The name of my campaign committee is Dona Spring for City Council. Residing in Berkeley for the past 34 years, I graduated from UC Berkeley with honors with a B.A. in Anthropology and Psychology.
Before being elected to the City Council in 1993, I worked in nonprofit services to seniors, disabled, healthcare reform and on environmental and animal protection issues.
I attended UC in the early 70s, a time when consciousness was being raised on the political, social, cultural, environmental and spiritual frontiers.
My interest in local politics intensified in 1984 when I attended a council meeting to protest the deplorable conditions reported at the City of Berkeley’s animal shelter and the proposal to balance the budget by cutting the low-cost spay neuter clinic. In the next years I got involved in efforts to save the Berkeley waterfront as open space for wildlife habitat and for recreational uses. I helped write articles for the Council of Neighborhood Association and also for a community weekly newsletter called Grassroots. In addition, as a tenant, I connected to the tenant’s rights movement, which started in the early 80s with the advent of voter approved a rent control.
In 1986-88 I was elected to the County Democratic Central Committee and to the Green Party County Council ‘90-’92. In 1994,
I was elected in 1992 and have served as the Vice Mayor of Berkeley. I was appointed by the Council in 1996 to serve as the City of Berkeley’s representative on the Alameda County Solid Waste Authority and to the Alameda County Recycling Board and served as president on both boards. I also served as the county’s representative on the hazardous waste committee of All Bay Area Government (ABAG) where we set regional standards for green businesses and disposing of hazardous waste including electronic waste.
While serving on the City Council for almost 14 years I have sponsored hundreds of pieces of legislation. For example, in 1994, I introduced legislation to require labeling of food products containing genetically modified organisms such as recombinant bovine growth hormone. My latest item on the Council agenda is to have the City of Berkeley waive the permit fees for insulation of solar panels.
I am widely supported by progressive activists as well as neighborhood leaders. I can be counted on to support and sponsor progressive legislation on the environment, social justice issues and neighborhood issues such as public safety prevention and disaster preparedness. In this past term, I have provided leadership on voter approved Instant Run off Voting which I first introduced to the City Council in 1993.
I am known to be one of the most accessible Councilmembers who champions progressive causes such as building housing affordable to those at the lower end of the economic ladder. During my time on the Council, I have worked for funding and approval of hundreds of units of affordable housing. Despite how real estate/prodevelopment opponents attempt to portray me as anti-development, that’s misleading since I have voted for the majority of development projects that come before the Council. I am one of the few Councilmembers who fights to get developers to fully provide the affordable housing that is required by inclusionary and state density bonus requirements but seems to get “value engineered” away. Also, I represent the community’s interest in pushing developers for building designs that are compatible with the adjacent residential neighborhood with setbacks.
In this past term, I have successfully led the Council and commissions in an effort to reform the way the density bonus laws are interpreted by city staff in development projects. In 2003, many of the residents close to University Avenue were distressed at the massing and scale of new buildings going in on University. I got the Council to refer the decade old University Avenue Strategic Plan for codification in the zoning code. My excellent Planning Commissioner helped provide the analytical skills to get the job done. (In addition, he demonstrated that the city has already met its ABAG housing requirements and thus no longer had to approve all housing projects to comply with their interpretation of state code—unfortunately that was sidetracked.) It took a year, but eventually Zoning Commission and Councilmembers created a subcommittee to reform the way is the state density bonus requirements were implemented. Vote no on State Proposition 90 so that effort can be continued.
In this election, I urge voters to vote yes on all the Berkeley ballot measures except for Measure I, the condo conversion ordinance. Measure I is a countermeasure to the condo conversion ordinance passed by the Council which allows up to 100 rental units to convert to condominiums with long-term Berkeley tenants exempt from paying a mitigation fee to help create more affordable housing opportunities. The Council condo conversion ordinance helps to protect sitting tenants from eviction.
Measure I gives property owners an incentive to evict tenants so their rental units can become condos and thus profits doubled.
Vote yes on Measure J to save our Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. Historic preservation advocates collected signatures to save the “structure of merit designation” which the mayor wanted to eliminate. This change would have wiped out almost all future protections for saving historic resources in Berkeley’s neighborhoods. It was only after the signatures had been submitted that the mayor tried to make a compromise which restored the structure of merit designation. But, once signatures have been submitted for a ballot measure, they cannot be withdrawn. Contrary to ballot arguments against Measures J, it was not a long public process leading to the Bates proposal. In fact, over 50 people living in all of Berkeley’s neighborhoods testified against the mayor’s proposal to gut the current ordinance. In addition, there have not been legal problems with the current ordinance. The State Historic Office has found that Berkeley’ s current Landmark Preservation Ordinance is compliant with all state laws. A vote for Measure J is a vote to preserve our affordable housing stock. Many rent control units are in older buildings and houses. If those buildings can be easily demolished instead of restored and expanded, then we lose rent-controlled housing and get expensive market rent housing in their place. Also, it is environmentally friendly to reuse the buildings instead of demolishing and land filling them. (One of the biggest portions of our landfill is going to construction and demolition debris.) Reusing buildings also helps conserve natural resources including trees.
It’s a privilege to represent the people of Berkeley who are some of the most intelligent and socially conscious on the planet. This term I want to see our new animal shelter constructed with funding from a successful 2002 ballot measure and the Berkeley High School warm water pool saved (preferably rehabilitated in its current location as two thirds of Berkeley voted funding for in 2000). I also want to help more residents become prepared for a natural disaster.
I urge people to support Kriss Worthington’s reelection to the City Council as well. He’s going up against a multimillionaire opponent who is spending big bucks against Kriss. Visit my web site at DonaSpring.com. My campaign telephone number is 644-3662.