Lori Droste wins Berkeley City Council’s District 8 seat

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Lori Droste won Berkeley City Council’s District 8 seat, retaining the position she has held since 2014.

Droste led the polls into the early morning hours Wednesday as votes were counted, and secured 56.05 percent of the vote as of press time about 2 a.m., with all precincts reporting.

Droste, who has lived in District 8 for more than 20 years, narrowly beat George Beier in 2014 to replace former councilmember Gordon Wozniak. During her time on City Council, she has authored legislation to regulate short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, and to streamline the creation of affordable housing.

“(I’m) dedicated to public service and giving back to my community,” Droste previously told The Daily Californian. “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.”

She has also worked with California State Sen. Nancy Skinner and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín to ensure Berkeley residents have access to health care after Sutter Health’s announcement that it will relocate Alta Bates Summit Medical Center to Oakland.

Opponents Mary Kay Lacey, Alfred Twu and Russ Tilleman earned 31.30, 9.25 and 3.32 percent of the vote respectively, as of press time. Lacey — who was endorsed by the California Nurses Association, the Berkeley Progressive Alliance and City Councilmembers Sophie Hahn and Kate Harrison — also opposed the closing of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and supported more affordable housing that does not disrupt local communities.

Tilleman said he believes Droste does not represent everybody in the district. Although he was not elected, Tilleman said he plans on implementing parts of his platform by working with other council members. Specifically, Tilleman plans to keep working toward making transit cars, which are small electric vehicles, available to rent in BART station parking lots as an alternative to buses.

Twu, who uses they/them pronouns, planned to implement tenant protections, guarantee lawyers for people in disputes with their landlords and legalize people living in cars if elected.

Throughout her campaign, Droste earned the endorsements of Skinner, California State Controller Betty Yee and fellow Councilmembers Susan Wengraf and Linda Maio, among others. Her platform includes advocating for housing affordability, ensuring access to emergency care and helping growth in the commercial district in Elmwood, located in District 8.

Droste was one of two incumbents up for re-election, the other being Harrison. Harrison is also expected to retain her seat, as of press time.

“Life goes on,” Tilleman said. “I’m hoping that the best parts of everyone’s policies and platforms can somehow be brought together so the community can get what was presented to them.”

Anjali Shrivastava is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anjalii_shrivas.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Lori Droste defeated former councilmember Gordon Wozniak for the District 8 council seat in the 2014 election. In fact, Wozniak did not run for re-election.