District 4 City Council Candidate Statement: Terry Doran

Thursday October 02, 2008 - 10:40:00 AM

The diversity, culture and beautiful neighborhoods of Berkeley make this a special place to call home. It's the reason I came here to attend Cal in 1960 and, upon graduation, never left. I started a teaching job at Berkeley High School right out of college, My wife Lenore and I raised our children in the same house we live in today on Sacramento Street and we are fortunate to have three generations of Dorans still living in District 41. My granddaughter recently started kindergarten at Washington Elementary School and my grandson will follow next year. 

At Berkeley High, I taught history and economics, started the photography program, chaired the Arts Department and served as faculty advisor for the award-winning Berkeley High Jacket, which is currently the subject of the Berkeley Rep production of Yellowjackets, written by a former student of mine. I was also a union activist, a union officer, sat on the negotiating team and was chair of the grievance committee. I walked or biked to work almost every day until my retirement in 1998 and my bicycle is still my major mode of transportation around Berkeley.  

I served two terms on the Berkeley School Board, including two as president, and am now an appointed member of the Zoning Adjustments Board and served on the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee, where I have fought to revitalize downtown and promote affordable housing. 

I like to tell people that District 4 is the heart of Berkeley, with no disrespect or course, to my friends in other parts of town. District 4 runs along the Shattuck corridor, taking in the entirety of downtown from Blake Street to Vine, on the north, meeting the Cal campus at its western border on Oxford Street and then winding westward to Sacramento, scooping up gorgeous residential areas. 

You may know that there would not be an election for District 4 were it not for the unfortunate passing of Dona Spring. Dona's grit and tenacity in the face of enormous health difficulties was inspiring to those of us she represented. I fought alongside Dona to secure a new location for the warm water pool and was privileged to receive her endorsement during both of my runs for the School Board. 

I am running for City Council to help District 4 and the entire city meet new challenges without giving up what makes our city special. I want to build on my work on the School Board to improve partnerships between the City and School District that give children the tools they need to succeed. I will also continue my advocacy for new housing and retail. As a member of the Zoning Adjustments Board, I am proud to have voted for over six hundred new housing units, twenty percent of which are classified as below-market rate. I also voted to support the new Trader Joe's store set to open at Martin Luther King and University Ave. 

I've been a progressive all my life and have brought those values to every position I ever held. While a student at Cal I was a participant in the Free Speech Movement, Civil Rights activities locally and nationally, and was always a peace activist working to end the war in Vietnam and eradicate nuclear weapons from the planet. As an educator I participated in integrating the Berkeley Public Schools and was the chair of the East Bay chapter of Educators for Social Responsibility working for a nuclear free world. I worked on the very first campaign for rent control, and still vigorously defend the rights of tenants from unfair rent increases and illegal evictions. I worked with city and community leaders to build affordable housing throughout Berkeley, not just in select communities, and have recently, as a commissioner on ZAB, supported housing development along transportation corridors like Shattuck Avenue, University Avenue and San Pablo Boulevard as both environmentally essential and to increase the affordable housing stock in our city. 

Everyone running to represent this district wants to see a livelier, safer and more vibrant downtown, but I am the only candidate with a record of consistent support for making this happen. That means being clear about what we want from new development - affordable units, green space and other amenities - but it also means listening to what business has to say. As Barack Obama would say, we need to give the business community a seat at the table without letting them buy the table. When businesses feel invested in the process, we have a better chance of making real progress on a more vibrant downtown. 

I also consider one of the hallmarks of progressivism to be an openness to new ideas and change, which has become a prominent theme in this year's presidential election. Berkeley is a special place, but it is changing right before our eyes. Rents have increased, young families cannot afford to live in the city they grew up in and high school and college graduates often have to look outside the city for employment. Making Berkeley more affordable and attractive to young families, like those of my own children, is one of my top priorities as a council member, but it is not going to happen just by doing the same things we have been doing before. 

Over one hundred neighbors have already endorsed my candidacy, many living in District 4, along with Loni Hancock, Nancy Skinner, Tom Bates and 6 out of 7 of our City Council members. I also have a broad spectrum of organizations that have endorsed me, ranging from the Berkeley Fire Fighters, The Alameda County Central Labor Council, SEIU, Local 1021, and the California Nurses Association. Educational leaders like Barry Fike, past president of the teachers union; business owners like Alice Waters; and community activists like Rev. George E. Crespin and Hank Resnik, Co-founder, Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition have also endorsed my candidacy. 

You can go to my website; for a complete list and a more detailed description of my background and program. Thank you.