Tag Archives: Joey Freeman
Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council approved a new redistricting map to redraw council boundaries to reflect the city’s population changes over the past decade and increase the number of student-aged voters in District 7.
Proponents of the new map say District 7 will become the first student district in the country. Cal students have helped spearhead the campaign to build support for the map, which they said has broad support on campus and in the neighborhoods nearby.
But detractors of the new map say it is a watered down district that will dilute progressive student power, and pushed for a different proposal. The vote split the council, with council members Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguín voting against it, and Councilman Max Anderson abstaining.
The campaign to create at least one student-majority district in Berkeley reached a milestone today when a group of student leaders submitted their detailed redistricting proposal to the city clerk.
“We need the city to know that the student community is a legitimate community of interest,” said Joey Freeman, external affairs vice president for the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), the student government. “Student issues are community issues.”
“We haven’t had adequate representation of students in Berkeley for over 25 years,” said Vishalli Loomba, President of ASUC.
Freeman acknowledged that today’s proposal is non-compliant with the city charter. The 1986 measure that created Berkeley’s districts — and the amended city charter that resulted — has three requirements: no boundary changes can unseat an existing councilmember, the boundaries need to adhere as closely as possible to the 1986 boundaries, and the districts should be equal in population. Today’s proposal fails on the first two criteria.
In the 15 years since Berkeley adopted City Council districts, no student has been elected to the post even though they make up a quarter of the population.
Now a coalition of UC Berkeley student leaders is aiming to change that.
The group hopes to put forward a plan that will reconfigure two City Council districts to make one with a super-majority of students. If that doesn’t work, the leaders may try and put a referendum before Berkeley voters to create a student-dominated district.
“Is this fair to the community?” said Joey Freeman, who as vice-president of external affairs for the Associated Students of the University of California is leading the redistricting effort. “You can make a very good argument there should be someone on the council representing the student interests.” … Continue reading »