One candidate who ran independently in the 2022 Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board election will join a board of seven other representatives who have all been part of the “tenant-first” slate.
Stefan Elgstrand was the only candidate elected to the board who didn’t run with the slate. He ranked fourth out of eight candidates who ran for five open spots.
Soli Alpert, the only incumbent in the race, ranked at the top with about 16% of the vote, followed by slate members Nathan Mizell and Vanessa Marrero. Ida Martinac followed Elgstrand.
Negeene Mosaed, who ran with the slate, didn't gain a position, and independent candidates Carole Marosovic and Wendy Saenz Hood were also unsuccessful.
Elgstrand, who will remain a legislative assistant to Mayor Jesse Arreguín, said he's worked in Berkeley government for nearly a decade, and he's confident the board will be able to make unified decisions even if opinions differ.
His priorities are guiding the city through its still-standing state of emergency due to COVID-19, and the eviction moratorium tied to it.
"I want to make sure that regardless of when our local [state of emergency] ends, we need to make sure that there are strong safety nets to provide to tenants and small landlords," Elgstrand said.
Alpert voiced similar priorities, saying the rent board needs to do everything in its power in the coming days to ensure information is available to Berkeley residents regarding the city's eviction moratorium.
"We know at some point, hopefully, later rather than sooner, the [moratorium] is gonna come to an end, and how we handle that transition is gonna be really crucial," Alpert said.
He said the slate is an important institution for ensuring tenants' rights and safety, especially in a city where most residents are tenants compared to small property owners and landlords. Alpert added that he's worked with Elgstrand before, and he's looking forward to finding consensus on the board.
New candidates Elgstrand, Marrero, Martinac and Mizell will join Alpert, Leah Simon-Weisberg, Xavier Johnson and Dominique Walker on the rent board.
Former members James Chang, Paola Laverde and John Selawsky termed out, and Mari Mendonca left to pursue an unsuccessful run for the City Council seat in District 8 in this election.
The swearing-in ceremony for candidates hasn't been scheduled yet, but elected officials are usually sworn in toward the end of December at City Council.
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