Public Comment

Commentary: Ten Reasons We’re Supporting Kriss Worthington

By Nancy Carleton and Susan Hunter
Friday October 06, 2006




1. Kriss supports our neighborhood 100 percent. As leaders in the Halcyon neighborhood in South Berkeley, we’ve turned to District 7 Councilmember Kriss Worthington time and again for help dealing with crime, trash, parking, and potholes. He has always dealt quickly and effectively with our concerns. In addition, Kriss is a reliable pro-neighborhood vote on City Council and understands that being pro-neighborhood is a core progressive value. That means supporting schools, libraries, and parks, as well as building new affordable housing while preserving existing low-income housing for neighbors who are long-term tenants. It also means having the guts to stand up to big developers when they’re trying to railroad neighborhoods or destroy our remaining architectural treasures. 


2. Kriss works harder than any Berkeley Councilmember ever. Even his political opponents acknowledge how hard Kriss works! (To demonstrate our objectivity, second place would go to former Mayor Shirley Dean.) 


3. Long before he ran for Council, Kriss was an early supporter of Halcyon Commons and has fought hard for funding for parks. Back when Kriss was a neighborhood leader himself (as board member of LeConte Neighborhood Association), he chaired the LNA meeting where they voted to support our neighborhood’s proposal to create a park to replace a parking lot, and he followed up with a personal donation. Since he’s been on the City Council, he has always done everything he could to support our small but important greenspace (the only public park serving over 900 households). Soon after Kriss was elected to City Council, the Parks Department was threatened with losing its entire budget due to a change in State law concerning assessment districts. Kriss worked tirelessly to make sure we won the two-thirds majority needed to safeguard funding for Berkeley’s parks. And he has supported new playing fields and an off-leash dog area, as well as mini-grants to encourage community-city partnerships in improving our parks. 


4. Kriss has helped us when we’ve needed to cut through red tape. Here we’re talking about the personal level: When we’ve run into bureaucratic runarounds involving the City, Kriss has made the calls and done the footwork to make sure our concerns are addressed promptly and fairly. 


5. Kriss is the real thing: a politician who is truly a public servant. Whereas some in city government seem to listen more to big campaign contributors and powerful interests like Sutter Medical Corporation, Kriss understands that holding public office is a sacred trust that involves doing your best to represent the people who elected you, even if it sometimes means upsetting groups like the conservative Chamber of Commerce. 


6. Kriss is independent and incorruptible, with total integrity. At this turning point in Berkeley’s political history, we need independent voices on the City Council who are also solidly progressive. Kriss’ integrity in this regard speaks for itself. 


7. Kriss genuinely cares and does his best to help neighbors who call his office, whether the issue is large or small. In the past few months in our neighborhood alone, Kriss has gotten illegal dumping cleaned up in at least eight locations, helped individual neighbors and whole blocks resolve permit-parking issues, and kept over one hundred neighbors on Woolsey Street from being pushed—without their consent—into Oakland. And several years back, after many of the basements in our neighborhood flooded, he managed to get the storm drains upgraded years ahead of schedule. 


8. Kriss is a regionally known leader on progressive issues: the environment, women’s rights, LGBT issues, civil liberties, diversity, affordable housing, tenant rights, and peace and justice. Although we’ve devoted only one of our ten reasons to this, it’s very dear to our hearts. Although we’re neighborhood leaders, we don’t just care about potholes, neighborhood watch, and disaster preparedness (though all of these are important to us, as they are to Kriss). We live in Berkeley because we love this community and what it stands for in the world. We want Berkeley to remain a strong leader when it comes to protecting the environment, leading the fight for full equality for the LGBT community, and taking a stand against the Bush administration and its far-right agenda. For every progressive cause we care about, Kriss has been a leader at local and regional levels, which has won him the support of the Sierra Club, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and all the progressive organizations in town that make endorsements. If Kriss is unseated in this election, the activist community will lose one of its most effective voices on the council. 


9. Kriss not only represents us well on Council; he’s a community organizer who does what he can to help others take action in effective ways. One of the things we like best about Kriss is the fact that he isn’t a politician by nature; throughout his adult life (and even as a teenager), he’s been active as a community organizer, and he has continued to demonstrate these important skills as our councilmember, bringing diverse groups of people to the table whose voices otherwise wouldn’t be heard.  


10. Kriss is an excellent human being we’re proud to call friend. Because Kriss is often in the thick of one political battle or another on our behalf, not everyone gets to see his softer side. But when you get to know him, you soon learn that he engages in small acts of kindness at every opportunity. To give just one example, recently one of us happened to mention that the San Francisco Chronicle, which she enjoys reading with her morning tea (at least on the days the Planet doesn’t come out), hadn’t been delivered on a day when she already wasn’t feeling well—and it was too late to call to get another. What a surprise when 15 minutes later Kriss knocked on the door with a fresh copy he had biked over to hand-deliver. 


Nancy Carleton and Susan Hunter were recently honored in a mayoral proclamation for their roles in creating Halcyon Commons, a small park in South Berkeley. Nancy is also the volunteer treasurer for Kriss’s campaign.