Council Members Represent Berkeley in Regional Affairs

City Council Members Represent City's Political Leanings as They Serve Regional Organizations

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Members of the Berkeley City Council not only serve the constituencies from which they are elected but also give voice to the city at large with their service on a number of regional organizations outside of their time on the council.

Nominated by the mayor and approved by the council, members can serve on a varying number of regional bodies such as the East Bay Green Corridor Partnership or the Alameda County Transportation Commission, according to Councilmember Kriss Worthington.

According to the city of Berkeley website, council members currently participate in a total of 13 regional organizations.

The committees serve differing purposes, from coordinating transit networks between cities in the county to forming joint policy decisions for Bay Area cities.

One such organization, the Association of Bay Area Governments, is a regional planning authority with limited statutory ability to sanction member cities for not falling in line with policy decisions. Councilmember Laurie Capitelli is the council's representation within the body.

"We join these (local) committees so Berkeley can have some impact on policy," Councilmember Gordon Wozniak said to The Daily Californian in November 2006. "They've been created as coordination has been needed between an organization and the City Council."

Worthington - who has previously represented Berkeley on the now-defunct Alameda County Congestion Management Agency - said Berkeley has, at times, been at the forefront of promoting progressive ideas in the region.

He said he no longer holds any positions appointed by the council, having lost his last post with the ACCMA on July 13 to Capitelli after that organization was absorbed into the new Alameda County Transportation Commission. Worthington held the previous position for nine years and currently serves as Capitelli's alternate to the commission.

"To the extent we keep shifting the personnel to the right, that limits the progressive voice in the county," Worthington said.

Worthington added the upcoming November elections will have an uncertain impact on Berkeley's place in regional politics but that the council's voice on these committees reflects larger trends within the city's own political leanings.

"Since the moderates have already taken over these seats, the progressives don't know what effect (the election) will have on policy," he said.


Nick Myers is the assistant city news editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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