Calling all tenants! Save fair elections and stop gerrymandering in Berkeley!
Come out on Saturday at 10:30 AM for the kickoff of the redistricting referendum. Folks who care about giving all voters a voice in Berkeley should come pick up petitions tomorrow – we have 30 days to gather 5,275 signatures!
The Council majority have approved a redistricting plan under the guise of creating a student district – but the district would only include students on the south side of campus, and cut the student co-ops from District 7, placing these progressive voters in the homeowner-dominated District 6. It seems that the vote may have been timed such that signatures must be collected while students, and practically everyone else in Berkeley, are traveling or in bed with the flu.
Tenants must show strong tenant support for the Berkeley Referendum Coalition, which includes the only two tenant Council members – the only Council folks who work closely with BTU to represent your concerns!
Worthington’s re-election may be at stake.
WHEN: Saturday, December 21, 2013, 10:30 AM
WHAT: Kick-Off and Press Conference: Berkeley Redistricting Referendum
WHO: Council members Jesse Arreguin and Kriss Worthington; neighborhood leaders, progressive activists and students
WHERE: Outside Mudrakers Cafe, 2801 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley
Berkeley Referendum Coalition press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2013
Jesse Arreguin: 510-717-2910
Alejandro Soto-Vigil : 510-610-0466
Lisa Stephens: 510-575-2068
Kriss Worthington: 510-548-879
Matthew Lewis: 310-869-8250
A diverse coalition of Berkeley residents including neighborhood leaders, progressives and students will kick off a month-long signature drive this Saturday to stop the City Council’s controversial redistricting ordinance from going forward.
On Tuesday, December 17th, a divided Berkeley City Council on a 6-3 vote adopted a redistricting plan that will shape the composition of the Council for the next ten years.
Just like we have seen in Texas and throughout the country in which redistricting has been used for partisan political purposes, Berkeley’s City Council has adopted a controversial plan that not only divides neighborhoods but also gerrymanders out students and progressive voters who live north of the UC Berkeley campus. The Council rejected an alternative plan that (the United Student District Amendment) united students and kept neighborhoods together.
The Council could have chosen the plan that was more fair and inclusive, but instead adopted a partisan plan explicitly designed to minimize progressive voices on the Council. The Council also ignored other redistricting plans that were more balanced including the plan submitted by the Berkeley Neighborhoods Council.
Redistricting has been before the Council for the last three years. In early 2012 the Council voted to delay redistricting for one year, which disenfranchised over 4,000 people, keeping them from voting for the City Councilmember who would ultimately represent them. In November 2012 Berkeley voters approved changes to the Charter around redistricting which gave Council total flexibility to draw new boundaries. Prior to Measure R, the Council could only make minor adjustments to pre-existing boundaries that were adopted by voters in 1986. Unfortunately the Council has abused this new power, creating an unfair map.
Proponents of the redistricting referendum have 30 days to gather 5,275 signatures to stop the ordinance from going into effect. If we are successful the Council will have to reconsider the ordinance or put it on the ballot. The Berkeley Referendum Coalition is working over this holiday season to gather signatures so that the City Council can reconsider its decision and do the right thing – come up with a fair and inclusive plan that unites neighborhoods, students and the entire community.
Fun fact: In 1812, the word “gerrymandering” was created in response to Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry’s redrawing of state senate districts to favor the Democratic-Republican Party.
Berkeleyside: Berkeley Redistricting Map Splits Council, Community
“Some officials and community members testified that the council should reconsider its previous vote and, instead, approve Elgstrand’s USDA map. Supporters of this map said it does a better job protecting the progressive voice and keeping neighborhood groups like Halcyon and Le Conte together. Some questioned the legitimacy of the public process surrounding the BSDC map.”
“Worthington, who represents District 7, said Wednesday that he, Arreguin and Anderson favored an alternative plan called the United Student District Amendment (USDA) that proposed that college-age students comprise 90 percent of the district.”
“The BSD plan district covers mainly the south side of campus, dominated by residential fraternities and sororities, and excludes the more progressive co-op residences located north of campus.”
“The United Student District Amendment, proposed this summer as an improvement to the BSDC plan, includes Northside student cooperatives, as well as the dorms on the northeast side of campus and International House. Both sides want a student district — some hope that new boundaries could put a student on the City Council — but proponents of the USDA plan have called the BSDC map unnecessarily exclusive.”
City Council December 17, 2013 Item 2, Redistricting:
Ayes: Capitelli, Maio, Moore, Wengraf, Wozniak and Bates.
City Council December 3 Alternate Proposal Page 30:
2013-12-03 Item 29 City Council RedistrictingWITH MAPS