Bernt Wahl, Stephen Fligo to run for Berkeley mayor

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Two members of the Berkeley community, Bernt Wahl and Stephen Fligo, have thrown their hats into the ring to fill the city’s vacant mayoral seat.

Wahl, a former UC Berkeley faculty member, said he was running as an independent. He added that his background in engineering and mathematics could potentially help him address some of Berkeley’s key problems.

“Most of the candidates don’t have the logic to solve problems — they solve problems based on what feels good and what the constituents want,” Wahl said. “As an engineer, I make decisions based on logic.”

Wahl’s central platforms include addressing the city’s economic inefficiencies to ensure that businesses and companies remain in the city, as well as creating affordable housing for the lower and middle classes. More generally, Wahl said he hopes to get the community more involved in public decisions.

“The poor mom and pops are the ones who are being penalized, because they have no power,” Wahl said. “I can understand economics really well, (and) I want to solve the problems.”  

The mayoral seat will be left vacant after sitting Mayor Tom Bates, who decided not to run for re-election, leaves office. Wahl and Fligo will vie for the seat along with current City Councilmembers Laurie Capitelli, Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguin, campus graduate student Ben Gould and community members Guy “Mike” Lee, Zachary RunningWolf and Naomi Pete.

According to Worthington, while previous government experience is not a requirement to be a successful candidate for mayor, understanding how the process works is important. Worthington added, however, that despite other candidates relative lack of government experience, their expertise in other fields could help them succeed in government roles.

“I think a diversity of opinions is a great thing,” Worthington said. “But many different candidates have lots of different ideas, and I think that is a very positive thing.”

This year’s elections will take place Nov. 8. Stephen Fligo could not be reached for comment.

Contact Cassie Ippaso at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @cassippaso.