Berkeley redistricting referendum effort prevails

Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

An effort underway over the past month to force the Berkeley City Council to revoke a recently adopted redistricting map, or put the council district issue before the voters later this year, has officially collected enough signatures for the referendum to proceed, city staff said Monday evening.

The Berkeley Referendum Coalition turned in 7,867 signatures, which were filed with the Berkeley city clerk Jan. 21.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters examined a random sampling of 429 of those signatures, and found that the group would have more than enough valid names on the list, said city spokesman Matthai Chakko. To force a referendum, 5,275 of the signatures needed to be valid.

The successful signature drive means the redistricting ordinance adopted in December is now suspended. Council will consider whether to take back its vote and reconsider the topic, or put the issue before the voters. 

Chakko said it was unknown as of Monday night when the issue might come before the Berkeley City Council.

The referendum coalition hired Bay Area Petitions of Santa Cruz to organize paid signature gatherers for the referendum, according to a financial disclosure report filed Jan. 29, after the council adopted a new redistricting map in December.

That map included a student-majority district centered around Telegraph Avenue, and was known as the Berkeley Student District Campaign map. It concentrated District 7 on the south side of campus and had first been submitted to the city in April.

But Councilman Kriss Worthington, who represents District 7 — along with many of his supporters — described that plan as an attempt to dilute the city’s progressive voice. The adopted map excludes the student co-ops and dorms on the north side of campus, which generally are regarded as progressive, and added fraternities and sororities on the south side of campus, which were described as more conservative.

An intern in Worthington’s office, Stefan Elgstrand, then drew up a new map that shifted District 7 north to include the co-ops and dorms. He submitted the map, known as the United Student District Amendment, in July, as the scheduled redistricting process was concluding. The council did not adopt it, which ultimately triggered the referendum drive.

[Correction: The date of filing for the referendum was corrected after publication.]

Related:
Long-time Berkeley progressives back referendum drive (02.03.14)
Redistricting opponents secure signatures to secure vote (01.22.14)
Op-ed: We don’t need a redistricting referendum (01.10.14)
Tight deadline to get redistricting referendum on ballot (01.03.14)
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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  • John Freeman

    . It is no longer clear what progressive and moderate mean in Berkeley.

    It seems like a pretty durable category to me. The moderate faction in recent years likes to insist that they too are progressives and/or that the word has lost all meaning but their attempts seem pretty transparent and silly to me.

  • Guest

    Your post is absolutely non-responsive to Markos’s points. You might receive fewer exasperated responses if you dealt forthrightly with the issues he raised. You have plastered this site with posts that tend to suggest that you are smugly pleased with the success of your efforts in regard to the redistricting plan. Your efforts appear, has Markos has said, to subvert this city’s democratic process. If you won’t respond to the substance of his remarks, we are entitled to draw the conclusion that you are not being honest.

  • AnthonySanchez

    Actually, yes, we did ask for independent redistricting when our office negotiated Measure R with Mayor Bates and Capitelli. They shot that done quicker than a paper plane.

    After that, we asked then that a supermajority requirement be imposed so that a majority cannot use the process to screw over a minority and ensure that only a consensus map could pass. They shot that down, too, and told us not to worry.

    I can try my best and looked at my calendar to give you the exact date and time when this meeting occurred before we put Measure R on the ballot.

  • AnthonySanchez

    There’s a big difference being progressive on easy national issues than on local issues.

  • guest

    This is exactly the kind of comment that makes you sound very naive and impressionable.

    You’ve been here for what, like 5 years? Tom Bates has been a progressive voice for the people of the East Bay for longer than you’ve been alive. During his many years in the state assembly he was known as the progressive conscience of the California Legislature. He has done more for environmentalism and social justice right here in the East Bay than you will ever hope to accomplish in your entire lifetime.

    It seems you know nothing about any of that. Your entire assessment of Mayor Bates begins and ends with the fact that he includes business interests in conversations about the future of our city. If you knew anything about his career, you would know that he is a consensus builder. He’s very good at it, and it’s why he’s been so successful at implementing progressive legislative solutions for the people of California and the East Bay.

  • guest

    Actually, I would need to see Jesse’s proposal in the minutes of a council meeting. You’re not trustworthy, so I can’t take your word for anything.

    Supermajority requirements are anti-democratic, so I’m glad that option was declined, if it was indeed proposed.

  • Doc

    Progressive in Berkeley today seems to mean what trashes the city. It is progressive to oppose housing. It is progressive to support People’s Park remaining a dump. It is progressive to support false registration in the schools. It is progressive to promote camping on market streets. Etc.

  • guest

    Ended BCA dominance for a cycle, Charles. And certainly did not end progressive dominance of the council, which asserted itself in the late 1980s and has completely dominated municipal politics since.

  • Guest

    Then you can probably answer the question:
    “How about when Bates ran against Zelda? Who was the progressive then?”
    Zelda is Jesse’s appointee to a commission. Are they both equally progressive?

    And you can probably also tell us who will be the progressive when Markos helps out “whoever runs against Worthington.” Is Worthington the progressive, or is Kos?

  • Guest

    So you think the council now has a progressive majority – contrary to the councilmembers who call themselves progressive and say that it has a moderate majority.

  • Walnut Creek HOA

    Could you please bring some of your energy to bear on our neighborhood issues when you get home tonight? Be sure to turn on your lights in the tunnel!

    Your neighbors

  • Guest

    Hear hear!

  • guest

    If you really think Worthington is not going to run for office again then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you…