Tag Archives: Laurie Capitelli

Op-ed: Why 11 current and former Berkeley elected officials endorse Laurie Capitelli

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We are former and current Berkeley elected officials who are united in our support for Laurie Capitelli as our next mayor. With our direct firsthand experience, we all deeply appreciate Laurie’s love for Berkeley, his trustworthiness, good humor, compassion, decency and intelligence. We urge you to vote for Laurie as your first choice.

Laurie is a team builder. A leader in the campaign to tax the soda industry, Laurie built the broad coalition and served on the steering committee that beat Big Soda. Laurie has the collaborative skills and leadership that are needed to continue the fight for public health and ensure that Alta Bates continues to serve our community.

Laurie is a mediator and consensus builder. Laurie negotiated the groundbreaking $15 minimum wage, bringing together labor, businesses and nonprofits in a historic agreement. Prior to this achievement, Laurie co-authored and led the passage of two $15 minimum wage measures in 2015 and 2016, which were among the most progressive wage measures in the nation, reaching $15 several years faster than the state of California.

Laurie believes in the transformative power of education and has raised millions of dollars for our public schools. As a former school teacher, Laurie is committed to closing Berkeley’s achievement gap by establishing universal preschool. It’s no surprise that every endorsing School Board member supports Laurie. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: It takes a special person to lead Berkeley and it’s Laurie Capitelli

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I’ve been living in Berkeley since 1967, then as an entering freshman at the University of California. I attended Cal through the Oakland Induction Center protests, People’s Park, was tear gassed on my way to class, and was among the first graduating class of CNR (Conservation of Natural Resources). In 1976, I opened The Focal Point on Ashby, and have enjoyed living in this wonderfully diverse, and at times, “quite nuts” city. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

It takes a special person to lead Berkeley – it is unique. Most of us have a strong opinion or 10 to share, and therefore, building consensus is an art form. That’s why I strongly support the candidacy of Laurie Capitelli to be our next Mayor. I’ve known Laurie for more than 25 years. We have worked together on the renovation/operation of the Elmwood Theater, collaborating with the City of Berkeley and the community after a fire that caused great damage to the property. We worked with city staff, Mayor Loni Hancock and community leaders to save a city landmark, volunteering countless hours to save the theater, which today provides us with some of the finest films, many independently made. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Why I’ve decided to vote for Laurie Capitelli

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Open letter to my neighbors whom were unable to meet Laurie Capitelli at a house event we hosted:

Until last night, I was undecided. I had known nothing substantial about our two candidates. (This is really a two-horse race.) Two weeks prior I went to a house party for Jesse Arreguin. Some of my neighbors, whom I respect, support Jesse, and I came away from that meeting with a somewhat positive feeling about him, although I felt he was also a bit slippery. My wife and I decided we should meet and question Laurie Capitelli. Last night, we hosted a house party where he came to answer questions.

My impressions

Laurie impressed me as wise, a realist, and an intellectual progressive. He is sincere in his positions. He has a record showing that he understands that advancement of a progressive agenda occurs with compromise. More than anything, I was impressed with how thoughtful, intelligent, and deep his knowledge on each of the issues was, and how well he understood the complexities of city policies and important issues. I also noticed how he listened to people. (I did not get the same feeling from Jesse.) … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley needs a mayor who shows true leadership

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Berkeley voters face a choice in the upcoming Mayoral race, but not the choice we’ve been led to believe. Contrary to much of the campaign rhetoric so far, this election is not a question of who is the most or least “progressive.” People elsewhere in the country or even the Bay Area would struggle to discern the policy differences that bring Berkeleyans to the barricades. All of the major candidates in the Mayoral race are progressive—indeed, they are very progressive. What this election is truly about is choosing the candidate who has the temperament, the relationships, and the leadership to successfully govern—and that candidate is Councilmember Laurie Capitelli.

The starkest differences between the mayoral frontrunners lie not in their agendas, but in their fundamental approaches to governance and policymaking. Laurie Capitelli has built his record of public service on collaboration, pragmatism, and an abiding determination to do what’s best for Berkeley. Arreguin and Worthington, on the other hand, have governed in manner that is ideological, obstructionist, and prioritizes their own political careers over the good of the city.

Together, Arreguin and Worthington represent a dismaying brand of performance politics. On truly important issues, ranging from housing to the City budget, both Arreguin and Worthington have a history of floating unworkable, pandering proposals. Whether it’s purely symbolic shifting of funds (something City staff stressed was unnecessary), or regulations that would actually kill new housing, Arreguin and Worthington ostentatiously take credit for the outlandish legislation they knew would never pass—let alone actually work. When other Councilmembers judiciously reject these schemes, Worthington and Arreguin attack them as insufficiently “progressive.” This is not leadership, it’s political theater. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Laurie Capitelli? Progressive leadership?

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— “I renege.” — Laurie Capitelli, May 6, 2014 Berkeley City Council meeting.

— Renege (verb): “to refuse to do something that you promised or agreed to do.” —Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

In campaign mailings Laurie Capitelli is bragging about being “a progressive leader” who “raised the minimum wage to protect working families.” But those of us who were there know the real truth. For Mr. Capitelli to claim credit for minimum wage “leadership” is simply outrageous— and a complete distortion of reality.

Three years ago, citizen activists along with the city’s Labor Commission worked with Mr. Capitelli and other council members over a period of many months to fashion a progressive piece of legislation that would have raised the minimum wage to the level of the city’s living wage.

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Op-ed: Why is the Berkeley City Council so right-wing?

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You would think in a left-leaning city like Berkeley – a bastion of free speech and the home of one of the soda tax – that the City Council would be a pretty liberal group. So, it came as a surprise to me to learn that this liberal town has a right-wing City Council.

We’re used to thinking of right-wing politics in terms of social issues – anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, pro-gun, pro-fossil fuels, etc. But this misses the point. The right wing is the business party. In right-wing politics, big business seeks to influence government decisions by backing candidates who will tilt the regulatory and taxation playing field their way. Some of our local council members are pretty clear about this. For example, Susan Wengraf (District 6) said, in effect, at a candidates’ forum that “what’s good for business is good for Berkeley.” A more effective approach, taken by Laurie Capitelli, is to find a wedge issue to distract ordinary voters from the favors that are being granted to big campaign contributors. … Continue reading »

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Real-estate interests spend $92K to help elect candidates

Mayoral candidates Laurie Capitelli and Jesse Arreguín butted heads Tuesday night over the minimum wage proposal. Photos: Mark Coplan
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The political action committee of the National Association of Realtors has poured $92,486 into the Berkeley election in recent weeks, with almost two-thirds of that going to support Laurie Capitelli in his race for mayor.

The realtors spent $60,382 to send out flyers in support of Capitelli, whose main challengers are fellow City Councilmen Jesse Arreguin and Kriss Worthington. Those two are running in tandem and are encouraging voters to rank them first and second on Berkeley’s rank-choice ballot in a bid to defeat Capitelli.

See all local 2016 coverage on Berkeleyside.

(Berkeleyside reported on Oct. 12 that the realtors had spent $36,342 in support of Capitelli’s campaign, but the group has since filed additional documentation.)

The National Association of Realtors Fund is considered an independent expenditure, which means the organization does not coordinate with the candidates’ campaigns. These groups are not restrained by Berkeley’s $250 limit for individuals.

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Op-ed: It’s not about the politics of the ’70s — it’s about the future of Berkeley

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I’m pretty much known as a political middle-of-the-roader, so it didn’t really surprise me when people began asking me Why have I gone to the ‘other side’ in supporting Jesse Arreguín for Mayor instead of Laurie Capitelli and am co-hosting with Former Mayor Gus Newport, a fund raiser for Jesse Arreguin featuring Danny Glover this Saturday, October 15th? Here’s my answer.

The old days of “moderates” vs “radicals” (or whatever terms you want to use) are over. That page has … Continue reading »

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Politics

Election 2016 Berkeley: Spotlight on the mayor’s race

Berkeley mayoral candidates. Photos: Courtesy
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Berkeleyside wants to help you get to know your 2016 candidates for Berkeley mayor, City Council, School Board and Rent Board. This week, we are publishing questionnaires with the candidates daily at 11 a.m.

We’ll also have stories on all the key Berkeley races and initiatives 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.

Q&As with five of the eight candidates vying for the mayor’s seat follow (three others did not submit responses). 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 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.

There’s also a PDF grid to help readers compare responses side by side. 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 Laurie Capitelli?

Photo: Courtesy of Laurie Capitelli
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Name: Laurie Capitelli

Age:  70

Job: Berkeley City Councilmember

What office are you are running for? Berkeley Mayor

What is the main reason you are running? Berkeley is a wonderful and exciting community. We also face many challenges. I want to work with my fellow citizens to address those challenges. For over 40 years I have worked collaboratively with members of my community addressing issues involving affordable housing, our schools, our homeless, our small business community, public health, minimum wage and labor protections, transportation, our deteriorating infrastructure and city finances. I want to continue those efforts. I am uniquely qualified to provide the leadership Berkeley needs to address the challenges we face. I want to unify our community and find the common ground we can all share.

Why are you qualified for the position? I know my community. I have raised my children here. I have worked with parents, neighborhood groups, small business owners and employees, educators, housing providers, the medical community…virtually every group of stakeholders in our town. People who have worked with me trust me and have confidence that I will seek consensus and common ground so we can move forward. … Continue reading »

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With 28 days to the election, fundraising gap between mayoral candidates widens

Five of the eight people running for mayor wait before the start of the CENA/Bateman Neighborhood Association Forum. From left to right: Jesse Arreguin, Ben Gould, Kriss Worthington,  Laurie Capitelli, and Mike Lee. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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See update at bottom.

With 28 days until the Nov. 8 election, Berkeley mayoral candidate, and city councilman, Laurie Capitelli has more than twice the amount of cash to spend on the race than his fellow candidate, City Councilman Jesse Arreguín. And he has 15 times as much to spend as City Councilman Kriss Worthington, who is also running to replace outgoing Mayor Tom Bates.

From July 1 to Sept. 24, the reporting period of the most recent campaign finance filings, Capitelli reported that he raised $31,288, bringing the total amount he has raised since 2015 to around $104,000. He still has $76,700 on hand for the rest of the race.

Arreguín raised $19,461 in that same period, for a total raised of about $69,000. Arreguín has $30,375 on hand.

Worthington has raised $5,804 in that period and has spent $810, leaving him with $4,994.

Ben Gould, a graduate student running for mayor, raised $2,585 from July 1 to Sept. 24, bringing his total to $8,885.

Naomi D. Pete reported she had raised $85, but she did not write down who gave the donation. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley mayoral candidates square off about budget, homelessness and more

Five of the eight people running for mayor wait before the start of the CENA/Bateman Neighborhood Association Forum. From left to right: Jesse Arreguin, Ben Gould, Kriss Worthington,  Laurie Capitelli, and Mike Lee. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Five of the eight mayoral candidates gathered Monday night to air their views on how to lead Berkeley.

The Bateman Neighborhood Association and the Claremont-Elmwood Neighborhood Association sponsored the mayoral forum, which drew about 150 people to St. John’s Presbyterian Church on College Avenue. Each candidate got to make a three-minute opening statement (The candidates’ opening statements are interspersed throughout this story. See videos below). They then answered the same four questions. Three candidates – Bernt Wahl, Zachary RunningWolf, and Naomi D. Peet did not show up.

Sutter Health is moving its emergency and acute inpatient care to Summit Hospital in Oakland. The current Alta Bates facility is subject to 99-year agreement between the hospital and Neighborhood Associations. What actions would you take as mayor to influence the future use of Alta Bates and to make sure the 1983 agreement is enforced?

Ben Gould, a Berkeley native and graduate student at UC Berkeley, said the most important thing was to preserve an emergency room and acute inpatient services in Berkeley, but not necessarily at the existing Alta Bates. He would work with hospital officials who are reluctant to pay the costs for seismically upgrading Alta Bates to explore putting those services at Herrick Hospital site or even at UC Berkeley.

Kriss Worthington, who has been a city councilman since 1996, said he understands how to negotiate with Alta Bates/Sutter Health officials because Alta Bates used to be in his district and he has played a key role in recent years in negotiating compromises with them. When word broke that Alta Bates was going to close, one council member brought forward a measure saying, “Let’s consider what to do.” Worthington said he immediately amended that to say, “Let’s take a stand.” He also directed the interns in his office to examine cases around the country where citizens have stopped the closure of hospitals. He used some of that “winning language” in a recent council resolution, he said. Worthington said Berkeley needs to organize the region and get the councils and residents of Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, and Richmond involved in stopping the closure. “We are all going to be screwed if we let Sutter Corporation take away our hospital.” … 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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