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Pro-Tenant Advocates Win Big At Berkeley Rent Board Election

Ponderosa Templeton, Wikipedia Commons
Housing is a Human Right

Progressive, pro-tenant candidates won four out of five available seats in Berkeley's Rent Stabilization Board race on Tuesday, and they’re expected to win the fifth.

Leah Simon-Weisberg, the board's current vice-chair, won the most votes out of the 12 candidates. She ran as part of the “Right to Housing” slate with the next three winners: Andy Kelley, Xavier Johnson, and Dominique Walker, who co-founded Oakland’s Moms4Housing group. The fifth seat is expected to go to Mari Mendonca.

Also on track to win is Berkeley Measure MM, which will require more rental properties to register with the rent board. It will also ban evictions for nonpayment of rent during declared emergencies.

This is a pretty big loss for real estate groups, who spent around $137,000 on online and print ads.

The city of Berkeley has counted about 73% of ballots, as of Wednesday.

David Exumé (he/him/his) is a 2020-2021 Audio Academy Fellow. His reporting interests include music history, immigration, community organizing, and urban planning. He's previously worked at KCRW in Santa Monica and WPRB in Princeton.