Long-time Berkeley progressives back referendum drive

City council members Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguin and members the Berkeley Referendum Campaign turn in signatures to the city clerk’s office on Jan 21. Photo: Anthony Sanchez

City council members Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguin and members the Berkeley Referendum Campaign turn in signatures to the city clerk’s office on Jan 21. Photo: Anthony Sanchez

The group that collected 7,896 signatures to force a City Council redistricting plan onto the ballot spent more than $5,000 on paid signature gatherers in January, but only raised $2,790, according to a campaign disclosure report filed with the city.

The single largest contributor to the campaign was Michael O’Malley who co-owns The Daily Planet with his wife Becky. The O’Malleys are a politically progressive couple who are often critical of Mayor Tom Bates and his more moderate allies on the council. Michael O’Malley contributed $1,000 to the referendum effort.

Other donors include Lisa Stephens, the chair of the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, Nancy Carleton, a former chair of the Zoning Adjustments Board, and David Blake, a member of the Rent Stabilization Board. They each donated $100. James Marshall, a computer programmer who founded the Berkeley Institute for Free Speech Online, contributed $200. Gene Poschman, a planning commissioner, donated $300, and Daniel Knapp, the owner of Urban Ore, gave $100. Urban Ore gave an additional $300, among others

Stephens is the treasurer of the Berkeley Referendum Coalition and Stefan Elgstrand, the intern in City Councilman Kriss Worthington’s office who crafted an alternate redistricting plan, is the assistant treasurer.

The referendum coalition paid $5,000 to Bay Area Petitions of Santa Cruz to hire paid signature gatherers for the referendum, according to the financial disclosure report.

The backers of the referendum drive turned in signatures to place the measure on the ballot on Jan. 21. The Registrar of Voters has 30 days to verify the signatures. The group only needs 5,275 signatures to place the issue before voters.

If the signatures are valid, the boundaries adopted by the council will immediately be suspended, as outlined in the city charter. The Berkeley City Council can then either place the referendum on the June or November ballot so voters can decide if that action should be permanent, or withdraw the redistricting plan and start anew.

In December, the council adopted a new redistricting map that included a student-majority district centered around Telegraph Avenue. The plan was known as the Berkeley Student District Campaign Map and it concentrated District 7 on the south side of campus. The map had first been submitted in April.

But Worthington, who represents District 7, and many of his supporters, viewed that plan as a thinly veiled attempt to unseat him. The BSDC map excluded the student co-ops and dorms on the north side of campus, groups that are generally regarded as politically progressive, and instead added fraternities and sororities on the south side of campus, groups that are generally regarded as more conservative.

Elgstrand in Worthington’s office 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, after the redistricting process was concluding. The council did not adopt it, triggering the referendum drive.

The article has been updated to include the names of additional contributors.

Related:
Redistricting opponents secure signatures to secure vote (01.22.14)
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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  • guest

    How much public money will be spent on a special election if this goes forward?

  • serkes

    “Many progressives saw it (the redistricting plan adopted by the council) as classic gerrymandering for the advantage of a moderate candidate,” said Worthington.”

    http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/01/22/opponents-of-redistricting-gather-enough-signatures-to-force-vote/

    “Elgstrand in Worthington’s office 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, after the redistricting process was concluding. The council did not adopt it, triggering the referendum drive.”

    http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/02/03/long-time-berkeley-progressives-back-referendum-drive/#disqus_thread

    Berkeley … where real gerrymanderers accuse others of gerrymandering!

    Berkeleyspeak … Newspeak 30 years later!

    Ira

    Ira

  • Doc

    Progressives in Berkeley strive to keep crime high, Telegraph and People’s Parks as dumps, relations with the University hostile, and false registration the driving force of our schools. Congratulations.

  • DisGuested

    Let’s not forget that these are the “Progressives” whose signature-gathering representative in front of the Berkeley Bowl spouted racist and sexist abuse at people who did not sign their petition.

  • John Freeman

    The Berkeley City Council can then either place the referendum on the June or November ballot

    If the next general election is in June, then how could Council delay the referendum vote until November?

  • http://berkeleyside.com Frances Dinkelspiel

    The next scheduled election, I believe, is in November. The city council would probably want it to be considered then so the city does not have to pay for a special election in June. That would be expensive. But then the problem arises – what are the boundaries of the districts used by council candidates? Bates may want a court to decide.

  • serkes

    Progressive …. insurance they go with the flo?

  • Bishop George Berkeley

    More than $2,790.

  • tenjen

    See, this is why I refused to sign the petition. I looked at the map and the districts seemed evenly distributed to me. It seems the people opposed to it are all Kriss Worthington supporters. And the Malones. I’m to the point where I think if Kriss and the Daily Planet are against something, I’m probably for it. And I had to laugh at the assertion (in an email sent to me) that the map was “gerrymandered” by “conservative” politicians. There ARE no conservative politicians in Berkeley. We’ve got progressives and far leftists.

  • John Freeman

    Anthony is there a statutory basis for the April 1 deadline or is it administrative? If administrative, is there flexibility in it?

    And how can Council postpone until November? The charter (see section 93 as discussed in another comment here) demands June.

    I can believe you, though, that if a court is asked to impose temporary districts for November, BSDC’s chances are questionable.

  • angry_moderate

    Everyone who donated to the campaign is a major donor to Kriss Worthington’s election campaigns or someone who owes him for political favors. Grotesque.

  • Sick N. Tired

    What I don’t understand is why everyone in Berkeley seems to accept that “progressive” refers to Kriss and his ilk. Why is that? They aren’t progressives at all – they hide behind the progressive banner to do their own gerrymandering and to promote themselves. If Kriss wanted to make a real proposal, why didn’t he follow the rules and submit a plan when they were called for? It was because he knew he could manipulate the situation more by doing it this way. The true progressives are the people who are REALLY working for change – not just their own egos. Laurie Capitelli and Susan Wengraf are way more progressive than Kriss.

  • serkes

    Here’s what dictionary.com gives as the definition of progressive. I wonder how that compares to how Berkeley “progressives” define themselves.

    Ira

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/progressive?s=t

    pro·gres·sive [pruh-gres-iv] Show IPA

    adjective

    1. favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are,especially in political matters: a progressive mayor.

    2.

    making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community.

    3.

    characterized by such progress, or by continuous improvement.

    4.

    ( initial capital letter ) of or pertaining to any of the Progressive parties in politics.

    5.

    going forward or onward; passing successively from one member of a series to the next; proceeding step by step.

  • serkes

    The more I read this the more bemused I’m becoming.

    “But Worthington, who represents District 7, and many of his supporters, viewed that plan as a thinly veiled attempt to unseat him. The BSDC map excluded the student co-ops and dorms on the north side of campus, groups that are generally regarded as politically progressive, and instead added fraternities and sororities on the south side of campus, groups that are generally regarded as more conservative.”

    I’ve not attended Cal so really don’t know how students living on Northside consider their interests as more student than Northside.

    This quote really makes me think that the new plan is really a thinly veiled attempt to disenfranchise fraternities and sororities on the south side of campus. It seems that their interests would be more in line with others on the Southside.

    And from the wiki

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering

    “In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts.”

    Anyone else think they’re playing with fire when they kicked the hornets nest by Salander-ing the district?

  • guest

    According to an article I read there wouldnt be a special election, the city council would have to choose between throwing out the map or putting it on the June or November ballot. I don’t know where the idea of a special election came from

  • Berkeleyborn123

    It’s good to see the defenders of the status quo can still organize to defend the status quo….

  • guest
  • Sick N. Tired

    I think it’s more that Kriss is trying to screw with the process to keep his seat. He recognizes that the new District might be difficult for him to win in – he faces some good competition this year. So rather than play fair and submit his own map for review (which, since he doesn’t have the support, wouldn’t actually get accepted), he’s doing this to delay implementation of the new map and make it difficult for a challenger to even figure out what District he/she is in, and how to plan a run against Kriss. The more Kriss can cause confusion, the harder it will be for any challenger to run. Kriss has many many faults, but he IS good at manipulation of the process.

  • Debs

    It is an insult to leftism to call those people leftists. They are merely political opportunists, taking advantage of a lot of low information voters who think of themselves as leftists.

  • Herself

    I’ve lived in this town for 25 years and it’s not more or less corrupt than any other town, except for the fruitbat quotient being sky high. I’m so glad my rep is Mr. Moore, who’s actually sane.

  • Guest

    That’s horrible if true. I do not support the referendum, but I told that to every signature-gatherer who approached me (all at Safeway on north Shattuck) and was always met with a polite response. Not one even tried to engage me in further discussion — just “No problem, thank you,” which I truly appreciated.

  • Guest

    As a former student who has always lived on northside (always very close and at times immediately adjacent to campus), I could not agree more. I live on northside primarily BECAUSE the community is so different from southside in a way that I appreciate and actively sought out. The issues that I had in common with students on southside are numerous, but they’re primarily university-related issues, not city council issues.

  • Linda

    It’s frustrating when students, many who are here for a few short years, change the dynamics. (Not to mention cost the taxpayers more money.) Born and raised here, and this is nothing new.