Berkeley Condo Conversion Fails, Measure H and G Pass

By Judith Scherr
Friday November 10, 2006

The defeat of Measure I, a property-owner-backed measure that would have eased conversion of rental units to condominiums, was much easier than No on I coordinator Jesse Arreguin had anticipated. 

“I thought they’d come out with a last-minute stealth campaign for it,” Arreguin said. 

In fact, there was no visible campaign in support of the ballot measure that would have gutted tenant protections when a rental unit was converted into a condominium; it would have also permitted conversion of up to 500 rentals each year. 

Rent board candidates, who ran unopposed, worked with the No on I campaign to defeat the measure 19,758-to-7,136 votes or 73-to-27 percent. 

Notable, however, was that many people skipped the rent board vote —five seats were up for grabs with a slate of five candidates: Howard Chung got 12,475 votes, Chris Kavanagh got 12,320, Dave Blake got 11,746, Lisa Stephens got 10,994 and Pam Webster got 10,438. 

Voters supported Measure H, the advisory measure to impeach the president and vice president, at just slightly lower numbers than they had voted against Measure I—19,513 favored Measure H, while 8,804 opposed it. That’s a 69-to-31 percent victory.  

In San Francisco, the measure to impeach passed at only 59 percent. 

“Some people supported it, but thought it was frivolous to put it on the ballot,” said Geoffrey King, of Constitutional Summer, the student group that organized the push for the local ballot measure. 

King said the most important win was the attention the measure attracted to the crimes the President and Vice-President have allegedly committed.  

Measure G, aimed at reducing Berkeley’s greenhouse gas emissions, got the greatest support of any of the measures or candidates, winning 23,083 votes or 81 percent; 5,259 voters or 19 percent opposed the measure. 

Mayor Tom Bates included support for the measure on his campaign literature and often spoke in favor of it as he stumped for reelection.