Mayor Shirley Dean and challenger Tom Bates traded jabs over Dean’s student appointments to city commissions and Bates’ 1988 role in temporarily blocking construction of UC Berkeley’s Foothill Residence Hall during a sharply-worded campus debate Wednesday night.
Dean criticized Bates, then a state Assemblyman, for using his state vehicle in March 1988 to block construction of the Foothill facility on Hearst Avenue, which currently houses 800 students.
Dean said Bates caved to neighborhood opposition to the project instead of recognizing the urgent need for student housing.
“Sometimes you have to stand up and say, ‘we’re going to build this housing,’” Dean said.
But Bates said he temporarily blocked construction because the university had failed to consult the city on its plans, not because he opposed the project.
“I support and always have supported Foothill housing,” he said.
Bates argued that his actions forced the university to come to the table and work more cooperatively with the city. But Dean countered that the city and university were already working together on the Foothill project when Bates blocked construction.
Both candidates told the student audience that they would push the university to build more housing close to campus if elected.
Bates claimed that Dean has appointed only 25 students to city commissions over the course of some 20 years in city government and pledged that, as mayor, he would appoint enough students to match the student population in the city.
Dean, who has served as a City Council member and mayor, countered that the 25 appointments came while she was mayor.
After the debate, Dean claimed that she appointed more students while serving as a City Council member in the 70s’, 80s’ and early-90s’, but said she has not totaled up the figures. The Daily Planet could not confirm the appointees by press time.
The two candidates also clashed on rent control, with Dean calling for an income test that would disqualify new, wealthy tenants.
“We’re not going to subsidize people who are wealthy,” she said.
Bates said rent control is vital in the face of “skyrocketing” rents and called for more legal defense funding for tenants facing eviction.
Both candidates supported student calls for allowing businesses south of campus to stay open later.
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