New Rent Board Member and Acting Housing Director Chosen for Berkeley

By Judith Scherr
Friday March 21, 2008

Posted Sat., March 22—Corinne "Corie" Calfee will fill the seat on the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board left vacant by the resignation of Chris Kavanagh, Jay Kelekian, rent board executive director, said Friday. 

Kavanagh stepped down just before pleading no contest to a felony charge related to having lived in Oakland while serving on the Berkeley rent board. He will be sentenced April 24. 

Also on Friday, City Manager Phil Kamlarz announced the appointment of Jane Micallef as acting housing director. Micallef will leave her post as the city's manager of the Housing and Homeless Services Division of the city of Berkeley’s Housing Department to take the position. She's worked in city services for the homeless since 1996. Micallef is a graduate of Boalt Law School and practiced poverty law after graduation. 

Calfee is a land-use attorney with a joint degree from Boalt and the Goldman School of Public Policy. She is a land-use attorney at Ellman Burke Hoffman & Johnson in San Francisco. 

She was selected by a unanimous rent board on March 17, Kelekian said. If she chooses, she can run for re-election in November. 

In her interview, Calfee showed a clear understanding of the mission of the rent board and the duties of the board, according to a statement by the search committee. "She also comprehends the complex nature and power dynamics of the landlord/tenant relationship. Ms. Calfee articulated how rent control functions as a vital public policy for maintaining the stability of our community and its diverse social and economic character," the search committee said in a report to the full board. 

Fourteen people applied for the rent board post. The board interviewed seven among them: Raquel Aguirre, director of Immigrant and Refugee Services, Catholic Charities of the East Bay; former Rent Board Member Judy Ann Alberti, Peace and Justice Commissioner Elliot Cohen, Former School Bard Member Terry Doran, Former Rent Board Member Marsha Feinland and Takasumi Kojima, a semi-retired architect. 

The seven other applicants were: Nasira Abdul-Aleem, Robert Blau, Max Dama, Jonathan Shane Davis, Scott Christopher Locklin, Allen Stross and Stacy Young.