As the election approaches, challengers Cheryl Davila and Nanci Armstrong-Temple are taking aim at District 2 incumbent Darryl Moore, who has sat on the City Council since 2004.
During the race, Moore has come under fire from his two opponents for what they say is a cozy relationship between the councilman and real-estate developers. “[Moore] meets with homeowners and business owners on behalf of developers, but cannot be bothered to follow through with promises made,” Armstrong-Temple told Berkeleyside.
Davila said Moore is unresponsive when his constituents need support and resources.
The criticisms are familiar: in the 2012 election, his then-opponents, Denisha DeLane and Adolfo Cabral, also claimed that Moore was out of touch with residents and too cozy with real-estate developers. That contest largely revolved around a measure that would have opened up a portion of West Berkeley to development — voters rejected it by a narrow margin. Moore was overwhelming reelected in 2012. He trounced DeLane by 32 points.
For his part, Moore disputes his challengers’ characterization of him being inaccessible to the community.
“I’ve probably held more community meetings than anyone else on the City Council,” he said. “I’ve had them for issues on crime and violence in District 2. I’ve had forums on financial literacy, we’ve done health fairs. We’ve held numerous meetings throughout the district and I try to make myself very accessible to the community.”
No sitting incumbent on the council has been defeated for reelection since 1997, according to a recent study done by the Berkeley Fair Elections Coalition.
Moore, by and large, is running on his accomplishments — and is focusing on crumbling infrastructure (he supports Measure T1, for example, the $100 million bond measure to repair Berkeley’s roads and parks), workforce and affordable housing, as well as public safety, according to a candidate poll conducted by Berkeleyside. Moore said he supported a recent council initiative to hire five more police officers to help with community policing and bike patrols.
Moore, 55, is a senior management analyst for the Oakland Housing Authority and said that, since his career has been around affordable housing, it is no surprise that maintaining and building more is a top priority for him. Moore earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Santa Cruz and a masters degree in public policy from the University of Chicago. Prior to his service on the council, he worked as a legislative aide for Kriss Worthington. Moore has lived in Berkeley for 20 years and took office in 2004 after getting the endorsement from his predecessor, Margaret Breland.
Moore’s campaign has thus far raised $24,624 and includes a $950 loan he made to his campaign. He has spent $7,062, according to the latest campaign filings. He has sent out three mailers for his campaign. His challengers have not sent out any, according to records in the City Clerk’s office.
Donors who contributed $250 to Moore include Darrell de Tienne, who helps developers navigate Berkeley’s planning process; George Beier, a computer programmer and former City Council candidate; the Berkeley Police Association PAC; Weldon Rucker, a former Berkeley city manager; Sam Singer, a public relations executive; Donald Brody, a venture capitalist; Tim Schick, a director at Berkeley Patients Group; the Sheet Metal Workers International Local 104; and the Sprinkler Fitters & Apprentices Local 483. The Bricklayers & Allied Craft Workers Local 3 donated $100, as did Sue Taylor, the president of the newly- approved cannabis dispensary, ICANN Health Center, and Julie Sinai, who was once Mayor Tom Bates’ chief of staff.
Of Moore’s challengers, Davila, 60, has raised the largest campaign war chest of $11,926. The bookkeeper has lived in District 2 for 35 years and has served on the Human Welfare and Community Action Commission since 2009. Her campaign has spent $8,154, according to campaign finance documents.
Davila’s $250 contributors include city council member Max Anderson, who is retiring this year; Andrea Pritchett, a BUSD teacher who also heads up Berkeley’s Cop Watch group; and Barbara Lubin, the director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance. Two people who fought hard to stop the approval of the 18-story, 305-unit building at 2211 Harold Way, which Moore supported, also donated: UC Berkeley professor James McFadden gave $150 and Paul Matzner, who started Save Shattuck Cinemas, gave $50, according to campaign filings.
In the Berkeleyside candidate poll, Davila said the environment and racial or ethnic bias are two of the biggest issues in Berkeley’s near future, aside from housing. She also hopes to host neighborhood assemblies that will bring neighbors together to identify and share challenges and work out solutions to common problems.
The other challenger, Armstrong-Temple, is the founding director of Dance Out Loud, a movement-based after-school program. The 41-year old attended UC Berkeley and earned a bachelor’s degree in educational anthropology. Armstrong-Temple has raised $6,941.35, and has spent $4,658.57.
Some of Armstrong-Temple’s $250 donors include Kelly Hammargren, who filed a lawsuit against Berkeley and the developer of 2211 Harold Way (she lost). She donated $250. Others who contributed are also critical of the current pace of development in Berkeley, and include Donald Goldmacher, a retired UC Berkeley professor, who gave $250, and Paul Matzner, who gave $50. The Berkeley Progressive Alliance donated $250 to Armstrong-Temple, although she also paid the group $250 for some campaign materials, according to records. Sheila Jordan, the former superintendent of Alameda County schools donated $100. Fred Dodsworth, who is running for the District 6 City Council seat, gave $200. Katherine Harr, a Rent Board Stabilization commissioner, donated $60.
Though many Americans believe otherwise, political scientists have found little evidence that campaign contributions from interest groups and individual donors have a significant effect on how candidates vote on legislation.
Armstrong-Temple champions her progressive credentials. Police accountability is one of her biggest issues, and she says that the Berkeley Police Departments’s militarization is a serious concern. She says that if 35% of the calls the department responds to are indeed for mental health crises, as has been reported, the department’s budget could better be spent on social workers, emergency shelters, and comprehensive mental-health services. And she says she wants to defund “overpaid police positions” and use the cash to run community programs that are “proven to reduce crime.”
“I don’t think our dollars match our values and they need to,” Armstrong-Temple said at a candidate’s forum in September. “We are spending more on policing than almost anybody else. They are the police. They show up with guns. That’s what they do…. We live in a time of terror.”
Housing an issue for all three candidates
As with many of the other races in this election, the three candidates said that housing was among the most serious issues the city faces.
Davila says that one of the ways to address the issue is to adjust the requirements for affordable housing, bumping it to 35% or more for new projects. (Berkeley has just started requiring developers to make 20% of their market-rate units affordable, up from 10%.) She also believes the city should work to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state law that, among other things, exempts structures built after 1995 from rent control.
Davila also wants Berkeley to require developers to cap the rent of the below market rate units they construct in their new buildings at 35% of household incomes (although she didn’t specify which incomes). Davila said that the rental rate for a below-market-rate apartment at the recently opened Acton Courtyard was $1,933 for a 340-square foot apartment. That rent is still too high for most Berkeley residents, she said.
Armstrong-Temple also says that she will push for developments with a 35% to 50% affordable housing component. And she would push for a declaration of a housing emergency in the city that would allow the council to use “certain properties” as emergency shelters, and allow funding to be re-directed. If developers came to the city with plans for a structure with more than 35% of the units affordable, Armstrong-Temple said she would favor putting the building on the fast-track.
To deal with the housing crisis, Moore says that he wants to build up the city’s Housing Trust Fund for Workforce and Affordable housing. At a candidate forum in September, he championed increased density along transit corridors, such as Shattuck, Telegraph and University Avenues, and advocated for development at the North Berkeley BART station which currently has a large parking lot. Moore also says that he helped put Measure U1, a business tax on rental units, on the ballot to help bolster the city’s Housing Trust Fund. If it passes, Measure U1 should contribute $3.5 million a year in the Housing Trust Fund. Many landlords are opposed to U1 and have put a competing measure, Measure DD on the ballot.
But policy positions often take a back seat to endorsements when voters pull the proverbial lever on election day, according to Jason McDaniel, a political science professor at San Francisco State University. McDaniel says that voters are more inclined to select candidates based on some perceived social grouping of their personal narrative. A candidate that rents, theoretically, would be more likely to have a tenant-friendly agenda, than a homeowner.
Incumbent Moore has picked up numerous endorsements from current and past political leaders in Alameda County. In addition to having the support of the majority of the current City Council (Mayor Tom Bates and members Linda Maio, Lori Droste, Laurie Capitelli and Susan Wengraf), he has the support of State Senator Loni Hancock; former Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, former City Councilman Gordon Wozniak; the entire BUSD board; the police and firefighters associations, SEIU Local 2021, and the Berkeley Democratic Club.
Davila has garnered endorsements from Max Anderson and former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport as well as Mansour Id-Deen, the head of the Berkeley NAACP; Barbara Lubin, a former BUSD school board member; Andrea Pritchett; Patrick Sheahan, a former Planning Commissioner; and Dan McMullan, who sits on the Human Welfare Community Action Commission. The Alameda County Green Party has also signaled its support for Davila, according to her campaign website.
Gus Newport, Katherine Harr, and Max Anderson have also endorsed Armstrong-Temple. Sheahan; John Selawsky, who sits on the rent board; Sharon Maldonado and Pamela Webster, two former Rent Board commissioners, have also endorsed Armstrong-Temple. So have the actor Danny Glover and the Berkeley-based comedian W. Kamau Bell; The Berkeley Progressive Alliance and the Berkeley Tenants Union are also endorsers.
- Election 2016 Berkeley: Spotlight on District 2
- Election 2016: Who is Cheryl Davila?
- Election 2016: Who is Nanci Armstrong-Temple?
- Election 2016: Who is Darryl Moore?
- Compare all three candidate responses in a grid (PDF)
- Housing views show split in South, West Berkeley races
- Berkeley candidates outline their positions on the arts
- Berkeley candidates share their vision for downtown
- Websites: Davila || Armstrong-Temple || Moore
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