n the 7th District City Council race (Daily Planet, Oct. 26-27), Mayor Shirley Dean has discredited herself by endorsing an obviously unqualified 18-year-old candidate.
Micki Weinberg has no experience or track record dealing with housing, development, traffic, crime, or other local issues. Prior to becoming a candidate, he had never attended any neighborhood meetings.
By contrast, Kriss Worthington has an excellent record of working to improve neighborhood quality of life. To give a few examples: Kriss has worked effectively with Bateman neighbors to deal with the impacts of Alta Bates expansion. In the LeConte neighborhood, where I live, he helped us get more street lights to improve safety, traffic circles to slow down traffic, and limits on truck traffic on residential streets. He is a responsive and accessible council member.
Kriss has supported the draft Southside Plan and its policies calling for more housing for students close to the UC campus. Micki Weinberg has not been involved in Southside planning meetings or student lobbying for more housing. Kriss supported building housing at the long-vacant Berkeley Inn site at Telegraph Avenu and Haste Street; unfortunately Mayor Dean worked to block that project.
If Micki Weinberg is really interested in local politics, he should follow the example set by fellow student Andy Katz, who is running for council in the 8th District. Katz, a graduate student, has spent four years becoming familiar with Berkeley and learning the nuts and bolts of Berkeley politics. He has a track record of working on positive initiatives like the Class Pass transit pass, the Rental Housing Safety Program, and the 1999 ASUC Housing Summit. Katz is also a member of the Zoning Adjustments Board and has a working knowledge of zoning and development issues. Katz has the kind of experience and qualifications that Weinberg clearly lacks.
So why is Shirley Dean supporting Micki Weinberg? Is it a cynical ploy to win student votes for herself by supporting “the student candidate”? Is it a further example of the mayor's intense partisanship and inability to get along with other council members? Or is it just bad judgement?