Name: Ces Rosales, tech support administrator and graphic/web designer (District 7)
What is the main reason you are running? I believe I can best represent the residents of District 7 — longtime residents (homeowners, tenants, renters), small business owners and students. I’ve lived in Berkeley (D7) for over 18 years, co-creator of a co-housing community, an innovative approach to homeownership, built on our ability to compromise and arrive at solutions. My experience as a small business owner for over 20 years puts me in a unique position to advocate for small businesses and merchants on Telegraph Avenue. I was a university student when I became a radical activist and, to this day, I continue to stand up for equality and social justice.
Why are you qualified? I am qualified because, as a more than 18-year resident of Berkeley, I am in tune with the needs of my community. I have organized my block’s National Night Out party for the last six years. I know what the basic concerns of my neighbors are. While we speak of safety issues — we know that safety issues are not just a student issue — it impacts everybody and it helps everybody when people feel safe. The concern about our infrastructure needs — especially our roadways — is high on the list, including bicyclists who need a smooth surface for a safe ride. As a commissioner on the Health Commission, I have been advocating for health equity so health outcomes across the city are more equitable. I was a small business owner for over 20 years: I know what it takes to create jobs, meet payroll and provide services.
What sets you apart from other candidates? I am a longtime community organizer and fighter for social justice; I am a lesbian and an immigrant. I am the Northern CA Vice Chair of the CDP Women’s Caucus and a delegate to the Democratic State Central Committee; I am on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus, the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club and the East Bay Women’s Political Alliance; I organized the East Bay No on Prop 8 campaign (the proposition that outlawed same-sex marriage) before anyone realized what it was about: I have organized two fundraisers for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and raised over $100,000 for her campaigns; I was on the board of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and as the nominations chair, I helped create the most diverse board of any LGBT organizations in the entire country; In Berkeley, I was on the Steering Committee of Queerly Berkeley, organizer of the National Night Out block party for six years and co-chair of the LeConte Elementary School Mural Arts Project. In short – I am outlining some of my activities because I want to show that I can work with people in all different levels of goals and missions.
How and when did you end up in Berkeley? In 1999 my wife and our friends created a co-housing community and found the ideal location here in Berkeley, District 7.
What are the three biggest challenges for Berkeley in the next five years? Housing affordability, infrastructure maintenance and Alta Bates
What are your ideas to begin to solve them? Home affordability: I understand the law of supply and demand – the demand for housing outstrips our available supply and therefore everything about housing is very expensive in Berkeley. Therefore, the need to increase our housing supply is a must. Measure O – to raise $135M for affordable housing is a start. We know that is not good enough but we have to start somewhere; I still think making corporations pay their fair share is a better way to get more funding.
Infrastructure maintenance – The City needs to implement the Capital Improvement Plan report as presented by the City’s Budget and Fiscal Management. It states that “The City’s ability to fund its CIP is limited to total available resources that are competing with other community priorities. However, years of limited funding and deferred maintenance have resulted in an aging City infrastructure that needs repair and improvement.” The report identified priorities and grouped them into broad categories. These include City facilities, sidewalks, information technology, streets, sanitary sewers, storm drains and other infrastructure needs. While talking about competing priorities, the CIP actually identified funding sources that have been earmarked for some of these projects. The City should implement these projects now.
Alta Bates Medical Center is Berkeley’s only acute care hospital and its closure by 2030 puts emergency care further away from everyone in Berkeley and even for those on the I-80 corridor. Its owner, Sutter Health is adamant to move the services it offers to Summit in Oakland. My solution – get our City’s Department of Health to step in and take over the hospital. The City funds our Health Department already and we can get more funding from Alameda County. Feasible, maybe? Can we do it? Maybe – but we will not know until we truly explore all the costs.
What is your most inspired/unique idea for Berkeley? Free wifi for all of Berkeley; rent control for small businesses and long-term tenants to acquire a small equity on the property after renting for 15 years; make our department of health take over Alta Bates.
How will you be accessible to constituents? Regular community meetings; email; phone calls; regular newsletters
Are you using public financing? Yes
How much money do you expect to spend on your campaign? $35,000
A final thought? I am running because I care about the community, which is impacted by the inequality that exists in our society. I want to help and effect change.