Issues

Cheryl is passionate about improving the lives of our residents. Her platform is built upon what she has heard during constituent listening sessions and community events as well as what she has learned from her own experience in over 39 years as a Berkeley resident.

Cheryl's core issues include:

Regional Leadership and Collaboration

District 2, the City of Berkeley, and our residents face issues that cannot be addressed solely within our borders. Affordable housing and the climate emergency are two such issues. During her first term, she created two regional task forces, which meet regularly:

The Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force (CEMTF) brings together city, county, and state governments and elected officials, as well as activists, businesses, and community-based and non-governmental organizations to address the climate emergency through collaboration and solidarity. The CEMTF is committed to shifting the region collectively towards building a regenerating economy and creating new career opportunities, building relationships and eliminating barriers that keep us apart, increasing emergency preparedness, sharing legislation, and working towards saving our planet.

RV/Tiny Homes Solutions to Homelessness Task Force consists of faith leaders, community-based organizations, and housed and unhoused community members. The task force meets monthly to discuss ways to collaborate, discover the needs of our curbside communities, and move into action to assist. These collaborations led to the implementation of the expanded shower program, changing the trigger criteria to open the inclement shelter program, and increased outreach and services to encampments.

Just and Equitable COVID Economic Recovery

Cheryl  supports the principles of a just recovery laid out by the People’s Bailout. These principles hold that we must: 

  • Make health our top priority, for all people, with no exceptions
  • Provide economic relief directly to the people
  • Rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives
  • Make a downpayment on a regenerative economy while preventing future crises
  • Protect our democratic process while protecting each other

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the systemic institutional, structural, and environmental disparities that have disproportionately impacted African Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, and all people of color for decades. Our country and others around the world were built on these disparate treatments in order to ensure the economic security of corporations. We must change business as usual, regenerate our economy, and ensure a just transition to economic stability and success. 

Emergency Preparedness/Resilience Hubs

Berkeley and its residents are vulnerable to earthquakes, fires, hate crimes, and now, pandemics. Now is the time to develop our social contract and community infrastructure to permanently include mutual aid, emergency preparedness, and community-scale resilience planning while breaking down the barriers to access and social stratification. Whenever and whatever the next neighborhood, city-wide, national, or global emergency, Cheryl wants our community to be thoroughly prepared and united to face what comes next.

A resilience hub is a community space that provides the following: a place to gather before, during and after a crisis; an education center where people can gain skills and build community; a place to store and distribute equipment in the case of an emergency; an ecological sanctuary for wildlife and food production that is centered around reducing pollution; and a social sanctuary that is free from any form of xenophobia and where marginalized members of society can have their needs attended to. All activities would be designed to support community resilience, emergency preparedness, climate action, and racial and economic equity. This would involve expanding the function of community centers and the community itself to be more cohesive, coordinated, prepared, and purposeful throughout the year so that, no matter what happens, Berkeley residents and people passing through know exactly where to go in a time of need. 

Transparent and Efficient City Budget

Nations, cities, and municipalities around the world are experiencing deficits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Berkeley is facing a $28.5 million deficit in 2021. For decades, cities, including Berkeley, have ignored capital improvements and failed to invest in infrastructure, roads, and affordable housing. Effective policies and procedures are not always written, implemented and/or followed. How our city budget is allocated over the next years will say everything about our values and our vision. Some will argue that we have to sacrifice our values because of these tough economic times. Cheryl disagrees wholeheartedly, saying, “There is never a time to abandon values.” As a member of the Budget & Finance Policy Committee, she has proposed that we increase efficiency and transparency in the budget process to ensure that the city is responsible and wise in spending and allocating its resources. She believes that we must demand a better and more viable society than the one we had before the coronavirus transformed the way we live. Transparency, efficiency, and improved policies and procedures are crucial/ critical to receive FEMA and other reimbursements from government agencies during this time of COVID-19.

Cheryl will continue to be an effective, strong voice on the city council and will ensure that District 2 is not left out as it had been, prior to her leadership. She will continue to ensure that small businesses, the arts, and renters are supported during and beyond the pandemic.

Affordable Housing and Decriminalized Poverty

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes housing as a human right. Disaster capitalism, which has been in existence for Cheryl’s entire life, has led to the most vulnerable becoming unhoused.  Cheryl is determined to find viable solutions to homelessness. She supports tiny homes, safe parking for RV dwellers, and sanctioned encampments that follow good neighbor policies, with regular scheduled trash pick-up and case management for those who are in need. We must ensure that everyone has access to a roof over their head, especially now in these COVID-19 pandemic times. Housing is a human right! 

Poverty must be decriminalized. Poverty is not a crime, but not being able to afford rent is a crime. For decades, there has been a lack of federal housing policies, and rising income inequality has led to poverty and homelessness. Punitive policies have been implemented to eliminate the visibility of poverty and homelessness. These include unjust fines and arrests, which fail to solve the problems leading to poverty. Criminalizing poverty is not cost effective, not for the targeted individual(s) nor the City of Berkeley. We must do more to ease the suffering of those who cannot afford extremely high rents and are forced to become members of curbside communities. Ensuring access to housing, effective housing policies, and affordable housing are the solution. Cheryl believes that, until more truly affordable units become available, we must unite to help provide tiny homes, accessory dwelling units, sanctioned encampments, and safe parking for RV dwellers.

Bold Climate and Environmental Justice Policy

Cheryl’s goal is to lead the Bay Area through a just transition to a net regenerative economy that simultaneously addresses global warming, racism, biodiversity loss, income inequality, food security, and disaster preparedness. 

She will attempt to balance the local, global, technical, and visionary demands for political leadership in order to put our city, region, and world on a viable path forward while honoring the latest science and emergent demands for social, economic, and racial justice and ecological regeneration. 

As the founder and chair of the Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force, Cheryl is working to organize municipalities, elected officials, community-based organizations, and non government organizations throughout the Bay Area to unify efforts to enact climate emergency mobilization. She will work to meet this historical moment at the level of depth, complexity and force required to intervene in the catastrophic pathway of global warming.

In 2018, Cheryl’s office initiated two very important items: a Climate Emergency Declaration that was the third in the country, and a Fossil Free Resolution, which attempted to commit the City of Berkeley to be carbon negative by 2030. Since then, many cities in the Bay Area followed suit, declaring a climate emergency and calling for a regional collaborative effort to address the climate emergency. In 2019, Cheryl initiated two related items, to establish an eventual ban on the sale of combustion vehicles and to establish a climate, race and equity department or office. In her next term, she will do much more as she collaborates with a regional network of progressive leaders who are focussing their efforts on the crisis itself.

Beautification Without Displacement and Gentrification

Affordable housing and beautiful neighborhoods shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. As a council member, as well as a member of the 4×4 Joint Task Force Committee on Housing: Rent Board/City Council, Cheryl has had an opportunity to regularly support tenants.  She believes that tenants’ perspectives should be addressed when developers try to bypass building affordable units or avoid paying into the Housing Trust Fund. As a long-time tenant in a rent-controlled unit, she believes tenants should be protected. During her community events, she has connected long-time residents and new residents around critical and timely issues. As a resident, Cheryl loves and respects the ecological diversity of Berkeley, as well as the many organizations in the city that are actively organizing arts and cultural events.