Election 2020: Rent board candidates answer Berkeleyside questions

Meet the 12 Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board candidates in Berkeley’s November 2020 election.

Twelve people are running for Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board on Nov. 3. Top row from left: Bahman Ahmadi, Bianca Zahrai, Soulmaz Panahi, Leah Simon-Weisberg, Wendy Saenz Hood Neufeld and Carole Marasovic; bottom row from left, Mari Mendonca, Pawel Moldenhawer, Dan McDunn, Andy Kelley, Dominique Walker and Xavier Johnson. Photos: Courtesy

Berkeleyside wants to help you get to know your 2020 candidates for Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, School Board, mayor and City Council. Today’s focus is the rent board.

We asked candidates why they were running, what sets them apart, what they see as the city’s biggest challenges and how they might work to solve them. Learn what each candidate thinks is his or her 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.

Twelve people are running for five available Rent Stabilization Board seats, including incumbents Leah Simon-Weisberg, an attorney, and Mari Mendonca, who have served on the board since 2016 and 2019, respectively. The challengers are Bahman Ahmadi, retired engineer; Bianca Zahrai, attorney; Soulmaz Panahi, real estate agent; Wendy Saenz Hood Neufeld, retired media coordinator; Carole Marasovic, homeless commissioner/attorney; Pawel Moldenhawer, green building contractor; Dan McDunn, home builder; Andy Kelley, Alameda County planning commissioner; Dominique Walker, community field organizer; and Xavier Johnson, tenants’ rights advocate.

There are two slates, which call themselves Right to Housing and Homeowners for the Rent Board. The “Right to Housing” slate is comprised of Simon-Weisberg, Mendonca, Kelley, Walker and Johnson. “Homeowners for the Rent Board” is comprised of Ahmadi, Panahi, McDunn, Neufeld and Moldenhawer. Two other candidates — Zahrai and Marasovic — are not part of either slate. Click the following links to read our questionnaires with the rent board candidates.


Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board candidate Q&As

Hungry for more? Watch the candidates for District 3 in a recent forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville.

In the coming weeks, we’ll have more stories on the key Berkeley races and ballot initiatives to help readers make informed decisions about the potential leaders and policies that could help shape Berkeley’s future.

The deadline to register to vote online or by mail in Alameda County is Oct. 19, and the election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Other Berkeley election 2020 resources

See complete 2020 election coverage on Berkeleyside. Read all the 2020 candidate statements for Berkeley.