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Berkeley Rent Stabiilization Board -- Johnson/Kelley/Mendonca/Simon-Wiesberg/Walker

Submitted by caitlin on Thu, 10/29/2020 - 14:08

To fill the five open seats on the Rent Stabilization Board Courage is recommending the following five members of the Right to Housing slate, which is made up of a diverse group of experienced community advocates and housing experts. 

About the Position

In 2020, members of the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board will be elected in an at-large race in which the top five candidates, rather than the usual four, will go on to serve. Board Commissioners serve four-year terms. There are no term limits for Board Commissioners.

Dominique Walker

About the Candidate

Dominique Walker, a housing-justice organizer and activist, is from Berkeley, CA. She is the co-founder of School of Social Justice and Community Development in Oakland and Moms4housing, a coalition of Black mothers that claims empty corporate-owned homes for the community. According to campaign materials, Walker is running for election because she believes that every single person has the right to accessible and affordable housing.

Walker’s priorities for Berkeley renters include fixing habitability issues, rehabilitating older units, and assisting both landlords and tenants in acquiring more energy-efficient upgrades.

Walker is endorsed by several progressive groups in the district, such as ACCE, East Bay Young Democrats, SEIU Local 1021, and Sierra Club. At this time, Walker does not have any problematic endorsements and has not electronically filed campaign contributions. According to our analysis, Dominique Walker is a strong choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.


 

Leah Simon-Weisberg

About the Candidate

Leah Simon-Weisberg, a housing attorney, was born in Berkeley, CA. She currently serves as vice chair of the Berkeley Rent Board. In 2019, Simon-Weisberg represented Moms 4 Housing in court, arguing that housing is a human right and that people should be able to live in empty corporate-owned homes. According to campaign materials, Simon-Weisberg is running for re-election because she believes that everyone has a right to safe, secure, decent, and affordable housing.

Simon-Weisberg’s priorities for Berkeley renters include dismantling systemically racist structures, like redlining, and preventing displacement and gentrification that continues to target Black residents, as well as other people of color. 

Simon-Weisberg’s plans include extending rent control to new units, establishing a cap on the manipulated inflation of the market, and ensuring that policies put community needs over developers’ needs

Simon-Weisberg is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district, such as the East Bay Young Democrats, ACCE, SEIU Local 1021, and the Sierra Club. At this time, Simon-Weisberg does not have any problematic endorsements and has not electronically filed campaign contributions. According to our analysis, Leah Simon-Weisberg is a strong choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.


 

Mari Mendonca

About the Candidate

Mari Mendonca, a housing advocate, was born and raised in Berkeley, CA. She currently serves as a Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner, having been appointed unanimously in 2019. Mendonca is a member of Friends of Adeline, a group dedicated to fighting for the dignity and rights of low-income people, and previously served as a committee leader with Unite Here 2850. According to campaign materials, Mendonca is running for re-election because she believes that everyone has a right to safe, secure, decent, and affordable housing.

Mendonca’s priorities for Berkeley renters include dismantling systemically racist structures, like redlining, and preventing displacement and gentrification that continues to target Black residents, as well as other people of color. Mendonca’s plans include extending rent control to new units, establishing a cap on the manipulated inflation of the market, and ensuring that policies put community needs before developers’ needs.

Mendonca is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district, such as the East Bay Young Democrats, ACCE, SEIU Local 1021, and the Sierra Club. At this time, Mendonca does not have any problematic endorsements and has not electronically filed campaign contributions. According to our analysis, Mari Mendonca is a strong choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.


 

Xavier Johnson

About the Candidate

Xavier Johnson, a tenants’ rights attorney, is from Berkeley, CA. He moved to Berkeley in 2013 to pursue a law degree at UC Berkeley. He is a longtime activist in the LGBTQIA+ and African American communities and is dedicated to correcting inequities, especially in West and South Berkeley. According to campaign materials, Johnson is running for election to expand tenant protections and build support for a regional housing fund with enough resources to end our housing crisis.

Johnson’s priorities for Berkeley renters include implementing a Green New Deal that focuses on building equitable and zero-emissions housing and creating a regional measure dedicated to providing funding specifically for low-income, affordable units. He aims to protect tenants and make housing a human right.

Johnson is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district, such as Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action, Bay Rising Action, Berkeley Progressive Alliance, Berkeley Tenants Union, East Bay Democratic Socialists of America, Our Revolution East Bay, SEIU 1021, and the Sierra Club. At this time, Johnson does not have any problematic endorsements and has not electronically filed campaign contributions. According to our analysis, Xavier Johnson is a strong choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

Andy Kelley

About the Candidate

Andy Kelley, a climate change and environmental advocate, is from Berkeley, CA. He currently serves on the Alameda County Planning Commission, and also serves as the vice chair of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. He previously served as chair of the Berkeley Public Works Commission and as co-chair of the successful Measures O & P campaign, raising $135 million for services to prevent homelessness and increase affordable housing. Andy Kelley is also a former employee of Courage California. According to campaign materials, Kelley is running for election because housing is a human right and he wants to prevent record-high foreclosures, evictions, and displacement within Berkeley.

Kelley’s priorities for Berkeley renters include increasing accessibility, improving outreach, and supporting affordable housing and programs that keep residents housed. His plans are to create incentives for landlords to convert current market-rate properties into permanent and affordable units, while investigating the possibility of offering an exemption from paying some of their current property taxes for properties that voluntarily reduce rents.

Kelley is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district, such as the Berkeley Tenants Union, Berkeley Progressive Alliance, East Bay Democratic Socialists of America, SEIU 1021, and the Sierra Club. At this time, Kelley does not have any problematic endorsements and has not electronically filed campaign contributions. According to our analysis, Andy Kelley is a strong choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.