Rent Board Commissioner Alejandro Soto-Vigil announces plan to run for District 1 council seat

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On Thursday, Rent Board Commissioner Alejandro Soto-Vigil announced his plan to run for a City Council seat in District 1 — which is currently held by Linda Maio — in November’s election to bring a more progressive voice to the council.

Soto-Vigil, who graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004, hopes to enter the scene as a fresh face and represent the city’s younger demographic. At 35 years old, he would be a representative of the 30-to-40 demographic in the council. Jesse Arreguin, who is 29, is currently the council’s youngest member.

Maio has been a member of the City Council since 1992. She could not be reached for comment on whether she will be running for re-election this fall.

“There’s nobody in (the council) in their thirties to forties that are currently raising their kids in Berkeley,” said Soto-Vigil, who has two children. “That reflects in the way no real policy has been directed toward parenting.”

One of the first candidates to announce his intentions, Soto-Vigil has yet to file candidacy, as the filing period begins July 14 and ends Aug. 8. The City Council election will be held Nov. 4.

If elected, Soto-Vigil would be joining the council’s more progressive minority, which currently includes Arreguin and Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Max Anderson.

A member of the Housing Advisory Commission, he hopes to help make housing more affordable by advocating the development of new units, soft-story buildings and taxation reform.

Earlier this year, he campaigned for the addition of a ballot measure that would have increased taxes on landlords who make excessive profits and allocated the revenue to a fund the construction of affordable units.

Soto-Vigil plans to increase opportunities for students to work directly with the city through internships and other programs.

“(I am running) to not only articulate but advocate and find policies that are the best practices for college towns around the country that are utilizing the talent in their university to help out their college town or city,” he said.

Soto-Vigil has been involved in the city’s attempt to create a student-majority district for this fall. In December 2013, the city passed a map that did not include several Northside student residents, sparking protests from community members including Soto-Vigil. In response, he participated in a movement that successfully suspended the map’s execution.

Due to the suspension, the city filed a lawsuit to have the map implemented this fall. Soto-Vigil supported the minority vote against the lawsuit in the decision, which ultimately inspired him to run for a council seat.

“(He has) always been on the forefront of struggles to ensure democratic processes,” said Anderson, who represents District 3.

Contact Heyun Jeong at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @heyunjeong.