RunningWolf Announces His Bid For Mayor

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Community activist Zachary RunningWolf announced on Friday that he intends to run for mayor of Berkeley in the 2008 election, although speculation remains about who his challengers will be.

The mayoral election will be held in November, but much of the race's makeup rests on whether or not current Mayor Tom Bates will run.

Bates, 70, said he has not decided whether he will run again or retire, but that he will decide before the filing period ends Aug. 8.

City Councilmember Laurie Capitelli said he would consider running only if Bates does not.

"From everything I understand, Mayor Bates is running and I support him fully," Capitelli said. "If he decided not to, then I would have to consider other options, but if he runs there won't be any question that I would support him."

In 2006, Bates won by the largest margin in any Berkeley mayoral election since 1967. He received 63 percent of the vote while Zelda Bronstein, former city of Berkeley planning commission chair, won 31 percent and RunningWolf received five percent.

Although RunningWolf did not receive a large percentage of the vote in 2006, Capitelli said he believes RunningWolf's campaign is important because it raises awareness about other issues.

"I think (RunningWolf) could probably be more productive in his efforts, putting (them) somewhere else, but certainly I don't want to discourage him," Capitelli said. "(RunningWolf) represents a point of view and that point of view needs to be discussed. I guess to the extent that he's running it will ensure that some of those issues will be discussed."

A city ballot measure passed in 2004 changed the 2006 mayoral term to two years instead of four. The change, which applies to the 2006 term only, aligns Berkeley's mayoral election with subsequent presidential elections to encourage larger voter turnout.

Bronstein said she would not run for mayor again this fall.

"I ran last time, that was my time to run and I'm certainly still very active in Berkeley civic life but I've moved on to other things," she said.

RunningWolf, a leader of the oak grove protest, said he announced his intent to run for mayor so it would coincide with Mother's Day.

"The reason why I'm announcing it on Mother's Day ... is because it's a love your Mother Earth campaign," he said. "I want to get AC Transit using biodiesel, shut down Telegraph (Avenue) so it's pedestrian-only to help the businesses and start a bicycle lending service so when you come into the city it's easier not to rent a car."

Bronstein said if Bates decides not to run, the upcoming election will be very important to the future of the city.

"The issue is finding someone who is capable of doing a good job," she said. "The question is, who would that be?"


Contact Amy Brooks at [email protected]

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