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Mayoral Convention was uplifting

Thursday May 09, 2002

To the Editor: 

I attended Saturday’s Mayoral Convention, and I found City Councilmember Betty Olds’ depiction of the event in Tuesday’s Daily Planet interesting. 

As far as I know, Ms. Olds did not attend the event, yet she described it as “disgusting.” 

The convention I attended was uplifting, beginning with songs in both English and Spanish, followed by Reverend Marvin Peoples’ invocation. Respected members of our diverse communities – including the arts, neighborhoods, commissions, and boards – stepped forward to share their reasons for wanting a new leader for our beloved city. 

Citizens of integrity who had put their names forward as potential candidates were nominated and gave speeches. Each candidate, including one who announced at the convention, spoke of her/his visions for a better city government.  

The convention was one of hope. As UC Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Emeritus Russ Ellis said when he introduced Tom Bates, there are moments in history when the time is right for change. 

“It is Berkeley’s time! It is Tom's time!” 

I knew of Tom Bates when I was still living further south in Santa Barbara. Environment was a topic of regional concern in the 701s, and we environmental pioneers followed the records of state legislators. Assemblyman Tom Bates stood out as a leader in sponsoring and supporting bills to protect the environment. When I moved to the Bay Area, living in San Francisco for most of the 801s, I envied my friends across the Bay who could elect and re-elect representatives of stature like Ron Dellums and Tom Bates. After Tom left the state assembly in the mid 901s, he quickly offered his experience and energy to projects designed to help our local communities. As a participant in the movement to bring better nutrition to Berkeley residents and specifically to school-aged children, I have had the pleasure of working with Tom as he lends his incredible talents to this effort.  

What distinguishes Tom from other successful politicians is his compassion and his graciousness. When I witness Tom interacting with Berkeley citizens, no matter who they are, he engages them with respect. I am so thrilled that he has stepped forward as a candidate for all the people of Berkeley and will bring that respect to our government. 


- Pam Webster