Berkeley City Councilmember Lori Droste to run for re-election in District 8

Lori Droste/Courtesy

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Berkeley City Councilmember Lori Droste announced May 6 that she is running for re-election to the the District 8 City Council seat after holding it for four years.

Among Droste’s more than 200 supporters, both state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and fellow Councilmember Ben Bartlett, who is running for the District 15 state Assembly seat, have endorsed her already. 90 percent of her supporters are from Berkeley, according to Droste, who graduated from Mills College with a master’s degree in public policy.

Droste’s platform includes advocating for housing affordability, ensuring access to emergency care and helping growth in the commercial district in Elmwood, which is within District 8.

“She’s been in favor of more housing and more inclusive housing in Berkeley,” said Mark Humbert, a commissioner on the Berkeley Transportation Commission. “She’s very progressive in that respect.”

Droste has authored legislation streamlining affordable housing, which she said cut a year off of the lengthy process. She has also co-authored short-term rental regulation, allowing the city to get money from Airbnb, and has been a major proponent of accessory dwelling units, which help to increase housing density.

After Sutter Health’s announcement that it will relocate Alta Bates Summit Medical Center to Oakland — which Droste said she opposed — Droste has worked with Skinner and Mayor Jesse Arreguín to ensure Berkeley residents have access to health care. She added that her relationships with legislators in Sacramento can help her increase access to care.

After a fatal collision killed Berkeley child Zachary Cruz, Droste said she worked with the child’s father, Frank Cruz, to introduce the Vision Zero plan in Berkeley, which seeks to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

“She’s got her head screwed on right in respect to livability and transportation issues, pedestrian issues and cyclist safety issues,” Humbert said.

Droste said she also authored bills that ensure diaper-changing facilities for both men and women and improve spaces for women who are lactating in city buildings.

As the only council member with school-age children, Droste said her platform focuses on children and young adults as well. She wants to reopen the Willard Pool because there is no pool in South Berkeley for children, which is a “huge recreational and social justice and public health issue,” according to Droste.

“She is very smart. She is very energetic,” said Councilmember Susan Wengraf. “She is very committed to serving the community, and I think she’s very tuned in to the needs of students.”

Wengraf added that Droste is very qualified for the council seat, considering that she has held it for four years. Droste will be running against attorney Mary Kay Lacey and designer Alfred Twu in the Nov. 6 elections.

“(I’m) dedicated to public service and giving back to my community,” Droste said. “(I) feel — especially now as a parent — it’s more important than ever to make sure I’m giving back to my community and making sure Berkeley is a great place for future generations.”

Alyssa Bernardino covers city government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @alybernardino.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that elections for Berkeley City Council will be held June 5. In fact, the election will be held Nov. 6.