Tag Archives: Kriss Worthington

Op-ed: It takes a special person to lead Berkeley and it’s Laurie Capitelli

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I’ve been living in Berkeley since 1967, then as an entering freshman at the University of California. I attended Cal through the Oakland Induction Center protests, People’s Park, was tear gassed on my way to class, and was among the first graduating class of CNR (Conservation of Natural Resources). In 1976, I opened The Focal Point on Ashby, and have enjoyed living in this wonderfully diverse, and at times, “quite nuts” city. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

It takes a special person to lead Berkeley – it is unique. Most of us have a strong opinion or 10 to share, and therefore, building consensus is an art form. That’s why I strongly support the candidacy of Laurie Capitelli to be our next Mayor. I’ve known Laurie for more than 25 years. We have worked together on the renovation/operation of the Elmwood Theater, collaborating with the City of Berkeley and the community after a fire that caused great damage to the property. We worked with city staff, Mayor Loni Hancock and community leaders to save a city landmark, volunteering countless hours to save the theater, which today provides us with some of the finest films, many independently made. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Why I’ve decided to vote for Laurie Capitelli

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Open letter to my neighbors whom were unable to meet Laurie Capitelli at a house event we hosted:

Until last night, I was undecided. I had known nothing substantial about our two candidates. (This is really a two-horse race.) Two weeks prior I went to a house party for Jesse Arreguin. Some of my neighbors, whom I respect, support Jesse, and I came away from that meeting with a somewhat positive feeling about him, although I felt he was also a bit slippery. My wife and I decided we should meet and question Laurie Capitelli. Last night, we hosted a house party where he came to answer questions.

My impressions

Laurie impressed me as wise, a realist, and an intellectual progressive. He is sincere in his positions. He has a record showing that he understands that advancement of a progressive agenda occurs with compromise. More than anything, I was impressed with how thoughtful, intelligent, and deep his knowledge on each of the issues was, and how well he understood the complexities of city policies and important issues. I also noticed how he listened to people. (I did not get the same feeling from Jesse.) … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley needs a mayor who shows true leadership

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Berkeley voters face a choice in the upcoming Mayoral race, but not the choice we’ve been led to believe. Contrary to much of the campaign rhetoric so far, this election is not a question of who is the most or least “progressive.” People elsewhere in the country or even the Bay Area would struggle to discern the policy differences that bring Berkeleyans to the barricades. All of the major candidates in the Mayoral race are progressive—indeed, they are very progressive. What this election is truly about is choosing the candidate who has the temperament, the relationships, and the leadership to successfully govern—and that candidate is Councilmember Laurie Capitelli.

The starkest differences between the mayoral frontrunners lie not in their agendas, but in their fundamental approaches to governance and policymaking. Laurie Capitelli has built his record of public service on collaboration, pragmatism, and an abiding determination to do what’s best for Berkeley. Arreguin and Worthington, on the other hand, have governed in manner that is ideological, obstructionist, and prioritizes their own political careers over the good of the city.

Together, Arreguin and Worthington represent a dismaying brand of performance politics. On truly important issues, ranging from housing to the City budget, both Arreguin and Worthington have a history of floating unworkable, pandering proposals. Whether it’s purely symbolic shifting of funds (something City staff stressed was unnecessary), or regulations that would actually kill new housing, Arreguin and Worthington ostentatiously take credit for the outlandish legislation they knew would never pass—let alone actually work. When other Councilmembers judiciously reject these schemes, Worthington and Arreguin attack them as insufficiently “progressive.” This is not leadership, it’s political theater. … Continue reading »

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Real-estate interests spend $92K to help elect candidates

Mayoral candidates Laurie Capitelli and Jesse Arreguín butted heads Tuesday night over the minimum wage proposal. Photos: Mark Coplan
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The political action committee of the National Association of Realtors has poured $92,486 into the Berkeley election in recent weeks, with almost two-thirds of that going to support Laurie Capitelli in his race for mayor.

The realtors spent $60,382 to send out flyers in support of Capitelli, whose main challengers are fellow City Councilmen Jesse Arreguin and Kriss Worthington. Those two are running in tandem and are encouraging voters to rank them first and second on Berkeley’s rank-choice ballot in a bid to defeat Capitelli.

See all local 2016 coverage on Berkeleyside.

(Berkeleyside reported on Oct. 12 that the realtors had spent $36,342 in support of Capitelli’s campaign, but the group has since filed additional documentation.)

The National Association of Realtors Fund is considered an independent expenditure, which means the organization does not coordinate with the candidates’ campaigns. These groups are not restrained by Berkeley’s $250 limit for individuals.

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Election 2016 Berkeley: Spotlight on the mayor’s race

Berkeley mayoral candidates. Photos: Courtesy
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Berkeleyside wants to help you get to know your 2016 candidates for Berkeley mayor, City Council, School Board and Rent Board. This week, we are publishing questionnaires with the candidates daily at 11 a.m.

We’ll also have stories on all the key Berkeley races and initiatives on the ballot, and hope to help readers make informed decisions about the potential leaders and policies that could help shape Berkeley’s future.

See all local 2016 coverage on Berkeleyside.

Q&As with five of the eight candidates vying for the mayor’s seat follow (three others did not submit responses). We asked candidates why they were running, what sets them apart, what the city’s biggest challenges are and how they hope to solve them. Learn what each candidate thinks is his most inspired idea, and how each candidate plans to be accountable and accessible to constituents. Each questionnaire includes complete campaign info, including social media pages, to help readers connect.

There’s also a PDF grid to help readers compare responses side by side. The deadline to register to vote in Alameda County for the Nov. 8 election is Monday, Oct. 24. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Kriss Worthington?

Photo: Courtesy of Kriss Worthington
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Name: Kriss Worthington

Age: 62

Job: City Council member District 7

What office are you are running for? Mayor

What is the main reason you are running? I am encouraging my supporters to use Ranked Choice Voting to vote for both me and Council Member Jesse Arreguin. We differ stylistically and politically, but he has demonstrated immense skills at bringing people together and bridging political divides.

Capitelli sounds nice, but makes frightening claims that we need to cut $14,000,000 per year for 30 years to cover unfunded pensions . His calculations do not properly factor in that we have nearly a billion dollars invested through CalPERS. I strongly support increased funds for unfunded liabilities, but his repeated distortions of budget, and other, information is scary.

Why are you qualified for the position? I am qualified for the position because I negotiated hundreds of compromises to move forward both common sense practical reforms and trailblazing policies. My office empowered interns to write about 2000 Council items, which mostly won. For many years, my appointees include the most Asian and Pacific Islander, the most African American, and the most Latina/o Commissioners. Together we increased inclusion by actively reaching out to neglected or disrespected communities including the South and West Berkeley, Veterans, Disabled, Seniors, LGBT and Jewish communities. I appointed the most student commissioners, and championed successful zoning changes to build thousands more beds of student housing close to campus. I spearheaded numerous policies on Fiscal Responsibility, Public Safety, Technological Innovation, and created Quarterly Work Sessions on Economic Development. … Continue reading »

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With 28 days to the election, fundraising gap between mayoral candidates widens

Five of the eight people running for mayor wait before the start of the CENA/Bateman Neighborhood Association Forum. From left to right: Jesse Arreguin, Ben Gould, Kriss Worthington,  Laurie Capitelli, and Mike Lee. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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See update at bottom.

With 28 days until the Nov. 8 election, Berkeley mayoral candidate, and city councilman, Laurie Capitelli has more than twice the amount of cash to spend on the race than his fellow candidate, City Councilman Jesse Arreguín. And he has 15 times as much to spend as City Councilman Kriss Worthington, who is also running to replace outgoing Mayor Tom Bates.

From July 1 to Sept. 24, the reporting period of the most recent campaign finance filings, Capitelli reported that he raised $31,288, bringing the total amount he has raised since 2015 to around $104,000. He still has $76,700 on hand for the rest of the race.

Arreguín raised $19,461 in that same period, for a total raised of about $69,000. Arreguín has $30,375 on hand.

Worthington has raised $5,804 in that period and has spent $810, leaving him with $4,994.

Ben Gould, a graduate student running for mayor, raised $2,585 from July 1 to Sept. 24, bringing his total to $8,885.

Naomi D. Pete reported she had raised $85, but she did not write down who gave the donation. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley mayoral candidates square off about budget, homelessness and more

Five of the eight people running for mayor wait before the start of the CENA/Bateman Neighborhood Association Forum. From left to right: Jesse Arreguin, Ben Gould, Kriss Worthington,  Laurie Capitelli, and Mike Lee. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Five of the eight mayoral candidates gathered Monday night to air their views on how to lead Berkeley.

The Bateman Neighborhood Association and the Claremont-Elmwood Neighborhood Association sponsored the mayoral forum, which drew about 150 people to St. John’s Presbyterian Church on College Avenue. Each candidate got to make a three-minute opening statement (The candidates’ opening statements are interspersed throughout this story. See videos below). They then answered the same four questions. Three candidates – Bernt Wahl, Zachary RunningWolf, and Naomi D. Peet did not show up.

Sutter Health is moving its emergency and acute inpatient care to Summit Hospital in Oakland. The current Alta Bates facility is subject to 99-year agreement between the hospital and Neighborhood Associations. What actions would you take as mayor to influence the future use of Alta Bates and to make sure the 1983 agreement is enforced?

Ben Gould, a Berkeley native and graduate student at UC Berkeley, said the most important thing was to preserve an emergency room and acute inpatient services in Berkeley, but not necessarily at the existing Alta Bates. He would work with hospital officials who are reluctant to pay the costs for seismically upgrading Alta Bates to explore putting those services at Herrick Hospital site or even at UC Berkeley.

Kriss Worthington, who has been a city councilman since 1996, said he understands how to negotiate with Alta Bates/Sutter Health officials because Alta Bates used to be in his district and he has played a key role in recent years in negotiating compromises with them. When word broke that Alta Bates was going to close, one council member brought forward a measure saying, “Let’s consider what to do.” Worthington said he immediately amended that to say, “Let’s take a stand.” He also directed the interns in his office to examine cases around the country where citizens have stopped the closure of hospitals. He used some of that “winning language” in a recent council resolution, he said. Worthington said Berkeley needs to organize the region and get the councils and residents of Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, and Richmond involved in stopping the closure. “We are all going to be screwed if we let Sutter Corporation take away our hospital.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley candidates outline their positions on the arts

Josh Kornbluth was the emcee for the evening. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Five Berkeley mayoral candidates and a slew of contenders for City Council gathered Wednesday evening at the Freight & Salvage to discuss their commitment to funding the arts.

The Berkeley Cultural Trust, a consortium of individuals from various arts organizations in Berkeley, put on the candidates’ debate. Its setting could not have been more appropriate: the building, which once housed a garage, now serves as the Bay Area’s premiere venue for folk and bluegrass performances. The Freight & Salvage sits on Addison Street in the heart of Berkeley’s Arts District, right across the street from Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theatre and the California Jazz Conservatory (which is expanding across the street).

Check out a round-up of more local election events coming up.

Years ago, this area was just another random block in downtown Berkeley, but it now serves as one of the most vibrant stretches in the city. When Mayor Tom Bates recently hosted a meeting of mayors from around the country, one of the most popular events of the conference was a tour of the downtown Arts District, according to Michael Caplan, the manager of Berkeley’s economic development department, who led the tours.

Berkeley has done a lot to ensure that dance, music, performance and the visual arts thrive. Earlier this year,  the City Council adopted a ‘1% for arts’ provision, which requires developers of new projects (except those in the downtown) to devote 1% of their construction costs to public art or pay an in-lieu fee. That’s on top of a similar 1.5% art requirement tied to public improvements and bond measures. In 2016, Berkeley will give out $389,00 in grants to various arts groups, a boost of $150,000 over recent years. Berkeley has also provided capital grants to places like the UC Theatre and the Kala Arts Institute.

Whether this is the beginning or the final shape of Berkeley’s commitment to the arts was a central question of the forum, which attracted around 250 people. … Continue reading »

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2 open Berkeley City Council races draw significant cash

The retirement of Max Anderson and Laurie Capitelli's decision to run for mayor rather than for re-election in District 5 has created two open council seats. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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With the retirement of councilman Max Anderson, and fellow councilman Laurie Capitelli’s decision to run for mayor, there are two open seats on the Berkeley City Council this fall, which may explain the heavy fundraising going on.

Read more on the Berkeley 2016 election.

Below, a round-up of how the different candidates are doing in terms of raising those campaign funds.

District 5: Sophie Hahn / Stephen Murphy

Sophie Hahn, a lawyer, who has twice run unsuccessfully against Laurie Capitelli for the District 5 seat, and who has high name recognition because of those races and her position on the Zoning Adjustments Board, raised the most among her fellow District 5 candidates in the first six months of 2016. Hahn is seen as a progressive who would be closely aligned with City Councilmen Jesse Arreguín and Kriss Worthington, and many of her donors are also their supporters.

Hahn raised $45,244 in this last campaign cycle, spent $6,437, and has $49,427 cash on hand — an amount significant enough for her to to do a number of district-wide mailings. … Continue reading »

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The mayor’s race is off and running: Where do campaign coffers stand?

Laurie Capitelli talks to prospective voters at a house party in July. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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In the last six months, mayoral candidate Laurie Capitelli has raised $67,135 in donations, according to recently filed campaign finance statements. That’s almost 35% more than one of his strongest rivals and fellow city council member, Jesse Arreguín, who raised $24,858 in that same period for a total raised of $47,326. (Prior to Jan. 1, Arreguín had raised $25,007.)

Many of Capitelli’s donations have come from his fellow real estate agents, architects, developers, and engineers. He has gotten $250 donations from Mayor Tom Bates, and City Council members Linda Maio, Lori Droste, Susan Wengraf, and Darryl Moore. Some of his other contributors include Patrick Kennedy, whose development company Panoramic Interests was once busy in Berkeley but is now focused on San Francisco; William Schrader Jr., head of The Austin Group, which just constructed Varsity Berkeley; Jim Novosel, an architect for L’Argent, a 12-story apartment complex planned for Shattuck Avenue and Berkeley Way, and Melinda Haag, the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, among others. Capitelli has spent $14,132 and has $59,157 on hand. … Continue reading »

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Kriss Worthington to run for mayor of Berkeley

Berkeley councilmember Kriss Worthington
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City Councilman Kriss Worthington has decided to run for mayor, a move intended to use try to use the ranked-choice voting system to install a progressive as mayor.

Worthington said he decided to run after long discussions with City Councilman Jesse Arreguín, one of the council’s three progressive members (along with Worthington and Max Anderson) who declared his candidacy for mayor in October. Worthington and Arreguín intend to ask their supporters to vote for both of them – which they hope will deny City Councilman Laurie Capitelli a majority of the votes.

“Numerous people have been asking me to run for many, many months,” said Worthington. “I have wanted to defer to Councilman Arreguín, who has been actively campaigning. He recognized that my being a candidate would be a positive thing.”

Ranked choice voting has an immediate run-off system to ensure that a candidate will be selected in that electoral cycle. If no-one gets a 50% + 1 majority, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated. The #2 and #3 votes from that candidate are re-tabulated. The process continues until a winner emerges. … Continue reading »

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Real estate

Berkeley council votes to crack down on short-term rentals of multiple units by same owner

There are hundreds of rooms and units available to rent on Airbnb even though short-term rentals are currently illegal in Berkeley. Image: Airbnb
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Prompted by concern that too many units are being taken off Berkeley’s long-term housing market for short-term uses such as Airbnb, the City Council voted Thursday to penalize landlords who rent out multiple properties for less than two weeks.

In a unanimous vote, following a motion by Councilman Kriss Worthington, officials asked staff to initiate an enforcement process after the city gets at least three verified complaints about property owners, individuals or companies that rent out multiple units on a short-term basis. It’s the first time council has given direction to staff to enforce the rules about short-term rentals that are already on the books, according to the city attorney.

Short-term rentals — those less than 14 consecutive days — have always been illegal in Berkeley. Council has been working since 2014 to come up with rules to regulate them as the practice has become increasingly popular through sites such as Airbnb, VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and HomeAway. … Continue reading »

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