With the closure of the candidate filing period for the city of Berkeley’s 2012 municipal election last Friday, a total of 26 candidates are now in the running for city positions in this November’s electoral race.
Of the 35 candidates who originally filed to run for a city position, 26 qualified for the ballot, with five running against incumbent Mayor Tom Bates, eight for Berkeley City Council seats, eight for four Rent Stabilization Board positions and four running for two Berkeley Unified School District School Board director seats.
“Sixteen candidates came in Friday,” said acting City Clerk Mark Numainville. “It’s always our busiest day of the year.”
Ten-year incumbent Bates will run for a fourth term as mayor, with goals of establishing Berkeley as a leader in addressing global warming and expanding work and housing opportunities in the city. Bates said he will also work to bridge academic achievement gaps in local schools, improve city services such as transportation options and revitalize the city’s Downtown area through the 2012 Downtown Area Plan.
However, Bates’ long tenure has led some candidates to call for a change in leadership.
Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, Jacquelyn McCormick and Councilmember Kriss Worthington — who all qualified as mayoral candidates — have announced that they will be endorsing each other in what Jacobs-Fantauzzi called a “Berkeley progressive alliance.”
“What we’re doing is working to ensure that Tom Bates does not get re-elected,” McCormick said. “We think that he’s had enough time, we think that some of the issues that are really plaguing Berkeley have not been addressed and we think it’s time for new leadership.”
Worthington will be running with emphasis on issues such as increased transparency within Berkeley City Hall and City Council, greater fiscal responsibility and a more equitable stance when dealing with development in the city.
Running as a “hip-hop mayor,” UC Berkeley alumnus Jacobs-Fantauzzi said he wants to develop community organizations and events for the city of Berkeley to be more involved in the arts and green innovation. Jacobs-Fantauzzi also ran for mayor against Bates in 2008.
The city’s budgetary concerns have drawn McCormick to run for mayor. Taking into consideration long-term financial issues, such as unfunded liabilities, McCormick has said she hopes to take a community-oriented perspective in order to address local needs and improve fiscal responsibility. McCormick was defeated by Councilmember Gordon Wozniak when she ran against him for council in 2010.
Local activist Zachary RunningWolf — who ran for mayor four years ago — supports environmental protection and equality in the Berkeley community, such as rights for the homeless, according to his campaign website. If elected, RunningWolf will move to revitalize the Telegraph area, promote use of bicycles and support the conversion of the several blocks near the UC Berkeley campus into an auto-free outdoor commons, according to his website.
Another mayoral candidate, Bernt Wahl — a UC Berkeley faculty member in the engineering department — ran for the council seat in District 4 against Councilmember Jesse Arreguin in 2010.
In order to qualify, candidates must pay a filing fee of $150 or offset the fee by collecting signatures, which can hold up to 150 Berkeley residents’ signatures.
Candidates must also complete a nomination petition with a minimum of 20 signatures to qualify for the ballot, according to the city clerk’s website.
According to Numainville, the five other mayoral candidates did not complete all the necessary paperwork to run for the position, thereby not qualifying for the race.
Berkeley resident Erik Clyman said although he did not gather 20 signatures from Berkeley voters, he hopes to still run for mayor through the write-in process, which will open on Sept. 10.
The city will use Alameda County’s ranked-choice voting system, which was first used in Berkeley in November 2010 and allows voters to rank up to three candidates in order of preference. A candidate will be elected if he or she receives a majority of first-choice votes.
This November will be the first time the city’s mayoral election uses this system.
Daphne Chen covers city government.
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