District 5 and the city need Barbara Gilbert as councilperson because, put simply, the points of view for which I speak are not now adequately represented on our City Council.
I will represent and defend the legitimate interests of homeowners and taxpayers, particularly their interest in a fairer system of taxation and an expanded tax base to support city government. We need to expand the tax base to encompass all residents and service users, including students, renters, UC and other wealthy tax-exempt landowners. We need to impose development impact and mitigation fees on developers. And we need to increase our sales tax base through exciting and appropriate retail development.
I will speak forcefully for the need to reduce the cost and size of city government, to fix the city budget without new taxes, to prioritize essential services, and to establish better city management. Yes, the city budget can be fixed without new taxes. I know that the essential services are fighting crime, fighting fire, disaster readiness, fixing our infrastructure (including creeks and culverts), and providing safety net services for the truly needy (with support for the community agencies that assist them).
I offer a vision of our city’s future that is not dense, teeming, overpopulated, and family-unfriendly. We need to feel comfortable enough to shop, be entertained, and to mingle in our downtown and along our major corridors. We must restore and maintain Berkeley as a sophisticated college town with a thriving downtown, friendly incremental development, adequate parking, and a place for middle-income, home-owning families in its diverse neighborhoods.
I will continue to defend the right of the public, the press, and our council to receive accurate, timely, pertinent, and readily-available information so that sound public policy is more likely. I deplore the current trend of late and politically-slanted staff reports.
With respect to District 5 in particular, I pledge to be a councilmember who is ahead of the curve when critical issues arise, such as creek regulation. Recently, I was the only candidate in District 5 who had already studied the issue, understood its importance, notified creekside homeowners, and knew the correct answer when it came to the right of creekside homeowners to re-build after a disaster with no ifs, ands, buts, or bureaucrats. I did not have to wait for a public meeting of angry constituents to exercise common sense and leadership. The story of creeks regulation, too long to go into here, provides a textbook case of how common sense and property owner interests are too often hijacked in our Berkeley community.
I have discussed all of the above over the last few years in many publications, forums, meetings, letters, and on my website. Unlike my opponents, who have yet to study and develop positions on most of the critical community issues, I have been articulating my informed perception of the problems and the possible solutions. You know where I stand, but do you really know that much about my opponents, except that they are supported by the usual suspects? My candidacy however, is supported by ordinary Berkeley residents, homeowners, taxpayers, neighborhood leaders, preservation activists, and citizen budget experts.
District 5 and other concerned Berkeley residents should support my candidacy because the city and our local democracy do not need another machine-made and development-mad clone of the reigning establishment. The establishment candidates always talk about consensus. But if all interests and parties are not adequately represented at the highest council of our local government, then this is a premature consensus and a consensus without content. Positive change, real compromise, and a healthier consensus require that all legitimate viewpoints be expressed and pursued at the City Council level, and by an independent, informed, and articulate proponent.
If you are one of the thousands of District 5 residents who are fed up, disgusted, dismayed, or simply turned off and worn out by our city’s politics and policies, and if you feel that your interest in homeowners, neighborhoods, sound government, and open government are not now adequately represented, then I urge you to please join my other supporters in our neighborhood and throughout the city, and vote for me on Nov. 2.
District 5 City Council candidate