Berkeley native Denisha DeLane is determined to improve her community through her campaign to run for Berkeley City Council in District 2.
DeLane filed a petition with 150 signatures with the city clerk’s office Tuesday in lieu of filing fees in preparation for her upcoming campaign for the November election.
DeLane said she sees the current climate in Berkeley as the perfect time to launch her campaign.
“I’ve always put it off, but in the last few weeks folks have reminded me of my commitment,” DeLane said. “It’s the right time, I’m back in Berkeley, and there’s this really good feeling of community.”
DeLane said she was inspired by the recent surge of “nontraditional voters” taking an interest in public policy in Berkeley. The increase in participation encourages her and makes her remember that the people need someone in government to be their voice.
“They need someone to carry their water,” DeLane said. “It is the role of the government to serve from the bottom up.”
DeLane believes it is her strength in working with people that will make her a successful council member. She said her experience on the city’s Telecommunications Commission, time spent as a legislative assistant to Councilmember Margaret Breland from 2001 to 2003 and her participation in the Community Advisory Board for the Young Adult Program of the NAACP contribute to a “melting pot of homegrown community service and well rounded professional background” that she sees as her best asset.
“Denisha DeLane is authentic, and she is going to put the people first,” said Scott Blake, who has worked with DeLane at the Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland and in the nonprofit sector for several years. “She’s going to advocate on behalf of the community, and put the community above all else.”
With a host of local issues to choose from, DeLane said she has identified several key parts of the Berkeley community that she would like to focus her campaign on. These issues include safety and crime, the protection and accessibility of aquatic parks, an increase in recreational activities for youth, environmentalism and more job creation.
“I really see job training, job development and re-entry into the workforce as the most important improvement to West Berkeley,” DeLane said.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, DeLane spoke during the public hearing for the third phase of the West Berkeley Project — a controversial long-term plan that aims to expand the area’s retail and multi-use space — and raised concerns over the lack of community benefits and sufficient information for residents through the planning process for the project.
“I’m hoping that we can can … protect the wishes of the community so that we can all walk this road together, and find some real compromise so that everybody can really celebrate it together,” she said at the meeting.
DeLane is now the third candidate running for the District 2 position, in addition to incumbent Councilmember Darryl Moore and Berkeley resident Adolfo Cabral.
“I think it’s a good thing (to have more candidates). It’s a democracy, isn’t it?” Cabral said. “The greater variety of opinions and points of view, the better-informed decisions voters can make.”