Berkeley has the reputation of being the most progressive city in the US, but impressions are not always reality. Berkeley has particularly struggled with issues of homelessness and police militarization and brutality, which its City Council has not always been able to address adequately.
It’s a new election and a chance to install a fully progressive City Council. Here are the best progressive choices.
City Council District #1: 1) Igor Tregub, 2) Margo Shueler, 3) Mary Behm-Steinberg
There are three progressives running on this race. They all support rent control, holding the police accountable and ending police militarization, humane solutions to homelessness and smart growth. I am ranking them in terms of their preparation for this office.
Igor Tregub is an engineer and long time community activist, currently in the Berkeley Rent Board. I’ve known him for many years, as he is also a member of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. He is a strong progressive, with the right values, who is committed to making Berkeley a better city. He can be a little timid at times, but will vote the right way. He has the #1 endorsement from Our Revolution East Bay.
Margo Schueler has impressed me with her “can do” attitude, her willingness to take on sexist establishments and her straightforwardness. However, her expertise seem more limited than Igor’s so I’m recommending her as a #2 choice, as has Our Revolution East Bay.
Mary Behm-Steinberg seems to mostly be a protest candidate, aiming to bring attention to disability issues. She has overall progressive values, so I’m recommending her as number 3.
Rashi Kesarwani, the fourth candidate, is your run-of-the-mill elitist candidate, running to make it easier for developers to build luxury housing and to keep the status quo.
Igor's Life Partner, Maritessa, on Why She Supports Igor for Berkeley City Council
My amazing partner Maritessa has been with me through every step of this journey – from the moment I announced my candidacy, to attending community meetings and house parties, to knocking on doors to listen to the concerns of our neighbors. We care so deeply about this district. This is our home. This is where we will start a family. There is no one else I trust to tell my story than her. This election, I ask you to vote Igor #1 for Berkeley City Council District 1.
Posted by Igor Tregub for Berkeley City Council, District 1 on Tuesday, October 9, 2018
City Council District #4: Kate Harrison
Incumbent Kate Harrison is the epitome of a progressive politician, the sort we wish we could clone and put one of in every city council. She is firm in her convictions that a city must be run for its citizens, she supports human rights and social/racial/gender/environmental justice. She is well informed and has clear and intelligent solutions to the problems facing Berkeley. She is not easily intimidated and is not afraid to stand up to the Berkeley police. And she is a pleasant human being, without an ego and the ability to get along with everyone. She was endorsed by Our Revolution East Bay.
Her opponents are two pro-development guys in vanity campaigns. Neither is worth a second choice vote.
City Council District #7: 1) Rigel Robinson, 2) Aidan Hill
City Council District 7 was created as a student district – with the express purpose of having student representation in the Berkeley City Council. The current officeholder, Kriss Worthington. promised he’d step aside when a suitable student would step up to run for this seat. Rigel Robinson, who graduated last spring from Cal, took that challenge. Rigel is an extremely mature, intelligent and well spoken young man. At Cal, he participated in student government and was a leader in the campus campaign for Bernie Sanders. He has strong progressive values, including opposing the militarization of Berkeley police. He is overall very impressive and will add a needed young voice to the Council. Rigel has been endorsed by Our Revolution East Bay.
Aidan Hill, our second choice, is currently a student at UC Berkeley. A young gender non-binary person of color, he has struggled with discrimination and homelessness and is running to bring attention to those issues as well as push for an overall progressive agenda (one that seems less local than Rigel’s).
The last candidate in the race, Ces Rosales, is an older woman who seeks to represent the interests of the non-student residents and small businesses in the district. She’s ran for City Council before and while she supported the creation of a student district, she harbors a lot of resentment to supports of Bernie Sanders. She is also a supporter of police militarization. We cannot recommend her.
City Council District #8: 1) Alfred Twu, 2-3) TBD
Alfred Twu is an artist and designer, with brilliant innovative ideas on how to solve the housing crisis. They are a passionate progressive, a volunteer for Bernie Sanders and many other progressive candidates and a key member of the progressive movement. They are intelligent, capable, willing to stand up for what they believe and would be an amazing addition to the Berkeley City Council. They have been endorsed by Our Revolution East Bay.
We are still awaiting more information on the other two challenger before making our second and third choices. Incumbent Lori Droste, however, clearly does not represent Progressive values. She has voted in favor of police militarization and is lukewarm on rent control.
School Board (vote for 3): TBD
We are still working out this race. Please leave us your comments below.
Rent Stabilization Board (vote for 5): Soli Alpert, James Chang, Paola LaVerde, Maria Poblet, John T. Selawsky
The pro-rent control slate is running against a few anti-rent control challengers. Obviously, we want the progressives to win.
Auditor: Jenny Wong
Jenny Wong is a professional auditor who is running to take the place of the present one, who is retiring. She has the support of basically everyone in Berkeley City government for what should not be a political position. Her opponent seems both unqualified and unable to do the job – he would not even answer my questions. She was endorsed by Our Revolution East Bay.
Measure O: Yes
This is a $135 bond measure to fund affordable housing.
Measure P: Yes
This would race the property transfer tax from 1.5% to 2.5% for properties that sell for over $1.5 million, with the proceeds going to to help homeless people. It’s exactly the type of common-sense progressive taxation that we should get behind.
Measure Q: No
This measure was put in the ballot through the pressure of landlords who are afraid that if Prop 10 passes and Costa Hawkins is repealed, their units will fall under rent control. It exempts accessory dwelling units from both rent control and just cause – allowing landlords to not only raise the rent as high as they want, but evict tenants for any reason.
Measure R: Yes
This measure advises the Mayor in the development of a 30-year infrastructure plan for Berkeley. The Mayor supports it.