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Greens Say Kavanagh Should Resign If Not a Berkeley Resident

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday September 04, 2007

Berkeley Rent Board Member Chris Kavanagh should “step down immediately” if he is not a legal resident of Berkeley, said a statement issued Friday by the Berkeley Green Party. 

Kavanagh’s residency has been in question since it became known in July that he was fighting an eviction from a cottage in Oakland. Kavanagh told his rent board colleagues and his attorney that he lives in Berkeley, where he is registered to vote and where he receives mail. 

“Chris has worked tirelessly for the Green Party over the years,” Jesse Townley of the Berkeley Green Party Steering Committee told the Daily Planet Friday, adding, however, “The Green Party takes good government seriously.”  

Kavanagh was invited to the Berkeley Green Party’s meeting Thursday evening, but did not appear, Townley said. “A party of good government cannot look the other way. It’s all about good government, not just about getting by,” he said. 

Rent Board Chair Jesse Arreguin told the Daily Planet Friday that Kavanagh had missed a meeting in August and had sent a note to the board secretary that he would be out of town on vacation. Arreguin said that at the board’s Sept. 17 meeting, he plans to offer Kavanagh time under the rubric of “personal privilege” to update his colleagues on the situation. 

The rent board cannot make a determination about Kavanagh’s residency. The city attorney turned the matter over to the district attorney last month.  

Arreguin said he had was interviewed by the DA’s office last week and told the interviewer what Kavanagh had told him last summer—that he lived in Berkeley but had a girlfriend in Oakland. Arreguin said he thinks the DA would make a decision in mid-September on whether to bring charges.  

The Green Party statement calls on the rent board to name a replacement if Kavanagh does not meet residency requirements.