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Press Release: Sophie Hahn Announces Candidacy for Berkeley's City Council District 5

From Sophie Hahn
Tuesday May 01, 2012 - 06:24:00 PM

It is with great enthusiasm that I announce my candidacy for Berkeley City Council's District 5, and invite you to join me in bringing dynamic, pro-active, responsible and effective leadership to our community. 

Over the past four years, my vision of positive change for our neighborhoods, commercial districts and for all of Berkeley has been further strengthened, while my involvement in the community has deepened. 

There is much work to be done: revitalization of our business districts, including Solano Avenue and the downtown; comprehensive support for local businesses; long range planning - and action - to meet economic challenges; improvements in transportation, the environment and sustainability; increased transparency and outreach; disaster preparedness throughout District 5, which straddles the Hayward Fault; improved relations with UC Berkeley, and more. 

I am eager to move Berkeley forward. 

As a member of Berkeley's Zoning Adjustments Board, I have proven that one person can make a significant difference, quickly gaining respect as a well prepared and fair decision-maker. As Chair of the City of Berkeley Commission on the Status of Women, I led the effort to establish a focus on the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women in Berkeley, a matter which has now been brought to the attention of city leaders. 

Just this week, the Zoning Board ruled on the revocation of permits for three Berkeley massage parlors likely engaging in prostitution, a tangible result of heightened awareness in the community. 

This year, I was proud to be recognized by Girls Incorporated of Alameda County as a 2012 Strong, Smart and Bold Woman of Distinction. 

Many of you know of the Berkeley Edible Gardens Initiative, a campaign I launched three years ago to change the permitting requirements for the sale of home grown food in Berkeley. I have worked with a broad array of stakeholders in the urban agriculture movement to write, promote and pass Edible Gardens legislation. 

My efforts were covered in the New York Times and other publications, and code changes are now before the Planning Commission, with very strong indications of success. Our website includes more about this effort - and links to articles. If you would like to visit my own family's highly productive edible garden, it will be featured on an upcoming urban farm tour. 

As your Councilperson I will move quickly on initiatives to support urban agriculture, health, the environment and sustainability, on the same proactive, collaborative basis. 

I have also continued to work on behalf of numerous community organizations. As a member of the Berkeley Public Library Foundation Board, and Chair of the North Berkeley Committee of the Branch Libraries Capital Campaign, I am raising funds to renovate and restore Berkeley's branch libraries. 

Our own North Branch recently reopened to wide acclaim, and is a testament to the power of community action on behalf of important public institutions. 

At King Middle School, where I serve as President of the PTA, I have continued to build community and lead new initiatives to support students, teachers, parents and staff. During five very rewarding years in leadership at King, volunteer participation has skyrocketed, and fundraising has increased by almost 500%. 

I fought hard to maintain King's "cohort system" of Vice Principals and Counselors, a key element in the school's positive social and learning atmosphere, and raised the funds needed to cover associated shortfalls. 

I will use the same leadership, outreach and community-building skills, coupled with my experience in law, governance, policy and small business, to support our neighborhoods, business districts and local and city-wide initiatives. 

Over the next six months, I look forward to meeting with all of you to hear about your own hopes, dreams and concerns for North Berkeley, and for the city at large. I will announce a "kick-off event" in the coming weeks, and we will have many other opportunities to meet as the campaign unfolds. 

Please visit my preliminary website,, where you can sign up to support the campaign, or send me an email at 

Thank you for supporting Strong, Smart and Bold leadership for Berkeley!