Incumbent Ben Bartlett was our top pick for the District 3 seat in 2016, and he’s proven that he belongs there.
During the past four years, Bartlett has enacted legislation to provide housing for the underserved and incorporate new technology into city infrastructure. He’s working to safely reform policing in Berkeley with the George Floyd Community Safety Act. He is the only candidate endorsed by the entire incumbent council, a testament to his ability to negotiate and work with other officials.
Some of his policy goals, such as a microbond program based on cryptocurrency, have yet to yield tangible results, but Bartlett has demonstrated a commitment to finding envelope-pushing solutions to Berkeley’s problems. And while his ambitious nature was made clear with his 2018 campaign for state Assembly, he’s shown that he can use his ambition to improve Berkeley and his district.
Deborah Matthews is a strong challenger. She loves her district, has experience as a chair of various city commissions, is eager for concrete change and has clear policy goals for housing reform, public service investment and more. In an interview with the editorial board, she expressed some of her impassioned goals, such as immediately securing $50 million for the district and revitalizing Berkeley’s historical flea market. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, her lofty ambitions may be too great a risk.
The third candidate, Orlando Martinez, could not be reached as of press time. In a previous interview with The Daily Californian, Martinez also voiced support for reforms focused on addressing policing and systemic racism. However, his platform lacks specifics, and he lacks the experience of the other two candidates.
District 3 needs someone like Bartlett, who has experience finding solutions within the constraints of the city’s precarious pandemic-impacted budget.
Vote Ben Bartlett for District 3.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board as written by the fall 2020 opinion editor, Katherine Shok.