Public Comment

Sierra Club Responds to LA Woods’ Charges

By Kent Lewandowski
Thursday October 30, 2008 - 10:00:00 AM

We are writing in re-sponse to LA Wood’s candidate statement in the Daily Planet, to explain our endorsement decision in his race, and to address the charges that our process was “back room” and “slate politics at its worst.”  

First of all, there are too many candidates in the geographic area we represent for the Sierra Club, Northern Alameda County Group, to interview them all. We are volunteers, and most of us in the group have full-time occupations. There is no paid Sierra Club staff that arranges these interviews for us. Therefore, we choose those we consider to be the most viable candidates in each district to interview using the club’s viability criteria of past performance, endorsements, and fundraising capability.  

This year, in the District 4 race, we felt Jesse Arreguin deserved our early and sole endorsement because he has participated in our Northern Alameda Group meetings since late 2007 and has made significant contributions to our group prior to his decision to run for office to replace Dona Spring. Jesse is an independent candidate, just as Dona was. Those closest to Dona asked him to run, and he has the overwhelming support of those she worked with, including Nancy Holland, Dennis Walton and dozens of District 4 residents).  

Jesse’s environmental credentials are extensive. He spent many, many hours as part of the Downtown Area Planning Committee (DAPAC), writing and creating an overwhelming downtown community vision consensus (17-4) that includes LEED certification requirements, renewable energy, greater urban core density, affordable family housing and increased green space, the Sierra-Club endorsed plan. Jesse has fought for open space at Eastshore State Park, EBMUD water conservation/ restoration EIR analysis, expanded recycling and zero waste improvements at transfer stations.  

As chair of the Rent Stabilization Board, Jesse has long been a champion for affordable housing, allowing Berkeley to remain Berkeley, and not become gentrified from rent escalation and evictions. He supports the Sierra Club urban density policy of 20 percent affordable housing.  

Our process was neither “back room” nor “slate politics,” as was charged. We feel we have nothing to apologize for and are proud to give our sole endorsement in District 4 to Jesse Arreguin.  



Kent Lewandowski is the chair of the Sierra Club Northern Alameda County Group.