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Incumbents Hit Filing Deadline; Challengers Have Until Wednesday

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday August 15, 2006

When filings closed for Berkeley’s incumbents in the mayoral, City Council, city auditor and School Board races Friday, four would-be candidates had dropped out. 

Non-incumbents still have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to file for school and rent stabilization boards. 

The city’s namesake candidate, would-be Mayor Richard Berkeley, abandoned the field, but incumbent Tom Bates and three other challengers—former Planning Commission Chair Zelda Bronstein, recent Stanford graduate Christian Pecaut (who moved to Berkeley just to run for the job) and Native American activist Zachary Running Wolf—turned in their papers Friday. 

Potential mayoral candidate and former Mayor Shirley Dean also dropped out, declining to return the papers taken out on her behalf by Merrilee Mitchell. 

All three remaining mayoral candidates filed their nomination papers Friday.  

Another dropout was Joshua May, who took out papers on July 13 to challenge incumbent Kriss Worthington for his District 7 City Council seat. Worthington and his remaining challenger, George Beier, both filed Friday. 

The fourth dropout was Berkeley Unified School District board member John Selawsky, who opted not to return papers he’d taken out in mid-July to challenge Berkeley’s popular and well-respected City Auditor Ann Marie Hogan, who returned her papers Wednesday. 

With Selawsky’s withdrawal, Hogan will be the only incumbent to run in November without opposition. 

District 1 City Councilmember Linda Maio, who filed Thursday, faces a challenge from grandmother, teacher and self-described do-gooder Merrilee Mitchell, the Friday filer who had also taken out mayoral papers for Shirley Dean. 

District 4 Councilmember Dona Spring filed for reelection Thursday, as did her lone challenger, Mechanics Bank branch manager Raudel Wilson. 

District 8 incumbent Councilmember Gordon Wozniak filed Friday, along with his challenger, Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner Jason Overman. 

By the close of filing Friday afternoon, all five prospective candidates who had taken out nomination papers for three seats open on the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) board had filed their papers. Incumbent Shirley Issel filed her nomination papers Tuesday, and fellow incumbent Nancy Riddle filed Wednesday. The third seat was held by board Chair Terry Doran, who is not seeking reelection.  

David Baggins filed his nomination papers Wednesday, Norma Harrison followed on Thursday and Karen Hemphill filed Friday. Unlike the City Council, School Board members are not elected by district but on an at-large basis. 

Rent Stabilization Board member Robert Evans didn’t return the nomination papers he took out earlier, meaning he’s out of the race. Vice Chair Pinkie Payne didn’t bother taking out papers at all, and incumbent Selma Spector is being forced out by term limits, said Acting City Clerk Sherry Kelly. 

Challenger Howard Chong has filed his papers for the Rent Board, as did Pam Edwards. 

Non-incumbents for the school and rent stabilization boards have until the close of business Wednesday to file. 


Other cities 

Two City Council seats are up for grabs in El Cerrito, with incumbents Janet Abelson and Sandi Potter facing David Boisvert and Andrew Ting. Candidates run at large, with the top two vote-getters taking home the prize.  

Two Richmond councilmembers, Gayle McLaughlin and Gary Bell, are challenging incumbent Irma Anderson in the mayor’s race. 

In the Richmond City Council races, incumbent Tony Thurmond is running unopposed for a two-year term. Candidates for the four-year terms will pit incumbents Richard Griffin, Jim Rogers and Maria Viramontes against Cortland “Corky” Booze, James Jenkins and Ludmyrna Lopez. Those races are city-wide. 

In Albany, incumbent City Attorney Robert Zweben was the only candidate to file for that seat, for which nominations closed Friday, said City Clerk Jacqueline Buchholz. 

Four candidates have had filed for the Albany City Council through Monday afternoon, including Marge Atkinson, Joanne Wile, Francesco Papalia and Fred O’Keefe. Incumbent Mayor Alan Maris was forced out by term limits and Councilmember Robert Good did not file for reelection.