1974 – Year of the Political Vacuum
April Coalition – R.I.P.
Even when it won, the April Coalition was always a phantom, surfacing for the municipal election in l97l and then disappearing until the l973 season. True to its name, the “April” Coalition had no substance when April was over. But now, after the l973 defeat, no one expected the April Coalition to ever surface again. The two rival factions, ideologues and pragmatists, had no desire to meet or talk or do anything involving one another or the April Coalition after dreams of a Council majority came crashing down on April l7, l973. The April Coalition was dead at the age of two. It had been the progressive community’s vehicle for a pair of Berkeley elections, twice as many as its predecessors, the Community for New Politics and the Berkeley Coalition, which were also dead. Nor was there a real student organization anymore, the leadership during the l970-73 period having graduated and/or retired.
All that remained at the municipal level were Councilmembers Loni Hancock and Ying Lee Kelley, their office staffs and volunteers. I was part of the “paid” staff, having graduated from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, passed the l973 bar exam, and begun working full-time for Loni as Administrative/ Legislative/Legal/Political Assistant for $350 a month. Our constituency was depressed. We were alone and felt it. But the Hancock and Kelley offices were fully capable of fighting back against the Council majority. We were at work on two initiative ordinances targeted for the June l974 ballot.
The Berkeley Campaign Reform Act
Newspaper coverage of the l973 Berkeley election, starting with the work of Paul Grabowitz in the May l973 Grassroots and other papers, had publicized the incredible disparity in campaign spending between the Berkeley Four and PG&E compared to the April Coalition and pro public power forces. There was no democracy when one side had a spending advantage that ranged from 5 to l (City Council) up to 30 to l (PG&E). On the whole, average expenditures by City Council candidates, winners and losers, had increased four-fold since l967.
This was the post-Watergate anti-corruption period when the nation made its best efforts to stop the buying of elections. At the Federal, state, and local levels, laws were proposed to permanently prevent American democracy from being sold to the highest bidder. Already on the June l974 statewide ballot was Proposition 9, the Common Cause/Peoples Lobby/Jerry Brown comprehensive California Political Reform Act. It put sharp limits on campaign spending for state races, both candidates and ballot measures, but contained no provisions covering municipal elections. We obviously needed an equivalent Berkeley Campaign Reform Act to go on the same ballot.
Jeff Rudolph, inheritor of student electoral leadership, took responsibility for the drafting and John Denton worked very closely with him. I was one of several people who also helped with the text. Borrowing liberally from Proposition 9, we created a local ordinance that limited everything, contributions and spending, for both candidates and ballot measures:
- $250 was the maximum campaign contribution to any candidate or measure.
- Corporate (but not labor) contributions were prohibited to campaigns for both candidates and measures.
- Spending limitations restricted a ballot measure campaign to a ceiling of $7,500 and a Council candidate’to a ceiling of $l0,000.
Upward cost of living adjustments were provided for. In his most creative move, Jeff allowed slates to spend a sliding scale percentage of the amount that candidates could spend as individuals. Thus, a slate of four Council hopefuls was limited to spending 70% of what the four candidates could spend by themselves on individual literature.
This “slate penalty” was designed to offset the tremendous advantage of slates. Slate candidates could choose to spend the maximum amount going solo, or reduce their allowable ceiling in exchange for the greater effectiveness of slate literature, slate posters, etc.. Combinations of slate and non-slate spending were allowed, at the candidates’ option.
The Berkeley Campaign Reform Act also included lengthy disclosure provisions and established a commission to oversee enforcement, with clearly specified individual appointments by each Councilmember. Although the ordinance ended up very long and complicated, we felt it was fair and hoped it would offer permanent protection against the buying of elections. We called the group sponsoring our initiative “Berkeley Citizens for Political Reform”.
Meanwhile Councilwoman Sue Hone had introduced a local campaign reform act which on October 30, l973 was referred to the Council Committee on Policy and Procedures at her request (a committee composed of City Councilmembers.) Many Council committees had a habit of never meeting and no action was taken on the Hone proposal. We forgot about Hone’s campaign reform ordinance and her interest in the subject.
The Fair Representation Ordinance
This was our answer to the Council majority’s monopolization of board and commission appointments. Loni and Ying set the policy while I drafted the ordinance. It remains my favorite initiative because of its inherent fairness and simplicity, which (as a very biased author) I feel approaches technical elegance.
Under the initiative, every board or commission within the Council’s control would have to be a multiple of 9, the Council to decide which multiple. Each of the 9 Councilmembers, including the Mayor, would make an equal number of individual appointments to all boards and commissions. A given Councilmember and his or her appointees would have the same term of office, unless the Council specified that commissioners serve shorter terms. Thus, a newly-elected Councilmember could immediately appoint someone to every board and commission, bringing supporters into the city structure without any delay.
My draft title was “the Minority Representation Ordinance”. But Jack Kent felt the concept of political minority would be confused with racial minority and he suggested that Loni call it “the Fair Representation Ordinance” instead. The FRO was born.
Signature Collection, Decision, and Shock
While Patty Hearst’s Berkeley kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Army made headlines, the Hancock and Kelley forces were out getting signatures on our two initiatives. I set up a table at Telegraph and Durant for several weeks in early l974 and it was hard work. Explaining both initiatives took time, and while people understood campaign reform immediately, the subtleties of board and commission appointments seemed a lot harder to grasp. We needed over 7,500 valid signatures for each measure, l5% of the l97l vote for mayor, to get on the June l974 ballot. That was a lot more difficult than the 5% required for an April general municipal election initiative ordinance.
It soon became clear that our little group didn’t have the time or the people to qualify both initiatives for June l974. We decided to work exclusively on signature collection for the Berkeley Campaign Reform Act. The Fair Representation Ordinance already had more than enough signatures to be converted into a 5% petition and it would regrettably have to be put over until the April l975 general municipal election.
We filed our Berkeley Campaign Reform Act petitions and the City Clerk certified that we had sufficient signatures for the June ballot.
Then at a special Council meeting on March l9, l974, came one of the greatest political shocks I can ever remember. Without any warning, Councilwoman Sue Hone introduced her own amended version of our initiative – the Berkeley Election Reform Act – which she wanted the Council to place on the June l974 ballot in competition with our initiative. I told Loni and Ying that this was illegal since a special Council meeting was limited by the Brown Act to only the subjects on the meeting notice (Government Code Section 54956), and Hone’s measure wasn’t listed anywhere. They protested vigorously, only to be ignored, at first.
I was legally correct, but tactically stupid. We should all have kept quiet and let the Council majority violate the Brown Act, challenging the legality of their action only after the ballot measure deadline had passed.
Now that we had warned them, Mayor Widener decided on a legal retreat and simply set another special Council meeting for March 2l, l973 to deal with Hone’s version. Our initiative was now put on the June l974 ballot and on March 2l, the Council majority placed Hone’s measure on the same ballot in full compliance with the Brown Act.
We were still livid at Sue Hone and her corporate attorney husband, Michael, who had drafted the amended version, actually a pair of ballot measures. With the help of Lee Sclar, a former legal aid attorney who was a volunteer in Loni’s office, and Larry Duga, a veteran of countless legal and political wars, we filed suit to try and kick the Hone measures off the ballot on the grounds that they constituted an attempt to illegally amend an initiative in violation of the City Charter (Denton v. City of Berkeley). In court, Sclar argued, John Denton argued, and I argued, making my courtroom debut, but Judge Avakian thought we were all dead wrong. He decided the Council had a right to add measures as they had done. The Hone version would stay on the ballot. We abandoned litigation because if we couldn’t convince Judge Avakian, probably no judge in the state would agree with us.
Calming down, Jeff Rudolph, John Denton and I objectively analyzed the Hone amendments. By the City Attorney’s count, of l35 sections in each measure, 97 were identical, 20 sections had changes in grammar, punctuation or style, and only 7 sections involved substantive amendments. Even these, it turned out, were mostly strange rather than destructive. Cash contributions were severely limited, a minor harassment aimed at our campaigns. Campaign funds were to be dispensed through trust accounts, a cumbersome, probably unworkable system. There was only one change of real importance: the prohibition on corporate contributions was expanded to also ban labor contributions, and that single section, 605, was a separate ballot measure all by itself. Otherwise, all the key provisions of our initiative were simply duplicated.
This was the infamous “U, V, W Problem”. Measure “U” was our initiative, the Campaign Reform Act; Measure “V” – Hone’s Election Reform Act; and Measure “W” – section 605 of Measure V, prohibiting corporate and labor contributions. Should both “U” and “V” pass, whichever had the most votes would become law, while the other one would be deemed defeated. “W” would be added to “V” only in the event both won.
If we tried to defeat “V” and “W” while Hone fought against “U”, and then if someone else campaigned against the three measures, they could all lose. To prevent that worst case scenario, we had only one tactical choice: reverse course, make peace with Sue Hone, and urge a “Yes” vote on all three measures.
We worked out a non-aggression pact with Mike and Sue Hone, issuing a joint statement on April ll, l974 urging support for all three measures.
We submitted no ballot argument against “V” and “W”, nor did anyone else. Sweeney and Rumford filed an argument against “U” which claimed that “V” was better drafted. Sue Hone’s ballot argument in favor of “V”, also signed by Kallgren and Widener, was a chart that tried to demonstrate how in eleven areas “V” was a tougher, more stringent campaign reform measure than the allegedly weaker “U”. This chart was a technical violation of the non-aggression pact because it operated an anti-“U” statement. Our pro-“U” argument ignored “V” and “W”.
Sue Hone’s political principles, as revealed by her actions on campaign reform in the next several years, must be judged against the public posture she presented in the June l974 election. Hone put herself forward as the City Council’s most dedicated champion of local campaign reform and claimed full credit for Measures “V” and “W”. Perhaps more than any other issue, the subsequent history of Berkeley campaign reform objectively demonstrates hypocrisy in action.
Election Law Reform – The Charter Review Committee’s Measure “T”
The Charter Review Committee was an inter-generational town meeting, with an authorized strength of 56 members. Each Councilmember had 4 appointees, for a base of 36, and then the four-person Council Appointments Committee (Price, Hancock, Bailey, and Kallgren) added the final 20 members by simply letting each of the four select 5 more people. The Charter Review Committee’s initial membership was thus broadly representative (Republicans to Radicals) and included three former Councilmembers from the Democratic Caucus, Bernice Hubbard May, Jack Kent, and Dan Dewey. We also had several veterans of an unsuccessful previous charter review commission. (No one’s term ever expired, so McLaren, Price, and Bailey appointees stayed on indefinitely. Attrition and a Council policy that no vacancies be filled eventually reduced the committee’s size significantly.)
The Charter Review Committee met nearly every Monday night for three years. Unlike the City Council, meetings were extremely civilized, and as proposed by Mrs. May, (who would never have voted for the Midnight Special), l0 p.m. was always time to adjourn.
After a long educational/gestation period starting in mid l972, during which we studied Berkeley history and alternative forms of government, the committee was ready to give birth to some real proposals. Since Loni first appointed me, I had been preparing to revise Berkeley’s election laws. I generally had a good working relationship with Kallgren appointees such as attorney Jerry Falk and Professor (now U.C. Chancellor) Mike Heyman, who were the committee’s swing votes. My major adversary was City Clerk Edythe Campbell, who as staff to the committee, tried very hard to dominate things and block any proposal she disagreed with. Fortunately, the Charter Review Committee’s staff also included attorney Ross Steinhower, who did an excellent job translating our ideas into final Charter language without attempting to dictate particular policies.
The election law reform package I helped develop was based upon the fundamental principle that Berkeley’s election rules must be in the City Charter rather than state general law. The Charter already contained some election law, but not enough. By putting all key election provisions in the Charter, we could guaranty local control, certainty, and easy citizen access to the rules. Conversely, reliance on ever-changing state general law (the California Elections Code) would produce permanent confusion and uncertainty, while yielding local control to the Legislature.
The best example of chaos under the Elections Code came in the l97l municipal election when everyone relied on the City Clerk’s published February llth deadline for City Council candidates to file, and slate nomination meetings were set prudently in advance of the deadline. Then the City Clerk and City Attorney discovered a newly enacted change in the Elections Code moving the filing deadline up two weeks earlier, to January 28th.
All potential candidates promptly filed in a stampede of panic. (The Gazette’s headline of January 22, l973 was “FILING DEADLINE SHOCKER HERE”. April Coalition hopefuls who lost at the convention had all filed candidates statements and collected ballot endorsers, only to see their time wasted since they now had to withdraw from the race. I wanted to prevent this anarchy from ever happening again by placing the City Council candidate filing deadline in the Charter, where it could not be altered without a vote of the people. I won over the Kallgren appointees on this point when I explained that the Elections Code had been changed again to now establish a shifting deadline date which was extended if an incumbent failed to file. That was much too capricious for Jerry Falk who then spoke in support of my proposal.
The other basic points of my reform package included:
- Prohibiting or restricting all categories of special elections; requiring six Council votes and a determination of “urgent necessity” to call a special election. This saved money, encouraged larger turnouts, and made political sense.
- Prohibiting summer elections by forwarding all races and measures to a November ballot. (My response to the Bailey recall in defense of the student community’s right to vote.)
- Eliminating City Council and City Clerk discretion by establishing filing deadlines for all initiatives and referendums under which a petition with sufficient signatures is guaranteed a place on the next regularly scheduled statewide or general municipal election ballot.
This procedure, designed to prevent initiative ballot placement from becoming a political football, included for the first time, provisions covering initiative charter amendments. They deserved equal if not greater protection than initiative ordinances because they were more politically sensitive. The last three initiative charter amendments, from both left and right – Community Control of Police, Rent Control, and Run-off Elections – had all been subjected to City Council political manipulation that either kept them off the next scheduled ballot or came within a single vote of doing so. I wanted to give every initiative the right to the next available ballot and end the potential for City Council abuse of power.
- Specifying and restricting the City Council’s power to fill its own vacancies.
This section was intended as a response to the problem of Council vacancies that were a continuous plague in l97l. Under the existing law, vacancies could go on for years, causing paralysis, or vacancies could be created and filled just prior to an election, resulting in appointed incumbents who would enjoy an unfair advantage over challengers. (This latter abuse of power has been a very widely used tool by city councils and other governmental bodies to preserve the status quo.)
In what became a very long and complicated provision, the Charter Review Committee developed a compromise under which the Council could, under limited circumstances, fill vacancies for terms of less than one year, but the Council’s failure to act within sixty days would automatically trigger an election which could be a special election. Vacancies of one year or more and vacancies occurring with a time range suitable for consolidation with a regularly scheduled election could only be filled by election. The policy was a significant reform favoring prompt elections to fill most vacancies, although the text is extremely cumbersome because of the numerous options involved.
- The l5% initiative ordinance (signatures amounting to l5% of the most recent vote for Mayor) was changed to a l0% requirement, but such a petition could no longer qualify for a special election. The l0% initiative ordinance would now be exclusively limited to the June and November statewide election ballots in even numbered years.
City Clerk Edythe Campbell fought me every step of the way, charging that the proposals were illegal, the deadlines unreasonable, and if we would only do what she and the City Attorney wanted, everything would be fine. Edy recruited the Republicans and some Democrats to her banner, at times including the Charter Review Committee’s new Chairman, Kallgren appointee Paul Maier, another corporate lawyer. (He was elected after Ying resigned to take her Council seat.)
At a February 25, l974 special meeting of the full committee, called by Maier in response to Edy’s protests, which just
like a special election brought out a smaller, more conservative segment of the membership, the City Clerk got some of the ballot measure deadlines lengthened (over my protests) to give her the time she claimed to need.
With the exception of that one special meeting, I was generally able to successfully steer the election reform package to Charter Review Committee approval and on to the City Council, where we would request placement on the June l974 ballot. Edythe Campbell still wanted to kill the measure as an unacceptable intrusion upon her sovereignty.
At the February l3, l974 Council meeting, Chairman Paul Maier and other members made a formal presentation requesting submission to the voters of the election reform measure, plus a housekeeping amendment deleting surplus language, and a third measure reducing the City Manager’s powers.
The Councilmembers had questions and legal objections. So did the City Attorney. A public hearing was held on February 25, l974, followed by some confused voting which continued on March l2 and concluded on March l9, l974 when the housekeeping amendment (Measure “S”) finally went on the ballot after some revisions.
Then the first motion to place the election law charter amendment on the ballot received only four votes (Loni, Ying, Ramsey, and Widener; with Simmons, Hone, Rumford and Sweeney voting “No”.) Then Ying saved things by convincing Ira Simmons that banning summer elections deserved his support as a way to prevent repetition of the Bailey recall. Now we had five votes and Measure “T” was on the June l974 ballot in the exact form recommended by the Charter Review Committee. The third Charter amendment relating to the City Manager failed to make the ballot with only Loni and Ying voting for submission to the electorate.
The June l974 Non-Campaign
Not even hard core local political activists could get excited over a Berkeley election that featured the “U, V, W” campaign reform problem, plus a pair of Charter amendments that edited the charter for brevity (S) and revised election laws (T). The l972 campaigns, with the hoards of McGovern volunteers plus the intense battles over rent control and run-off elections, seemed like a lost golden age. In June l974 we had no McGovern campaign to slate our ballot measures with. Even Democrats United was no longer any help. It was now United Democrats, funded and controlled by the Alameda County Central Labor Council. United Democrats functioned as a part of the AFL-CIO’s statewide campaign to defeat Proposition 9, the California Political Reform Act. Standing nearly alone among the major forces in California, the AFL-CIO determined that Proposition 9 was such a severe threat to its political power and to free speech that the initiative had to be fought vigorously.
So the “United Democrat” slate tabloid would include a strong pitch for “NO on 9”. Proposition 9 was so popular in Berkeley (it received 80% of the vote) as to render the United Democrats mailer almost laughably out of touch on that score. Still, it was the only slate show in town with the money for printing and postage. I recognized the impossibility of getting the tabloid to come out in favor of “U”, “V” or “W”. So I urged Joe Close to add Yes on Charter Amendments “S” and “T” to the tabloid. He promised to try and the final four page version gave us all of three square inches reading “Berkeley voters Vote Yes on Proposition S and T.” So much for reliance upon United Democrats. We needed a Berkeley alternative for future June and November elections.
Our Berkeley Citizens for Campaign Reform group managed to print a single piece of literature urging a “Yes” vote on “U, V, & W”. With Jeff Rudolph as coordinator, we tried to organize precinct workers to distribute it. Rich Illgen objected strongly to our support for the “anti-union” Measure “W” which prohibited labor as well as corporate contributions. In spite of our tactical reasons for urging “Yes” on all three measures, Rich would not carry pro-“W” literature. His attitude was fairly common among activists.
Meanwhile, the major assault on the campaign measures that we were afraid of never materialized. The most vocal opponent of all three measures was Councilman Ramsey who claimed the spending limits violated the First Amendment right of free speech. Otherwise, the ballot arguments and the Gazette’s opposition to all three measures constituted nearly the entire effort on the “NO” side.
The Charter Review Committee prepared an effective ballot argument in favor of Election Law Reform (Measure “T”). I tried to present the measure in non-partisan terms, stressing fairness and the savings to the city from eliminating costly special elections. An argument against Measure “T” was submitted by Councilmembers Kallgren, Hone, and Sweeney. They attacked the restrictions on special elections, the limitations on filling Council vacancies by appointment, and the ban on summer elections. Virtually no money was spent campaigning for or against Measure “T”. The Daily Cal endorsed it while the Gazette urged a “No” vote. Charter Amendment “S” was unopposed and passed overwhelmingly.
The Democratic Gubernatorial Primary stayed dull: Jerry Brown the frontrunner vs. San Francisco Mayor Joe Alioto, Assembly Speaker Bob Moretti, and Congressman Jerome Waldie. Election day was pretty dull, too.
For the only time in 20 years of Berkeley elections, we had no organization, no doorhangers, and couldn’t even mount a real get-out-the-vote effort.
About l6,000 fewer Berkeley voters went to the polls in June l974 than had voted in the Presidential Primary two years earlier; over 8,000 fewer than had cast ballots in the April l973 city election. June l974 had the lowest number of voters in a Berkeley Presidential or Gubernatorial Primary during the past 20 years. But it still went into the record books as a victory.
The June 4, l974 results: 4l,552 voters
Election Law Reform Charter Amendment (T)
YES l8,70l(58%) PASSED
Berkeley Campaign Reform Act (Initiative) (U)
YES l9,864(59%) DEEMED TO FAIL
Berkeley Election Reform Act (V)
YES 23,408(7l%) PASSED
Corporate/Labor Contribution Prohibition (W)
YES 23,206(7l%) PASSED
The California Political Reform Act, Proposition 9, enjoyed a statewide landslide victory. Locally, “U”, “V” & “W” all passed easily. The pair of anti-“U” ballot arguments were worth a 3,500 vote advantage for Measure “V” over “U”. This meant that the Hone version (V & W) became Berkeley’s law.
It must be understood that in all future battles over campaign reform, the ordinance being defended is the one presented by Councilwoman Sue Hone.
Well over half of Measure “V”‘s lead over “U” came from the hills, where “V” won and “U” lost. Outside of the hills, both measures passed and “V” only had a small lead.
Election Law Reform (T) lost in the hills by less than 2,000 votes while winning in the greater campus area by a decisive 6,000 vote margin.
The new Charter language on elections worked very well for ten years. The only exception came in November l978 when the combination of a technical drafting error in the definition of “special election”, a City Attorney error of interpretation, and Council politics led to legal chaos. Otherwise, all initiatives made the appropriate ballot, only one special election was held, and the only Council vacancy was filled by a vote of the people.
City Clerk Edythe Campbell never gave up trying to destroy Measure “T”. She induced the Council majority to put a repeal measure on the November l982 ballot, but it was defeated. Then, prior to the June l984 election, she took advantage of Council carelessness and got them to place another measure on the ballot which gutted many key sections of “T”. It passed, reinstating uncertainty in the city’s election laws and restoring vast discretion to the City Clerk, City Attorney and the Council.
The Republicans had a June l974 primary fight over who would challenge Assemblyman Ken Meade. Former Berkeley City Councilmember Tom McLaren appeared to be a serious threat because of the potential that his l973 deal with the Berkeley Four involved pledges of Democratic support against Meade. McLaren finished behind Piedmont City Councilman Art Flegal, (Flegal l9,059; McLaren l2,833), to the joy of the Meade Campaign, who felt Flegal would be an easier opponent. In the words of Joe Close, Ken Meade’s Campaign Manager and Administrative Assistant: “The Republicans lost the primary.”
Congressman Dellums defeated his Democratic Party primary opponent, Curt Aller, a Peralta Community College Board member, by a three to one margin, 58,340 to l8,38l. Aller was closely allied to the Berkeley Four, and his landslide loss demonstrated the Council majority’s vulnerability in a Democratic Party primary race from which the Republicans were excluded.
The Creation of Berkeley Citizens Action – Summer of l974
The June l974 election was very frustrating for me because Democrats United (United Democrats) turned out to be useless and our ballot measure campaigns ended up so isolated. We needed a Berkeley progressive political organization, separate from the Council offices, that would work on every election, including June and November of even-numbered years. We could create our own Berkeley slates, without depending on United Democrats or any other campaign. Such an organization would also be our vehicle for municipal elections. I felt a year-round organization for all elections, unlike the April Coalition and its predecessors, would have resilience and staying power. Plus, people who worked together in the much less polarized June and November elections should be better able to avoid factional suicide over selecting City Council candidates.
My strategy required that the new organization be established in the summer of l974, in time to endorse a slate of candidates and ballot measures for the November l974 election. Endorsing for November would establish the precedent that the new group is to be active at all elections.
I also hoped to attract a majority of electorally oriented people, and they should predominate if the first endorsements were for November rather than April. It was also critical that the organization to run Council candidates in the April l975 election be founded in the relative political calm of the summer. Berkeley City Council elections seem to bring out the worst in people because of the competition to be nominated. Waiting until after November, then trying to create a new organization from the April Coalition’s rubble, and immediately have it attempt to select Council candidates, would be an immense burden. How much simpler it would be to create a legitimate new organization for November l974, and with the new group already in place, then concentrate on nominating Council candidates in l975.
Loni and Ying agreed with my proposal that we found a new organization in the summer to replace the April Coalition. I was authorized to go forward as their representative. To avoid any taint of April Coalition factionalism, the new group needed official sponsorship from the one unifying figure in the progressive community, Congressman Ron Dellums. Dellums has always been the symbol of our coalition, and he had remained personally above the April Coalition battle between pragmatists and ideologues.
I took my concept of a new political organization to Lee Halterman, then in charge of Dellums’ Berkeley office on the same floor of 2490 Channing Way as the Hancock office. Lee supported the idea of a new organization and volunteered to take much of the responsibility for making it happen. At Lee’s house, the two of us met with Don Hopkins, Dellums’ District Administrator and Chief of Staff. Don had played a leading role in drafting Dellums to run for the Berkeley City Council in l967. As head of the Dellums political family, Don Hopkins represented the Congressman in all things. Now Don agreed that the Dellums campaign would issue the call for a new Berkeley political organization.
On the stationary of the Committee to Re-elect Congressman Dellums, Lee prepared the invitation to the founding meeting of an un-named new political group. The letter read in part:
“The purpose of this meeting is to bring people in Berkeley together around the candidates and issues on the ballot in November.
It is hoped that such a working relationship might develop into a positive and progressive political vehicle for the municipal election. Hopefully such a working relationship can avoid some of the pitfalls suffered in our earlier efforts.”
We had the invitation signed by a wide cross-section of leading figures from the Berkeley progressive community, including Loni, Ying, Jack Kent, Don Hopkins, Louise Stoll, Marc Monheimer, Larry Duga, Peter Franck, Mabel (“Mama”) Howard, Joe Nielands, Ariel Parkinson, Joel Rubenzahl, and Gene Turitz. The invitation was dated August 9, l974 and called for a meeting on August 20, l974 at the South Berkeley YMCA.
From this first meeting on, the organization’s founders immediately assumed their proper roles. Lee Halterman presided over the gathering, always calm, dignified, and diplomatic. He was above factionalism and had few if any enemies. (Nearly ten years later, Lee is still called back to chair super-divisive BCA meetings.) Don Hopkins supported Lee and provided still further legitimacy. The participation of both Don and Lee brought the official Dellums stamp of approval. I was the impatient outsider, pushing from the floor, making motions, and trying somehow to prod the assemblage into becoming the organization I wanted to create.
We had lured a mixed group of April Coalition veterans to the South Berkeley YMCA. Both of l973’s rival factions were present, as they had been on the invitation, but those from the Ideological Caucus were issue oriented people that Loni’s office had always been able to work with. The initial obstacle was a Hamlet-like ambivalence many individuals had about whether this group should be so presumptuous as to create a new organization.
We wasted most of the first meeting debating this stupid issue. By the second meeting, I decided that the debate would be moot if we could approve an official name for the group. After testing reaction to various names, Berkeley Citizen’s Action appeared the most promising. I wanted the new group to sound respectable, like California Citizen’s Action, a Ralph Nader organization. So I borrowed 2/3 of their name and proposed that we call ourselves Berkeley Citizen’s Action. This motion passed and BCA was born. (Mal Warwick later removed the apostrophe from the word “Citizen’s”. Now we had a name, therefore we were an organization.
What Made BCA Different?
At these initial meetings Lee Halterman and I created a two-piece skeleton for BCA that permanently set the organization apart from all its predecessors:
l. BCA would be active for every election, including April, June and November. That was my major contribution.
2. A 2/3 vote of the general membership was required to make all BCA endorsements.
This essential change from traditional endorsement by majority vote was Lee Halterman’s brainchild. Lee felt a 2/3 vote would reduce factionalism and encourage coalition because candidates and ballot measures that were divisive had little chance to ever obtain 2/3 support. By preventing endorsements except where a near consensus was achieved, the 2/3 rule would hopefully maintain our democratic tradition while keeping BCA from destroying itself. The 2/3 rule proved to be so popular and successful that every BCA motion, not just endorsements, now requires a 2/3 vote.
On this simple, two-piece skeleton, a great deal has been added since l974, including complicated written bylaws, an elected BCA Steering Committee with affirmative action quotas, and dues-paying membership. But the original two parts of the skeleton remain intact.
BCA’s November l974 Endorsements
Now that we had an organization, I pushed for a slate of November endorsements to get BCA firmly established.
The first endorsement was obvious – Ron Dellums for re-election to Congress. (Congressman Dellums has now received six BCA endorsements, more than any other person.)
Up jumped a contest and endorsement that could not have been anticipated: John Denton for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board.
Public dissatisfaction with BART’s performance had produced a June l974 regional vote on whether the appointed BART Board of Directors should become an elected board. The elected board triumphed. Now running for election in a Berkeley/Albany/part-Oakland district was the incumbent, Richard Clark, Mayor of Albany.
Dick Clark had offended Berkeley people by failing to oppose sale of Hearst Strip land to the Peralta Community Colleges for a Learning Pavilion when the neighborhood instead wanted a park. Clark seemed unresponsive to Berkeley concerns. As Vice President for Public Affairs of Grubb and Ellis, a property management/development company, Clark’s service on the BART Board seemed possibly linked to land speculation and development along transit corridors. That bothered John Denton, who as an appraiser, attorney, and land use expert, was especially sensitive to the potential for abuse in Dick Clark’s public and private roles. As a World War II conscientious objector, John Denton is a man of very strong principles, and Dick Clark simply did not meet John’s standards. John Denton decided to challenge Clark for the BART Board in district #3.
Dick Clark enjoyed strong labor backing and had the support of Congressman Dellums as well as Assemblyman Meade. The Dellums people made no real effort to prevent BCA from endorsing John Denton, although they were not happy. While the press may write stories on the “Dellums Machine”, history shows it to be a myth. BCA ironically proved its total independence from the start by endorsing John Denton over Dellums’ candidate Clark, even though the Dellums office had given birth to BCA.
BCA’s other November l974 endorsement was for Berkeley’s Measure “W”, a new Public Ownership of PG&E initiative. RIOT had been converted into the much better sounding Committee for Public Power, and Ed Kirshner was helping to lead a second assault against fortress PG&E. This would be the first test of the Berkeley Election Reform Act.
I wanted BCA to support Assemblyman Ken Meade for re-election. But already the BCA general membership was setting unusually strong standards for endorsement. Ken Meade couldn’t get 2/3. Down went the lengthy slate I had envisioned, at least for this election. BCA’s initial endorsements were Dellums, Denton, and Public Power (YES on “W”).
Never expecting BCA to really do anything substantial for November l974, I still felt we needed at least a token campaign effort to establish legitimacy for April and beyond. With $50 from each of the three endorsed campaigns, I printed BCA’s first slate poster:
YES on “W”
I used my staplegun to get the posters out into the campus area. This poster constituted Berkeley Citizens Action’s November l974 campaign, but the organization had been created and stood ready for April l975. There was an Interim Committee to call meetings, develop a platform, and generally prepare for the l975 city election.
The November l974 Election
PG&E vs. the People of Berkeley
The Committee for Public Power’s new initiative (Measure W) was placed on the November l974 ballot at the Council meeting of August 8, l974. Having spent $l00,000 to defeat municipal ownership of the electric distribution system in l973, everyone knew that PG&E would challenge the Berkeley Election Reform Act’s ballot measure spending ceiling of $7,500, as well as the contribution restrictions.
PG&E retained the Oakland law firm of Crosby, Heafy, Roach, and May, and filed suit against the Election Reform Act on August 27, l974. PG&E’s complaint alleged that the act impaired “the rights and privileges” of the corporation by not “permitting plaintiff to exercise its First Amendment rights to disseminate information to the voters” or make campaign contributions.
The suit was framed narrowly, claiming a special corporate right for PG&E because it wished to campaign in defense of its own property. PG&E neglected to mention that it would be paid for any property acquired by the city. The lawsuit intentionally blurred distinctions between the three separate sections of the Election Reform Act that PG&E wished to violate:
- The prohibition on corporate contributions. (Section 605, Measure W)
- The $250 contributions limit. (Section 602)
- The $7,500 ballot measure spending ceiling. (Section 5l3)
By arguing that the corporate contribution prohibition unconstitutionally denied PG&E any right to speak at all, and thus trying to focus debate on this most severe but least important restriction, PG&E hoped that a decision invalidating Section 605 would simply open the floodgates to unlimited spending. By luring everyone into a Section 605 fixation, PG&E anticipated that the city would fail to independently establish the validity of the other two independent limitations. (It was similar to a football team with fourth down on its own 9 yard line trying to make l yard for a first down. The defense comes in and concentrates at the l0 yard line (Section 605) trying to hold them for no gain. But if the runner can break through that first wall, then the final 90 yards (the last two limitations) are easy because there is no defense left.) PG&E’s strategy worked perfectly.
I had to admire the blatancy of PG&E’s arguments. The utility asserted that it could not be prohibited from speaking and spending because, in l973, RIOT had “conducted a vigorous, multi-media campaign in favor of the measure” and Measure “W”‘s proponents were going to do the same thing again. Since RIOT’s “vigorous campaign” had involved an expenditure of $3,577, this was the ultimate PG&E admission that a $7,500 ballot measure spending ceiling was reasonable. But none of the judges seemed to care.
Upon filing its complaint, Superior Court Judge George Phillips, a Pat Brown appointee, immediately granted PG&E a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the city. PG&E achieved its second court victory when Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kroninger (also a Pat Brown appointee) issued a preliminary injunction on September l3, l974.
Judge Kroninger’s decision recognized the narrow focus of PG&E’s challenge to the Berkeley law:
“Plaintiff makes no claim that government lacks the power to limit corporate or individual contributions to candidates or ballot measures generally.”
He also rejected PG&E’s claim that the state had pre-empted the field of campaign limitations. But Judge Kroninger totally agreed with PG&E that First Amendment rights were at stake:
“Moreover, where, as here, the ballot measure is one which directly and specifically affects the continued existence in whole or in part of the party seeking protection, the right to speak in the interest of self preservation is an additionally compelling reason to hold this Act unnecessarily, hence unconstitutionally, restrictive of the right of free expression. Implicit in the right to speak is the right to hear. We are therefore concerned not only with plaintiff’s right to speak on this issue which vitally affects it, but with the right of voters, tax payers and others who may be materially affected by passage or rejection of a ballot measure, to hear all sides of the issue. This can be made possible only through permitting unrestrained freedom of expression by both proponents and opponents.”
The Appellate Courts refused to hear City Attorney Don McCullum’s petition that the preliminary injunction be lifted. However, the City Attorney did obtain an early trial date on PG&E’s application for a permanent injunction so the matter could be heard before the election.
Prior to that October l5, l974 court date, the battle shifted to the ACLU of Northern California. PG&E was trying to recruit the ACLU’s assistance in its lawsuit for political purposes. PG&E’s request to the ACLU’s Joseph Remcho stated:
“The Election Reform Act was approved by about 70% of Berkeley voters. There is a risk that voters who approved that Act will vote against PGandE in the municipalization election because of the Company’s constitutional attack on the Act. We do not believe that we should be penalized in the takeover election because we assert our First Amendment right of free speech. Your involvement in the action will demonstrate to those in favor of the reforms contained in the Act that objective civil libertarians also see threats to our right of free speech from application of the Reform Act.”
The ACLU’s Berkeley Chapter and I tried to persuade the ACLU not to join forces with PG&E. In spite of written arguments by the Berkeley Chapter’s Ken Kawaichi (now a Municipal Court Judge appointed by Jerry Brown) and myself that PG&E was legally wrong and that the ACLU should not allow itself to be manipulated for political purposes, the organization decided to enter the case. The ACLU position, as represented by attorney Marshall Krause, was that Berkeley had the burden to prove the compelling necessity and reasonableness of its limitations. Absent such proof, the ACLU believed the spending and contribution limits of the Berkeley Act to be unconstitutional. PG&E’s strategy of recruiting the ACLU to help legitimize the destruction of a Berkeley law was another brilliant success.
The Northern California ACLU’s willingness to attack the Election Reform Act in an unofficial alliance with PG&E, against the direct wishes of the ACLU’s own Berkeley Chapter, was the most frustrating episode of the entire November l974 campaign. Still, I was beginning to learn how easily the First Amendment could be perverted to destroy all hopes of keeping campaign spending under control.
To me, speaking and spending were intrinsically separate. Everyone, including PG&E, had the right to speak about ballot measures, call press-conferences, and use free speech TV time. However, no one had a Constitutional right to unlimited campaign spending, because unlimited spending by a side with vast financial resources allows it to effectively drown out the other side. Thus, to preserve the effective free speech of ordinary citizens who lack access to a fortune, and therefore to preserve democracy itself, billion dollar corporations such as PG&E cannot be allowed to purchase dominance by outspending their opponents at ratios of 30 to l or more.
The simplest analogy is to compare the pro-public power forces to a street corner speaker. If PG&E can drown out the speaker with a high volume audio system presenting the utility’s message, isn’t it the weaker party whose First Amendment free speech rights are being trampled and whose rights to a fair election contest are in need of protection? Campaign reform laws thus seemed so basic to the preservation of both democracy and free speech, yet the judges wouldn’t listen.
PG&E’s case came to trial before Judge Gordon Minder, a Reagan appointee. Judge Minder’s attitude towards campaign reform became clear when he refused to let City Attorney McCullum introduce official city campaign spending records from the l973 Measure 8 referendum on public ownership of PG&E. McCullum needed to present the facts about PG&E’s 30 to l spending advantage in that earlier campaign in order to justify the Election Reform Act’s limitations. But Judge Minder sustained PG&E’s objection and excluded the records as irrelevant.
That ruling effectively torpedoed the city’s entire case. There was really nothing left for the City Attorney to say. Judge Minder refused to let Berkeley bring reality into the trial. Then the ACLU’s Marshall Krause twisted the knife still deeper by arguing that Berkeley had failed to present any evidence as to the reasonableness of its ordinance’s monetary limits, a point Judge Minder readily agreed with. (Attempts to introduce similar limitations, some even more restrictive, adopted by other California cities, would assuredly also have been ruled irrelevant.) Judge Minder’s decision was inevitable from the start: a permanent injunction against enforcement of the Berkeley Election Reform Act’s contribution and spending limits as regards ballot measures (October l6, l974 Minute Order; January l6, l975 Judgment).
Reading the contradictory and imprecise documents signed by Judge Minder, it was not clear whether he intended to grant the limited relief originally sought by PG&E solely for the November l974 Measure W campaign, or instead to declare ballot measure contribution and spending restrictions unconstitutional as to all future campaigns as well. Previous court papers, including the Preliminary Injunction adopted by Judge Minder, had been narrowly focused. But this new ambiguity created by Judge Minder and PG&E would plague the supporters of campaign reform in the years to come.
During all the court hearings, I stayed in the background as unofficial legal representative of the Committee for Public Power. We did not intervene in the case out of fear that the active presence of PG&E’s opponent would have a negative effect (as if things could have been any worse). Now, on behalf of Councilmembers Hancock and Kelley, I made a futile effort to get the California Supreme Court to stay Judge Minder’s decision and reinstate the Berkeley law. The Court denied my petition without comment. The l974 battle to preserve Berkeley’s campaign reform law had been a massacre won by PG&E.
In fact, PG&E toppled the Berkeley Campaign Reform Act with extraordinary ease, even though City Attorney Don McCullum did his best to defend the law. Judicial hostility to campaign reform on the basis of the First Amendment was to be a national tidal wave that wiped away Federal, state, and local laws to prevent the buying of elections. What happened to us in the case of PG&E vs. the City of Berkeley was just a small sample of a legal nightmare that threatens to permanently hold American democracy hostage to the power of entrenched corporate and individual wealth.
Once PG&E was free to spend as it saw fit, the Measure W campaign became a re-run of the well-financed assault on Measure 8 a year and a half earlier. PG&E now operated through a front group called Citizens Against Electric Takeover which bombarded voters with its mailings. The utility also bragged about its successful legal work on behalf of free speech and the “backing” it received from the ACLU. Councilmembers Hone, Kallgren, Rumford, and Sweeney were a prominent part of the PG&E effort. Obviously, Sue Hone did not let PG&E’s attack on the Election Reform Act deter her from supporting the utility.
Denton vs. Clark for BART Board
With the slogan: “People are his special interest”, John Denton conducted a vigorous Berkeley drive against Dick Clark, linking up with the Yes on “W” forces in an effort to do precinct work. Clark’s campaign, managed by Jerry Jackson, had money to mail literature to a much larger portion of the district than John could possibly cover. Clark claimed to have “fought for the return of the Hearst strip to Berkeley” even though he had not opposed the sale of a portion to the Peralta Community College District. Clark’s literature portrayed him as an outspoken consumer advocate and prominently featured Congressman Dellums and Assemblyman Meade as Clark supporters. There were l6 other candidates in the race for a grand total of l8.
John Denton was endorsed over Clark by the Political Action Coalition for the Environment (PACE), a regional group formed for the sole purpose of electing pro-environmental candidates to the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Board (water), the East Bay Regional Park District Board, the Alameda-Contra Costa (AC) Transit Board, as well as the BART Board. Elections to these traditionally obscure special districts were now going to be much more visible with PACE taking on the conservative business interests that tended to be in control, especially on the EBMUD Board.
Burke vs. Naparst for EBMUD
The EBMUD, responsible for our drinking water, was then elected by a wards/at large system. Candidates ran from individual wards, but were elected at large with all wards contested district-wide.
The Berkeley ward (#4) had no incumbent as Helen Burke, an environmental planner from the Sierra Club, was opposed by Stan Naparst, a community health worker supported by the Alameda County Central Labor Council.
PACE endorsed Helen as did Loni Hancock. Helen Burke endorsed Measure “W” for public ownership of PG&E, helping establish her place in the Berkeley progressive community. Helen turned out to be the only successful PACE candidate for the EBMUD Board.
During the next several years, her motions often died for lack of a second.
The Charter Review Committee vs. the City Manager Form of Government
The November l974 ballot contained a package of five Charter Review Committee proposals that constituted a frontal attack upon the City Manager form of government. Charter Amendments R, S, T, U, and V would have:
- Increased the Mayor’s salary from $600 to $l,200 per month and Council salaries from $300 to $800 per month. (R)
- Changed the City Manager into a less powerful City Administrator who the Council could fire with 5 votes instead of the then required 6 votes. (S)
- Required City Council approval before the City Administrator could fire a department head. (T)
- Required City Council confirmation for the appointment of department heads recommended by the City Administrator. (U)
- Granted the City Council the power to hire the Police Chief. (V)
As originally recommended, the latter four amendments (S,T,U,V) were a single measure, but the Council majority split it into four separate parts at the suggestion of the League of Women Voters. (5-4 vote, July 23, l974).
Taken together, the Charter Review Committee’s five measures moved towards establishing a Strong Council form of government by transferring power from the appointed City Manager to the elected Council and raising Councilmembers’ salaries. Getting these measures on the ballot represented a significant breakthrough for the progressive members of the Charter Review Committee.
We urged “Yes” votes “for a more responsive and accountable city government.” The l97l campaign rhetoric about changing the City Manager form of government now had at least a partial chance to become reality. (Berkeley had actually originated the City Manager concept as a “reform” that would eliminate political patronage. The City Manager form was established in a hotly contested January 20, l923 charter amendment special election won by the conservatives 5,226 (Yes) to 3,076 (No). Previously, the City Manager amendment had been defeated at a regularly scheduled election.)
The Berkeley League of Women Voters submitted ballot arguments against every Charter Review Committee proposal except for the pay raise, against which Republican Paul Harberts submitted an argument. The League opposed any fundamental weakening of the City Manager’s powers on the grounds that this would destroy sound administration and create a political patronage system. The arguments of the l920’s were revived by both sides.
Campaign Reform Clean-up – Measure “X”
Measure “X” was an admission by Sue Hone that the Election Reform Act’s requirement for all campaign contributions and expenditures to be handled through a bank trust account was inherently unworkable. (The trust account was one of those special features which supposedly made Hone’s version superior to our initiative.) Yet banks could not and would not touch such accounts.
Under Measure (X), campaign funds were to be administered by the City of Berkeley through the City Manager’s designee as an alternative to a bank trust officer. This clean-up amendment had no opposition, receiving 85% of the vote.
Everybody Needs Parks – Measure “Y”
Measure “Y” was one of Berkeley’s few significant bi-partisan landmarks. A joint project of the Recreation and Planning Commissions, Measure “Y” raised property taxes for five years to establish a $600,000 a year fund for creating new city parks and renovating existing parks.
Endorsers for Measure “Y” covered the political spectrum. Despite such political support, Measure “Y” lost in both the hills (which had plenty of parks already) and the black community. The progressive community’s votes carried Measure “Y” to victory, although the south campus area received no new parks in return.
The Return of Slates
The “United Democrat” tabloid made a strong comeback, considering the June l974 experience. Independent once again, the “United Democrat” was highly useful. Yes on Public Power (Measure W) occupied nearly half the front page of the Berkeley edition. Charter Amendments S, T, U, & V were also endorsed. However, all the special district races (BART, EBMUD, etc.) were completely ignored.
Thus, while BCA was not ready to provide a real Berkeley slate campaign in November l974, such an alternative to the United Democrat’s “half a loaf” policy was still essential.
The Denton for BART/Yes on “W” campaigns collaborated on a Berkeley “Vote Democratic” doorhanger for our get-out-the-vote effort. This one was almost as arbitrary as the United Democrat. It added all the PACE candidates in the special district races, but ignored every Berkeley ballot measure with the exception of Yes on “W”.
Both the United Democrat and the Berkeley doorhanger endorsed Jerry Brown for Governor, something BCA would never do (for Governor or Senator). And, of course, both slates included Dellums, Meade, and Miller for reelection. But unlike the tabloid, the Berkeley doorhanger deleted four Democrats in state races: Alan Cranston for U.S. Senate, Bill Bennett for the Board of Equalization, Jess Unruh for Treasurer, and Ken Cory for Controller. These various omissions reflected a combination of both politics and lack of space on the doorhanger.
It was better to have capricious and inconsistent slates (November l974) than no slates at all (June l974). Still I looked forward to the l975 and l976 elections when, hopefully, BCA would democratically choose a single slate and it would appear intact on all our Berkeley campaign literature, replacing everything else.
The November 5, l974 results: 49,547 Berkeley voters
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board, District 3
Dick Clark 2l,325 (56%) Elected
John Denton l6,761 (44%)
BART Board, District 3
Dick Clark 7,344 (39%)
John Denton 11,451 (61%)
City Council Pay Increase Charter Amendment (R)
NO 30,843(74%) FAILED
Establishing a City Administrator that can be Fired by 5 Instead of 6 Votes
Charter Amendment (S)
NO 19,83l(52%) FAILED
Requiring City Council Concurrence to Remove a Department Head
Charter Amendment (T)
NO 19,55l(52%) FAILED
Requiring City Council Confirmation of all Department Heads
Charter Amendment (U)
NO 18,783(51%) FAILED
Granting the City Council Power to Hire the Police Chief
Charter Amendment (V)
NO 19,647(53%) FAILED
Municipal Ownership of PG&E, Initiative (W)
NO 23,356(53%) FAILED
Property Tax Increase for Parks, Measure (Y)
YES 23,269(54%) PASSED
Public Ownership of the city’s electric system (Measure W) came within 2,200 votes of winning, a 5,000 vote, 5% improvement over the April l973 results, up from 42% YES to 47%. The initiative still lost because PG&E piled up a 3 to l hills margin and a nearly 2 to l edge in the black community. The campus community’s 2 to l vote in favor of Measure W could not overcome the rest of the city, in spite of a solid turnout advantage.
With two victories, fortress PG&E became the only power to ever defeat our initiative assault. While BCA would still support public ownership of PG&E, it gradually became a dead issue on which no new action was taken.
John Denton defeated Dick Clark for the BART Board by 4,000 votes in Berkeley, showing great strength in the campus community. John’s support did not extend beyond the city limits, as Clark won in every other part of the district for a victory margin of 4,500 votes. Still, John Denton finished a close second, well ahead of the other l6 candidates. Denton would be on the next ballot.
Helen Burke overwhelmed Stan Naparst everywhere for the EBMUD seat. Unfortunately, all her PACE running mates lost.
Every Berkeley Charter Amendment was defeated. The Council pay raise met with destruction by a 3 to l margin, demonstrating the City Council’s extreme unpopularity. The measure lost in all precincts, with the smallest negative margins coming in the black community.
The four other Charter Amendments to transfer power from the City Manager to the Council were barely beaten by a strong opposition hills vote that overcame campus area support. (Measure “S” was the key since the other amendments were legally dependent on its passage.) Any fundamental change in the City Manager form of government was doomed for at least another decade. At best, the Charter Review Committee could now attempt to pass a few watered down parts of the defeated measures.
Jerry Brown was elected Governor, carrying Berkeley by over 3 to l, while Congressman Dellums and Assemblyman Meade again won re-election with little difficulty over Republican challengers. (Ron Dellums 95,04l, Jack Redden 66,386; Ken Meade 63,l47, Art Flegal 44,84l.)
In a race between two Municipal Court Judges for a vacant Alameda County Superior Court seat, Martin Pulich, a Democrat, defeated Republican Lewis May by l3l,7ll to l2l,696. Pulich was on both the United Democrat and the Berkeley doorhanger slates. His Berkeley victory margin was large enough for Pulich to carry Alameda County. This was an early example of how a unified, progressive Berkeley vote could be decisive in Alameda County-wide races, provided we endorsed a respectable candidate whose support was not limited to Berkeley.
November l974 preserved the status quo, but the John Denton and Public Power efforts demonstrated that the progressive community still had some electoral life remaining. While lacking momentum, Berkeley Citizens Action was ready to try and make the April l975 city election into a real contest.