It is unbelievable that Mayor Tom Bates could be re-elected by an astonishing 62 percent of City of Berkeley voters. This is the same mayor who gave University of California at Berkeley the rights to run rough shod over the downtown area for the next 15 years with no input from the residents. This UCB giveaway was signed behind closed doors by our mayor. The pending university land grab will result in reduced property taxes while placing the increased cost of maintenance on the backs of Berkeley residents. You see UCB is exempt from City of Berkeley property taxes.
It’s not surprising that Bates, all his six years in office, has fought citizen efforts to create a strong Sunshine ordinance and more open government. Bates’ backroom deliberations have carried over to city council meetings when he has attempted to limit public comment. This has meant violations of the Brown Act at nearly every council meeting in the last half dozen years. This is something I fought to change and SuperBOLD has picked up the baton and continues this struggle. We want everyone to be able to speak with enough time to react to what our mayor, unscrupulous developers and the UCB are pushing through at City Council meetings.
This is the same mayor who has had protesters outside his house, not the disadvantaged but his neighbors. They are upset for his selling out to Corporate America again by allowing Verizon cell phone towers in the area. Speaking of the disadvantaged, Bates is also cutting homeless assistance programs. At this same time the mayor has expanded the war on homeless people by introducing the Public Commons Ordinance making it illegal to sit on the sidewalk. This mean-spirited draconian law expanded the troubled police department’s selective enforcement. This is the wrong time to give the police expanded powers as they are in trouble with drug vault problems, shooting and killing an African-American grandmother in the back and being overly aggressive throughout the city. Code Pink protesters know first-hand what I mean.
It was Bates who engineered Berkeley’s pull out of the appeal of UCB high performance sports facility lawsuit at the oak grove, which is also acknowledged as an Ohlone burial ground. Bates should be reminded that university’s stadium grove was originally dedicated to the 92 veterans of World War I. The mayor’s cowardly act of guiding the city away from defending the grove against a “hate crime” against the indigenous community has also alarmed plenty of residents who are afraid of the pending UCB/LBNL over-development in Strawberry Canyon. The mayor has been culturally insensitive in his attempt to get rid of Ashby Bart Flea Market coupled with the insult of preventing the celebration of Juneteenth, both attacks on the African-American community.
Finally, there was no way my campaign would get 600 fewer votes than two years ago with more support (Cindy Sheenan) and greater visibility this time around. I seriously question the validity of this 62 percent by the most hated man in Berkeley. This time he can thank the Sequoia voting machines.
Zachary RunningWolf was a candidate for Berkeley mayor in 2008 and 2006.