Category Archives: Politics
In a 6-3 vote, a Berkeley City Council majority ruled Tuesday night to wait until at least March 11 to make a decision on whether to repeal the city’s recently adopted redistricting ordinance or put the new district lines to the voters in November.
Council members Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguín and Max Anderson pushed on Tuesday night for council to rescind the ordinance, which was approved in December, in favor of an alternative map. But others on the dais said they wanted more time before taking any additional steps.
Detractors of the new ordinance led a successful signature-gathering campaign in January to force council to repeal the ordinance and adopt a new map, or put it before the voters later this year. New district lines are required to balance the population as much as possible across the city’s eight council districts. The adopted map does that, but some say it unfairly cuts out many “progressive” voices from District 7, which is represented by Worthington. … Continue reading »
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. … Continue reading »
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. … Continue reading »
Opponents of a redistricting plan adopted by the City Council in December turned in 7,876 signatures to the City Clerk’s office on Tuesday that they hope will lead to a redrawing of District 7 boundaries.
Despite the fact that UC Berkeley students, who would be most affected by the changes, were on vacation during the 30 days opponents had to collect signatures, the Berkeley Referendum Campaign gathered more than the 5,275 necessary to reconsider the map, according to City Councilman Kriss Worthington. He led the drive along with City Councilman Jesse Arreguin. That response shows just how disenfranchised many Berkeley residents felt by the new redistricting lines, he said.
“Many progressives saw it (the redistricting plan adopted by the council) as classic gerrymandering for the advantage of a moderate candidate,” said Worthington. … Continue reading »
With only two weeks left to collect 5,275 signatures to force a city council redistricting measure on the ballot, members of the Berkeley Referendum Coalition are holding a rally on Saturday to train volunteers.
Those who are opposed to the redistricting plan approved by the City Council in December plan to meet at Mudracker’s Café at 2801 Telegraph Ave. at 11 a.m. to kick off an intense weekend of voter education.
“We are training people how to get signatures,” said Alejandro Soto-Vigil, an aide to City Councilman Kriss Worthington who is helping plan the campaign. “We are going to be sending teams out, generally two people per team, to certain blocks throughout the city of Berkeley, dispatching them to supermarkets, BART, and the neighborhoods that are going to be adversely affected by the redistricting.”
About 45 people showed up to the first meeting on Dec. 21 and organizers hope many more will turn out this weekend, said Soto-Vigil.
The Berkeley Referendum Coalition hopes to overturn a new redistricting map that they believe creates a less progressive District 7 and which is aimed at forcing out Worthington, said Soto-Vigil. … Continue reading »
The Fair Campaign Practices Commission has decided to investigate whether any campaign laws were broken when the Yes on Measure S campaign paid people from $50 to $100 in cash to pass out campaign material on election day.
The commission also wants staff to look into whether the Yes on S campaign paid for an extra printing of endorsement fliers put out by the Berkeley Democratic Club without declaring its participation.
The decision to investigate came as the commission considered another complaint on Sept. 19 filed by Patricia Wall, executive director of the Homeless Action Center, and Bob Offer-Westort, the coordinator of the No on Measure S campaign. Measure S, which was defeated in November 2012, would have made it illegal to sit on sidewalks in commercial districts for much of the day. … Continue reading »
A small group of community members came together earlier this week at the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce to learn how the city’s redistricting process, underway for the past two years, will impact the city going forward.
Redistricting takes place in Berkeley every 10 years, when U.S. Census data are released, to ensure that districts have roughly equal populations.
Since at least 2000, students and others who live around the UC Berkeley campus have been trying to establish a student-majority district with the aim of giving students a larger voice and role in city decisions. In 2000, a proposal that essentially created a ring around campus was rejected by the city attorney because it didn’t comply with the city charter’s rules for redistricting. Last fall, Berkeley voters passed Measure R to change the way redistricting takes place. … Continue reading »
The California legislature is now deep in the throes of the state budget process, with the combined senate and assembly conference committee working to reconcile the differences between the legislative budgets and the governor’s. Decisions happen in a rush of committee meetings and votes: both houses need to approve the budget by June 15 and the final budget act and governor’s signature are required by the end of the month.
Berkeley’s own legislators, State Senator Loni Hancock and State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, are both among their chamber’s four members of the conference committee. So, although no one expects Hancock and Skinner to think about their city’s needs over the state’s, Berkeley represents one-fourth of the decision-making power for this year’s budget. … Continue reading »
Berkeley is seeking redistricting plans for the city’s eight council districts. Since 1986, Berkeley redistricting has been constrained to boundaries resembling the 1986 lines. After the passage of Measure R in November, those geographic constraints have been removed.
Redistricting plans must be submitted by March 15. A community meeting and two public hearings will be held in the spring and summer of this year, leading to the City Council considering a redistricting ordinance at its September 10th meeting. If the announced redistricting process calendar is adhered to, the redistricting ordinance will become effective on October 20, 2013, and the new districts will be used in the 2014 election, when seats for districts 1, 4, 7 and 8 will be up for election. … Continue reading »
The November 2012 election has come and gone, but Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission will address some alleged violations of campaign law on Thursday night.
The commission is scheduled to take a look at donations made to a Slate Mailer Organization (SMO) that spent more than $43,000 to send out five campaign mailers in support of the TUFF Rent Board slate, which included incumbent Nicole Drake, (who was defeated) Judy Hunt, (who was elected), Jay James, and Kiran Shenoy.
Patti Dacey, a Berkeley Planning Commissioner, filed a complaint with the FCPC on October 25 alleging that real estate businesses improperly donated to the TUFF SMO in order to circumvent Berkeley election laws, which prohibit businesses from contributing to candidates and limits individual donations to candidates (but not ballot measures) to $250. … Continue reading »
Interactive map with precinct-by-precinct results for Measure S. Click the green arrows to conceal info boxes. View the map on Geocommons here.
Although most of the results of Berkeley’s 2012 election were known on Nov. 6, and the final tally completed over a week ago, an analysis of the precinct-by-precinct certified results provides a number of fascinating insights.
(The certified results were released by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters just before Thanksgiving last week – the full 9MB 748-page statement of vote is available for download, but only as a PDF, not as a useful data file.) … Continue reading »