Tag Archives: Berkeley politics

Berkeley School Board: 3 seats contested by 5 candidates

The Berkeley School Board, at its August meeting. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Three seats on the Berkeley Unified school board are being contested by five candidates in this year’s election. Three of the candidates — Josh Daniels, Karen Hemphill and Julie Sinai — are incumbents on the board (although Sinai was appointed, not elected, following the resignation of Leah Wilson). Ty Alper and Norma Harrison are the two non-incumbents running for the board.

Berkeleyside asked each of the candidates a number of questions about both their background and their views on some key issues facing Berkeley schools. The responses to the questions are provided in alphabetical order below.

One slightly unusual aspect about the school board race is that the three incumbents have endorsed each other and are circulating literature encouraging voters to elect them as a combined slate. Since school-board elections are citywide, building name recognition among voters is often particularly difficult for non-incumbents. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Measure D — a doctor’s perspective

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I am a Berkeley doctor. I support Measure D, and want to comment on specious and incorrect arguments by Jill Herschman and Dan McDunn, both of whom argued against the measure in op-ed pieces published on Berkeleyside.

I assume that the flyers with the allegations summarized below, and distributed door to door with the statement “Paid for by No on D ….” by the American Beverage Association PAC ” do contain original belief statements written by the two Berkeley residents named … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Linda Maio is not the best environmental candidate

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The Sierra Club Bay Chapter made a big mistake when it endorsed incumbent Linda Maio for Berkeley City Council.

In 2013, Maio led the move to gut a proposed ordinance that would have improved the information that dental patients receive about mercury dental amalgam fillings. She killed the mandates that two Berkeley commissions had spent six months crafting, which included informed consent for dental patients and signage requirements for dental offices.

Pro-environment Councilmember Arreguín and others tried to continue the issue for further study, but Maio, in her leadership role as Vice-Mayor, convinced the majority … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Vote no on Measure R — it’s a misleading initiative

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Most of us want a new downtown; why are we asked over and over to keep the old one? Why do we have to fight another misleading initiative — Measure R?

After years of debate on a plan to revitalize our downtown, we had the first initiative campaign to stop it, and a subsequent election, in which the plan was approved overwhelmingly by voters in every precinct in Berkeley. It provided for a new green downtown with new housing for … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Soda Tax is wrong formula, regardless of ideology

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Next month, voters in Berkeley and their neighbors across the Bay in San Francisco will go to the polls to determine whether their cities would be the first in the country to pass taxes on sugar- sweetened beverages. Berkeley’s “Measure D,” a 1-cent-per-ounce proposal, would mean a 50 percent cost increase for soda in the checkout lane. San Francisco’s two-cent-per-ounce “Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Ordinance” could double the cost of a twelve-pack of soda. But the hit on their wallets is … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley, not Big Soda, knows what’s best for Berkeley

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If an alien were to drop into Berkeley this election season, one could not fault her for presuming that the staunchest protector of our community’s collective wellbeing is the American Beverage Association, the bank and voice of Big Soda.

Loudly and ubiquitously, Big Soda professes its concern for us from placards plastered on our bus stops, bulletins be-decking our BART stations, campaign signs splashed around our traffic circles and roadway medians (the subject of a cease-and-desist letter from the City … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Refuse to be confused — vote Yes on Measure D

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As a Latino health professional, as a father of two, and as a citizen of Berkeley, I am voting Yes on Measure D.

The science that the overconsumption of sugary sweetened beverages can cause diabetes is not in dispute in the Berkeley initiative to place a 1 cent per ounce excise tax on the distributors who bring these products into our city. The research that shows that one out of every two African American and Latino children will get diabetes … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Think about the importance of your signature on a petition

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Berkeley’s iconic wisteria is exploding. Our young trees on Solano are budding out after their (barely) second winter. And as spring declares its arrival, so does our upcoming election season.

As a result, we should all get ready to be pursued by both paid and volunteer initiative petition signature gatherers on our street corners, in front of Peet’s, the Bowl, the Cheeseboard and the Farmers Market.

As you enjoy the fine weather this spring and frequent your favorite community shopping … Continue reading »

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Ranked choice creates uncertainty in mayoral race

Kriss Worthinton (l) and Tom Bates (r) sit next to one another at city council meetings but are facing off against one another in the 2012 mayoral race. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Tom Bates’ fourth race for Berkeley mayor has a different dynamic to the previous three. In all of those contests, he faced a single major challenger: Shirley Dean in 2002 and 2008, and Zelda Bronstein in 2006. He won comfortably each time; the closest vote was in 2002, when he beat Dean by 5,000 votes, 55% to 43%.

But this year there are two organized challengers, Jacquelyn McCormick and Kriss Worthington, and, equally important, the new system of ranked choice voting (RCV). If the challengers (along with long shots Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, Zachary Runningwolf and Bernt Wahl) can keep Bates’ tally below 50% plus one vote, then RCV will be used to produce an instant runoff. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Measure T: A step towards a more consistent set of rules

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It’s easy to dismiss the most vocal opponents of Measure T (West Berkeley up-zoning) as nimbies and bananas (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). It’s also easy to see that the objections to development near Aquatic Park on environmental grounds are exaggerated beyond the breaking point. But one of the more cogent arguments against T has been put forth by Toni Mester in several op eds in the Berkeley Daily Planet. (Google “Toni Mester West Berkeley” for links.)

Toni argues … Continue reading »

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Pools campaign holds mock swimathon for Measures N, O

Angel Jaramillo, a 4th grader at John Muir Elementary School, said he hoped that by 7th grade he would be swimming in a newly reopened Willard pool -- with his snorkel. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Angel Jaramillo, a 4th grader at John Muir Elementary School, has never swum at Berkeley’s Willard pool. His family sometimes take him to the Richmond Plunge. But, he said, he hopes that by the time he’s in 7th grade he will be able to swim at Willard — and he’ll be bringing his snorkeling mask.

Jaramillo was one of many children who came to the middle school pool on Derby and Telegraph on Saturday Oct. 13 to drum up support for ballot Measures N and O which would raise the funds necessary to re-open the pool, build a new warm pool, and maintain two other city pools. Willard Pool was closed in June 2010 and filled with dirt in January 2011. Corn and other edible plants now grow out of a section of the main pool and vegetation sprouts from the diving pool. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Measure S is a step backwards for Berkeley

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When I told my five-year-old that it could soon be illegal to sit on a sidewalk in Berkeley, he said, “But we sit on the sidewalk!” I saw him imagining the police arresting him and his two-year-old sister and reassured him.

“They’ll probably mostly give tickets to homeless people,” I said.

“Why will they give tickets to only some people?” he asked.  He paused. “And, if homeless people don’t have houses, where can they sit down?”

This November, voters in … Continue reading »

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Progressive teacher challenges Bates for Berkeley mayor

Kahlil 003.2
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Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, a middle school teacher in Oakland, is running for mayor of Berkeley. This is the second time he’s challenged incumbent Mayor Tom Bates.

It took a double homicide in his Derby Street neighborhood four years ago to push Jacobs-Fantauzzi, then a teacher at Berkeley’s continuation high school, to his first run for mayor. The murder victims were the father of one of his students and another man in his 20s.

“It shook me in a way to question my role,” Jacobs-Fantauzzi told Berkeleyside. “What could I do?”

Teaching, he said, offered only limited ways of making change, especially for the disenfranchised youth who were his primary concern. “I could change the ethos of that school… be an amazing advocate for young people,” he said. “But if the city did not provide programs for young people, did not address issues of crime and safety, issues of young people that were marginalized, that were taking out their anger and frustrations on each other, then my role and my job is not really being fulfilled as a citizen of this city.” … Continue reading »

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