Here’s a crash course on the City Council’s November elections

elections_janflatley-feldman_file
Jan Flatley-Feldman/File

This year’s elections will take place Nov. 6. While a number of statewide positions are up for grabs — including governor — there are also a lot of county and some city positions being voted on this election. Half of the City Council could see a change come November, and there are 14 people in total running for the four district seats.

Districts 1, 4, 7 and 8 could all see power changes. With some incumbents, UC Berkeley alumni and other city officials in the running, this election can be difficult to follow, so here’s a rundown for those who haven’t been in Berkeley this summer. Don’t forget to check The Daily Californian’s previous election coverage on our website’s Election 2018 tag!

District 1

Mary Behm-Steinberg, a Berkeley-based activist and artist, is running on platforms of affordable housing, changing political culture, homelessness and environmentalism. According to a previous Daily Cal article, she plans to “make one solution help a whole number of different problems” when it comes to these topics, and she noted that her experience dealing with her own disabilities has led her to find solutions like this in the past. 

Margo Schueler has been endorsed by District 1 Councilmember Linda Maio who announced in early March that she would not be running for re-election, former state senator Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, and Berkeley Unified School District board member Beatriz Leyva-Cutler. On top of this, she plans to seek the endorsements of District 1 residents, since they are who she will be representing if elected. She is running on platforms focused on improving Berkeley’s infrastructure, notably planning to look at how environmentally conscious infrastructure can aid in addressing Berkeley’s housing and homelessness crises.

Rashi Kesarwani is running on platforms to advocate for affordable housing, find long-term solutions to homelessness, ensure Berkeley’s prioritization of public safety, address the need for lasting investments in infrastructure and preserve parks and open spaces. She is currently a finance manager for the San Francisco Human Services Agency, though she has worked on the City of Berkeley’s Housing Advisory Commission and the Community Health Commission. Kersarwani has been notably endorsed by California state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, former Berkeley City Councilmembers Darryl Moore and Laurie Capitelli and current Councilmembers Lori Droste and Susan Wengraf.

Igor Tregub is currently the chair of Berkeley’s Housing Advisory Commission, chair of the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board and a member of the city’s Rent Stabilization Board. He is running on a platform focused on housing, sustainability, infrastructure and the reduction of crime rates. Some who worked with Tregub in the past highlighted his passion for housing, environmental and transit issues. He has been endorsed by President Pro Tem of the California State Senate Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, and Berkeley City Councilmembers Ben Bartlett, Sophie Hahn and Kate Harrison.

District 4

Ben Gould, a UC Berkeley alumnus with a master’s degree in both public policy and environmental engineering, has centered his campaign around three main platforms: ensuring public safety, fighting homelessness and making housing affordable. He was born and raised in Berkeley and has been involved in numerous Berkeley city commissions, including the Housing Advisory Commission and Police Review Commission. Gould has received endorsements from current Berkeley City Councilmember Wengraf, former Berkeley City Councilmembers Moore and Capitelli and Emeryville Mayor John Bauters.

Kate Harrison is currently District 4’s incumbent, and was sworn in March 2017 after a special election to determine who would take over the seat after Mayor Arreguín vacated it. She has worked on multiple issues, including affordable housing, homelessness, environmental issues and police reform. She added that she is running for re-election to continue her work on these issues. Harrison has also secured endorsements from Arreguín, the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Area Chapter and current Berkeley City Councilmembers Bartlett, Hahn and Cheryl Davila.

Greg Magofña is running on platforms to address what he said are the “two biggest crises” in Berkeley — the housing shortage and climate crisis. Magofña currently works as the interim nutrition manager at the J-Sei senior center and is a co-founder of the housing advocacy group East Bay for Everyone. Magofña has been endorsed by former Berkeley mayor Tom Bates, current Berkeley City Councilmember Droste, former Berkeley City Councilmember Moore, Graduate Assembly President Jonathan Morris and former Berkeley economic development manager Michael Caplan.

District 7

Aidan Hill transferred to UC Berkeley in 2016 as a junior, but took the 2017-18 school year off for personal reasons. Hill’s platforms focus on three main themes, which are “Housing as a Human Right,” “Food Security for All” and “Sanctuary City 2.0” — all of which they said were influenced by their identity as a nonbinary, formerly homeless, first-generation student of color. They are campaigning to be the first legally nonbinary public office holder and have been endorsed by the People’s Park Committee and 2012 Green Party vice-presidential nominee Cheri Honkala.

Rigel Robinson, a UC Berkeley alumnus and former ASUC external affairs vice president, is running on platforms including advocating for affordable housing, representing students in city government and increasing resident safety. He has been endorsed by current District 7 Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, along with Mayor Arreguín, current Berkeley City Councilmembers Bartlett and Droste, former state Assembly speaker John Pérez, El Cerrito Mayor Gabriel Quinto and East Bay Municipal Utilities District Director Andy Katz.

District 8

Lori Droste, the currently sitting District 8 council member, is running for re-election on platforms to advocate housing affordability, to ensure access to emergency care and to support commercial growth in Elmwood, which is in District 8. She has worked on these platforms during her time on the City Council and has authored legislation to streamline affordable housing creation as well as co-authored legislation to regulate short-term rentals such as Airbnb. She has been endorsed by California state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Berkeley City Councilmember Bartlett.

Mary Kay Lacey who has worked as a lawyer for over 28 years, is running on platforms such as standing against the closing of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, advocating police accountability and supporting more affordable housing that does not disrupt local communities. She also emphasized tenants’ and workers’ rights as a portion of her platform. Lacey has been endorsed by the California Nurses Association, the Berkeley Tenants Union and current Berkeley City Councilmembers Hahn and Harrison.

Russ Tilleman is an activist and former business owner, and holds an engineering degree from UC Berkeley. He is running on a platform that focuses on current proposed ballot measures, such as a city measure that would create an elected police accountability board to oversee the Berkeley Police Department and a city measure to make transit cars, which are small electric vehicles, available to rent at BART station parking lots. Tilleman was endorsed by the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Robert “Bobby” Seale.

Alfred Twu, a Berkeley-based designer, UC Berkeley alumnus and environmental advocate is running on a platform that prioritizes housing and environmental issues as well as implementing socialism on a local level. They currently serve on the city’s Zero Waste Commission and as the vice president of programming for the East Bay Young Democrats. Twu has been endorsed by Jovanka Beckles, a Richmond City Council member and Assembly District 15 candidate, as well as by certain members of the ASUC, including ASUC Housing Commission chair Helen Veazey.

Jessíca Jiménez is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and and follow her on Twitter at @jesscajimenez_dc.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that current District 1 Councilmember Linda Maio endorsed Mary Behm-Steinberg for her seat in the Nov. 6 election. In fact, Maio endorsed Margo Schueler for the seat, not Behm-Steinberg.