Chair of the Berkeley personnel board Al Murray filed to enter the Berkeley City Council race for the District 3 seat June 13.
Murray, who is a retired worker for the state of California, has sat on various commissions including the energy commission and the commission on disabilities. Incumbent District 3 Councilmember Max Anderson will not be running for re-election, ending his time on the City Council after serving for 12 years.
Murray’s platforms revolve around three main goals, including creating more affordable housing, making neighborhoods safer and hiring a responsible city staff.
“I’ve got to win the hearts and minds of citizens of District 3,” Murray said. “I’m retired, so I have nothing but time to dedicate to the City Council and to the citizens of District 3.”
As an energy commissioner, Murray oversaw the project to upgrade all 8,000 streetlights in the city to energy efficient LED lighting. On the disabilities commission, Murray has advocated for senior citizens and those with disabilities to provide them with more access to resources and opportunities for inclusion.
Murray said his time working on these commissions will allow him to identify key issues that residents of Berkeley face and help resolve them.
“When you’re on various commissions of the city — particularly the ones I’m on — you can put your pulse on what is going on and what is needed,” Murray said.
The other candidates running for the District 3 seat include Mark Coplan, Deborah Matthews and Benjamin Bartlett.
Coplan said that while he does not possess the typical experience that several of his fellow candidates have gained as commission members, he believes his time as a public information officer for the Berkeley Unified School District has proved his capacity to communicate and negotiate with the same citizens he has worked with over the last 14 years.
“I plan to win this race on the basis of my public service and my ability to continue in that role,” Coplan said.
Bartlett, an environmental lawyer who has served on both the transportation and zero waste commissions, said that if he is elected, he intends to introduce an anti-displacement measure — which he calls a “home space initiative” — that would rapidly create affordable housing and prevent displacement.
“Everyone deserves to live in Berkeley, especially if they’re from here,” said Bartlett. “District 3 has not been receiving its fair share of resources.”
He added that he is aware of Murray’s candidacy but not familiar with his platforms.
“He’s a nice guy,” Bartlett said. “I’m sure he brings some great experiences to share.”
District 3 stretches from Sacramento Street to Ellsworth Street, encompassing the middle section of the city’s southern region.
The deadline to file nomination documents for a City Council seat is Aug. 12.