Tag Archives: District 5

Election 2016: Who will represent North Berkeley next?

District 5, from left: Sophie Hahn, Stephen Murphy. Photos: Courtesy
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With 12-year District 5 Councilman Laurie Capitelli setting his sights on the mayor’s seat, Sophie Hahn and Stephen Murphy have gone head to head this election season to convince the community who will lead North Berkeley best.

Hahn is a former attorney and small businesswoman who was appointed to the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board more than six years ago by Berkeley Councilman Kriss Worthington. She’s fiercely analytic and is known on the board for her comprehensive feedback. It will be Hahn’s third time running for the District 5 seat, having lost to Capitelli in 2012 with about 46% of the vote, short about 700 ballots.

Murphy, also an attorney, is a family justice advocate with the Alameda County Family Justice Center, which offers help to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Capitelli appointed Murphy to the Planning Commission and also the Commission on the Status of Women (of which Hahn was formerly a member, though they didn’t serve at the same time).

Hahn has a higher profile in the community due to her prior council runs, and her work on the zoning board and other community efforts. Her critics, she notes, have called her obstructionist, which she believes to be a gross mischaracterization. She says she has approved more than 2,500 units of housing during her time on the zoning board.

But she has also voted against or chosen not to support projects that did not meet her standards. In April, as one example, she abstained from a vote on a 107-unit project downtown that had no public speakers in opposition because she felt it should, under the law, have one additional affordable housing unit. (The project was still approved.)

She was also one of the authors, with Councilman Jesse Arreguín, who is running for mayor, of the failed 2014 Measure R campaign, which sought to strengthen regulations around green building and labor. Its critics said it would have halted development because it would have made building in Berkeley too expensive. (Hahn disagrees.) It was rejected by a 74% vote and failed in nearly every precinct. Murphy says he ran the ground campaign to oppose that measure. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Real progressives vote for housing

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Berkeley has a Downtown Plan. The path has not been smooth or simple, but thousands of hours, plus voter buy-in has solidly approved it.

It was a compromise – the outgrowth of hundreds of hours of public meetings that took place from 2005 to 2009 by a special Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission. This original plan, approved by City Council, was later overturned.

The 2010 ballot’s Measure R could only be advisory, but it gave Berkeley voters the opportunity … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Utility undergrounding must be considered in disaster planning

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I read Patricia Mapp’s Oct. 27 and Isabelle Gaston’s Oct. 26 Opinionater articles suggesting that utility undergrounding is not an important priority when considering public safety and disaster preparedness.

I totally disagree.

I have first-hand experience when it comes to utility undergrounding, emergency preparedness and public safety. I am a former public works director in Oakland, managing first-line emergency response in both the 1989 earthquake and the 1991 Oakland/Berkeley fire.

I was behind the fire lines in Oakland … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Sophie Hahn is exceptional, and just what Berkeley needs

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For too long, Berkeley’s City Council has been mired in timid, incremental politics. The council majority has dragged its feet on important issues, to the detriment to those most in need, and to the frustration of all who want Berkeley to reclaim its place as a progressive and environmental leader. Luckily, in District 5, we have the opportunity to choose excellence, by electing a candidate with the experience, knowledge, dedication and vision to move Berkeley decisively forward: Sophie Hahn.

Sophie … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Stephen Murphy?

Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Murphy (featured only)
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Name: Stephen Murphy

Age: 44

Job: Associate director, Alameda County Family Justice Center

What office are you are running for? Berkeley City Council, District 5

What is the main reason you are running? I have spent my career dedicated to public service and social justice and I want to build upon my experience and relationships to help my community. As a father of three children under the age of 7, I care a great deal about the quality of life in our neighborhood. I fell in love with Berkeley when I moved here 26 years ago and I want to ensure that Berkeley continues to be a place where everyone has choices for a good life. We must enact new initiatives to ensure that Berkeley is safe, prosperous, and accessible for all.

Why are you qualified for the position? In my professional life, I serve as the Associate Director of the Alameda County Family Justice Center. I deal firsthand with serious problems affecting marginalized communities. I have dedicated my life to pursuing social justice and my desire for justice and equity has resonated with voters. … Continue reading »

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Election 2016: Who is Sophie Hahn?

Courtesy of Sophie Hahn
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Name: Sophie Hahn

Age: 55

Job: Zoning Adjustments Board member; retired small business owner and attorney

What office are you are running for? Berkeley City Council, District 5

What is the main reason you are running? I am running to represent the people and neighborhoods of Berkeley, and ensure that as we grow and change, we protect and amplify the things that make Berkeley a uniquely wonderful place to live, work, learn and play. With a lifetime of service for our schools, libraries, community and the environment, I will champion equity and forward Berkeley’s great tradition of progressive leadership. Berkeley is facing a crisis of affordability, displacement and homelessness. Addressing this will be my top priority. Endorsed by the Sierra Club, I will continue my work to address climate change and improve Berkeley’s resilience.

Why are you qualified for the position? My qualifications are:
(1) My deep roots in District 5 and close, lifelong relationship with the community I am running to serve; I grew up in District 5, and have raised my family here
(2) My unparalleled record of service to Berkeley’s schools, libraries and to the community
(3) My leadership on the Environment and fighting Climate Change
(4) My education, including graduating from Berkeley High and UC Berkeley (Phi Beta Kappa, with Honors) and receiving a JD from Stanford Law School
(5) My public service as a senior member of the City of Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board and as Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, and as a member of the Solano Avenue Business Improvement District Board
(6) My leadership in the community, serving on Boards including the Berkeley Public Library Foundation, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, the Sierra Club, the Bancroft Library at CAL and Planned Parenthood; as President of the King PTA and Chair of the Governance Council, and more
(5) My work experience, including practicing law, working for a large international organization (the International Planned Parenthood Federation) and starting, growing and operating a small manufacturing and wholesale business. … Continue reading »

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Capitelli, Hahn go head to head in Berkeley’s District 5

Laurie Capitelli and Sophie Hahn campaign signs, Oct. 10, 2012.
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Incumbent Laurie Capitelli and challenger Sophie Hahn will face off in November for the second time in a pitched battle for Berkeley’s District 5 City Council seat, in a race that has been tinged with allegations of distortion and ill will.

In 2008, Capitelli won District 5 re-election by defeating Hahn 4,299 to 3,898. But Hahn said Wednesday she believes her past four years of service and experience will help her come out on top in the polls on Nov. 6.

“I have a strong record of getting things done,” she said. “I do believe one person can make a difference. With hard work, collaboration, and really listening to and involving the community, you get good results for the community. And I think people recognize that. I think people have been waiting for a long time for change in Berkeley.”

So far, both candidates have raised about $30,000 for their campaigns. Each had $14,000 to $15,000 left in their coffers as of the most recent filing. The amount of money raised is second only to the mayor’s race on the ballot in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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