Orlando Martinez’s time in quarantine has been full of walks through South Berkeley. Now, he plans to continue these walks as a candidate for Berkeley City Council by talking to residents about changes they would like to see in the district.
Martinez is running for City Council District 3, a seat currently held by Ben Bartlett. Martinez was inspired to run by a tweet from former president Barack Obama that said change happens through work on the local level.
“He gave an outline of the little things you can do to make the changes within our communities,” Martinez said. “It starts at your municipality, at the city council level. That was the turning point for me.”
Martinez is a civil engineer with a focus on construction. He graduated from Fullerton State University in 2008 and received a master’s degree in executive management for design and construction from Northwestern University in May. In 2017, Martinez moved to Berkeley, where he became a homeowner after living in San Francisco.
Additionally, Martinez said he has wanted to get involved with the community for a long time.
“More important for me than anything, this is for me to get involved,” Martinez said.
Martinez has served on community action boards in San Benito County, where he grew up. He said the most meaningful part of his work there was helping to redistribute county funds to support underprivileged women and children in need.
“I know what it is to put your grain of salt to make a difference for families and programs that really need assistance,” Martinez said.
If elected to City Council, Martinez said he hopes to represent Berkeley residents on issues ranging from systemic racism and police brutality to litter on the streets. Martinez added that he wants to make policing work better for the community and change the message of police training.
Martinez’s next step is turning in his filing paperwork. He also plans to build his campaign team by the first week of August.