Official paperwork was filed today in Berkeley’s City Clerk’s office by Jacquelyn McCormick. She is poised to challenge 10-year incumbent, Tom Bates, in Berkeley’s 2012 Mayor Election. McCormick is a small business owner and active community organizer. She is spokesperson for citizen and neighborhood issues and has a broad understanding of city problems as founder and ongoing contributor to the website berkeleycouncilwatch.com.
The city is facing rising costs with a diminished ability to pay. For years, the city has been cutting maintenance to infrastructure, parks and recreational facilities; and there is a continuing decline of support for our social services. At the same time, the cost of our employee retirement and health care benefits continue to rise. Of particular concern to McCormick is the inability of the city to continue to fund city social service agencies: “We need to change course” states Ms. McCormick, who is the coordinator of the citizens group “Berkeley Budget SOS”, advocates of comprehensive financial reporting and citizen based planning. “Berkeley is still a great place to live but the neglect of basic services is starting to show. The people of Berkeley want an efficient city, run in good order, with streets repaired, strong schools, parks, pools and libraries; and they deserve for all civic functions to run well. I will get back to basics and put the needs and desires of the people first.”
According to McCormick, the city needs to get its house in order. She maintains that the future of Berkeley is to “do more with less”. That means good management, good information, and strong citizen participation with shared solutions. While she welcomes new development, she also understands the benefits and drawbacks associated with it: “It is important to understand how to achieve a true balance, while supporting what our community desires in the process. Berkeley is yearning for new and more dynamic leadership; the old ways of doing business are no longer working. I have the energy, experience, desire and political independence to get things done.” And she does. Just ask anyone in Berkeley Budget SOS: Her leadership inspired almost 4000 signatures to be gathered for the FACTS initiative in 6 weeks.
McCormick has remarkable enthusiasm for the City of Berkeley; and she is fond of discussing its many notable characteristics, ranging from its possession of the state’s educational “crown jewel”, U.C. Berkeley, to its multiple historic landmarks and extraordinarily diverse people.
Those of us who also love Berkeley await her campaign with renewed interest, relishing the idea that the status quo will be challenged. After all, who doesn’t love a good fight, with all of the earmarks of a David and Goliath cautionary tale?
For more information, volunteer opportunities and donations: mccormick4mayor.com