Berkeley Progressives Dodge Bullet

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 11, 2014


Worthington Files to Run at Last Minute. Photo by Ted Friedman.

As he filed his application, Thursday, for a fourth run for South Side city councilman, Kriss Worthington told me no student candidate had filed to oppose him. Filing deadline was only minutes away as we spoke inside City Hall. Outside, his supporters were gathering on the steps of City Hall.

Supporters Rally. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The student-run Daily Cal reported, Monday, that no student had stepped up to oppose Worthington, who has, since 1996, won the admiration of four generations of Cal students.

The erstwhile student candidate, had he been at Worthington’s kick-off, would have noticed Worthington’s dozen loyal student staffers/interns, who may be Berkeley’s or some other lucky city’s future leaders.

Worthington Interns. Photo by Ted Friedman.
Worthington Interns. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Worthington mentored Jesse Arrequin, 26, councilman, Dist. 4 and Alejandro Soto-Vigil a Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner and city council candidate for Dist. 1, and countless others in his 18 year career.

Worthington’s constituents showed up, Thursday, to praise him at city hall, citing Worthington programs that had benefited them. One Worthington backer brought his dog pal, “Joey,” who was adopted from a Worthington-sponsored animal adoption program.

left to right, Councilmen Jesse Arreguin, Worthington, and Max Anderson. Photo by Ted Friedman.

A partial list of Worthington’s achievements

Worthington runs a student-intern factory. “I have brought more students into city government than anyone in city government,” Worthington noted, as he was surrounded by his youthful crew, at the kick-off sound-off.

Worthington’s re-election good fortune marked the remarkable end to what might have been a shoot-out between Worthington’s minority (of three progressives) on Berkeley City Council against a majority faction (of six, including Mayor Tom Bates, a Worthington Bete noire).

Progressive is a term long used by Berkeley liberals who are left of liberal. Worthington has, in the past, referred to his city council opponents as “reactionaries.” “If you want progressive government, move to [nearby] Richmond,” Worthington joked during his 2012 bid for mayor.

Berkeley’s progressive triumvirate had framed the Worthington run as a potential in-the-trenches fight, which was orchestrated by his right/center opponents to weaken Berkeley progressives. Progressives charged that the mayor and his allies on city council had used a required re-districting of Worthington’s district to deny him some student votes.

Progressives also worried that a viable student candidate from a re-drawn, Dist. 7, representing what was billed as “a student super-district” could have undone Worthington.

“This is the winter of our discontent,” Progressive City Councilman Max Anderson, intoned, Thursday, before it was known there would be no student candidate.

Sean Barry, 27, a 2009 U.C. graduate and a former assistant editor at the Daily Californian filed, in June, to oppose Worthington at the poles this November.

It is not known whether Barry can go head-to-head with Worthington in the campaign, which only kicked off, Thursday, two months after Barry filed.

These views do not represent those of publications in which my work appears

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