Local Elections: Longtime Berkeley Resident Vies For District 8 Council Seat

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Gordon Wozniak lived in District 8 as a UC Berkeley graduate student in the 1970s and now wants to represent the district on the Berkeley City Council.

Wozniak says he plans to reduce crime in Berkeley by increasing the efficiency and budget of the city's police force.

"I'd like to see more officers on the street and less doing administrative work," he says. "Sometimes just their presence deters crime and deters speeding."

Gordon Wozniak

Wozniak says he would be attentive to students' "enormous concerns" about crime near campus, especially in People's Park.

If elected, Wozniak says he would ensure that nobody remains in the park overnight and would provide increased police presence near it.

Wozniak says he is also concerned with "encouraging students to get more involved in city affairs" through increased dialogue between students and other Berkeley residents, although he says he does not have any specific plans to fulfill this goal.

"They say they are residents of Berkeley and have rights, and I agree with that," he says. "But students also have to be responsible residents."

Wozniak says he would consider increasing fines for fraternities and sororities that frequently set off false fire alarms, which he says prevent firefighters from responding to actual fires.

Wozniak says he would encourage the creation of additional housing in Berkeley to increase housing supply and decrease rent. He also supports providing city subsidies for low-income renters.

But he says the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board is too "pro-tenant," and adds he would increase its support for landlords.

"There is an element of unfairness on the process because the rental board is basically controlled by renters," he says. "There should be a fair process in arbitrating disputes."

Wozniak supports a "means test" method of rent control, which would offer rent control only to people whose incomes fall below a certain level. Under this policy, only students who meet the requirement would have reduced rents, he adds.

But rent boardmember Paul Hogarth says that policy would "completely undermine the purpose of our rent ordnance."

"If the landlord does have a tenant who is below a certain income level, then they will try anything they can to evict that tenant," Hogarth says. "How do you find the tenant's income? Some tenants are concerned about revealing their income."

Although he says he wants to reduce the number of cars used in the city, Wozniak stresses he is "not anti-car."

"If you took everyone's car away the city would collapse," he says. "But it can't handle more cars."

Wozniak says he would provide incentives for carpools as well as drivers of low-emission and electric vehicles, including reduced parking costs. He says he would also build more Downtown parking structures.

Wozniak has served in a diverse array of careers in Berkeley.

He was a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a UC Berkeley lecturer, vice chair of the Environmental Advisory Commission and is currently a Berkeley Planning Commissioner.

"I am the most experienced candidate," he says.

But Wozniak's opponents say he is not experienced enough in city politics to take a council seat.

"He's trying to give off the impression that because he's so much older than (District 8 candidate) Andy (Katz) he's experienced," Hogarth says. "He's only been on the planning commission for a year. Andy Katz has been to more planning commission meetings than Gordon Wozniak, and Gordon's on the planning commission."


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