Tag Archives: Berkeley politics

Laurie Capitelli steps down after 12 years on City Council

Councilman Laurie Capitelli speaking at a press conference held in Berkeley  Monday to report on how the soda tax was working. Photo: Melati
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City Councilman Laurie Capitelli was born in Berkeley but moved away at a young age, only to return to attend UC Berkeley. He never left, raising his children here. He worked as a real-estate agent for Red Oak Realty for decades and got involved in the public sphere in 1996.

After running for mayor and filling out dozens of questionnaires, Capitelli declined Berkeleyside’s request to answer some written questions because he said he had ‘questionnaire fatigue.’ So Berkeleyside sat down with Capitelli on Monday to ask him for his parting thoughts as he leaves the City Council after serving 12 years. His Council seat representing District 5 was won by Sophie Hahn.

Capitelli seemed relaxed and at ease over coffee at Philz Coffee on Shattuck Avenue. Even though he had lost the mayor’s race (City Councilman Jesse Arreguín defeated him by a 47.4% to 33.6% vote), Capitelli said he was proud of his campaign and thankful for the endorsements he had received. “I don’t dwell on things,” he said. “I am a big believer in having no regrets.”

Capitelli said his loss was the result of “a perfect storm.” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Arreguín mattered more than Capitelli initially realized, he said, as it gave those disappointed at not being able to vote for Sanders for President a “proxy.” He also thought there was some fatigue among residents about the rate of development in Berkeley, but pointed out that Berkeley has not built much housing in the last 35 years and “we were just catching up.”

As for Arreguín’s win, “the general mood in the country was voting for change,” said Capitelli. “I think they are going to get it.” [Both in the U.S. and Berkeley.] He also said that Arreguín is a professional politician who has never held any other job and spent four years gearing up for the mayor’s race. “Jesse is a politician. I don’t mean that in a negative way. He worked the last four years on the coalition that elected him. That was not something I had a desire to do.”

Tonight will be Capitelli’s last City Council meeting and he doubts he will hold public office again. He started his political career as a member of the Planning Commission in 1996. He then went to the Zoning Adjustments Board in 2000 and was elected to City Council in 2004.

The following answers are curated from some notes Capitelli made and the Berkeleyside interview. … Continue reading »

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Darryl Moore steps down from City Council after 12 years

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Darryl Moore was born in California, graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1984, and later earned a masters degree in public policy from the University of Chicago. After working for the District of Columbia, he moved to Berkeley in 1996 where he worked as a legislative aide for City Councilman Kriss Worthington. Moore later worked as a senior management analyst for the Berkeley Department of Public Works. Moore now works at the Oakland Housing Authority.

Moore was first elected to public office in 2000 when he won a seat on the Peralta Community College Board of Trustees, becoming the first openly gay African American elected to office in the East Bay. He was elected to the Berkeley City Council in 2004, representing District 2, and has been an advocate for youth, recreation, public safety, and housing, among other issues. Tonight will be his last City Council meeting. His replacement on the Council is Cheryl Davila.

What are you most proud of accomplishing as a Berkeley City Councilman?

I am very proud of my accomplishments related to supporting our youth. For the last 12 years, I have provided backpacks and school supplies to incoming Rosa Parks Elementary School students, drastically expanded our YouthWorks program to provide jobs to all youth during the summer, and worked extensively on the 2020 Vision to eliminate the academic achievement gap by year 2020. … Continue reading »

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Cheryl Davila defeats Darryl Moore to win City Council seat

Photo: Courtesy of Cheryl Davila
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District 2 voters rejected incumbent Berkeley Councilman Darryl Moore’s bid for re-election and narrowly handed the seat to progressive challenger Cheryl Davila, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, which completed its final vote count Friday.

Davila’s unexpected victory — no incumbent has been defeated in Berkeley since 1997 — contributed to a political shake-up at City Hall, where progressives will now command at least five, and possibly six, votes on the City Council.

Councilwoman-elect Davila took the seat with an overall 51.25% of the vote after the county counted ranked-choice ballots.

“I think the voters said that they want change,” Davila told Berkeleyside early Saturday. “They said we want someone that’s going to speak up for us, look out for us, and be authentic.” … 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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Protests in Berkeley, Oakland over Trump election

A protester holds a "Not my president" sign after Donald Trump was elected Tuesday. Photo: Daniel McPartlan
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Update, 10:45 p.m. About 150 people remain in downtown Oakland on Wednesday night after a huge protest earlier in the evening that included hundreds of people who marched from UC Berkeley to join in.

According to the Oakland Police Department, the crowd grew to 7,000 people after an initial rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza that began with a couple hundred participants at 4:40 p.m.

OPD said its officers initially “facilitated” the march through downtown, but smaller groups would at times splinter off from the crowd to vandalize businesses.

See Berkeleyside tweets from the protest.

According to OPD, “the crowd began assaulting officers” shortly after 8 p.m.: “The assaults included rocks, bottles, fireworks, M-80s, and Molotov cocktails. At this time, it was declared an unlawful assembly and announcements were made. One CS blast device was deployed to the general area of the crowd in attempt to deter the crowd from continuing to assault the officers. Simultaneously, mutual aid was requested from neighboring law enforcement agencies.”

One of those agencies was BPD.

OPD said, as of about 10:30 p.m., there had been multiple arrests and multiple citations in connection with “assaults on officers, vandalism (including looting of businesses, broken windows, graffiti, lighting objects on fire), and failure to disperse.”

One Oakland police officer was injured. OPD said it knew of no injuries to protesters.  Scroll down to see the original story. … Continue reading »

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Photo slideshow: Berkeley High walkout, protest march

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More than 1,000 Berkeley High students walked off campus Wednesday morning and marched to the UC Berkeley campus to protest the result of the U.S. presidential election. The demonstration was peaceful and the police did not get involved. Read our story. Watch live footage and interviews on our Facebook Live coverage.

And click through the slideshow above, using the arrows on either side, to see photographs taken by staffers, contributing photographers, … 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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1,500 walk out of Berkeley High in election protest

Berkeley High School walkout. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Update 1:45 p.m. The student protest on the UC Berkeley campus is disbanding.

Update, 1:20 p.m. The group of protesters that marched through downtown has headed on to the UC Berkeley campus, first through Sproul Plaza and then to the Campanile (pictured above), echoing the movements of Wednesday morning’s march. According to Berkeleyside’s Arielle Gordon-Rowe, many of the this group are from Albany High. A local attorney in the crowd spoke briefly at the open mic, imploring students to read Howard Zinn. Students demanded the teaching of African American and Native American history, as well as gay rights history, among other things.

We are also hearing reports from readers of separate groups of students in protest marches in North Berkeley. One group was seen on Solano and The Alameda heading to the Gourmet Ghetto.

Update, 1 p.m. Many Berkeley High student protesters are heading south down Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley. Traffic is affected. According to Berkeleyside’s Arielle Gordon-Rowe many Albany High students walked over two miles from their school to join the Berkeley High walkout.  Albany High campus administration supported the students and some teachers joined in. … 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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School board candidates back Measure E1, will push for education equality

From left: Abdur Sikder, Judy Appel, Beatriz Leyva-Cutler and Norma Harrison. Photos: Courtesy
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Two incumbents are facing two challengers at the polls today in two lightly contested seats on the Berkeley Unified School District.

 Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, 60, is the executive director of Bay Area Hispano Institute for Advancement, an organization that aims to provide families with bilingual learning environments. The daughter of an undocumented immigrant, born in San Francisco’s Mission District, Leyva-Cutler has served on the Board for nearly eight years and says that she is the first Latina bilingual woman to hold a seat in 25 years.

Incumbent Judy Appel 51, was Board president in 2015 and has a joint degree from UC Hastings and UC Berkeley in Law and City and Regional Planning. Appel is currently the executive director of the California School-Based Health Alliance.

According to a candidate survey Berkeleyside conducted, Leyva-Cutler and Appel are running a collaborative campaign, which “reflects the strong partnership and shared vision of the current school board to strengthen our schools with a focus on closing the racial achievement gap and building a stronger, more engaged district for all of our students.”Continue reading »

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Before it’s over: ‘Live’ photo gallery of Berkeley election

Oakland resident Anya Wayne votes from her bed at Alta Bates Summit Hospital . Photo: Pete Rosos
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The election season in Berkeley has been in full swing since just after Labor Day. There have been marches and forums, endorsements and op-eds about the multitude of measures and candidates. Enjoy this photo gallery of all that has been happening in Berkeley. And let’s keep it going: share your photos with us by dropping them into the Berkeleyside Flickr pool, emailing tips@berkeleyside.com, or tagging us on Twitter or Instagram. We will be adding photos to this gallery until the election is over. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: All parties agree… Vote no on BB and CC to preserve the City Council’s landmark minimum-wage ordinance

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The Berkeley City Council unanimously passed a new minimum-wage ordinance that is one of the most progressive in the country and is a significant victory for workers and the community. The new ordinance takes the best from both BB and CC. All stakeholders agree: vote No on BB and CC, enabling the superior council ordinance to prevail.

Berkeley’s minimum wage will increase to $15/hr in 2018 and, starting in 2017, workers will be entitled to up to 72 hours of … Continue reading »

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