Berkeley city auditor candidate and UC Berkeley alumna Jennifer Li Wong has garnered more than 30 endorsements from a variety of local officials and community members as of Thursday.
Along with current City Auditor Ann-Marie Hogan – who is retiring from her position this December – former city auditor Anna Rabkin and Mayor Jesse Arreguín have also endorsed Wong.
“I’m honored to have the support from a wide range of Berkeley community leaders,” Wong said. “They see my extensive auditing experience, progressive values and independence as the right fit for Berkeley.”
IRS registered tax preparer Pamela Boyle and former journalist Steve Levine were initially in the race for the city auditor position as well. But according to Hogan and Councilmember Kriss Worthington, after they realized that Wong was running, they opted to drop out of the race and endorse her.
Currently, Wong is running against one other candidate: Vladislav Davidzon, a former technology business owner. Davidzon said in a Facebook message he is the only completely independent candidate for auditor and will not accept endorsements or outside funding.
“The city unions will have zero influence over me, and neither will the developers, nor the political machinery that is driving this city off the proverbial cliff,” Davidzon said. “Only results matter.”
Wong has been a Berkeley resident for more than two decades and an auditor for the federal government’s Government Accountability Office, or GAO, for the last 17 years. Wong has served on numerous Berkeley commissions, including the Labor Commission and Budget Review Commission. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics from UC Berkeley and her master’s degree in public administration from New York University.
Wong has never held an elected position, but Worthington said she has more experience than any previous city auditor candidate.
According to the City of Berkeley’s website, the Auditor’s Office provides independent oversight of city operations and conducts audits in accordance with the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards. Hogan said Wong has worked as an auditor for many years and managed quarterly training for government auditors.
As part of her campaign, Wong says she has been active in the community by meeting with local officials, going to community meetings, running a grassroots campaign and going door to door to talk with Berkeley voters.
Although Wong has received an outpouring of support, she said that she will not take any votes for granted. She plans to continue engaging with the voters and said she looks forward to bringing her experience to the city.
“Not only does (Wong) have extensive government auditing experience, she is a longtime parent and resident in Berkeley who is incisive, creative, and responsive,” Berkeley Unified School District Director Ty Alper, who has endorsed Wong, said in an email. “She is the obvious choice for this position.”