Mari Mendonca has launched a campaign for the District 8 City Council seat with platforms focused on rent stabilization, diverse representation and government transparency.
A multiracial single mother of four, Mendonca said she grew up in District 8, attending Berkeley High School and Willard Middle School, and worked at the local business Colby Pharmacy. She currently serves as vice chair of the Housing Advisory Commission, or HAC, and is an elected Rent Board commissioner.
“I have the lived experience, integrity, passion, love, care, commitment and the willingness to work hard to understand the nuance and depth of the issues we are facing and be accountable and responsible to the community in how we move forward responsibly together,” Mendonca said in an email.
As an advocate for tenants and housing rights, Mendonca has worked as a grassroots organizer for Friends of Adeline, which is a group of south Berkeley residents who work to inform the community about city decisions and support economic, generational and ethnic diversity in city government.
Through Friends of Adeline, Mendonca said she has advocated for housing as a human right for people of all income levels, including teachers, city employees, government workers, service employees and unhoused individuals.
In that vein, Mendoca said she supports the vacancy tax as well as affordable housing projects at the Ashby and North Berkeley BART stations as public land, according to her campaign website.
Mendonca alleged that previous City Council policies lack community input and accountability, adding that future decisions should take diverse perspectives and lived experiences into account.
“Big decisions and changes in policies have already been made without input from the community, transparency in government and accountability for some of the negative effects that have been had on our communities,” Mendonca said in an email.
Mendonca’s other platforms focus on traffic congestion; she aims to implement longer crossing times, better traffic signage and warnings for pedestrian crossing. She also advocates for emergency access and fire safety, stating that better plans and information should be implemented to assist the evacuation of elders and disabled residents in the event of an emergency.
Mendonca claimed that if elected, she will prioritize budget transparency and support for small businesses. She supports the building of a Specialized Care Unit which she said will work to lessen the burden on the Berkeley Police Department and widen access to mental health services.
“Being a representative that is committed to community input, listens and works to understand each other and is inclusive and willing to work together through difference of perspective as opposed to using differences to drive folks apart,” Mendonca said.