Two BHS students: Let’s hear more political viewpoints

Noah Shreiber and Isaac Lomprey: would like people to be more open to a diversity of political opinions. Photo: Ariel Pearl-Butler

Noah Shreiber and Isaac Lomprey, both sophomores at Berkeley High School, believe too many people are stuck in a political rut and aren’t particularly open to exploring other people’s perspectives. They decided to do something about it and formed the Diverse Political Views Club at the school. Now they’ve just pulled off their first coup: organizing a student-moderated mayoral forum on campus. All six of Berkeley’s wannabe mayors have said they will attend the forum, which takes place on Monday Oct. 29 at the BHS Library, 7:00-8:00 p.m., and is open to anyone who would like to know more about their potential local leaders. We caught up with Lomprey to find out more about what drove the pair to become so politically engaged.

You’re both sophomores at BHS in the Academic Choice school. How did you get to know each other?
Noah and I first met through our moms when we were very young, but later we got to know each other at summer camp, and started really being friends after we were in the same freshman biology class.

Why did you decide to form a Diverse Political Views Club?
We formed this club because Noah and I found that too many people are stuck in their own political ideologies and don’t dare to consider other viewpoints beside their own.

Do you think the lack of openness to diverse political views is particular to Berkeley? Yes, I think there is a definite lack of diverse political views in Berkeley but I don’t think Berkeley is the only city with a lack of political diversity. Berkeley in general tends to be extremely liberal and somewhat hostile to other points of view. I really think that if people just looked at, and discussed, the criticism of opposing ideas Berkeley might become an even better city.

How many members does the club have? When and where do you meet?
We started this club at the very end of September with two members and now we get anywhere from five to a dozen kids at our meetings depending on the day. We meet Mondays at lunch wherever we decide to eat together. We don’t have a set meeting room.

What type of issues and events is the club discussing and/or organizing?
We talk about national, global, state and local politics in all aspects while trying to understand other group members’ opinions. Currently we’re focused on the mayoral forum.

What led you to the idea of asking the mayoral candidates to do a panel in front of students?
I was walking in the door of my house and I saw a flyer for a candidate for mayor on the doorstep. That same evening was the first presidential debate. I wanted to know more about the candidates for mayor of Berkeley. All of the sudden I had an inspiration to organize this event with my newly formed club.

Do you think BHS students are generally well-informed and/or engaged in politics generally. And what about local politics?
I think there is a lack all around in students’ knowledge of  local, state, national and global politics and I think there is an even larger gap specifically in local politics because kids just can’t turn on the TV or open up a newspaper to hear the important local stories. If only Berkeleyside could be on cable TV! [Ed: wait, don’t teenagers know about the Internet?]

What other events would you ideally like to organize?
Our club has been working on its current event but we’d definitely be interested in hosting more local political events.

What would you like the club to achieve long-term?
I’d love to see the club continue to host political events and for it to be around long after I graduate from Berkeley High.

Ranked choice creates uncertainty in mayoral race [10.25.12]
Five Berkeley mayoral candidates face off at neighborhood forum [10.02.12]
Berkeley on course for $250,000 election [10.08.12]

Visit Berkeleyside’s Voter’s Edge Berkeley for complete coverage and tracking of the city’s 10 ballot measures. Visit Berkeleyside’s Election 2012 section to see all our coverage in the run-up to Nov. 6.

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  • guest

    ” Now they’ve just pulled of their first coup:”

    Happy Friday.

  • Anonymous

    Noah Shreiber and Isaac Lomprey for mayor, city council, and school board! 

  • Cammy

    Great story!

  • Cammy

    Great story. So nice to see two intelligent young men  who want to explore issues beyond party lines and bring these discussions to their fellow students.

  • The Sharkey

    I bet the answers the candidates give to the questions of BHS students would be more interesting and revealing than anything they say in their regular panels.

  • Bill N

    Lets hope so!!

  • David D.

    This is great. I hope somebody from Berkeleyside can cover it and report back to us older folks. Or better yet, one of Berkeleyside’s kids so the mayoral candidates aren’t distracted by adults. :)

  • The Sharkey

     Maybe some of them can live stream it from their iPhones?

  • bgal4

    Not sure who chose the wannabe terminology, but describing adults campaigning for Mayor as wannabes is inappropriate

  • PragmaticProgressive
  • tenjen

    Good for them!

  • Tracy

    I applaud these kids for getting what so many adults miss: that your position becomes stronger by knowing the opposing argument. I heard a kid say he hates Romney because he’s mean. That is a hollow position, but the parent just laughed. I want my kids to value what our founding fathers did: a two-party system. There is a shocking lack of interest in opposing views in Berkeley – which is the very same attitude I encounter when I visit red states.    

  • Nkbickel

    Bravo to Noah Shreiber and Isaac Lomprey.  Students who want a preview–or won’t be able to attend the forum–can sample the opinions of 5 of the 6 candidates for Mayor by watching their 2 minute stump speeches and 2 minute discussions of their views on development on YouTube at  LWVBAE, the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, has also posted 2 minute spots of candidates for Berkeley City Council Districts 2,3 and 5 and School Board on their YouTube channel.  Many Berkeley candidates have published their views on the League’s website, where voters can also find their polling places and pro-con analyses of the local and state ballot measures.

  • Paula

    Invite some people from San Ramon, where we used to live.  They’ll give you some diversity.  We moved back to Berkeley because we like this side of the aisle :-)

  • Anonymous

     Because there’s nothing except Democrats and Republicans and “left” versus “right”.

  • guest

    Hi the forum is open to everyone! 

  • Sunshin

    Saying that Berkeley is hostile to other (than extremely liberal) points of view might be obvious but it took courage for a student from BHS to say so. Good for you!