Vice mayor and 22-year incumbent Linda Maio was re-elected to City Council to represent District 1, defending her seat against challengers Alejandro Soto-Vigil, a rent board commissioner, and Merrilie Mitchell, an activist and gardener.
Maio garnered approximately 56 percent of the votes with about 83 percent of precincts reporting as of press time. Soto-Vigil took about 39 percent of the vote, and Mitchell took 4.7 percent.
“The voters in Berkeley have been absolutely fabulous,” Maio said. “I’m very proud of them.”
District 1 encompasses the area in West Berkeley from Martin Luther King Jr. Way to the waterfront, extending north just past Gilman Street and bounded in the south by University Avenue. The area is home to Pacific Steel Casting Company and Berkeley Asphalt, the latter of which has been the source of noise and odor complaints over the years.
Maio, who was endorsed by the Sierra Club, points to her environmental efforts as her greatest accomplishments on council. Maio’s office recently negotiated changes expected to reduce in odor emissions from Berkeley Asphalt by 30 to 50 percent in response to resident complaints.
In addition to her re-election to the District 1 council seat, Maio was pleased with the passage of Measure D, which was a “soda tax,” and Measure P, a tax to support parks.
“Tonight exceeded my wildest imaginations of what we could accomplish here,” Maio said.
With her renewed term on City Council, Maio plans to ensure “excellent implementation” of Measure D, pursue mental health reform and continue current efforts to prevent the shipments of crude oil from passing through Bay Area cities, including Berkeley, due to the risk of oil spills in residential areas.
Maio has served on council since 1992, longer than any other current council member. She is included in the “council majority” comprising Mayor Tom Bates and Councilmembers Darryl Moore, Laurie Capitelli, Gordon Wozniak and Susan Wengraf, who all endorsed Maio’s campaign.
Soto-Vigil and Mitchell had hoped to bring more progressive voices to the council, and both have a history of disputing the current council’s rulings. Both have been critical of the mayor and those who frequently concur with him, as well as the council’s current direction.
“I may have lost the electoral race,” Soto-Vigil said, “but District 1 lost in leadership.”
Soto-Vigil, 35, said he would have represented a new demographic on the council, whose current members either have adult children or no children. He has worked as a legislative aide for City Council and has served on several public entities.
Soto-Vigil said he will continue in his position as a rent board commissioner and will be able to spend more time with his children. Through his campaign, he was able to discover the diversity of issues among his constituents and has now set a goal to work on those issues, he said.
Mitchell, a longtime community advocate, also ran for the District 1 seat in 2010 and 2006, receiving about 8 percent and 23 percent of the vote, respectively. She could not be reached for comment.
Maio raised $21,109 in monetary contributions, and Soto-Vigil raised $11,515, according to the most recent campaign contribution disclosure documents. Mitchell is not obligated to report her contributions because she raised less than $1,000.
The next time Maio’s seat will be up for re-election will be in 2018.