Berkeley’s District 8 council seat was a challenge to endorse. Unlike in other City Council races, no one candidate stood out to The Daily Californian’s editorial board as the champion the district could count on to tackle its biggest problems. Ultimately, the editorial board decided to endorse Mary Kay Lacey as its No. 1 choice and Alfred Twu as its second.
Lacey’s concrete understanding of her district’s priorities and transparent campaign set her apart from her opponents. She is well-equipped to tackle challenges in her district, including threats to affordable housing and public safety. Lacey has previously served as a commissioner on the city’s Planning Commission and the Personnel Board and has been an alternate commissioner on Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board and Police Review Commission.
Lacey also brings to the table 28 impressive years of experience as a lawyer in the East Bay — and for the last decade, she has worked to represent Native American tribes. The Daily Cal has repeatedly called on the city of Berkeley to uplift its Indigenous community, whose voices have been unfairly neglected for far too long. Lacey’s voice could finally push this community’s needs forward. Additionally, in her interview with the Daily Cal’s editorial board, Lacey presented concrete and reasonable efforts to combat the city’s housing crisis, including identifying existing housing vacancies in the city and working to lease those units at affordable rates.
Incumbent Lori Droste has served on the council since 2014. During this time, she co-sponsored the $15 minimum wage bill and has worked to secure $300,000 for the creation and improvement of crosswalks in her district, among other things. But Droste has a proven record of failing to follow through on her progressive stances, repeatedly voting in favor of Urban Shield and problematic sidewalk ordinances.
Russ Tilleman, also vying for the council seat, lacks direction and has never held public office. Tilleman’s ideas for alleviating the affordable housing crisis are centered around public ride sharing. While this is an admirable mindset, Tilleman does not have the policy experience to affect the changes he desires.
Twu, on the other hand, presents a more idealistic approach to the housing crisis — if elected, they aim to increase boarding houses and cooperatives in the city. Twu’s socialist platforms include progressive taxation and publicly provided access to basic resources such as food, water and restrooms. Twu would bring a left-leaning voice to the council — one that would actively push for a more equitable Berkeley. But Twu does not have the same level of expertise and experience that Lacey does, which they would require to see their platforms through.
District 8 needs a representative in some capacity — Mary Kay Lacey can get the job done.
Vote Mary Kay Lacey for District 8.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.
A previous version of this editorial may have implied that Russ Tilleman supports the increased development of housing near public transit. In fact, Tilleman supports public ride sharing.