Local Elections: Contests for City Offices Headed Into Final Stretch

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With a tight mayoral race and key City Council seats up for grabs, Berkeley progressive candidates are making the final haul toward Tuesday's election to hold their faction's narrow majority.

As campaigns come to a close, candidates are working the phones and making last-minute visits to secure undecided voters in a council election facing potential run-offs.

"It's sort of like one big, long party-without alcohol, of course," said Councilmember Dona Spring, who is running against three other candidates in the Downtown District 4.

Spring and her supporters spent much of the weekend stamping door hangers that encourage voters to make the trip to the election booth.

Mayoral candidate Tom Bates is stepping up contact with student voters, visiting the UC Berkeley campus and dormitories.

"I'm going out to the markets, passing out campaign material as much as possible until the end of the election," Bates said. "We're making an all-out push."

City Council candidates Spring, Kriss Worthington and Andy Katz are sticking to the regular campaign tactics of working the phones, walking the precincts and publishing new campaign literature.

"The big one-it has a novel artistic shape," Worthington said proudly of his most recent campaign innovation.

"Instead of being a regular-sized piece of literature-it's half a globe of the world."

Progressive war chests are gradually emptying as election day approaches.

Katz estimates his reserves at $5,000 but faces a potential runoff with moderate Gordon Wozniak.

Worthington is spending the last of his $5,000 in remaining funds on newspaper advertisements and campaign literature. Within two days, "the money will be gone," he said.

The two candidates in the city's premier race have raised and spent far more than the others.

In his run for mayor, Bates has raised almost $150,000 to compete with Mayor Shirley Dean.

With increased campaign efforts, progressive supporters have also started attacking moderate candidates' records.

Progressive supporters held a press conference Thursday attacking Dean's record on affordable housing.

Speaking near a vacant plot of land at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street where the Berkeley Inn once stood, progressives remembered a failed 1995 plan to develop the area for low-cost housing.

"Being five days from the election, a lot of voters are not aware of Shirley Dean's history," said Berkeley Rent Boardmember Paul Hogarth.

Progressives decried Dean's connections to landlords and homeowners and the rent increases the city has seen since she took office in 1994.

"Candidates disguised as rent control supporters will come knocking on your door, but you have to see them for who they really are," said Rent Boardmember Selma Spector. "It's Halloween, but we don't have to be tricked."


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