CALI Slate sweeps open seats on Berkeley rent board

Karen Chow/Staff

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CALI Slate candidates Christina Murphy, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Leah Simon-Weisberg and Igor Tregub won all four seats for Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board, knocking out incumbent Judy Hunt and challenger Nathan Wollman who ran together as part of the FAIR Berkeley slate.

Murphy, Soto-Vigil, Simon-Weisberg and Tregub won 19.49, 19.89, 19.97 and 16.99 percent of the vote, respectively, as of press time at 1 a.m. with 99 percent reported. Hunt and Wollman won 14 and 9.43 percent, respectively.

The CALI Slate was endorsed by former Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Berkeley Democratic Caucus, the Sierra Club and mayoral candidates Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguin, among others. Additionally, all seven members of the current rent board not up for election threw their support behind the CALI Slate.

According to its website, the CALI Slate’s platform is committed to reinforcing Berkeley’s rent control and fairly enforcing the city’s Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance, tackling environmental inefficiency and seismic safety and providing comprehensive services and outreach to Berkeley’s tenants and property owners.

“I’m so excited to be working with a whole progressive team like this,” Murphy said. “We want a Berkeley that we all can call home, not just one for who can make the most money.”

The 2016 Berkeley Tenant Convention, hosted by a coalition of Berkeley political groups and attended by nearly 400 Berkeley residents, selected the four CALI Slate members from nine potential candidates.

“We’re facing a housing crisis, an eviction epidemic of unprecedented proportions,” Tregub said in a CALI Slate promotional video.

The FAIR Berkeley Slate was endorsed by the Berkeley Democratic Club and three City Council members Darryl Moore, Susan Wengraf and mayoral candidate Laurie Capitelli. Candidates of the FAIR Slate — standing for Fairness, Accountability, Integrity and Respect emphasized representing both tenants and property owners in their campaigns.

The slate’s platform includes, among other items, an involvement of all housing stakeholders’ perspectives, a stand for sensible leadership and a dedication to protecting tenants, including vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities and children, according to its website.

“We need more representation on the Rent Board by people who appreciate both what it takes to find a place to rent at a price one can afford and people who have experience providing quality rental housing in Berkeley at affordable prices,” Hunt said in a letter to the editor of The Daily Californian.

Hunt and Soto-Vigil are the only two candidates who currently hold positions on the rent board. Tregub has also served on the board but lost his chair during the closely contested 2012 election to the next closest candidate, Soto-Vigil.

CALI Slate candidates account for a combined 50 years of experience fighting for tenant rights, according to their campaign site.

The four elected rent board members will serve a four-year term. The rent board’s first meeting with the newly elected members will take place Nov. 14.

Contact Edward Booth at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Edward_E_Booth.