Tag Archives: Berkeley mayor

After loss, mayoral candidates say voters want change

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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates may have won re-election Tuesday, but his challengers say their campaigns still made a difference.

Councilman Kriss Worthington, second place finisher, said he knew the odds were daunting.

“I knew that running against an incumbent with a lot of money who had been in office for 34 years was not a cake walk,” he said. “But I also knew that allowing it to be a coronation where he got 70% or 75% of the votes would mean the drift to the right might continue.”

Worthington had garnered 21.2% of the vote as of Wednesday evening, with perhaps as many as 20,000 ballots still to be counted.

Jacquelyn McCormick, who had 11.3% of the votes by yesterday, and came in third in the mayoral race, said she felt the re-election of Mayor Bates spelled bad news for Berkeley. Reading Mayor Bates’ comments in Berkeleyside yesterday, she said, it was “hard to take his arrogance.” “We need change. [Bates] is pushing an agenda on the backs of everyone who lives in this city.” … Continue reading »

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Mayoral candidate wants a more business-friendly city

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Bernt Wahl is running for mayor.

He’s been all but invisible on the campaign trail, having just returned from a trip abroad, and doesn’t plan to spend time raising campaign funds or opening a campaign office.

But then the adjunct UC Berkeley professor’s primary goal isn’t to snag the mayor’s seat. Rather, Wahl, 52, hopes to use the race to talk about improving Berkeley’s business climate.

“I have a lot of ideas of how to make Berkeley a better city, mostly dealing with technology or efficiencies,” he said, arguing that city bureaucracy gets in the way of entrepreneurs trying to start new businesses.

Wahl knows the challenges first hand. He works with faculty, researchers and students at UC Berkeley, mostly in the engineering department, helping to start new businesses.

Wahl believes the permit process for new businesses needs streamlining. “I’ve had to register [a new business] a couple of times,” he said. “For these start-ups, there’s always something that gets in the way. If we had a center, small businesses could come and say, you know, ‘I’d like to do this,’ or just come for advice.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside’s approach to local politics

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We’re determined to provide comprehensive coverage of local politics here on Berkeleyside, looking at the issues, the candidates and the many ballot measures voters will encounter on November 6.

In addition to our news coverage, we have already published a number of candidate profiles, and we’ll be doing more (see below for a list of some of the articles we have written so far). We also plan to try a number of more innovative approaches in our coverage this election season, using some of the powerful Web tools that exist to provide more data and more opportunities for our readers to engage with local politics. We’ll be rolling some of these innovations out in the coming weeks.

Through all this, we will try to be as objective as we can. Berkeleyside doesn’t endorse candidates or positions, and we have no plans to do so. We do accept political advertising — at our usual rates — which is open to all candidates on a space-available basis. The ad sales side of Berkeleyside is run separately from the editorial side. … Continue reading »

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Worthington runs for mayor, urging ‘progressive’ policies

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City councilmember Kriss Worthington today announced his entry into Berkeley’s mayoral contest. Worthington has been a councilmember since 1996, representing District 7 in south Berkeley.

“Someone has to stand up and say to the mayor that what you’re doing is unaffordable, unreasonable and damaging to the people of Berkeley,” Worthington said, standing on the steps of the city’s municipal building on Milvia. “Every single council meeting it seems the mayor is drifting more to the right.”

He joins incumbent Mayor Tom Bates, Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Jacquelyn McCormick, Zachary RunningWolf, and Mark Schwartz in the mayoral contest. Worthington’s own District 7 council seat is not up for election this year, so he would retain his council seat if his mayoral bid does not succeed.  … Continue reading »

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Beat poet joins crowded field for Berkeley mayoral race

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The iconic Caffe Med on Telegraph Avenue was the perfect venue for an interview with Mark Schwartz, a 21st-century beat poet and candidate for mayor of Berkeley.

The multidimensional Schwartz has 13 books of poetry under his belt and holds an engineering degree from Cornell University. (The new edition of “On Third Street Kerouac Revisited” is graced with a blurb by Noam Chomsky who says the book is, “For one of those rare moments of a little tranquility.”)

Schwartz grew up in a Jewish household in the Bronx and followed a boyfriend to the West Coast in 1978. Since then, he’s lived mostly in San Francisco, but came to Berkeley three years ago. He now lives in a cottage in north west Berkeley.

Schwarz suffers from mental illness, for which he’s been hospitalized and, comparing himself to Thomas Eagleton — a former senator from Missouri who suffered from mental illness — he says his disability won’t be an impediment in taking on the office of mayor. Asked if he’d care to elaborate on the nature of his illness, the candidate answered with a sense of humor that was evident during much of the interview: “I’m classified as a schizophrenic affective – that’s because I’m effective with people.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Mayor Bates announces his re-election bid

Mayor Bates: "I'd be delighted to continue doing the work I've been doing." Photo: Lance Knobel
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Mayor Tom Bates, who has held office since 2002, announced his widely anticipated bid for re-election today. Bates, 74, has served one two-year term and two four-year terms.

Berkeley’s mayor used his recently activated Twitter account to break the news at 11:28 am today. He wrote: “Announcing today that I’m running for Mayor of Berkeley to continue the progress we’ve made over the last 10 years,” and followed up with a tweet directing people to his website, TomBates.org.

Speaking to Berkeleyside, he said: “I’m going to be seeking another term. I’d be delighted to continue the work I’ve been doing.”

This year’s mayoral race will be the first decided by ranked-choice voting. As yet, however, no challenger has emerged to Bates.

Bates said the five main goals he had when he started as Mayor of Berkeley 10 years ago were: 1) making Berkeley a leader in tackling global warming and climate change, 2) finding ways so that people who work in Berkeley can live in Berkeley, 3) tackling the achievement gap and health disparities for children, 4) providing excellent services for our citizens, 5) revitalizing the downtown. … Continue reading »

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Heads up: Berkeley’s Mayor to start tweeting soon

Mayor Tom Bates has had a Twitter account for three years, but has managed zero tweets so far. That's about to change.
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In April 2009, Mayor Tom Bates opened his Twitter account. Since then… silence. Three years have passed without a single tweet, although Bates has garnered 309 followers for his silence.

That’s all set to change, the mayor says.

“I’m getting ready,” Bates said to Berkeleyside. “I thought was was time for me to join the new generation. Berkeley is supposed to be where things start, but in this case, we’re going to be followers.”

Bates cited many other mayors that have taken to the twittersphere with aplomb: locally, Oakland’s Jean Quan and San Francisco’s Ed Lee (who successfully pushed for Twitter’s tax break for its mid-Market headquarters); nationally Newark’s Cory Booker, Portland’s Sam Adams, Los Angeles’ Antonio Villaraigosa. He might have added New York’s Michael Bloomberg (who has also inspired a prominent parody account, Miguel Bloombito), Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel and London’s Boris Johnson.

“I’m hoping to make some announcements in the next couple of weeks,” Bates said. Most followers of Berkeley politics expect Bates to run for reelection this November. … Continue reading »

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