Early Candidates Take Out Papers for November Elections

By Judith Scherr
Monday June 09, 2008 - 04:42:00 PM

With hard-fought but largely ignored June primaries behind them, voters will be setting their sights on the Nov. 4 presidential election and, locally, on races for the Berkeley City Council, school board and Rent Stabilization Board.  

While the official date for Berkeley office seekers to begin filing for the November election is not until July 14, candidates began taking out “signature-in-lieu” papers on May 30. These candidates collect voter signatures rather than paying the $150 filing fee. Each valid signature knocks $1 off the fee. 

Council seats for districts 2, 3, 5 and 6 up are for grabs. 

With District 6 Councilmember Betty Olds set to retire after 16 years, Olds' aide Susan Wengraf, a planning commissioner, is hoping to step into her boss's shoes. Wengraf filed May 30 to begin collecting signatures. 

Incumbent councilmembers Darryl Moore, District 2, Laurie Capitelli, District 5, and Max Anderson, District 3, have all taken out signature-in-lieu papers. 

There are no filings yet for mayor. That post is usually a four-year term. However, Mayor Tom Bates was elected to a two-year term in 2006 to comply with a voter-approved initiative to adjust mayoral elections to coincide with the presidential election, when there is greater voter turnout. (With some absentee and provisional votes to be counted, the voter turnout in the June primary in Alameda County was reported at 28.88 percent.) The winner in the mayoral race will be elected to a four-year term. 

Two of the five Berkeley school board seats are up for election. School Board President John Selawsky has filed to collect signatures. School Board Member Joaquin Rivera will also face re-election, if he chooses to run again. 

With five of the nine rent board seats up in November, the only incumbent who has taken out signature-in-lieu papers is Rent Board Chair Jesse Arreguin, an aide to Councilmember Kriss Worthington. 

Nicole Drake, member of the Housing Advisory Commission and aide to Councilmember Linda Maio, has begun collecting signatures for a seat on the rent board. 

Rent Board Vice Chair Jack Harrison and commissioners Jason Overman, Eleanor Walden and Corrine Calfee, who was appointed to former Commissioner Chris Kavanagh's unexpired seat, are up for re-election. (Kavanagh resigned from office and is serving a six-month jail sentence after being convicted of charges related to living in Oakland while serving as an elected official in Berkeley.) 

The lowest vote-getter among the five elected to the rent board will serve a two-year term to fill out Kavanagh's unexpired term The other seats are four-year terms. 

City Council compensation is set at $27,258 plus $30 per Redevelopment Agency meeting and full medical and dental benefits. School Board members get $18,000 per year plus full medical and dental benefits. Rent board members get $6,000 plus benefits. The mayor's salary is set at $34,200 plus benefits. 

For information on who is taking out signature in lieu papers go to www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=4314