Berkeley Gets New Rent Board Member And Acting Housing Director

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday March 25, 2008

Corinne “Corie” Calfee will fill the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board seat vacated by the resignation of Chris Kavanagh, Rent Board Executive Director Jay Kelekian 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, effective Monday. She takes over from Interim Housing Director Rae Mary, who had told the Planet he did not seek a permanent post.  

Micallef, who has worked in various positions in the city concerned with housing and homelessness since 1996, will leave her post as head of the Housing and Homeless Services Division to take the position of acting director. 

Micallef is a graduate of Boalt Hall Law School (now called the UC Berkeley Law School) and practiced poverty law after graduation.  

Rent Stabilization Board Chair Jesse Arreguin, also a member of the Housing Advisory Commission, told the Daily Planet Monday that he’s worked with Micallef and has been “constantly impressed with her knowledge and dedication to trying to serve underprivileged people in the community.”  

Calfee, named to the board in an unanimous vote March 17, is a land-use attorney at Ellman Burke Hoffman & Johnson in San Francisco, with a dual degree from Boalt and the UC’s Goldman School of Public Policy.  

She will serve until Nov. 30 and can choose to stand for 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 of 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 board Member Terry Doran, former rent board Member Marsha Feinland and Takasumi Kojima, a semi-retired architect.  

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

Arreguin said he himself was impressed that so many people applied for the rent board post and that the board was especially impressed with Calfee’s experience in land-use law and her commitment to oppose Proposition 98, which he said will gut rent control in California.