Alameda Green Party Questionaire for Berkeley Mayoral Race
1) Motivation- Why did you choose to run for this office?
I choose this office because unlike City Council members (By district only) the election of the Mayor is a City wide election thus giving the Mayor position of one of leadership and guidance of the City. In the City of Berkeley contains the largest employer which is UC Berkeley which the last two Mayors (Shirley Dean and Tom Bates) had very close ties with the University.
Mayor Dean actually worked (in administration office) for the University while she was Mayor and Tom Bates graduated from UC Berkeley has tried to cut favors (economically) for his school at the cost of his constituents and residents of the City of Berkeley. This vital role of a strong Mayor and not simply to be UC Berkeley’s Yes man or lackey as a strong Indigenous leader motivates me for this position put simply we need a mayor for all (including Mother Earth) not just a few.
1) Priorities- What do you believe are the Major issues facing the City? What are some specific tasks (e.g.specific legislation, policies, etc.) you intend to accomplish while in office? My Priorities include getting a balance representation from the Mayors office and the University (UCB) which we have not had for at least twenty years (Bates and Dean). This would mean working to protect West Berkeley in denying the untested Synthetic Biology along with 100 feet (height) buildings. I would deny giving the University the downtown because the University does not pay local taxes and all the services and maintenance would be on the taxpayers backs (Berkeley residents) and I would rework the agreement (contracted by Mayor Bates) with the University on the in balance on business which the University has a 14 million dollar edge in 15 million deal.
Finally with Berkeley police Chief Micheal Meehan tightening of the mutual aid between BPD (Berkeley Police Department) and UCPD after promising to ease or even break the mutual aid after the November's student protests which UCPD beat students in Steven Biko Plaza (Sproul) and the pepper spraying at UC Davis. The mutual aid agreements are critical in a University town as they are designed for reducing crime and not for quelling dissent (freedom of speech and assemble). My administration would keep the mutual aid to emergency assistance only not when the University is having problems with students, faculty and labor unions. When the University calls in non-emergency incidents the costs on the residents pockets.
We need open government so not only supporting but implementing the Sunshine Act (which Bates has not for his three terms) and following the Brown Act and let the Berkeley residents speak on every issue at City council meetings (not the lottery system). The larger issues like Global Climate Change my administration would implement a bicycle lending libraries at every Bart station so that everyone visiting the city will be encouraged to take a non polluting, no parking means of transportation. I will mention ther closing Telegraph Ave later in my economic package with bus shuttle (Bio-diesel or straight vegetable) from the BART stations like the Emeryville roundabout service.
1) Qualifications- Please give a brief summary of your background and qualifications for serving as Mayor.
2) As a Native American elder tells that I have walked the walk in my community (85,000 Native Americans in the Bay Area). As a longtime resident (since 1967) I am familiar and participate in this vital history. From serving on Inter-Tribal Friendship House board of Directors to acquiring 3.75 Acres at the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland. I have participated in starting and teaching at the American Indian Public Charter School. In Berkeley as a longtime resident (since 1967) I am familiar and participant in this vital history I helped save Ethnic Studies in 1999 and spearheaded the school name change from Columbus to Rosa Parks.
I was the first tree-sitter and leader of the longest (648 days) urban Tree-sit in US history on the campus of the University. I was appointed to the Peace and Justice commission by Terry Doran. In recent I help in defeating ill advised projects like the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) and the transit village that would have ended the Flea Market at the Ashby Bart station. I also spearheaded the now existing AC Transit bio-diesel pilot program which has 38 buses running on bio-diesel at the budget of 938,000 dollars.
1) 2) Land Use: What do you think are the most important land use issues facing the City today? The City and the University have different missions: What conflicts / challenges do you forsee on land use policy and how would you address these? Land use in the last two Mayors (Bates and Dean) has been simple and that is to give Big developers (Patrick Kennedy, Ali Kashani) and the University as much land as they can get away with. My administration will work to keep open space and heal the land (restoration) from past abuses (UCB, DOE and Lawrence Labs ie nuclear). The University removed 18,000 eucalyptus trees from the Berkeley hills with no replacement plans so my administration would organize a indigenous tree planting for the 18,000 loss. Sustainable (Food Security) gardens like Spiral Gardens would be a priority especially on the old railroad lines which is available lands.
1) Automobiles: What policies should the city take to reduce automobile use and make the city friendlier for pedestrians and other non-automobile transportation ? Should the city do anything about parking in the downtown area? If so, what?
2) My first and foremost plan is to have bicycle lending libraries at every BART station. So that people entering the city on mass transportation will have an option of renting or borrowing a non polluting means of transportation this helps fight obesity and diabetes. Also the reduction of automobiles plan will target our youth (UC Berkeley students, 33,000) not our elders who no longer able to get around or the people who live in the Berkeley hills.
3) 4) Safety- What are the most important public safety issue facing the residents of Berkeley? What kinds of programs are useful for creating a safe environment for all people.
5) Having a healthy environment is key to having public safety. The reduction of automobiles and having more bicycles and mass transit will prevent traffic accidents.
6) 7) Affordable housing – What should the city do to increase the availability of affordable housing?
8) Affordable housing has been a cruel joke with developers (Bates and Dean) promising for affordable only to be given a loophole to back out of these promises. These loopholes could be stopped and past developments which violated affordable housing could be forced to live up to theses agreements. The closed businesses buildings could be converted to housing for affordable housing but also for the homeless. Finally no new development with out a larger portion of Affordable Housing.
9) 10) Rent Control-How important is to keep Berkeley's form of strong rent control and evictions protection? How important is keeping an elected rent board?
11) My administration will protect the existing Rent Control and evictions protections. The elected rent board is very important and will be supported. Any renter board candidates should not be able to run if you are a home owner or a landlord.
1) Should City Council take positions on national and international issues? Yes. Berkeley has a long tradition of educating and taking tough stands on both national and international issues. In fact, I served on the Peace and Justice commission which we referred to that commission as Berkeley's foreign policy.
1) 2) 10) How will you work to make Berkeley sustainable for long term, both economically and environmentally? 3) First economically I start by shutting down Telegraph from Dwight Way and Bancroft Way with temporary barriers so the service vehicles could resupply the businesses. By putting the vendors into the street with a Farmer's Market with a combination of street performers. This would allow the chafes and restaurants to put chairs and tables out on the sidewalks like the Champs de laissez (Paris). This is a proven economic gain all you have to do is look at the Christmas time Craft Fair and it also gives temporary (maybe permanent) jobs to the unemployed which the numbers is growing every day. Part of my economic recovery is not letting the downtown be given to the University which does not pay local taxes or services.
A sore spot for Berkeley has been the toxic Pacific Steel plant in West Berkeley which I would take head on both environmentally and economically. As reported in USA Today Berkeley has the ominous distinction of the country's top five polluted schools in the country. A large portion of this pollution is due to this plant and is unacceptable for our children. My administration would work diligently to find an industry friendly to Mother Earth to help replace the jobs and use the space for other means. 4) 5)
1) What are your positions on any or all of the ten Berkeley Ballot Measures but particular the West Berkeley Project (Measure T) and the ban on sitting (Measure S).
2) I'm against both Measures T and S.
3) 4) Endorsement- who has endorsed you so far? Who do you expect to endorse you, who do you endorse in Berkeley races including your own?
5) I'm endorsed locally by Cindy Sheehan, Wilson Riles, L A Wood, Mark McDonald, Nick Bertoni, and not locally Winoma LaDuke ( former Green Party VP. Candidate), Pheonx and the Blackfeet Nation (Montana). I expect to get many more endorsements which I'm currently not discussing until that individual says it is OK.
6) 7) Anything Else- is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I'm an Indigenous elder not a career politician and I do not compromise Mother Earth and this is needed at this critical time of Global Climate Change. I'm also a strong leader that will respond to the coming environmental and financial crisis. In closing my thorough comprehensive plan does not contain any high budget money holes or strings to the Town and Gown who did run this University town. It's that time to Welcome back the Old Bezerkeley and with your endorsement we (Mayor RunningWolf, Worthington, Areguin and Anderson) can swing the city back. I would be the First Indigenous Mayor in US history and it is that time.