Feb 15

An important local election

Kate Harrison

With the election of a progressive slate to Berkeley’s city council last November, former District 4 city council member Jesse Arreguin became mayor and vacated his council seat.  A special election to fill that seat is taking place via mail balloting only.  Mail ballots have been sent out to District 4 voters and are due in by March 6.  The candidates are Kate Harrison, a long time Berkeley activist with a successful government consulting business, and Ben Gould, a failed candidate in the Mayor’s race who is a graduate student in an M.A. program at UC Berkeley.

I don’t live in District 4, but the election of a city council member — especially in this district, which includes downtown Berkeley and a large slice of UC students — is of concern to all city residents.  I’m therefore reposting here, from Berkeleyside, an op-ed by my wife, Sheila Jordan, endorsing Kate Harrison.  I personally have donated money to Kate’s campaign and have done some telephoning and canvassing for her.

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By Sheila Jordan

Sheila Jordan recently retired as the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools. She is a Berkeley resident and is volunteering for Kate Harrison’s campaign.

As the recently retired Alameda County Superintendent of Schools and a Berkeley resident, I am supporting Kate Harrison for City Council District 4.

Kate looks like the girl next door but make no mistake: Kate is a heavyweight. In addition to the list of Berkeley commissions and committees on which she’s served, she’s worked successfully with the leaders of the City of San Francisco and the State Courts of California. She’s successfully consulted with 29 California counties and ten foreign countries. Her independence is an important quality. While a team player and excellent mediator, no one is going to intimidate her, overwhelm her, or take advantage of her.

Kate is a nuts-and-bolts kind of woman. As a Berkeley citizen activist, she’s been an advocate for the principles of a diverse, participatory and caring city. She knows that in government service, “the devil is in the details.” Government means delivering concrete benefits: potholes fixed, people hired, scholarships granted, tress planted, doors opened, paperwork handled – nuts and bolts. She’s made a living advising other governments how to deliver those kinds of human friendly services. Today she advocates for strongly supporting our prized public K-18 school systems as well as responsible affordable development that provides adequate housing for students and families. We need these qualities on the Berkeley City Council.

Kate knows how to focus on “getting the best bang for the buck.” In my 16 years as head of Alameda County’s K-12 school systems and in charge of approving all Districts’ budgets, I know that without the foundation of a stable budget, the city will flounder. Kate isn’t running for office as a topic for her graduate thesis. Although she has a graduate degree from UC Berkeley, she does not live in a campus bubble. She’s made a career of understanding how to achieve smooth running organizations. She and her husband own a home. She runs a business. She has been tested and vindicated in the real world. Kate will work with the Mayor, Council and community to find and cut waste. She will provide our new Council with vital expertise in finding and spending available resources to make this the best city we can be.

Sheila Jordan

Kate’s endorsements are many and impressive. The California Nurses’ Association, the SEIU, Berkeley Fire Fighters, Central Labor Council, UCB Progressive Student Association, Sierra Club, Berkeley Tenants Union, Alameda County Democratic Party, Hotel Workers Local 2850 … These endorsements testify to a recognition that in this council race, the best candidate by far is Kate Harrison. I’m proud to be part of her long list of individual endorsements!

Please remember to vote and mail your ballot!

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