Public Comment

For A Equitable and Sustainable Berkeley: West Berkeley Artisans & Industrial Companies’ Berkeley City Council Endorsements

WEBAIC: West Berkeley Artisans & Industrial Companies
Thursday November 01, 2018 - 11:54:00 AM

In response to 12 years of a Mayor and majority City Council actively seeking to undermine the protective West Berkeley Plan policies and zoning that make possible West Berkeley’s local, sustainable, industrial maker & artisan/arts economy and culture, in 2016 WEBAIC endorsed Mayor and City Council candidates for the first time. Five of six WEBAIC-endorsed candidates won, resulting in a much more supportive and collaborative environment for WEBAIC and its constituency of approximately 320 PDRR (Production, Distribution, Repair, Recycling) companies, their 7000+ good jobs, and the 250 existing art/music/dance studios with 1000+ working artists.

Notably, since last election’s turnover of the Mayor/Council majority, the City of Berkeley abandoned its large-scale rezoning efforts that would have resulted in widespread displacement of industrial and artisan companies providing important City revenue, goods and services, and thousands of family wage jobs for those needing them the most. Moving in the opposite, positive direction, the City has now joined with 28 other Bay cities in the Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Initiative to facilitate an interconnected regional manufacturing ecosystem.

Through hard experience, WEBAIC has come to understand the necessity of having a Mayor and Council that value the contributions our vibrant and robust industrial maker & arts sectors bring to Berkeley’s economy and culture, including their critical role in the City’s efforts to achieve and maintain broad-based equity, ethnic and economic diversity, and environmental sustainability.

In light of this experience, WEBAIC undertook an endorsement process to identify who we believe are the 2018 City Council candidates that best understand and support West Berkeley’s sustainable industrial & arts economy and culture. WEBAIC’s 2018 endorsements: 

District 1: Dual Endorsement – Igor Tregub and Margo Schueler (Remember to rank choice vote) 

District 1 is especially important to WEBAIC and the future of Berkeley’s sustainable industry and arts since it contains the northern half of the industrial industrial zones including all the Manufacturing zone plus half of the the Mixed Use Light Industrial and Mixed Use Residential zones. Igor Tregub has an impressive, clearly demonstrated track record of supporting WEBAIC and its constituency in our mutual efforts to maintain and protect West Berkeley’s vibrant, mixed-use economy. Margo Schueler’s impressive understanding of West Berkeley’s role in our City comes from her lived experience as both a welder in San Francisco’s shipyards and as an engineer with the Golden Gate Bridge and EBMUD. Both would make great representatives of District 1. 

District 4: Councilmember Kate Harrison 

WEBAIC endorsed Kate in 2016. She’s demonstrated that she continues to deserve our support through her positive Council actions and deep understanding of what West Berkeley’s industrial zones provide to our City. 

District 7: Rigel Robinson 

Retiring Council member Kris Worthington has endorsed Rigel. Being one of WEBAIC’s strongest supporters on the Council, WEBAIC takes Kris’ endorsement seriously, but our own discussion with Rigel revealed his substantive appreciation of the jobs, economy, and culture that West Berkeley’s industrial zones make possible. This is especially impressive coming from someone who has spent most of their time in the university setting, some distance from West Berkeley’s 

creative ferment. We look forward to a positive working relationship with Rigel on Council. 

District 8: Mary Kay Lacey 

Mary Kay impressed us with both her appreciation for what West Berkeley brings to the cornucopia that is our City. She’s also impressed us as a Planning Commissioner with her support for the policies installed in the zoning to preserve and encourage West Berkeley’s industrial maker and arts sectors. Lori Droste did not respond to our efforts to interview her. 

If you want to continue to live in a City that bakes its own bread, brews its own beer, and makes its own bikes, please vote on November 6 for the WEBAIC-endorsed candidates. 

West Berkeley Works!