Summertime and the Election Heats Up

By Judith Scherr
Thursday July 31, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

It’s almost August, laid-back vacation time for some. But for candidates for local offices, it’s time to sharpen elbows and dust off the cleats. 

The first campaign milestone has passed—July 24 was the day the candidates who opted to do so turned in their signature-in-lieu papers, a process in which candidates collect signatures instead of paying the $150 filing fee. Each valid signature is worth $1 toward the fee. 

These signatures are not formal endorsements—registered Berkeley voters can sign any number of signature-in-lieu papers. Still, a glance at the lists of signatures gives some clues to who the candidates’ friends are—in politics and life. 

Here, the Planet takes a quick look at signatures gathered for the mayor and council races. All signatures are available for viewing in the city clerk’s office. 



• Incumbent Mayor Tom Bates, out of town until mid-August, apparently didn’t spend time worrying about gathering signatures—his chief-of-staff (one assumes acting in the capacity of his campaign staff and not on the city dime) collected just 38 names. That means that Bates shelled out $112 in filing fees. 

Among the signatories were councilmembers Gordon Wozniak, Darryl Moore and Max Anderson, School Board Member Karen Hemphill, District 4 candidate Terry Doran and District 6 candidate Susan Wengraf. Other signatures included that of Chamber of Commerce President Roland Peterson and Maggie Gee of the Berkeley Democratic Club. 

• Not known as a slacker, former mayor and mayoral candidate Shirley Dean’s list sports 230 names; only 150 valid signatures are required. 

Some of those who signed the papers are longtime allies from her days as mayor and councilmember, such as Councilmember Betty Olds and schools activist Salvador Murillo. Many are newer comrades-in-arms, working with Dean around the Memorial Stadium-oak grove issue. They include Doug Buckwald, Michael Kelly and Gianna Ranuzzi.  

Fellow candidates lent their signatures: Jane Welford, rent-board candidate, and Mary Rose (Redwood Mary) Kaczorowski, running for city council. 

• Active in supporting the tree-sitters at Memorial Grove and constant critic of the current mayor, Zachary Running Wolf collected 33 signatures, including Peace and Justice commissioners Phoebe Anne Sorgen and Diana Bohn and preservationists Laurie Bright and Gale Garcia. 

• Denis McComb is also running and opted to pay the $150 filing fee, rather than collect signatures. The Planet was unable to contact him. 


District 2 

• Running for his second term in office, incumbent Darryl Moore picked up 136 signatures, including several from elected officials: Assemblymember (State Senator-elect) Loni Hancock, Mayor Tom Bates, Councilmember Kriss Worthington, School Board President John Selawsky, Rent Stabilization Board Member Jason Overman and East Bay Parks Director (Assemblymember-elect) Nancy Skinner. Also signing was Dennis Walton, companion to Dona Spring, recently deceased councilmember in District 4. 

Candidates who lent their signatures to Moore include Susan Wengraf, candidate for District 6, Jesse Arreguin, candidate for District 4, and Nicole Drake, candidate for rent board. Chair and vice chair of the Chamber of Commerce, Roland Peterson and Miriam Ng also signed Moore’s papers, as did city Economic Development staff and Berkeley residents Michael Caplan and Dave Fogarty and Michael Goldin of the West Berkeley Business Alliance. 

Helping Moore collect signatures were his council aide Ryan Lau and Mark Rhoades, developer and former planning staffer. Rhoades’ wife, Erin Rhoades, and business partner Ali Kashani also signed the papers. 

•Jon Crowder, who faces Moore in District 2 for the second time, collected 126 signatures including those of Peace and Freedom party activists Marsha Feinland and John Thomas Condit, rent board candidates Jane Welford and Igor Tregub, former rent board member Judy Ann Alberti and commissioners Michael Diehl and Winston Burton. 


District 3 

• Although no challenger has emerged to date, incumbent Max Anderson collected 145 signatures. They include fellow Councilmember Darryl Moore, Rent Board Chair Jesse Arreguin, also a District 4 council candidate, rent board commissioners Jason Overman and Eleanor Waldon, also a candidate for the rent board, and rent board candidate Nicole Drake. 


District 4 

• Elected Rent Stabilization Board Chair Jesse Arreguin picked up 180 signatures. They include City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, for whom Arreguin works as council aide, rent board commissioners Selma Spector and Lisa Stephens, rent board candidates Nicole Drake and Taylor Kelly. 

Commissioners signing Arreguin’s papers include Michael Diehl, Gene Poschman, Elliot Cohen, Patti Dacey, John McBride and Diana Bohn.  

In a brief phone interview, Arreguin underscored receiving a formal endorsement from Walton, Spring’s longtime companion, and from Spring’s council aide, Nancy Holland. Neither, he said, were asked to sign signature-in-lieu papers. 

• Mary Rose “Redwood Mary” Kaczorowski had the help of six signature gatherers plus herself and ended up with 204 names on her list. Among those to sign are Peace and Justice Commissioner PhoeBe Anne Sorgen, former mayor and mayoral candidate Dean, rent board candidate Taylor Kelly, Peace and Freedom Party activists Marsha Feinland and John Condit, neighborhood activist Janice Thomas and anti-toxics advocate Pamela Shivola.  

Sorgen, a Spring commission appointee, helped Kaczorowski collect signatures. 

• Former School Board Member Terry Doran gathered precisely 150 signatures. They include councilmembers Laurie Capitelli and Olds and Mayor Bates and Middle East activists Howard Levine and Barbara Lubin. School Board Member Nancy Riddle signed on, as did peace activist Carolyn Scarr. 

Council Candidate Susan Wengraf signed Doran’s papers and school board candidate Beatriz Leyva-Cutler did as well.  

Doran said Bates has formally endorsed his candidacy. 

• Attorney Jerry Threet, a tenant and LGBT rights activist, told the Planet he opted not to collect signatures and paid the $150 filing fee himself, due to the time-consuming job of parenting a four-month-old baby and working four days a week. He plans, he said, to take a month leave from his job to campaign for the election. He said it was too early to have received endorsements. 

• Videographer and environmental activist L.A. Wood said he decided not to turn in signatures, but is still in the council race. Like Threet, Wood told the Planet it is too early to have gathered formal endorsements. 

• Asa Dodsworth has not turned in the signature-in-lieu papers he had taken out and has not yet paid the $150 filing fee. He told the Planet that he hadn’t submitted the signiture-in-lieu papers because he had been consulting with others on whether he could mount an effective campaign. He said Wednesday that he would be paying the filing fee and submitting nomination papers. 

• Wednesday, N’Dji Jockin filed to run for the District 4 seat. He was not available before deadline. 


District 5 

• Incumbent Laurie Capitelli collected 87 signatures. They include Mayor Bates, councilmembers Olds, Moore and Wozniak and School Boardmember Shirley Issel. 

Miriam Hawley, who formerly held the District 5 seat signed Capitelli’s papers as did former councilmember Polly Armstrong. Rent board candidate Nicole Drake signed Capitelli’s papers. 

Other signatories include Roland Peterson, president of the Chamber of Commerce, George Beier, former candidate in District 4 and Maggie Gee of the Berkeley Democratic Club. 

• Sophie Hahn is vying for the District 5 seat. She told the Planet she didn’t collect signatures but opted to pay the filing fee because she felt she needed to move forward in putting together other aspects of her campaign. She said she’s been an attorney and started then sold a small business. Mother of three, Hahn’s currently PTA president at King Middle School. 

•Jason Ira Magid took out signature-in-lieu papers to run for District 5, but did not return them to the clerk and has not paid the $150 filing fee. He has until August 8 to do so. The Planet was unable to contact him. 


District 6 

• Susan Wengraf, currently aide to Olds, is running for the seat occupied by Olds since 1993. Olds is retiring. 

Wengraf picked up 186 signatures, representing politically a large spectrum of the community. Signatories include councilmembers Gordon Wozniak and Betty Olds, School Board Member Shirley Issel, Library Board Chair Therese Powell, Rent Board Chair Jesse Arreguin, a council candidate for District 4, commissioners Gene Poschman, Joshua Kornbluth, Robert Meola, Marie Bauman, Lawrence Gurley and David Stoloff.  

She has the signatures of former mayor and mayoral candidate Dean and former Councilmember Armstrong. 

Rent Board candidate Nicole Drake, aide to Councilmember Linda Maio, signed the papers.  

Chamber President Peterson and real estate developer John Gordon also signed Wengraf’s papers. Former mayoral candidate Zelda Bronstein and former District 7 candidate George Beier signed the papers, as did Maggie Gee of the Berkeley Democratic Club. 

• Laura Miller has taken out papers to run for the District 6 seat. She did not return calls from the Planet before deadline. 

• PhoeBe Anne Sorgen, Peace and Justice commissioner, had taken out signature-in-lieu papers for District 6 but subsequently decided not to run for the office.