City

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates has surgery following injury

Mayor Tom Bates. Photo- Frances Dinkelspiel
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates had surgery after he fractured his hip Saturday, Nov. 21. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

The mayor of Berkeley, Tom Bates, had surgery Sunday following a sports-related injury sustained Saturday.

The mayor fractured his hip while playing basketball with his grandson, according to Charles Burress, the mayor’s communications director. The mayor had surgery Sunday, “which went very well,” Burress said. “He began physical therapy today and expects to return home tomorrow,” Burress said via email Monday.

Mayor Bates had been scheduled to hand out the medals to the winners of the third annual Berkeley Half Marathon which took place Sunday. Vice Mayor Linda Maio stepped in to fulfill the role.

As a result of the accident, Bates and Hancock have had to cancel a planned vacation to visit relatives back East during the Thanksgiving break. He will still take that time off, Burress said. After that, Bates plans to attend future council meetings and work a limited schedule until he’s fully back on his feet, according to Burress. The next City Council meeting is slated for Dec. 1.


Bates, who is 77, has served as mayor of the city since 2002. He has said he doesn’t intend to run again in 2016. Before becoming mayor, he served 20 years as a member of the California State Assembly. He is married to Loni Hancock, a former mayor of Berkeley and State Assembly member who currently serves in the California State Senate. Together they have four children and seven grandchildren, according to the city of Berkeley website.

Bates provided more detail about how the injury occurred in a phone conversation with Burress on Monday afternoon.

“He was playing the basketball game of Horse with his 15-year-old grandson,” Burress relayed via email. “They had each won one game and were tied at H-O-R in the third game when his grandson hit a layup. When the Mayor tried to match it, he fell and fractured his hip — and forfeited the game.”

“I’m not retiring from basketball,” Bates reportedly said. “I’m going to make a comeback.”

The mayor has a sporting background. During his time as a student at UC Berkeley, from which he graduated in 1961, he was a starting right end on the 1959 Cal Rose Bowl team.


This story was updated after publication with new information received from Charles Burress.

Follow Berkeleyside on Twitter and on Facebook where we often break news. Email us at tips@berkeleyside.com. Would you like the latest Berkeley news sent to your email inbox once a day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.