With mayor and two councilmen stepping aside, Berkeley’s election is heating up

Max Anderson
Max Anderson: not running again for Berkeley City Council this year. Photo: courtesy Max Anderson

After serving 12 years on the Berkeley City Council — and another 12 on various city commissions — Max Anderson has decided not to run for another council term.

Anderson’s exit from the race for District 3 in South Berkeley has already attracted two strong candidates and more are certain to file their election papers in the next few months. John Selawsky, who served on the Berkeley Unified School District School Board for 12 years and who currently sits on the Rent Stabilization Board, is running. So is Deborah Matthews, a Realtor who has served on numerous city boards, including the Planning and Housing commissions and the Zoning Adjustments Board.

Ben Bartlett, who currently sits on the Planning Commission and is a former member of the Police Review Commission, has also said he will run for the District 3 seat, although he has not yet filed papers. The last date to file papers for a Berkeley council seat is July 18.

Anderson told Berkeleyside he decided to step down because he has served Berkeley for 28 years and is ready for a change. In addition to his 12-year run on the council, Anderson served eight years on the city’s Rent Stabilization Board and eight years on the Planning Commission. His wife is retiring this year and they have plans to travel.


“There is a whole world out there of things to do,” said Anderson.

Anderson’s seat will not be the only open race in the November 2016 election. City Councilman Laurie Capitelli will give up his District 5 seat to run for mayor, and so far there are already two declared candidates for the post. Sophie Hahn, a lawyer and Zoning Adjustments Board commissioner who has twice challenged Capitelli, is running again. She will face Stephen Murphy, a lawyer and a member of the Planning Commission and Commission on the Status of Women.

Tom Bates is not running for reelection as mayor, and three people have declared their candidacies so far, including Capitelli, City Councilman Jesse Arreguín, and Mike Lee, a homeless man and homeless activist. In a press release announcing his candidacy, Lee called himself an “old bum” who doesn’t have the resumé of his competitors, but who has “kitchen table common sense.” He was active in the recent camp-out in front of Old City Hall to protest new laws passed concerning how homeless people can keep their possessions on the sidewalk.

Arreguín sent out a press release in early January announcing that he has already raised more than $25,000 from more than 200 supporters. Arreguín said 70% of the donors live in Berkeley. Campaign contribution laws only allow people to donate $250 to an individual candidate.

Darryl Moore and Susan Wengraf are also up for re-election.


Campaign reports have not yet been filed detailing the donors and their contributions. The first reports are not due until Jan. 31.

Update: After this article was written, Ben Bartlett took out papers announcing his candidacy for District 3. In addition, Naomi D. Pete took out papers to run for mayor. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Pete ran several times for the mayor’s seat and the city council. The story has also been corrected to say that the first campaign contributions statements are due Jan. 31, not August.

Stay tuned to Berkeleyside for 2016 election coverage.

Related:
Laurie Capitelli to run for mayor in 2016 (11.18.15)
Jesse Arreguín formally announces run for mayor (10.22.15)
Oops! Did Jesse Arreguín inadvertently declare he is running for for mayor? (10.20.15)
Laurie Capitelli says he didn’t split commission from house sale for Meehan (10.05.15)
Capitelli profited from $500,000 housing loan given to police chief, paper says (10.03.15)

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