Press Release: Davila prevails in District 2, first incumbent unseated since 1994

Noah Sochet
Friday November 18, 2016 - 10:55:00 PM

With more than 8100 ballots counted in Berkeley’s District 2, Cheryl Davila has won the city council race, becoming the first candidate to unseat a sitting council member in nearly a quarter century. Davila, a 35 year resident of West Berkeley, has served on the City’s Human Welfare Commission since 2009. 

In a campaign focused on a growing affordable housing crisis, Davila promised to promote “beautification without gentrification” noting “when development caters to only constituents who are new, high-income residents that can afford above-market-rate housing, we push out the existing business owners, homeowners, and renters. The outcome is a Berkeley without diversity – large corporations own the businesses and wealthy people dominate the neighborhoods.” Davila repeatedly pointed out that the previous city council allowed agreements with developers that produced new apartment buildings with little or no affordable units, and paltry community benefit packages. Davila has also proposed funding mental health crisis response teams that would include mental health professionals trained in de-escalation; they would deploy instead of police officers, insisting “when someone is in crisis, they need a counselor, not a fire truck.” 

Local residents, two-thirds of whom voted against incumbent Darryl Moore, expressed enthusiasm for Davila. Kathy Horsely, a longtime resident of District 2, said, “Cheryl won my support because of her personal qualities: honesty, modesty, sense of responsibility to the community, and reverence for culture—her own and the cultures of people around her. At all of her campaign events, she made a place for music, dance, and poetry.” 

Rochelle Gause, West Berkeley mother of two, pointed to the larger council swing from moderate to progressive in this election: “I hope this new council can start to address Berkeley's affordable housing crisis in a real way. I know Cheryl believes in the kind of city I want to raise my kids in: equitable, diverse, and committed to social justice.” 

In a statement, Davila noted the dark national political climate, but expressed hopefulness about the changes coming to Berkeley’s City Hall: “Despite the deeply painful national news, here in Berkeley, progressive values won across the ballot,” adding, “I am deeply humbled by the outpouring of support I’ve received from the neighborhoods of District 2. It will be my honor to serve as your councilwoman, and I’ll do my very best to make sure that your voices are heard at City Hall.