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Three other incumbent council members are on the ballot. In District 3, Councilmember Ben Bartlett faces Deborah Matthews, a real estate broker, and Orlando Martinez, a construction manager. In District 5, Councilmember Sophie Hahn is challenged by Todd Andrew, a real estate salesperson, and Paul Darwin Picklesimer, a community center manager. Also, in District 6, Councilmember Susan Wengraf seeks a third term on the council against Richard Illgen, a social justice attorney.
In addition, the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education will add two new members. School board members Judy Appel and Beatriz Leyva-Cutler are not running for re-election. The field of six candidates for the two open seats include Laura Babitt, a financial auditor; Jose Luis Bedolla, a nonprofit CEO; Michael Chang, an education law attorney; Norma J F Harrison, a community volunteer; Esfandiar Imani, a risk management consultant; and Ana Vasudeo, a school transportation planner.
While most East Bay cities have avoided the pursuit of ballot measures for the November election because of the pandemic, Berkeley is bucking the trend with eight. Among them is Measure GG, which adds a 50-cent tax on ride-sharing companies for trips originating in Berkeley; Measure HH, which increases the city's utility users' tax to 10 percent; Measure JJ, an increase in councilmember's pay; and Measure II, a charter amendment that creates an independent Berkeley Police Accountability Board and director of police accountability.
While all of these races have proven to be hard-fought affairs, none has come as close to being as personal as the contest for the open District 1 seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors left vacant by retiring Supervisor Scott Haggerty. "We need a lawmaker, not a lawbreaker," Dublin Mayor David Haubert has often said of his opponent, Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon, who has a history of campaign finance violations. For his part, Bacon has labeled Haubert a former Republican who opposes abortion and once addressed the Oath Keepers, a right-wing, anti-government group. Why does this race matter to the rest of Alameda County? An open seat on the five-member board is a rare occurrence and the winner of the election could sway the county on housing issues (e.g. Bacon's rhetoric often has a NIMBY tone) and funding for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office (e.g. Haubert is likely to be more supportive of law enforcement).