Tuesday is last day to vote in District 4 Berkeley election

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Monday March 06, 2017 - 08:57:00 PM

Voters who live in Berkeley City Council District 4 in the city's downtown area have one more day to vote in a special vote-by-mail election pitting graduate student Ben Gould against veteran activist Kate Harrison.

Voters may still drop off ballots in a drop box in front of Berkeley City Hall at 2180 Milvia St. that's open 24 hours a day or at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office at 1225 Fallon Street in Oakland, which is open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Voting by mail began on Feb. 6 and ends on Tuesday. Ballots received by Friday will still be counted.


The special election is needed because incumbent councilman Jesse Arreguin was elected to be Berkeley's new mayor in November and took office in December, leaving the District 4 seat open. 

The vacancy means that currently there are only eight votes on council, instead of the usual nine, and that fact has resulted in at least one deadlock on the council. 


Kate Harrison, 58, who works as an international justice advisor, says she's running because, "Berkeley deserves bold progressive, leadership - the kind I've provided the community as a government executive, commissioner and small business owner." 

In her ballot statement, Harrison said, "I helped pass Berkeley's rent control ordinance, led a successful campaign last year that provides $4 million a year for affordable housing and secured community benefits from downtown developers." 

Harrison said her priorities are creating affordable in-fill housing, addressing homelessness, protecting tenants, revitalizing the city's downtown, making the city sustainable and saving Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, which may be closed in the future. 

Gould, 25, who ran for mayor last November but finished fourth with only 2.93 percent of the vote, is finishing up master's degrees at the University of California at Berkeley in public policy and environmental engineering. He also works as a policy analyst and previously worked as an environmental engineer. 

Gould said in his ballot statement that he was born and raised in Berkeley, graduated from Berkeley High School and, "I love Berkeley and will fight to protect our city's values and diversity." 

Gould said, "With my experience as an environmental engineer and as a policy analyst I bring a rational, non-ideological approach to addressing Berkeley's challenges." 

He promised, "I will deliver real solutions rooted in progressive principles" and said he will push for "long-term, regional approaches to homelessness." Gould said, "I will champion housing at all income levels to preserve Berkeley's cultural and economic diversity and I will continue the work of revitalizing downtown, expanding transit and bicycle infrastructure, ensuring public safety and leading efforts to prevent and mitigate climate change." 


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