Op-ed: Why 11 current and former Berkeley elected officials endorse Laurie Capitelli

We are former and current Berkeley elected officials who are united in our support for Laurie Capitelli as our next mayor. With our direct firsthand experience, we all deeply appreciate Laurie’s love for Berkeley, his trustworthiness, good humor, compassion, decency and intelligence. We urge you to vote for Laurie as your first choice.

Laurie is a team builder. A leader in the campaign to tax the soda industry, Laurie built the broad coalition and served on the steering committee that beat Big Soda. Laurie has the collaborative skills and leadership that are needed to continue the fight for public health and ensure that Alta Bates continues to serve our community.

Laurie is a mediator and consensus builder. Laurie negotiated the groundbreaking $15 minimum wage, bringing together labor, businesses and nonprofits in a historic agreement. Prior to this achievement, Laurie co-authored and led the passage of two $15 minimum wage measures in 2015 and 2016, which were among the most progressive wage measures in the nation, reaching $15 several years faster than the state of California.

Laurie believes in the transformative power of education and has raised millions of dollars for our public schools. As a former school teacher, Laurie is committed to closing Berkeley’s achievement gap by establishing universal preschool. It’s no surprise that every endorsing School Board member supports Laurie.

Laurie champions a vibrant and culturally rich downtown. Our award-winning Downtown Plan is working. Laurie co-authored 2010’s Measure R that passed by 63%. In contrast, Jesse Arreguín authored Measure R in 2014, which would have undermined the multi-year process. Luckily, it failed 3:1.We need a strong leader like Laurie to continue the policies that bring affordable housing, economic development, transit, and arts to the vital heart of our city.

Laurie understands housing and environmental policy. Laurie’s track record on affordable housing is unparalleled. Laurie knows that people at all income levels need the security of housing. Laurie has approved significantly more affordable housing units and $12 million more in affordable housing than his opponents. Laurie also voted for the Climate Action Plan in its entirety while Jesse Arreguín did not. The League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay endorses Laurie because he understands that housing close to transit leads to less traffic and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Laurie Capitelli will be the mayor we need for Berkeley, a person with the unparalleled knowledge, experience and understanding that is necessary for the job. Please vote Laurie Capitelli as your first choice for mayor.

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Tom Bates is the current mayor of Berkeley; Loni Hancock is a former Berkeley mayor and current state senator; Lori Droste, Linda Maio, Darryl Moore, and Susan Wengraf are current city council members; Nancy Skinner is a former city councilwoman and state assemblywoman and Mim Hawley, Betty Olds, Sue Hone, and Gordon Wozniak are former city council members.