Re-building a progressive coalition in Berkeley, and enjoying a sense of accomplishment after beating back an election attack orchestrated by Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, seemed the informal themes of a post-election victory party organized by Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguin on Monday, November 15, 2010.
By my count, nearly 150 people showed up to the early evening gathering in the patio of the Bateau Ivre restaurant on Telegraph Avenue. Scores stood outdoors in the Daylight Savings darkness and unseasonably warm weather to congratulate the winners, while volunteers passed out donation envelopes .
Near the beginning of the event Worthington introduced a previously unannounced guest, Oakland Mayor-elect Jean Quan. She was met with cheers.
“I had to come today because Kriss Worthingon has been one of those people you can count on as always being there”, Quan told the crowd.
“Oakland and Berkeley’s fates are often tied. It’s important to have good leadership in both cities”, she added. “I had to come and give Kriss a big hug for his big victory and look forward to working with him even more.”
Quan added that while “we figured Don Peralta spent over two million dollars” running against her for Mayor of Oakland—five times what she estimated was spent on her campaign—“if you organize people, if you knock on doors, you can get it done.”
“During this campaign people certainly saw the insider elites are trying to wipe out progressive activists on the Council”, Worthington said. “I told them ‘no’, they’re trying to knock out two of three”, as he introduced Councilmember Max Anderson to applause.
“Meg Whitman and her billions were not going to buy the (Governor’s) election, and George (Beier) was not going to buy the seat Kriss Worthington holds”, Anderson said.
He made a historical analogy to King Henry II of England who, tradition has it, encouraged his cronies to remove Archbishop Thomas Becket by asking, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
In Berkeley, Anderson said, to laughter, Mayor Bates had essentially asked, “will nobody rid me of these troublesome Council people? They set out to deprive the City of important, principled, leadership and they failed miserably.”
“There was a time when I worried about being very lonely on the Council but I don’t have that fear any more”, Anderson concluded. He called for “a new era of progressive policy development in this city, and I’m proud to say I will stand shoulder to shoulder in that” with Worthington and Arreguin.
“I’m so delighted to be able to serve for four more years on the Council with Kriss and Max (Anderson)”, Arreguin said. “I’m overwhelmed by the results.”
“We stood up to these powerful interests.” “I’m very optimistic that in the next four years we’ll begin to see Berkeley moving again in a progressive direction.”
Arreguin thanked his supporters, campaign workers and, in particular, his parents, while Worthington thanked his workers and partner, “the number one most important person in my life.”
Worthington said that many people had asked him about how he felt about Mayor Tom Bates, who had unsuccessfully endorsed two candidates running against him, and one running against Arreguin.
The voters, Worthington said, told the City leadership “we want the City of Berkeley to act progressive.” “This is not a time for punishment.” But “If we do not get progressive politics in the next two years, we we’ll be calling on all of you to come out again.”
He said the District 4 and 7 election results were a message to “pressure existing politicians to act progressively, and I’ll be pushing them in that direction.”
“We’re in it for the long haul. In Berkeley the only progressives who had a serious challenge won by overwhelming percentages” over their second place challengers, he said.
Superior Court Judge-elect Vicki Kolakowski was also introduced. “I appreciate all the help that everyone gave me,” she said. “The joint campaign of Jesse and Kriss was the heart of my campaign in Berkeley.” “Here in Berkeley we led Alameda County. Alameda County led the state of California, rejecting politics of negativity.”
Kolakowski won with just under 51% of the votes in an election that made her the first transgendered person elected to a judgeship in the United States.
In the Berkeley results, the latest totals on the Alameda County Registrar of Voters website (as of Friday, November 19), showed Worthington had 2,077 first place votes (just under 50%). George Beier had 1,434 first place votes (34.33%), while third place finisher Ces Rosales polled 630 first place votes, under 16%. There were 36 write-ins.
When the second-place votes of the write-in voters had been tabulated and distributed to the front-runners, Worthington edged up to 2,086 votes, giving him 50.06 percent and an outright majority to retain his District 7 Council seat, without needing any further distribution of second place votes.
In District 4, representing Downtown and adjacent neighbors, Arreguin won in the first round with 2,544 first place votes or 53.48 percent, as of Friday, November 19.
Second place went to his principal challenger, architect Jim Novosel, who received 1,496 first place votes or 31.44 percent.
In Oakland, Quan ran second place in the first vote tally but, after several rounds of counting, received a flood of transfer votes—nearly 19,000—when third place candidate Rebecca Kaplan was dropped after several rounds of vote counting. The transfer put Quan in the lead and the majority with 50.96 % of the votes, to 49% for Don Perata, who received only about 6,400 transfer votes from Kaplan.