In fifteen years as a City Council member, I have never seen three ASUC Senators do so much work on so many issues that affect so many people. Although I have never endorsed a team of candidates in ASUC elections, this year is a very unique chance to get three officers who have been effective advocates all year long, not just at election time. I expect this talented team to make history as one of the most successful student governments in history.
I hereby ENDORSE Andy Albright, Anthony Galace, and Sydney Fang.
Many people already seem to know their involvement on campus as senators, and in state and national issues. I am writing this message because it seems less visible for folks to know their exemplary record of involvement and achievement on dozens of local issues. A few examples:
1. Pushing landlords to refund security deposits. First email in Summer alerting us to these problems. After months of work some tenants received refunds. Still working on others.
2. Berkeley Inn site foreclosure: For 25 years this vacant site has been blighted. Successfully pushed City to take action from August until Sept 6 vote. (Now the owner has a new architect who says they will submit a complete proposal very soon.)
3. Pedestrian Safety: Did research, community organizing and events to improve dangerous intersections in September and October.
4. Telegraph Livability Coalition: helped create coalition working with businesses, long term residents, activists and students from October to December. Created consensus list of 21 things to do to make Telegraph cleaner, greener and safer. Encouraged communication and cooperation between diverse folks advocating for their own groups.
5. Public Works: Lobbied head of Public Works Department on nuts and bolts of city services getting done in November.
6. Second Response Ordinance expansion: Wrote first Senator letter opposing proposed additional restrictions in January.
7. TAP/Walk the beat: lobbied Berkeley Police Chief in February and March for reinstating foot patrol for safety in Northside and Southside.
8. B.R.E.A.K. Berkeley Researching Educating Advocating Knowledgeable solutions. Recruited students to work on spring break projects advocating for student empowerment.
9. Student Pledge. Requested Mayor and City Council members at Student Working Group to sign student pledge in March. Protested City council making a finding of blight in student apartment buildings without consulting with student leaders and students affected. Also advocated for more affordable student housing by supporting BSC to build a new student coop.
10. Student Commissioner Study: Contacted city staff and elected officials to compile numbers of students and people of different races serving on city commissions in March and April. Informed City Council on underrepresentation of API , Latino and Black residents, as well as drastic underrepresentation of students.
INNOVATION: These students have earnest ideas, work hard, and are willing to try new ways of doing things. Their creative efforts motivated more students to do more for the community and helped make Berkeley a better city.
INSPIRATION: The conventional wisdom about both the Berkeley Inn site and the Walk the Beat program has been that nothing would be done. Residents and businesses had begged the city to take action. I had written multiple Council items and got study but not action. Andy Albright’s timely advocacy from his personal experiences helped get actual results.
INDEPENDENCE: Over the years some student leaders just side with Wozniak and the moderate side of City politics. Other students just work with the more liberal (Arreguin, Anderson, Worthington) side of City Council. Sydney Fang has written criticisms of BOTH sides of the City Council and proposed improvements to both sides. By proposing solutions, her passionate criticism was seen as polite and more powerful.
Given their track record of intelligent activism and effective advocacy on so many issues, I hereby ENDORSE Andy Albright, Anthony Galace, and Sydney Fang to become officers of the ASUC. I also endorse YES on the V.O.I.C.E initiative
My City Council title is for identification purposes. This is my personal opinion, and does not claim to represent the whole City of Berkeley.