Carole Marasovic’s 20-plus years of demonstrated commitment to our community and decade-plus policy work on city commissions make her uniquely qualified to serve on the Rent Stabilization Board. Carole has demonstrated her ability as a strong leader with a proven record, serving as chair on the Berkeley Homeless Services Panel of Experts, the Berkeley Homeless Commission, and the Berkeley Mental Health Commission. She has successfully presented multiple recommendations on housing policy, homelessness prevention, mental health wellness, health disparities and community environmental issues.

Given the polarized rent board election this year, Carole’s independence emerges as one of her best strengths. Some people have lost sight of the duties required, and qualities needed, by a rent board commissioner. Each individual candidate, for these five seats, should be looked at independently and voted for because they are the best candidate based on their individual qualifications and the depth and length of their service to our community.

The Rent Stabilization Board ordinance states clearly what is required of a commissioner.  It reads, “The purposes of this chapter are to regulate residential rent increases in the City of Berkeley and to protect tenants from unwarranted rent increases and arbitrary, discriminatory, or retaliatory evictions, in order to help maintain the diversity of the Berkeley community and to ensure compliance with legal obligations relating to the rental of housing.  This legislation is designed to address the City of Berkeley’s housing crisis, preserve the public peace, health, and safety, and advance the housing policies of the city with regard to low- and fixed-income persons, minorities, students, handicapped and the aged.”

I have endorsed Carole based on having worked closely with her on many critical issues facing our community. I  appreciate her depth of knowledge, subtlety of intellect and deep understanding of Berkeley housing needs.

At this uniquely difficult time under the pandemic, astronomical rents and inadequate affordable housing, Carole has the demeanor needed to interact with and respond respectfully to others with differing viewpoints. 

As a 20-year Berkeley tenant, Carole knows our community well. She understands the nuances of our culture and the diversity of people living in Berkeley and she thinks and acts creatively to solve our unique community’s housing needs, including understanding the hardships of people who live on a fixed income.

As a rent board commissioner, Carole will be required to establish policy direction and review individual cases. Carole has the proven experience to do so in a fair, judicious and balanced manner.

Economic inequities are apparent with the astronomical rents that have pushed out racial and socioeconomic diversity from our community.  With the pandemic, and other uncertainties, threatening our community further, we face an unknown future. Lack of housing for low-income workers, reportedly the most impacted by job loss, will increase the disparity. Our homeless population will continue to grow if we don’t act to protect tenants from displacement. 

Concurrently, many small landlords, some of whom are fixed-income or low-income themselves, have also been impacted. All concerns of those intended to be protected by the Rent Stabilization Board ordinance need to be heard.

For these reasons, I highly recommend voting for independent candidate Carole Marasovic. Carole understands the serious nature of the work and will do an admirable job balancing different perspectives, moving us through our community’s current challenges.

boona cheema is former executive director of BOSS (1978-2013); former chair of the Mental Health Commission; vice-chair of the Reimagining Task Force; Steering Committee, Berkeley Community Safety Coalition.

The deadline to register to vote online or by mail in Alameda County is Oct. 24, and the election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. We put together a guide to the essentials of how to register and vote, what’s on the ballot, voters’ rights and more.

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