Tag Archives: Deborah Matthews

4 take aim at open South Berkeley City Council seat

District 3 candidates: From right, Ben Bartlett, Deborah Matthews, Al Murray and Mark Coplan. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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For the first time in 12 years, South Berkeley will have a new representative on the City Council.

Four people are vying for the seat to be vacated by Max Anderson: Anderson’s pick, Ben Bartlett, is an attorney who is proud of his family’s deep heritage in Berkeley and has wracked up a long list of high-profile endorsements; real estate agent and longtime Berkeley zoning board commissioner Deborah Matthews, who believes in “direct engagement” with developers to get the best projects; recently retired Berkeley schools spokesman Mark Coplan, who pledges to bring his approach to public service to the City Council; and retired public servant Al Murray, whose focus is on government accountability but was sued this week for failing to comply with campaign reporting rules. (He says the error was due to a staffing mix-up that’s been fixed.)

Profiles of each candidate follow a brief look at campaign fundraising and endorsements to date.

Bartlett has raised the most in contributions thus far, nearly $28,000 from about 175 donors, according to the latest campaign filings. Matthews isn’t far behind, with about $24,000 from nearly 140 donors. Bartlett has vastly outspent his opponents, however, with $28,000 in expenditures compared to Matthews’ nearly $15,000. (Bartlett also listed a $10,000 loan from his wife, Yelda Bartlett, which could keep the campaign going in the final stretch.)

Coplan committed early on to sticking to a budget of less than $10,000, and he’s done that, though half of the money he’s raised came in the form of a $5,000 loan to himself. The rest, about $4,800, has come from about 40 people. Coplan describes his campaign as “zero waste,” though he’s spent about $8,000 on literature, postage and campaign materials. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016 Berkeley: Spotlight on District 2, District 3

Appearing in ballot order, top row from left, District 2 candidates: Cheryl Davila, Nanci Armstrong-Temple, Darryl Moore. Bottom row, from left: Mark Coplan, Al Murray, Deborah Matthews, Ben Bartlett. Photos: Courtesy
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Berkeleyside wants to help you get to know your 2016 candidates for Berkeley City Council, School Board and Rent Stabilization Board. This week, we plan to publish questionnaires with the candidates daily at 11 a.m.

In coming weeks, we’ll have stories on all the key Berkeley races and initiatives that will be 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.

To kick off, questionnaires for the District 2 and District 3 City Council races follow. 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 her or 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.

Each race below also includes a PDF grid to help readers compare responses side by side. And don’t forget: 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 Deborah Matthews?

Deborah Matthews is a candidate for the District 3 City Council seat. Photo: Deborah Matthews
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Name: Deborah Matthews

Age: 62

Job: Educator, real estate broker

What office are you are running for? Berkeley City Council, District 3

What is the main reason you are running? I am a mother, educator & realtor who has lived and worked in South and West Berkeley for over 30 years. As a proud, long-time resident, I have seen first-hand the immense transformation Berkeley has undergone over the past several decades. I am acutely aware of the issues our community faces, the dire need for low & middle income housing, workforce and inclusionary housing city wide- without displacement, ending gun violence, creating jobs and ending human trafficking. That’s what motivates me to wade into the sometimes contentious work of city government. The change we need. The leadership we deserve.

Why are you qualified for the position? For more than 24 years, I have overseen many of Berkeley’s housing and commercial projects focused in south and west Berkeley and am currently the Vice Chair of the Planning Commission. I have served as the Chair of the Zoning Adjustment Board, Chair of the Housing Commission and on the Board of Directors of the Downtown Berkeley YMCA and U.C. Berkeley Wesley House Board of Directors. As a commissioner I championed the Ed Roberts Campus, Tarea Hall Pittman South Berkeley Library, Bio Fuel Oasis, rid drugs and loitering in front of liquor store locations along South Shattuck Ave and Sacramento Street…are important successful improvements for our community and for our safety. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley candidates outline their positions on the arts

Josh Kornbluth was the emcee for the evening. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Five Berkeley mayoral candidates and a slew of contenders for City Council gathered Wednesday evening at the Freight & Salvage to discuss their commitment to funding the arts.

The Berkeley Cultural Trust, a consortium of individuals from various arts organizations in Berkeley, put on the candidates’ debate. Its setting could not have been more appropriate: the building, which once housed a garage, now serves as the Bay Area’s premiere venue for folk and bluegrass performances. The Freight & Salvage sits on Addison Street in the heart of Berkeley’s Arts District, right across the street from Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theatre and the California Jazz Conservatory (which is expanding across the street).

Check out a round-up of more local election events coming up.

Years ago, this area was just another random block in downtown Berkeley, but it now serves as one of the most vibrant stretches in the city. When Mayor Tom Bates recently hosted a meeting of mayors from around the country, one of the most popular events of the conference was a tour of the downtown Arts District, according to Michael Caplan, the manager of Berkeley’s economic development department, who led the tours.

Berkeley has done a lot to ensure that dance, music, performance and the visual arts thrive. Earlier this year,  the City Council adopted a ‘1% for arts’ provision, which requires developers of new projects (except those in the downtown) to devote 1% of their construction costs to public art or pay an in-lieu fee. That’s on top of a similar 1.5% art requirement tied to public improvements and bond measures. In 2016, Berkeley will give out $389,00 in grants to various arts groups, a boost of $150,000 over recent years. Berkeley has also provided capital grants to places like the UC Theatre and the Kala Arts Institute.

Whether this is the beginning or the final shape of Berkeley’s commitment to the arts was a central question of the forum, which attracted around 250 people. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley candidates share their vision for downtown

Downtown Berkeley at dusk, aerial skyline. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The race for several Berkeley City Council seats, as well as the top spot — the mayor’s seat — are up for grabs in November. With this in mind, the Downtown Berkeley Association sent a set of eight questions focused on the future of downtown to all candidates standing for office. It received responses from eight candidates: mayoral candidates Laurie Capitelli and Ben Gould; District 2 candidate Darryl Moore; District 3 candidate Deborah Matthews; District 5 candidates Sophie Hahn and Stephen Murphy; and District 6 candidates Isabelle Gaston and Susan Wengraf.

Read more about the Berkeley 2016 elections on Berkeleyside.

The DBA does not endorse candidates, but rather views the questions as an opportunity for the DBA to highlight its priorities and for the candidates to help inform the DBA, downtown stakeholders and the Berkeley electorate.  … Continue reading »

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Housing views show split in South, West Berkeley races

Berkeley City Council Districts 2 & 3 forum, League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville, Berkeley Community Media, Sept. 12, 2016. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley City Council candidates for South and West Berkeley took the stage Monday night to share their views on housing, diversity, homelessness, the economy and public safety, among other topics.

The forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville, was the first to bring together the candidates for District 2 (West Berkeley) and District 3 (South Berkeley) to help get their views out to voters in a group setting.

Video of the full event appears at the bottom of this story.

Three people are vying for District 2: Cheryl Davila, Nanci Armstrong-Temple and incumbent Darryl Moore.

Beside them on the podium were the four District 3 candidates: Mark CoplanAl G. MurrayDeborah Matthews and Ben Bartlett. That race will have an open seat, with Councilman Max Anderson on the road to retirement. Anderson has held the seat for 12 years. … Continue reading »

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2 open Berkeley City Council races draw significant cash

The retirement of Max Anderson and Laurie Capitelli's decision to run for mayor rather than for re-election in District 5 has created two open council seats. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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With the retirement of councilman Max Anderson, and fellow councilman Laurie Capitelli’s decision to run for mayor, there are two open seats on the Berkeley City Council this fall, which may explain the heavy fundraising going on.

Read more on the Berkeley 2016 election.

Below, a round-up of how the different candidates are doing in terms of raising those campaign funds.

District 5: Sophie Hahn / Stephen Murphy

Sophie Hahn, a lawyer, who has twice run unsuccessfully against Laurie Capitelli for the District 5 seat, and who has high name recognition because of those races and her position on the Zoning Adjustments Board, raised the most among her fellow District 5 candidates in the first six months of 2016. Hahn is seen as a progressive who would be closely aligned with City Councilmen Jesse Arreguín and Kriss Worthington, and many of her donors are also their supporters.

Hahn raised $45,244 in this last campaign cycle, spent $6,437, and has $49,427 cash on hand — an amount significant enough for her to to do a number of district-wide mailings. … Continue reading »

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They’re off: Candidates file campaign finance statements

Election 2014
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The Berkeley political jostling has begun, even though elections will, of course, only be held in November.

City Councilman Jesse Arreguín has raised close to $25,000 for his race for mayor, almost four times as much as City Councilman Laurie Capitelli, his strongest opponent.

Capitelli, who has been endorsed by a majority of the city council, raised $6,380 in the six months leading up to Dec. 31, 2105, according to campaign finance statements.

Read more about the 2016 Berkeley election.

There is a $250 limit for individual contributions in Berkeley candidate elections. Businesses cannot contribute.

Some of those who contributed $250 to Capitelli’s campaign are those involved with Berkeley’s current construction boom. They include Denise Pinkston, a developer and vice-chair of the Zoning Adjustments Board; David Trachtenberg, an architect who has designed a number of the multi-family apartment buildings now rising in Berkeley; Richard Millikan, who helped develop the Fourth Street shopping district; Aileen Dolby, a commercial realtor for Colliers International; and Patrick Leaper, a colleague of Capitelli’s at Red Oak Realty. Capitelli told Berkeleyside that he just started his fundraising the last two weeks of December, a holiday period, and he is “confident” he will eventually have the funds to get his message out to voters. … Continue reading »

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With mayor and two councilmen stepping aside, Berkeley’s election is heating up

The retirement of Max Anderson and Laurie Capitelli's decision to run for mayor rather than for re-election in District 5 has created two open council seats. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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After serving 12 years on the Berkeley City Council — and another 12 on various city commissions — Max Anderson has decided not to run for another council term.

Anderson’s exit from the race for District 3 in South Berkeley has already attracted two strong candidates and more are certain to file their election papers in the next few months. John Selawsky, who served on the Berkeley Unified School District School Board for 12 years and who currently sits on the Rent Stabilization Board, is running. So is Deborah Matthews, a Realtor who has served on numerous city boards, including the Planning and Housing commissions and the Zoning Adjustments Board.

Ben Bartlett, who currently sits on the Planning Commission and is a former member of the Police Review Commission, has also said he will run for the District 3 seat, although he has not yet filed papers. The last date to file papers for a Berkeley council seat is July 18. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside readers raise nearly $3,000 for food bank

Kelsey Itämeri  Spats Holiday Party 2015. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Thanks to the generosity of the Berkeleyside community, our Advertising Director Wendy Cohen delivered just short of $3,000 to the Alameda County Community Food Bank on Friday morning.

The funds were raised at the Berkeleyside holiday party at Spats on Thursday night, through the tips left for the “amateur-hour” Berkeleyside bartenders, aided by a wonderful team of guests, as well as the sale of raffle tickets. We are grateful for how accommodating patrons were as we all figured out how to pour the perfect G&T or, even, how to mix up a martini!

We are happy the Berkeleyside community could help the Alameda County Community Food Bank, which is a stellar organization: It distributes more than 2 million pounds of food each month and serves an astonishing one in five Alameda County residents — yes, you read that right: one in five. According to the food bank, one in three children in Alameda Count faces the threat of hunger.

Even though the holidays are when people tend to think about helping nonprofits like the food bank, it’s good to remember that it needs volunteers and donations throughout the year. … Continue reading »

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Zoning board denies Berkeley micro-unit proposal

Image: Lowney Architecture
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Berkeley zoning board members voted 6-3 last week to reject an application from a San Francisco-based development firm that hopes to build the city’s first micro-unit housing project.

In September, many zoning board commissioners told Axis Development Group that the proposal, at 2701 Shattuck Ave., was too large and too dense for the neighborhood. They asked Axis to consider a four-story alternative, and to make more room on the northeast corner of the site, which is close to an adjacent single-family home. City staff had earlier suggested the removal of up to 12 units from the project.

Thursday night, Axis presented its latest version of the five-story project, currently set to include 67 units that range in size from 269 to 344 square feet, as well as a roughly 2,000-square-foot full service restaurant with valet parking, and a small parking garage. (Read more about the latest plans here.) Following the September zoning board meeting, Axis removed three units from the project’s fifth story. Company representatives said they felt this change addressed the board’s concerns.

Commissioners who voted against the project Thursday criticized Axis for failing to take their feedback in September seriously.

“I’m astonished at how fully the applicant has ignored our very clear suggestions. Very clear,” Commissioner Shoshana O’Keefe said. “From staff, from us. I was at the last meeting, I know what was said. I can’t believe you would come up here with a straight face and say you were confused as to what we were asking for.” … Continue reading »

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‘Innovative’ housing with rooftop farms set for Southside

Garden Village, 2201 Dwight, Berkeley. Image: Nautilus Group
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City zoning board members approved a 77-unit mixed-use housing development near downtown Berkeley late last week, expressing excitement about a “unique” design set to include more than a dozen working rooftop farm plots and a novel approach to parking.

“Garden Village,” at 2201 Dwight Way at Fulton Street, brings with it a number of innovative features, from its composition — it’s made up of 18 distinct but connected “volumes,” or towers, that range in height from 3 to 5 stories and are connected by open-air walkways; its more than 12,000 square feet of rooftop farming plots; and its small garage, which offers just enough space for a fleet of shared vehicles that will be rentable by tenants.

Without the car-sharing idea, the project would have required room for 71 vehicles. Instead, Berkeley-based developer Nautilus Group decided it would purchase a fleet of four to 10 automobiles and contract with a car-sharing operator called Getaround to run the “car-share pod” operation. (The city required Nautilus to pay for a parking demand study to bolster the justification for that approach.)

Zoning board Commissioner Shoshana O’Keefe described the concept as potentially “genius,” adding that the notion of projects that fold effective car-sharing programs into their plans “might be the magic solution” to the hairy issue of meeting parking demand efficiently in a densely-populated community. … Continue reading »

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Zoning board asks micro-unit developer to shrink proposal

micro
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Berkeley zoning board members voted Thursday night to ask developers to reduce the size of a proposed micro-unit project on Shattuck Avenue by either taking units off the upper stories or removing the top story altogether.

The lengthy Zoning Adjustments Board meeting was the panel’s first chance to vote on the project. Throughout the night, the board seemed poised to approve the project as proposed, deny the project altogether or ask for significant changes before moving forward.

At the end of a nearly three-hour discussion, which included comments from more than 20 members of the public, the board voted to affirm the staff recommendation to ask San Francisco-based Axis Development Group to change its designs to make the building fit in better with the neighborhood. Staff had recommended some type of increased “setbacks” — such as a more gradual increase from story to story up to the building’s full height — on the five-story proposal’s upper floors to increase the space between the structure and a nearby single-family home to the east. The zoning board asked mixed-use developer Axis to consider either that approach or a possible reduction to four stories. … Continue reading »

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