Cecilia Rosales, a longtime activist and Berkeley resident, officially filed her candidacy for Berkeley City Council’s District 7 seat Aug. 10.
Rosales has been an activist since her college days in the Philippines during the 1970s, under Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship. Thanks to her experience running a nonprofit graphic design business and her leadership in the housing sector, Rosales said she has “a lot to offer” residents, students and the Bay Area at large.
Among other issues, Rosales said she intends to address homelessness and the housing crisis in Berkeley. She mentioned that 24-hour service navigation centers, which take an individualized approach to working with people affected by housing insecurity, provide a useful framework for the issue.
Rosales added that solutions to homelessness should take on a “regional approach,” involving Oakland, San Francisco, El Cerrito and Richmond, among other Bay Area cities.
“Homeless people come to Berkeley because we don’t kick them out,” Rosales said. “The way I see it is there are a lot of brilliant people trying to arrive at solutions.”
Rosales is running against Rigel Robinson and Aidan Hill for the District 7 seat, which has been held by Councilmember Kriss Worthington for the past 22 years. Rosales said she lost to Worthington eight years ago when she first ran for City Council.
Despite Rosales’ interest in student affairs, Robinson — who graduated from UC Berkeley this year — said he believes he is the most qualified for the City Council position.
“The residents of District 7 deserve a Councilmember who can bring together students, neighbors, the university, and the surrounding community to address the challenges that Berkeley faces,” Robinson said in an email. “I believe I fit the bill.”
Similarly, Hill said Rosales has not increased the election competition, adding that Rosales should better articulate her platform.
“I’m going to hold off on saying she’s qualified. I support her running for office, but at this point, I don’t think she’s competition,” Hill said. “That said, I believe in fair elections, and that everyone should have the opportunity to participate.”
As the founder of a graphic design business called Zestop Design, Rosales said she hopes to bring her practical experience to the Berkeley community — especially to Telegraph Avenue. Given increases in student enrollment at UC Berkeley, the urgency to bring more businesses to Telegraph Avenue has increased, Rosales said.
Rosales is passionate about student activism, just as she was during her college years. Since UC Berkeley is located in District 7, she said she hopes to get students engaged in local politics.
“As liaison of the city and our student population, one of my goals is to make it easier for students who would want to be more involved,” Rosales said.