Vote counts are still ongoing for Berkeley rent board. Currently eight candidates are seeking election to five open seats.
Soli Alpert leads the race with 15.99% of the vote, followed by Nathan Mizell, who has 13.86% of the vote as of press time. Stefan Elgstrand is close behind with 13.04% of the vote and Carole Marasovic is in fourth with 12.35% of the vote. Vanessa Danielle Marrero rounds off the top five with 12.31% of the vote. However, Ida Martinac, Wendy Saenz Hood and Negeene Mosaed are close behind with 11.34%, 10.77% and 10.35% of counted votes respectively.
Alpert said he is happy to have gotten this much support but is skeptical of making any definitive claims as of now. According to Alpert, about half the ballots remain to be counted.
His major priority if elected is to ensure the city is ready for the transition away from the eviction moratorium that was defeated in a lawsuit against Oakland and Alameda counties.
Marrero said she is prepared to support all voters, even those who didn’t vote for her in this election. She also thanked all those who worked on her campaign for their hard work and commended her colleagues for their strong races.
Her priority if elected, she said, is to ensure that Berkeley has affordable and opportunity housing, as well as integrative housing that promotes healthy communities. Marrero also said she wants to focus on safe and accessible housing, especially for seniors and the disabled.
Hood said she was thankful for the people that worked on her campaign and that she didn’t feel badly about not making the top five, though she would have liked to win. She said it was great to see Elgstrand and Marasovic acquire a substantial number of votes since they are independent candidates that would “show diversity” on the board.
“When you hear the word landlord or housing provider, whether it’s a small ADU or unit within a house, it’s become kind of a bad word here in Berkeley,” Hood said.
She said housing prices have gotten prohibitively high but that the reason for this is lack of housing as well as inflationary and recessionary pressures rather than the greed of homeowners. If elected, her major priorities revolve around reaching out to small homeowners to encourage them to increase housing supply by renting their properties and on advancing legislation to help people with disabilities retain their housing.
Mosaed said she is optimistic that she will still pick up more votes. She added that the people in her campaign worked really hard and had a good race but that the votes she has received as of now may be too low to get elected.
Tenants, who make up 60% of the city’s residents, need to be more organized and a lack of voting tenants made “a lot of difference this year,” according to Mosaed.