The Feb. 22 plea agreement reached between myself and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office reflects the reality that since my 2002 election, I complied with the City of Berkeley’s residency requirement to hold public office as a Rent Stabilization Board commissioner—with the exception of a period of time during parts of 2006 and 2007 when I involuntarily lost my Berkeley home. The original and potentially very serious counts and allegations filed against me have been dismissed, and a single, technical violation of the California election code was agreed to.
I appreciate the District Attorney Office’s sense of fairness and professionalism toward my case. I also appreciate that after one year, my case may be revisited and the count reduced upon completion of the court’s probation conditions.
As I indicated in a previous statement, like many Berkeley homeowners who own (or rent) two homes, I rented two living spaces over the last several years: one in Berkeley and another in Oakland. I kept possession of my Oakland space because I did not want to give up its local amenities and rare outdoor garden space. There is nothing unusual about possessing two living spaces.
I am greatful to my family, friends and colleagues for their confidence and support. It has been a sincere honor and privelege to have served on Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board. I also apologize to my constituents for the period of time I was unable to live in Berkeley.
I urge my Rent Board colleagues to continue the critical work of the Rent Stabilization Agency and Ordinance given the Bay Area’s—and Berkeley’s—increasing affordable housing crisis, and the threat to local rent control laws posed by the Howard Jarvis organization-sponsored state Proposition 98 on the June, 2008 ballot.