10,000 each to the Coalition for Berkeley Civil Sidewalks, and four other property companies contributed $5,000 each. Panoramic, run by Patrick Kennedy, sold its numerous residential holdings to Equity Residential in 2007, and now concentrates on what it describes as transit-friendly, sustainable housing development. First Shattuck is connected to Beacon Group Ventures, which owns 2150 Shattuck, the 13-story former PowerBar building.

Opponents of Measure S have raised $8,100, the bulk from Patricia Wall, executive director of the Homeless Action Center.

Supporters of Measure T, which would change the zoning in West Berkeley, have raised $15,400, of which $10,000 came from Herst Ventures, the real estate development company that Doug Herst formed following the sale of his Peerless Lighting in 1999. A further $4,100 came from deTienne Associates, Darrell de Tienne’s design company. Opponents of Measure T have raised $4,900.

Five Berkeley mayoral candidates face off at neighborhood forum [10.02.12]
Allegations fly in district five race [09.28.12]
School board forum displays strong anti-Broad views [09.28.12]
Berkeleyside launches one-stop, non-partisan voting guide [09.24.12]
Berkeley election activity begins in earnest [09.04.12]
Berkeleyside’s approach to local politics [08.22.12]

Visit Voter’s Edge Berkeley, Berkeleyside’s non-partisan voting guide to the ten measures on the Berkeley ballot. Visit Berkeleyside’s Election 2012 section to see all our coverage in the run-up to November 6.

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  • Charles_Siegel

     National debt (in round figures, off the top of my head) is over $30,000 per US resident.

  • The Sharkey

    I have to agree. Maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention in the past, but I’ve seen more blatant lying from the people against measures on the ballot this year than I’ve ever seen in Berkeley politics.

  • Patrick_Sheahan

    Congratulations on actually reading Measure T. However, you are mistaken about Aquatic Park. There are NO open space minimums and protections for Aquatic Park in Measure T. The Council referred the issue to the Planning Commission for recommendations to be made AFTER the elections.
    You are also mistaken about process. Applications for an MUP are the same as anything requiring a Use Permit, with the addition of benefits (which are also undefined until AFTER the election) negotiation. The application will be heard by the ZAB, and there is no requirement for hearings with the Council or Planning Commission. ZAB hearings are publicly noticed, as for any project, and Measure T does not require any public process or hearings in addition to that required for any Use Permit.As is the case for any ZAB hearing, it is appealable to the Council, who can choose whether to hear it or not.And speaking of inflammatory language, accusing Measure T opponents of lying certainly is. Hyperbole might be a more appropriate term to use. I call what proponents use to justify T ‘mis-representations’, to give them the benefit of the doubt.And just who are the ‘plenty of us out there’? Many opponents of T are on public record, and very few proponents are. Easy to snipe under cover of a pseudonym.

  • The Sharkey

    I just started getting the Yes on N,O spam in my mailbox too.
    It’s sad how many local politicos are willing to support this boondoggle just to keep a militant minority from campaigning against them.

  • West Berkeley J

    The argument that I’ve read now on three separate occasions just in this thread alone is that anyone who opposes Measure T simply hasn’t read it closely enough.  That’s neither discourse nor conversation.  

    My attitude towards T is based on the text of the measure and on the absence of text in the measure.  

    Meanwhile, an average height of “just” 50 feet dwarfs everything down here.  It will make the new apartment development on University and 4th seem small by comparison.  75 foot tall buildings closer than ever to sidewalks and other buildings will make this area an aesthetically unfriendly and environmentally inhospitable.  

    Presumably you’ve read the proposed EIR.  The City’s own analysis predicts increased congestion at 10 major intersections and increased pollution from increased traffic.  There is little public transit down here.  It’s stupid, in 2012, to continue to build in places where car traffic must follow.  That’s an antiquated model that has proved a dismal failure for environment and economy alike.

    Presumably you’ve also looked at the proposed economic benefits from Measure T to the City as a whole.  They are none or negligible.  Yet the working people who live down here will bear the consequences of degraded living space, the permanent removal of working-class jobs, and the potential for rampant real-estate speculation that will force out renters and make home ownership impossible for middle-income earners.

    The only people who will benefit from Measure T are developers and land speculators. 

  • tor_berg

    My name is Tor Berg. My family and I live in your neighborhood.

    Briefly, Adolfo Cabral, in his debate with Darryl Moore hosted by the LWV, repeatedly stated that Measure T would allow “75- to 100-foot buildings throughout the district.” As you acknowledge, this is false. Adolfo knows that it’s false, and he says it anyway. I wouldn’t call that a “mis-representation.”

    That’s just off the top of my head. I could search my e-mail archives for more.As for Aquatic Park and open space, from the text of Measure T: 

    “In order to approve a Master Use Permit adjacent to the boundary of Aquatic Park, the Board must find that the project will not unreasonably create shadows upon degrade the existing visual quality or character of, or pedestrian access to Aquatic Park…

    “…No MUP may be approved for any site abutting, confronting or adjacent to  Aquatic Park until the Council adopts an ordinance adopting measures to protect and where possible improves the environmental, recreational and aesthetic qualities of Aquatic Park.”

    “The maximum lot coverage allowed for an MUP site is 75% and there must be a minimum of 10% publicly accessible open space, not including surface parking.”

    “Section 5. Effectiveness” also proposes protections for Aquatic Park and open space allowances.

  • Patrick_Sheahan

    My apology for assuming tor_berg is a pseudonym, though i am reasonably certain ‘Sharkey’ is. Regarding 75-100′ buildings; the proposed rezoning originally allowed production use up to 100′. As it stands, mechanical screens, unoccupied mechanical penthouses and equipment occupying 15% or less of the roof are allowed above 75′ with no height restriction. This can commonly add 15-20′, making portions of the building 90-95′ high.
    I suggest discussion focus on what Measure T says, not what is said about it, and commend  your direct references. The problem is that you go on to make erroneous inferences to justify your position.
    On a personal note, you have suggested that I am somehow responsible for a run-down Victorian house on my block. This house is owned by a proponent of T, who plans to develop 4 units within the current code. The front of the Victorian will be rehabbed and preserved.

  • tor_berg

    50 feet is five feet higher than current prevailing heights. I think it’s hyperbole to say that a difference of five feet means the building would “dwarf” everything else in the neighborhood. And there are already many bigger buildings throughout WB that that predate those height restrictions. Parker Plaza at 9th and Parker is a lovely building that is 56 feet at its peak and averages 50 feet throughout.

    I agree that we need to reduce car traffic in Berkeley. A really good way to do that is to co-locate housing and jobs near transit corridors, such as San Pablo Ave., I-80, and the rail lines. We have the opportunity to get in on a regional transit plan if we can increase density in WB.I think you need to talk to a few more working-class people. The working people in West Berkeley that I’ve spoken with are looking for jobs and affordable housing, both of which are pretty scarce around here right now. Sounds like you’re going to be surprised when the unions endorse Measure T. And builders are obviously seeing the economic potential in WB. They wouldn’t want to put up buildings, just to see them sit vacant. 

  • The Sharkey

    Increased job density = more local job opportunities for Berkeley residents = less pollution from commuting.

    AC Transit can always add lines if there’s enough demand. It’s a bus system. They can change routes pretty easily.

  • Patrick_Sheahan

    50 feet is the site wide average, and the 4 acre or larger sites occupy multiple blocks. With a 75′ height nearly 3/4 of the site can be 75′ tall. Go look at 5885 Hollis in Emeryville if you want to see what 75′ with an average of 50′ looks like. It is 75′ on 3 sides, wrapping a courtyard on top of parking. 
    High density housing is already allowed on the transit corridors of San Pablo & University, and around train stop (4th & U).
    Measure T does not ensure jobs, any more than current zoning allows jobs, and there is no provision for affordable housing. 

  • Patrick_Sheahan

    Your simplistic one liners are unsupported by the facts.
    Increased job density is already allowed to happen, without the excesses of Measure T.According to the Berkeley Office of Economic Development there has been a net increase in Berkeley jobs, even after a severe drop in the Great Recession. 25% of the jobs are in West Berkeley.The Environmental Impact Report for Measure T identifies 44 significant and unavoidable impacts; mostly from gridlocked traffic and increased air pollution (violating Berkeley’s own Climate Action Plan).

  • franhaselsteiner

    By the way, Moore doesn’t mention his support of Measure T in his election materials, but Moore for City Council gave $250 to Yes on T, as shown by the voting guide here on Berkeleyside. 

  • The Sharkey

    So are you arguing that because something good is already happening, we shouldn’t try to encourage it even more? Or that more modern structures replacing bombed out and derelict industrial relics won’t attract new business? Or that AC Transit wouldn’t be able to alter or add routes?

  • tor_berg

    Actually, what the Berkeley Office of Economic Development says is that there has been no aggregate job growth in West Berkeley in over a decade. OED further notes that, if Bayer hadn’t added 1,500 jobs over that period, WB would have seen an aggregate loss of jobs. Berkeley has added jobs, just not West Berkeley.

    Also, I think you know that, in the language of an EIR, “significant unavoidable impacts” does not mean “inevitable impacts.” The EIR does not model any specific traffic impact because no specific projects have been proposed. 

    The EIR also isn’t able to consider potential transit improvements already in the works. For instance, if Berkeley increased density along the San Pablo corridor, it would be eligible for state transit funds under SB 375.

    It is conceivably, even likely, that specific development proposals in WB will include traffic mitigation, much like the city’s agreement with Bayer included a shuttle service.Tom Bates created Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan. Now he’s trying to undermine it with the West Berkeley Project? The points you’re trying to make just don’t logically follow one another.

  • tor_berg

    I agree that Measure T should include a lot more housing than it does. Plans to include more housing were scaled back after opponents (existing dirty industry) made a fuss about “incompatible use.” So, to keep residents from complaining to the city about noise and air pollution in WB, opponents just worked to prevent WB from gaining more residents. 

  • tor_berg

    Look, as an environmentalist, I am strongly in favor of increasing urban density. Low-density urban development is bad for the earth. So when I first caught sight of Herst’s proposal, I thought it was pretty exciting. A proposal that would reduce vehicle traffic by co-locating jobs and housing in an under-utilized part of town that is adjacent to major transit corridors. Increased density would lead to increased demand for transit and tax revenue to develop innovative mass transit plans. Not only that, but land use in West Berkeley has traditionally been reserved for dirty industry. Here’s a chance to start moving the part of our city siting right next to SF Bay away from polluting industrial use and toward cleaner uses like housing and office space. And the building itself is an environmentalists dream, with ultra efficient building designs and built-in wind and solar. Heck, it even replaces a block of 4th street with a community garden.

    But I was instantly accused of being a shill for developers. I’ve heard a lot of nasty crap being flung at Doug Herst and Tom Bates, both of whom have done more for the environment than anyone commenting on this forum will ever hope to do. So I’ve really tried to talk about the issues, but have been constantly frustrated by opponents who only want to blithely condemn “massive buildings” and fling invective about “land grabs orchestrated by greedy developers and their political cronies.”

    So I would love to talk about the actual merits of development in West Berkeley, but opponents have been very busy misrepresenting the issues and ascribing nefarious motives to proponents.

    And I have no idea where Levitch stands on Measure T, but he’s certainly not building anything on that lot. It’s been for sale for three years. But where were you and Kathleen when he first applied to gut a landmarked Victorian? I think you’re less concerned about preserving the character of WB than about protecting a land use regime that allows you to pursue your own development plans. 

  • tor_berg

    And it cannot be 75 feet tall, or even 50 feet tall, if it’s a MU-R. It would have to be 35. Measure T would not allow a building like 5885 Hollis to be built at the Peerless site. 

    Personally, I don’t think 5885 Hollis is all that big. But it’s much bigger than would be allowed under Measure T.

  • EBGuy

    Can someone help me out; I’m trying to understand Berkeley election law.  Specifically:
    2.12.440 Contributions from certain organizations and business entities prohibited.

    No proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint
    venture, syndicate, business trust, company, corporation, including
    non-profit corporations, or labor union shall make a contribution to any
    candidate or committee (supporting or opposing any candidate) directly
    or indirectly
    , and no campaign treasurer (of any such committee) shall
    solicit or accept such contribution. (Ord. 6096-NS § 1, 1991: Ord.
    4701-NS § 1 (part), 1974: Ord. 4700-NS § 605, 1974)

    Yet it appears that on  09/20/2012 the California Federation of Teachers COPE (Committee on Political Education) made a $250 donation to Judy Appel’s campaign.  What am I missing?

  • EBGuy

     Beatriz Leyva-Cutler also has $250 donations from Berkeley Federation of Teachers – COPE Account and California Federation of Teachers.  Again, am I missing something obvious?

  • Sandy

    If you find this disgraceful, how do you feel about Bates stealing newspapers?

  • EBGuy

     It’s interesting that Berkeley adopted this law in 1974; Prop 32 would codify similar text (Section 85150. (a)) into state law (along with a host of other provisions, the most controversial of which bans payroll deductions for political causes).    It’s still not clear to me how these contributions are allowed under Berkeley law   Am I missing some subtlety regarding sponsored committees?

  • Pattie Wall

     To comply with the filing deadline, a candidate may have the filing postmarked by the deadline.  Kriss’ campaign did this.  It’s inaccurate in the Berkeleyside story, and has not been corrected. 

  • Pattie Wall

     Sadly, this online newsletter did not correct its error.  A candidate may comply with finance disclosure rules by having the forms postmarked by the deadline.  Kriss’ campaign did so, and the Berkeleyside newsletter did not correct its error.

  • Pattie Wall

     Kriss complied with the filing deadline by having his forms postmarked by the deadline – clearly within the regulations governing disclosures.  This newsletter did not make a correction that was due.  Since it’s not an actual newspaper, maybe they don’t have to make corrections.  Just saying.

  • In a follow up article we ran on Tuesday, we made it clear that Worthington met the deadline through mailing his forms in time: