Tight deadline to get redistricting referendum on ballot

Xan Joi stook outside Berkeley Bowl on Dec. 24 to collect signatures to force a redistricting measure to go on the ballot. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Xan Joi stook outside Berkeley Bowl on Dec. 24 to collect signatures to force a redistricting measure to go on the ballot. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

With only two weeks left to collect 5,275 signatures to force a city council redistricting measure on the ballot, members of the Berkeley Referendum Coalition are holding a rally on Saturday to train volunteers.

Those who are opposed to the redistricting plan approved by the City Council in December plan to meet at Mudracker’s Café at 2801 Telegraph Ave. at 11 a.m. to kick off an intense weekend of voter education.

“We are training people how to get signatures,” said Alejandro Soto-Vigil, an aide to City Councilman Kriss Worthington who is helping plan the campaign. “We are going to be sending teams out, generally two people per team, to certain blocks throughout the city of Berkeley, dispatching them to supermarkets, BART, and the neighborhoods that are going to be adversely affected by the redistricting.”

About 45 people showed up to the first meeting on Dec. 21 and organizers hope many more will turn out this weekend, said Soto-Vigil.

The Berkeley Referendum Coalition hopes to overturn a new redistricting map that they believe creates a less progressive District 7 and which is aimed at forcing out Worthington, said Soto-Vigil.

The City Council on Dec. 17 adopted by a 6-3 vote a redistricting plan that included a student-majority district, but one that did not contain the student co-ops on the north side of campus that have traditionally been strong supporters of Worthington. The council adopted a plan known as the Berkeley Student District Campaign (BSDC) map that is concentrated on the south side of campus near Telegraph Avenue. This map included many fraternities and sororities, whose members many be less politically liberal than Worthington.

The council rejected another map that was introduced late in the process known as the United District Student Amendment (UDSA). That one had the co-ops.

After the vote, supporters of the UDSA map decided to collect signatures for a referendum to put the issue before voters.

Xan Join collected a number of signatures in late December. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Xan Joi collected a number of signatures in late December. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

But they only have 30 days after the passage of the vote to collect signatures – and the first two weeks coincided with the winter holidays and the end of the UC Berkeley semester. That meant that those most invested in the student majority district – the students – were not around either to sign the petition or to collect signatures. That has hurt the cause, said Soto-Vigil. The signatures must be turned into the City Clerk’s office by Jan. 19.

The start of the referendum drive “came exactly at a time when students were leaving., residents were on holiday, the city hall was closed for at least two weeks,” he said. “We are more vacated at this time than any other time of the year.”

Still, there were volunteers on the street throughout the last two weeks. On Christmas Eve, as last-minute shoppers rushed into Berkeley Bowl to buy holiday fixings, a volunteer named Xan Joi stood gamely by the front door trying to get people to consider signing a petition. She said she had been there a half an hour and had already collected 20 signatures.

Read more about the redistricting process on Berkeleyside.

Related:
Redistricting map splits council, community (12.18.13)
Redistricting map approved, referendum idea looms (12.04.13)
Berkeley council may consider 2 campus district maps (09.12.13)
Redistricting meeting sheds light on past process (08.09.13)
Berkeley Council denies last-minute redistricting proposal (07.08.13)
Berkeley council to consider two city redistricting maps (05.08.13)
Redistricting plans focus on student-majority district (04.26.13)
Berkeley could face most dramatic redistricting in 27 years (01.11.13)
City defers redistricting, plans charter amendment (01.18.12)
Cal students file redistricting proposal with the city (09.30.11)

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  • Guest

    I saw Xan Joi trying to get petitions, and did not stand there “gamely” but rather was quite aggressive, offensive, and often unintelligible. After she screamed at a man walking in because he wasn’t interested in the petition (“TYPICAL WHITE MAN” was her rant), I reported her to customer service.

  • Guest

    Sorry, what I meant to write was:

    I saw Xan Joi trying to get SIGNATURES, and SHE did not stand there “gamely” but rather was quite aggressive, offensive, and often unintelligible. After she screamed at a man walking in because he wasn’t interested in the petition (“TYPICAL WHITE MAN” was her rant), I reported her to customer service.

  • guest

    For a closer look at the sort of supporters that Kriss attracts, see Xan Joi’s blog at http://codepinkjournals.blogspot.com/2013/09/back-to-transdomineering-to-be-continued.html

  • guest

    In this video, Xan Joi says that she was kicked out of Occupy Wall Street, because everyone else said that her constant accusations of racism and sexism were divisive.

    go to 4:00 to 4:30 in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzW6dPYBwcI

    Her behavior at OWS sounds like her aggressive behavior at Berkeley Bowl, as reported in the other comment.

  • Typical White Man

    Since that video is linked within the supportive context of this article, are her words and attitudes are endorsed by Berkeleyside?

  • Go Kriss

    For a closer look at the sort of supporters that Kriss attracts

    Cheap shot but consider the forum, I guess.

  • Doc

    Now who’s taking cheap shots?

  • guest

    That is just a feature of the disqus commenting system. If you add a link to a video in the comment, disqus displays the video.

  • guest

    I don’t know if it is a cheap shot to point out that Kriss attracts lots of nutty supporters. I have noticed over the years that Kriss makes a point of cultivating people who are borderline mentally ill; they make very loyal supporters, because he is the only one who will take them seriously. I think that says something about his political positions and the policies he advocates.

  • Go Kriss

    I have noticed over the years that Kriss makes a point of cultivating people who are borderline mentally ill

    Sure you have.

  • guest

    Another cheap shot from you.

    If it weren’t a public forum, I would mention two names of people I know and describe their symptoms. There are many more that I don’t know, such as Xan Joi.

  • Typical White Man

    I was referring to the link in the final paragraph of original article, which is to the same video.

  • http://berkeleyside.com Frances Dinkelspiel

    Berkeleyside often links out in articles. The wire, which we run everyday, is a collection of links to stories about Berkeley. A link is not an endorsement or non-endorsement. It is just a link.

  • Whoa Mule
  • Chris J

    Can’t speak to Kris’s Worthington’s supporters one way or the other. Xan Joi sounds kinda angry, though. Not sure if the other council members and the mayor are trying to do redistricting simply to make KW’s reelection more difficult. People still vote. One per person. Don’t care about the lines, though obviously KW and his opponents do.

    Everyone needs a hobby.

  • AnthonySanchez

    Again, I want to point out the discussion comments and why I feel that anonymous commenting leads to civil atrophy, even with moderating. None of the comments at the time of writing are helpful, including the disparaging remarks towards Nancy Skinner.

    Here’s to hoping Berkeleyside comments can be elevated and that people cannot create anonymous accounts simply to be snide when they wouldn’t with their real name.

  • Whoa Mule

    Thanks for your comment. Although I am not responsible for dressing Ms. Skinner, my characterization of her as ‘nutty’ was incorrect. Ms. Skinner is a legislator who has accepted contributions from corporate interests such GE and Pfizer, Indian Gaming Casinos, and Govt. Employee Unions into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Hmmm…what would be a good description of her?

  • Whoa Mule

    Anthony, your point is well taken. It was impolite and incorrect of me to characterize Ms. Skinner as ‘nutty’, based only on her wardrobe. Ms. Skinner is a politician who has taken almost a million dollars in contributions from GE, Pfizer, Casinos, and Govt. employee unions. Recently, she traveled to Cuba using her campaign account along with Assembly Speaker John Perez and a lobbyist for Platinum Advisers.

    So, how would you characterize her? Politely, of course.

  • George Beier

    I completely agree. Sometimes anonymity is good — protecting news sources, whistle blowing, company suggestion boxes, etc. But other times it’s just an excuse for snarkiness (sp?) or worse, cowardice.

    It would be great if we could have a setting that says “ignore anonymous comments” or something like that on Berkeleyside. Then we could just filter the anonymous comments out.

  • Whoa Mule

    Redistricting based on population (rather than registered voters) has resulted in a significant disparity between the number of votes cast for winning candidates. A district of students, who are here temporarily and are likely to remain registered in other jurisdictions is anti-democratic at its core.

    Several of the ASUC officers, who pushed for this district are no longer residents of Berkeley. Presently, the student population in the proposed district is energized in opposition to an ordinance that seeks to curtail late night noisy drinking parties.

    As Mr. Worthington has discovered, its difficult to get registered voters interested in an issue which affects so few.

  • kos

    Anonymous commenting allows for free and unfettered discussion, particularly on topics that might be more controversial. There’s a reason the Federalist Papers weren’t bylined.

    People who complain about anonymous commenting are people who can’t stomach criticism. In my line of work, I certainly get a buttload of criticism. I evaluate such criticism on its merits, irrespective of who wrote it. If it’s valid criticism, I take heed. If it’s not, I shrug it off and move on. Those involved in politics should learn to do the same, rather than whine about the injustices of pixels on a screen.

  • kos

    If they get this on the ballot, it would easily be the dumbest initiative I’ve seen in my 14 years as a Berkeley resident.

    If it’s so important to have a “student district”, then why is Worthington trying to shore it up for himself? Have a student represent the students.

    In fact, I look forward to supporting just that person come election time.

  • anti-idiot

    That isn’t criticism. It’s cheap defamation.

    And yet it is supported with evidence of two mentally ill people who held positions in Kriss’ campaigns. One who was later caught destroying the campaign signs of his rivals and one who is currently trying to gather signatures for an ill-conceived referendum.

    Can you find similar individuals working within or at the behest of the campaigns of any other Berkeley city council members?

  • daily what now?

    For one thing, I don’t accept your premise that Xan Joi is mentally ill. I think you have taken a cheap, defamatory shot in a personal attack on a random Berkeley resident who happened to be mentioned in a story and whose politics you apparently dislike.

  • Mbfarrel

    No matter what you point out its a terrible outfit. And she’s a public figure.