Fred Dodsworth, Candidate Berkeley City Council District 6


Fred-DodsworthFred Dodsworth is a poet, former journalist and publisher. Learn more about him at


1 – What specific regulations do you support the City of Berkeley adopting regarding the minimum wage and paid leave?

Measure CC, initiated by the people. Adamantly not BB, initiated by the Berkeley business community hand in hand with our compromised council as an attempt to confuse and diminish the voters and reduce wages.

2 – Do you support “sit-lie” laws like the one Berkeley tried to introduce in 2012?

No. I think there are already plenty of laws criminalizing homelessness. I support Housing First Programs and the recommendations of the Berkeley Housing Taskforce. As I’ve noted below we need a different way of responding to 911 calls involving mental illness, drug and alcohol problems, and the sheer brutality of homelessness. (See CAHOOTS below.)We need solutions for local issues as well as solutions for the abhorrent and inhumane inequality that plagues America. If we don’t address this issue soon, America as we know it will cease to exist.

3 – What policies do you support implementing on the use of surveillance technology (surveillance cameras on streets, license plate readers, drones, etc.) by local law enforcement in Berkeley?

I’m a supporter of the 4th Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure. The Surveillance State is embryonic fascism. While I respect our city’s police officers and its department, we need to address local crime, not national paranoia. Surveillance technology and resources have been typically used against political protests. Surveillance technology for active crime scenes can be an important tool for police response but too often these technologies are used inappropriately for repression, or for silliness like scanning license plates for minor violations. I support increasing the power and authority of the Police Review Commission to set reasonable community standards and to hold officers who break the law accountable.

4 – What will you do to address problems of police brutality and misconduct in Berkeley?

I’m hoping that as a city council member I can work with the other progressive members of the council to change how police work is delegated in Berkeley. The cities of Eugene and Springfield Oregon operate a CAHOOTS program that dispatches mental health professionals, 24-7, to deal with all incoming service calls involving mental illness, drug and alcohol excesses, and homelessness. []

As almost 40% of all police dispatch requests are these issues, this would effectively increase our police force beyond the requested 30 new officers and allow the police we have to focus on crime problems and not social issues.

Additionally I would work to revise our city’s mutual aid agreements to insure that the officers sent to assist us are compelled to follow our procedures and I would reevaluate our involvement with “Urban Shield.”

Additionally I would see that our officers get cultural sensitivity training to counter the implicit racism of our culture. Here in north Berkeley I have several darkly complected friends and neighbors who regularly get pulled over by officers (in one case 52 times in the last 12 years, no arrests). As a “white person” this never happens to me

5 – What is your specific position regarding development in Berkeley?

We need truly affordable housing. I am proposing “Affordable Housing for the Rest of Us,” a program to use the city’s intellectual resources and underutilized properties, working with the community to create limited-equity, means-tested, cooperative housing and co-housing projects. According to the US Census Bureau Berkeley is the 2nd densest city in California (11,800 residents per square mile) and the tenth densest (of at least ten miles in area) in the US. If more market rate housing would cure our housing ills, SF (with 18,000 residents per square mile) wouldn’t have a housing crisis. Some development is good. What’s not good is the way the council majority fails to negotiate for the city and its residents. From Social Benefits, to QUIMBY Act Funds, the city has failed to get what it needs and has a right to. I would demand far more in benefits for the right to develop in our community, including far more in affordable housing and higher fees for failing to provide adequate ratios of truly affordable housing vs market rate housing.

6 – How do you propose Berkeley address the causes and effects of climate change? Do you have specific policy recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Berkeley? How do you propose it prepare for sea level rises?

All new structures in the downtown should be required to be designed and constructed as net-zero energy usage and to LEED Platinum standards now. In addition when a home changes ownership it needs to be brought up to appropriate energy standards regarding insulation, double glazing, photovoltaic energy production, etc. With homes in Berkeley now selling for a million dollars on average, there’s no excuse for not demanding these higher standards. Electric cars aren’t the answer to our transportation problems. Most electricity today is generated by the burning of coal. Mass public transit must be funded and utilized. Building new multi-million dollar parking structures in downtown Berkeley (as the city is currently doing) is short sighted and economically wasteful. A far better use of that space would have been the construction of limited-equity, cooperatively-owned, affordable housing units. There are many other possible ways to confront global climate change beyond the scope of this brief questionnaire.

7 – How do you propose Berkeley should respond to formerly incarcerated citizens re-entering the community?

I believe the larger problem is how folks are treated while incarcerated. Having worked in the SF Jails for Community Works West, I am very concerned about the lack of educational support and the lack of mental health care in the jails. Once a person is out of incarceration, I believe criminal records are irrelevant. Unfortunately, because incarceration appears to be based on punishment rather than improvement, and because our system is both racist and privileges the wealthy, the underlying inequity will continue to be the real problem.

What will you do to support community-based services for formerly incarcerated citizens?

Other than restricting use of the box (“Have you every been arrested or convicted of a crime”), there’s a limit to what cities are capable of doing in the face of overwhelming need from every direction. We need “Prison-to-School Pipeline Programs.”

8  – Can you share an instance where you have shown moral courage? (i.e. standing up for your values in the face of opposition or other negative consequences).

I don’t easily intimidate so I can’t say I recall failing to stand up for what I believe in. It hasn’t been an easy road but I’m proud of the values I profess and embody. I am the same today, running for election, as I’ve been throughout the rest of my life.

9 – How many individuals have contributed to your campaign?  

It’s currently a little over 100 for nearly $8,000.

Do you or your campaign have a financial relationship with a member of the ACDCC?  Who and in what capacity?

Not that I’m aware of.

10 – Are you running as a Berniecrat?

If you mean, “Am I a Bernie supporter, believer and donor?” hell yes, but not if there’s some special handshake or certificate involved.

Candidate Statement

As your north Berkeley representative I will fight for our residents, parents, children, public service workers, and friends, including those who are not fortunate enough to own homes. I will fight to stop Sutter from closing Alta Bates Hospital in 2018. I will work to achieve our ecological climate change goals, and insist all new construction in the downtown meet those goals. I will put an end to foolish spending and bond measures that don’t explain what we’re paying for and how we’re to measure success. As a former 30-year journalist, I know Berkeley’s government. I stand for honest, direct, responsive communication. I support rent control and Berkeley’s Living Wage initiative. As a retired businessperson, former board member of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, and former publisher of Northern California’s largest business magazine I know how to negotiate with wealthy out-of-town developers who are reaping great profit from our community while not paying their fair share for what we have built. I am endorsed by Berkeley Progressive Alliance, Berkeley Citizens Action, Berkeley Tenant Union, Bill and Charlene Woodcock, Margot Smith, Linda Olivenbaum, Community Health Commissioner Linda Franklin, and many of your neighbors.