Category Archives: Politics

Op-ed: Measure R will kill emerging downtown renaissance

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Berkeley has an international reputation as a free-thinking, expressive, welcoming and experimental city.  The current battle over the city’s downtown and November’s Measure R contradicts this image of ourselves, and in the worst possible way.

While promoted as a “soak-the-evil-developers” proposal, in reality Measure R is a thinly disguised attempt to freeze Berkeley in the past and wall off a potentially larger and more vibrant downtown to new residents. Rather than being progressive and welcoming, Measure R will keep people … Continue reading »

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Berkeley School Board: 3 seats contested by 5 candidates

The Berkeley School Board, at its August meeting. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Three seats on the Berkeley Unified school board are being contested by five candidates in this year’s election. Three of the candidates — Josh Daniels, Karen Hemphill and Julie Sinai — are incumbents on the board (although Sinai was appointed, not elected, following the resignation of Leah Wilson). Ty Alper and Norma Harrison are the two non-incumbents running for the board.

Berkeleyside asked each of the candidates a number of questions about both their background and their views on some key issues facing Berkeley schools. The responses to the questions are provided in alphabetical order below.

One slightly unusual aspect about the school board race is that the three incumbents have endorsed each other and are circulating literature encouraging voters to elect them as a combined slate. Since school-board elections are citywide, building name recognition among voters is often particularly difficult for non-incumbents. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley ballot snafu, more money in for 2014 election

Alameda County officials are mailing out postcards to alert voters that the date of the election printed on mail-in ballots is wrong. It reads Nov. 5, 2014, when it should read Nov. 4, 2014. Photo: KQED
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The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has sent out 27,000 postcards to Berkeley voters informing them that the date of the election printed on their mail-in ballots is wrong. The date reads Nov. 5, when of course the actual date is Nov. 4.

“This is an unfortunate error on some vote-by-mail envelopes sent to voters in Berkeley, and we deeply regret any confusion this may be causing,” Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis said in a press release.

Read all you need to know about local elections on our Election Hub page

A printer used by Alameda County and other California counties has accepted responsibility for the error, said Dupuis. … Continue reading »

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Outside money, solar funds in Assembly campaigns

Echols and Thurmond debated each other in Berkeley on Oct. 7. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Big outside money is playing a large role in California legislative races this year, and the East Bay is not immune to the trend.

Independent Expenditure committees have donated $265,600 so far in support of State Assembly District 15 candidate Tony Thurmond, a former Richmond city council member and $150,775 to his opponent, Elizabeth Echols, the regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Petroleum and cigarette interests are two of many contributors to the independent expenditure groups backing Thurmond, prompting  Echols to send out mailers warning voters about the “Big Oil,” tobacco, and “predatory lenders” backing Thurmond.

Berkeleyside’s Election Hub: All you need to know about the elections

But a firefighters union, the AFL-CIO, PG&E, and pharmaceutical and real estate groups have also been giving to the vaguely named independent expenditure (IE) committees that have been spending generously in support of Thurmond. Since the start of the year, the Alliance for California’s Tomorrow, A California Business Coalition (ACT) has reported spending $202,516 in support of the candidate. Keep California Strong has spent $63,084 and he has also received outside support from the nurses union PAC. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Measure D — a doctor’s perspective

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I am a Berkeley doctor. I support Measure D, and want to comment on specious and incorrect arguments by Jill Herschman and Dan McDunn, both of whom argued against the measure in op-ed pieces published on Berkeleyside.

I assume that the flyers with the allegations summarized below, and distributed door to door with the statement “Paid for by No on D ….” by the American Beverage Association PAC ” do contain original belief statements written by the two Berkeley residents named … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Linda Maio is not the best environmental candidate

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The Sierra Club Bay Chapter made a big mistake when it endorsed incumbent Linda Maio for Berkeley City Council.

In 2013, Maio led the move to gut a proposed ordinance that would have improved the information that dental patients receive about mercury dental amalgam fillings. She killed the mandates that two Berkeley commissions had spent six months crafting, which included informed consent for dental patients and signage requirements for dental offices.

Pro-environment Councilmember Arreguín and others tried to continue the issue for further study, but Maio, in her leadership role as Vice-Mayor, convinced the majority … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Vote no on Measure R — it’s a misleading initiative

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Most of us want a new downtown; why are we asked over and over to keep the old one? Why do we have to fight another misleading initiative — Measure R?

After years of debate on a plan to revitalize our downtown, we had the first initiative campaign to stop it, and a subsequent election, in which the plan was approved overwhelmingly by voters in every precinct in Berkeley. It provided for a new green downtown with new housing for … Continue reading »

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Berkeley 2014 election hub: What you need to know

BUSD administrators will hold budget hearing on March 29 in city council chambers
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Absentee ballots have arrived and the November 2014 election is just around the corner. Berkeleyside has been covering the issues for months, and we’ve collected some of our best Berkeley election coverage in a single post to help readers get informed before they cast their votes.

Browse Berkeleyside’s 2014 election coverage.

Berkeley has several council seats up for grabs, and seven ballot measures under consideration. If you haven’t yet plugged into the local issues on the table, here’s your chance. On election night, we’ll cover the results live, and we plan to keep this hub updated as Nov. 4 approaches. If you think it’s a good resource, we hope you’ll share it with your friends and neighbors.

What else do you need to know?

The deadline to register to vote in Alameda County for the Nov. 4 election is Monday, Oct. 20. Registration can be completed online. Berkeleyside does not endorse candidates or measures.

In addition to our news coverage, a lively debate has been going on in our opinion pages. Berkeleyside welcomes submissions of op-ed articles of 500-800 words. We ask for first refusal to publish. Topics should be Berkeley-related and local authors are preferred. Please email submissions to the editors. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Big Tobacco and Big Oil have no place in Berkeley politics

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If you’ve lived and voted in Berkeley for a long time, as I have, you’ve no doubt noticed that our election campaigns typically pit one Democrat against another with nary any interest from anyone outside the East Bay. Now that has changed.

For the first time ever, two “independent expenditure” committees, or PACs, have already spent more than $200,000 in the contest for the 15th Assembly District seat, which encompasses all of Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, and North Oakland plus several … Continue reading »

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Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg donates $85,000 to support Berkeley’s proposed soda tax

Michael Bloomberg
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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who fought unsuccessfully to establish a cap on the size of soda portions sold in that city, has donated $85,000 to the Yes on Measure D campaign.

His contribution – the largest the soda tax advocates have gotten to date – is one of three significant donations made by national groups in recent days, according to Josh Daniels, the co-chair of the campaign. The American Heart Association recently gave $23,000 and the Center for Science in the Public Interest kicked in $15,000. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Soda Tax is wrong formula, regardless of ideology

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Next month, voters in Berkeley and their neighbors across the Bay in San Francisco will go to the polls to determine whether their cities would be the first in the country to pass taxes on sugar- sweetened beverages. Berkeley’s “Measure D,” a 1-cent-per-ounce proposal, would mean a 50 percent cost increase for soda in the checkout lane. San Francisco’s two-cent-per-ounce “Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Ordinance” could double the cost of a twelve-pack of soda. But the hit on their wallets is … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley, not Big Soda, knows what’s best for Berkeley

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If an alien were to drop into Berkeley this election season, one could not fault her for presuming that the staunchest protector of our community’s collective wellbeing is the American Beverage Association, the bank and voice of Big Soda.

Loudly and ubiquitously, Big Soda professes its concern for us from placards plastered on our bus stops, bulletins be-decking our BART stations, campaign signs splashed around our traffic circles and roadway medians (the subject of a cease-and-desist letter from the City … Continue reading »

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District 8 candidates share their vision for downtown

Downtown Berkeley, May 2014. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The race for Berkeley’s District 8 seat, soon to be vacated by City Councilman Gordon Wozniak, is the most competitive of the 2014 election season. Four candidates are vying for the post: George Beier, Michael Alvarez Cohen, Lori Droste, and Jacquelyn McCormick.

The Downtown Berkeley Association recently sent a set of questions to the four candidates. They mostly focused on their vision of the downtown, although one asked about the city’s finances. We publish their responses below:

Read more about the Berkeley 2014 elections on BerkeleysideContinue reading »

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