Diverse. Community oriented. Awesome.
These words, according to District 2 City Council candidates Darryl Moore, Nanci Armstrong-Temple and Cheryl Davila, respectively, embody the culture and atmosphere of the district.
It’s home to an eclectic group of artisans and manufacturers, as well as retailers and residents, spanning from University Avenue to the border of Emeryville and Sacramento Street to the bay.
All three candidates have lived in the area for years and have garnered a deep respect for the community they are campaigning to represent. Likewise, each candidate comes from a different background and has their own solutions to resolving the trials and tribulations District 2 faces.
As an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz from 1981-84, incumbent Darryl Moore would often travel to Berkeley to spend the weekends with his aunt.
During this time in the 1980s, Berkeley had divested from South Africa in opposition to apartheid, banned styrofoam and begun to recognize domestic partnership for same sex couples.
Such progressive feats made Moore fall in love with Berkeley, prompting him to become involved with city politics as Councilmember Kriss Worthington’s legislative aide in 1997.
Since 2004, Moore has served as the District 2 City Council representative and was reelected in 2008 and 2012.
But even after 12 years in office, according to Moore, there is still more to be done.
Citing a “rash of shootings in and around the district,” Moore aims to get police out on the streets engaging with the community and promoting safety.
Likewise, he said he will push to build more housing in transit corridors, adding that he aims to work with nonprofit developers to build more below-market-rate housing — an area he is well-versed in.
While Moore works part-time as a City Council member, his full-time job is as a senior management analyst at the Oakland Housing Authority. Combined with this, Moore believes that his years of experience with housing and local government set him apart from his opponents.
“It’s my experience,” Moore said. “I think I bring some skill sets to working in housing and Section 8 here in Oakland that helps me inform my decisions in housing and housing policy in Berkeley.”
Nanci Armstrong-Temple and her neighbors are close.
They come to her door and ask for milk. She leaves her children with them in emergencies. They’ll stop each other on the street to say hello.
“It’s part of what I love about Berkeley,” Armstrong-Temple said. “The friendliness of people on their bicycles and how we try together to create a small town feeling in this place of 118,000 people.”
Armstrong-Temple moved to Berkeley in 2001 to attend UC Berkeley and stayed because of the city’s “sense of ethical and environmental responsibility combined with a do-it-yourself spirit.”
After having kids, Armstrong-Temple began to spend a lot of time in the local parks. She started to have questions about garbage and trash collecting in the parks and went to the city for answers, only to be redirected to different city officials or ignored.
Then she started talking with her neighbors.
She learned they had had similar experiences with the city and did not feel represented in local politics. At this point, it hadn’t yet occurred to her to run for council, but after meeting with other Berkeley progressives, Armstrong-Temple decided to throw her hat in the race.
The main issues facing District 2, according to Armstrong-Temple, are community safety and affordable housing, which she says are “intertwined in important ways.”
With the rise of youth violence in District 2, Armstrong-Temple is advocating for community- and youth-led peace talks to better understand the source of the problem, though she personally thinks it is caused by a lack of resources available to the district.
Through funding more programs that allocate food, housing and resources to the community, Armstrong-Temple expects the lives of youths to improve and violence to reduce.
Davila said District 2 is a “wealth of diversity,” but acknowledges that this richness may be fleeting.
“The diversity is leaving, but at one point it was very diverse,” Davila said.
Having lived in the area for more than 35 years in the same two-bedroom apartment that she raised her children in, Davila first became involved with local government through volunteering for the Berkeley Unified School District. Over time, she moved on to serve on the Human Welfare and Community Action Commission in 2009.
Moore, who appointed Davila to the Human Welfare and Community Action Commission, removed her from the position in 2015 after Davila submitted a controversial resolution on divestment from Israel.
After this incident, Davila gained national attention and received encouragement from her neighbors and Berkeley community members to run for City Council.
At first, Davila said, she didn’t seriously consider running, but she started to give the idea more thought after increasingly feeling like her community’s viewpoints were not represented in city government.
“I figured I might as well try and be a part of the change that I want to see made and these other people want to see made,” Davila said. “Regular, ethical people need to stay up and see the change.”
Davila said she envisions creating neighborhood assemblies throughout District 2 in order to represent all the different types of communities within the area. By having all the residents, manufacturers, artisans and community leaders at the table, Davila said, the voices of all factions of District 2 can be heard and collaborate with one another.
“That’s my vision and why I think District 2 is unique,” Davila said. “We all have to be there to do the fight and do the struggle and be in solidarity with each other in order to have a beautiful future in Berkeley and beyond.”