Measure T was this year’s closest election contest in Berkeley, with the outcome uncertain for over a week following the election.
Measure T would have made changes to West Berkeley zoning and to the West Berkeley plan to allow greater height and density on large sites.
Measure T lost by a margin of 512 votes, 25,291 to 24,779. In West Berkeley, the area west of San Pablo Avenue, the measure lost by 649 votes. In the rest of the city east of San Pablo, the measure finished ahead by a small margin.
Measure T West Berkeley Re-zoning
| Council |
|Vote Margin for No||Percent|
| West |
60% of the voters in West Berkeley precincts voted against the measure. In precinct 990, which encompassed most of the area that would have been re-zoned, 69% of voters voted No.
Both Councilmembers who represent parts of West Berkeley, Darryl Moore (District 2) and Linda Maio (District 1), supported the measure but the measure lost in both their districts.
It was 53% to 47% for No in Maio’s district and 56% to 44% for No in Moore’s district. Moore was easily re-elected, winning District 2 with 59% of the vote against 28% for Denisha DeLane and 13% for Adolfo Cabral. Both Delane and Cabral opposed Measure T.
In Precinct 990, the combined total for DeLane and Cabral was 19 votes higher than Moore’s vote. But in every other precinct, including two in West Berkeley, Moore’s vote exceeded the combined total of his two opponents.
In the rest of the city, the vote was relatively evenly divided. As with Measure S, there was the traditional division between hills voters and flatlands voters, but it was not very pronounced.
Margins in favor of the measure in the hills were for the most part not large. Margins against the measure in Districts 3 (South Berkeley), 4 (Downtown and Central Berkeley), and 7 (Telegraph area), all represented by progressive councilmembers who opposed the measure, were relatively small.
District 4 voters opposed Measure T by a slim margin of 53 votes, or 50.5%, the same as the citywide percentage against the measure. Voters who live in the two Downtown precincts in District 4, many of whom are also students, supported the measure.
Measure T’s strongest support came far from west Berkeley, in the hills above Claremont Ave in District 8, the only precincts in the city where over 60% of voters supported the measure.
Student voters split evenly on the measure. In thirteen student precincts in Districts 7 and 8 (consolidated to seven precincts this year), Measure T lost by just 11 votes. The measure passed in some student precincts and failed in others. 40% of the students who voted did not vote either way on the measure.
Citywide, about 17% of Berkeley voters did not vote on Measure T, a higher percentage than the 11% who didn’t vote on Measure S.
The Coalition for a Sustainable West Berkeley raised $44,354 to support the measure: over two-thirds of the funds came from Douglas J. Herst and Herst Ventures. Douglas Herst has proposed the Peerless Greens community project for land he owns on 4th Street in West Berkeley. Measure T would have allowed him greater flexibility for developing his land.
Six members of the City Council supported Measure T, as did Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and State Senator Loni Hancock. The Berkeley Democratic Club, the city’s most well-heeled Democratic Club, also supported the measure.
Opponents had the support of the West Berkeley Artisans and Industrial Companies. Opposition from CEOs and presidents of businesses like Urban Ore, Acme Bread and Libby Laboratories probably helped sway some voters against the measure. This writer also opposed the measure and his name appears on the list of No on T endorsers.
The Save West Berkeley Committee raised $23,545 to oppose the measure. While the pro-T coalition was able to pay for three mailers to voters, the anti-T committee had enough for one mailer and apparently were able to effectively get their message to voters.