Pro-tenant rent board slate chosen at Tenant Convention

Michael Ball/Staff
Igor Tregub, one of the four candidates chosen to run for the four city Rent Stabilization Board commissioner positions up for election this year, speaks during the 2012 Berkeley Tenants Convention on Sunday.

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Berkeley residents gathered Sunday to elect a progressive pro-tenant rent board slate to run in the November local election.

More than 100 people came to the Berkeley Tenant Convention, where ultimately four candidates — incumbents Asa Dodsworth, Igor Tregub, Judy Shelton and UC Berkeley graduate Alejandro Soto-Vigil — were chosen to run for the four city Rent Stabilization Board commissioner positions up for election this year.

A total of seven candidates ran for the slate, including campus graduate John Nguyen, Mills College graduate student Audra Caravas and City Planning Commissioner Patti Dacey.

Convention attendees discussed issues that will be part of the slate’s platform, such as seismic safety, fire prevention and affordable housing for tenants.
Members of the slate also spoke about how they would help students in the community.

Campus alumnus Tregub said as a board commissioner, he would continue to work to protect tenants by ensuring seismically safe and fire-preventive infrastructure in the Berkeley community.

Dodsworth said he plans to encourage more outreach to students through Facebook to make them aware of their rights as tenants in cases like the withholding of security deposits by landlords of soft-story buildings.

Tregub also said that he would work to make it mandatory for landlords to give voter registration forms to their tenants, granting many of Berkeley’s student residents the ability to have a voice in local politics.

“I would like to make it mandatory to provide a voter registration form to a tenant,” Tregub said. “This would increase local power in Berkeley and make it easier for new Berkeley residents and the student community, who moves around quite a bit, to continue to have a voice.”

Soto-Vigil said he will add diversity to the Board and remain dedicated to Berkeley tenant protection and needs if elected.

“I think the reason I worked intensely with (Councilmember) Kriss Worthington for three and a half years was because he was always involved with protecting tenants,” Soto-Vigil said. “I was passionate about it in law school with the work I was doing in (Washington D.C.) … If someone needs help moving, I will wake up and do it.”

Many Berkeley residents also came to the convention to support a particular candidate and posed questions to each candidate to hear what the candidate had to say before voting for the board commissioners.

Cal Democrats president and Berkeley resident Daniel Tuchler attended the convention and said going to such events was a good way for students to gain experience in local politics. Tuchler also said an issue that concerned him as a student resident and Cal Democrats member was fire safety.

“The fire on Dwight (Way) affected two of our members,” Tuchler said. “There were no smoke detectors, no alarms. There could have been more prevention.”