November Newsletter on Housing Forum


BCA Newsletter Nov 2015 for web_print

Read our housing forum newsletter.

In this issue: Speakers Bios and talking points, Calendar of events for housing issues, Call from Berkeley Tenants Union to protest ZAB decision to allow a formerly rent controlled building to be demolished, Call for Photos of Unsafe Housing Conditions and a poem for Tenants Together by Fred Dodsworth

Berkeley’s Housing Crisis

HousingCrisis4cSunday, November 22nd, 2pm-4:30 pm, Berkeley Arts Festival Space, 2133 University (between Shattuck & Oxford Streets)

Soaring rents and home prices have made Berkeley an increasingly unaffordable place. People can’t find housing, live in fear of eviction. We’ve lost much of our city’s diversity.


Come learn more about this crisis and what can we do:

What can our local elected officials do?

How do we prevent displacement of lower income folk and people of color?

Discuss ways to get funding for affordable housing:

  • increase business license fee paid by large landlords
  • city density bonus
  • housing impact fees and inclusionary housing
  • new revenue, such as a proposed tax on short-term rentals

Speakers include:

  • Stephen Barton, Ph.D., Former Director of the Housing Department and Deputy Director of the Rent Stabilization Program in Berkeley
  • Moni Law, Affordable Housing Activist
  • Rick Lewis, Executive Director, ­­Bay Area Community Land Trust, former Housing Advisory Commission Member
  • Austin Pritzkat, President, Berkeley Student Cooperative
  • Katherine Harr, Berkeley Tenants Union
  • Facilitated by Paola Laverde, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner

There will be an opportunity for questions and comments

Sponsored by the Ad Hoc Committee for a Progressive Berkeley with support from Berkeley Citizens Action, the Berkeley Tenants Union, Berkeley NAACP and the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition.

Facebook Page:

Public Forum on Fair Elections in Berkeley


Common Cause forum on Fair Elections in Berkeley

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: UC Berkeley (Valley Life Science Building, Room 2040)
                 Harmon Way
                 Berkeley, CA 94720
Campaign spending is out of control. In Berkeley, 7 of the last 8 City Council races went to the candidate who raised the most money, as did the last mayor’s race. We need a system where candidates can successfully run for office even if they don’t have connections to wealth.

Join Common Cause for an open forum to discuss the Berkeley Fair Elections Act, a small donor matching funds proposal. Hear first hand from supporters of the measure and ask questions about how the system would work.

Hope to see you there!

Support the Berkeley Fair Elections Act (Common Cause)


Campaign spending is out of control. In Berkeley, 7 of the last 8 City Council races went to the candidate who raised the most money, as did the last mayor’s race. We need a system where candidates can successfully run for office even if they don’t have connections to wealth.

Take action today by signing our petition below!;jsessionid=3DCE4B5FC57E35C83379D4BAE7D4AE53.app267a?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=976 

Together, we can amplify local voices and empower candidates to run small donor campaigns. Sign onto our petition, and join us for a public forum on October 28 and for the council hearing on November 10.

PETITION: Amplify Local Voices. 

Support the Berkeley Fair Elections Act.

Dear Berkeley City Council,

California Common Cause, its members and allies urge the Berkeley City Council to place the Fair Elections Act on the ballot, which would magnify the role of average voters and empower candidates to run small donor campaigns.

When candidates have to spend most of their time fundraising, it can distract them from talking to voters and working on policy solutions that prioritize the public’s priorities. The high costs of campaigns are threatening to price out candidates without personal wealth or connections to wealth. The Fair Elections Act works to remedy the problem by allowing candidates to spend more time talking to voters and less time dialing for dollars.

The goals of the program are to:

1. Encourage more Berkeley residents to get involved in local elections.
2. Diversify the donor pool by increasing the number of small contributions.
3. Drive candidates to spend more time listening to voters.
4. Prevent candidates from appearing or becoming beholden to large donors.

The City of Berkeley needs a campaign system that prioritizes the public interest and reduces the amount of time candidates spend dialing for dollars. Vote to put the Fair Elections Act on the 2016 ballot and give Berkeley voters the opportunity to create a more equitable political system.

Forum on Fair Elections

BCA Forum on Fair Berkeley Elections    – Saturday, September 19, 12:15 to 2:30 pm, West Branch Library (Meeting Room), 1125 University Avenue

Berkeley Needs to Take Action to Make Elections Fairerstamp money out of politics

Recent Berkeley elections have given little voice to minority views in city council. The elections have been marred by illegal campaign contributions, and massive contributions from developers an d corporations. In addition, the 2014 gerrymandered student district resulted in an abysmal voter turnout of just 21% for their city council seat, (compared with 43-59% in the other city council contests.)

We must do better! Join us to make plans to get out the progressive vote in the important 2016 elections, and increase representation of minority voices in Berkeley elections. Speakers/Topics include:

  • 12:00-12:15 pm: Registration, meet and greet
  • 12:20 pm: Call to order (MC)
  • 12:25 pm: Introductions
  • 12: 30 pm: Why and how Berkeley should switch to proportional representation. Jim Lindsay, a founder of Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER), will explain how to strengthen minority voices in Berkeley City Council elections. CfER was involved in the successful 2004 Berkeley ballot measure enabling Instant Runoff Voting, which was first used in 2010.
  • 12:55 pm: Berkeley’s proposal for Public Campaign Financing. Speakers include Daniel Newman, a founder and current President of Maplight & Dean Metzger,   vice-chair of the Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission. They will speak about the Berkeley Fair Elections Act, a proposed measure for the 2016 Berkeley ballot which would make it possible for good candidates to run for office and win, without access to wealthy donors. If approved by voters, this measure would provide matching funds for qualified candidates for mayor, city council, auditor, school board, and rent board.
  • 1:25 pm: Update from Move to Amend, by Bernard (Ben) Simmons and Phoebe Anne Sorgen, on efforts to build the massive movement it will take to legalize US democracy and get a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood and money being equated with speech.
  • 1:50 pm: Discussion: What actions do Berkeley progressives need to take to prepare for the 2016 election season. How can we work to improve voter registration and turnout by students and residents of South and West Berkeley.
  • 2:30 pm: Adjourn. space reservation ends at 3 pm


Teach-in and discussion on Berkeley development & affordable housing

BCA April 2015 Newsletter-final

Join BCA on Saturday, April 18, 2-4 pm, at the Berkeley Arts Festival space at 2133 University Avenue (above Shattuck Avenue near Ace Hardware)

Join Berkeley Citizens Action, Berkeley Neighborhoods Council, and the forming Sustainable Berkeley Coalition

What do we want for our future? How do we maintain a diverse city? What role can we play?

  • Hear what’s in the pipeline & our city’s need for affordable housing
  • Discuss opportunities for coalition-building
  • Ÿ Explore preparations for the 2016 elections

Keynote speakers: Joseph Smooke and Dyan Ruiz, journalists covering the San Francisco housing crisis. Plus Steve Finacom, Rob Wrenn, Tom Hunt, Jesse Arreguin & Sophie Hahn.


BCA News, February 2015

BCA Newsletter Feb 2015

BlackLivesMatter Forum 

Take Action to End Racial Profiling and Injustice in Berkeley Saturday, February 21,

1:30-4:30 pm
South Berkeley Senior Center
2939 Ellis St. (@ Ashby, west of MLK)
Come to a solution-oriented forum presented by Berkeley Citizens Action with Berkeley NAACP and the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission. Continue reading

November Election Endorsement Newsletter

BCA Endorsements 2014 color for web

BCA Endorsements 2014 for print (1)

The endorsements listed in this newsletter were selected by BCA membership at the Election Forum held on September 21st. The Rent Board slate that is selected at the Summer Berkeley Tenants Union Convention is automatically endorsed by BCA. Continue reading

Candidate’s Responses to Questions from BCA and BTU

Before our Forum, BCA and BTU wrote some probing questions for our candidates. The candidates put good faith effort into the responses, which are very informative. Click the links below (on the Berkeley Tenant Union Website) to download and read:

BCA Endorsement Results

BCA Endorsements 2014

November 2014 Election Endorsements: These Endorsements were made at the Election Forum held September 21st by the BCA membership. Thank you to all who came out to discuss the issues and make the decision on candidates, measures and propositions which best met our values as Berkeley progressives. Please support these candidates and measures. Continue reading