Bates to Serve Another Four Years in Third Mayoral Term

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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates was granted an unprecedented third term Tuesday, giving him four more years to continue making his mark on city politics.

If Bates, who won with 61.5 percent of the vote, continues his tenure through 2012, his 10 years in office will make him the longest-serving mayor in the city's history.

Though the office of mayor does not have term limits, it had been the tradition until Bates's victory Tuesday evening to only seek two terms.

"It's sort of an unspoken rule," said Councilmember Betty Olds. "People feel that eight years is enough. It's kind of a joke because council members stay on for years."

Reelection, however, is hardly an anomaly for Berkeley city mayors, who have enjoyed a long history of returning to office.

Since 1945, all but one mayoral candidate-Jeffrey Shattuck Leiter, who was appointed to the office for two months in 1994-have served more than one term.

Bates's first term, which began in 2002, was adjusted from four to two years to accommodate a city measure that realigned the mayoral race to coincide with the presidential election.

Bates said he saw his margin of victory as an opportunity to continue pursuing his top-priority programs.

"I want to be a leader in the greening of the economy ... I want to be involved with the school district so that we don't have an achievement gap ... I want to work on revitalizing Downtown," Bates said. "I think I have a mandate to do that."

Bates could enjoy political support for these programs, reflected in the re-election of several City Council members he endorsed.

Several council members said Bates has been successful during his first two terms in bridging the partisan schisms that have long defined city politics.

"In the end, we ultimately respect each other," said Jesse Arreguin, who won the District 4 council race despite the mayor's endorsement of his opponent. "I acknowledge that I will be in the minority on some issues."

Some, including former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean, Bates' opponent for the position, did not agree with his plans for the city.

"He ... favors a great deal of development," she said. "He is clearly taking the city in the direction of high rises, increased density and car-free living."


Contact Zach Williams at zwilliams[email protected]

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