Former mayoral candidate Ben Gould announced today that he will run for the District 4 City Council seat vacated by Mayor Jesse Arreguín. Public-sector consultant Kate Harrison announced last week that she would run for the seat. The election will be held on March 7.
Gould, a graduate student in public policy at UC Berkeley, finished fourth in the mayoral race, behind Arreguín, former Councilman Laurie Capitelli and Councilman Kriss Worthington. Gould has been endorsed by council members Lori Droste and Susan Wengraf. Harrison is endorsed by Arreguín and council members Ben Bartlett and Sophie Hahn.
“I am running to make Berkeley more affordable, inclusive, and sustainable,” Gould said in his announcement.
A native Berkeleyan and graduate of Berkeley High School, Gould chairs the Community Environmental Advisory Commission. He previously served on the Housing Advisory Commission and the Zoning Adjustments Board. He is also on the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund Advisory Board.
In the 2014 general election, Arreguín ran unopposed for the District 4 council seat. In the last contested election, in 2010, Arreguín won 54% of 4,715 votes cast. Special elections, like the March 7 contest, generally have low turnouts.
In her endorsement, Droste singled out Gould’s perspective as a young renter.
“As a renter and Berkeley native, Ben understands firsthand how rising rents have impacted the city,” Droste said. “I’m excited to support Ben Gould because he is a young, progressive, grassroots candidate with policy expertise and a strong track record. Ben is just who we need to move Berkeley forward and inspire future generations of progressive leaders.”
Gould said he concentrated his canvassing during the mayoral campaign on District 4, building his presence in the district. He said he would be active walking the district, holding neighborhood coffees and canvassing at community events like the weekly farmers’ market.
“Housing affordability and homelessness are two of the top issues for residents in District 4,” Gould said. “I want to make sure we expect everyone in Berkeley to treat our public spaces with respect and dignity.”
Gould supported the Harold Way multi-story development that Harrison opposed.
“In order to get affordable housing built, we need to get sources of funding,” Gould said. “Her opposition would have held up $10 million for the housing fund.”
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