Tag Archives: Nancy Skinner

Outside money, solar funds in Assembly campaigns

Echols and Thurmond debated each other in Berkeley on Oct. 7. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Big outside money is playing a large role in California legislative races this year, and the East Bay is not immune to the trend.

Independent Expenditure committees have donated $265,600 so far in support of State Assembly District 15 candidate Tony Thurmond, a former Richmond city council member and $150,775 to his opponent, Elizabeth Echols, the regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Petroleum and cigarette interests are two of many contributors to the independent expenditure groups backing Thurmond, prompting  Echols to send out mailers warning voters about the “Big Oil,” tobacco, and “predatory lenders” backing Thurmond.

Berkeleyside’s Election Hub: All you need to know about the elections

But a firefighters union, the AFL-CIO, PG&E, and pharmaceutical and real estate groups have also been giving to the vaguely named independent expenditure (IE) committees that have been spending generously in support of Thurmond. Since the start of the year, the Alliance for California’s Tomorrow, A California Business Coalition (ACT) has reported spending $202,516 in support of the candidate. Keep California Strong has spent $63,084 and he has also received outside support from the nurses union PAC. … Continue reading »

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Once-courteous 15th Assembly campaign turns negative

Echols and Thurmond debated each other in Berkeley on Oct. 7. Photo: Lance Knobel
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The two candidates in a competitive state Assembly race had the chance to woo Berkeley voters at a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters at Berkeley City College on Tuesday.

Elizabeth Echols and Tony Thurmond are vying to fill the District 15 seat that will be vacated by Nancy Skinner. Elected in 2008, Skinner is termed out, but modifications to the term limits in 2012 mean one of these candidates could claim the seat for the next 12 years.

Echols and Thurmond are both liberal Democrats who have similar platforms — focused on the environment, education and jobs — but highly different backgrounds and careers.  … Continue reading »

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Assembly race: Echols, Thurmond to debate in Berkeley

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One of the most hotly contested seats in the Nov. 4 election is the race for Assembly District 15. Nancy Skinner, who has held the seat for six years, is termed out of office and is stepping down.

The battle for the vacant seat pits two Democrats against one another – Tony Thurmond, a former member of the Richmond City Council and the West Contra Costa School Board, and Elizabeth Echols. Echols has never held public office but has served under two presidents, including a recent stint as the regional administrator of the Small Business Administration under President Obama. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s influence on Assembly race takes a twist

California State Capital. Photo by Thomas W. Toolan, Wikimedia Commons
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By Kate Darby

Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s primary election for the District 15 Assembly seat, history is in the making in Berkeley. For the first time in several decades, this assembly race doesn’t include a candidate with direct ties to Berkeley City Hall, though one has garnered a slate of endorsements from familiar faces there.

Current District 15 Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley is termed out of office at the end of the year, opening the door to an energized contingent of candidates interested in her seat. The 64% majority Democrat district covers a swatch of the East Bay from north Oakland to Hercules, including the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, and Richmond. … Continue reading »

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Years of work culminate in new Berkeley medical clinic

Officials and staff cut the ribbon to dedicate the new clinic. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Hundreds of people gathered Sunday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of Lifelong Medical Care’s new West Berkeley clinic, and for many of the dignitaries, it was a reunion of sorts.

Amid speeches about the glorious new building and the patient-centric care it will foster, came memories of Berkeley in the 1970s and the push to revolutionize health care. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley celebrates historic Supreme Court decisions

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After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday allowing same sex marriages in California, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner got a text from her 31-year old daughter in New York. Sirona Skinner-Nixon and her girlfriend, Sinead O’Rourke, 34, had been glued to the news.

“Mom, we can get married at home,” Skinner-Nixon texted. “Happy tears when I read the headline.”

Tears almost rolled down Skinner’s cheeks as she read the message to a crowd that gathered Wednesday evening in front of Old City Hall to celebrate the Supreme Court’s two historic decisions impacting same-sex marriage.Continue reading »

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Berkeley legislators play key role in state budget process

State Senator Loni Hancock (left) and State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner speak at a recent rally in front of Berkeley's Main Post Office. Photo: Lance Knobel
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The California legislature is now deep in the throes of the state budget process, with the combined senate and assembly conference committee working to reconcile the differences between the legislative budgets and the governor’s. Decisions happen in a rush of committee meetings and votes: both houses need to approve the budget by June 15 and the final budget act and governor’s signature are required by the end of the month.

Berkeley’s own legislators, State Senator Loni Hancock and State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, are both among their chamber’s four members of the conference committee. So, although no one expects Hancock and Skinner to think about their city’s needs over the state’s, Berkeley represents one-fourth of the decision-making power for this year’s budget.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s political firmament rallies to keep post office

Photo: Lance Knobel
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Mayor Tom Bates, State Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, and just about a full complement of Berkeley councilmembers gathered on the steps of the city’s main post office this morning to protest its planned sale.

Bates, Hancock and Skinner jointly signed a letter appealing the decision by the U.S. Postal Service. Bates said it was the beginning of a long fight that will include a lawsuit and appeals to the U.S. Congress.

“We’re not going quietly. We’re going to fight this every step of the way,” Bates said. “We are against it and the people of Berkeley are against it.” … Continue reading »

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Crowds fill Old Berkeley City Hall to honor Maudelle Shirek

Maudelle inspired generations during her seven decades of work in the peace movement. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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National and local political figures, along with city staff, family members and other loved ones, came together Tuesday night in Berkeley to celebrate the life of former Councilwoman Maudelle Shirek who died April 11 at the age of 101.

The memorial event took place in the building re-named in 2005 to honor Shirek — a Berkeley councilwoman for 20 years — known widely as the “godmother of progressive politics” due to her work in the peace movement, and in the fight for social justice, nutrition, fair housing, HIV/AIDS education, civil rights, human rights and an end to apartheid. … Continue reading »

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Cal students file redistricting proposal with the city

Left to right: Joey Freeman, Julia Joung, Nancy Skinner. Photo: Lance Knobel
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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.

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Cal leaders push to put student on Berkeley City Council

BUSD administrators will hold budget hearing on March 29 in city council chambers
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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 »

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Faith-based urban farm opens in Berkeley

Families enjoying the festivities at the Urban Adamah Grand Opening and Farm Festival yesterday./Photos: Sarah Henry
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Sunday marked the grand opening of Urban Adamah, the first faith-based, modern urban farm in West Berkeley, at 1050 Parker Street near San Pablo Avenue, opposite Fantasy Studios. The one-acre farm with Jewish roots offers a residential fellowship program for young adults, summer camps for kids and teens, and plans to help feed the needy in the community.

On an uncharacteristically warm June day, several hundred people, including many families with young children, turned out to tour the farm, meet chickens, bake pizzas, pickle cucumbers, make ice cream, and whip up bicycle smoothies — as well as learn a little about the philosophy behind the farm, currently boasting greens, squashes, tomatoes, and other summer crops.

Local urban farming icon Novella Carpenter welcomed the newbies to the neighborhood, along with Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and Councilmember Darryl Moore.  Fellow West Berkeley urban farmer Jim Montgomery, who walked his goats over to say hello, was a big hit with the younger set. … Continue reading »

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New bike station opened today in downtown Berkeley

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Today saw the opening of a smart new Bike Station at 2208  Shattuck Avenue, the result of a partnership between the city and BART, as well as community biking organizations. The station offers convenient, free valet-parking space for cyclists commuting via the Downtown Berkeley BART, as well as repair facilities, a retail store and amenities designed to turn novice cyclists into enthusiasts. (Watch the slideshow above, clicking on “captions” for more details.)

The station, which was five years in … Continue reading »

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