Tag Archives: Berkeley mayoral elections

As election nears, contributions and complaints mount

SEIU Local 1021 has donated $24,000 this election cycle to help candidates it supports. Its funds went into an independent expenditure committee that paid for this website.
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An independent expenditure group backed by one of Berkeley’s largest unions has poured $8,112 into Jesse Arreguín’s mayoral campaign, spending the funds on a website to promote his views.

The independent expenditure group is named the “Berkeley Working Families Supporting Arreguín and Worthington for Mayor, Moore and Bartlett for City Council, Tregub, Soto-Vigil, Murphy, and Simon-Weisberg for Rent Board 2016.”

SEIU Local 1021, which represents Berkeley’s library workers, clerical workers, maintenance staff, recreational staff and health workers has put in $24,000, according to campaign finance reports.

The group has also spent about $163 each on a number of candidates, including Kriss Worthington, who is running for mayor, Darryl Moore and Ben Bartlett, who are running for City Council, and Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Christina Murphy, Igor Tregub, and Leah Simon-Weisberg, who are running for rent board.

Thursday at midnight is another campaign finance deadline that might show where the rest of the funds have been spent. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Why 10 current and former Berkeley elected officials endorse Laurie Capitelli

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We are former and current Berkeley elected officials who are united in our support for Laurie Capitelli as our next mayor. With our direct firsthand experience, we all deeply appreciate Laurie’s love for Berkeley, his trustworthiness, good humor, compassion, decency and intelligence. We urge you to vote for Laurie as your first choice.

Laurie is a team builder. A leader in the campaign to tax the soda industry, Laurie built the broad coalition and served on the steering committee that beat Big Soda. Laurie has the collaborative skills and leadership that are needed to continue the fight for public health and ensure that Alta Bates continues to serve our community.

Laurie is a mediator and consensus builder. Laurie negotiated the groundbreaking $15 minimum wage, bringing together labor, businesses and nonprofits in a historic agreement. Prior to this achievement, Laurie co-authored and led the passage of two $15 minimum wage measures in 2015 and 2016, which were among the most progressive wage measures in the nation, reaching $15 several years faster than the state of California.

Laurie believes in the transformative power of education and has raised millions of dollars for our public schools. As a former school teacher, Laurie is committed to closing Berkeley’s achievement gap by establishing universal preschool. It’s no surprise that every endorsing School Board member supports Laurie. … Continue reading »

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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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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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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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Op-ed: It’s not about the politics of the ’70s — it’s about the future of Berkeley

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I’m pretty much known as a political middle-of-the-roader, so it didn’t really surprise me when people began asking me Why have I gone to the ‘other side’ in supporting Jesse Arreguín for Mayor instead of Laurie Capitelli and am co-hosting with Former Mayor Gus Newport, a fund raiser for Jesse Arreguin featuring Danny Glover this Saturday, October 15th? Here’s my answer.

The old days of “moderates” vs “radicals” (or whatever terms you want to use) are over. That page has … Continue reading »

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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 Jesse Arreguín?

Jesse Arreguin. Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Arreguin
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Name: Jesse Arreguín

Age: 32

Job: Berkeley City Councilmember

What office are you are running for? Berkeley Mayor

What is the main reason you are running? I am running for Mayor to make Berkeley work for everyone and restore Berkeley to the forefront of progressive leadership on the environment and social justice. This election comes at a critical time for the future of Berkeley and the Bay Area. While our region is experiencing greater economic prosperity, the benefits are not being shared by all, and we are seeing greater disparities and displacement of residents. Berkeley is at a crossroads. Will our city move forward on the path of equity and inclusiveness, or will we see more of our neighbors pushed out due to rising housing costs?
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Election 2016: Who is Laurie Capitelli?

Photo: Courtesy of Laurie Capitelli
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Name: Laurie Capitelli

Age:  70

Job: Berkeley City Councilmember

What office are you are running for? Berkeley Mayor

What is the main reason you are running? Berkeley is a wonderful and exciting community. We also face many challenges. I want to work with my fellow citizens to address those challenges. For over 40 years I have worked collaboratively with members of my community addressing issues involving affordable housing, our schools, our homeless, our small business community, public health, minimum wage and labor protections, transportation, our deteriorating infrastructure and city finances. I want to continue those efforts. I am uniquely qualified to provide the leadership Berkeley needs to address the challenges we face. I want to unify our community and find the common ground we can all share.

Why are you qualified for the position? I know my community. I have raised my children here. I have worked with parents, neighborhood groups, small business owners and employees, educators, housing providers, the medical community…virtually every group of stakeholders in our town. People who have worked with me trust me and have confidence that I will seek consensus and common ground so we can move forward. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Ben Gould?

Photo: Courtesy of Ben Gould
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Name: Ben Gould

Age: 24

Job: Graduate student

What office are you are running for? Mayor

What is the main reason you are running? Berkeley values equal access to opportunity, diversity of thought, and leadership in social justice and sustainability. However, the growing housing affordability crisis, our crumbling parks and infrastructure, and a changing climate threaten our ability to realize these values.

I’m running for Mayor because I believe we need new ideas and new leadership on City Council to really tackle these challenges. As a Berkeley native and a Cal graduate student in Public Policy and Environmental Engineering, I bring a unique skillset and background to City Council to take the lead on addressing these issues.

Why are you qualified for the position? I bring a unique perspective to City Council and a breadth of real-world experience, including five years of nonprofit leadership experience, engineering expertise, and a policy analysis skillset.

I currently serve as Chair of the City of Berkeley’s Community Advisory Commission. Previously, I served on the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly (GA), where I was on the Budget Committee and The Green Initiative Fund, overseeing a collective $1 million in student fees. In the GA, I helped to write resolutions to address the housing shortage, and called for ensuring transgender students got full insurance coverage for necessary surgeries (it was successful). … Continue reading »

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