BERKELEY (CBS SF) — Berkeley’s city government will move further to the left Wednesday when veteran activist Kate Harrison is sworn in as the new representative for City Council District 4.
In the final results for a special mail-in election that concluded last week, Harrison defeated University of California at Berkeley graduate student Ben Gould by an overwhelming margin of 62 percent to 38 percent, or 1,607 votes to 992.
There was a low turnout of only about 28 percent for the special election, which was needed because incumbent Councilman Jesse Arreguin was elected to be Berkeley’s new mayor in November and took office in December, which had left the District 4 seat open.
Harrison, 58, who works as an international justice advisor, said last week that her victory is “an extension of what happened in November in Berkeley,” which she described as “a sea change” in favor of a progressive city government.
Harrison was endorsed by Arreguin, who said when he was sworn in as mayor in December that Berkeley is moving to the left even as the country is moving to the right.
Harrison’s victory means that six of the nine Berkeley City Council members are progressives.
Gould, 25, who finished fourth in the mayoral election in November with only 2.93 percent of the vote, was considered to be somewhat more moderate than Harrison and was endorsed by councilmembers Lori Droste and Susan Wengraf.
Gould said in an email last week, “I’m proud of everything my team accomplished and of the campaign I ran and I’m looking forward to staying engaged in my community and looking for other opportunities to help make Berkeley better for current and future generations.”
Harrison said the progressive majority on the City Council won’t stop development in Berkeley but instead will seek to have developers include more community benefits in their projects.
The swearing-in ceremony for Harrison will take place at Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way at 3 p.m.