Berkeley Police Accountability Board vice chair Nathan Mizell is running for the city’s Rent Stabilization Board.
A UC Berkeley alumnus, Mizell is running on several platforms: increased accessibility, tenant protections, affordable housing and green energy investment. Mizell has served as an original advocate of BerkDOT, a proposal to create a department of transportation in Berkeley that manages traffic enforcement and transportation policy.
“I had the unique position of being a student and working in high levels in student government, working in high levels in terms of city governments, especially on advocacy on public safety,” Mizell said. “I’ve been affected by the issues I’m speaking on.”
Mizell worked in the ASUC previously as Executive Vice President. Mizell, who is 23 years old, said he hopes to use his recent student and professional experience as a guide for his values if elected.
In terms of his goals if elected, Mizell said he wants to better enforce tenant protection laws through increasing rent board staff and creating a public dashboard for complaints against Berkeley landlords to “put more information at the hands of tenants.”
“There’s law in the books and there’s law in practice, and those two things are fundamentally different,” Mizell said. “Almost certainly there are more violations out there of tenant law than we are able to keep track of and that we’re aware of as a board.”
Berkeley City Councilmembers Rigel Robinson and Sophie Hahn have endorsed Mizell individually, as well as Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín and the California Democratic Renters Council.
Mizell is also a member of the “progressive, pro-tenant” Right to Housing Slate alongside candidates Ida Martinac, Vanessa Marrero, Negeene Mosaed and incumbent Soli Alpert.
“In terms of (the slate’s) platform, it’s really focusing on how we can increase accessibility of units,” Mizell said. “If housing is going to be human right, we have to start viewing our investments that way and through that lens.”
The full slate has endorsements from Councilmembers Kate Harrison and Ben Bartlett and current rent board chair Leah Simon-Weisberg.
Organizations such as Cal Berkeley Democrats, the Berkeley Tenants Union and the Alameda County Democratic Party have also endorsed the slate.
“As someone who’s passionate about ensuring that we as tenants … have a say in our community and our ability to stay where we live and actually build a community, I think (residents) should certainly consider voting for me and the whole slate, because that’s fundamentally what we’re about,” Mizell said.