Former engineer Bahman Ahmadi is running for the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board to bring “fair and balanced representation” to the board.
Ahmadi is a first-generation immigrant and former engineer who has worked with PG&E and hopes to bring his experience to the board. If elected, Ahmadi wants to bring housing providers and tenants closer to the decision-making process by facilitating their engagement with rent board commissioners, noting that he will make decisions based on empirical data.
“I am accustomed to presenting complex issues to diverse audiences, to exploring a different perspective and to gain insight to everyone’s priorities in order to reach a mutually supported solution,” Ahmadi said.
Ahmadi is running as part of a slate with other candidates called Home Owners for the Berkeley Rent Board. The candidates in this slate running alongside Ahmadi are Soulmaz Panahi, Dan McDunn, Wendy Saenz Hood Neufeld and Pawel Moldenhawer.
According to the website of Home Owners for the Berkeley Rent Board, rent is too high, taxes and regulations increase rent prices and current housing policies are making it more difficult to build more housing.
Ahmadi alleged that the board lacks accountability and transparency within itself. He also claimed that the board does not currently address the concerns of the housing providers and said he wants to fix those problems.
“To be effective, you have to look at both of the contributions of tenants and housing providers and, you know, collaborate on a solution with all the stakeholders,” Ahmadi said. “That approach, I think, has been missing.”
Additionally, Ahmadi alleged that the board’s policies have been “hostile” to homeowners. According to Ahmadi, housing providers he knows have taken their rental property out of the market due to the board’s policies.
Ahmadi believes his tenure at PG&E, during which he worked with several public utilities commissions and oversaw large projects, gives him the experience he wants to bring to the Rent Stabilization Board.
“I’m passionate about the city. I think it’s a great place to live and I like to see it thrive,” Ahmadi said. “This is my way of giving back and I think I bring enough experience to be able to be effective on the board.”