3 candidates vie for Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguin’s City Council seat

Ben Gould, Brianna Rogers and Kate Harrison, left to right, will run for the District 4 seat on Berkeley City Council, left vacant by Jesse Arreguin after his recent election to city mayor.

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Children, Youth and Recreation Commissioner Brianna Rogers, former mayoral candidate Ben Gould and community member Kate Harrison are set to run for the District 4 Berkeley City Council seat recently vacated by Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguin.

In a statement, Arreguin said he hopes those campaigning for the spot will work to elect a progressive candidate to serve District 4. The special election will be called Dec. 8. The race will likely be held on March 7.

Though the campaign cycle for this race will not begin until Dec. 1, the candidates are already gearing up their platforms.

Arreguin has endorsed Harrison, who served as the Berkeley Streets and Open Space Improvements commissioner from 2011 to 2012 and was also a board member for the Berkeley Food and Housing Project. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1984 with a master’s degree in public policy.

In a statement, Arreguin cited her experience working on different levels of government — including as a former executive officer at San Francisco Superior Court and as a former assistant to the San Francisco mayor. Arreguin added that Harrison is very familiar with District 4 and engages with important issues such as Downtown development and homelessness.

Harrison could not be immediately reached for comment as of press time.

Rogers is a current UC Berkeley student who also has graduated from Berkeley High School and Berkeley City College. She said she believes her experiences in local politics and as a Berkeley native make her qualified to take the spot on City Council.

“I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and begin the necessary hard work that’s needed to make sure that the direction of the city of Berkeley is solid and it meets the needs of the people,” Rogers said. “I’m familiar with the true original spirit of Berkeley, and I’m looking at bringing it back to Berkeley.”

Rogers has been endorsed by Councilmember Kriss Worthington, who appointed Rogers to the Planning Commission in September but has since left.

Worthington said he is impressed by her life story and with the speed with which she can familiarize herself with new issues and work to fix them.

After losing the mayoral election, UC Berkeley graduate student in public policy and environmental engineering Ben Gould decided to run for the District 4 council seat because he still wants to tackle the issues he set out to address as mayor.

“I want to expand Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan, make Downtown more affordable … and increase public safety,” Gould said. “I have a lot of involvement in the city and campus communities.”

Gould said he believes his qualifications and history in Berkeley reflect the reasons he wants to serve on the Berkeley City Council. He chairs the city’s Community Environmental Advisory Commission and has also worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and in San Francisco researching air quality policy.

Community members such as Council members Susan Wengraf and Lori Droste, Zero Waste Commission chair Alfred Twu and Police Review Commission chair George Perezvelez have endorsed Gould for the District 4 spot on the council.

Contact Justin Sidhu at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @dc_justinsidhu.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Councilmember Laurie Capitelli endorsed Ben Gould. In fact, Councilmember Lori Droste endorsed Gould.

A previous version of this article incorrectly quoted Ben Gould as saying he wants to expand Berkeley’s Common Action Plan. In fact, Gould wants to expand the Climate Action Plan.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Brianna Rogers is on the city’s Planning Commission. In fact, Rogers is no longer on the Planning Commission; she is, however, on the Children, Youth and Recreation Commission.