UC Berkeley alumnus Ben Gould is running for Berkeley City Council’s District 4 seat, against incumbent Councilmember Kate Harrison.
Born and raised in Berkeley, Gould has been involved in the Community Environmental Advisory Commission, Housing Advisory Commission, Police Review Commission and Zoning Adjustments Board. He has master’s degrees in public policy and environmental engineering and works as a sustainability analyst at the San Francisco International Airport.
Gould’s campaign centers around three platforms: ensuring public safety, fighting homelessness and making housing affordable.
“Ben combines the qualifications of a trained professional policy analyst with the perspective of somebody who understands that fairness means building a city that works for all ages and incomes,” said Adam Orford, a registered voter in District 4 who has endorsed Gould.
With crime rates in Berkeley rising, Gould said he can help improve Berkeley Police Department by giving it “the power to work with the community to address these issues we see while still protecting our values.”
As for the issue of homelessness, Gould hopes to provide affordable permanent housing for homeless people in Berkeley, not just encampments.
“Right now, there’s no plan beyond the navigation center on Second Street,” Gould said. “We need housing for homeless, and we need it now.”
Councilmember Lori Droste, who endorsed Gould, said she believes he would be particularly effective in improving the affordability of housing in Berkeley because of his background in public policy and his understanding of land usage.
Gould also said that thanks to his time on the Housing Advisory Commission and Zoning Adjustments Board, he has experience with Berkeley’s housing issues and has already worked on ways to solve these problems.
This is Gould’s second time running for City Council District 4 against Harrison, as he ran last year but lost.
“I’m running for City Council because I believe in the future of our community, and I don’t believe the incumbent for my district, District 4, has done enough,” Gould said. “And I’m running again because I hope the voters will give me a second chance.”
Harrison declined to comment.
At UC Berkeley, Gould represented graduate students by serving as a delegate on what was then the Graduate Assembly. He also served as the chair of The Green Initiative Fund and as a board member of the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund to review grant proposals for bettering the campus and increasing its sustainability.
Gould also served as chair of the Community Environmental Advisory Commission for two years. He said he has dealt with issues such as lead paint hazards, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
Gould has also been endorsed by Councilmember Susan Wengraf, as well as incoming ASUC Senator Amma Sarkodee-Adoo.
“He’s just tremendous, and I can’t think of a better young voice to serve the vibrant Downtown,” Droste said.