Tag Archives: Berkeley mayoral elections

New mayor seeks cooperation, also higher developer fees

Jesse Arreguin will take over as Berkeley mayor on Dec. 1. Here is is at PIQ during a Berkeleyside interview on Monday. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Developers with projects in the pipeline can expect to be asked to provide more affordable housing and a stronger community benefits package before being approved, Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín said Monday during a far-ranging interview with Berkeleyside.

Now that the self-described progressives have the City Council majority (see below for more details) the “previous approach” to development will change, he said.

“I do think the voters wanted a change,”Arreguín said at PIQ on Shattuck Avenue. “That’s one of the reasons I was elected by such a large margin. One of the issues I heard throughout the city of Berkeley was a concern about the major demographic changes, the changes to the character of the place, long-time businesses being displaced, the scale of development.”

“I think the voters of Berkeley want more equitable, responsible growth,” he said. “That is not to say everything is going to come to a grinding halt. We need to create more housing so, certainly, under my administration, we are going to encourage the construction of transit-oriented development in Berkeley.”

Currently, developers must make 20% of their market-rate units affordable or pay a $34,000 in-lieu fee into the Housing Trust Fund or a combination of those things. (Up from 10% and a $20,000 fee earlier this year.) Arreguín said that the nexus study Berkeley prepared on the amount developers could afford suggested that a 25% rate for affordable housing was feasible and he planned to push for that. However, he insisted he still supports the Downtown Area Plan and has no plans to push to revise it.

“We are not going to have a moratorium on development in Berkeley,” said Arreguín. “Things will still get built in Berkeley, but it’s going to be a very different dynamic. I know builders are concerned that we are going to undo the Downtown Plan, that things are going to come to a halt. That’s not the case at all.” … Continue reading »

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Update: Davila expands lead in District 2, next results expected Wednesday

Photo: Courtesy of Cheryl Davila
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Update, Monday, Nov. 14, 5:43 p.m. Cheryl Davila has increased her lead in City Council District 2, from 50.77% Friday to 50.82% Monday. Nearly 100 votes now separate her from incumbent Darryl Moore after Nanci Armstrong-Temple’s votes were allocated to each candidate. The Registrar of Voters continued until today to accept ballots postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 8, but Davila has increased her lead each time votes are tallied and the ranked-choice voting algorithm runs.

Since Friday, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters has tallied at least 13,100 more Berkeley ballots. Roughly 53,000 have been tallied total from the city.

Update, 6:15 p.m. After the ranked-choice algorithm ran, District 2 candidate Cheryl Davila’s lead increased slightly, from 50.58% early Wednesday morning to 50.77% on Friday evening, or 2,200 votes to incumbent Darryl Moore’s 2,133. Davila’s lead increased from 42 to 67 votes. In 2012, voters in District 2 cast about 5,800 votes, meaning there could be another 1,400 or so votes still to count in the race, if the past is any indication.

Overall turnout for the county is up 5 points to about 49%. The Registrar of Voters has estimated there are still about 212,000 votes to count in Alameda County, with about 437,000 already counted. Overall turnout would end up around 73% if his estimates prove accurate. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s own political earthquake: Arreguín becomes mayor, progressives seize council majority

Jesse Arreguin. Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Arreguin
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Jesse Arreguín, 32, decisively won the mayorship in yesterday’s election, becoming the first Latino Berkeley mayor.

To close observers of Berkeley’s local politics, the chattering started over the last several weeks of the election. First, Jesse Arreguín won the endorsement of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, as well as the Sierra Club and the Alameda County Democratic Party. Then there was word of thousands of new voter registrations on the UC Berkeley campus.

Missed the election night action? Read our live blog.

After 14 years of Mayor Tom Bates and his secure City Council majority, could Councilman Arreguín best Bates’ hand-picked successor, Councilman Laurie Capitelli?

It didn’t take long for the results on Tuesday night to answer that question. When the Alameda County Registrar of Voters produced the first data shortly after 8 p.m., Arreguín already led Capitelli. As long-shot mayoral candidate Ben Gould explained to Berkeleyside, those results, largely from early, mail-in ballots, usually reflect more of the “hill” vote, which Capitelli supporters had hoped to win decisively.  … Continue reading »

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Tune in here to Berkeleyside’s 2016 election live blog

Watching election2016 on Sproul Plaza Nov. 8, 2016. Photo: Ted Friedman
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For updates on the #NotMyPresident protest march that began at UC Berkeley and moved through Oakland, follow Berkeleyside’s tweets.

Wednesday, 1:10 a.m. The vast majority of Berkeley precincts have now been counted and the shape of the local election is largely clear. Jesse Arreguín will be Berkeley’s new mayor, the first Latino to hold the post. Sophie Hahn wins the vacant District 5 seat, Ben Bartlett wins the vacant District 3 seat, and incumbent Susan Wengraf retains her District 6 seat. Incumbent Darryl Moore is in a precarious position in District 2: his 40% of the vote forces him into an instant runoff against second-place challenger Cheryl Davila. A special election will be held early next year to replace Arreguín in District 4.

It seems likely that Berkeley progressives, led by Arreguín, will hold a City Council majority for the first time in years.

The two School Board incumbents, Judy Appel and Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, easily won reelection. The so-called CALI slate for the rent board — Christina Murphy, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Leah Simon-Weisberg, and Igor Tregub — won all four open seats. Incumbent Judy Hunt was narrowly edged by Tregub for the final slot. … Continue reading »

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News analysis: Who will control Berkeley’s City Council post-election?

Old City Hall. Photo by Melati Citrawireja
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“Nobody knows anything,” said screenwriter William Goldman about Hollywood’s inability to figure out which movies would be hits and which would be flops. The same is true about Berkeley’s local elections. If Berkeleyside were so minded, we could do election punditry until the cows come home. But there’s zero data, or close to zero. There’s no possibility for a Berkeley 538 or Upshot, sifting lots of data sources to give some insight into the election.

If you haven’t voted yet, check out our Election Hub, and use the Voters Edge tool!

What we do know in 2016, however, is that there are an unusual number of open races: for mayor and for two City Council seats. Because of the power of incumbency in local races particularly, open races present a rare chance for the dynamic of city politics to change.

Berkeley’s City Council has had a clear majority supporting Mayor Tom Bates, generally with a 6-3 vote, for years. The three-vote minority, Jesse Arreguín, Kriss Worthington and Max Anderson, is frustrated more often than not.

Follow Berkeleyside’s live election blog, on the site starting around 8pm.

But Bates is retiring. If Councilman Laurie Capitelli, currently representing District 5, wins, the mayor’s vote will largely be a continuation of Bates’ positions. But if Arreguín wins (or, far less likely, Worthington), the mayor’s vote shifts from a Berkeley moderate position to a self-described progressive one. Similarly, if Capitelli’s current District 5 seat is won by Sophie Hahn, a moderate will be swapped for a progressive. If Stephen Murphy wins Capitelli’s seat, the current council majority will be shored up on most votes. Anderson is also retiring: on the stated positions of the four candidates running for the District 3 seat, it is harder to predict who will be a regular moderate or progressive vote. … Continue reading »

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Ballot stuffing in Berkeley, the legitimate way

Voters attempt to place their vote-by-mail ballots in a drop box at City Hall without success because the box was full, in Berkeley, on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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Vote-by-mail is increasing in popularity in California. One side effect: ballot drop boxes that are full to bursting. Some Berkeleyans were frustrated this morning when the official ballot drop box outside the Civic Center on Milvia Street was too full to accept their ballot.

Don’t miss our Election Night live blog, or our 2016 Election Hub.

Alameda County Registrar of Voters employees Mohammad Naweedyamin and Michelle Lin came by later in the morning to empty the … Continue reading »

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Cal campus covered with graffiti for Jesse Arreguín

Chalk tagging on the UC Berkeley campus on Monday No. 7, 2016. Photo: Courtesy UC Berkeley
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People arriving on the UC Berkeley campus Monday morning can’t fail to have noticed lots of chalk tagging scrawled on many parts of the campus with messages of support for Berkeley mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguín, as well a few mentioning Rent Board candidates. The most common message was “Vote Jesse 4 Mayor,” or variations on that wording.

Christine Shaff said she counted 70 instances of different tags — all of which were made using chalk — after she got to the the campus today.

“They were on Spieker Plaza, Lower and Upper Plaza, Sather Gate, near Dwinelle Hall, Campanile Way and Moffitt Library,” Shaff, who works in the university’s real-estate division, said, noting that the north side of campus had been spared.

Shaff reported the tagging to UC Berkeley Police and began looking into how the marking could be removed.

“We will need to use water to remove it, with power washing, which is not what we want to do,” she said, although she added the campus could use well rather than potable water. Shaff said maintenance crews couldn’t power-wash busy areas during the day so they might have to do it on overtime.
“We have opened a separate work order to track how much it’s going to cost. It’s a distressing waste of our resources.” … Continue reading »

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Where to watch 2016 election results in Berkeley

The first presidential debate drew 1,000 people to Addison Street to watch the jumbo screen at BAMPFA. Photo: Matt, @nosoupforgeorge from Twitter
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We know you’ll be glued to Berkeleyside’s 2016 Election live blog Tuesday night, and busy sending us your pics and videos from around town, but you may also want to attend a Berkeley watch party to see the results as they come in. Here’s a handy list. If you know of a party we missed, please add it in the comments.

Berkeleyside will live blog about local reactions and the results of all the local races starting at about 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8. You may also find us doing a Facebook Live broadcast. Stay tuned!  … Continue reading »

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Tune in Tuesday to the Berkeley elections live blog

Local resident Moni Law was broadcasting the event using Facebook Live. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Tuesday night, the Berkeleyside team will be giving you the play by play about local election results, so make sure to visit us often starting at about 8 p.m.

As in past years, we will do a live blog showing all the results as they come in. Some members of our team will be updating the blog, while others will rove the city to collect local reactions.

We definitely want to hear from you throughout election night. Here’s how: (1) Post on our Facebook page. Comment on the outcomes, share photos of your election event and more. (2) Email us at tips@berkeleyside.com. (3) On Twitter, use #berkelex to alert us to your election-related posts, and follow us here.

Know of a great watch party we should visit? Let us know in the comments, or email us.

Still filling out your ballot? Don’t miss these pieces on Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley 2016 election hub: What you need to know

Alameda County registrar of voters. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update: Tune in to Berkeleyside’s 2016 live blog tonight, Nov. 8, and see our Election Day photo gallery. Share your election news, photos and videos with us. Details are here. Looking for an election night watch party in Berkeley? Look no further

Vote-by-mail ballots are here and the Nov. 8, 2016, election is right around the corner. Berkeleyside has been covering the issues for months, and we’ve collected much of our Berkeley election coverage into one place to help readers get informed before they cast their votes. This page will be updated regularly until Election Day, so bookmark it and keep coming back.

In addition to our news coverage, a lively debate has been going on in our opinion pages. Berkeleyside welcomes submissions of op-ed articles of 500-800 words. We ask for first refusal to publish. Topics should be Berkeley-related and local authors are preferred. Please email submissions and questions to the editors.

Tune in Tuesday to the Berkeley elections live blog.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for local voter information, and visit Voter’s Edge to see your Berkeley ballot. If you think this resource is handy, please share it with your networks, through social media and email.

Candidate descriptions below, in italics, reflect the ballot order and ballot designation. All opinion pieces — regardless of author or subject — appear in a separate section near the bottom of this post. The links in the italics intros pull up past Berkeleyside coverage related to the candidates.

Click the following links to jump to the section of interest.

Now dive on in.Continue reading »

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Who are Berkeley’s two leading mayoral candidates?

Mayoral candidates Laurie Capitelli and Jesse Arreguín butted heads Tuesday night over the minimum wage proposal. Photos: Mark Coplan
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It’s been a long time since Berkeley had a competitive mayoral election. There’s no polling conducted in Berkeley, but with incumbent Tom Bates stepping down, there’s considerable uncertainty about the result of the 2016 race.

Unquestionably, the two most visible candidates – most active in campaigning, raising the most money, and spending the most on the race – are council members Laurie Capitelli and Jesse Arreguín. Berkeleyside has been covering the different approaches the two take to many of the issues that dominate debate in Berkeley, from housing to homelessness to downtown. But what do we know about Arreguín’s and Capitelli’s development as local political figures?

See all local 2016 coverage on Berkeleyside.

Berkeleyside’s Frances Dinkelspiel has been attending mayoral forums, interviewing the candidates, and tracking them down during public events like the recent Sunday Streets. The result is two portraits of very different figures, vying for the symbolic leadership of Berkeley.

See more mayoral race coverage on Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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Laurie Capitelli wants to bring compromise, consensus to mayor’s office

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Laurie Capitelli didn’t want to see that happen. His wife, Marilyn, owned Avenue Books down the street and the couple grew increasingly worried that the loss of the movie theater would tear a hole in the fabric of the small shopping district.

So Capitelli, a public high school teacher turned real estate agent, got together with some local merchants and other engaged citizens to form the Elmwood Theater Foundation. In just a few Saturdays of fundraising, the nonprofit group raised $400,000 – enough to purchase the building and start repairs. In 1992, five years after the fire, the Elmwood reopened with a larger lobby, more screens, and new seating. Twenty-four years later, the theater is still going strong.

Capitelli, who was elected to represent District 5 on the Berkeley City Council in 2004, said that kind of consensus building – bringing disparate groups together to solve a community problem – is the way he likes to operate. And Capitelli believes that he can bring that approach to the office of mayor and Berkeley will be better for it.

See the profile on challenger Jesse Arreguín on Berkeleyside.

“That’s emblematic of the kinds of things I like to do,” Capitelli told a group that had gathered to meet him at a house party in the Elmwood in July. “I like to get in, do my research, and make things happen.” … Continue reading »

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If elected, Jesse Arreguín would be Berkeley’s first Latino mayor, just one of many firsts

Jesse Arreguin. Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Arreguin
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On a recent rainy day, City Councilman Jesse Arreguín took time from his campaign for mayor to visit a homeless encampment in South Berkeley. As water poured down on the tents and lean-tos set up in the Adeline Street median, Arreguín spoke to those camping out about their needs and wants.

The fact that Arreguín, 32, took the time to visit the encampment, which was later moved by city workers, is no surprise to his supporters. Arreguín has long been a voice for the poor and the marginalized, a reflection, he said, of his upbringing.

Arreguín is the son and grandson of farm workers. His grandfather came from Mexico in the 1940s and spent most of his life toiling in the fields of the Central Valley, Arreguín’s father, after picking crops as a child, enlisted in the Army at 18 and went on to drive a truck and work in a warehouse before starting a long career as an electrician at San Francisco State University.

The family’s poverty and struggles and tales of friends who had to live in cars made a deep impression on Arreguín, who grew up in San Francisco. From a young age he had a preternaturally strong instinct to fight against forces of prejudice, he said.

See the profile on challenger Laurie Capitelli on Berkeleyside.

“I would get so upset about injustice, whether it happened 200 years ago or now,” Arreguín said in a recent interview. … Continue reading »

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