‘Progressive problem solver’: Alex Sharenko runs for Berkeley City Council

Alex Sharenko for Council 2020
Alex Sharenko for Council 2020/Courtesy

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City Commissioner and materials scientist Alex Sharenko is running to represent District 2 on the Berkeley City Council, with a platform that prioritizes affordable housing, public safety and environmental sustainability.

A public policy veteran, Sharenko has advised the City Council on various issues as a member of multiple city commissions, including the commissions for housing, labor and zero waste. According to Sharenko, being privy to the workings of the system opened his eyes to “the policy failures our community is living with.”

“It became clear to me that there is no substitute for a Councilmember committed to serving their community and advocating for the resources needed to solve these policy failures in our neighborhoods,” Sharenko said in an email. “I decided to run for City Council in order to advocate for and serve the community I love being a part of.”

When he isn’t serving on commissions or volunteering for an array of social causes, Sharenko is a materials engineer, working to develop new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sharenko conducted 1.5 years of postdoctoral research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he and his team developed a transparent, heat-reflective polymer coating for windows. Now working as a research engineer at a solar energy firm, Sharenko has co-authored a plethora of papers dealing with solar cell fabrication.

“Alex’s career as a scientist, working on next-generation renewable energy technologies, has given him the skill set to take a data-driven approach to policy making,” said Ben Gould, chair of the Community Environmental Advisory Commission and Sharenko’s campaign treasurer.

Gould added that Sharenko would make “an excellent addition” to City Council and could bring a science-based perspective to complex issues facing the city.

Homelessness in Berkeley is another key issue Sharenko will aim to combat as a council member, according to his campaign website.

The problem, which he called a “moral failure,” requires a comprehensive approach, Sharenko said, including effective leadership, more subsidized housing for low-income residents and increased funding for mental health and social work programs.

Sharenko added in the email that District 2 is currently facing a laundry list of issues, including racial inequities in policing, “the worst roads of any Council district” and E. coli contamination in a local park. He said he thinks these problems are a result of a lack of collaborative leadership.

“I’m running to be a progressive problem solver,” Sharenko said in the email. “Many people in our community don’t feel they have an advocate on Council, so I’m running to advocate for my district and to serve my community because I fundamentally believe that our community deserves leadership that can translate our values to policy.”

Contact Annika Rao at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @annikyr.