New: Rent Board Slate Group Charged with Violating Berkeley Campaign Finance Laws (News Analysis)

By Rob Wrenn
Thursday October 25, 2012 - 04:23:00 PM

A slate mailer organization (SMO), Berkeley Tenants United For Fairness (TUFF), has used a major portion of the $25,000 in large contributions ostensibly given in opposition to Measure U, to finance two mailers largely devoted to support of the four rent board candidates on the TUFF slate that includes incumbent commissioner Nicole Drake. Berkeley law limits individual contributions to candidates to $250. -more-

Flash: Planet Endorsements Now Available Online

Thursday October 25, 2012 - 12:36:00 PM

Can't wait for the definitive list of Planet endorsements, due out in tomorrow's issue? Get a sneak preview by clicking here. -more-

New Complaint Filed about Yes on T Campaign in Berkeley

By Zelda Bronstein
Wednesday October 24, 2012 - 11:41:00 AM

On Tuesday, October 23, I amended my October 17 complaint to the City of Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission about the Yes on T campaign to include a new complaint, this one dealing with the campaign’s violation of City law about mass mailings. -more-

Meeting Attendance an Issue in Rent Board Race

By Rob Wrenn
Friday October 19, 2012 - 02:44:00 PM

All four of the incumbent members of the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board whose four-year terms are up this year are seeking re-election. One of them, Nicole Drake, has a very poor attendance record.

The other three are running on the “Affordable Housing” slate selected at a convention of rent control supporters this summer. They are Asa Dodsworth, Judy Shelton, and Igor Tregub. They are joined on the Affordable Housing slate by Alejandro Soto-Vigil, vice chair of the City’s Housing Advisory Commission and a legislative aide to Councilmember Kriss Worthington.

The Committee for a Progressive Berkeley, an independent expenditure committee supporting the Affordable Housing slate, raised the issue of Nicole Drake's attendance in one of their mailers..What are the facts?

Here are the absentee rates for the four commissioners seeking reelection for the period beginning after the last election in 2010. The first table is for full Board meetings, both regularly scheduled and special meetings. The second is for attendance at meetings of the various committees that commissioners serve on, currently totaling nine.

Absentee Rates

Incumbent Rent Board Candidates

Regular and Special Board Meetings
Candidate Meetings Absent
Igor Tregub (AH) 0%
Asa Dodsworth (AH) 4%
Judy Shelton (AH) 4%
Nicole Drake (TUFF) 41%

Based on attendance at meetings from Dec. 2010 - Sept. 2012.
AH = “Affordable Housing” Slate; TUFF = “Tenants United For Fairness” Slate
Source: Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board,

Absentee Rates

Incumbent Rent Board Candidates

Committee Meetings
Candidate Meetings Absent
Igor Tregub (AH) 0%
Judy Shelton (AH) 0%
Asa Dodsworth (AH) 7%
Nicole Drake (TUFF) 64%

Based on attendance at meetings from Jan. 2011 – June 2012, the latest available online; does not include meetings with no minutes available
AH = “Affordable Housing” Slate; Tuff = “Tenants United For Fairness” Slate
Commissioners typically serve on 3 or 4 committees;
Source: Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board,

Nicole Drake, a legislative aide to Vice-Mayor Linda Maio, is running on a slate calling itself Tenants United for Fairness. Other slate members are Kiran Shenoy, an attorney and police review commissioner; Judy J. Hunt, a commissioner on the Alameda County Commission on Aging, and an owner of rental property; and Jay James, a mechanical engineer with no prior record of public service. The TUFF Web site, as of today, provides no information about how this slate was formed. -more-

Berkeley Mayoral Candidates Star in Neighborhood Forums

By Ted Friedman
Friday October 19, 2012 - 02:40:00 PM

The candidates have been honing their motivational speaking skills with each event.. Thursday at LeConte Elementary School was the fourth mayoral forum, and as far as anyone—including the candidates—knows this is the last. -more-

Fire Damages Berkeley's Good Shepherd Church

By Dan McMenamin (BCN) and Planet
Sunday October 21, 2012 - 10:57:00 AM

A two-alarm fire damaged the historic Good Shepherd Episcopal church in Berkeley on Saturday night, a fire dispatcher said. -more-

Updated: Who's Endorsing Whom and What in Berkeley and Elsewhere

By Linda Franklin
Sunday October 21, 2012 - 05:44:00 PM

Having trouble deciding how to vote? Here's an update to our chart showing which organizations have endorsed which candidates and ballot propositions and measures. -more-

Election News Elsewhere: New York Times Takes Up Sitting Ban

Saturday October 20, 2012 - 08:29:00 AM

There was a pretty good piece in the New York Times about attempts around the country to ban homeless people from city streets. Berkeley's Measure S was prominently featured, but there was a small but significant error in the story:

"The City Council and mayor have put a measure on the November ballot that would ban sitting and lying on commercial sidewalks from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., at the risk of a $75 citation." [emphasis added].

A major complaint of the Anti-S camp is that almost everything anyone could object to is already banned, including lying down, so Measure S is just a superfluous slap at the down-and-out. We've reported the error to the Times--let's see if they post a correction. -more-

Election News Elsewhere: Fraud Complaint Filed against Yes on Berkeley Measure T

Friday October 19, 2012 - 04:17:00 PM

Congratulations to Frances Dinkelspiel at for doing a thorough investigative followup on Zelda Bronstein's complaint against the Yes on T campaign for using fraudulent endorsements. -more-

Watch the Berkeley Election on Video

Friday October 19, 2012 - 03:53:00 PM

Previous Election Articles

Friday October 19, 2012 - 03:46:00 PM

Are you confused about the upcoming election? Below you'll be able to find all the articles about the November 2012 election that have appeared to date in the Planet, with editorial endorsements at the top of the stack. -more-

Who's Financing Berkeley Campaigns? A Easy Way to Find Out

By Thomas Lord
Friday October 19, 2012 - 03:43:00 PM

If you wonder who's paying for all the Berkeley campaign information you've been seeing around town lately, now it's easy to find out.

Here's where the council and mayoral candidate campaign finances stood as of 9/30, in an easy-to-browse format created for The Berkeley Almanac:

This link will get the same kind of information regarding Berkeley ballot measures, and more:

The information comes from the city of Berkeley campaign finance web site. -more-