Showing Up Proves A Key Factor In Mayor's Endorsement Gain

Wendy Lee covers the City Council. E-mail her at [email protected].





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Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean won an endorsement from property owners Saturday, even after fellow mayoral candidate Tom Bates failed to show up to counter her at the owners' housing forum.

Bates said he notified the Property Owners Association "a long time in advance" that he would be unable to be at the forum because of another engagement.

Bates also said he believed the association would not have supported him if he had shown up, saying that the association has never supported him in the past.

"These people are not my supporters," Bates said. "They never have been, and they probably never will be."

Stephanie Hayes, who sits on the association's board of directors, said she was frustrated when Bates did not "provide answers to two simple questions" prior to the forum. The questions were part of a series that were read at the forum to the candidates.

Hayes said she did not receive an answer from Bates despite giving him three weeks notice of Saturday's forum.

Bates said he had delivered his answers to the questions, but they were not read at the forum.

Although Bates was absent, Dean and other city candidates discussed their ideas with association members.

Dean said she supported increasing low-income housing availability, citing the Gaia Building's use of 20 percent of its housing for low-income tenants.

Dean also said she supported the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which ended rent control in Berkeley.

The act allows landlords to increase rent if the original leased tenants move out. Prior to the act, landlords could not charge more than a set ceiling or a 15 percent increase for units vacated before 1999.

Before the act was passed, Berkeley landlords lost their properties because they could not afford to maintain them on low rents, Dean said.

In an interview yesterday, Bates also said he did not support rent control.

Two of the three District 8 contenders, Andy Katz and Gordon Wozniak, also faced off at the forum.

Wozniak said he was against rent control, saying the issue of "rent control is totally dominated by tenants and is not a fair process."

But Katz said he was in support of providing safety checkups and making sure properties are up to code. He added the Costa-Hawkins Act led to a "whole lot" of illegal evictions.

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