Alfred Twu — a Berkeley designer, UC Berkeley alum and environmental advocate — is running for Berkeley City Council’s District 8 seat, currently held by Councilmember Lori Droste.
Twu currently serves on Berkeley’s Zero Waste Commission and is the vice president of programming for the East Bay Young Democrats, or EBYD, according to Zac Goldstein, director of communications for EBYD.
According to Twu, they decided to campaign because they felt they could do a better job than the incumbent, Droste. Twu said they feel that though Droste has a history of voting in support of affordable housing, she has not done enough and needs to take a more active role in starting housing projects in her own district.
Twu’s platform prioritizes housing and environmental issues, as well as implementing socialism on a local level.
If elected, Twu said they plan to implement tenant protections, build more housing, guarantee lawyers for people in dispute with their landlords and legalize people living in cars. In addition to apartments, Twu said they want to encourage other forms of housing, such as boarding houses and co-ops. They also mentioned changing the location of housing projects from working-class neighborhoods to wealthier districts in order to decrease gentrification.
As a member of the Zero Waste Commission, Twu said their approach to environmental issues will involve less consumption and more reuse. Twu said that every year, college students move in and buy furniture from retailers such as IKEA, but much of that furniture ends up being thrown out after a year. They plan to encourage furniture rentals and buying used furniture to decrease waste and keep money in the city.
“Green tech such as electric vehicles is not enough,” Twu said in an email. “We also need to make do with less, with policies that promote a shift from buying stuff to reuse and sharing of things.”
In terms of Twu’s goals for local level socialism, Twu said the city needs public programs to offer basic needs such as food, housing and water. These programs would include “single payer food, social housing and public bathhouses,” according to Twu.
Twu said they started campaigning in December 2017 because they wanted to give themselves time to meet with neighborhood associations, political clubs and organizations for various political issues. Twu added that they started campaigning early in order to raise public funds, which tend to be a large number of small donations rather than a few large ones.
“It’s inspiring to see young progressives put their names on the ballot for public office,” Goldstein said. “And I think (Twu’s) platform of affordable housing, clean stable environment and local socialist policies are what the city of Berkeley and the East Bay needs, and I wish (Twu) the best of success.”
The election for Berkeley offices, including the District 8 seat, will be held Nov. 6.