Councilmember Kriss Worthington files to run for mayor

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Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington filed to run for mayor last week.

In an email sent Friday morning, Worthington said he entered the mayoral race to ensure that “Berkeley does not need to drift further to the right” on the political spectrum. Worthington described himself as a champion of progressive policies and said he hopes to “keep it real” and “upset the insider elite’s resistance to practical change.”

Worthington said he plans on working to increase affordable housing for those in Berkeley who make 10 percent to 30 percent of the city’s median income. He added that it is a high priority for him to ensure that people who have a full time job in Berkeley can afford to live in the city.

As a City Council member, Worthington appointed a large number of racial minorities and students to serve in various commissions. He said he will continue to push for increased diversity in city government as mayor.

Worthington also said he plans on changing the format of the City Council meetings on Tuesday nights, which he described as a “circus.” He said he will give big issues that are expected to draw large crowds a special meeting all by themselves to ensure that meetings do not go too long and so staff does not have to sit through hours of unrelated issues.

Worthington has formed a coalition with fellow Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, who is also running for mayor, through the ranked choice voting system. In this system, the votes of the candidate who has the lowest percentage of first place votes has their votes transferred to those voters’ second choice, until a single candidate wins a majority of votes. Worthington has invited his constituents to vote for himself and Arreguin in the order they prefer.

Worthington has taken similar action in the past, including in 2012 when he ran for mayor in a partnership with Jacquelyn McCormick, who is currently Arreguin’s campaign organizer.

Worthington said, however, that his partnership with McCormick was an “informal alliance,” unlike this new coalition, wherein both council members are actively promoting each other.

The coalition came to light through a questionnaire at a meeting held by the Berkeley Progressive Alliance, Berkeley Citizens Action and Berkeley Tenants Union in May, during which Worthington said he was running for mayor in a political partnership with Arreguin.

Despite announcing his intent to run for mayor in May, Worthington said he did not officially file any paperwork because he was waiting for Arreguin to decide whether or not he thought it was a good idea for him to run.

The mayoral elections will take place Nov. 8, 2016.

Haruka Senju is an assistant news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @haruka_senju