Measure S, the so-called “Sit/Lie” ballot measure and Measure T, which would change zoning in West Berkeley, both remain too close to call, our colleagues at Berkeleyside report Wednesday morning:
Last night, 32,661 votes were recorded in the mayoral contest. Four years ago, over 56,000 Berkeleyans voted for mayor. Given the high turnouts observed in Berkeley yesterday, it’s clear there are plenty of votes remaining to be counted. Continue reading
by Cy Musiker
Man asleep in downtown Berkeley. Measure S, which would restrict lying down in public, is a contentious topic in town. (SF Homeless Project: Flickr)
With the election less than two weeks away, we’re diving into local races. On Tuesday we highlighted San Francisco, and now we’re focusing on Berkeley, where the politics are always passionate.
Incumbent Mayor Tom Bates is running against five challengers. There’s also a no-sitting measure on the ballot and a plan to allow more commercial development in West Berkeley.
Frances Dinkelspiel is a co-founder of the website Berkeleyside, one of our KQED News associates. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview Thursday:
CY MUSIKER: Tom Bates is one of the most familiar faces in Bay Area politics. He’s been mayor since 2002, and before that he was in the state legislature. Tell us about his opposition.
BERKELEYSIDE’S FRANCES DINKELSPIEL: Bates is facing five challengers, only one of whom has any significant political experience.
His strongest challenger, probably, is Kriss Worthington, who’s sat on the city council for 16 years and is in many ways Bates’ nemesis. He’s much more progressive than Bates and often leads the pack that is in opposition to Bates’ slate on the council.
The second strongest contender is a woman named Jacquelyn McCormick. She doesn’t have a lot of experience, but she’s pounding Mayor Bates over the city’s fiscal situation.
Man asleep in downtown Berkeley. (SF Homeless Project: Flickr)
The city of Berkeley has a storied history of tolerance. But that attitude is being tested by Measure S, in which the tension between tolerance and notions of quality of life is coming to a head.
The ordinance would prohibit sitting on sidewalks in commercial districts between 7am and 10pm. There are certain exceptions — most notably for medical emergencies and people in wheelchairs — and a warning must be given first. After that, violators would have to pay a $75 fine or perform community service.
On KQED’s Forum show on Friday, both the Measure S supporter and opponent were clear that they are sympathetic to the homeless and their need for services. But they strongly disagreed over whether Measure S would help those in need to get food, shelter or other services. Continue reading