Mark Humbert, a federal employee benefits attorney and longtime Berkeley resident, is running for the Berkeley District 8 City Council seat.
Humbert, who will be on the November election ballot, is running his campaign on making the city inclusive and safe through affordable housing and better public safety. The District 8 seat is being vacated by current Councilmember Lori Droste.
“I’ve been active in transportation and neighborhood safety issues for all the years that I’ve lived here,” Humbert said.
Humbert said he was motivated to pursue neighborhood safety when Sharon Spencer, a woman in a wheelchair, was struck and killed by a car at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Ashby Avenue in 1999. In response, Humbert successively lobbied Caltrans and the city of Berkeley to install safety lights at that intersection.
Humbert served as president of the Claremont Elmwood Neighborhood Association, where he focused on community safety improvements. Projects included the installation of pedestrian- or cyclist-activated stop lights at intersections like Hillegass Avenue and Ashby Avenue, as well as safety mitigation for the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel.
“A major part of my platform is pedestrian and cyclist safety, quality-of-life issues in that regard, but also public safety,” Humbert said. “I believe in reimagining public safety.”
Humbert said he intends to improve transit infrastructure to make the city safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Additionally, he aims to improve neighborhood safety partially through wildfire and earthquake preparedness and assigning tasks such as nonviolent mental health crises to unarmed personnel rather than police officers.
Humbert noted his desire to achieve affordable housing for Berkeley residents. He said he supported the city council’s rezoning reform efforts, which work to address historical exclusionary housing policies.
“I want to make it easier to build housing across Berkeley,” Humbert said. “District 8 ought to accept its fair share of new housing.”
Humbert has already worked with City Council members by serving on various commissions, including the Public Works Commission, Fair Campaign Practices Commission and Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Commission. He also served on the Transportation Commission and oversaw the creation of bike lanes on Bancroft Way, Hearst Avenue and Milvia Street.
Mayor Jesse Arreguín and seven of the eight sitting Berkeley City Council members, including Droste, have endorsed Humbert. Organizations that support Humbert include the Alameda County Democratic Party, Berkeley Firefighters Association and Cal Berkeley Democrats, among others.
According to Humbert, he is dedicated to making the council seat more responsive to its constituents.
“I love this town, I love the district, and I want to see if I can’t help make Berkeley a more equitable, welcoming place than it is right now,” Humbert said.