Last night I attended Berkeleyside’s latest Start-up Forum at the Freight and Salvage. The event yielded one piece of news: panelist Judith Iglehart, Mayor Bates’ new chief of staff, who’s being paid $90,000 (plus benefits) in that position, revealed that she's still working at her old job; she’s still Vice President for International Chapter Development and Operations at Keiretsu Forum. The Keiretsu website describes the organization as “the world’s’ largest angel investor network with…twenty-one chapters on three continents.”
Reminding us that “we’re living in a global economy,” Iglehart reeled off the cities around the world that she’s visited for Keiretsu—Barcelona, Istanbul, and then I lost track—and ended by noting that she was about to return to Istanbul. She responded to several questions by stating that she didn’t know the answer, observing that she’d been in the mayor’s office for only two months. I wondered how much of that time she’d spent jetting off to exotic destinations for Keiretsu. I also wondered why it hasn’t occurred to her or her new boss that paying a public employee $90,000 to do a full-time job part-time is problematic.
What was clear is that Iglehart needs to catch up on her City (and city) of Berkeley homework: she informed the crowd that the mayor and council had changed the zoning for Downtown (not yet, they haven’t), and that Hayward was the newest member of the East Bay Green Corridor Partnership (never joined). And in a how-un-Berkeley-can-you-be moment, Iglehart, a Piedmont resident, mused that locating angel investors is like figuring out “where to find former members of the Communist Party; you know they’re around, but you don’t know how to find them.” Someone should tell her that, gentrification and all, in this town, you do.
[Editor's Note: Iglehart told the Planet this morning that she "has a share" in Keiretsu International which might eventually lead to profit, but that she's now only compensated for doing specific assignments for the organization. She said the Istanbul trip was planned before she started the city job.]