Tag Archives: Berkeley elections

6 candidates compete for 4 slots on Berkeley Rent Board

Berkeley Rent Board candidates (clockwise from upper left): Nate Wollman, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Leah Simon-Weisberg, Christina Murphy, Igor Tregub and Judy Hunt. Photos: Courtesy
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Six candidates are vying for four open seats on Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board, in a race that has seen one slate of decidedly pro-tenant candidates boast numerous endorsements and a large war chest, while their landlord-leaning opponents lag — both in terms of endorsements and cash.

It’s an important, if not widely covered race: Established in 1980, the Rent Board controls a $4.5 million budget, and is composed of nine elected commissioners, which each draw a monthly salary of between $50 and $500. The Board is responsible for the day to day oversight and management of the city’s rent control ordinance, and moreover, those elected this election cycle will likely have a substantial influence the appointment of a new executive director, among other policy initiatives. … Continue reading »

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12 Berkeley measures will determine city’s infrastructure, education budget, campaign financing and more

Berkeley students carry Yes on E1 signs during the Solano Stroll. Photo: Yes on E1 campaign
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As a presidential campaign colored by controversy inches ever closer, local races and campaigns struggle to be heard amid the cacophony. But Berkeley’s ballot is packed with measures that will determine the near-future of the city’s infrastructure, affordable housing stock, education budget, and campaign finance system.

We’ve rounded up the 12 measures that will be on your ballot Nov. 8, taking a look at what they would change and who is gunning for them to pass.

Click the links to jump to the section of interest.

Measure T1: Infrastructure bond

What it would do: Measure T1 would authorize the city to issue up to $100 million of general obligation bonds to fix and rebuild Berkeley infrastructure over a 40-year period. Initially, property owners would be taxed at a rate of $6.35 per $100,000 of assessed value. That amount would increase as new bonds were issued, up to a high of $31.26 per $100,000. The maximum interest rate that could be paid on the bonds would be 6 percent.

See complete 2016 election coverage on Berkeleyside.

The proceeds from Measure T1 would go toward the repair or renovation of sidewalks, streets, storm drains, parks, city senior and recreation centers, and other facilities. One percent of the proceeds will be used for public art incorporated in the infrastructure. The measure also requires a public input process. … Continue reading »

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Federal probe launched into dumped Berkeley voter guides, returned election postcards

Scott Wheeler found nearly 100 Alameda County voter guides dumped in a Berkeley recycling bin. Photo: Scott Wheeler
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Update, Oct. 25: Berkeleyside has requested the investigator’s report related to the ballot guide dumping in Berkeley from Oct. 12. Glenn San Jose, from the inspector general’s office, says it’s not available yet because the investigation is ongoing: “Specifically, there is still the matter of a possible prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office. The carrier had been identified and was interviewed by OIG agents on October 20.”

Berkeleyside will continue to follow up.

Original story, Oct. 18: Authorities with the U.S. Postal Service are investigating how nearly 100 sample ballots wound up in a Berkeley recycling bin last week along with the plastic ties that kept them bound together. As part of the same investigation, they are also looking into mistakenly returned mail that caused at least one Berkeley voter to lose his active registration status.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters office says the problems are “isolated,” but some local residents say they aren’t so sure.

Longtime North Berkeley resident Scott Wheeler spotted the dumped voter guides last Wednesday, Oct. 12, in a bin near the 1600 block of Walnut Street when he was looking for discarded egg cartons for a friend’s chicken farm. … Continue reading »

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Numerous op-eds weigh in on Berkeley mayor’s race

Berkeley ballot photo. Photo: Kristen Van Dam
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The election is three weeks away and Berkeleyside is getting lots of op-ed submissions. We just published three op-eds on the mayor’s race, which join others we have published in recent days.

The recap:

Jonathan Jaffee talks about how he finds mayoral candidate Laurie Capitelli more knowledgeable than Jesse Arreguín.

Nicky Gonzalez Yuen said that Capitelli is not a true progressive and holds out as an example the times Capitelli reneged on his promise to vote for a $15 minimum wage.

Eric Panzer argues that Berkeleyans aren’t facing a choice of who is the most or least “progressive” but who has the temperament, the relationships, and the leadership to successfully govern. He supports Capitelli. … 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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Op-ed: Laurie Capitelli? Progressive leadership?

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— “I renege.” — Laurie Capitelli, May 6, 2014 Berkeley City Council meeting.

— Renege (verb): “to refuse to do something that you promised or agreed to do.” —Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

In campaign mailings Laurie Capitelli is bragging about being “a progressive leader” who “raised the minimum wage to protect working families.” But those of us who were there know the real truth. For Mr. Capitelli to claim credit for minimum wage “leadership” is simply outrageous— and a complete distortion of reality.

Three years ago, citizen activists along with the city’s Labor Commission worked with Mr. Capitelli and other council members over a period of many months to fashion a progressive piece of legislation that would have raised the minimum wage to the level of the city’s living wage.

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Op-ed: Why is the Berkeley City Council so right-wing?

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You would think in a left-leaning city like Berkeley – a bastion of free speech and the home of one of the soda tax – that the City Council would be a pretty liberal group. So, it came as a surprise to me to learn that this liberal town has a right-wing City Council.

We’re used to thinking of right-wing politics in terms of social issues – anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, pro-gun, pro-fossil fuels, etc. But this misses the point. The right wing is the business party. In right-wing politics, big business seeks to influence government decisions by backing candidates who will tilt the regulatory and taxation playing field their way. Some of our local council members are pretty clear about this. For example, Susan Wengraf (District 6) said, in effect, at a candidates’ forum that “what’s good for business is good for Berkeley.” A more effective approach, taken by Laurie Capitelli, is to find a wedge issue to distract ordinary voters from the favors that are being granted to big campaign contributors. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016 Berkeley: Spotlight on the Rent Board

Berkeley Rent Board candidates (clockwise from upper left): Nate Wollman, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Leah Simon-Weisberg, Christina Murphy, Igor Tregub and Judy Hunt. Photos: Courtesy
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Berkeleyside wants to help you get to know your 2016 candidates for all the local races. Our final installment of questionnaires with the candidates follows, and this edition is focused on the Rent Stabilization Board.

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 all six Rent Board candidates follow. We asked 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 or her most inspired idea, and how each candidate plans to be accountable and accessible to constituents. Each questionnaire includes complete campaign info to help readers connect.

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 Leah Simon-Weisberg?

Photo: Courtesy of Leah Simon-Weisberg (featured only)
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Name: Leah Simon-Weisberg

Age: 45

Job: Tenants rights attorney

What office are you are running for? Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner

What is the main reason you are running? I am running for Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner because I feel strongly that all rent boards must be accountable to the people — there is no better way than through an election. Berkeley and Santa Monica both have elected rent boards and I believe it is no surprise that they are the two most effective and well enforced rent control ordinances in the state. This, however, requires qualified people to volunteer to run.

Why are you qualified for the position? If elected I would bring 14 years of legal experience as a tenant attorney. I have practiced in almost every rent control jurisdiction in the state. Over the last two years, I have been a leader in the movement to pass rent control and just cause protections in new jurisdictions. I developed a rent control tool kit and have extensively studied rent control and just cause eviction protections in order to draft several ordinances and ballot measures to ensure that they reflected the best practices from around the state. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Alejandro Soto-Vigil?

Photo: Courtesy of Alejandro Soto-Vigil (featured only)
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Name: Alejandro Soto-Vigil

Age: 37

Job: Legislative assistant, Berkeley City Council and Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner

What office are you are running for? Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner

What is the main reason you are running? Housing is a human right. I am proud to be selected by the 2016 Berkeley Tenants Convention, a diverse coalition of nearly 400 tenants, landlords, and homeowners committed to protecting rent control and tenants’ rights.

Berkeley is facing a housing emergency. Seniors, students, and working families confront rising rents and threatened evictions. Because of this, the Rent Board has seen 2,000 more people through its doors.

As rents continue to skyrocket, we need to defend our Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Our Rent Program keeps rents stabilized. It’s also a place where landlords and tenants resolve disputes without expensive attorneys.

Why are you qualified for the position? I’ve held the following positions:
Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner: Vice-Chair; Budget and Personnel Committee; Resilience & Sustainability; Eviction / Section 8 / Foreclosure Committee; Ad Hoc Committee on Paperless Agendas; Safe and Sustainable Housing Committee; Housing Advisory Commission; HAC Vice-Chair; HAC Housing Trust Fund Subcommittee (Chair); HAC Community Development Block Grant Subcommittee; HAC Relocation Ordinance Subcommittee; City of Berkeley Alternate Commissioner to Planning Commission, Zoning Adjustments Board, Landmark Preservation Commission, Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Product Panel of Experts, Public Works Commission; AC Transit District Accessibility Advisory Committee; University of the District of Columbia Law School – Student Bar Association; Associated Students of Laney College – President … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Igor Tregub?

Rent Stabilization Board candidate Igor Tregub. Photo: Courtesy of Igor Tregub (featured only)
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Name: Igor Tregub

Age: 32

Job: Safety engineer, U.S. Department of Energy

What office are you are running for? Berkeley Rent Board

What is the main reason you are running? I first ran for the Berkeley Rent Board out of my deeply rooted experiences as an immigrant and a nearly life-long renter. A sense of place started for me with a roof over my head. At several times in my life, my family and I had to make hard choices about moving away from the community in which we were hoping to settle. At a time when we are facing an unprecedented housing crisis and eviction epidemic, many community members asked me to run again, given my experience and passion to work towards a Berkeley we can all call home.

Why are you qualified for the position? In my four years on the Rent Board, I successfully worked to pass a Relocation Ordinance with vastly improved tenant protections, expand the Board’s education initiatives for tenants and property owners alike, and craft a mandatory seismic retrofitting requirement (while providing financial incentives to property owners). As Housing Advisory Commission Vice Chair, I successfully helped secure millions of dollars of affordable housing funding, increase impact fees on market-rate developers, and implement a Tenant Protection Ordinance. As Zoning Adjustments Board Vice Chair, I approved thousands of rental housing units – many of them reserved for lower-income families – while stopping the demolition of rent-controlled housing. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Nate Wollman?

Photo: Courtesy of Nate Wollman
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Name: Nate Wollman

Age: 38

Job: Property manager

What office are you are running for? Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner

What is the main reason you are running? I am a renter as well as a property manager, so my perspective is both unique and sympathetic to those who must find and sustain housing with the prices and demand here in the Bay Area.

I am running for rent board because I have the passion to do the following!

Advocate For All Berkeley Tenant’s Rights!
Advocate For Property Owners Rights!
Bring years of real world experience to the Rent Stabilization Board!
Help Families & Students Maintain Quality Housing In Berkeley !
Represent Tenants & Landlords With Fair Consideration For Both Parties!
Establish Transparent Communication!
Less Politics & More Real World Solutions! … Continue reading »

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