District 6 deserves a representative who will take a more active role in creating long-term solutions that benefit the entire city, and Fred Dodsworth is the candidate to do it.
Incumbent Susan Wengraf’s most robust and detailed platform centers on fire safety. As Berkeley comes off the 25-year anniversary of the Oakland-Berkeley Hills fire, Wengraf’s plans are indeed important. But this doesn’t erase the fact that after years on the council, she’s just now begun efforts such as the implementation of more red curbs to ensure the narrow, winding streets of the hills are accessible to emergency vehicles.
Dodsworth also had detailed thoughts on fire safety in the hills and supplements them with rational and beneficial ideas on housing and homelessness.
For example, Dodsworth described homelessness as a social problem and stressed the need to address the way police treat the homeless community, while Wengraf voted in favor of a sidewalk ordinance that would have criminalized homelessness in 2015.
And on Berkeley Police Department, Wengraf clearly favors greater protections for officers than for the communities they serve. BPD is one of the most educated and well-respected police forces in the country and deserves better than blanket villainization. But that doesn’t mean it should exist without robust oversight.
Unfortunately, Dodsworth barely addressed police accountability in his interview with the Senior Editorial Board or through his published platforms.
Dodsworth’s commitment to expanding public transit, however, proves that he’s the voice we need on City Council. As he stated, much of North Berkeley was built around old light rail lines — many of which have been replaced with bus routes. But using his seat on City Council to expand public transportation in the hills wouldn’t just mean fewer cars spewing noxious fumes into Berkeley’s air — it could mean fewer cars lining the narrow, winding streets. It could also improve access to Downtown for residents of the hills.
Also, of all the candidates, Dodsworth was one of the few to mention the 2020 agreement between the campus and the city. His emphasis on the need for a better deal between the two entities as they start negotiating the next agreement means greater accountability for both.
To her credit, Wengraf has also emphasized a greater relationship between the city and the campus, and recently spearheaded the creation of a 4×4 committee on community school relations.
But we don’t need candidates who wait until they’re up for re-election to push noncontroversial legislation. We need Fred Dodsworth.